Heat by Nixon

The last digital watch I noted from Nixon was the Regulus, which was fine, but whilst it promised all sorts of features, at the end of the day for me, it was simply too bulky and too fussy.  But of course that’s a personal issue for me, though I have always liked matrix digits.

Nixon ‘Heat’ digital

So I was really pleased to see “the Heat” – which is a very neater and slimmer digital matrix watch with a low profile, 2 simple front mounted pushers, hardened mineral crystal with its 30mm x 8mm super slim stainless steel case, coupled with a 20mm injection moulded rubber band (perforated design for durability, breathability and comfort).

It features the time of day, day/date and an auto calendar to 2099.  Additionally it has a chronograph function, 6 pre-set timers plus 2 custom timer options, plus a custom “SEND!” notification when less than 60 seconds remain.

It also has an EL backlight, so night time is no problem.  It also sports a second time zone should this be needed.

The night EL light can be selected in any mode by simply pressing both pushers together.

I also like the buckle arrangement on the strap, as this style invariably means it’s secure and looks good.  I also particularly like the colour of this one, which is a sort of bronzy, which sets it apart from the ubiquitous black.

So, I love the neat size and it has enough useful functions to honestly use and the price is not unreasonable.  Though personally I doubt I’d use many of the functions, which is sad – it seems as I grow older, knowing the time and the date is about all I need.

But regardless of my ageist comment, for me it meets the “daily beater” criteria nicely and that’s a consideration that some, these days have forgotten.  You wear it and forget it, basically.  Glance at it occasionally and you immediately see the time, the date and to manage that – you have done nothing but glance at it.

Sometimes simple, simple is the best and today that’s no bad thing.

Pricewise here in the UK it’s around the £150 mark and it’s about as no frills as you can get with a digital watch these days.

Wrist cuff watches

For those who are not really into watches, but are into wrist cuffs, the featured JewelryWe watches (4 colourways) should fit the brief.  Known imaginatively as Watch Cuffs, it really is the price that’s truly amazing – and that’s maybe around £10 each. . . .

Cuff watch

The leather strap/cuff of each is a different colour and from a fashion conscious guy, really quite smart – and it tells him the time without referring to his Smart Phone – now isn’t that a novelty!

The watches themselves are pretty basic, quartz and the metal is just, well – metal – but they do tell the time and I have to say, they actually look pretty good.  They each weigh just 54 grams, some 1.5 inches diameter and the dials are quite clear and protected with eh – glass.  What I’m saying is, these are basic timekeepers, but as with almost any quartz powered movement these days, they are quite accurate enough for day to day wear.

JewelryWe wrist watch cuffs.

Anyway as wrist watch cuffs or straps, I like them and I like the fact that they are really NOT expensive and are not silly looking (some are) and they are what they are and if you have a damaged wrist – and I sprained mine the other day, they are great as a brace, so a nice coincidence that I spotted them in Amazon.

Actually there are quite a few different styles and Brands there, though these basic versions suit me fine and in fact the more I see them, the more I’m getting in to them.  Reminds me of a long time ago, when a lot younger and I actually remember wearing wrist leathers.  Of course way back then I also used to ride motor bikes – a fact that was brought to mind the other day, when an old pal of mine turned up on a brand new Husqvarna 400cc motorbike – I mean this guy’s no chicken, but acting like a teenager with two tails and loving it.

Now he didn’t have a wrist cuff on, but before he left, he was sporting a watch cuff – one of the set of 4 I’d just gone and bought!
And then he looked really cool!

Am I a trend setter or what?

 

 

Rado & diamonds

Always had a fascination for Rado and their interesting ceramic designs, and all too easy to miss their more conventional models – such as this one, which caught my attention recently – slightly different, elegant – yes, automatic – surprising, with diamonds – Wow! and plus that something special – a look perhaps.

Rado Coupole model Automatic Ladies ‘Diamonds’ with deployment bracelet

This rather elegant Rado Coupole Automatic ‘Diamonds’ bracelet watch has a slightly different dial configuration than shown in their current range, but for me, it has been well received by my partner, it’s just what she wanted.
It’s that little bit different, not overly feminine – even with the diamonds are forever – and all that (though my Wife fortunately has never considered that essential) and it’s not the usual Quartz, but a very good Automatic, so, no fiddling around to change the battery, when the man in the house is not about.

