The Smart age – Huawei

Once again I’ve tentatively decided to check out the Smart brigade – those ‘wearables’ (I hate that word!) that you see lots of folk sporting on their wrists today.

Huawei Smart Watch

Looked at two, though I’ll really only talk a bit about the one I show here – The Huawei GT 2 (42mm).  And surprisingly, being no lover of this so called smart revolution – I like it.

This model is from Huawei, certainly more mainstream, being the World’s 3rd largest producer of Cell Phones and at under £150 was a surprise.  What it has done. for me, is to produce a watch – yes a watch, conventionally shaped round stainless case, beautifully made, I have to say and with a conventional strap (not integrated, which is a huge plus).  It actually comes with two straps – the one shown is a black soft silicon and very comfortable and the other a tan leather one.  Both come with quick release spring bars, so changing straps for any conventional watch strap is easy.

This watch with it’s Kirin A1 Self-developed Chip, shows the time, very clearly on it’s 1.2 inch AMOLED colour screen, is coupled with a 3D glass screen.  It has excellent resolution 454 x 454, PPI 326 – and it is VERY clear. Plus the watch face is VERY easy to swipe, with a highly accurate touch response, unlike some.  As I said, it shows the time and the previous image shows my daily beater (Time, Day, Date) one I like for every day and the following images show the other main time related options –

Digital time, Pulse plus two other functions

Time, Day, Date

Now I’m not a Smart Watch person – far from it.  I am also NOT a fitness fanatic – certainly not at my age.  Well OK, I was in a gymnastics team once upon a time and travelled the world, but we’re talking in the 1960’s!

I say this, as I cannot vouch for the usefulness or quality of any fitness functions, workouts and the like.  I can however, check out the Alarm, time functions, Blood Pressure measurements, Sleep monitoring, Weather, World time etc etc. plus the build quality, the screen display, how easy it is to read and use.  And that’s about it.  But it should give some idea –

Oh! and I almost forgot the App, for your phone, which is essential to any of them.

And lastly, for me at any rate, it has to work with an iPhone (can’t get to grips with that Android stuff at all). This model works with either though, so covers everything.

The graphics on this watch are quite outstanding and everything is easily readable.

Snazzy but practical

The watch is a sensible size too at 42 mm diameter (some so called Smart watches are just too big and thick ) and will fit smaller wrists just fine and it is really thin at just about 9 mm.  The case is stainless steel and it sports 2 x side buttons. Top right button is the menu function button and the scroll/swipe menu system is intuitive and as said, VERY clear.  Charging is via a small magnetic unit – sit the watch on it and any USB socket will do. Takes about 2 hours to fully charge and the watch can run for around 4 or 5 days, depending on activities.

There are 8 Time displays (as shown here) and these can be viewed with a turn of the wrist or displayed permanently in certain circumstances.

Chrono style plus Weather, Steps & Pulse

There is a scrolling menu (top right button) and you can select Weather, Fitness modes, Workouts (15), GPS enabled, Activity, Sleep data, Stress, Rower, Breathing exercises, Music, Air Pressure, Notifications, Stopwatch, Timer, Alarm, Flashlight, Find my Phone, and Settings.

So it has a very comprehensive activities list and the graphics are very, very good.

When I checked this function set against some other smart watches, although many had similar, the clarity, set up and user intuitiveness of this was frankly, streets ahead of most of them.

Many of the cheaper offerings and some that were more expensive, don’t really make the grade – a bit like the early 1970’s when the Asian digital quartz scene was born.

If digits are your thing . . .

Time options galore

Then, only the bigger names managed to survive and as then, some of the cheaper models are produced that emulate the big boys – but often unfortunately, with inferior components, such as – unapproved batteries can be used, for example, though cosmetically very similar.  Then there are the displays – Very obviously inferior in many cases  The cheaper they are, the worse the display.

And often the basic, ‘what you see every day’ clock display, is so cluttered as to the point of being virtually unreadable.  Also, they tend to overdo any digital time display, in silly shapes, or packed with too many other functions displayed all at once.  In the world of small digital displays – overkill with data = clutter.

Sleek time

And most importantly, as in the past, the cheaper models often eschew such niceties as Quality Control – instead placing reliance for that function on you – the buyer.

“If no good – send back please!”
Some customers are lucky, but many others are not.

Digits plus everything?

So, somewhere in the middle there should, hopefully, be a middle ground, where quality and function are reasonable and just maybe at a reasonable price too?
And of course the problem for the buyer is as always – finding that Smart buy.

