Is it just me?

I often trawl through the weird and wonderful watches that appear from time to time, where the old analog idea of hour and minute hand is sort of forgotten about.
And we have the sometimes preposterous methods for showing, telling or indicating the passage of time, which at first glance (and you’ll need a few glances I can tell you), it is nigh impossible to read the time.
You also get some rather ingenious ways too, but mostly the common denominator is the fact – it’s haystack time! and you’ve got to find the needle!  The needle being the time!

To the young it may be fashionable and I’m sure a topic of conversation (do the young actually converse face to face any more?), a talking point, as all your friends gather round to see if they can make out what time it is.  However to my old peepers, I would be better squinting at a kaleidoscope via an illegal substance overdose!

Now what time is it?

Xeric Trappist Monk Moonphase – and tells the time I think.

(1) Apparently the Trappist Monk here tells you the time with the window @6 showing the Hours and the planets or stars somehow showing the Minutes.  I haven’t managed to see it myself yet, but I’m sure if I had time, I might figure it out.  Love the colors and the sky design and all that – but . . . .
Seems ironic for me that the watch dial is really large and OK it looks intriguing, but the time telling bits are so small in comparison, it ends up with such a small set of indicators, you certainly can’t just glance at this to get the time.  If you can get it at all!

(2) The next guy is the Last Laugh Tattoo by Mr Jones,

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Mr Jones – Last Laugh Tattoo

which though colorful and has lots of symbolism tattoo stuff, to me seems to be an exercise in how to hide, not show, the time.

Once you have your glasses on you can just make out the Hours on the top set of teeth and the Minutes on the lower set.
But again we have the repeating theme of a large dial area with only a tiny fraction used as the time indicator, so really good eyesight required for this one.

Always remember here, before designers get carried away, that the prerequisite for a watch is first and foremost – to tell the time.  So to my mind these first two have not really managed to meet the brief.

Now I’m all for trying to indicate time in a different way, just for a change if nothing else, but making the time indicators either too small or hidden in some way doesn’t seem the right way to go about it.

(3) Next is the Xeric Soloscope, which is a tricky one and it also requires very good eyesight indeed to read.  On this model and on the face of it, the Hours should be relatively easy to spot, being circled by that single hand BUT it’s only actually effective when directly over the Hour numeral as shown here (7).  When it’s between Hours, say 15 minutes past the hour – Ah, then it’s very tricky indeed!  Because the circle itself partly obscures the very thin index you’re trying to see and there’s no numeral to see.  Each line of the index denotes 5 minutes by the way.

Soloscope – a tricky read indeed.

So basically this is an overly fancy single hand watch – and I’ve had them before, bought for the novelty, but which unfortunately I’ve always found in practice soon wears off – and I’ve sold every one of them on to some other novelty seeker.
I suppose if you’re OK with a vague approximation of the time, when someone asks – you’re answer is “Oh it’s after 7 sometime” – which maybe sounds OK, but if the inquirer is catching a plane – not so clever.

(4) Now this one is a little different.  Not easy to see at first, but none of them are, but this one has purpose, as it caters for the visually impaired, so seeing it, is somewhat irrelevant.

Bradleys Classic Black Mesh

This is the Eone Bradley Classic Black Mesh with it’s inside, outside “silver balls” that you can feel with your fingers.  The outer one on the edge of the case, indicates the Hour and the inner one, the Minutes (assuming a 12 hour clock dial).  The dial is matte black and has raised markers and an strongly embossed diamond at 12, so it has a Braille touch style, which really does assist those with impaired vision.  Obviously there is no glass/crystal here as the fingers can feel the raised numeral markers and the ball on the dial.

So this is a model that has genuine purpose in reading time in a different and very useful manner.

(5) OK this is the last one is probably the best one for me, because it’s relatively readable and is an older idea seen on quite a few vintage watches.

This is the
Klokers Klok 01-D1 Yellow Matte Black Leather – which is an update of the old disc watch, where Hour, Minute and Seconds discs move round a large dial and pass underneath a vertical fixed pointer which highlights the time.

Just read down vertically from the top – this one looks to me to be about 10.20 and almost 30 seconds, so can give quite an accurate time.  Mind you to pick out the seconds it really has to be read.  Personally I’d prefer the numbers to be in a heavier font with more contrast – but that might just be me.