Note – Two things my Wife never does – wash the car and change a watch battery – sensible girl!

Also, she likes the fact that at around 32mm diameter, it’s just the right size for the ‘today’ lady – the tiny dial older vintage models of yesteryear, so out of fashion now – or so she says!  This coming from someone who has a nice collection of vintage ladies watches! Or maybe she just says the right things at the right time!

This model has to be a NOS (new old stock) or at the least, VERY rarely worn, as I can find no signs at all of any wear – not that it’s that old, but still quite unbelievable and for me, a definite bargain!

A silvered dial, not MOP as current ones, but simple, simple – gold coloured main hands and a centre seconds sweep hand – and it shows just the time. It also features applied stud/diamond markers all the way round and as long as she’s wearing it, being automatic, it runs!

I read somewhere that the diamonds are just that – real diamonds – not large of course – each maybe around 0.038 carats – but there’s a good few of them.
The crystal is high quality Sapphire and the Rado signed Automatic movement has a Power Reserve of 38 hours, so you can take it off at night with no worries – it’ll still be ticking in the morning.

It is also noticeably a very, very smooth mechanism and in fact everything about this watch is smooth.  The stainless case finish is exceptional, smooth as silk as is the bracelet and I take my hat off to Rado, for the sheer quality of finish.

Rado Coupole “diamonds” exhibition back – ref 561.3862.4 in stainless dual colour.

The stainless steel case is 31.8mm in diameter, so as said, a nice sized watch and has a Water Resistance of 50m, which is better than many Ladies’ dress watches.  The bracelet is a beautifully finished stainless steel deployment type with integral gold/bronze tone PVD links I believe, which suits it well and adds a neat colour combination.

To cap it all, as said, I got myself a bit of a bargain, as I’ve recently seen a similar pre-owned one currently on sale (though single tone stainless only) for £1195 and higher. But I managed to pick this one up at auction for less than half that figure – so happy days.

Rado Ladies Coupole on MY wrist – perfect.

Another plus point for me is that it is such a good size – mid size they’d call it now or Uni-Sex (doesn’t that grate?), I can wear it too – my Wife’s wrists are just about the same as mine diameter wise.  However I have larger hands, so the nicely made folding deployment buckle with it’s neat built in extender, allows it to slip over my hand without any trouble at all – very neat.  And as it’s not too feminine, it looks really good.

So, in a way, Rado have almost over-shadowed their more conventional watches, with the fanfare introduction of the ceramic range, as if that’s all they did. And it certainly is not.

The Coupole being a fine example and I’m very pleased to have it.

A favourite 5 – Limited Edition

Seems as if Seiko has been around all my life and never let me down.  I seem to recall my first Seiko was bought maybe around 1961 and I’ve still got it.

And would you believe it, some 60 years later I’m still buying them.  And every so often I come across another Seiko that just has to be in my collection.

Seiko Sports 5 Limited Edition Automatic

And this one, surprisingly isn’t a “Sumo” Prospex, which seems to be all the rage with collectors. Instead, this is a Sports 5 from a few years back – a Limited Edition one, yes, but it looks good, it’s in great condition, has the newer 7S36 replacement movement – the 4R36A, so hacks and hand winds – so for me it’s a no brainer – I just have to have it.

So practical, useful and as accurate as I’ll ever need – with its 24 jewel automatic, Diashock movement and a good size, just makes this a great watch to own and wear – every day, period. Not sure why this is a Limited edition, but Seiko know something about clarity, colour and form – and this model shows it all off pretty much to perfection.

Seiko 24 jewel 4R36A Automatic movement

It has the clearest of dials to see at a glance. Large hands, great sweep seconds centre hand and a date and time window @3.  It’s also, as I said, a decent Automatic – just pick it up and it’s running smoothly and looking good.

A very solid construction, this one and with a very solid link bracelet (I prefer the strap as I’m no longer into diving – if ever) it is heavy.  But with the quality matching colour Hirsch leather strap, it feels great on the wrist. Diameter wise it’s around 40mm without crown, which, by the way does NOT screw-down.  However it says on the dial 10bar, so it’s not too shabby, but hardly a serious Diver if truth be told – but good enough for the recreational Diver in us all!

The night clarity is good, but not on a par with my old first series Orange Monster Seiko, which is a shame, as in daylight it is so good.

