Pro Trek Triple & neater

The new range of updated Casio Pro Trek Triple Sensor v3 are around now in a whole pile of colors, which is nice, but for me the best bit of news is that these models are just that little bit smaller than the older ones, or certainly neater.

Casio Pro Trek PRG-300-1A2 series ABC models in eye catching colros.

Casio Pro Trek PRG-300-1A2 series ABC models in eye catching colors.

Personally I don’t get carried away by the optional colors, as like cars, certain colors suit, others don’t.  In the case of the models here I find that some colors, certainly in close up just make the watch look “plasticky” whilst others look great.  A personal choice I know, but care should be taken of the overall look and the different display characteristics, positive/negative and so on regarding clarity.

PRG-300-1A2 in black//blue with great display (best one imo)

PRG-300-1A2 in black//blue with great display (best one imo).

Neat case at 47mm width with smoother control/sensors

Neat case at 47 mm width with smoother control/sensors.

Neat control buttons.

Neat control buttons.

As with so many of these Casio multi-function models however the strap is resin (note that the entire case appears to be resin now as opposed to a resin shroud).  And the strap has these (blue here) plastic extenders, that annoy me intensely.  The overall case at 56 mm lug to lug, the watch is still quite wide for average wrists and imo these don’t help that situation at all.

Not much in the way of changes to the technical specification (how easy it is to say that now . . . ), but that’s a fact- so just cosmetic alterations, little case changes and so on, but nevertheless resulting in a smoother, slightly neater watch overall – and for me that’s a good thing.

They say change is a good thing – NOT a sentiment I take lightly here in the UK (or what’s left of it) since today we awoke to realize we’d chucked out the EU concept.  Got fed up with unelected and in power Brussels EU bureaucrats saying what we could or could not do as a Country (and getting worse), who have a different agenda to our National one . . . .

I mean when the outgoing President of a protectionist nation has the temerity to TELL us what we should do, followed by a whole gaggle of other egocentric and self interested nonentities (often paid by the EU) – it sort of gets your back up – the result was never in doubt – What can I say?

So we’re going it alone –

Wow!

(Sorry about that, but Hey – sometimes you’ve just got to say . . . . .)

Worth waiting for . . .

At last a watch (two actually) that’s worth waiting for – and that’s unusual in my experience, as today it seems there’s too many “same” models around.  And as I’ve always had a soft spot for Junghans watches from Germany, I don’t mind waiting a few months for the new Meister Driver Handaufzug (manual wind) which is also one of the most elegant models I’ve seen in a long time.

Junghans Meister Driver Hand winding

Junghans Meister Driver hand winding – from Germany.

This is a stainless steel cased model with dimensions of just 37.7 mm diameter (such a sensible size) and a height of just 7.3 mm, so a very sleek and elegant model indeed.

The crystal is made from slightly domed plexiglass with a SICRALAN coating, a screwed back with a mineral crystal exhibition window to the rear.  The dial is a rather beautiful polished lacquer with a sunburst effect finish and the dial markings and hands are in environmentally friendly Super Luminova material, to give excellent night vision.

The movement is the J815.1 hand-winding version, based on the Calibre ETA 7001 from Peseux, which should have a Power Reserve of around 44 hours.

Peseux Calibre 7701

Junghans J815.1 – Peseux Calibre 7701

A sub-dial @6 shows running Seconds and to complete the tonal match of dial, the strap is calfskin with stainless steel buckle and the overall watch has a water Resistance of 3 bar.

In all a most elegant watch and I love the fact that the dial contrast is really good and night reading has not been forgotten (so often dress models omit this feature).

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The second “worth waiting for” model I feature is also a Meister Driver – the Chronoscope.  This features the Automatic Calibre J880.3 with chronograph complication and is also cased in stainless steel, though with slightly larger dimensions at 40.8 mm Diameter and 12.6 mm height.  Chronograph functions are operated by two pushers either side of the main crown.  However by today’s standards a neat and elegant watch size.

Junghans Meister Chronoscope Automatic

This model features a sand coloured two tone lacquer dial, 2 x centre-line horizontal chrono’ sub-dials and a centre seconds sweep hand.  Once again numerals and hands feature Super-luminova coatings for optimum clarity at night and dial contrast is excellent.  A brown leather strap and buckle and 30 m Water Resistance complete the ensemble.

