Military choices (2)

You see that’s the trouble with deciding that “this” is the watch for you – or maybe “that’s” the watch…!  It’s all about choices and maybe finding a watch you’d never seen before – then your fixed ideas can go right out the window!

Take this one for example –

Praetorian Swiss chrono

A Praetorian “Centurian”.  A 44mm diameter black PVD coated stainless cased Swiss quartz Ronda-Startech 5040B chrono movement, with screw down crown and case back and 100m water resistance.  The matching double locking bracelet is also PVD coated stainless and 22mm wide.

Great looking watch and with my favourite Swiss mb-mirotec Tritium illumination again giving super night vision.  12 marker is orange and the 11 others green as are the hour, minute and second hands.

Unusual too in this style of watch is the large double window date @12 making for very clear readability.  And yes this is a chrono so has two extra pushers on the side and yes I know I said in my previous post that I didn’t need these – well – they seem to fit rather well on this model and are actually quite unobtrusive.  What can I say?

The clear mineral glass is scratch resistant and the watch has a case diameter without crown of 44mm and only 12mm depth, which is pretty neat for a chrono such as this.

The chronograph functions are the central stop seconds hand, “3” second, “6” 1/10th second, “9” minute/hours after 30 seconds.


Tritium illuminated by Swiss Made mb-mirotec

Magic of computer – Nato strap fitted

Image left –

Shows the tritium light system in action in a night shot
Image right

Shows magic of computers as I fit a Nato strap in place of the bracelet just to see how it will look.

So a new find for me and a watch I have never encountered before – and I like it!
In fact I like everything about it.

The dial has a nice clear and clean look to it, especially considering the superb double date window (which is a real plus I have to say) – it’s a good gents size without being too thick and cumbersome as so many often are.
Then it has that wonderful night vision capability with the Tritium light source, which I kid you not you really have to experience in comparison with the alternative “paint coated” systems – then to cap it all is the price – it is NOT very expensive.

So yet another one to add to my consideration list – which is growing by the minute – yet again!

Military choices (1)

Whilst I have quite a number of military watches, it is as you collect over the years that you see what you really want in a watch as opposed to thinking  about what you might want.  There is a difference!

For military I already have the multi-bezel 12 hour and 24 hour registers, the oversize crown guards and odd coloured dials, chronos and the like.   So looking for something simpler but not simplistic (I already have both Nato and Mil spec watches) is actually not as simple as it sounds.
I would prefer no bezel (or if one must it should be relatively unobtrusive) and I like a single crown.  It also must be strap changeable or in other words I don’t want a rubber/textile “special” affair that only fits that watch.  And I must be able to see it at night.

Here’s one that comes to mind –

Swiss military Watch "Millicurie PVD"

This is the Swiss Military Watch company’s “Millicurie ” pvd coated stainless model.  Complete with my favourite H3 technology light source lume – which is simply unbeatable.
The hands and numerals are Tritium tubes – orange for the 12 and green for the numerals and the hour & minute hands.
Slightly odd this one in that the hand tips also have Super-Luminova infills – though I can’t quite see the benefit of this when the hands themselves are Tritium tubed.
Note the image taken in the dark – whilst the Tritium hands and numerals glow brightly, the tips are pretty faint in comparison.  What this does show however is the superiority of the self illuminating Tritium system as opposed to the ambient light charged Luminova coating.  And this is especially noticeable if like me you wear your watch under your sleeves most of the day – the luminova will never see any light – and therefore will not glow too well.

The rest of the watch features are pretty good – a Swiss Ronda Quartz movement, red centre seconds and date@3.  Nice clear black face, no distracting bezels, 100m water resistance with double O ringed crown.  It’s also a nice size at a medium 40mm dia and 13mm depth, so not a monster.  A 22mm strap  completes the ensemble which is a nice “mans’ size and looks good on the wrist.