Seiko Sports 5 on the wrist – leather strap

As I say, I just had to have it, if just for the reason of this particular colour scheme and that wonderful contrast and clarity, which is quite brilliant.  An exhibition back shows the innards and the outer bezel is a one direction affair, which is as it should be and all in – this is a great addition to my collection of Divers and recreational Diver watches.

And the thing about these Sports 5 models is that they are VERY affordable – something some other Brands should take note of – well made, tough, practical, easy to see, properly luminous, hand winding, hacking automatic movement – I mean – what’s not to like!

I won this one at auction and paid not far off the new retail price and happy to do so.  The reason of course is not just that they are so affordable, it’s more the model/vintage that dictates the value – and I’d pay that price all day long.

Classic Ladies LeCoultre

Classic LeCoultre –

Original LeCoultre ladies fancy bezel – c1954

However, this model is NOT the more popular and later Rendez-vous, which has a rotating bezel with a dot marker – a tricky marketing feature, where the Lady moves the bezel around the dial, denoting the number of hours to the “Rendez-vous”.

This is the earlier fixed fancy wide bezel version of around 1954 and without jewels, in 14 carat gold vintage cased LeCoultre in original untouched condition.  Inside is a manual LeCoultre signed movement, a silver dial, though now with aged patina and I’ve fitted a newer leather strap, as the old one fell to pieces.  It would appear that the previous Lady owner wore this pretty constantly.

Why I purchased this model was simply that you don’t often find an older LeCoultre ladies watch in such truly original condition, which for me, makes this rather special.  Date wise this is from around 1954 and this particular model (different strap) is listed in the Thirty-Eighth edition Complete Guide Watches, Gilbert, Engle & Planes.

The unique button markers are an integral part of the case and are situated surround the small original acrylic crystal covered dial.  I also noted the winder is original – so often these are replacements with watches of this age. The watch also runs perfectly and keeps very good time and according to my Wife, is neat to wear and a nice size.

I may end up managing a sympathetic clean and polish, but don’t really want to spoil the look of age and obviously a well loved watch, so the final decision has to be my Wife’s – and I think she likes it just as it is.

As with many auctions, this one was bought at a hammer price well below the US estimate, so I’m happy with it – plus the fact – where do you get another one and doesn’t it look good on the wrist.

 

Minimalist

In these times of Covid-19, “lock-downs” and general restrictions on our daily lives, unfortunately it can cause people to become really down and depression is too easy to set in.

Minimalist Shengke, Ultra thin, 30m Water Resistant, Creative, Quartz.

For me, to cheer myself up and others in the family, I thought maybe a little gift would not go amiss. This particular watch is just that AND it’s not expensive and can easily be found via Amazon, so can be posted to you directly without any issues at all.

This is the Shengke Creative watch, described as a ladies model, though at 40 mm diameter is a decent uni-sex size.  Just 8.5 mm depth, it’s also very slim.  Note the 20 mm fine leather buckle strap may be a little short for some larger wrists, but it fits mine perfectly at 6.5 inches circumference.  Of course, being a standard style of watch lug, it will be easy to replace with a longer strap if required.
It is described as minimalist, which is fair comment as there are no frills on this neat timepiece.  The dial uses a black disc with a cut out segment for the hours in white contrast.  The minute hand is bright and easily seen in yellow, so about as minimalist as you’d want.  The watch is said to be 30 m water resistance, though it has a snap back, so maybe a little caution might be in order there, but it certainly fits snug with that nice “snap”.

Shengke Creative in Black

Shengke Creative in white

Shengke Creative in red

The model comes in a few other colours, Black, White and red.

Shengke sk variant

Their web site shows quite a few variants, with minimalism and simplicity being the theme running through the range.  And for the price, these are what I call extremely neat fashion style watches, which to my mind are just the thing for a gift to cheer someone up. 

Now OK, these may not be super high quality movements and pretty standard fare Quartz, but let’s face it, these days most Quartz movements are darned good, technology having advanced so well now – and at the prices asked are not a bad deal.  In fact the quality of build is surprisingly good, the cases are an alloy construction and the finish is neat and smooth to the touch – so what’s not to like.

Anyway, the one I picked (Yellow) certainly cheered me up a bit – cost very little and definitely lifted some of the Covid gloom – so that can’t be bad – can it?

