Day Date survivors?

One of the most popular watch styles is the Day Date and yet it is hardly ever marketed with any great fanfare.  But it’s no accident that many of the very best Makers have Day Dates in their range as they know that to so many people, it is the perfect wrist assistant.

They tell you the Time, the Date and the Day, the three most pertinent and popular functions of the wristwatch.   They also are available at very affordable prices.  There are Solar, Kinetic and Quartz, Manual wind mechanicals of all sorts of shapes and sizes, but for me the old classic mechanical Automatic is still around, is in good supply and still fun to own.  That feeling of cogs and wheels and springs and things – ticking along on your wrist – no electronics, no touch screen, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi and no Internet – but self contained and still a true mechanical technical marvel.

It’s really difficult to beat – no battery, no light requirement and with mechanics that can easily with the movement of your wrist, outlast you.  Mind you if you suddenly “snuff” it, your watch, after a decent interval, perhaps out of respect will also stop!  But it only sleeps – waiting till the next live person comes along and suddenly it’s ticking away – recording time as it was made to do – something a bit science fiction about that and maybe even a bit surreal!  In fact if you think about it – you are simply the custodian of the mechanical watch . . . .

Citizen Eco-Drive Day Date watch - 100m Water Resistance too.

Citizen Eco-Drive Day Date watch – 100m Water Resistance too.

Anyway I feature a few different models here – The first is one of the relatively few Solar powered ones around – from Citizen.

It’s good as it too never needs a battery, it shows the Time, the Date and the Day.  Those three can be adjusted very easily using the crown as it has traditional geared analog hands display.  It will however need to see a decent light source sometimes as with any Solar model, but basically it’s a set and forget watch and it’s very affordable.

The next images feature a few of the Day and Date Automatic models I’ve found and these can be from Dress styles to Divers and all have a common feature – very easy to use.  And of course being automatic, they require nothing from you, except for you to wear them.

Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Auto Day date

Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Auto Day date

A great feature of the Automatic (and I’ve already mentioned it) is that it doesn’t have a battery,  it doesn’t require a light source and setting Time Zones or Summer Times is so very uncomplicated (so many specialist watches make a real song and dance about it).
Here it’s just a case of, crown out, move hands, crown in – job done.   No instruction booklets or prodigious memory required for what can often be a hugely over-complicated push button sequence.

Maybe this is a more apt description of an ABC watch!  Because it’s as simple as A, B, C!

Tissot DS1 Auto Day Date

Tissot DS1 Auto Day Date

Certina DS1 Auto Day Date

Certina DS1 Auto Day Date

There are other watches of course that can show the Time, Day and Date plus many other functions, but frankly these are often complicated should you wish to use these functions, such as, as I said changing Time Zones.  But that said there are a few today that overcome some of these limitations. Radio Controlled and GPS models can, used correctly, show the correct Time and Zones and the latest models have tried hard to reduce required command functions should changes be required.

Victorinox Officers Day Date Auto

Victorinox Officers Day Date Auto

But for me the mechanical Automatic is still on top in the practicality and no-brainer stakes, so easy to use and will last many lifetimes.

As an Undertaker (watch collector) acquaintance said to me once – “Basically my friend as long as you are ticking, so will your watch and if not – call me or at least leave a note.  Maybe I can do a deal!”

So the basic data provision of Time, Day and Date as an instant view really hasn’t changed much over the years.  It is still one of the true prerequisites for any watch that somehow manages to sell year after year after year, with little change.

And in keeping with this theme, there are of course some modern watches that manage to display the same data and as a default view.  These include digital and ana/digi models and some even manage an easy to remember pushbutton sequence to access more complicated functions.

These models appear in most price ranges, but for me I tend to look at the affordable ones first.

Two of the better affordable models are the Cssio LCW-M180D-1AER

Casio LCW-M180D-1AER Radio Control, Solar, Day and Date view model.

Casio LCW-M180D-1AER Radio Control, Solar, Day and Date view model.

and the Casio Tough Solar Model WVA-470 Wave-Ceptor

Casio WVA-470 Wave Ceptor - default Day date view

Casio WVA-470 Wave Ceptor – default Day date view

– both of which are well specified models offering many functions such as Radio Control, Solar Power, Stopwatch, Alarms etc.

