Simple Date

Often with unisex watches that are not physically large, one of the problems if showing a date window is they are so small and therefore difficult to read.

Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent from Germany.  Double Date clarity.

Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent from Germany. Double Date clarity.

I found this model Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent 492801 Quartz watch recently that solves the problem neatly with the addition of a proper Double Date window set in it’s plain color dial.

Numerals and indices are omitted for clarity and the good contrasting red colored hour and minutes hands are complimented by the centre seconds hand with it’s black dot pointer.
The double date aperture is @12 and is designed as the main feature of the watch.
The crystal is mineral glass, the case in stainless steel and the wrist band is in complimentary red quality leather.  Dimensions of the watch are neat at 34.3 mm wide, 9.5 mm depth and 45.5 mm lug to lug and overall the watch has a superb modern clean line look, perfect for day or dress wear.

Another plus is the fact the watch is not expensive at around 139 Euros.

In my opinion this is a great example of good design and function.  Clear to read, elegant looks and deceptively simple in form, it’s one of those models that’s just perfect for those little occasions – not flash, not minimalistic silly – but rather elegant, modern and rather refined.

Casio elegance +

To some the concept of “Casio and elegance” may seem to be a contradiction in terms, yet they do have a model which to my mind just about manages to fit the phrase.  This is the Casio LCW-M170TD-1AER (the usual clunky code model number), part of the Lineage series and here it does describe a rather neatly specified and yes “elegant” model.

Casio Lineage LCW-M170TD-1AER complication dress watch

Casio Lineage LCW-M170TD-1AER complication dress watch

In dress style form it is surprisingly well specified as it is both Solar powered, Radio Controlled (multi band 6) with a World Time* function and it’s Ana/Digi (with a center seconds hand) and with the emphasis on analog in looks, with just a neat secondary digital and on this model a positive display in the lower segment.  A round solid Titanium light weight (80 gms) case with excellent dimensions of just 39.5 mm diameter and very slim at just 9.2 mm height, this is a sleek watch considering the complications.

It also has a 5 bar Water Resistance (50 m) so can be viewed as a dress watch that doesn’t mind getting it’s feet wet.  The crystal unusually for Casio is in synthetic Sapphire, so scratches are virtually eliminated and the pushbutton bracelet is also made of solid Titanium incorporating a twin push catch.

The slight downside for me is that Casio’s Module 5161 is not the most up to date, noticeable in the *World Time function by the fact that only 29 City Time Zones are represented (the latest models feature some 40 zones) and omits Newfoundland, Canada (sorry guys) which has a UTC offset of -3.5 hrs – it won’t indicate that particular zone automatically.  It has a 1/100 sec to 1 hr Stop Watch with elapsed time, split time and 5 independent Alarms, Auto calendar and an LED back light.  The battery used is the CTL920 and there is a battery level indicator.

Solid Titanium bracelet with twin push catch

Solid Titanium bracelet with twin push catch

The analog hands are luminous and the dial background is black though I note it can be slightly reflective at times, but that said it doesn’t seem to be an issue from the reports and reviews I’ve seen to date.  I already noted that this version features a positive digital display and indeed of the 4 variations offered I believe it is the only one, the others being negative displays.  I personally find it easier to see positive displays than the negative ones.

I have to think this is maybe a slight departure for a Casio complication model, as they’ve managed to refrain from having it shrouded in Shock protection, nor is it oversize.  And it does prove to me at last that they can easily squeeze the technology into a sensible standard sized dress style watch.

This model also features a standard spring bar fitting arrangement for the bracelet, so if you fancy a change it’s simple to fit a standard strap should you prefer one.  And that IS unusual for Casio today.

So for those looking for a surprisingly well specified watch with all the mod cons complication wise you could wish for and within a dress watch style, this could be the one for you.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing perhaps – and if you don’t like macho or flash, I think you’ll find this model rather elegant with it’s dress style looks – but PLUS a surprising set of functions hidden within.

Elegance + – could be a good name for it instead of that big code?

