Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Perils of Searching For Fine European Watches

I've been researching high end watches lately with searches for brands like Towson Watch Company, Rolex, and Tudor.  Now, according to the ads I'm seeing, the Internet thinks that I may want to buy a Mercedes or borrow up to a million dollars.  I guess that is just one of the perils of searching for watches that I can't really afford.

Aaaah, but, it is nice to dream of European engineering and design. 

Of course, if you look hard enough, you'll also discover some wonderful brands that bring European design to your wrist at affordable prices.  While the manufacturing may be handled in Asia, the heart and soul of some of these brands is European.

ADNA.  The watch I'm wearing right now came to me courtesy of a Belgian firm called ADNA. ADNA XXL watches combine diver-style practicality with innovative interchangeable straps and fun color combinations.  The ADNA XXL collection was designed by one of the best watch design minds in Europe!

Insignum.  Germany's Insignum brand also brings teutonic design sensibilities to your wrist at a reasonable price point.   When the brand was first launched in the U.S. my friends at sent me a really cool example to review.

Neither ADNA or Insignum watches are overly expensive.  They fit most wrists and they fit most budgets.  If you aspire to own a product with fine European design, these watches cost considerably less than a Mercedes or Maserati!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What are you wearing?

Greetings mysterious visitors from the Internet.  Thanks for dropping by.  As you scroll through the posts on this blog, you get to see the watches I have in my collection, watches I encounter when I'm out shopping, and watches I'd love to own some day.  Hopefully, you've found this blog helpful.

Today, I have a question for you:

What watch are you wearing?

Leave me a comment and let me know.  By the way, today I am wearing my Citizen EcoDrive.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Office Watch versus The Evening Watch

Do you wear one watch to the office and another in the evening when you get home? I do.

I like to wear my nicer watches to work and wear bang around watches after hours.  During the work week, I often wear my Bulova, Citizen, Grenen, Insignum, Relic, and Seiko watches.  

 In the evening, I often wear Timex watches with Indiglo backlighting.  

On the weekends anything goes.  That is when the sportier watches come out to play.  I like to wear my ADNA XXL watch because the silicone band bounces off of anything this watch hits!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Surprisingly Made in the USA: The Wristwatch

I wrote this profile of three American watch companies a while back for Yahoo.  Perhaps Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, and Vietnam need to move over, American companies are making some of the world's finest wristwatches.  Today, these three companies remain leaders in the American watch industry.

One of my cheap Chinese watches from a big box store is beeping every hour. The poorly written directions don't say how to make it stop. So, I've buried my offending cheap Chinese watch under clothing, in a dresser drawer, and in a box. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I still hear it: beep. It makes me think that there has to be a better way: an American way that leads to a watch that doesn't need to be buried in the deep recesses of a dresser drawer. I did a little research and found that there are still companies proudly making some of the world's finest wristwatches right here in America: The Towson Watch Company, The RGM Watch Company, and The Sedona Watch Company.

Towson Watch Company. George Thomas and Hartwig Balke founded the Towson Watch Company in Towson, Maryland, in the year 2000. Today, they proudly offer a product line that has been called the Chesapeake Class Watch Collection because it is attuned to their company's Maryland heritage with names like Choptank, Potomac, Bay Pilot, Skipjack, and Pride II (after the ship Pride of Baltimore II).

Pride of Baltimore II - photo by Acroterion [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

One of their first watches was worn aboard the space shuttle during STS-99 by an astronaut and is now sold as their Mission series of watches. Towson watches are special because they are designed and manufactured in the United States and they are the creations of craftsmen. Towson Watch Company watches run from about $2,100 to about $14,000. Perhaps the most distinctive Towson watch is the Pride II watch which has a case shaped like the shield logo of the Towson Watch Company. It features the silhouette of the famous Baltimore clipper ship, Pride of Baltimore II, on the back of the case. These wonderful Made in U.S.A. watches really are the pride of America.

Photo from Amazon

RGM Watch Company. Another company returning the art and science of fine watch making to America is the RGM Watch Company of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. RGM makes a wide variety of mechanical watches from classic diver style watches to complexities of a Grand Complication called the Pennsylvania Grand Tourbillon (MM2). The RGM watch companies watches range from about $1,850 to $75,000 for the Pennsylvania Grand Tourbillon. The RGM watch company has an interesting blog where you can follow the adventures of intrepid divers, bicycle racers, and world travelers who wear American-made RGM watches on their journeys. It's exciting to see a small watch maker in small town, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, take on the world with high quality designs and meticulous craftsmanship. In the watch making world, fine "grand complication" watches can run hundreds of thousands of dollars. The American-made Pennsylvania Grand Tourbillon competes well in that rarefied atmosphere of competition.