However they both manage to show the Time in analog and the Day and Date in a digital display as the default view, so meeting those three “must have” indications.  The former model is part of Casio’s Lineage series and as close as you’ll get to “get and forget” models today and represent great value and are relatively inexpensive.

Diver Day Date Quartz - simple and effective.

Diver Day Date Quartz – simple and effective.

There are also a few Diver’s watches around featuring the Day and Date window plus Diver capabilities that offer extreme good value for money and well worth a look.

Once again though it is no surprise that today Casio models feature quite prominently especially in the quest for watches that people “want” to wear.  Models that offer the basics properly (so important) and now of course coupled with a higher technological level that hitherto was just not possible.

Take the Casio LCW Lineage series for example – these manage not only to give the wearer the essentials – of Time, Day and Date as the default view, but also “get & forget” features such as Radio Control and Solar Power.  And Casio with these analog and digital hybrids offer in addition highly effective intuitive ease of use.  I also like the fact they have “come of age” in comparison to the older Casio WVA-470 and don’t advertise on the dial the advanced technology within – they are nicely understated and rather refined in my view.

I have the WVA-470 myself and I like it a lot, but the newer LCW-M180 is much more elegant and in fact a real class act (I’m tempted again just writing this!).

So as to the question of Day and Date watches, I have to admit the Casio LCW (my review soon) is probably the successor to the older mechanical Day date Automatics and a worthy one at that. Though that said, don’t write off the Automatics just yet, I have a feeling they will be around for a long time yet.

Who knows they may be the true survivors – and only Time will tell . . . . . . .

Christofle dress watch

One thing I like about Design Houses is when they turn their hand to watches.  Mostly dress watches it has to be said, but these are often great looking pieces, produced not by watch trade people, but by designers of different products and what is their take on a watch to express their particular Company or philosophy.

Christofle Swiss 21 jewel Automatic

Christofle Swiss 21 jewel Automatic

This is a neat and rather stylish model from Christofle of Paris and a particularly handsome piece it is too – well to my mind it is, as I bought it just the other day at auction.  And at a VERY reasonable two digit price.  Now considering this model cost in 1999 approximately £1300 and it’s in perfect condition (box, papers etc) – I’m well pleased.

It is a decent specified model too with a 21 jewel Swiss ETA 2892-2 automatic movement, Sapphire Crystal and (possible) 18ct gold bezel on a rather elegant stainless steel case, plus articulated “fancy” lugs connecting to the Swiss original green colored Lizard leather strap with signed Christofle stainless buckle.

Readability for me is a basic buying principle and I do like the jet black polished color of the hour and minute hands, which gives excellent contrast against the textured inner dial.

The outer track is on a broad gold colored band with black Roman numerals.  The Date aperture is @3 with contrasting black date numbers against white. The sweep second hand is in gold.

Dial lettering features the Christofle logo and Paris and below shows Automatic with Swiss Made at the foot of the dial.

Note the fluted stainless steel case shaping - plus articulated lugs.

Note the fluted stainless steel case shaping – plus articulated lugs.

The stainless steel case is highly polished with a triple molding feature which pairs up with the strap lug ends.  The crown is @3 and part recessed. The Date is a quick set type and of standard ETA 2892-2 configuration.  The watch also manages a decent Water resistance of 30 m (100 ft) with it’s neat 4 screw stainless steel back

It sits very well on the wrist and at just 37 mm diameter and quite thin at 8.5 mm, it looks neat and the dial color combination with the green Lizard strap lends itself very well to the dress occasion.

As watches go it is a good mid range model, though for me I would balk at paying the new price, which reflects the design house premium.  But for the price I paid and as this watch is in perfect, as new, condition, it is a really good buy.  One of the reasons why Designer watches in general can be excellent pre-owned purchases, is that the new designer inflated price disappears in the second hand market.  And unlike previous times, today many of the designer outlets produce some very, very good watches indeed and well worth a look at Auction price.

Classic Seiko

There’s always room for a watch that simply does what it’s supposed to do and Seiko are one manufacturer that have managed this very well.  I refer to the incredibly successful Seiko 5 series of mechanical automatic watches.  Not the quartz models they make by the truck load, but the mechanical, tough as old boots, never need a battery models that those in the know buy and collect.  I recently bought one for my collection, hence this brief introduction post.

