Quartz favorites

As an eclectic collector of watches the subject of favorites is always somewhat fluid, simply because my collection changes.  Some models are sold on, others bought and so my “favorites” might change over the years, though I confess that over the last few years my two favorite Quartz models have remained unchanged.  However with my latest addition of the Tissot Expert T-Touch Solar, I might have to make it three favorites, though it will still be on probation as it were.  It takes time for any watch model to gain this exalted position and I’ll see how it fares in 6 months time.  I know my two firm favorites will still be there, but will the Tissot?

Anyway here are my two established favorites and with the reasons (to me) of why they are my favorites.

My Quartz favorites - The Breitling Aerospace and the Citizen AT World Time

My Quartz favorites – The Breitling Aerospace and the Citizen AT World Time

The first, on the left, is my Breitling Aerospace model that I bought about 15 years ago and effectively my daily beater ever since.  It’s well traveled, having been around the world a few times and often in places that you wouldn’t send your dog.  A fitting testament to the longevity of a Titanium case and solid bracelet is that it still looks great!  It has one bezel screw missing I note and I’m pretty sure that was when I had it in for a service some years ago, though I never noticed until about 6 months ago.  The sapphire crystal is unmarked with not even the tiniest scratch on it and the casing and bracelet seem almost as new.  I do note the bezel has a smoothness to it which has to be cuff wear (if you could call that wear) and that’s about the only thing that says it’s not showroom.
Why I bought it in the first place was that this was a multi-function model with only a single crown (I don’t like much the conventional chronograph pushers) and the dial clarity stood out even in the shop window.  The fact that the deceptively exterior hides a really good digital function set and a high quality movement was of course the true bonus.  In fact I’d set this against any of today’s quartz models.
It’s over a year since I last adjusted this which was during the Winter to Summer Time change and instead of just moving the Hour, I corrected the time as well and checking it today, it’s running just 32 seconds fast – and that’s impressive.

Breitling Aerospace Quartz - one of the clearest dials you'll ever see.

Breitling Aerospace Quartz – one of the clearest dials you’ll ever see.

However back to the watch – First the standard dial view shows the Time in analog and I have it set to show the Day and Date on the highly visible Fluorescent digital display.  Using the center crown you can show the Seconds plus Date, the Time in Hours, Minutes and Seconds, Alarm Time, Chronograph, Dual Time or T2 in Hrs/Mins/Secs, and Timer.  When setting the Time, this is done via the crown which has both turn and push functions and the analog hands follow as required.  Each function is accompanied by an icon/text on the upper digital display to confirm your selection and all functions are selected and controlled by that single Crown.
For night use the hands, indices and numerals are coated in excellent and effective luminous material, though there is no back light so there is no digital vision in the dark.  However I only ever want to see the time at night so no worries for me.
The Breitling is also a very neat size at 40mm diameter and with only 9mm depth is sleek to say the least in comparison with more modern watches, even Breitling.  The Sapphire crystal with anti-reflect coatings plus the dial layout with no inner reflections make this one of the clearest watches you will ever see and the minute hand with it’s pivot overhang gives a subtle clarity when reading the time.

Probably if honest this is my absolute favorite and it certainly gets the most wrist time of all my watches.

————————————————————————

Favorites in Quartz

Favorites in Quartz

My second “favorite” is this quartz Citizen Eco-Drive World Calendar A-T CB0020-09E and in my opinion one of the best models ever produced (and still produced) by Citizen.  It is 45mm diameter including the crown but only 11mm in depth and at 49mm lug to lug and whilst it appears larger is actually an easy fit even on small wrists.  Stainless Steel case and 200m Water Resistance with screw down crown, Radio Controlled (5 receivers) and Solar Powered (Eco-Drive) it’s a true wear and forget watch.  No battery worries, always accurate to the second and has a superb World Time analog function that’s simply unbeatable in operation.

Good luminous hands and indices, a Date aperture @3, which features a Perpetual Calendar plus a quick indicator of the Radio Control state.  It will receive a signal starting at 2am and with this particular watch even worn continuously it manages to pick up the signal every time (no need for standing on a window ledge overnight), despite a considerable distance from the nearest transmitter in Germany ( I live in Scotland).  This is a point I have noticed before when checking Casio and Citizen – the Citizens appear to have greater sensitivity.  The signal can be verified using the pusher @4, one push and the Second hand acts as a pointer and indicates on the option window @9 (yes or no) and of course there is a manual option which is – push and hold.  Summer and Winter Time adjustments are Automatic, but have an ON/Off option and if you pull the crown to position 2 it will indicate if this is selected on the small window between 4 and 5.

The Citizen AT World Time - the very best for traveling.

The Citizen AT World Time – the very best for traveling.

For travel it’s simplicity itself.  Simply pull out the center crown to position 1.  The Second hand will instantly point to your Home Time Zone (in the UK it’s London) which is noted around the fixed bezel.  The Time Zones are also marked on the outer ring within the dial.  To change the Time Zone, simply turn the crown and the seconds hand will point to the City Time Code you wish, then push in the Crown.  The analog hands will immediately move to the correct time for that Zone – and that’s it – done!  Possibly the easiest travel time setting you’ll ever meet – I love it.