I did look at one, which has a lot of marketing around it, from e-Watch which can be got from silly offers up to maybe £59.00 and whilst it looked OK, there were certain things straight off that didn’t do it for me.  First the strap was integrated (in other words, you can’t change it, if it’s damaged for example) and it was VERY awkward to actually fit to your wrist – I mean what’s wrong with a simple buckle?
Also, it charged using a USB to mini USB cable which connected to the side of the watch with a small rubber covered mini USB socket.  It’s only a matter of time when the little rubber cover breaks off and you have a socket open to the elements.

The Apps or functions on the cheaper eWatch were basically as all the others, walking steps, sleep patterns, Blood Pressure monitor, Running, calculator, even can take pictures via your phone and so on, and on.  But I personally found many of these to be clunky (is that a word?) and the App for the phone, I found very difficult to set up and/or pair with my old iPhone. Also the choice of watch faces just didn’t do it for me at all.

The Huawei Heath App I found synchronised fine with my watch and whilst it may not be super, duper, seems to manage the functions pretty well.  For me with the few functions I use (mostly Blood Pressure at my age) it is nothing short of brilliant.  By the way, the watch buzzes when I’ve been sitting too long doing nothing, and reminds me by way of a small graphic, to get off my butt and do some exercise!  And that’s a good thing.

There are obviously other function displays on this watch, but suffice to say there are as clear and as intuitive as the ones for time I’ve shown here – they are good and this watch, if Mr Trump is reading this, doesn’t seem to have any bearing on 5G and security – 😉

So, this is my one and only Smart Watch and probably the only one I’ll ever have – it does what I want just nicely, I can read it and I can understand it.  It works just dandy with my old iPhone 5.  I understand it gets notifications from my iPhone (I’ve seen them!) and it maybe can remotely operate my iPhone if I could figure that out too.  But as I’m not into messaging, or Facebook or Twitter of any of the many Social Media sites around – Hell I don’t even read texts?  This little watch is about as perfect for me as it can be.

I reckon I’ve made a pretty “Smart” choice and I’m happy.  Huawei!

Addendum –

I have some images of the App showing the Sleep Monitor – on my old iPhone 5.

Sleep monitor for 1 night. With comments and further analysis on scroll down.

Horizontal scroll gives Daily, weekly monthly data as required..

 

Awkward strap with tail UNDER and against the wrist?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did note, however, that the latest Apple Watch series 5 had the same awkward strap arrangement as the budget eWatch.  The fact that the tail of the strap has to be pushed under the existing strap, in other words, forced under the existing strap and against the wrist, is really, really awkward.  And when you consider any Smart Watch with Health functions has to be really snug against the wrist for those functions to operate correctly, it certainly doesn’t seem “Smart” to me!

If someone finds it easy, then good luck to them, but life’s too short for me to fiddle around with it every time I take it off then on after charging.

IWC Da Vinci SL

My first Post of 2020 features a neat IWC Da Vinci SL model.

IWC Da Vinci SL Automatic

Calibre 37524 based on the ETA 2892.A2 is a 21 jewel, high quality Automatic rotor mechanical movement.  Specifically adjusted for IWC to an accuracy of 0/+7 seconds per day.  It runs at 28,800 bph and has a 42 hour reserve, with Sapphire crystal, stainless Steel case and back, with a central sweep seconds hand and date window @3.
The crown is a screw down type and WR is 50m.  The case is approximately 37 mm in diameter and features articulated bar lugs, so is ideal for the smaller wrist and the strap (deployment) is a fine rubber material. (newer models have conventional 4 lug styles, but I prefer the neater bar arrangement).

IWC Da Vinci with signed deployment & articulated lug arrangement – year 2000

The silver dial features numerals and luminous makers and the hour and minute hands are also infilled with lume, though as with many dress watches, this luminosity is not like a diver’s model for example.  This particular model was produced from 1988 to 2002 and this one is from around 2000, so 20 years old and in perfect, as new, pristine condition.

The strap is an IWC original rubberised material with a stainless deployment action and signed buckle.

This is one of my more recent acquisitions, when recently in Lucerne in Switzerland.  A great place for watches of course, but also not so well known is the fact it is also a great source of high quality pre-owned models, complete with full servicing and guarantees.  Unlike auctions, where buyer beware is still the watchword.

Citizen Calibre 9000 Eco-Drive

An old chum passed away recently and his boy passed this on to me, purely as he knew I was into watches.  Being one of the younger set – he has a smart phone that I’m sure is surgically attached – and as he says – it’s got a clock on it – what more do you want?  Is it me, or am I getting too old? as I’m obviously not into this smart stuff at all.