Seiko 5

Seiko 5 Automatic

The model name “5” refers to the 5 features that Seiko wanted to highlight in this particular and large range.  Or rather this is one of the most accepted explanations for the title.  An “unbreakable” mainspring (Diaflex) and an antishock system to rival Incabloc (Diashock).  It also had to be a mechanical auto-winding movement, have a day and date function and have a have decent Water Resistance.

The movement is usually from the Singapore made 7s26 or 7s36 series and these are pretty much stalwarts in the Seiko range.  Dependable, rugged and with acceptable and adjustable accuracy over the long term.  Non hacking, non-hand winding, unidirectional, 21 jewel auto beating @12,600bph, it’s one of those movements that seem to go on forever, regardless of whether serviced or not, looked after well or stuck in a drawer for years.  Take it out – move it a bit and it’s off and running!

The only downside with the Seiko 5 series is that there are literally hundreds of fakes out there purporting to be genuine and increasingly difficult to spot, so extreme care should be taken if looking for one today.  On the good side as with fakes generally there are often, but not always, tell-tale signs that show us that all is not as it seems.  One of the main tell tales on the Seiko 5 is in reference to the date window etc.
For example since 1990 Seiko have used plastic day and date wheels and very often fakes have metal ones.  Since the the last metal day/date wheels on Seiko were on much older models, such as the 7006 or 9 series, you’re looking at 25 or 30 years ago for those.

There will be other signs of faking, but to go into all that would I suspect take a pretty large article and unfortunately still not cover all the possibilities.

Suffice to say if looking for a Seiko 5 – it is very much a case of “buyer beware” – which is a real shame as these are really excellent and reasonable cost watches and great for wearing and collecting.

Fake information sheets are available if you Google for them ( the reference for the above “tells” seems to have gone) I am sure there are quite a few.

Movado gem

An interesting watch Manufacturer Movado and with some styles from the past that have always interested me, this one I recently obtained is such a model – that I couldn’t resist.

1960's Movado S Kingmatic Auto Sub Sea model

1960’s Movado S Kingmatic Auto Sub Sea model

Without doubt the best dial gents Movado I’ve yet seen, this was a must purchase.  1960’s vintage with a Movado Cal 395 – C Automatic movement.  This is their famous Kingmatic Sub Sea model with 28 jewels and running as sweet as it did when new this sort of mechanical marvel never fails to impress me.  Over 50 years and still perfect it has a neat 34mm diameter gold 40 micron plated case, center sweep seconds and applied gold numeral markers on 12, 3, 6 and 9.

Movado "bumper" Cal.395-C movement

Movado Cal.395-C movement

As you see the above image shows an immaculate Cal 395 movement with the classic Movado rotor assembly, Incabloc shock protection in a very neat layout.  The Calibre number can be seen clearly at the foot of this image and note the Movado “top Hat” plate atop the rotor.  Obscured by the rotor it also states Movado Factories, Swiss and 28 jewels.  Lovely action too this rotor and quite silent in operation – this is a class item indeed.

Full stainless screw back with Movado logo set.

Full stainless screw back with Movado logo set.

The stainless steel screw back has a full Movado medallion logo set with Kingmatic S and the 4 horse chariot design in the centre.  Sub Sea and 28 jewels are the other markings on the back.  The crown is the original Movado logo and the lugs are set to fit an 18mm strap, which in this case is a nice quality though non-original Condor stitched leather variety with gold colored buckle which sits it very well.

Classic dress Movado Kingmatic

Classic dress Movado Kingmatic

This model like so many of that time is that nice size so favored by many of the classic watch makers @ 34mm which allows it to fit most wrists easily and neatly.  For me every thing about this watch is just right – beautiful face, great look, slim, elegant, perfect size, lovely automatic action and a joy to wear.

Looking good at any age.

Looking good at any age.

The Kingmatic automatic model (and the Tempomatic before it) took the watch world by storm when it first came out in around 1962 and the Kingmatic was made probably till around 1967.  The Company started off life way back in 1881, the name “Movado” meaning “always in motion” in Esperanto the Company has over 100 patents and over 200 awards and still operating today.

This is now my third Movado and my second mechanical model – I have also a Quartz and all have impressed me very much.  The quartz one also has a highly individual dial face and a certain neat quality – and I can now see where the heritage comes from.  This Sub Sea model especially with it’s rather unique face, it’s sleek movement and beautiful condition is my first purchase of 2013 and will certainly be on my wrist on many, many occasions I’m sure – and that surely is as good a testament you can have for any watch.