The wonder of Citizen

There’s something about the classic “slide rule” and “Hawk” style Citizen watch that brings out the pilot (hangar) in me.  The Navihawk was first produced nearly 25 years ago and publicly available since 1993 and is still going today with many different variants.

The inclusion of the slide-rule element around the dial was a touch of genius, even if only used by a tiny fraction of buyers.  It was rather the “look” of this model that gained such a popularity then and now, that has managed to keep it looking as good today as the day it first appeared.

The Citizen Red Arrow AT World timer.

This example is the red Arrows AT World Timer, where the slide-rule has been replaced with the possibly more relevant World Time indication within the dial.

This is in keeping with the new models, where the data displayed now is located IN the dial and not around the bezel, as the originals. Basically this model is a Chronograph with analog date (no digital windows here), Eco Drive Solar movement.

This model is positioned at an affordable price point (£200 ish) for most folks and is a great “wearing” watch – in other words – it looks brilliant on the wrist.

However certain versions can reach much higher prices, such as the Limited Edition Skyhawk A-T model shown here – at around £1200.  Note this model includes digital displays, which here are used for the World Time feature with and the inner dial bezels for the rotating slide-rule data.

Citizen Limited Edition Skyhawk A-T

The overall Hawk series look is self evident and as such can be recognized the world over as a Citizen.

There are as I say, many variations of these (I have 2 myself) and they always impress when worn and whilst they are dial “heavy”, Citizen have somehow managed to allow maximum clarity without much clutter, which is a trick few Brands can match.  It’s fair to say they’ve managed to create a “cult” following, a market if you will where there may well not have been before – indeed a marketing triumph.

And when it comes to the slide rule data.  I wonder how many customers actually have a clue as to how it works, let alone use it?  Maybe we’re all “hangar” pilots at heart, Biggles or Dan Dares (that’s showing my age!) – but who cares if all you manage is to tell the time.

Don’t they look just great!

 

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It looks the part!

I said I’d Post on some new watches just the other day, but didn’t really expect to feature another one of these!

This is the Infantry Chrono-Pilot and I have to admit it looks way above it’s price point.  Does that make sense?
To clarify – it looks great! It really does and on the wrist is pretty awesome, which is surprising for a watch that measures across about 46 mm (without the crown) and pretty thick at 16 mm.
But Infantry have done it again and have fitted a very soft flexible silicon band to standardish 24 mm  spring bars.  The result – it fits very snuggly even to my average wrist and at the same time looks rather impressive.

Infantry Chrono-Pilot with soft Silicon buckle strap

On the dial, which is nicely arranged, there is a lower digital window showing the Time, Day and Month (selectable).  Using the pushers you can also dial up Stopwatch and Alarm.  The Day of the week is shown all the time on the small sub dial between 10 & 11 using digital segmented markers, with Sunday in red at the top, going round to Saturday at about 11 on the small dial.
The dial also features a standard analog Hour hand, Minute hand and a running Seconds hand (in orange) AND I’m glad to report that Infantry have at last featured some luminosity, albeit just to the main Hour and Minute hands.

Infantry Chrono-Pilot on the wrist

There is also another digital window opposite the 2, which has a mobile segmental style counter of sorts – I say of sorts as I have to discover exactly what it represents.  The square segment markers don’t seem to run in any identifiable order, though I suspect they should count 10 seconds in sequence, but they don’t – maybe a glitch just on this particular watch.  However, it makes no difference to me as I never use these anyway.  Note this could be an inherent weakness of the module used.  After all this is a brand new watch and something I have never, ever experienced on a Casio, Timex or Citizen model – unless long past it’s prime and very vintage.  This digital display also shows AM/PM and Alarm ON/OFF and it might also have a Chime indication.  Unfortunately it’s hard to know as these indications are almost unreadable, as they’re too small and lack contrast or clarity to be of much use – a design error perhaps that those mainstream Brands mentioned would simply not do.

However the main bits are fine – at a glance I can see the Time, both analog and digital, the Day of the week and without pressing any buttons or pushers – so that’s good.  The watch overall is pretty easy to see and read, the dial remarkably uncluttered, the outer 60 marked bezel clicks one way and is still a handy basic time indication, say for a parking meter (sometimes simple is good).

So after all that, what does it cost?  Well it’s around £20 and if it goes as well as the old square Infantry model I got as a gift a couple of years ago, it’s not at all bad.  It also has a decent build quality, nice materials and excellent finish.

If you ask me if it matches up to the likes of the Casio or Timex low price point models, then my answer is – probably not.  But let’s be clear – we are looking at a watch that costs no more than your average snack for two during your lunch break. . . . .

At the end of the day it is what it is and there’s no question that it really does look the part – and would I wear it?

