This week I’m wearing an unusual model from Fossil – the Black Fossil Machine Chronograph Alarm FS4682. And no it’s not a military watch though it does look like one, as it has that black dark stealthy look about it that says it’s maybe not a dress watch – or is it? The feature that attracted me was actually the Analogue/Digital display, which for those regular readers should know by now is a format that I particularly like.
It’s one of those watches that draws comment if seen by friends and I have to admit I like wearing it.
One of the unusual and fascinating aspects of this model is it’s large digital display, which features a “permanent” green luminescent Matrix display in addition to analogue hands. The display actually reminds me of my Breitling Aerospace in that it has a luminescence that tends to pick up or reflect any ambient light and is visible in most day situations.
I had some concerns at the time that 45 mm diameter could be too large for me, but owing to it’s relatively small depth at 13mm, it actually fits my 170mm wrist very well indeed. It sits flat against the wrist and easily slips under a shirt cuff and it’s very comfortable with the extremely flexible rubber strap and flush fitting black stainless buckle. The case is black Ion Plated solid Stainless Steel with a wide matte black heavily knurled bezel and a flat non-reflective crystal. The black case body (only noticeable at the sides) has a gentle gloss though the lugs are a brushed matte finish.
I already mentioned the strap and whilst it looks like “steel bracelet links” it’s actually made of black rubber, the inner surface of which, against the wrist, is actually smooth and very comfortable with a conventional buckle which is rather neatly figured. It has a full screw back in mirror finish stainless steel with the Fossil logo, model number and a quoted Water Resistance of 5 atm or 50m.
On each side of the case are 4 x black textured push buttons that operate the digital functions and a large knurled center crown adjusts the analogue hands. Interesting to note the buttons are set slightly straight compared to the case shape and as a consequence are much easier to operate than most.
The watch face features conventional analogue hour and minute hands, which are quoted I recall by Fossil as “hi visibility” orange tipped and an orange center seconds hand. Now whilst these do show very well against the matte dial black background in good light, they are not quite so good in low light. The hour baton markers are silver colored.
Personally I would have preferred a white color for both the hour and minute hands and hour markers – from my experience so far, it would be clearer, certainly in low light. Note there are no luminous features on this watch at all – though this is not uncommon on ana/digi models.
The large digital Matrix display shows Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Day and Date and as independent of the analogue settings can be used as a 2nd Time zone if preferred. The display normally shows a slight luminescent green color and is quite clear to read in most daylight situations. It can also be back lit (EL) using the top left button B and changes to a blue color (see image below) for a few seconds for low light and night time use.
For me I might prefer it to be just a little brighter, but I wear glasses and am getting older – so perhaps this is more my problem!
The standard digital functions on this model are scrolled through using button A (lower left) and in order of – Time/Day/Date, Alarm and Stopwatch, then Time/calendar setting.
As the Date seems to set correctly for odd months it obviously is an auto-calendar, though I don’t know the final date (perhaps 2099?). There is also a PM indicator on 12 hour format, but using button C (upper right) you can toggle either 12/24 hour time.
The Alarm function can be set for Alarm, Chime or both. The alarm sounds a double beep, though as these days I can’t hear it so good, same for the hourly Chime, so I have to leave opinion to others – My wife always hears it!
The stopwatch has standard functions with stop/split (you can measure multiple split times) and reset, works great. This is is a digital stopwatch only – the hands are not involved.
As said when in normal Time/Day/Date view the button A (lower left) scrolls in sequence to Alarm and Stopwatch, then continues to Time setting and the Seconds flash. The setting sequence is Seconds, Hour, Minute, Month, Date and weekday. If you adjust with button C (upper right) it then progresses to Hours and so on – pretty normal stuff. It’s quite logical and reasonably intuitive once you’ve tried it a few times. I would note that the standard Instruction booklet that’s included does NOT actually cover this model, so there are no Digital settings instructions. You have to download a supplementary set for it – called Ana-Digi QFL133SB. I provide a link HERE.
This trend for NOT including specific model instructions with the watch I find quite annoying as not everyone has internet access.
Overall though this is a really smart looking watch with a surprisingly good digital display in reasonable light. It’s slim enough to fit most wrist sizes and very OK as a dress watch. If you like the “military” look then it’s OK for that too, with the IP black stainless steel case and black rubber strap (note- the strap is 24mm wide with quick release bars at lugs). The build quality too is pretty good, dial, hands and case and the Matrix display a bit of a revelation and it’s available at a reasonable cost.
Any downsides? –
Well for me maybe the loss of analog clarity in low light which could be better. Also the lack of a model specific instructions with the watch is disappointing. Also note this model has 3 batteries! and it would be useful to have instructions as to which powers what, to enable changing when required.
Overall: – an excellent watch for the money and I’m very pleased with it.
I’m not too familiar with the Fossil name, though not just a fashion company it seems. They have quite a history of watch acquisition and now manufacture in their own right apparently. They both import and manufacture in Switzerland and China and distribute in USA, Germany and Asia. In 2012 they bought the well known company Skagen and in 2013 started an upscale Swiss range – Fossil Twist which they both design and make. Some other brands are associated with them such as Adidas.
My last image shows it with the Timex Expedition just as a comparison. Two totally different displays, yet both looking good.
Note 1 – You can see a range of Fossil watches available in the UK – HERE
Note 2 – This model comes with 3 batteries. As shown in the image – the 1st (recessed) is for the analog time, the 2nd (bottom) is the Digital movement and the 3rd to the left is for the EL back light. Remember the analog and digital are independent of each other (hence the Dual Time function).
Note 3 – This model comes with a standard 2 years Warranty. However more importantly there is also a Lifetime (limited) Warranty on the movement, hands and dial and if sent for repairs here in the UK, Fossil will require a copy of the proof of purchase or stamped and dated warranty.
Addendum – unfortunately the Ana/Digi model FS4682 is no longer available, which is a pity as it is one of the best Fossil models I’ve come across in a long time.
Ref. SO 050815