The Powerhouse Format

Since my trawl around for G-Shock alternatives I’ve found a few unfamiliar watches that have impressed me greatly.  And not because of the alternative concept, but just because these are different and maybe even special.  As wrist statements they’re good as they are built solid and look great – and not usually guilty of being a “macho” type, I try not to swagger when wearing any one of them!

I’ll feature just one and I was so impressed I bought the company – eh?  . . .well not quite, but I did buy one of their best models – the (St Moritz) Momentum Format 4  – I call it the powerhouse!  For those in the know some apt descriptions come to mind – such as the T90, the Type 90 (Kyu-maru), AMX-56 Leclerc, the T57, the Soviet IS-3, the Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte and finally the Challenger 2.

OK maybe I’m a bit over the top here – and for those not in the know, these are all main battle tanks of various Countries.  But you get my drift – the Format 4 is a VERY solid piece of work! and built like one.

St Moritz Momentum Format 4 - a classic tough watch

St Moritz designed Momentum Format 4 – a classic tough watch

Made of high grade matte Titanium this watch certainly has presence, with it’s uni-directional wide deep figured bezel with luminous dot @0, plus a very definite 60 click function, large well figured screw down crown and shaped pushers.  Surprisingly the dimensions are just 43mm x 14.2mm and the whole ensemble weighs only 90gms.  The rubber strap as always with these Diver orientated models has the usual “wave” construction silicon/rubber, which as I’ve said before might be ideal for added grip over a neoprene wet suit, but against your wrist can be somewhat aggressive.  I’m resolving that issue later this week when a deployment silicon 22mm strap I’m waiting for arrives. (note – my Apeks Diver 200 model has similar “waves, but which are flat on the under side – very sensible).

Orange Monster, Format 4 and the Pulsar Race - every one a powerhouse!

Orange Monster, Format 4 and the Pulsar Race – every one a powerhouse!

The size comparison above shows the territory we’re in and it shows well here.  Actually three watch are types shown – The Monster is “analogue”, the Pulsar is “digital” and the Format (and why I picked it as one of my alternatives to the G-Shocks) is “Analogue/Digital” AND has a very comprehensive digital function set.

On first looks the dial has a very black background (called a blackout dial) within which there are two digital display windows.   There are numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 with indices in between.   An Hour and Minute hand plus a centre Seconds hand in orange plus a white coated end.   The luminous aspect of each of these elements is provided by Super-Luminova coatings and according to Momentum, guarantees up to 8 hours legibility in low light and darkness.   The heat tempered mineral glass is very scratch resistant and the analogue movement is Swiss quartz with LC digital display.

Digital matrix displays show well - Note the Format4 can be programmed out.

Format 4 Digital matrix displays show well – and can be programmed OFF.

The digital function of this model is very comprehensive, featuring Local Time mode, World Time mode (59 cities + my city), Alarm mode (5 + scheduled), Timer mode and Chronograph mode (10 laps + memory).   An auto and manual Power Save setting is also incorporated where you can turn OFF the digital display at a preset time or immediately with any key reinstatement.  The dial has an EL back light which illuminates the matrix digits on my one for 4 seconds (not 3 as instructions) which is ideal and excellent in use.
The watch has a battery life (CR2025 Lithium I believe)) of approximately 2 years and the Water Resistance is 20ATM or 200m.

Great dial, clear, uncluttered and excellent digital display

Great dial, clear, uncluttered and excellent digital display

Note – some of the descriptions I’ve seen for this watch are inaccurate in some details.  Possibly as the previous version has been  substantially upgraded by the introduction of the Format 4 and their sales info not updated to reflect the changes.  The improved Water Resistance rating for example from 100m to 200m and the much improved digital display, which is excellent.

Exposure to dull daylight via window, then shown in low light curtained room

Exposure to dull daylight via window, then shown in low light curtained room

Shown with digital back light lit, just after the previous image.

Shown with digital back light lit, just after the previous image.

The above images taken after the watch was exposed to the window (natural light on a dull day), then into a darkened room with curtains drawn.   The second image taken with difficulty (I needed three hands) as the EL back light is only on for a few seconds, so a case of press the pusher then try and compose the picture and take the photograph.  Not that easy!   So forgive my shaky hand, but it gives some impression.   The digital EL back light in total darkness is excellent and as above, can show any of the digital functions including as here, the Day, the Date and the Time.   Analogue display night vision with Super-luminova is OK, though not quite as good as my Citizen, Seiko or Apeks 200.  Whilst it doesn’t appear to take such a bright initial charge as the former, it is still readable in the dark after a good 8 hours – I tried it last night and it’s fine. (to be picky reading analogue time would be easier if the hands were full length solid infill).

