September’s rotation

I often go through phases where I wear, in rotation, maybe three different watches over a one month period and on the 1st of the next month I select another three models and wear them, again in rotation.  Perhaps in daytime or night or perhaps depending on what I’m doing at any particular time.
This month (September 14) I have this trio and basically as of now and the next few weeks I’m doing all sorts of outdoor things,  so this selection reflects this.  It’s also an excuse to Post some pictures of some of my watches, which otherwise will just be between me and – well me . . . .

An outdoor selection from Casio and Timex.

An outdoor selection from Casio and Timex.

These three are coincidentally all digital, which is just the way it turned out and from left to right they are –

The Casio SE-1200WH is a neat, flat (just over 12mm) model with enough features on it to suit me.  For once the buckle resin strap is flexible and comfortable and the model functions are pretty standard Casio fare.  In saying that, this model has a 10 year battery life and World Time, plus a small digital dial at top left mimicking an analogue clock face with hours, minutes and seconds.  Back lit with a VERY simple and effective light it is ideal for night use.  I like the fact that the dial in normal view gives a lot of information – Time including seconds, the Day, the Month and the Date and it shows the world time/normal time selected on the little world map, just as a reminder of where you are!  It’s neat, it’s light weight and it has never put a foot or wrong in the years I’ve owned it and if I remember it was very inexpensive too.
Notethe strap shown has 2 x keepers not one as standard which I added some time ago as a personal preference.

The Casio PRW-3000T is next up and one of my very favorite models from this maker.  This one came direct from Japan as soon as it appeared, so impressed I was with it.  For me it is a true improvement of many of the ones preceding it as it has taken advantage of the smaller v3 Sensor set and actually reduced the watch size as a result.   So a full ABC watch at sensible dimensions and a joy to wear, plus being all Titanium (case and bracelet) is amazingly light weight and as  many of you know Ti is also incredibly comfortable to wear as it very quickly adapts to your temperature.  The bracelet is VERY high quality Ti and really well finished and the digital display could not be bettered in my opinion.  Terrific function set as you would expect from this model and the normal dial view is as shown.  The Day and Date (press top left pusher and it alternates to Month and Date) the time in h/m and seconds, am and pm indicator, the battery state at the foot, confirmation of the Radio signal (yes this is Radio Controlled AND Solar powered) .  A 2nd push of the top left pusher shows the Barometric trend.  So the top display area can show three different situations by selection – I like it as shown as at my age it’s nice to know what day it is!  The back light illuminates the entire face and one of the best I’ve seen, so absolutely ideal for night use again.
Barometric Pressure, a full 3d Digital Compass (using Barometric pressure) and Altimeter, plus the usual chronograph, Timer and Alarms etc make this a very comprehensive model indeed, great for outdoors and very unobtrusive too.

The Timex Expedition  T49976 Shock is a real all rounder with an ideal display showing the Day of the week, Date and Month and Time in h/m and seconds, am/pm indicator plus a seconds running dial.  Excellent Indiglo back light means it’s great at night and it’s easy to find, being the only pusher on the front of the case.  Incidentally the pushers are large and textured and perhaps the best I’ve used, bar none, even shrouded as they effectively are.  Super simple Mode and Adjust function changes as usual with Timex (superior in my opinion to Casio).  The Chronograph features over large digits which are a delight to read and there is Timer plus a good few Alarms and all in this is a MOST practical watch.  Water Resistant to 100m and battery powered.  Fitted here is a Zuludiver black IP stainless steel fittings Camouflage Nato strap, which suits it perfectly (no complaints re. the Timex standard strap though, this is just my preference here).  This Timex and the Casio SE-1200 are very similar in overall function and in practicality, which is why I like them I guess – not overdone and very affordable.

So this is my September trio and actually if I didn’t have collectors mania, I could manage fine with these and no others.  But a pretty neat bunch for starters as I hope to feature my “rotation Trio” each month as a new Post topic. and OK these guys were featured not that long ago, but these are really what was to hand, so there we are.

Buying from Japan

So how easy is it to buy that latest watch model from Japan?

Rather than talk about what should or should not happen, the following is an account of my own experience just recently and over a UK Monday Bank holiday as it happens.

Not being able to get the watch I wanted in the UK – the Casio PRW3000T-7  Titanium bracelet version, I decided to purchase from one of my preferred Japaneses sources – http://www.shoppinginjapan.net   The main reason I like this company is that they have a good stock of the latest Japanese domestic models, often not available elsewhere – and if they indicate on their web sites they have stock – they do!  (How often have some said they do when they patently don’t!).

They are not only online being on Ebay and also have a direct internet site, but also are physically located beside the Bay Side Marina Shopping Arcade (open 10-4 Monday/Friday) in Yokohama and have a direct phone contact so you can talk to a live person.   The web site is good and they have a large stock not only of the latest watch models, but all sorts of electronics, cameras  and so on.  They can also be found on Facebook where they display many photographs of the watches they sell.

Prices are quoted in most currencies and they have a currency calculator link onsite, so it’s easy and delivery is FREE worldwide.

The buying process couldn’t be easier as they use Paypal and delivery is via EMS who hook up with Parcelforce here in the UK.

So in my case things went as follows –

26th April – Went online (used Ebay entry) and bought with Paypal.
26th April – Received email confirmation of the purchase via Ebay and Paypal.
26th April – Received Email from the shop confirming payment and advising they would post item the following day.  They noted delivery times were usually around 8 working days to the UK.
28th April – Received Email update from Ebay confirming item sent.
May 1st – Email from shop advising Tracking number and confirmed posting on 28th.   This included an EMS tracing report – showing item posted 28th April – and already in UK Customs on the 30th April.
7th May – Using the tracing tracking number – item was shown as moved from Customs to Delivery at Parcelforce Post Office UK and HELD – pending Customs charge.
8th May – Having the advantage of knowing the item was being HELD – I phoned Parcelforce, was advised the charge and paid over the phone.
9th May (Friday) – Received letter from Parcelforce advising item HELD and payment required etc – – however I’d already done this and advised it would be released and posted Monday 12th may.

12th May – Watch arrived via Parcelforce at lunchtime.   All OK and in perfect order.

So bearing in mind this clashed with a UK Monday Bank holiday this was pretty good.

So what payments are we talking about?
Basically this is 17% UK VAT plus a Clearance Fee from Parcelforce for sending out letters, processing of payment to them and subsequently transferring to Customs , which was £13.50.

So a perfect transaction with shoppinginjapan and a pleasure to do business with and in a pretty quick delivery – only being held a few days at UK Customs until import charge paid.   The charges can be paid either online or phone and if you use your tracking info, once you see it is held – simply phone them up and pay – saves you waiting for their letter.  The watch is released the same day.   So pretty efficient even at this UK end.

And this is the watch in question –

Casio from Japan via www.shoppinginjapan.net website - excellent service.

Casio from Japan via http://www.shoppinginjapan.net website – excellent service.

Yes this is it – wearing it already and changed the Home City to the UK very easily (it was set to Tokyo) then set it to Receive and the Radio Control picked up the signal from the UK transmitter at full strength (I’m in Scotland) and the time changed immediately to UK time (auto-adjusted for British Summer Time DST).   I’ve also already tried out the Digital Compass without calibrating it and it’s spot on – Wow! that was a surprise.

So highly delighted with this watch and so glad to see that the size reduction is perfect for me – once I adjusted the bracelet links (removed 4 all together) remembering the small split collar holders within the links, which took me about 10 minutes max.   No doubt this is one of the best Casio’s yet and my Japan transaction one of the easiest.

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”!