Shengke watches can be seen at Amazon UK

Breitling Aerospace – re-post!

Thought I’d re-post this after 20 years of ownership (first Posted in 2013, bought in 2000) in reference my Breitling Aerospace as a reminder of how good this old watch was and still is.

Just realised the other day that I’ve never actually posted about my favourite daily beater I’ve worn for the last 15 years.  My 1999 Breitling Aerospace Titanium that I bought when on business in Glasgow.  After some lunch I happened to be strolling past a jewellers and there it was and I simply loved it – went in with no hesitation and bought it.  And I still think it was and still is the best and most practical watch purchase I ever made.

1999 Aerospace - a classic

1999 Aerospace – a single crown chronograph classic

Now some folks think Breitling watches are big, flashy and cumbersome, but with this model nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s titanium, it’s very light and unlike many of today’s current crop, it’s very slim at just 9mm in depth and a case diameter of only 40mm.  With the matching titanium solid link bracelet it’s quite a combination.   It slips unobtrusively under a shirt for dress occasions but also is the business when it comes to everyday wear – AND it’s probably a statement too.  This particular version has a quite subtle dial green colour with high contrast numerals and markers.

On the wrist - perfect. After 15 years it needs a clean!!

Taken today – On the wrist – perfect.  After 15 years it needs a clean!!

Dial wise – Clarity is all with this watch – the date is the clearest to read of any watch I know with an excellent anti-reflection coated flat sapphire crystal – and slim hands with the so very clever extension of the minute hand over the centre pivot, which makes it so clear when reading the time – plus a nigh on perfect and understated luminous capability at night – it’s about as good as any watch can get in my opinion.  The top bezel is click set in two directions and is Titanium as the rest of the watch ensemble. ( Yikes! – these darned close ups – just noticed how dirty it is after 15 years of almost continuous wear ).

Titanium at it's best case and solid link (diver extendable) bracelet.

Titanium at it’s best case and solid link (diver extendable) bracelet.

The twin digital display is perhaps one of the clearest I’ve ever seen.  It is bright in all light conditions and has a built in fluorescence that makes the numerals stand out perfectly.  The lower display shows everything you need – either set as shown with Day and Date, Date and Seconds, or Seconds, Alarm time, Chronograph, Current or Dual Time and Timer – the upper display shows which feature is set.  I usually have it set as shown with Day and Date and rarely use the other features, though the Dual Time can be useful on holiday as can the Alarm though these days I prefer a vibration alarm however – the old hearing is going!

And this particular version is also what’s called a “minute repeater” – this provides a sonic indication of the hours and minutes simply by pressing on the crown, when the watch display is either showing the neutral (blank digitals) or the local time display, the seconds-date display or the day-date position.  Great when I bought it, but these days I don’t hear too well, so not such a great thing.  😦
Another aspect of this watch is the fact that even with all these functions, it only has a single crown, the operation of which has always been perfect.  The usual chronograph style pushers and buttons are quite superfluous and is the feature I prefer most over all other chronograph models.

I said that clarity was terrific on this watch and this is it shown against some of my other models as a comparison –

The clearest of them all!

I think the Breitling (left) – is the clearest of them all!

The Breitling on the left shows just how good the anti-reflection coating is and how clever the hands/display clarity actually is and note how the digits stand out – it always impresses me!  The Citizen Attesa in the centre another favourite  is also pretty good but none can compare when doing the quick glance and reading the date.

Another good point about this Aerospace – it’s actually gone up in value – so a good buy and a good investment.  Not that I’ll realise any profit of course ‘cos it ain’t for sale!  The profit for me is the sheer pleasure of wearing what has to be my favourite watch.

However, as with everything, there’s always something I find annoying.  With this watch, if it needs a battery change  (shown by the digits flashing), which on this model is well over 5 years I’ve found, Breitling recommend sending it to them.  But this is expensive, though in fairness I did this the first time it needed a battery and they changed the face and whatever else, cleaned it and so on, so perhaps was worth it.
But today (yesterday actually 10/05/2020) I simply snapped off the back, changed out the 977 battery, ensured the back was replaced with the correct positioning of the round depression inside the back plate above the battery, snapped the back on again, then reset the date, month, day, time etc.