Re-straped using my favorite silicon deployment type – easier on the wrist.

Well I got it just the other day and it’s still on my wrist – so Yes is the answer.  And if you ask – Did I change the strap for a silicon deployment type – you know me too well!

Ps – The segment issue – Do I bother to send it back to Amazon?- it is new and it has a Guarantee.  If it was DOA then I certainly would, but as the main functions are just fine, £20 is not a problem – I’ll stand it. . . . . .

Swatches

Every so often I like to trawl the swatch world, just to see what low price models take my fancy.  I like Swatch as the quality is invariably at a decent level as to ensure a good and reliable timepiece. Their quartz models in my opinion are almost always good value and more often that not, great fun to wear.  Slightly funky colour-ways mean that if you are even a tiny bit dress conscious , then these can make a rather neat and subtle statement that you ain’t finished yet!

Unisex Colour the Sky Swatch model Quartz.

This is the GS124 or the Swatch Unisex “Colour my Sky” quartz model – available for anywhere between £30 and £40 and OK is a basic 3 hand model without Day or Date, but has got lots of colour, both dial and strap. Dimensions just 34 mm x 8.75 mm depth, this is a very neat watch and will fit anyone. (and don’t be thinking this is too small – some of the best Patek’s are 34 mm!).

It is what it is and that of course defines the ever so quirky Swatch range.  The back has the usual coin screw battery access and the case is sort of see-through plastic and the dial layout works pretty well with the slight odd hands set up. In fact this one has a touch of the old “railway” clock look about it and is pretty easy to read.

I like it.

My next Swatch pick is the oddly named “Lonely Desert” (Day & Date) model (SUOB721) which is I suppose more gents that Unisex, though that said, is not a large watch either at 41 mm diameter by 9.85 mm depth, so still a neat wearing model.  Price wise not a lot more than the first watch featured, but has the advantage of the Day and Date window.

Swatch Gents “Lonely Desert” Quartz.

I like this one as it features a leather strap in a really neat shade of “leather brown” that works well with the dark case. The dial is silvered and the Day and Date window stands out really well with white letters against a black background.  This is a slightly more serious watch model than the colour sky idea and looks really good either in casual or in a formal setting.

The usual coin battery access at the back –

Typical Swatch coin battery access.

Here’s a pic of the typical Swatch battery hatch system.

So just a couple of models from the huge Swatch range that caught my eye, both very affordable, Quartz powered and yet quite different.

I have to admit to a liking for quite a few of the Swatch Day and Date watches as they really do represent great value for money, especially when coupled to a quality standard that seems to stand up proudly on it’s own merit.

I have a few friends who collect Swatches (sad I know . . .) and I reckon most of us know someone who probably has more than one and I suppose it must be gratifying to Swatch themselves as the “S” or second “Watch” idea (Swatch) has turned out to be such a success story.

I’ll probably feature a few more of the ones that I like – and you never know, you might like the odd one too.

 

Get it – forget it ?

When buying and ultimately collecting watches over the years, sometimes you get yourself a model that you think will be the one.  You know a “perhaps this is it” moment when the watch you’ve just strapped on your wrist is, for you, as good as it gets.  That’s it, settle back and in the realization that you’ve just got your personal modern holy grail, start the process of slowly selling off the lesser models and call it a day.

Maybe just keep those very few, “landmark” models, that have particular significance for you.

Well that moment may just have been reached, at least for modern watches.  And here I have to quantify what is modern to me, which I suppose it’s from the day I bought my Breitling Aerospace, which was 1999 and funnily enough that was my grail watch back then.

But as I collect both modern and vintage model, this may not really be the end of the day, but it could be the last “modern” watch purchase I make.

If I consider todays technology with new and amazing complications as “modern”, then it’s probably true that this Citizen cc etc etc will be the last one.  Maybe as I can’t see anything really being much better, certainly from my personal requirements.  And let’s be clear, this watch gives the correct and always accurate Time, Day and Date, anywhere, anytime – period!  It’s easy to read day or night and is super simple to use.  As the definition of what a watch does – it’s about as good as it gets.
You simply get it and forget it. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Citizen cc3005-85E on silicon deployment strap – the ultimate? (more info see HERE)

I have to admit that Citizen have done an amazing job with this model – it’s not cluttered to look at, and thats’s a feat in itself (check out other satellite models around), it’s easy to tell the time (anywhere), it’s not too big and what more do you need or want for that matter.

But that might just be the point and certainly as a silly old eclectic (and perhaps eccentric) collector and it makes me start to question why I collect watches in the first place.

For once you’ve got the watch that does it all – what’s next?

Well for me it’s maybe time to slowly sell off some of my older “modern” models – this will clear some of the clutter, both collection wise and in my mind plus (and this is a very big plus) AND help me finance any new purchases too, which has to be helpful!