It’s a very good condition Citizen Eco-Drive Minute Repeater with a Calibre 9000 movement.  Perpetual Calendar and all sort of other stuff that I’m sure my friend thought a good idea at the time, but like me I fancy, the novelty soon wore off.  His son told me it was at the back of a drawer and he couldn’t remember seeing his Father with it on.

Citizen Minute Repeater, Eco Drive, Calibre 9000

And that’s the problem with these multi-feature watches. You soon forget how it works, the instructions are long gone and so is the inclination to wear it.  The instructions of most Citizen Watches are online somewhere, but who bothers once the watch if off, it’s soon forgotten.  As I remember Bill, last time I saw him had a large easy to read Timex watch on his wrist and the complications left far behind.

Trouble is, I doubt I’ll wear it much myself as I suffer the same issues as my pal, fading eysight and memory, so I would definitely need the instructions. I’m afraid these days I like a watch that has the “quick glance ” feature, without standing for a while studying it, just to tell the time or the day or the date and whatever else it’s got.

So I’ve told my benefactor that I’ll probably move it on and if there’s any money received, we can have a drink on Bill.

God rest him.

My Camaro 7743

Thought I’d show off my old Heuer Camaro 7743, a 1960’s classic if there ever was. Totally as bought, with it’s original and completely unscratched and un-stretched stainless bracelet fitting to the odd sized 19 mm lugs.  Pleased about that, as so often these bracelets scratch up badly – this one however, is pristine.

Classic of the Sixties, Cushion cased Stainless Heuer Camaro 7743.

In fact the entire watch, which is the Camaro 30, 2 register chronometer version, with running seconds and 30 minute sub-dials is in pretty decent condition.  The stainless 37 mm diameter cushion case shows off it’s sunburst upper surface, which is still well detailed.  It is of course a manual wind model with the Cal Valjoux 7733 movement (one of the nicer movements out there even today) and a Plexiglass crystal.  The applied index markers with lumed batons are in perfect condition, as are the main luminescent infill hour and minute hands.  A nicely configured black seconds chrono hand completes the dial assembly.  The sub-dials are especially neat as they incorporate a circular background pattern. In short, this is a real classic watch dial set up and looks rather better balanced that many watches today.

Heuer Camaro 30 7743 classic timepiece from the sixties. Great on the wrist!

The pushers are the castellated version, so slightly later in production, which only lasted 4 years. The centre crown winder manages on full wind around 45 hours power reserve, which is very impressive.  The stainless steel screw back is plain with no markings, the model number being engraved on the case side between the lugs.

The solid cushion case, even at 37mm, which is perhaps considered small today, looks great on any wrist and sits so well, it is a delight to wear.

I have never removed the back, so the water resistance is unlikely to have been compromised and unless the watch has a movement problem, I’ll probably never break in to it, but I show here a stock image of a typical 7733 movement, though I fancy my one might look even better.

Valjoux 7733 Chrono movement – 
Image from Chrono24

It is a fact that there are not many of these models around in really good condition, which surprises me, though sometimes with Plexiglass crystals, that particular material never seems to stand the test of time.  Mine has not completely escaped glass damage either, as there are two particular scratches on the glass, but neither retract from the beauty of this watch.

I love it when a 50 year old watch gets my attention once again and springs to life from my display cabinet. This one is I think destined for my wrist for the rest of the year and long overdue.  It’s great to wear, great to look at and it functions today as well as it did all those years ago.  And it’s proved a decent investment too – not always the case when it comes to watches.

It is also the ONLY Heuer I own (a bit like my Rolex collection which comprises just 1 vintage model).  OK, I admit it – I’m picky!

Copper Bulova vintage

I’ve always liked copper dials and this vintage Bulova is no exception.  14ct Rolled Gold case with copper dial and a signed manual wind Calibre 8AE Bulova movement with fancy lugs is a very neat watch by any standards.  The leather beige Laco strap obviously is a replacement, but it suits the overall color of this ensemble and although has some wear is perfectly acceptable, looks good on the wrist and is comfortable to wear.

Bulova vintage copper dial

Nice to see a copper dial in such good condition. The watch overall is also in decent condition with very few scratches on the case and the back is a tight “snap” fit which is always nice.  The case is solid 14ct Rolled Gold and the movement winds and runs very smoothly, keeping excellent time.

I bought this at auction at a very keen hammer price of just £70.00, which has to be a bargain.  It begs the question why anyone would buy a watch at retail today.  Use common sense and there is no doubt you can still pick up great watches, with some great style (sadly lacking today) at sensible and realistic prices.

