Timex Ironman Transit

Odd name for a watch I know and not being in the know these days, unfathomable to me, but those folks at Timex marketing have come up with it and it sounds good. . . . For me it differentiates it a little from the Expedition series, one of which I already own.  And as my Expedition is one of my very favorite watches, from anybody, I thought that a look at this one in this “Transit” guise would be worth a look.

The Timex Ironman Transit

Here they’ve removed the tough looking macho “shock” exterior and replaced it with the running, fitness orientated modern man look that seems to be the thing today (the only thing I run now is a bath and this website!).  I have to admit I like it’s clean looks and easy to read dial with large digits on a very clear display, something that I feel Timex leads the way over all others.  The contrast is good and the displayed information gives the Day, the Date and the Year, plus the time – what more do you need on a quick glance.

And that’s something you can do with this watch – a quick glance is all you need and bingo – no squinting at it, trying to make out poor digits against a poor background.  This is for me the way to go in digital displays.  And once the daylight fades you can use the Timex patented Indiglo dial lighting system, which I have to admit is brilliant on their digital watches (not so good on their analog ones though – see my views at the foot of this Post).

I also like the operation of this Indiglo function.  If in a dark place during the day for example, a press of the center colored button and the dial lights up for 3 seconds.  But later in the day you can activate the system fully by pressing the center Indiglo button for 4 seconds and what this means is that pressing any button on the watch will light the dial.  So no fumbling around looking for that one button – any of ’em will do – the dial light again will illuminate for 3 seconds at a time.  The Indiglo system will stay activated (as a system) for the next 8 hours or until you switch it off (4 seconds press of the center button again).

I quite like this degree of control, which my old Expedition one lacks (or I haven’t noticed it!)  😦

Functions on the watch are useful, such as a Countdown Timer and a Stopwatch (sports) with a 10 lap memory, a few Alarms and the watch also has a 100 m Water Resistance which is pretty good.  Not a diving watch, but it’s OK to shower with it or swim in the local pool or even on the beach.  If beach swimming just remember the salt water doesn’t do anything much good (apart from aching feet), so a rinse in fresh water is a good idea afterwards.

A little chunky perhaps (added to by the under body fast wrap strap), but at 40mm very comfortable.

The watch dimensions are just 40 mm diameter which is a little neater than some of the older models and it comes with one of those very useful “Fast Wrap” straps.  When I first saw these I didn’t know whether I’d like them, but I do.  They are quick and comfortable and usually better than a strap and buckle arrangement, unless they fray, which has been known.

So this is a practical watch from Timex and it’s easy to wear, very easy to see, day or night.  Has enough useful features and functions on it, a decent Water Resistance and at a price of under £50 has to be a really good daily beater in any language.

Note –

I mentioned the Indiglo system of dial illumination and I said it was great on this model and most other Timex digital dial watches.  But as I said I’ve always found it to be a great disappointment on any of the non-digital analog models. 

The reason is that the standard analog watch tends to have hour and minute hands, either colored steel , skeletal or a combination of both PLUS a luminous looking tip or pointer.  The numerals and markers are similar and if it is a Date watch with Date window – forget trying to read the Date at night.

Indiglo lights up the background dial surface in a sort of fluorescent green and shows everything on the dial as black silhouette and I have to say, not that easy to see. The hands, numerals and markers are simply not at a decent enough contrast to this greenish background (makes my eyes go funny) and forget about any so called luminous tips to the hands – these are also dark.
And the date is virtually black and unreadable.

On this watch, which is digital, it is brilliant, as is my Expedition, which is a joy to use at night.  So a case of technology where it’s needed basically and my maxim is simple – for Digital display Indiglo is OK, but for analog display, good luminous coating or Tritium is the best.

Just my opinion and you take it or leave it, but one thing I can’t abide – is not being able to read the time day or night – and I’ve had a few models over the years that manage that feat.  I don’t have them now!

But as to the Ironman Transit – it has to be great value and you don’t look as it you’re in the Army . . . . You’ve just joined the fitness people!

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Nightspeed by Swatch

Each year I tend to have a look around the offerings by the Swatch Group, but concentrating not on their high end portfolio, but rather on the Swatch in-house Brand .  This is the one started life back in 1989 with the introduction of 12 new models.  The start of a range of watches from Switzerland, produced to counter the mass influx of cheap quartz watches from Asia.  Termed Swatch to infer “second watch” at a low competitive price point, a Swiss movement and a true “Made in Switzerland” logo.  It was a successful ploy and they have produced millions of successfully selling watches ever since.

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The Swatch Nightspeed blue black

Swatch introduce new models often and you can usually guarantee good quality, a good movement and an affordable price.  So this year I looked to see what would take my fancy and be my model for this year (it might not be a 2018 build, but one I maybe missed in the past).