So many watch models were a product of their time and the limits of technical possibility I suppose and that’s one of the attractions.  They have limitations which can be quirky and interesting and maybe that’s the beauty of collecting.

Yes maybe that is just the point – it’s all a question of TIME.

OK, so here’s the deal – My true vintage watch collecting will carry on absulutely, especially in regard to watches from the early 1900’s to perhaps the early 1950’s.
And I’m still very interested in those zany Digital watches from the Golden period 1970’s to mid 1990’s, as it was such an interesting period in watch experimentation.
And as for modern, whilst I will cut back a bit, I’ll always check out any classic models that come along that simply take my fancy, but mostly can show some elegance and style as my guide.

Buy Hey! I’ve said all this BS before and who am I kidding – it’ll never happen! because if I see it and like it, I might just go and buy it!   😉

Edox bargain

The very reliable Pesseux 7001 mechanical movement used occasionally by the likes of Blancpain and others, was so well regarded that it wasn’t long before the ETA 7001 appeared (bought by ETA).  Started off life in 1971 with 17 jewels, 21,600 vph, non hacking, with a 42 hour reserve and very thin, was a great favourite with all sorts of Brands and Edox liked them for some of their Les Bemonts models.

Edox 2008 Les Bemonts manual wind Dress watch.

This is the unusual rectangular Les Bemonts model circa 2008 from Edox.

A well sized model at 34 mm wide and nearly 45 mm lug to lug and only 7.9 mm depth, shows just how thin this ETA7001 hand wind movement allows neat case design.  The crystal is flat Sapphire, the dial features a sub seconds dial and gold and white background with gold hands, Edox “hourglass” logo and Swiss Made at the foot.

The case is stainless steel, gold plated with an exhibition back with part cutout to view the 7001 movement.  The watch is Water Resistant to 5Bar.  The 22 mm lug measured strap is high quality leather fitted to an Edox deployment (with extensions) mechanism, which is one of the most comfortable I’ve worn as it lies very flat on the wrist.

Great on the wrist Edox with excellent Edox deployment strap.

This particular watch was purchased in 2008 in Holland and according to the retail slip was €899 (Euros) and it the recent Auction I managed to get it for just £130.

Exhibition stainless back showing the ETA 7001 movement.

Now considering this watch has obviously not been worn, comes with box, attached watch protection stickers, instruction booklet, plus being in absolute pristine condition, no marks scuffs or anything other than showroom condition, I reckon this is indeed a bargain – so I’m well pleased.

Do I need what is after all a relatively modern watch like this? – well yes I do actually as I’ve found a new niche in collecting and that’s great “dress” watches that I can wear – and this is certainly one of them.
A great price for  what is a pretty decent hi-grade ETA movement, Sapphire crystal, elegant design case and dial, plus a great fit on the wrist, for just over £100 – I think that’s a good deal.
Probably one the good reasons for visiting Auctions and especially IF you can manage at a fair price for you.  It can offset the quite extortionate “fees” that Auction Houses are applying these days – one of my gripes I know, but I’m going to keep going on about it.

Let’s face it many Auction houses would be in severe decline if it were not for the Internet – as it draws in a huge number of potential buyers – maybe they need to recognize this and give Internet bidders a discount for taking the trouble to visit their auction and bid, rather than try to screw more cash out of us all.

You never know it could be a winning idea, for the Auction house as well as the web punter.

Vintage Vulcain

Vintage watches are still my passion and perhaps more so today than ever, simply because many are from an age where “style” and “elegance” were as importance as the watch function itself.  And I have to admit I like that.

Neat but good sized Ladies 1920’s 18K Vulcain manual wind in original condition

This example is a 1920’s Ladies 18ct Gold Vulcain which has survived in very good condition and is being worn today, keeping good time and looking as elegant as when it was made.  I guess it was produced just after WW1 when Vulcain moved to their new factory, so possibly around 1923 or so, once the new premises was fully up and running.

This model is a bit of a rarity with this case shape, though checking through the Vulcain “Book” I found this very similar model from around 1930.  Note the early Vulcain logo in a simple font without underlining etc.

1930’s Vulcain with diamond decoration – from the Vulcain “book”.

Another reference I found is from the  Watch Book – “Wristwatches – A Handbook and Price Guide” 6th Edition of Gisbert L. Brunner & Christian Pfeiffer-Belli, printed by Schiffer, which although listed as anonymous, could indeed be a Vulcain such is the similarity.

Similar cased & dial look of the 1920’s

My Vulcain 18K Gold cased is also complimented by the expandable bracelet (marked DV, which denotes a Vulcain parts or accessory) which suits it perfectly with no degradation to the sprung action or the fastening clip with safety chain.  (note the Trademark DV with the V on top shown is prior to the rectangular form, which appeared in 1934).