A quick glance, however, should give you the 10:20 bit, which is probably accurate enough for most of us.

Also this watch is a “mobile” – which is evident as the discs rotate, but unlike hands, these rotate anti-clockwise, which is a bit odd when first seen.  Also each disc rotates at a different speed!

So, OK, I accept it can be a little tricky at first to get your head round these odd movements, but once on board you suddenly get the picture.  It’s also a decent full dial size at 44 mm diameter, which helps.

Personally this one has an attraction for me.  And maybe I like it because it shows time actually passing, which can be quite fascinating.  And this is because, as I said, the disks constantly revolve and at different speeds – as I say – fascinating.

Disc watches truly involve you in the process of time itself, and if you like mobiles it’s very much cheaper than a Tourbillon!

The only downside I’ve found with the odd disc watch I’ve owned is their timekeeping. The discs have to revolve smoothly and without touching an adjacent disk and depending on the quality of manufacture, play is sometimes unavoidable, so accuracy can suffer a little.
But if it’s a quartz model it has at least a good basis to start with, the mechanics are minimal and should still be accurate enough for most of us – just check it every fortnight, if the mechanics are not quite to the same standard.

So there we are, just a selection of unconventional watch dials, guaranteed to confuse the elderly   😉

Of course I jest.  These are unusual watches and inject a bit of interest and sometimes humor into what can be a tedious procession of clocks and watches that can be quite boring at times.

And as I haven’t had a disc watch for many years, I could be tempted by the Klok – just for fun.

And it’s also sobering that if you can see time actually moving – you’re still here!

 

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Timex Ironman Transit

Odd name for a watch I know and not being in the know these days, unfathomable to me, but those folks at Timex marketing have come up with it and it sounds good. . . . For me it differentiates it a little from the Expedition series, one of which I already own.  And as my Expedition is one of my very favorite watches, from anybody, I thought that a look at this one in this “Transit” guise would be worth a look.

The Timex Ironman Transit

Here they’ve removed the tough looking macho “shock” exterior and replaced it with the running, fitness orientated modern man look that seems to be the thing today (the only thing I run now is a bath and this website!).  I have to admit I like it’s clean looks and easy to read dial with large digits on a very clear display, something that I feel Timex leads the way over all others.  The contrast is good and the displayed information gives the Day, the Date and the Year, plus the time – what more do you need on a quick glance.

And that’s something you can do with this watch – a quick glance is all you need and bingo – no squinting at it, trying to make out poor digits against a poor background.  This is for me the way to go in digital displays.  And once the daylight fades you can use the Timex patented Indiglo dial lighting system, which I have to admit is brilliant on their digital watches (not so good on their analog ones though – see my views at the foot of this Post).

I also like the operation of this Indiglo function.  If in a dark place during the day for example, a press of the center colored button and the dial lights up for 3 seconds.  But later in the day you can activate the system fully by pressing the center Indiglo button for 4 seconds and what this means is that pressing any button on the watch will light the dial.  So no fumbling around looking for that one button – any of ’em will do – the dial light again will illuminate for 3 seconds at a time.  The Indiglo system will stay activated (as a system) for the next 8 hours or until you switch it off (4 seconds press of the center button again).

I quite like this degree of control, which my old Expedition one lacks (or I haven’t noticed it!)  😦

Functions on the watch are useful, such as a Countdown Timer and a Stopwatch (sports) with a 10 lap memory, a few Alarms and the watch also has a 100 m Water Resistance which is pretty good.  Not a diving watch, but it’s OK to shower with it or swim in the local pool or even on the beach.  If beach swimming just remember the salt water doesn’t do anything much good (apart from aching feet), so a rinse in fresh water is a good idea afterwards.

A little chunky perhaps (added to by the under body fast wrap strap), but at 40mm very comfortable.

The watch dimensions are just 40 mm diameter which is a little neater than some of the older models and it comes with one of those very useful “Fast Wrap” straps.  When I first saw these I didn’t know whether I’d like them, but I do.  They are quick and comfortable and usually better than a strap and buckle arrangement, unless they fray, which has been known.

