Still a Classic?

I suppose it’s difficult for a watch company to keep introducing and improving models, especially as some of them are considered classics now and so it is with the Citizen Promaster Navihawk.  This is a model I’ve always liked and admired.   A true analog digital combi watch that became a classic was as easy to use as it was to read, despite the complications and all contained in a compact case –  I wonder if this is still true today . . . .

The clearest of them all!

My Navihawk on the right beside my Attesa and Breitling!

Well mostly not true I have to say and in too many cases, though there ARE some model versions that still have that classic Navihawk, Skyhawk look that are not too big, as this seems to be the way of things these days.   So many models are really too large in my opinion and often unfortunately coupled with to much confusing “dial clutter” in that they are quite difficult to read.  It is a fact that in the human brain and optical system there is a  correlation between seeing, understanding, computing and reacting that is both remarkably fast and intuitive.   A pilot for example has to be able to glance at his instruments and immediately absorb the data and act accordingly.   With some of these watch models, that first glance would simply not pick up the data required without some deliberate scrutiny – and even then can be tricky.

Navihawk A-T Classic   JY8035-04E

Navihawk A-T Classic
JY8035-04E – becoming cluttered?

The Navihawk A-T Classic  JY8035-04E is one that perhaps is already in that grey area of confusing presentation and is one I wouldn’t want to own for that very reason.   To much stuff in the dial coupled with smaller digital “negative” displays – surely not the best idea!   It’s also 48mm wide which is close to the limits, especially when you consider my old model in the image here is only 41mm diameter and not much more lug to lug.

Fortunately though there are many versions around as I say and it seems I can still pick up a Hawk version that will just about satisfy my requirements.   However I do accept that some of the newer models have added functionality in comparison to my old Navihawk, such as Radio Control and Eco-Drive and may through necessity perhaps be slightly larger, but they have to be within reason.

Citizen Navihawk JN0004-51E

Citizen Navihawk JN0004-51E

The Navihawk JN0004-51E is about the closest to my old model and with the same specification – that is no Radio Control and not Eco-Drive, but everything else and even the dimensions are very similar.   However not much point in getting one as it’s more or less the same – however it IS nice to see that it is still available which does show it’s class.

Citizen AT8020-03L Blue Angels with strap

Citizen AT8020-03L Blue Angels with strap

More adventurous is the AT8020-03L Blue Angels model (2013 I think) which is updated in respect of having Radio Control and Eco-Drive but surprisingly only fractionally larger than my old model at 43mm x 12.3mm and importantly only 49.2mm lug to lug.    The arrangement of the sub dials fortunately is such that the “aircraft instrument” surrounds don’t muddle the data, which they can do with more than 2 x sub dials, so from a clutter point of view, whilst just about on the limit is in reality just about OK (not great but OK).   In fact this is a really nice model and some thought has definitely gone into this, certainly with the multi function retro sub dial @6 which also shows the Day of the Week on it’s right side and the Radio Signal data on the left. Note no digital display on this model, yet the analog presentation manages pretty well, albeit at the clutter limit.

Citizen Titanium Skylark JY8000-50E

Citizen Titanium Skylark JY8000-50E

This model also rises above the usual with it’s subtle blue/yellow color combination – the ion plated bezel for instance has a yellow sunk edge which matches both the dial pointers and the back of the strap.   The strap incidentally is 23mm, a little unusual will be tricky to replace when it’s time comes.

My last and rather attractive models is the Promaster Titanium JY8000-50E which is a little way off the traditional Navihawk look and more like my Attesa, which I got some years ago when it first came out via Seiya in Japan.  Function wise it has everything and great clarity too even using the same dial format, though with cleaner dial surrounds and broad hour and minute hands – it is a class act (47mm x 14mm) – BUT this is not what I’m looking for here and my Attesa is too similar to even consider.

So my quest for an upgrade to my old Navihawk has to be the blue strap AT8020-03L Blue Angels which is daily beater material all day long – so I’ll be looking for one I’m sure.  Though the rotating calculation bezel is something of an extravagance as I can’t think when I last used one of those – but what the heck!