Original Vulcain accessories (DV) 18k Gold expandable bracelet

The case back is numbered and hinged with a snap closure and the movement is in very good condition considering this watch is not water resistant.

Vulcain of course is a very old established Watch Company formed back in 1858 and still producing high quality watches today.  Famous amongst other things for producing the 1st practical mechanical Alarm watch, the Cricket” – which could be heard over 30 metres away and operated without disturbing the time keeping of the watch, both features thought impossible. After many years of research it finally was introduced commercially in 1947.

So all in all very pleased with this purchase as once again it is relatively rare, both in shape and style and is in excellent running condition.  What’s more it appears that the original bracelet is attached and the watch has obviously been kept for special occasions as it has worn exceptionally well over the best part of the last 100 years.

The last image shows a Gents Vulcain from around the same vintage, again with the original Vulcain logo on the dial and very similar font applications on the dial.  Note too the hands and dial colour are virtually identical, which were obviously the parts of choice at this period.

I’ll keep a look out for this particular Gents model and if it comes up at any time – I’ll be very interested in adding it to my collection.  You never know!

Gents 18ct Gold 1925 model (Illustration – from the Vulcain “Book”)

Colour Swatch

Every so often I feel I want to brighten up my watch wardrobe, especially if I’m out for dinner and maybe even dressed for the occasion.  Something that maybe we don’t do often enough these days and certainly something I don’t do enough, being retired.  Years of going to the day job, dressed up, tends to make one “dress down” when in retirement and maybe even to forget the odd shave – very remiss.

What to wear?  Well this will do nicely ‘cos it’ll go with anything . . . .

But with age comes a certain freedom, where that silly old soul can wear an outrageous bow tie with a blazer or have an overly elaborate walking cane (never had one before, but what the heck!).  Maybe you can make some amazing, amusing or cutting comment that could well be in the category of – “You can’t say that!” – that’s awful . . . . !  And get away with it.

And so it is with the choice of watch on your wrist, which neatly brings me to this model – the Swatch “Rounds & Squares” SUON122.

Swatch “Rounds & Squares” model – for geeks.

An ultra modernist Quartz in silicon, plastic, with an abstract style with a blue case and multi-colour strap and an every colour dial.   The ultra lightweight case will manage a 3bar Water Resistance, so should withstand the odd glass of bubbly thrown at it, or even if the wearer might accidentally (or was he pushed?) fall in the pool.  Now OK the watch survivability might be around 50%, which oddly enough is probablyabout the same (or better) as the old wearer  . . .
It has a center seconds hand and a neat little screw (coin) hatch at the back to access the battery and the strap as seen here is just fab’ and amazingly flexible.
Did I just use the F word?  Goodness, is that sad or what . . . .  I mean I was old when they started using that!

Coin battery entry hatch – easy fit even for me!

Anyway as watches go it’s a pretty decent size at 41 mm diameter and commendably just under 10 mm thick, AND it’s plastic, but without the over size silly “ooh is that a watch then?” look, a style that frankly has lost it’s charm for me – but this is different AND it looks good!

Yes this Swiss offering actually looks great – it’s bright, it’s colourful and OK, perhaps a little OTT (did I mention the second hand is “pastel blue?) but despite all that unbelievably I can think of lots of old guy eccentric clothing to go with it.  I’ll look some out later . . . .

So being in a sort of dark mood the other day, I went and bought it, sad I know, but that’s what happens when faced with a hypnotic strap such as this.

How could you do it, I hear you ask?

Swatch that goes with – everything!

Well it was like this.  I spotted it when having lunch with a friend – a friend who is an Ex geek.  I know the ex idea seems bizarre but there he was, wearing believe it or not one of those ghastly Hawaii style Miami Vice era multi-colour, but long sleeved, shirts (the rest of his attire was no less incongruous – long shorts and hiking boots – and this is March in Scotland!).

Anyway it happened as my companion asked him the time and as a result I sort of did a double take, as my ex geek pal pulled up his shirt cuff and looked at this continuation of his – “shirt”?

But NO – he was actually looking at his nice new Swatch watch, which was virtually indistinguishable from his  riotously bright outfit, in almost every way!  And as I say – I was hooked . . . . . It was a lousy day, wet, dark and utterly miserable and there he was – a riot of colour, watch and all!

Well when I got home I looked it up, loved the colour, price OK and ordered one on the spot – and would you believe it – I was already starting to feel much brighter myself.

It came directly from Swatch in tick tock land, so took a couple of days.

Now perhaps it’s a cheap (relatively) and definitely cheerful watch of course, but it’s also absolutely a bit of fun to wear and it will do me nicely, oh yes, it’ll do me just fine.