This watch is by no means modern, but the movement is working as good as it was when made.  It’s mechanical, so never needs a battery, it’s easy to reset the time for Summer time and so on, the date change is also easy at the half crown position for some of the months – in short it is very easy to live with.

In the same auction I also found a very nice 20 year old quartz mid size in absolute mint condition, at a fraction of it’s new price, though my Wife has snaffled it for herself.  I don’t blame her as it is one very smart looking watch.

So happy auction days recently, which I have to say is really unusual, especially as over this last year I have been banging on about how poor and how expensive auctions are becoming today.  And in general they are unfortunately and I’m sure will come back to bite those selling agents, with fewer successful sales.

But regardless of all that doom and gloom, for me this was a shot in the arm, though caution is the key word.  Today, I am VERY careful at auctions and I never get carried away, especially with the high auction costs, which increase every time you blink!

Buyer beware has never been a more true statement, but this week I’m happy.

Digital delights

There’s something about early digital watches that really attracts me, mostly because they can look so interesting.  Often full of complications and with amazing dial designs, which for me is possibly the most important aspect of these creations.  How to display the most relevant information or data to the user, without causing confusion – and still make the function of it, or the “user interface” as they say today, both easy to read, understand and also intuitive to use.

Not an easy task.

Here are a few that for me manage that task pretty well.

Early Citizen D060 Winsurfer, Timex (later) T49976 Expedition, Early Citizen D100 Promaster Windsurfer

And yes they are all quartz, battery powered and every so often you have to change the battery – it can be daunting, though once you get the hang of the user logic, these ones are actually easy to manage.  Sometimes there are printed highlight notes on the module reminding you to short out this or that, or push all buttons prior to setting up and so on, though that’s basically to clear memory ans rarely affects the basic time function.
Any time a battery needs changing – it’s – clear the desk workspace – take care and concentrate.  But seeing the display come to life again and then scrolling through the various functions and reminding yourself just what these modules can do, is always a pleasure.

Casio 931 – BGP-20 Multi-Planner,
Casio 928 DW-7200 Pentagraph Referee Timer

Casio vintage Alarm Chrono, had tough times but still good!

With a reasonable collection of digitals from the late 1970’s onwards, you can see the dial contrast improvements and the creation of more intuitive commands, to manage this or that function, though I’m still bowled over by some of the early ones and realize just how good they are.

I’m not going to go through the functions and so on, but rather just show here a small photo gallery of some of the ones I’ve collected over the years.  The dials say it all really and there are many more, many covering all sorts of sports and pastimes, but increasingly difficult to find these in really good condition.  They are not expensive and as a result tend to get worn “hard”, often not surviving.  Often as not, if the module goes, so does the watch – into the trash, which is a pity as they are a testament to the ingenuity of the first Quartz sports watch pioneers.

Many are Japan made and although there are many, many lookalike digitals around from China, none of them have the pedigree of these or indeed the quality of the Japanese modules and displays, which in their day, were truly science fiction, and particularly in the actual design.

Rare watches today as they represent a time of change and great innovation and ridiculously accurate for their time too, which is a real bonus.  Usually wherever I go when wearing one of these, people comment and mostly they are rather impressed.  Not bad after some 40+ years of plastic/resin molding, early display technology and large battery styles – I take my hat off to them – great!

Note – I have probably featured these somewhere in the web site at some time as a Post. For more information, just use search.

Is it just me?

I often trawl through the weird and wonderful watches that appear from time to time, where the old analog idea of hour and minute hand is sort of forgotten about.
And we have the sometimes preposterous methods for showing, telling or indicating the passage of time, which at first glance (and you’ll need a few glances I can tell you), it is nigh impossible to read the time.
You also get some rather ingenious ways too, but mostly the common denominator is the fact – it’s haystack time! and you’ve got to find the needle!  The needle being the time!

To the young it may be fashionable and I’m sure a topic of conversation (do the young actually converse face to face any more?), a talking point, as all your friends gather round to see if they can make out what time it is.  However to my old peepers, I would be better squinting at a kaleidoscope via an illegal substance overdose!

Now what time is it?

Xeric Trappist Monk Moonphase – and tells the time I think.

(1) Apparently the Trappist Monk here tells you the time with the window @6 showing the Hours and the planets or stars somehow showing the Minutes.  I haven’t managed to see it myself yet, but I’m sure if I had time, I might figure it out.  Love the colors and the sky design and all that – but . . . .
Seems ironic for me that the watch dial is really large and OK it looks intriguing, but the time telling bits are so small in comparison, it ends up with such a small set of indicators, you certainly can’t just glance at this to get the time.  If you can get it at all!