I’ll maybe see what prices I can get one for . . . . . just for interest . . . . . . . Soon!   😉

Solid performer – Enforcer

I love it when someone tells me they’ve just seen a powerhouse watch – so I check it out – And this is what I found –

The Invicta 13681 Enforcer!

The Invicta 13681 Enforcer!

The Invicta 13681 Reserve Corduba Enforcer.

This is an Automatic chronograph in Titanium and a great Kevlar strap.   Now this is what I call – eh – solid!   The round 48mm wide x 19mm deep Titanium case hides a Swiss 25 jewel ETA Valjoux 7750 Automatic Chronograph movement.   The outer titanium unidirectional bezel has a textured edge for grip and a luminous Tritnite Diver scale in orange.   Assisted lever pushers on the right side and a large well figured large screw down crown complete the exterior, apart from the Helium release valve which is almost concealed on the left side.

The dial is very black and features large Tritnite numerals @12, 4 and 8 with dot markers on the hour with chronograph sub dials plus a full Day and Date aperture @3.  A centre sweep orange tipped second hand compliments the large broad hour and minute hands which are each coated with Tritnite luminous compound.   The crystal has what’s called Flame Fusion treatment which is a high heat and pressure application plus Aluminum Oxide creating the impact resistance of mineral and scratch resistance of sapphire – apparently . . .

The strap is Kevlar and is 10″ long x 24mm wide and the Water Resistance is a huge 1000m or 100 ATM, which doesn’t surprise me at all . . . and this solid timepiece comes with a 5 year Manufacturer’s Warranty.

Had to Post it simply as I love the look of it – though personally it’s not really for me as I doubt I have the strength to wear it.  Seriously I quite like this model as it’s remarkable easy to read and the large date and day window is an added bonus not seen too often on 1000m watches.

However a case thickness of 19mm will really make a mess of my tuxedo and shirt cuff . .  . well James Bond does it so why shouldn’t I?  😉

On a critical note I would get rid of the superfluous writing around the dial – Corduba Series and 1000 Meters are simply distracting from a decent dial.   Also the Invicta Reserve above the Day and Date window could also be smaller.   Clean that up and it would look much better in my opinion.

Dive to be seen!

Another Casio G Shock “in your face” style is this professional Divers model (not camouflage this time!) the GWFT1030E-9 30th Anniversary FROGMAN ISO certified 200mm Titanium.

Casio G Shock 3oth Anniversary FROGMAN Titanium

Casio G Shock 3oth Anniversary FROGMAN Titanium

This is a dive specialist model which features ISO Certified 200M Water Resistance and a titanium case wrapped in tough yellow colored resin, screw-lock case back and Tough Solar power, so no battery issues.

As usual with many of the Casio models this has a very comprehensive feature set – Auto back light, Tide Moon Graphs, Data memory up to 10 logs and World Time for 48 cities, 1/100 sec Stopwatch, Countdown Timer etc.  Unusually this case is an asymmetric design and the offset case and larger than usual band allows much better fit against the skin or over a wetsuit, especially in swimming situations.

Multi-band Radio Control is also included, so is very much a world traveler style watch, with dive times and surface intervals measurement by use of the multi-timers within the digital function set.

I suppose being a bit of a purist still, I tend to think of a divers watch as one that has broad luminous hands and absolute ease of clarity underwater in poor light situations and I sometimes wonder about any digital only display in these circumstances.   Casio however have addressed that issue certainly in part by the Full Auto light feature, which means that by turning your wrist towards you, the dial should light up – hence the value of Solar power!   But is that as clear as bright analogue hands?  For me the jury’s out on that one, but also it might be I’m too old fashioned and set in my ways and this is the way forward and just brilliant . . .
The G Shock toughness however I do accept with Casio’s G Shock testing clearly showing just how good these are in any given and specified circumstance and with that in mind here is the Water Test as done by Casio –

One thing is certain is that even at most depths with this vibrant yellow case color on your wrist, you should be easily spotted by your fellow divers and that’s always a good thing.

