Sunday, August 28, 2016

Watch Sighting: Shinola Rambler GMT

Shinola has been one of the bright spots in the world of watches over the past few years.  They are an American company committed to making watches, bicycles, and leather goods right here in the United States.  They are bringing much needed jobs back to Detroit, Michigan.  For more on the Shinola story, check out their website.

Detroit, Michigan - photo By Shawn Wilson [CC BY-SA 1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I had never seen a Shinola watch before, but I recently saw one for a great price at Nordstrom Rack.  It's a Shinola Rambler GMT.  It's a quartz watch with an bi-directional rotating Bezel and a cyclops over the date window.  It only held it for a few seconds, but it had a nice, substantial weight, and a soft supple leather band.  The caseback had an impressive design.  Overall, it looked like a really great watch.  It has an orange 4th hand that I believe indicates the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  I found a more detailed review on ,

There are an impressive number of Shinola watches on As the company grows, they are offering more models and models with different features.  While these luxury watches are just out of my comfortable reach, I'm glad to see such luxurious models being made in America. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Watch Spotlight - The Graf Zeppelin 100 Years of Zeppelin Watch

Once upon a time, air travel was not the nerve-wracking exercise that it is today.  The wealthy traveled in style, floating in the clouds, and moving at a leisurely pace in huge airships called Zeppelins.  One of the largest and most stately of the monster airships was Germany's Graf Zeppelin.  According to, it was commissioned on July 8, 1928 and flew until shortly after the Hindenberg disaster in 1937.  While in service, it circled the globe carrying passengers in grand style.

The Graf Zeppelin

Looking back on the airships today, there is a mix of elegance, romance, technology, the innocence of a bygone era, and the edginess of the danger from hydrogen.  The era of these magnificent airships is celebrated by Germany's Zeppelin watch brand.

The gondola of the Graf Zeppelin. Photo edited by Grombo [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Zeppelin's were ships of the sky and they featured controls and instrumentation that might look more at home aboard a ship at sea.  The classic calfskin band and vintage instrument look of the Graf Zeppelin 100 Years of Zeppelin watch evoke the classic efficiency and engineering excellence of the airship era.  However, this Zeppelin watch is also perfect for the modern traveler as it has a date window at 4 o'clock, and alarm subdial at 6 o'clock, and a subdial at 9 o'clock which looks like it should keep time in another timezone.

Graf Zeppelin Watch

The Graf Zeppelin is a proper watch with stately proportions that look just right on the wrist.  The 42 millimeter diameter case is just perfect for most wrists.  At 13 millimeters thick, it can even fit under a cuff when a gentleman dresses properly for dinner as they did aboard the airship Graf Zeppelin.

Diners aboard the Graf Zeppelin - Source Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-08200 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons

While today's Zeppelin watches are powered by precise Swiss Quartz movements, the Zeppelins of the 1920s were powered by massive power plants.  You can see the way one of the engines dwarfs a legion of ground crew.

Graf Zeppelin Engine - Photo from Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-00735 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the coolest things about Zeppelin watches is that they are actually made in Germany.  The watch highlights a proud German achievement.  It's also reasonably priced for a European-made watch with a Swiss Movement.  It's not easy to pull off the tricky combination of elegance, quality, and affordability.  But, the Zeppelin Graf Zeppelin watch succeeds!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wristwatch Review: Nautica Quartz Black Dial Signal Flag Watch

For my recent birthday, I received two new watches.  Here is one of them.  It's a Nautica Quartz Watch with a black dial and signal flags on the bezel.  My wife found a pretty good deal on this model at  According to Amazon, this Nautica is listed as the Unisex NAD09509G NSR 100 FLAG Analog Display Quartz Black Watch.  As with many watches these days, I think there are some opportunities for marketing departments to come up with better names for watch models.

Nautica Black Dial Signal Flag Watch

Nautica Watch Design

I really like the design of this Nautica signal flag watch.  This Nautica combines traditional elements of a diver style watch and the nautical signal motif with a bit of the black seriousness of "commando" watch.  Nautica has several watches where the signal flags are on the dial and are actually colorful flags.  Those watches have a lighter mood about them than this Nautica in black.

The Nautica logo is featured in this design on the watch strap.  It is positioned on the upper part of the strap and faces away from the wearer.  Thus, it isn't a distraction to the wearer and let's the world know that you are wearing a Nautica watch.  The Nautica logo is also featured prominently on the nicely engraved back plate of the watch.

The Nautica label is also featured with the brand name on the clasp and on the logo faintly etched into the crown of watch.  These are premium details that are expect in a watch at this price level.  I thought they were nicely done.

Nautica Watch Proportions

This Nautica is just about the right size for daily wear.  The case is 44 millimeters in diameter and 12.5 millimeters thick.  Since the bezel doesn't rotate, the watch could probably be a millimeter or two thinner.  However, this watch hides under a long sleeved dress shirt with no problem.

Nautica Watch Construction and Function

This Nautica has a reliable quartz movement.  Warranty service is provided by Timex.  The watch has a stainless steel case and case back.  It offers water resistance to 50 meters (165 feet).  The dial is protected by a durable mineral crystal.  The strap is made of silicone.  It seems durable and a little more pliable than a resin strap. After 15 days of wear, the watch and strap seem to be holding up well.  Overall, the timekeeping and water resistance capabilities of this watch are great.  If there is a downside to the functionality of this timepiece, it's that the bezel doesn't rotate.  Yes, it is a cool looking fashion watch, but a rotating bezel would make it even cooler.

Nautica Black Dial Signal Flag Watch

Nautica Watch Overall Review

This Nautica Signal Flag Black Dial watch is a great watch for daily way.  It is comfortable and good looking.  Overall, I really like it and recommend it.