(2) The next guy is the Last Laugh Tattoo by Mr Jones,

LastLaughTattoo

Mr Jones – Last Laugh Tattoo

which though colorful and has lots of symbolism tattoo stuff, to me seems to be an exercise in how to hide, not show, the time.

Once you have your glasses on you can just make out the Hours on the top set of teeth and the Minutes on the lower set.
But again we have the repeating theme of a large dial area with only a tiny fraction used as the time indicator, so really good eyesight required for this one.

Always remember here, before designers get carried away, that the prerequisite for a watch is first and foremost – to tell the time.  So to my mind these first two have not really managed to meet the brief.

Now I’m all for trying to indicate time in a different way, just for a change if nothing else, but making the time indicators either too small or hidden in some way doesn’t seem the right way to go about it.

(3) Next is the Xeric Soloscope, which is a tricky one and it also requires very good eyesight indeed to read.  On this model and on the face of it, the Hours should be relatively easy to spot, being circled by that single hand BUT it’s only actually effective when directly over the Hour numeral as shown here (7).  When it’s between Hours, say 15 minutes past the hour – Ah, then it’s very tricky indeed!  Because the circle itself partly obscures the very thin index you’re trying to see and there’s no numeral to see.  Each line of the index denotes 5 minutes by the way.

Soloscope – a tricky read indeed.

So basically this is an overly fancy single hand watch – and I’ve had them before, bought for the novelty, but which unfortunately I’ve always found in practice soon wears off – and I’ve sold every one of them on to some other novelty seeker.
I suppose if you’re OK with a vague approximation of the time, when someone asks – you’re answer is “Oh it’s after 7 sometime” – which maybe sounds OK, but if the inquirer is catching a plane – not so clever.

(4) Now this one is a little different.  Not easy to see at first, but none of them are, but this one has purpose, as it caters for the visually impaired, so seeing it, is somewhat irrelevant.

Bradleys Classic Black Mesh

This is the Eone Bradley Classic Black Mesh with it’s inside, outside “silver balls” that you can feel with your fingers.  The outer one on the edge of the case, indicates the Hour and the inner one, the Minutes (assuming a 12 hour clock dial).  The dial is matte black and has raised markers and an strongly embossed diamond at 12, so it has a Braille touch style, which really does assist those with impaired vision.  Obviously there is no glass/crystal here as the fingers can feel the raised numeral markers and the ball on the dial.

So this is a model that has genuine purpose in reading time in a different and very useful manner.

(5) OK this is the last one is probably the best one for me, because it’s relatively readable and is an older idea seen on quite a few vintage watches.

This is the
Klokers Klok 01-D1 Yellow Matte Black Leather – which is an update of the old disc watch, where Hour, Minute and Seconds discs move round a large dial and pass underneath a vertical fixed pointer which highlights the time.

Just read down vertically from the top – this one looks to me to be about 10.20 and almost 30 seconds, so can give quite an accurate time.  Mind you to pick out the seconds it really has to be read.  Personally I’d prefer the numbers to be in a heavier font with more contrast – but that might just be me.

A quick glance, however, should give you the 10:20 bit, which is probably accurate enough for most of us.

Also this watch is a “mobile” – which is evident as the discs rotate, but unlike hands, these rotate anti-clockwise, which is a bit odd when first seen.  Also each disc rotates at a different speed!

So, OK, I accept it can be a little tricky at first to get your head round these odd movements, but once on board you suddenly get the picture.  It’s also a decent full dial size at 44 mm diameter, which helps.

Personally this one has an attraction for me.  And maybe I like it because it shows time actually passing, which can be quite fascinating.  And this is because, as I said, the disks constantly revolve and at different speeds – as I say – fascinating.

Disc watches truly involve you in the process of time itself, and if you like mobiles it’s very much cheaper than a Tourbillon!

The only downside I’ve found with the odd disc watch I’ve owned is their timekeeping. The discs have to revolve smoothly and without touching an adjacent disk and depending on the quality of manufacture, play is sometimes unavoidable, so accuracy can suffer a little.
But if it’s a quartz model it has at least a good basis to start with, the mechanics are minimal and should still be accurate enough for most of us – just check it every fortnight, if the mechanics are not quite to the same standard.

So there we are, just a selection of unconventional watch dials, guaranteed to confuse the elderly   😉

Of course I jest.  These are unusual watches and inject a bit of interest and sometimes humor into what can be a tedious procession of clocks and watches that can be quite boring at times.

And as I haven’t had a disc watch for many years, I could be tempted by the Klok – just for fun.

And it’s also sobering that if you can see time actually moving – you’re still here!