NoteNot intended as a true travel watch it is not possible to swap the analog time and the digital time (for another time zone for example).  However it is quite easy if changing time zones, to change your home digital time to the destination time – the analog hands will move to the new “home” time, as they are programmed to indicate Home time by default.

The best gets better! (updated April 1st 2016)

As you probably know if you read my web site, one of my favorite models is my Citizen AT, which I’ve had for several years now (2010).  I love it because I travel a great deal and it is easily one of the simplest of watches to use for different time zones.  Simply pull out the crown, turn the second hand to the time zone required and push in again – job done.  All you have to know is where you’re going!

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS - about as good as it gets. . .

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS – about as good as it gets. . .

Now with my new purchase I don’t even need to know that!  Citizen’s new GPS model takes care of that with the advent of new and superior GPS technology, which supersedes even Radio Control which I naively thought was the ultimate!  But my old AT of course was dependent on Radio Transmitter location, so conceivably could be out of contact.   😦

GPS offers so much more, yet the earlier GPS enabled Citizen watches didn’t really do it for me, as they had an angular case shape left over from the Attesa series, which if small to average wrist size, they never quite fitted as snugly as I wanted.  For me that all important lug to lug size being seemed a little bit too long and at the wrong angle and so over hung the wrist.

This latest model CC3005-85E however is a different ball game altogether.  It goes back to the more conventional and in my view a sensible case shape, which fits my wrist just fine and although cased is 44 mm x 13 mm, has that neater lug to lug dimension and angle.

Now where my older AT model was great, this new GPS model is exceptional and it really comes into its own in all respects.   Using the new F150 movement, it has an increased accuracy out of the box and even without GPS or Radio Control is within +/- 5 seconds per month, which is really, really good.   Add in the GPS function and with one press, hold and and release of the lower right button (A) until the seconds hand moves to rx/time.  It then synchronizes with satellite (confirms by moving to OK) then corrects to the exact local time in all around 3 seconds.  This is a lot quicker than the ground based Radio Control models I’m used to and indeed any other GPS model I’ve seen.
Update – (Note – owing to the accuracy of the F150 movement (+/- 5 secs) this watch doesn’t really require an auto time check every day – but if more than 6 days since the last time check, it will automatically seek & correct the Time via satellite between 6am and 6pm).

When traveling it can now locate (previous models did not have this feature) which out of the 40 time zones you are in by a longer press, hold and release (4 secs) of the lower right button (A) – the second hand this time will point to rx/gps and calibrate the Zone and Time using 4 satellites within just 3 minutes.  As before if successful it will quickly flick to OK and then the Zone and Time are corrected.

So no need to do much of anything again except on occasion push a button – and that means ease of use (so often the enemy of complication watches) which is quite amazing.  You can of course quickly set a Zone & Time without using GPS at all by simply pulling out the crown to Pos 1, turning to the Time Zone/City required and push the crown in, just like my old AT model.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

I like the fact this model not only calibrates and shows the Time, Day and the Date, each of which is shown on the dial, but displays it in analog on a simple and clear, easy to read dial.  I am really pleased that Citizen have achieved what I have long been an advocate of – a simple “display v complication” ratio – and this model manages this to perfection.  The Solar cell internal charging system is also nothing short of spectacular (updated yet again) and can operate for a day after just 3 minutes in the sun.  I find this extraordinary and coupled with the fact that, once fully charged, if you chuck it in a drawer, it will manage via its Power Save function to keep ticking away internally for up to 7 years!

Even without Power Save activated it will run happily for around 2 years.

Now I have to ask myself if I actually need all this technology, as being perfectly honest my current AT model does just fine, but HEY! this is tech done right!  And I collect watches, so it was a no brainer that I was going to get it – wasn’t it!

Practically I like the fact it has decent luminous hands and baton markers and the dial is uncluttered, very clean, clear and very easy to read.

There is also a Battery Charge indicator around the right segment of the sub dial, marked with 5 lines.  Battery Charge shows what is in the tank so to speak, the level of battery charge – press and release the upper right button (B) and the sub-dial pointer indicates the level of charge – towards the top line is the best (see image) and will give up to 24 months.