Now - does the Tissot T-touch warrant a "favorite" title - well maybe time will tell . . .

Now – does the Tissot T-touch warrant a “favorite” title – well maybe time will tell . . .

My model has a very flexible Citizen rubber/silicon deployment band with a twin button release and is very comfortable and I almost forgot, IF you need to change the Date (though you should never have to as it’s Automatic and Perpetual anyway) it can be adjusted with a small pin push just above the crown.
I’ve had this watch now for 5 years and it’s never missed a beat and is as good as new – what can I say?  In fact if honest I rarely use the many functions that are available on watches these days and the Citizen does what I want.  And as I do travel a bit to various Countries even today, the Time Zone change function is perfect for me.

So for a good few years now those two have been my wearable “favorite” quartz models and I’m toying with the idea of adding the Tissot Solar T-Touch Expert – though that’s a still a “maybe” for at least the next 6 months.   But one thing I do know – the two models featured above will still be there as my quartz favorites whatever the outcome of any new acquisition and that’s a fact . . . .

Ultimate or “old hat”?

The problem with your “ultimate” watch is that it could be just an illusion, for technology inexorably marches ever onwards at a frightening pace, so today’s “ultimate” can very quickly become tomorrow’s “old hat”!

Of course you have to define “ultimate” as it’s not the same thing to each of us.

Casio PRW3000t-7

Casio PRW3000t-7 – today’s ultimate ABC watch?

And do we want to wear our “ultimate” watch or do we wear a “daily beater” everyday watch that meets our basic needs and keep that “ultimate” model for special quiet times, like quality time with the family.   And we all have our favorite wants in a watch, features that suit our lifestyle and that we then feel really comfortable wearing.

The model that spends most of it’s time on my wrist I suppose is one that’s around 15 years old now and set simply to show me, in one glance, the time (analog), the day and the date (digital), it’s titanium, has a single crown, good lume, good water resistance and is a neat size.   The fact that it also has hidden functionality such as an Alarm, a chronograph, countdown timer and a dual time is nice, though in all honesty I rarely use them.

Breitling02

Been wearing this for 15 years – and difficult to beat!

In fact this model has been part of me for so long now that perhaps this is my “ultimate” watch – a daily beater and an ultimate watch – now that would be something.    And in truth I reckon this is probably the truth of it, but being a “watch” person, there’s always something new and exciting coming along that’s bound to tempt me – perhaps functions or looks, whatever – just something that has that “ultimate” appeal.

So what’s my ultimate model today? – silly question I know, but rather apt as it happens and today my ultimate I suppose is the watch model that manages to really interest me enough to buy one – get in on the wrist – and soon!

I did a list of what features I’d consider on this ultimate model and here it is –

Radio Control – not absolutely essential but does ensure correct, time, day etc.
World Time – great for traveling so I know the time zone is correct.
Auto calendar – goes without saying. and covered by RC anyway.
Solar – no battery to ever worry about.
Water Resistant – to at least 100m, so swimming is OK.
Timer/countdown – useful for parking, cooking etc.
Alarm – very useful – if you can hear it.
(chronograph) – not a necessity for me – never use them.
Sensible size – I do NOT want a silly oversize watch – period!
Back light – if digital a necessity.
luminous hands – if analog or ana/digi – essential
Extras –
Digital Compass – yes – could be really useful, especially on holiday.
Barometer – yes – useful again on walks etc.
Altimeter – yes – useful on walks etc.
Thermometer – no – not a requirement for me.

That’s my list and it certainly narrows the field down, especially when you consider I want this lot in a sensible sized watch, not an oversize one.  In fact it narrows the choice down to just 2 models.   One from Switzerland and not actually available today, but later this year, the other from Japan.   One ana/digi, the other digital only.

The first model on my wish list and shown at the tops of the page, has to be the Casio Pro-trek PRW3000T-7ER an ABC model which is Solar and Radio Controlled, which makes it a rather special thing altogether, especially with the new v3 sensor ABC technology efficiency which allows amongst other things, a considerable reduction in the case dimensions (long overdue in my opinion).
I particularly like this Titanium bracelet version (there is a rubber strap and a textured strap version too).  This one has the positive digital display, rather than less clear negative one.    I suppose for me the lack of analog hands makes me slightly uncomfortable as I’m so used to traditionally glancing at hands to read time, but I have to admit this digital layout is actually very clear.  There’s no doubt that Casio have got these displays down to a fine art – Suunto, Garmin and others take note.

So a very clever watch this with the new upgraded sensors and quicker refresh/sampling and better accuracy.   From what I’ve seen already the ABC functions are very lively and the case is not as bulky or cluttered AND of course substantially smaller and thinner than previous models.

My second choice is the wonderful Tissot T Touch Expert Solar ABC model recently announced and not before time, having been asked for by so many for so long and a true competitor to Casio and Suunto.  It’s certainly the nicest looking of all of them in my opinion, though the price I suspect will reflect it’s Swiss heritage.