Here in the UK both models are still on pre-order basis with availability sometime in September 2016 and are for me a breath of fresh air in this market at the moment, which seem to comprise so many models that are perhaps short on looks.  The Junghans Meister series certainly buck the trend and the latest ones featured here, very much so and as I say worth waiting for.

Price-wise the hand-winding model is to be around £1000 mark and the Automatic a little more expensive at around £1700.  For such classic and elegant models this seems not too big a price I have to say and I’m sure will generate a lot of interest.

Which one?  For me I think the Meister Driver Handaufzug I think is my preference, simply because it is so elegantly simple.  I’m not really a chronograph person and the smaller diameter and height gives it a sleekness on the wrist that I’m sure will suit me and my style.

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Monster!

The other day I was visiting a friend and happened to be wearing my Seiko Monster, as I often do as I like it, so I wear it.  He noticed it and said that it rather paled into insignificance against his latest purchase.  I was intrigued and also somewhat blown away too, as he slipped back his sleeve and I got my first sight of his amazing Vostok-Europe Lunokhod 2.  Wow!

6205205 Vostok-Europe Lunokhod II LE with Tritium

6205205 Vostok-Europe Lunokhod II LE with Tritium

Well I had to agree with his claim as it out “monstered” my monster by a fair margin!  Very large and very impressive, especially as he’d gone for the bright yellow version plus the yellow silicon strap.  He bought it he tells me, just because he loved the look of it and I can understand that, as I’ve done it myself on many occasions.

Now whether he’ll keep it is another story, but I have to admit it is an impressive piece of kit.  Comes with 2 straps, one leather and one silicon ( I have seen it advertised with 3) and a fancy snap closure carrying case, so lots of goodies, but what’s the watch really like and is it any good?

Striking model in yellow with leather strap alternative (supplied)

Striking model in yellow with leather strap alternative (supplied)

Initial observations for me are firstly is the size at 49 mm diameter and approx 17 mm thickness, because not everyone will be able to wear it and look good and also I note the Day indicator (a segmented sub-dial @12), is small and could cause problems reading it (but that’s maybe just me).  Perhaps of more concern is the Seconds indicator, a sub-dial segment @6, as it features a 60 secs fly-back hand, so I have to wonder about longevity.
However dial visibility seems pretty good despite the configuration, and the use of embedded Tritium Light Tubes on the main hands and Tube markers is commendable, and whilst I’m not totally convinced by the vertical positioning of the markers (upright “candle holders” I’ve heard them called), though it’s suggested there’s more light spread across the dial.

6205205 Tritium Light Source - view in darkness.

6205205 Tritium Light Source – view in darkness.

The rest of the specification is pretty decent – solid 316L Stainless Steel case, 3.5 mm thick Hardened K1 mineral crystal, the Swiss made bespoke Soprod TM36.03VE quartz-movement, that 31 day Chronograph, Dual time zone, Countdown Timer from 12 hrs and from 31 day, Retrograde Perpetual Calendar, Quick set Date, 300M Water Resistance, automatic Helium Release Valve and a 3 year Guarantee.

Very impressive though and my friend was right and he’s delighted, as he should be with his new purchase.  Do I want one?  Well I would normally say not for me as it’s really too big and I’ve never been a fan of fly-back anythings.  And the price by the way is somewhere around 750 Euros I understand, so quite expensive and I would have to compare that against some of the Casio offerings, so . . . .

However it is a refreshing change to the Casios of this world and Vostok-Europe have a few other models that might interest me.

Take the Vostok-Europe model 6204212  Lunokhod II Grand Chronograph.

Vostok-Europe Lunokhod II Grand Chronograph

Vostok-Europe Lunokhod II Grand Chronograph

for example.  Now this is a more conventional Quartz model but with all the standard Lunokhod features – such as the 30ATM Water Resistance, solid SS case (black PVD) plus an Anti-Reflective coated K1 crystal and a 1/20th Second Chronograph function.  The pushers however on this model are more familiar to me as they are on the right side of the case, not the left.  A decent size Date window @4 and a centre sweep Seconds hand (which I find more useful than fly-back).

Grand Chronograph with Tritium Light Source illumination.

Grand Chronograph with Tritium Light Source illumination.