So this is a practical watch from Timex and it’s easy to wear, very easy to see, day or night.  Has enough useful features and functions on it, a decent Water Resistance and at a price of under £50 has to be a really good daily beater in any language.

Note –

I mentioned the Indiglo system of dial illumination and I said it was great on this model and most other Timex digital dial watches.  But as I said I’ve always found it to be a great disappointment on any of the non-digital analog models. 

The reason is that the standard analog watch tends to have hour and minute hands, either colored steel , skeletal or a combination of both PLUS a luminous looking tip or pointer.  The numerals and markers are similar and if it is a Date watch with Date window – forget trying to read the Date at night.

Indiglo lights up the background dial surface in a sort of fluorescent green and shows everything on the dial as black silhouette and I have to say, not that easy to see. The hands, numerals and markers are simply not at a decent enough contrast to this greenish background (makes my eyes go funny) and forget about any so called luminous tips to the hands – these are also dark.
And the date is virtually black and unreadable.

On this watch, which is digital, it is brilliant, as is my Expedition, which is a joy to use at night.  So a case of technology where it’s needed basically and my maxim is simple – for Digital display Indiglo is OK, but for analog display, good luminous coating or Tritium is the best.

Just my opinion and you take it or leave it, but one thing I can’t abide – is not being able to read the time day or night – and I’ve had a few models over the years that manage that feat.  I don’t have them now!

But as to the Ironman Transit – it has to be great value and you don’t look as it you’re in the Army . . . . You’ve just joined the fitness people!

Nightspeed by Swatch

Each year I tend to have a look around the offerings by the Swatch Group, but concentrating not on their high end portfolio, but rather on the Swatch in-house Brand .  This is the one started life back in 1989 with the introduction of 12 new models.  The start of a range of watches from Switzerland, produced to counter the mass influx of cheap quartz watches from Asia.  Termed Swatch to infer “second watch” at a low competitive price point, a Swiss movement and a true “Made in Switzerland” logo.  It was a successful ploy and they have produced millions of successfully selling watches ever since.

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The Swatch Nightspeed blue black

Swatch introduce new models often and you can usually guarantee good quality, a good movement and an affordable price.  So this year I looked to see what would take my fancy and be my model for this year (it might not be a 2018 build, but one I maybe missed in the past).

This time I’ve gone for a black plastic cased, quartz powered model, called the Nightspeed.  I find it to be a very attractive dark toned blue dial within a black case with a black silicon buckle strap. Fitting to a conventional spring bar fitting on the case, this means you can swap out the strap for any standard one, if you prefer.  In the event I like this strap as it’s very flexible, has a nice mat black finish and corresponding buckle.

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Quick change battery hatch – with battery type inscribed on back.

The dial numerals are in white with two different font sizes, the 12, 4 and 8 being larger. There are three sub-dials with running seconds at 6, and the two at 2 and 10 function as stop-watch counters.  There is also a date window at 6 with white against black and most of the dial features are luminous.  There is a black stop-watch seconds centre sweep hand and the semi skeleton hour and minute hands have white tipped pointers.
There is a finely marked dial bezel featuring a Km/h marker ring and there are two black pushers on the right, either side of the centre crown for timing functions and setting the watch.

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Light weight plastic body – easy on the wrist.  Note the date window @6.

Whilst the color scheme is predominantly black and blue, the white features within the dial make this an easy watch to read.  Overall it is both understated and yet very attractive.

The dimensions are 42 mm diameter and just over 13 mm depth including the slightly domed crystal, so a nicely sized watch and being plastic cased is very light on the wrist.
According to the data on the Seller’s website, the Water Resistance is quoted as 30m, though with the Swatch quick change battery “hatch” as opposed to a full screw back, I’d be cautious it testing how good that may be!

One neat point to note is the battery type (394) is inscribed along-side the hatch, which is very useful.

The Swatch 4 jewel Quartz movements, I’ve found and certainly the ones I own are both accurate and reliable . . . . which when put together with the general attributes of this particular model, I am certain will be a great model to own and at around £80 represents a good buy.
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Just a note – if you are looking for a watch to match colors with clothing, it is a fact that generally the Swatch range give you a great choice, as they do offer an extraordinary number of models in all sorts of color options.  Just a thought for Christmas. . . .