Tissot T Touch Expert Pro Solar.

Tissot T Touch Expert Pro Solar. Serious competition to Casio ABC.

The uncluttered exterior design of this model cleverly cloaks the incredible functionality of the interior (some 25 functions) and is the sort of watch you can wear in any situation from everyday to dress occasions, which is no mean feat.  The amazing speed of response and clarity from the “touch” face is quite incredible and has to be experienced to believe it, as the multi-function hands immediately and very rapidly speed round to indicate the selected function.

As to availability – both watches UK wise are not directly available as yet, though the Casio can be picked up in Europe and the Far East obviously.  My own Caso came from JP watches in Japan and I’d also recommend Seiya too (if they have them).   The Tissot I don’t believe is available just yet, but anytime soon I hope.

Both these watches however show real advances on previous stuff, which to me seemed to be marking time for a few years.  At last we have (almost) two models that if bought now will certainly NOT be out of date for a bit and will hopefully serve you very well – IF you can get one”!

What you really want?

A bit of a conundrum isn’t it – What do you really want from a watch.  What are the features – the true features I mean, that dictate which model you buy.  What is it that makes you realize for example that maybe that wonderful all singing and dancing watch you got the other day, doesn’t really do it for you after all?  Maybe a disappointment in that, “Oh I wished it had this” or that and “Why doesn’t it do this” or . . . I think you get the picture.

Looking at all the daily beaters (that is those watches that you like to wear most of the time) I’ve bought over the years, you do start to see the same story.

I now realize that whatever day watch I buy today, it has to have luminous hands and markers – this is an absolute must, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t see too well in the dark!
It’s also got to be comfortable – hence my thing about straps and bracelets and contrary to popular belief I do have bracelet watches.  My Breitling Aerospace for example has a titanium solid link original bracelet that is so silky smooth, it’s a delight to wear.  Conversely I bought a Traser, that bracelet wise, was sharp twisted metal!  And yes it now has a nice soft silicon strap and I’ve kept the watch.
The dial has to be configured in such a way that reading the time is simply a quick glance, not a case of figuring out which is the hour and minute hand, in amongst that retro calendar pointer, or GMT hand, or battery reserve indicator and so on.  The dial also must NOT be reflective and there should be good contrast between hands and background – simple common sense really.

Not rocket science, but all too often we’re blinded by the wonderful features of that NEW model, because it’s got this or that and so useful?  Here’s a few examples –

And the time is -- quickly now!

And the time is — quickly now!

Just let me get my classes!

Just let me get my glasses!

Now - just wait a minute . .

Now – just wait a minute . . it’s ten past two or three?

Now if I could remember which was local time?

Now if I could remember which dial was local time?

Huh?  Hang on I'll get the instructions!

Huh? Hang on I’ll get the instructions!

As the examples show, it’s sometimes a tricky business this telling the time and don’t get me started on the blinking light digital efforts that appear from time to time, the binaries and the hidden disks, so hidden that I am forced to approximate the time of day by checking the sky!

Anyway as I was saying, it is apparent that many of us actually and truthfully, only need a watch that is easy to read day or night, is comfortable to wear and maybe assists you in that it states the day and/or the date.  And this is an odd thing –  being retired, I find the DAY of the week, so much more important than the DATE, as weekends and weekdays sort of roll into one another.  I know some younger folk think we older ones don’t know what day of the week it is – and they’re right! LOL . . .

Maybe what we oldies need is a nice clear dial with big time and big day – period.

Well?   Maybe not, but you get the idea.

Well? Maybe not, but you get the idea.

Sorry about that, got a bit off track I suppose, but you get my drift?  We all too often get carried away with this new watch and that new model and yet we always end up wearing that old favorite, simply because it does just what you want it to do, no more and no less.

Dull day, indoors, poor light - but this is all I need.

Dull day, indoors, poor light – but this is all I need.

Took this just a minute or so ago – it’s 2.30pm on a wet, very dull dark day in this northern hemisphere, indoors, my camera struggles in this light to even take the darned picture, but my old Breitling (my true daily beater for the last 14 years) simply says it all.  Easy to read uncluttered matte dial and hour and minute hand – clear digital day and date – truly luminous hands and markers when dark.  And funnily enough it does have a chronograph and a timer and a stopwatch and goodness knows what else, but just one simple crown – BUT – on my standard setting, it’s just as I like.

I really don’t know why I bother getting all these new watch models, I really don’t . . . . .

Aerospace favorite

Just realized the other day that I’ve never actually posted about my favorite daily beater I’ve worn for the last 15 years.  My 1999 Breitling Aerospace Titanium that I bought when on business in Glasgow of all places.  During some lunch and then strolling past a jewelers, there it was and I simply loved it – went in with no hesitation and bought it.  And I still think for me it was and 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 Breitlings are big, flashy and cumbersome, but with this model nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s titanium, it’s very light and very slim at 9mm height 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 color 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 center 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!  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 center another favorite  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 realize 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 favorite watch.