This time I’ve gone for a black plastic cased, quartz powered model, called the Nightspeed.  I find it to be a very attractive dark toned blue dial within a black case with a black silicon buckle strap. Fitting to a conventional spring bar fitting on the case, this means you can swap out the strap for any standard one, if you prefer.  In the event I like this strap as it’s very flexible, has a nice mat black finish and corresponding buckle.

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Quick change battery hatch – with battery type inscribed on back.

The dial numerals are in white with two different font sizes, the 12, 4 and 8 being larger. There are three sub-dials with running seconds at 6, and the two at 2 and 10 function as stop-watch counters.  There is also a date window at 6 with white against black and most of the dial features are luminous.  There is a black stop-watch seconds centre sweep hand and the semi skeleton hour and minute hands have white tipped pointers.
There is a finely marked dial bezel featuring a Km/h marker ring and there are two black pushers on the right, either side of the centre crown for timing functions and setting the watch.

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Light weight plastic body – easy on the wrist.  Note the date window @6.

Whilst the color scheme is predominantly black and blue, the white features within the dial make this an easy watch to read.  Overall it is both understated and yet very attractive.

The dimensions are 42 mm diameter and just over 13 mm depth including the slightly domed crystal, so a nicely sized watch and being plastic cased is very light on the wrist.
According to the data on the Seller’s website, the Water Resistance is quoted as 30m, though with the Swatch quick change battery “hatch” as opposed to a full screw back, I’d be cautious it testing how good that may be!

One neat point to note is the battery type (394) is inscribed along-side the hatch, which is very useful.

The Swatch 4 jewel Quartz movements, I’ve found and certainly the ones I own are both accurate and reliable . . . . which when put together with the general attributes of this particular model, I am certain will be a great model to own and at around £80 represents a good buy.
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Just a note – if you are looking for a watch to match colors with clothing, it is a fact that generally the Swatch range give you a great choice, as they do offer an extraordinary number of models in all sorts of color options.  Just a thought for Christmas. . . .

Novelty watches

With the increasing use of smartphones, a watch doesn’t seem to be an item the young have much time for (excuse the pun) – everything they need or seem to need is on the phone.  In fact when I was visiting a sports centre recently I doubt if I saw a proper watch on a wrist of any of the kids there – but they were instead virtually surgically attached to their smartphones and I wondered if they were unlucky enough to have an injured thumb – well I don’t know how they’d survive the day.  I mean if they’re not texting, like, they gotta be dead right?

Emoticon watch

Now I did see a few wrist accessories of some kind, but very few were watches as such, most being simple bracelets and wrist decoration of some kind.  Actually quite a few were strings, leather straps and thin ropes – quite ethnic really.

However on closer inspection I did find out that a few, a very few had watches after all.  Not that timekeeping was the core function of wearing them, because they were the simplest of quartz watches, costing perhaps at most a £10 note maybe.  These were basically for novelty value or perhaps promotional items and most with printed pictures on the dial.

Simple round cases and as said, a printed dial usually with hour, minute and seconds hand (I was surprised they had seconds ).  Usually the printed image or sign was something catchy – in other words what I call ‘novelty

Cat watch in red (also blue and a few other colors)

wrist wear’, that co-incidentally told the time, though I did find one that was made of wood with fixed painted hands – so time was not of the essence there!

Now this is not the preserve of the young and I too have a novelty watch, I wear sometimes just for fun.

Mine is a Wallace & Gromit watch, from the short animated films fame. Why? well I just love the films and I’ve even got a bow tie to match!  Silly I know but at my age, at the other end of the spectrum, I can get away with it.

So here’s a couple of these novelty watches I like the look of – purely as decorative items, but these ones do tell the time.

I particularly like the Mergic “Cat” watch, basically as it’s such a clear dial and with the high color straps really looks pretty cool – I understand that’s what the young set want – to look cool I mean.

As the norm mostly all these types of watch are produced in huge quantities in China, but what’s new – even the mainstream watches if not made completely in China tend to dominate the supply of quartz movements today, whatever the Brand of watch.

My Wallace & Gromit watch even comes in it’s own bespoke aluminium hinged box, made by WESCO of China for the BBC who license it and this model (there are several) is commemorating the animated film called “A Close Shave”.  It features a leather strap with the Wallace & Gromit text embossed on it, so this is original – I particularly like the blue stitching – hey this is a class act!  😉

Hours, minutes and seconds – what more is needed?

The cost? well around £10-£12, though I’ve seen one or two at auction for silly prices upwards of £40!  And no they are NOT worth that kind of money at all – not for simple novelty – but they are fun to wear if you like them.

Edgemere by Martenero

Sometimes once in a while you come across a watch model that says something new.  Not often I know and increasingly difficult to find today in my experience, but the Martenero brand of New York has managed this feat nicely.