And that is my annoyance.  The fact that the single crown is tricky to operate.  The Months adjust with a fast spin of the crown as do some other adjustments, others are with a slow turn and frankly the fast spin is very, very difficult to manage. This is done with the crown out, but even in this position there is very little to grip – so a fiddly thing to do – and I don’t like it! It’s easier if rub rub a finger along it to spin it quickly, but this does put undue sideways pressure on the spindle and I don’t like that either.  So not one of their best ideas.

But that said, fortunately, I shouldn’t have to do it again for another 5 years, so that’s the good part. Leap years have to be accounted for, but OK I can live with that.

Eco or Auto Diver?

I picked up this Promaster model some time ago, basically as an alternative to my old Seiko Orange Monster and as a mechanical automatic option to my older Citizen Eco-Drive Diver.  However, whatever the good or bad points regarding which power system is used, the most important feature for me is Clarity – ie – is it easy to read?  So, being very happy in that regard, with my “daily beater diver”, the Apeks Diver, I decided to compare them – to see how the Promaster stacked up.

This is the Citizen Promaster Automatic 200m Diver NY0400-17LE in blue.  First thing to say is, it is a superb looking watch.  First thing you notice is the position of the crown, to the 8 o’clock position.  Not quite sure of the logic of this.  I could understand it, if the crown was a pusher, like a stop-watch start button.  Then the right thumb could naturally operate it, assuming the watch was worn on the left wrist.  But this isn’t a pusher – it’s a crown.  In fact it’s a standard screw down, hands, day and date set crown, so the rationale for this position escapes me.  But it looks different and it doesn’t stick into the wrist – (often the excuse for the crown at the 3 or 4 o’clock position) – not that that’s ever been an issue on any watch I’ve owned.

Citizen Mechanical Automatic (no solar, no battery – just you)

Anyway, this model, despite the crown etc. appears to be a solid performer, looks really good, well balanced and very solid and very well made.  It features good large hands/markers and a decent contrast face with a centre seconds under a Hardlex Crystal , heavy well knurled uni-directional, screw down crown and back, 200m Water Resistance and a blue silicon diver’s strap.

But, it does have a few points that I’m not so keen on.

First, of course is that crown position, which seems wrong, for me at least.  Would it suit the left handed? – maybe it does.  But for me, I end up holding the watch upside down to adjust anything.  Which is awkward.  Case-wise, it looks great, really well constructed and finished to a high standard as you’d expect from Citizen.

Second niggle is legibility.

Comparison – Left – Citizen and right – Apeks (note the clarity of the Apeks date)

The dial, appears more heavily recessed in compared to the Apeks (though in fact it isn’t) and shows dark under normal light.  And yes, I know the sales picture seems fine (above).
But the actual photo image here on my desk, shows different – in most lights we have some dial shadow.  This is caused by the inner seconds ring sloping up against the dial wall, whereas the Apeks ring (also black) is flat on the dial itself, then with a reflective side wall as it were, which supports the crystal.  In daylight, the Apeks is simply clearer.

The dial background of the Citizen on the left is also reminiscent of a solar cell, which it isn’t, but has some patterning.  If you turn the watch to the light, you see the setting “sun glare” reflection from centre to edge – the image doesn’t show it too clearly here, though if you look carefully you can just see the “sun across the sea flare” between the 9 and 10, spreading out from the centre.  In some lighting, it is very noticeable which can make the watch tricky to read quickly.

If I now look at the markers, the Citizen has metalised edges, which is OK in the dark as it doesn’t affect the luminousity (which is brilliant), but in daylight, these being reflective, definitely hinder legibility.  I much prefer the matt contrast markers, without any edges.  Perhaps over embellishment.

And finally, the Citizen Day and Date window uses a rather thin white font against a black background – when it’s an optical fact, this combination is not as easy to read as black on white!

And the final point for me and nothing to do with reading the time – is the strap.  The Citizen original blue one, has the “waves” on both sides and OK I accept it’s supposed to be a Diver’s watch and us designed to grip a wet suit.

But, let’s face it, most of these models are targeted at the recreational user and not strictly for professional diving – the active holidays customers.  So, as a recreational user myself, it’s not as comfortable as the Apeks, which has allowed for this with flattened waves on the inner surface against the wrist.  Seems ironic to me, as the Apeks (a Diving Company) actually do make watches for professional divers.
Note – In the second image showing both watches, I have changed the Citizen strap for a black cut down Apeks and for me it’s now much better for comfort and indeed proportion.
Of course I’m just doing what many Divers do when using a watch of this type – they modify them to suit their purposes, but as always and don’t get me wrong – it’s still a lovely watch, but for me, personally it’s not my ultimate choice.