A 2 year guarantee on the watch and a 10 year guarantee on the “unchanged optical readability” of the H3 Trigalite illumination system.

All in all not a bad offering at all and it’s not expensive at around €180 (Euros) or $240.

H3 illumination

Image 2
Shows the H3 Tritium light source lume used on this modelNote the Orange horizontal marker @12 makes for excellent readability.


So any negatives?

Well the date maybe could be larger or clearer and the Luminova hand tips a bit of a waste of time, though in fairness the arrow heads are quite clear during the day against the black face so OK I’ll accept that.

But the positives outweight the negatives by a long way – so it’s definitely under consideration.

Note – Check out “Watch of the week” above in the tabbed header.

AstroAvia R7 (R70SL) updated 27th Feb 2011

Seems to me that looking over my watch collection “black dials box” I appear to have quite a few pilot and military style watches – and here is another one that’s due some wrist time.

AstroAvia Alarm Chronograph

This model comes from the value for money German manufacturer “AstroAvia” – the R70SL – there are quite a few models which are similar in general appearance though this is one of their alarm models.

Good solidly built watch with a reasonable quality and a well made case in satin finish stainless 316L steel.  Dimensions wise it is 40mm diameter and 11mm height.  Lug to lug is approx’ 47mm.  The case back is a plain solid screw fit with an internal rubber seal and water resistant to 30m.  The crystal is hardened mineral glass.
Interestingly it is supplied with both a stainless steel bracelet AND a padded leather strap which is a useful idea.  And this is quite well thought out as the lug strap fixing pins have alternate positions on the lugs to accommodate the two different systems and you certainly don’t see that very often!  However being particular about straps and so on I replaced the strap with a Birkenstock Alligator pattern Calf leather and white stitching – as the image above.

Supplied with stainless bracelet AND a leather strap!

This model is  Quartz and is powered by the very reliable Japanese Miyota cal OS8O chronograph movement and features 1/20sec timing – an alarm – and  an analogue date window @3.  Really quite comprehensive for a watch of this price.

The chronograph function displays a 12 hr dial, a 59 min sub-dial and a 59 sec counter and a 1/20 sec sub-dial indicator each sporting a red colored hand.
The dial face is matt black with white markers and numerals and the luminosity is handled by green “Superluminova” coatings.  I have to suppose that this “lube paint” is probably the best there is around and it should compliment this clear dial design – though for proper night use “Tritium” would have been my choice, but that’s just a personal thing.

The Alarm feature is simply set unlike some watches firstly by setting the alarm pointer – by pulling out the crown to the first position and turning clockwise to move the pointer to the desired time, then push the crown back in.  Next using the small crown control on the opposite side of the watch – pull it out to set the alarm ON – pretty simple.  Note there is a small alarm pointer indicator on the dial face to confirm the alarm status.  I had a concern the alarm crown control might get pushed back in with movement of the wrist – though I have to confess its never happened yet, so no worries after all. The Alarm indicator hand is red colored with luminous infill at the pointer end which is very clear.
The alarm sounds for 15 seconds, stops for 2 min 45 secs then sounds again for 15 secs etc. which it does several times after that.

Good clear dial considering the functions available.

The date adjusts like most watches as indeed do the hands setting and so on, so pretty conventional.
The battery is a SR927W or equivalent Renata 399 and there’s also another feature of the Miyota movement where if after a battery replacement or if the hands for any reason get out of synch with each other, there is a chronograph reset function which resets and zeros the hands.

So all in all a pretty good and reliable watch at a very affordable price – around 180 Euros or so and you can see them by using Google search and typing in AstroAvia for the latest data.  In fact the whole range of AstroAvia watches represent good value and certainly worth having a look at the range available.

So any down sides?

Well not really – you get a great watch for the money – a good alarm that’s easy to set – a working 1/20 sec chronograph, a watch that keeps pretty good time and with a very reliable Miyota movement.   A spare strap and a bracelet included it’s hard to beat.