This is also a very impressive affair and maybe more to my taste (well that’s what I thought when I started this Post, but now maybe not so sure!) – but there again it’s still big – but is it a purchase stopper?   Well – for any one the quite extensive range I might be tempted . . . . . and this one priced at around 665 Euros is getting closer.

But whatever you might think price and feature wise, these are pretty good efforts from Vostok-Europe and will definitely be on any future check list. And if you’re often in wet situations (I think of 6 months in Scotland!) then the 300M Water Resistance must be an attractive feature if nothing else.

I really quite like them, but for now I’ll strap on my Seiko “not such a monster after all” – in fact it’s quite elegant when I think about it – it really is . . . .

Seiko "Orange Monster"

Seiko “Orange Monster”

One for the Ladies

Every so often I come across a watch that makes me sit up and notice.  And this is especially true of late as this time my interest is piqued by a Ladies watch – a subject so often neglected on watch web sites.  Indeed I featured a Ladies watch not long ago, which I confess I was quite tempted to wear myself – but this one is smaller, very much a ladies size and affordable.
Nevertheless it caught my interest for two reasons.  First it is a rather elegant and colorful model and it features a mechanical movement, not quartz.  It also comes from Japan Seiko and
whilst many tend to lump Seiko in with the rest of the quartz revolution Brands, this is rather unfair as they manufacture a wide range of excellent mechanical watches.

Seiko Lukia ladies Automatic - with Swarovski elements

Seiko Lukia ladies Automatic – with Swarovski elements

This is the Seiko Lukia (Ladies) Automatic (with Swarovski elements) model – SSVM018.

A smart lugged Gold plated two tone case of 34.3 mm diameter and just 11 mm depth surrounds a dial set up that is both colorful and elegant.  I particularly like the different colors for the fancy numerals used and the excellent contrast, which ensures good visibility.  A Date window @3 is clear and highlighted cleverly by the gold colored surround and white background.  The Swarovsky colored crystal highlights are additional and between the 5 minute markers.

Excellent Lumi Bright hands and markers

Excellent Lumi Bright hands and markers

Note the dot markers are coated in Lumi Bright and the elegant shaped hands are in-filled with the same luminous material, which is highly effective at night.  This in itself is unusual for what is after all a Ladies dress watch, but very welcome in my opinion.  There is also a center seconds hand – another feature often missed on Ladies models.

The crystal is Sapphire, so no need to worry about scratches and there is also a mineral see though glass on the back to view the movement.  The movement is the Seiko 4R35, 24 jewel Automatic with both hand winding and a hack function.  Power Reserve is 41 hours.

Elegant, colorful and affordable - the Seiko Lukia

Elegant, colorful and affordable – the Seiko Lukia SSVM018

The watch also has a decent 10 ATM or 100 m Water Resistance.

The matching two tone deployment bracelet has a maximum wrist capacity of 170 mm, so careful note of that fact is important (my Wife would manage that – just) and the watch retails for approximately $340, so as I said, it is affordable and for what you get I think it pretty decent value.

So another Ladies watch to feature here – this could be a regular occurrence if they keep producing models like this – and that’s refreshing in that Ladies are not being forgotten about after all.

We could see more . . . . .

Radio Times

A small collection of Solar and Radio Control models all featuring similar functions with the exception of the far left Citizen Satellite model.  Whilst it receives a Radio signal too, it’s from a satellite orbiting the Earth and not a ground based transmitter.  I just love a Radio group photo as they all show the exact same time!

And the time is - the same on every darned one!

And the time is – the same on every darned one – Exactly!

Forgotten the prices now, without looking them up when I got them, but I know the dearest is on the far left and the cheapest in on the far right.  But they all have pretty much the same accuracy. The Citizen Satellite model however has the most accurate quartz movement, out of the box, without any synchronization, but give them light (yes they are all Solar Powered) and automatically pick up a signal every day – they all read the same time – precisely.

In fact you could set your watch by them!   🙂

Note the smallest watch in the group is the light dial Casio LCW-170 at just over 39 mm diameter.  It is also the slimmest at around 9 mm depth.

Don’t ask which one I prefer because I like them all.  They each do exactly what they’re supposed to do and do it very well.  I have no issues with any of them and they are proudly what I call – my Estate models – that is they will be here long after I’ve gone and no doubt someone else will have the pleasure of owning and wearing them.