What this does show, though is that whichever power sourced watch you prefer and have decided to get, it is often really quite difficult to tick all the boxes in one model.  You invariably have to compromise, which is just how it is.

And what about Eco or Auto? – and maybe the true reason for my Post.

Quartz battery, Eco-Drive solar, hybrid Kinetic and so on, despite being modern technological ideas, in comparison to the old bumper mechanical “self wind” technology, actually seem somewhat lacking in practical terms.  Maybe a case of technology for technology’s sake?

And in fact, the one redeeming and great feature about this Citizen and the real reason for buying it, is the sensible, tough and solid performance of the Mechanical Automatic movement, which at the end of the day is VERY difficult to beat!

No reliance on electronics (modules, step motors and the like) no outside influences required, no chargers or batteries!  All it needs basically is – YOU!

Simply take it out of the drawer, shake it a couple of times, stick it on your wrist and you’re in business – period.  You can wear it in the day time or at night, nice luminous hands and markers means you can actually read the thing at any time.  If it has good water resistance, then don’t worry about water and don’t worry about a few knocks, as in the case of the Diver or Recreational model – these are very well built.

It has to be said again – that fact that only “outside” or “exterior” energy source required – is you.  Just you.  Isn’t that ridiculously clever?

In fact, to be honest, I have many Automatics in my collection and have display cases full of them, vintage automatics going back many more years than I care to remember – and every darned one of them works almost instantly, as you pick them up.  Sometimes many years after their last use.  As I say – difficult to beat!

So, nothing new, I hear you say and whilst I agree – it is factually surprisingly, that the old self-winding mechanical Automatic is often quite unknown among the young of today.

They are so in tune with iPhones and iPads and Android this and that – and all being accepted, would you believe, with pathetic battery life.  Of course this is the new world of easy power on tap, instant communications and availability of knowledge and the all pervading Internet and so on – but all of it, however, requiring external power sourcing. . . . and maybe frightening too in this world of AI, not actually reliant on you – at all . . . . and that seems a little scary?

And what happens when the power is not there?  Cyber attacks, Internet service denials, Nuclear pulse effects and goodness knows what else.

Doesn’t bear thinking about? and kids, and most youngsters today don’t – think about it – at all!

Anyway, enough of my little rant – I’m not going to go into that subject anymore, except in the context of watches.  Independent power, or energy produced by my wrist movement seems an idea that will continue, I hope, for a long, long  time yet.  Maybe we should power other devices from the wrist or legs – true kinetics perhaps.  Not charging batteries or accumulators though – as for me, these are a fundamental weakness in comparison to what can be almost friction less mechanical devices.

Anyway, back to my nice Citizen Day AND Date Diver – It’s a Mechanical Automatic – did I mention that?  It features the Calibre 8203 Japan movement to be precise and it’s a nice 40mm diameter, so not a large watch.  It’s 200m rated, so fine for scuba diving or swimming and most other recreational water activities.

So, just another Diver style watch?  Well maybe so, but this is a mechanical Automatic and it works for you and because of you –

and today, that’s a good thing, right?

Longines vintage

Another Longines vintage watch from the 1950’s.

Longines fancy lug 1950’s watch

This midsize 30mm diameter, manual wind 23ZS 17 jewel movement model with it’s amazing fancy lugs is one of my favourites.  The lugs are much more substantial than many of this type, being very solid.  The D&A watch case is nicely polished in 14K filled Gold, and the dial has a black face with an inset machined inner, the hour, minute and centre seconds hands in matching gold, as are the applied arrowhead markers.  A Gold filled snap back cover and a size 18 black lizard leather strap completes the item.

Longines Calibre 23ZS centre seconds sweep.

Quite an expensive watch of it’s day and the 23ZS movement one of their great calibres, with 18000 a/h and a Power Reserve of 44 hours, this model is ticking away, keeping very good time after 65 years.  A darned sight more efficiently than I am!

I note this model has a snap back/base which when removed still holds the movement within it. To remove the movement it entails further and careful prying apart from the case base. I have not removed the movement here as I don’t wish to disturb it, but I show a image from a web source.