Available in 4 colour combinations this is a nice bright’ clean looking watch.  Inspired they say from the Nautical theme of a marine chronometer (and who am I to say otherwise) it certainly has a look that I like.

Alternative colorway in Blue/White with red tipped minute hand.

The watch case is made from good quality 316L Stainless Steel and overall has such clean lines it looks great on the wrist. The case is also Water Resistant to 50M and features a decent Screw Down crown of the right proportions.

A sub seconds dial between 4 and 5 adds a nice balance to the layout and is very clear to read.

Power wise this is driven by a Miyota mechanical Automatic Calibre 8245 with 21,600 Beats/Hr, a 40 hour Power reserve and internally fitted with 21 jewels.  This is a really good quality modern Auto and a perfect match for the watch style.

The side profile is neat with Screw Down crown.

I also like the fact it is a sensible sized watch at 40 mm diameter, just 11.8 mm thick, with a 20 mm strap, which is really nice to see.

The Sapphire crystal covers a rather stylish dial layout with a raised hour ring and the textured interior gives good clarity and depth to the overall layout.

The hands give great contrast and the different colored hand tips is quite novel.

Clean stainless back with compass layout – super simple.

Cost is around the $500 mark and interestingly they ship this watch Post Free (don’t forget that destination customs will apply, but that’s the buyer’s concern).  I quite like this approach – it’s simple and you know exactly where you are with it.

Another alternative color – gives you lots of buying choice – and they all look good.

So as I say, at last a neat, new clean looking model from the USA that manages to catch my eye at last.  So many models today seem to be blah, blah – more of the same.  The Martenero I’m pleased to say is not one of them – it is fresh and rather exciting.  From a Brand that appeared as recently as 2014 I think they have a winner in the Edgemere AND it has a 2 year Warranty.

They have a few other styles/models and you can see these on their web site at – https://martenero.com/collections, though for me the Edgemere has the edge (sorry!) and is a model that I might well decide to get myself.

I like it a lot – what more can I say . . . . . .

MeisterSinger Neo Q

After my European travels a month or so ago, I have got myself another one of those wonderful ONE Handed watches for which I seem to have a love/hate relationship. I say this as I had a similar model to this some years ago, but got rid of it for the same reason I bought it – that One handed design.  So what’s changed?

This is the MeisterSinger model Neo Q,

MeisterSinger Neo Q One Handed model

which again is One handed but this one is quartz powered, so low maintenance (stick it on the wrist and forget). However the main difference from my old mechanical Perigraph model is that it is NOT Perigraph.
And because of this fact the dial is much simplified and for me that is the whole point of single hand.  It IS easier to read.  And to assist in this aspect it has new typography too with much clearer lettering and now sports a round Date window @6 which suits the overall look.

Note the undercut case – allows perfect strap fitting.

Neat, stainless steel, undercut case, suede leather strap.

This model is stainless steel cased and is a neat 36 mm diameter, which being honest is a perfect size for the average wrist.  It is beautifully finished, sleek and smooth with a suede leather buckle strap. My model here is the black dial with white hands and numerals – it was a toss up between the normal white with black notifications, but I chose this version.

It IS however a delight to read.  It is very easy to so do and very clear.  Each hour is divided into quarter, half and three quarters and in between these into 5 minute segments – and it is surprisingly accurate to read.  Not having a second hand means that unlike most quartz models there is no jerky ticking of the second hand – instead the Hour hand (no minute hand either) very slowly and majestically sweeps around the hours with a rather stylish grace that I find very agreeable.

Note on the image the case top is a larger diameter than the underside.  This is because the case profile is undercut, allowing perfect fitting of the straight cut strap.  Also the strap features a quick release fitting spring-bar.

This model is not luminous which is an omission in my opinion, but basically this is a dress watch, hence the lowly 3 Bar water resistance, but certainly adequate for the intended purpose.

Overall a very nice watch to own – I like it.

On the wrist – just about perfect.

Ladies Sorna Jump watch

Here’s a neat Ladies Sorna model from the 1970’s – the Sorna Jump.  Another Watch Company long gone and not too much known of them.  Swiss of course and originally from Grenchen, they used to manufacture watches under the brand names of Sorna, Sorina, Sornana and a few others with similar sounding names.  From what I can find out they disappeared in 1994, though a new Sorna in Germany today also make Trias watches.  Whether they bought the name I could not say.

Sorna ladies “Jump” watch – described as “digital” though not as we know it today.

Suffice to say, this particular model was born at the same time as the Hudsons as an attempt to stem the flow of cheaper Quartz watches from the East.  By using mechanical movements as before they hoped to tempt the buyer with a digital look but using conventional components.  Once again using Ebauche movements with hour and minute disc as opposed to hands, the hour either “jumped” into view at the last minute of the hour ended or slowly slid into view, depending on the mechanism employed.  Thus providing a “digital” watch, though not as we would know it today.