The Power Generation indicator means this – if you want to ensure the watch is charging it needs a position where it can get to light.  Outside sun is the best of course as it will charge quicker. So to check you have a good position for charging – press and release the upper right button (B) again and this time note the analog hands.  These will close together forming a large pointer which will indicate on the main dial (note the 6 lines around the dial from 12 to 6 ) if the watch is getting enough light to charge.  The 6 o’clock position is the best (see image).  Note if below 5 o’clock then it’s better to find somewhere with more light to efficiently charge the battery.

I’ve found with mine that even outside on a white cloud dull day the Power Generation pointer is indicating MAX, so it’s getting enough light to charge properly.  That’s gratifying as where I live to see the sun is a cause for celebration!

I tend to leave most of my solar powered watches on a window ledge in the house and they all have full charge indicated – it always ensures my watches are at their best.  Note the watches cannot overcharge in normal light situations. (they could of course overheat if left on a dashboard in direct sun).  Also I would note that if you wear the watch as your daily beater and you usually have bare arms then the watch will more than likely always have full charge.  If however you wear the watch under a sleeve, then you should make a point of locating it somewhere there is good light, at least for a a few hours every month.  But you can easily see the Battery state at any time so you can make your own regime that works for you.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and power Generation.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and Power Generation.

Nice deployment bracelet - which I might change to silicon . . . but we'll see . .

High quality bracelet with standard spring-bars (24mm) – so if a strap preferred can easily be changed.

Sapphire glass is used so few scratches will ever bother you and with its Perpetual Calendar until February 28th 2100 should also see me out (if not it means either I’m unique in my own right, or my watch has got a problem, and I know which one is likely to fail!).

And perhaps best of all, for me, is the fact that this wonderful technology comes in a familiar and, considering the technology, an understated style and just as unobtrusive as my Solar AT model.  Citizen have definitely got this one right – improved and upgraded technology in almost every department and managed it all in a sensible case size.  To then display that technology without an F16 cockpit dial set up is also to be applauded.

I love it and I love this one too.

There are competitors out there of course not least Seiko, but I’ve had a look at them and so far they don’t do it for me!  They all tend to look a bit cluttered and look complicated and I have the impression the technology seems to be shoehorned in to the case.  And on the wrist they are just not that super easy to read.

But Citizen with this model have very successfully merged technology and simplicity together in a very sleek and dare I say conventional watch – complicated yes, high tech yes, but super simple to use.

Now for me that’s real progress.

A friend has a Seiko GPS model though I prefer the Citizen.  Not sure of the model but from what I’ve seen this Citizen has a few plus points over it.
The Citizen has a much clearer and uncluttered dial in comparison, it also has a smaller case, a much longer charge life up to 24 months (7 years with Power Save) and it is a far more accurate watch movement (Seiko is +/- 15 secs – and Citizen +/- 5 secs), so it’s really not essential to time check every day (why they’ve not provided an auto time check function).   The main points for me are the simple uncluttered dial, the size and the ease of use of the Citizen.
However as always in his fast moving field, no doubt the next model of either watch will improve, so it’s up to personal choice at the end of the day, but I certainly love this one.

Note – The Time check indicator if selected will indicate probably NO if you haven’t time checked for 6 days – this is just a reminder to Time check every so often, though with a non GPS accuracy of +/- 5 secs I suggest it hardly matters.  I’ll probably do a Time Check/Adjust monthly maybe . . . .

Updated 12th March 2016 – new images shown here with silicon replacement deployment strap (24mm width)

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap

Citizen cc3005-85E with 24 mm wide silicon deployment strap

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Very clean case back - standard spring-bar bracelet or strap fittings

Very clean case back – standard spring-bar bracelet or strap fittings

Note Whilst a GPS watch uses Satellite signals this doesn’t mean it doesn’t use Radio signals, because it does of course.  Each of the main 24 satellites around the earth carries an Atomic Clock and the GPS watch picks up the radio signals from these.  It should also be noted that the satellite clock is compensated and a small correction applied.  The space based clock,s owing to the fact they run in a reduced gravity, actually run slightly fast by around a net 38 microseconds a day compared to ground based clocks.   Not that this should worry anyone – as long as the computer chips within the clock works of course!

