Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Guide to Military Style Watches

The military style watch has been gaining popularity in recent year.  Our nation and the western world has been at war against Islamic terrorism for 16 years and there is little sign that the struggle will ever end.  As the Army recruiting commercials say, "every generation has heroes," and perhaps all of us want to identify with those heroes and show our support.  Military-style watches are practical tools for today's warriors and a fashion homage to our heroes for the rest of us.

What time is it? - Photo by U.S. Army Europe Images from Heidelberg, Germany (What time is it  Uploaded by GiW) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Most military-style watches are generally based on standard issue military watches from the Vietnam era.  They consist of a simple analog dial displaying the 12 and 24-hour times against a plain dark background and feature a drab canvas or leather strap.  Many military-style watches feature a white triangle at the 12 o'clock position.  While the SKMEI military-style watch below features numbered minutes prominently, many do not.  This is a typical example of a military inspired watch.  Amazingly this one costs less than $10.

Some military style watches forego the 24 hour markings in favor of a simplified dial.  One of my favorite affordable military-style watches is this simple Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch.  It's very simple and it fits the military theme well.

If you are looking for another inexpensive option, this U.S. Polo watch is a nice simple and inexpensive example.  While war is no polo match, this watch has the big readable numbers, 24-hour time, and that ever present triangle.  You can generally find US Polo watches priced for less than $25 at traditional retailers like Kohl's or Sears.

You'll find some watches are even more simplified with markings inspired by World War 1 era aviation watches.  This Invicta 1461 is typical of that genre of watch.  On a more expensive end of the spectrum, Bell & Ross followed its smash hit instrument panel watches with a very sparse and utilitarian World War I inspired pilots watches.  These watches are great for those of us with older eyes because we don't have to explicitly admit that we need an Easy Reading Watch.

Of course, sometimes there is no substitute for the real thing.  The Marathon Watch company currently makes military specification watches.  These watches have tritium tubes that provide lighted markings without having to be charged via a light source.  They are also made for the extreme conditions that soldiers may actually face.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Guide to Dive or Diver-Style Watches

If you are looking for a gift watch for man this Christmas, you can't get much more manly than a dive or diver-style watch.  Dive watches embody manly virtues like strength and endurance.  They are also available at a wide variety of price points.

Insignum Dive Watch

Some of the fundamental questions to ask before giving someone a dive watch for Christmas are --
  • Is the gift recipient actually a scuba diver?
  • Does the person snorkel or swim?
  • Will the person wear the watch into the ocean or a pool?
Casio Dive Watch
Why all the questions?  It's simple, the specifications for a real dive watch are much more rigorous than the specifications for a diver-style watch.  The world is awash in affordable watches that look like dive watches and there are many solid watches that are rugged enough for swimming.  But, real dive watches are made to withstand high pressures of the depths.

A real dive watch will be able to withstand pressures of at least 1 atmosphere (100 meters or 330 feet).  Serious dive watches are marked as dive watches and often can withstand pressures of 200 or 300 meters.  Generally, dive watches will have screw down crowns that prevent water from infiltrating the watch through the winding stem.

In my collection, I have one dive watch that can survive depths of up to 200 meters.  However, I have many attractive diver-style watches that look great, but are actually not rated for diving.

If you are looking for an entry-level dive watch, the Casio MDV106-1A is a great choice.  It is water resistant to 200 meters and it has a screw-down crown.  It has a uni-directional bezel for tracking elapsed time.  It's a good choice for a watch that will actually spend time in the water or performing other rugged duties.

If you want to stay affordable, there are many good dive watches from companies like Invicta.  However, if you want a real dive watch that looks good at an affordable price, you might try Momentum dive watches. Ultimately, the standards for dive watches are set by brands like Omega and Rolex.  But, there are a lot of fun watch brands to explore along the way.