Sedona Watch Works. Finally, Sedona Watch Works brings the artistry and engineering of fine watch making out to the American West in Sedona, Arizona. Sedona Watch Works wristwatches are "designed, machined, created, assembled, and tested" in the studio of artisan, Geoffrey Roth. While his watches are powered by the venerable ETA 2892-A2 Swiss mechanical movement, every bit of the design and creation of these watches is the result of American artistry. Featuring rose gold bezels and Louisiana Alligator straps, classic Sedona Watch Works watches range from $6,700 to $20,000. The Sedona watches represent another American step back onto the world stage of watchmaking.

While the price tags on these American-made watches may seem steep to big box store shoppers, all of these watches are real bargains in the world of high end luxury wristwatches and show that America can compete with the finest European watchmakers. Best of all, the Towson Watch Company, RGM Watch Company, and Sedona Watch Works are joined by other trailblazing American watch companies. Other American watchmakers like the Bozeman Watch Company and the Montana Watch Company make beautiful watches and are rising in prominence. None of these Made in USA watches beep and none of these American-made watches deserve to be buried under socks. Any of these American made wristwatches would be a proud addition to a collector's watch box.

The Towson Watch Company RGM Watch Company website.
Sedona Watch Works website. Bozeman Watch Company website.
Montana Watch Company website.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Torpedoes in the Amazon: The Momentum Torpedo is on

Remember the Momentum Torpedo Dive Watches that were just being introduced on this blog a few months back?

Well, now Momentum Torpedo watches are available on Amazon.  It's a good looking collection with serious dive watch looks and 200 meters of water resistance.  The Torpedo is a great value at its price point!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Guide to the Affordable Men's Watches of the Classical Revival

Classic Watches for the Common Man

According to the WatchTime 2012 Buyers Guide magazine, there is renewed interest in simple, basic, elegant timepieces that focus on the essential function of telling time. The magazine called it the classical revival. To some degree, they said the classical revival is a reaction to large, boisterous, timepieces that sport huge cases and oversized dials. For prestigious Swiss watch makers the test of design and craftsmanship has always been getting reliable mechanical functions into an aesthetically pleasing and slim watch case.

Venerable watchmakers like Zenith and Vacheron-Constantin have released watches in recent years that mimic their classic models of the 1950s and 60s. The Zenith Elite Ultra Thin is a simple elegant watch with a round face, baton markers, and a small seconds hand sub-dial. The Vacheron Constantin Historiques line includes the round Ultra Fine 1968 and the square Ultra Fine 1955. Both sport simple graceful faces with minimal markings and complex mechanical mechanisms beneath the surface. These high end watches are made by craftsmen working to the most exacting standards. They are heirlooms to be passed from generation to generation in some of the world's most elite families.

While the high end watches of Vacheron Constantin are out of reach for most consumers since they are price between $20,000 to $30,000, there are many classically-styled quartz watches for the rest of us in the marketplace. While classic watches may not have their own shopping network television shows, they can be found in nearly every local department store. Here are five of my favorite affordable classic watches for men:

1. Bulova Classic Quartz Silver Dial Watch. Bulova makes some very accurate and sophisticated quartz watches. At $400 or $500 the Bulova Precisionist line is a marvel of modern design. But, the venerable company also makes many traditional quartz dress watches that are perfect for no nonsense business attire. My $99 Bulova (Model 96B168) has a slightly technological look due to a subtle grid pattern underlying the dial. Other models have a sunburst design.

2. Fossil Ansel Vintage Style Watch. If you are of Generation X, you probably remember the watches your father and grandfather wore. They were simple, fairly, slim, and they had plain faces and hash marks on the hours. In short, they were attractive, minimalist, and superbly functional. Fossil brings that look back in a more contemporary quartz package with a larger face more in keeping with today's fashion. The retro look of the Fossil Ansel works well.

3. Pulsar Men's Analog Dress Watch.  Silver on silver is one of the coolest color combinations on any man's watch. My old Pulsar does the job well. It's cool, competent, and perfect for job interviews. A watch doesn't have to scream for attention. Sometimes it can better serve you by standing competently in the background and adding to your aura of competence. Of course, in the right light, the dial of my Pulsar looks much like the dial of the more expensive, automatic, Ebel Classic 100.

4. Timex Weekender. Simple. Readable. Indiglo. Preppy. The $35 to $45 Timex Weekender looks like the watch you'd wear at your summer place in the Hamptons. It offers tons of preppy practicality in a non-snooty package. It's an affordable classic. Plus, the Swiss don't have Indiglo backlighting at one thousand times the price.

5. Armitron Diamond Men's Analog Dress Watch. Of course, not all classical watches are plain and functional. Some achieve a dramatic look with an accent jewel. For example, most Movados have a timeless elegance. At a sub-$100 price point, you might take a look at the Armitron Diamond series of watches. Mine has a deep brown face, accented with golden batons marking each hour, and a tiny diamond chip at 12 o'clock. It looks great, but not necessarily rich.

Classical designs have never gone away. They've just been waiting for you to stop playing SCUBA Steve, Racer X, and Johnny Fighter Pilot. If you are ready for a simple, elegant, timepiece that tells the time and looks professional, your classic watches are waiting.