Anyway  I see on my office clock it’s about 10 at the moment so a cup of tea is required . . . . . .   🙂

And the time is – approximately . . .

With all the hype about accuracy in time, it seems that there’s always a place for those who aren’t that worried about it.  And for those laid back people there is the nice series of models from Botta and indeed I had one myself – I had the Botta 24, but I sold it on as I found I wasn’t wearing it.  A sure sign that a watch is or isn’t for me is that very fact – do I wear it?  And in the case of the Botta 24, I didn’t.  Not because it was a poor watch, far from it, but rather being a Single Handed dial system, I found, after the initial fascination, that it was just too tiresome to read.  I found myself straining to tell the time and that’s just NOT for me.  So in the end I sold it on to someone who could manage to live with it.

The Botta ONE HANDED Nova Carbon

The Botta SINGLE HANDED Nova Carbon

So it was with some interest that I spotted the latest Botta Nova Carbon automatic – which is yet again a Single Handed watch, but with a clear difference.  This time there are no tiny figured sub-scales on the dial (I needed glasses to see them on the Botta 24), but rather a neat plain dial divided up into 12 simple (hour) segments.  The only indicator – the Hour hand is just visible as a bright green tip which slowly progresses around the dial, through each hour segment and indicates the time accordingly.  The center of the dial is black printed on the sapphire crystal.  When reading the time, the eye of the wearer is cleverly pulled attention wise into that one hour segment, where the hand is pointing and it is surprisingly easy to approximate the time.

Interesting 3 part stainless steel Botta back, with sapphire crystal

Interesting 3 part stainless steel Botta back, with sapphire crystal.  Note crown access.

The image here shows the time to be approximately 1:40, though the wearer does have to know whether it’s day or night and fortunately I can still just about manage that!

The watch is powered by the Swiss 2824-2 automatic caliber movement, a most reliable movement, which includes an Incabloc anti-shock plus 25 ruby bearings.  I note that Botta hand adjust every movement over a few days, prior to retail to maximize accuracy.

A dual domed Sapphire crystal includes anti-reflection coatings and with a complimentary exhibition back also in Sapphire.  Fully screwed stainless steel 3 part case with dimensions of 44 mm x 8.8 mm is lightweight at just 75 g, means this is a very neat watch which sits extremely flat on the wrist.  Water resistance like most other Botta models is 3 atm.  I note owing to the case back shape (see image) the crown is much easier to access than the Botta 24 which was very small and too smooth to grip.

So an intriguing watch from Botta and yet another variation on the Single Handed display system and I have the feeling that, as it is, for want of a better word I’ll call it an “approximate” watch, I don’t envisage I’d suffer eye strain this time as a result of reading it.

In fact it’s really very easy – a quick glance and it’s obviously around 1:40.

Could I live with it?  well I thought I could with the Botta 24 and didn’t manage it, but this one certainly has a much better chance.  However priced at over $1000 and without a Day or Date, would I get my money’s worth.

Maybe I would wear it for a while . . . . or . . . . maybe the jury’s still out on this one for me at this “approximate” moment in time.   🙂

Note 1The Botta Nova Carbon is also available in Quartz at approximately $540 – but my reservations I’m afraid still apply – novelty or practicality?

Note 2From a collectors point of view, “designer” watches such as the Botta all tend to suffer in the pre-owned market.  Not really sure why, though in many cases Designer watches are showing off perhaps a novelty aspect of a watch and often something very different.  It is unfortunately true also that most people, including myself, have a short attention span when it comes to novelties – in that the novelty wears off!
From experience I can say that selling on “designer” models is never easy.  Even though I was reasonably lucky when I sold on my Botta 24, it certainly didn’t reach the value that I personally put on it.  But that’s life . . . .