But just not yet!

Classic Radio from Casio

There’s no doubt that watches are becoming very sophisticated and with many functions that the old mechanical models can’t match.  Though one of the issues some folks have is that these new-fangled quartz/solar models are somewhat removed from more traditional models. (think of ‘G’ Shocks and ABC models).

However that is actually not the case as the two models featured here illustrate.

Casio LCW-170TD-7AER Titanium Radio Control

Casio LCW-170TD-7AER
Titanium Radio Control

First is the Casio LCW-M170TD-7AER which looks pretty classic to anyone’s eye.  But it is one of these highly technical models that we take as the “norm” these days.  This one though is Analog with an Hour and Minute hand, centre seconds hand plus a small digital window that can show different functions, but can be set simply as the Day and the Date, which let’s face it, is about the most any of us actually use.

The technical functions are Solar power, so no battery required – it also has Radio Control, so it always reads the correct time with Atomic Clock accuracy.  It also sports World Time, so it can correct itself in 29 Time Zones throughout the world.  It is a smart watch no doubt and despite the technology it’s easy to use.

This particular version is Titanium cased, which I prefer for a couple or three reasons.   It is not shiny (apart from the top bezel, which annoys me slightly), it is a brushed finish and it is incredibly light at around 77 gms.  Unlike stainless steel polished cases this one does not show scratches and I’ve found over the years with other Ti watches, the Titanium takes on a lovely overall smooth finish which is rather pleasing.

The electronic Module used in this model is the 5161 and it is used in a few Casio RC models.  Not quite in the same league as my GPS Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, but it works very well and has a good reputation.  Whilst Solar Powered and as everyone says – you don’t need a battery, it actually does have one.  It’s a CTL920 rechargeable capacitor/battery, so don’t be tempted to fit a standard battery with similar dimensions!
That’s not to say that if it gave up the ghost for whatever reason (rare indeed) you can’t change them, because you can and they are available from a good few battery suppliers.  Although Casio say you should contact them for replacement, this is perhaps precautionary and for those who have no wish to delve into the back of a watch or maybe have sausages for fingers, rather than any technical reason.

This model has a neat size of almost 40 mm diameter and just 9 mm depth so is slim on the wrist.  The crystal is Sapphire so won’t scratch easily, though it doesn’t have anti-reflection coatings applied, which I would prefer to see as the almost white dial may not be as matte as would like.  However on balance the hands have decent infill luminous properties and I have no great issues with reading the dial in most light situations.

This model has a relatively modest Water Resistance at 50 m, so wet days, helping your wife do the washing up and showers are OK as indeed is the odd swim – just don’t start snorkeling.

Overall I like this watch, its color scheme makes it dressy rather than sporty, so looks good for evening wear.  It’s also in my “get it & forget it” category and very, very easy to live with.
Full review – coming soon . . . .

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Casio LCW-M180D-7AER

Casio LCW-M180D-7AER

The second model I’m featuring is the LCW-M180D-7AER from Casio, which sports the same Module 5161 so technically the same, but this one is in Stainless Steel and whilst is has the light color dial it is configured slightly differently.  Numbers 12 and 6 are represented by Roman Numerals and all numerals, markers and hands are in Gold tone against an off white coloured dial background.

Whilst this might look quite rich or upmarket I always find with gold color hands, clarity is often an issue and in poor light I personally find them hard to make out.  The luminous infill of the hands is similar though perhaps a little narrow, but I would judge night vision should be acceptable.
The case however has a slightly different profile, Stainless Steel with a quite shiny finish, so may be too easy to show scratches.  The bracelet is also in stainless steel and in a more pleasing link pattern than the LCW170.  Note the Water Resistance is unchanged at 50 m.

Being Stainless Steel this model is some 40 gms heavier at 118 gms, though if it’s an issue you could lighten it considerably by easily changing to silicon or a leather strap as both models have a 20mm standard spring-bar fitting.

As I said the operating Module is the same as are the functions, so it’s a personal choice on looks more than anything else.  Both models are available in alternative versions such as black dial and positive or negative digital displays.

For me personally, although I do like the look of the 180 and the fact is I’m looking for a light coloured dial anyway, I still have the feeling that I’d live more comfortably with the 170 Titanium version.  Firstly owing to the finish and the light weight and secondly the dial has simple markers and a better hand contrast v the slightly lighter background. As readers of this site well know by now, clarity is a personal issue of mine and that Gold color just doesn’t quite do it for me.