Note the high contrast numerals – easy to see on a small watch.

I like this particular model as it has the Hour highlighted in white against black.  This makes it stand out better than most especially as it is a smaller sized watch.  Note this is a reasonable manual wind movement too with 17 jewels.  Many other “jump” style watches often featured simple 1 jewel movements – so this is quite a decent watch.

Neat Sorna signed Swiss 17 jewel movement in perfect as new condition.

I have another high gloss, high colour leather strap for this watch and as my Wife is as fickle as I am regarding straps and bracelets, I won’t know until I change this bracelet to see which one will get her approval.  I can see her choosing the alternative matching blue conventional leather buckle strap – but it would be dangerous to second guess her!

Well I was right NOT to second guess, so I’ll not even show the strap –  suffice to say she picked the bracelet!

The Hudson Instalite (by Itraco)

A few of these NOS (new old stock) models are appearing today and for a collector like me are almost a certain buy.  Watches like this from the 1970’s are slap bang in the middle of the worst period for Swiss watches as the cheap, accurate Quartz revolution from Asia hit them hard.  Often the smaller Company or suppliers could move and adapt to not only compete with this new threat but importantly still manage to utilize their existing mechanical movements.

The Hudson Instalite (by Itraco) – 17 jewel pin lever “Jump” watch.

Hence the birth of the mechanical “digital”, Digit Wheel or “Jump” watch, which managed the appearance of a Quartz digital watch, but with a more or less conventional mechanical movement.

Some were true “Jump” designs where the Hour digit only moved or “jumped” forward at the last second of the Minute Counter digit.  Others sort of gradually slid into position as the changing of the Hour approached, though these often caused a little confusion when not fully changed, being sort of stuck in no-man’s land between hours. This model falls into this category – at the hour and 55 seconds, it’s sometimes tricky to tell which hour it actually is!

Quite a few different Brands appeared at this time such as Gigandet, Damas, Lanco, Lasser and others.

The Hudson Instalite “Jump” hour – actually minimalist in construction, but very 1970’s.

The model featured here was sold for retail by Hudson for the US market, though the Brand was actually manufactured by Itraco of Zurich (Itraco, Samba & Hudson) and features the Ebauches Bettlach EB8461 17 jewel pin lever mechanical wheel digit movement with a pretty decent 40hr reserve .

The Hudson Watch Co. was registered by Antoine Castelberg of Chaux-de-Fonds and New York in 1884.  Other names were marketed via Hudson in the early 1970’s, such as Adelphi, Carlton, Gisa, Globe, J Godat Geneve and others.  In fact the list of “lost” names and Brands is extensive and to be certain of who made what, or who sold what and under what name and where and at that time is a near impossible task.

Suffice to say, this model is the Hudson logo’d Instalite model, which I consider one of the better ones.  I have also seen the same watch with “Fashion-Time” and “Secory” and apart from slight cosmetic changes are obviously the same model.  I understand that one of those variations did alter the movement to give that true “jump” hour and I have a feeling the movement was also an EB movement but calibre 8481 series.

The battery access for the “Instalite” accessed via this left sliding hatch. Access to the movement requires the back removed. The “slots” are simply grips to assist in sliding.

The term “Instalite” is in reference to the battery powered dial light which illuminates the dial digits rather well in this case and operated via the push button @1 above the central crown.  The battery is easily accessible via the dark colored plastic sliding rear cover, which is separate from the movement, which itself can be seen only with the entire 2 piece metal “snap” back removed.
Various movements from Ebauches Bettlach were used in this model depending on the year, but all are similar in operation.  It’s fair to say Bettlach E after amalgamating many of the independent Swiss makers as a defence against the Quartz revolution, were focused more on the lower end.  Historically Ebauches Bettlach SA was formed in 1926 and ended in 1980 as it finally merged into the Swatch Group under ETA, which aligned pretty much with Bettlach’s core aim from it’s inception. ( for details see under – https://www.watch-wiki.net/index.php?title=Ebauches_SA ).

Fits the wrist pretty well and very readable too. I have fitted a complimentary leather strap.

I have a few of these “jump” models, as for me they represent an important yet too easily forgotten milestone in the Swiss watch history – and many are rather unique and cleverly innovative for the time.  They really provided a stopgap rescue for much of the Industry at a time where the Swiss Watch industry as a whole was under serious threat.

I hope the images show to best advantage, these intriguing watches which by the way are a delight to wear.  The size is ideal and they sit well on the wrist, even an average one such as mine (6.5″).
This watch came with an after market steel mesh bracelet, but if you read this site regularly you will know I just love changing straps and bracelets to see the effect.  It can sometimes make or break the wear-ability and often is surprising, which is half the fun!  As shown I have fitted a brown leather strap which softens the look and for me is more comfortable.