So overall I’m really pleased with this model as it manages everything I could possibly need or want from an ana-digi watch.  In addition it’s built like the proverbial brick outhouse, but conversely is really lightweight and also a good size.   Anyway on this watch, which I’m sure is a keeper, the only change will be to the strap (can’t snorkel these day, so a wetsuit and I will never meet) and I hope to have a suitable one soon, that’s a bit kinder to my old wrist . . .

A great watch at an affordable price and considering the functions and performance – great value.

As said when I started this Post, I felt the strap had to be changed and here is the straight forward alternative.   A silicon deployment style that fits great and pulls the watch in nice and close to the wrist with perfect comfort.  No Diver’s “waves” to contend with  – and it makes all the difference.  Funny how it is reminiscent of my old Nivada Grenchen Depthmaster (I wore this back in 1961-73) – see images below.

Format 4 with my preferred silicon deployment strap.

Format 4 with my preferred silicon deployment strap.

Nivada Grenchen Depthmaster - 1000ft

Nivada Grenchen Depthmaster – 1000ft (courtesy of watchuseek)

Not quite in the same league and many differences of course – but it just has that old Nivada look.  The above image is similar to my old one, which like an idiot I sold on some years ago to a collector, which I wasn’t at the time, but having given up diving and so on I was unlikely to don a wetsuit again anyway.  Oh how I wished I’d kept it now!
However – back to the new strap images of the Format 4 – much better and neater without the Divers style strap and much, much more comfortable.

New silicon strap fits watch flat to wrist.

New silicon strap fits watch flat to wrist. Makes the watch seem smaller.

New silicon deployment strap fits perfectly

New silicon deployment strap fits perfectly


And finally the back of the watch showing the screw back fitting with the 20ATM mark and which also illustrates the very neat silicon deployment strap fitting (straight) which is such an improvement in my opinion.

Format 4 screw back (note 20ATM)

Format 4 screw back (note 20ATM)

An interesting point about the replacement strap – it makes the watch actually look smaller on the wrist (as noted on one of the images above).  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – never judge a watch by it’s supplied strap – is it OK for you?  And if it isn’t – check out the alternatives – you might just find that perfect combination.

I did.


You may be used to swapping out your old battery on most watches and it’s usually quite easy to manage.  However be CAREFUL when changing this 2025 Battery.
Unscrew the watch back and you will be faced with what appears to be a quite solid frame inside, which is secured to the movement assembly.  Leave it well alone and DO NOT try to remove it.  Stuck on the top surface you will see a sticker, which says “do not remove this sticker”. Well you can (in fact you have to, to get at the battery).  BUT take care.
There are 3 points to watch here.  On the edge of the sticker there are two small opposing cut outs, which allow 2 x metal connectors to connect to the watch back, when it’s in place. The 3rd point to note is, if you look very carefully, there is a small gold coloured spring that sticks up through a small hole in the sticker.

Once you have spotted these, then you can carefully peel off the sticker, noting it’s position relative to the connections and the springOnce removed, the battery is there in front of you.  A small battery cradle holds the battery secure – simply release one side (there is a sprung clip affair – which is easy to release) – once it pops/hinges up (leave the other side attached), you will be able to slip the 2025 battery out.

Slip in the replacement battery, push down the battery cage until it clicks into place, then carefully replace the sticker in the same position you found it – taking care to make sure the two metal connections are free of the sticker and the little gold spring protrudes from and through the small hole in the sticker.  If OK, then simple screw on the watch back once again.  You will should now see that everything has come to life – second hand is moving and the digital display is live.
Now you just have to set the analogue time and digitals to the correct time, date, month etc etc etc and you’re home free.

A good tip if you’re one of those folk that find it difficult to remember the sequence of things.  Once the back is removed, take a photo with your phone – a nice close up of the exposed movement and interior of the watch.  You will then see quite clearly, the 2 x metal connections at opposite edges of the sticker (it’s cut away so it doesn’t cover them) and also the gold spring that pokes up through the sticker.  Once you’ve done the battery change as above, you can check your work against your photo -they should be the same – JOB DONE!

Categories: Watch reviews

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