Note – whilst this is a big watch at 58.3mm x 52.8mm x 18.0mm it’s only 115g in weight –  I have to say I’m really impressed with it.   I like the asymmetric case and the whole look of the watch – it’s a winner for me – and I don’t even dive!  😉

G Shock Camo – the watch to be seen in

When G Shock bring out new models it’s difficult to keep tabs on them.   Often the differences between what’s on offer now and last week is tricky to pin down and there are currently 192 different styles out there – so not surprising you may miss the odd one or two.

Casio GD120CM-5 Camouflage

Casio GD120CM-5 Camouflage

 

Here’s one I just spotted  – what I call the urban camo G or more correctly the Casio GD120CM-5, which is as you can see (hopefully) is an exercise in camouflage if there ever was!   But hidden beneath the foliage patterns there lurks a pretty well specified model.

Shock Resistant, 200M Water Resistant, Auto LED Backlight (Super Illuminator), Multi-time (4 different cities) and World Time with 31 time zones (48 cities + UTC), city code display, daylight saving on/off, home time city/world time city swapping.
5 Independent Alarms (one-time or daily) plus an Hourly Time Signal with Flash alert( Flasher with buzzer that sounds for alarms, hourly time signal).
A 1/100 second stopwatch measuring capacity: 23:59’59.99″   Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times Countdown timer Measuring unit: 1/10 second with a Countdown range of 24 hours.
A Full Auto Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099), 12/24 Hour Formats.
Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month and a CR2025 battery that lasts around 7 years.
The Module is the 3427 and the dimensions are 55mm x 51.2mm x 17.4mm, so just a tad large for me personally even though it only weighs 72g.

Absolutely THE watch to be seen in this year – or not – I mean with all this camouflage, who’ll even notice you’re wearing it!

Fashion and Design 2

Another small selection of the best design and fashion influenced models around, though the first one, the Raymond Weil is actually a few years old now –

Rayment Weil 7730-STC65021

Raymond Weil 7730-STC65021

Interesting silver dial with it’s sapphire anti-reflective coated crystal, with a Day and multi-date aperture ‘3.  Blue sub-dial hands and the center sweep seconds hand set off a neat color scheme and a well balanced dial layout.  The case is stainless steel and 42mm x 14mm with a calfskin 20mm wide strap.  The movement is automatic and Water Resistance is 10atm or 100m.

The second choice is from the Parisian jewellery house Chaumet is the Dandy dress watch Big Date with it’s interesting chocolate brown sun-ray dial.

The Chaumet "Dandy"

The Chaumet “Dandy”

The blue small seconds hand is complimented by the blue stitched brown strap and the brown shade duplicated by a matching cabochon on the crown.   As a dress watch it is in the same mold as the Briston I reviewed a few weeks ago, though a difference price range obviously, but it has that modern man about town look that seems to be favored by today’s young business set.

The third model is quite different and reflects the retro look of a 1940’s Observers watch – this is the Bell & Ross WWII Régulateur Heritage.

Bell & Ross WWII Régulateur Heritage

Bell & Ross WWII Régulateur Heritage

Unusual dial layout and I love the large center minute hand which for me is so reminiscent of a stopwatch, which of course it basically once was.

Sometimes called a “scalloped” case or “pastry cutter” it is so shaped to make it easier for a gloved hand as is the large onion crown (though for me this is on the wrong side) unless I wore it on the right wrist.  The case is in stainless steel with a smart gunmetal finish.

As noted the hand layout is a little unusual as it is a “regulator” style where the sub-dial @6 shows the hours and the main sweep hand, the minutes.  Seconds is the sub-dial @12.

I also particularly like the articulated lug arrangement that makes for easier wearing from large to small wrists.

However in regards this selection the design of the first is quite classic and on the second, modern and clean.  The third Bell & Ross is less about fashion and more about the influence of the original observers watch, but I would never get used to wearing it on the right wrist and so that nice onion crown is wasted.   But maybe that’s just me.

Something different (1)

Always on the lookout for “something different” and this week it’s the turn of two rather standout models from Android.

The first one is the rather unique “Rotator” 50 Auto AD739BKR, which as you see wears it’s rotor on the outside and pretty stunning it is too.   Every turn of the wrist sets the brightly red colored Rotor spinning around the gray dial and the broad Hour and Minute hands are infilled with Superluminova.