Model entry in Shugarts Complete Price Guide Edition 38.

Note – This model was one of a series and this version is featured on page 918 of the “2018 Complete Price Guide to Watches” Edition 38 by Gilbert, Planes, Engle, Gilbert & Shugart.  The other model shown is the sub-seconds version, with diamond markers.

The watch is in very good condition, possibly refurbished to some extent over the period and the movement shows some tarnishing, but not enough to cause any issues.  It keeps pretty decent time showing perhaps a minute slow near the end of it’s power reserve of 44 hours.  The crown is a little stiff, but other than that, a very nice addition to my vintage Longines collection.

My “everyday” chalk & cheese?

For the last 21 years, since 1999 my “everyday watch” has been my old Quartz Titanium Breitling Aerospace, basically as it has the features I use most.  Very easy to read, owing to it’s overhung minute hand and dial layout, plus it’s remarkable luminous quality (especially with narrow hands), a very clear digital Day and Date display, extreme comfort, good water resistance and excellent time keeping with Auto calendar function.  It’s neat size is another bonus (unlike current models) and just 9mm thick.  So what’s not to like?  Plus it has other hidden functions, which I really never use and I’m very happy with it.  Battery life around 5 or 6 years.

Breitling Aerospace 1999 Great “Daily Beater”.

But I thought just for fun, I’d have a look again at what constitutes a true everyday watch , this time with a bias towards the ubiquitous “recreational”  or “diver like” models, because these mostly provide features I’d consider what an everyday watch should have, often as standard.

Most are tough built, easy to read and with a decent water resistance to a bit more than a few splashes from the kitchen sink.  Plus you can see the time at night – so good luminosity is a definite.  A model you can confidently strap on your wrist, whatever you’re doing and don’t look out of place even at dinner and know it will be just fine, whatever is thrown at it – and still look good.  A jack of all trades, if you will!

Now, from a personal viewpoint, I’m avoiding those larger and sometimes over-macho models, as I have a small to medium wrist and if it’s too big, then it can look silly, which makes me look the same.  Some of the recreational styles can be over-sized in the misconception that more features is good.  And for everyday wear, it really isn’t.  Think more of what you actually need and be honest.

Looking through my own collection of over 140 watches now, I didn’t have to look far as my “other” everyday model is one of my favourites – the very affordable Apeks 200m Diver Pro (at UNDER £100).  This was and still is offered by the Apeks Diving Company, known for their diving breathing apparatus mostly, but as a watch choice, have got it just about right.

On the wrist in standard strap – best fit I have and great “Daily” watch.

This is a Quartz model.  It is also very easy to read and the dial diameter and layout is good – giving the right separation of luminous markers on a matt background, which makes night reading really good, coupled with excellent luminous features.  It also has a Date AND Day, which is a useful everyday feature.  The watch is a neat size too, only 10.5mm thick, smooth stainless case, 44mm diameter incl’ crown, screw down protected crown and a superb polyurethane strap – flat on the inside against the wrist, so it VERY comfortable.  The watch back is also very flat. The uni-directional bezel has good knurl definition, so very easy to use.
In fact this is one of the few watches I’ve ever come across, that for me has no faults at all – nothing!

I found another “diver” style watch, an old favourite at the time – the very neat Citizen BN0000.04 Eco-Drive Promaster 300m Divers’ Watch, which I have owned for more years than I care to mention.  It differs from the Apeks, as it’s Eco-Drive, 300m Water Resistance, but it’s not in the same league for clarity – in that the solar sensor face is glossy, the hands and markers slightly too close for quick glance reading, especially at night (even though luminosity is good).  The Date window is a little small, the bezel ( an aluminium insert) is not as knurled as I would like and slopes away from the dial, so is not that easy to use (possibly gloves may give a better grip).

Citizen 300m Diver – decent “Daily Beater” too?

And, of course it’s Eco-Drive, so relies on solar energy (and why it resides near the window), which for me, to some extent is a drawback.  After all – I live in Scotland, where sun is in short supply and it’s always cold, which means the watch is almost exclusively UNDER my sleeve.  Now whilst Citizen say that once fully charged the watch should perform for 6 months, I’ve never chanced it.  But and I kid you not, it’s easy to forget how long it has NOT been in good light under normal wear, bearing in mind mostly under my sleeve.  But Hey!  It’s still a good everyday watch, though I’m sure there are better today. 