Novelty watches

With the increasing use of smartphones, a watch doesn’t seem to be an item the young have much time for (excuse the pun) – everything they need or seem to need is on the phone.  In fact when I was visiting a sports centre recently I doubt if I saw a proper watch on a wrist of any of the kids there – but they were instead virtually surgically attached to their smartphones and I wondered if they were unlucky enough to have an injured thumb – well I don’t know how they’d survive the day.  I mean if they’re not texting, like, they gotta be dead right?

Emoticon watch

Now I did see a few wrist accessories of some kind, but very few were watches as such, most being simple bracelets and wrist decoration of some kind.  Actually quite a few were strings, leather straps and thin ropes – quite ethnic really.

However on closer inspection I did find out that a few, a very few had watches after all.  Not that timekeeping was the core function of wearing them, because they were the simplest of quartz watches, costing perhaps at most a £10 note maybe.  These were basically for novelty value or perhaps promotional items and most with printed pictures on the dial.

Simple round cases and as said, a printed dial usually with hour, minute and seconds hand (I was surprised they had seconds ).  Usually the printed image or sign was something catchy – in other words what I call ‘novelty

Cat watch in red (also blue and a few other colors)

wrist wear’, that co-incidentally told the time, though I did find one that was made of wood with fixed painted hands – so time was not of the essence there!

Now this is not the preserve of the young and I too have a novelty watch, I wear sometimes just for fun.

Mine is a Wallace & Gromit watch, from the short animated films fame. Why? well I just love the films and I’ve even got a bow tie to match!  Silly I know but at my age, at the other end of the spectrum, I can get away with it.

So here’s a couple of these novelty watches I like the look of – purely as decorative items, but these ones do tell the time.

I particularly like the Mergic “Cat” watch, basically as it’s such a clear dial and with the high color straps really looks pretty cool – I understand that’s what the young set want – to look cool I mean.

As the norm mostly all these types of watch are produced in huge quantities in China, but what’s new – even the mainstream watches if not made completely in China tend to dominate the supply of quartz movements today, whatever the Brand of watch.

My Wallace & Gromit watch even comes in it’s own bespoke aluminium hinged box, made by WESCO of China for the BBC who license it and this model (there are several) is commemorating the animated film called “A Close Shave”.  It features a leather strap with the Wallace & Gromit text embossed on it, so this is original – I particularly like the blue stitching – hey this is a class act!  😉

Hours, minutes and seconds – what more is needed?

The cost? well around £10-£12, though I’ve seen one or two at auction for silly prices upwards of £40!  And no they are NOT worth that kind of money at all – not for simple novelty – but they are fun to wear if you like them.

Edgemere by Martenero

Sometimes once in a while you come across a watch model that says something new.  Not often I know and increasingly difficult to find today in my experience, but the Martenero brand of New York has managed this feat nicely.

Available in 4 colour combinations this is a nice bright’ clean looking watch.  Inspired they say from the Nautical theme of a marine chronometer (and who am I to say otherwise) it certainly has a look that I like.

Alternative colorway in Blue/White with red tipped minute hand.

The watch case is made from good quality 316L Stainless Steel and overall has such clean lines it looks great on the wrist. The case is also Water Resistant to 50M and features a decent Screw Down crown of the right proportions.

A sub seconds dial between 4 and 5 adds a nice balance to the layout and is very clear to read.

Power wise this is driven by a Miyota mechanical Automatic Calibre 8245 with 21,600 Beats/Hr, a 40 hour Power reserve and internally fitted with 21 jewels.  This is a really good quality modern Auto and a perfect match for the watch style.

The side profile is neat with Screw Down crown.

I also like the fact it is a sensible sized watch at 40 mm diameter, just 11.8 mm thick, with a 20 mm strap, which is really nice to see.

The Sapphire crystal covers a rather stylish dial layout with a raised hour ring and the textured interior gives good clarity and depth to the overall layout.

The hands give great contrast and the different colored hand tips is quite novel.

Clean stainless back with compass layout – super simple.

Cost is around the $500 mark and interestingly they ship this watch Post Free (don’t forget that destination customs will apply, but that’s the buyer’s concern).  I quite like this approach – it’s simple and you know exactly where you are with it.

Another alternative color – gives you lots of buying choice – and they all look good.