So there you have it.  Two models, same Module, same amazing functions, yet cosmetically different enough to attract different buyers with different preferences.  Both very Classic in their overall appearance and both functionally very good.

These can be bought for between £180 and £230 here in UK and Europe, the case material being the major difference (Titanium being more expensive) and for that money the functions are pretty spectacular, yet refined.  (I also like the fact that both models are not resin/metal hybrids this time, though that said Casio hybrids are great value for money).

But these two are certainly not any old Day Date models and already are best sellers and I expect them to be so for quite some time yet.

Module 5161 – Casioqw5161LCWM170

Favorites

Favorites – one of those words that can mean so many things to so many people, is also a term that has the sometimes fascinating and equally annoying habit of changing.  And that my friends can also be an expensive change, especially it is has been a “bought” favorite, such as in a watch collection.

I have two favorites at the moment and both are at the upper end of watchmaking.   The first one, and you may find this odd, is a Ladies model and whilst I’m not much into decorated watches myself – if I were, then this might well tempt me greatly.  Correction – it tempts me anyway!

The Ladies Chronograph Large Date

The Ladies Chronograph Large Date

This is the Ladies Chronograph Large Date (3626-2954-58A) with a white mother-of-jewel dial to showcase an unusual articulated twin chronograph display sub-dials in the lower segment dial.  The sub pointers are in red Gold.  The upper segment has a full dial @12 in Roman Numerals. Segments are delineated by the wave of brilliant-cut-set diamonds with 17 graduated diamonds in each side.  All set against the white colored Mother-of-Pearl dial within which also sits the twin half moon double Date Window @6 plus a center seconds hand.
Chronograph functions are operated by the two right hand pushers.  The surrounding bezel is fully complimented by a series of 40 matched gems and the complete ensemble is created within a decent size 18ct Red Gold 38.6 mm wide case with a white Ostrich leather strap.

The case features an exhibition back via which you can view Blancpain’s in-house mechanical self-winding movement – Calibre 26F8G, which is made up of 495 parts including the rather splendid petal-created oscillating weight.  It also has a Power Reserve of 40 hours and is Water-Resistant to 30 meters.

I often see blinged up diamond encrusted Rolex models on many a wrist at all the best functions, but this is something rather special and I for one would be very pleased to wear it myself, Ladies or not!  I simply don’t care – I like it!

My next favorite is from another slightly lesser “name” brand, though is probably more popular by way of price point.  This is the Cartier Ronde Croisier model.  This is a Gents watch this time and is what is referred to as elegant casual, which pretty much sums it up and it is certainly more affordable perhaps than the Blancpain.

Cartier Ronde Croisier

Cartier Ronde Croisier

No bling or decoration on this one and for Cartier it’s also a nice departure from their standard Ronde style and results in a more modern refreshing look and yet managed with style.

Unusually for a Time and Date only watch it sports skeleton hands, a feature usually only associated with multi-dial models to prevent the sub-dials being obstructed.  Even the center seconds hand has a skeleton circle tip as opposed to a spot.  Not being filled in of course means no luminosity here.  The outer bezel has a Diver look but is fixed.  Basically this adds presence and balance so that overall the watch is very clear to read and looks “right”.

I like the fact this model is really slim at just 9.7 mm and yet is 42mm wide with short lugs, which means small wrists are easily catered for and the watch sits flat on the wrist.  The steel bezel is ADLC coated with inlaid 15/30/45 & 60 numerals and is matte black smooth material.  The movement is the Cartier Calibre 1874 MC Automatic beating at 4Hz, which has a Power Reserve of around 42 hrs.  It also has a decent 100 metres Water Resistance and a black calfskin leather canvas look strap.

The cabuchon insert crown is classic and overall the watch oozes class and certainly has that classic Cartier elegance set within a modern look (so that’s two Cartier models I really like – the other being the Cartier Solo in quartz).

So two favorites – a Blancpain for the Ladies that I reckon I’d love to wear if I had £20,000 to spare and a Cartier that I’d definitely wear at around £3300 can’t be bad.

Says it all really . . . . .  but I have GOT to start saving – I really have . . .

🙂