So I’ve come to the conclusion, for me, that battery Quartz (3 to 6 years), is OK as long as you accept if the battery dies, it’s bound to do it when you least expect it! But my personal preference, has to be the tried and tested mechanical Self-Winding Automatic, as it’s always ready and if worn, keeps going as long as you do!   😉

NEWS FLASH – I found in another display box, hidden under another etc. etc. a very smart blue Citizen Pro-Master NY0040-17E which does actually sport a mechanical Automatic movement and I intend to feature it very soon.  I thought? I had one of these, but unable to find it before this Post, was written . . . . So, more later . . . . .

Now I know someone will mention “kinetic”, but suffice to say, these are just not for me. (another story).

But, back to my quest.  Let’s look at what else is around today in that “recreational or Diver Style” that might fit as my everyday watch.

The first one I like the look of, for no other reason, that it has a very clean look, is the Szanto HLI Dive Watch.  A model I confess to never having heard of before.

Szanto HLI Dive Watch. Clear easy read 43mm Diameter.

Like the Apeks, it’s Quartz, also 200m Water Resistance, Date only (personally I prefer day and date), but a nice readable size.  Slightly larger case 43mm diameter (crown extra) and I believe a little thicker, so I’d really have to see one in the flesh as it were, as for me, size is very important (yes, I know, I’ve heard the jokes!!!)  It also has a uni-directional bezel, with K1 hardened Mineral Crystal and a tough stainless case.

But I like the look of it’s uncluttered face, should mean it’s an easy reader with it’s large markers.  I like the second hand lume DOT, which is always a nice touch.  The strap looks substantial without any over macho look.

However, in comparison with the Apeks it’s over double the price at around the £195 mark.

The next I’ve seen is the Orient FAA02003B9, again described as a Diver, though to me recreational is more acceptable and it is also 200m described.  This is the black version with a 22mm deployment bracelet.  The stainless steel case of 43mm diameter (ex crown) by 13mm thickness, so quite chunky.

Orient FAA0200 series 5D9 black 200m Diver

This watch, however is not quartz, but a self wind mechanical Automatic Japan F699 22 jewel movement and for me this is quite a good thing and perhaps even a plus.  It’s always ready for action (no battery requirement) and as long as you wear it, it runs.

I have heard reports that whilst it can be manually wound, some say it’s as good as it should be, but without first hand knowledge I can’t comment.  All I can say is that I have many automatic models with manual winding if required and I’ve never had any issues, ever.

It also has Day and Date, which I like, the window big enough to make reading easy and the dial is uncluttered too, again a good feature.  Big luminous hands and markers, so easy read.  Whether a bracelet is your thing or not, being a standard fit, an alternative strap or a Nato job is easy to source and fit.

I also note that, as with a number of Orient watches, whilst the movement is Japan made, the case is Chinese.  This seems to be an issue for some, though I’m perfectly fine with that and Orient themselves are quite open about it.  But let’s not get into the Chinese made component argument – find the completed product without an Asian reference is a tall order indeed, today.  (I even have an expensive vintage IWC watch and it’s case was made in Hungary!)
Anyway, the Orient is a nice watch and it can be purchased for around £180 on the Web and it just about fits the everyday watch requirement pretty well.

So, just two or three recreational Diver style models available at reasonable prices – that might meet the everyday description and there are plenty more.

The trick is to get one that’s not too big, it’s easy to read, day or night, has no gimmicky functions, can be used for the odd swim, tells you the time at a glance and for me, the date AND the Day is very useful and looks good (when you’re retired you never remember what darned day it is).  😉

Personally I like the Apeks, as it provides me personally with all I need and at a really good price.  It also has original replacement straps available, should I ever need one, but it’s nice to see.

What does seem amazing to me though, is that the two watches I wear most, may indeed be “chalk & Cheese”, but both provide my everyday requirements fully and yet are poles apart, price-wise!  But as always, it’s rarely price that determines your wrist companion, but whether it meets your personal requirement – and in this case, both manage exactly that function.
Differently, yes, but perfectly too.

I also reckon I’m pretty fortunate to have my old 1999 Aerospace, as today Breitling models are too big, too brash, and too expensive.  And the Apeks is it’s perfect companion and that suits me.  I don’t think that how much I trawl current offerings, I’ll not be changing any time soon!