Android Rotator 50 Automatic AD739BKR

Android Rotator 50 Automatic AD739BKR

The large 50mm diameter watch case is of IP coated brushed stainless steel with a Japanese SII NH35 automatic 24 jewel movement.  The crystal is hardened mineral and screw down crown means a 10ATM 100m Water resistance.

Android Impetus Double Escapement

Android Impetus Double Escapement

The second model from Android is just about as stunning as the first choice, which is the “Impetus” Double escapement Automatic AD546AS, which being part skeleton has a similar “mobile” feature which is quite eye catching.   Smaller case this time at 41mm diameter (mid size) with mineral crystal and a genuine Lizard strap with push/pull clasp buckle band.   This model features the Shanghai SHS Automatic 21600, 40 jewel movement.

No doubt that Android produce some interesting models and I particularly like the ones that feature “movement” which certainly gives added interest to what can often be a dull business of telling the time.   The gold colored escapement wheels once again give this model a real “visual” something different, which lifts it above the normal.

Band Genuine Lizard Movement Shanghai SHS-05 automatic 21600 vph 40 jewels movement Crystal Mineral Crown Push/Pull Clasp Buckle Band Measurements 9.5″L x 22mm Case Measurements 41mm Water Resistance Function – See more at: http://www.android-usa.com/product-p/

Smart or not so smart?

Well, later this year we are going to be inundated with these peculiar little gadgets called Smart Watches, though to me it seems almost more like a surrealistic exercise in technology for technologies sake.   A test of just what else we can miniaturize and stick on the wrist.Collage
Now Smart Phones I understand. I mean these were initially small portable phones using a cell and tower transmitter system, that allowed you the freedom NOT to be tied to the office land line.  This then expanded to take link capabilities with Bluetooth then via WiFi to allow integration with other devices and communication with the Internet – and OK all useful in a progressive sort of way.

But now to insist that what we need is another smaller device – a Smart Watch – to attach to your wrist, that will allow you to communicate to your Cell/Smart Phone that’s in your pocket? just a short reach away and probably reached with the same the wrist is attached to – frankly seems bizzarre.

That this “Smart Watch” tries so hard to partly duplicate the features of the Smart Phone and generally failing miserably in that regard, as the main functionality is fully contained IN the Smart Phone already, which begs the question – Why try?

Now if the Smart Phone was tethered to your house – OK, this is fine – but Hey! we’ve done that already – it’s called the Smart nee Cell Phone!

Hellooo!  your phone is in your pocket!

I have to suspect we’re all getting carried away and just a tad silly, possibly unreal – and let’s be honest that’s what we’ve got to get back to – reality.   We don’t need it!   Or more accurately I don’t need it – and I’m a registered, paid up gadget freak!

Now if it this so called Smart Watch took the place of the Smart Phone, completely, then Ooo..K, it’s just possible though debatable it might be handier than the phone in your pocket – and there are some around now that apparently can do just that.

Google Glass

Google Glass

Though another option might be the spectacles or glasses idea (Google) on your face (IF you want to wear the thing), though again it would have to supersede the SmartPhone completely – now that too might be a viable option in future years (maybe next year by the speed things are moving!).

I just have the feeling that whatever we do over the immediate few months and year is disappointingly going to be a series of stop gaps – and being a cynical sort of guy these days, maybe more a transient retail incentive, to cough up for the development costs of all this new technology, most of which will be out of date before you can say –

“Virtual Communication Implant with virtual HUD capabilities” or VCI(HUD) – because that’s what’s coming next – Oh Yes!

OK maybe not this year, but perhaps in 3 to 5  . . . .  No watch or cell phone required, but rather a virtual projection system in front of your eyes, surgically implanted just above the ear . . .

Wow! – and I’m thinking here it might make my golf easier too with all the course and hole data right there!   With HUD Head Up Display info in 3D projection!

Talk about having your head in the clouds!

I think I’ll give it a miss for now and anyway I’ve got to make a call – now where IS that phone?