So as I say, at last a neat, new clean looking model from the USA that manages to catch my eye at last.  So many models today seem to be blah, blah – more of the same.  The Martenero I’m pleased to say is not one of them – it is fresh and rather exciting.  From a Brand that appeared as recently as 2014 I think they have a winner in the Edgemere AND it has a 2 year Warranty.

They have a few other styles/models and you can see these on their web site at – https://martenero.com/collections, though for me the Edgemere has the edge (sorry!) and is a model that I might well decide to get myself.

I like it a lot – what more can I say . . . . . .

MeisterSinger Neo Q

After my European travels a month or so ago, I have got myself another one of those wonderful ONE Handed watches for which I seem to have a love/hate relationship. I say this as I had a similar model to this some years ago, but got rid of it for the same reason I bought it – that One handed design.  So what’s changed?

This is the MeisterSinger model Neo Q,

MeisterSinger Neo Q One Handed model

which again is One handed but this one is quartz powered, so low maintenance (stick it on the wrist and forget). However the main difference from my old mechanical Perigraph model is that it is NOT Perigraph.
And because of this fact the dial is much simplified and for me that is the whole point of single hand.  It IS easier to read.  And to assist in this aspect it has new typography too with much clearer lettering and now sports a round Date window @6 which suits the overall look.

Note the undercut case – allows perfect strap fitting.

Neat, stainless steel, undercut case, suede leather strap.

This model is stainless steel cased and is a neat 36 mm diameter, which being honest is a perfect size for the average wrist.  It is beautifully finished, sleek and smooth with a suede leather buckle strap. My model here is the black dial with white hands and numerals – it was a toss up between the normal white with black notifications, but I chose this version.

It IS however a delight to read.  It is very easy to so do and very clear.  Each hour is divided into quarter, half and three quarters and in between these into 5 minute segments – and it is surprisingly accurate to read.  Not having a second hand means that unlike most quartz models there is no jerky ticking of the second hand – instead the Hour hand (no minute hand either) very slowly and majestically sweeps around the hours with a rather stylish grace that I find very agreeable.

Note on the image the case top is a larger diameter than the underside.  This is because the case profile is undercut, allowing perfect fitting of the straight cut strap.  Also the strap features a quick release fitting spring-bar.

This model is not luminous which is an omission in my opinion, but basically this is a dress watch, hence the lowly 3 Bar water resistance, but certainly adequate for the intended purpose.

Overall a very nice watch to own – I like it.

On the wrist – just about perfect.

Ladies Sorna Jump watch

Here’s a neat Ladies Sorna model from the 1970’s – the Sorna Jump.  Another Watch Company long gone and not too much known of them.  Swiss of course and originally from Grenchen, they used to manufacture watches under the brand names of Sorna, Sorina, Sornana and a few others with similar sounding names.  From what I can find out they disappeared in 1994, though a new Sorna in Germany today also make Trias watches.  Whether they bought the name I could not say.

Sorna ladies “Jump” watch – described as “digital” though not as we know it today.

Suffice to say, this particular model was born at the same time as the Hudsons as an attempt to stem the flow of cheaper Quartz watches from the East.  By using mechanical movements as before they hoped to tempt the buyer with a digital look but using conventional components.  Once again using Ebauche movements with hour and minute disc as opposed to hands, the hour either “jumped” into view at the last minute of the hour ended or slowly slid into view, depending on the mechanism employed.  Thus providing a “digital” watch, though not as we would know it today.

Note the high contrast numerals – easy to see on a small watch.

I like this particular model as it has the Hour highlighted in white against black.  This makes it stand out better than most especially as it is a smaller sized watch.  Note this is a reasonable manual wind movement too with 17 jewels.  Many other “jump” style watches often featured simple 1 jewel movements – so this is quite a decent watch.

Neat Sorna signed Swiss 17 jewel movement in perfect as new condition.

I have another high gloss, high colour leather strap for this watch and as my Wife is as fickle as I am regarding straps and bracelets, I won’t know until I change this bracelet to see which one will get her approval.  I can see her choosing the alternative matching blue conventional leather buckle strap – but it would be dangerous to second guess her!

Well I was right NOT to second guess, so I’ll not even show the strap –  suffice to say she picked the bracelet!