Classic Expedition

An early digital Expedition Timex is featured in this post, dated around 1998 (80 M745) in pretty decent all round condition.  The digital display is clear and basically as good as the day it was bought.  Classed as a Chronograph model the features are more or less what you get in the current Expedition models.

1998 Timex Expedition digital display normal daylight.

1998 Timex Expedition digital display normal daylight.

Digital display wise – Standard view is along the lower part, hours, minutes and seconds plus an AM/PM indicator and the upper part shows Day, Month and Date.  Using the lower left pusher or “mode”, this changes the display in turn to Chronograph (with slit/lap timing), Alarm, Timer (100hrs) and 2nd Time Zone, in that order.  This model also features a 12/24hr display option and an Hourly Chime.  It has a night light (Indiglo) using the top left pusher which is on as long as the pusher is pressed.  All setting is done using the lower right pusher and the top right pusher selects Alarm on or off etc.  So quite familiar really to anyone used to using these digital display watches.  Note in the images shown here the display shows grey background and black numerals when light is not being reflected off it, however its almost fluorescent when the light  strikes at some angles and then appears very high contrast green background with black numerals.

Timex digital display in reflecting light - gives fluorescent contrast

Timex digital display in reflecting light – gives fluorescent contrast

In most conditions it’s pretty good though as most of these, the top data can be slightly over-shadowed by the black surround of the watch face.  Still featured on some current watches, though I note many now have a visible face area wider than the numerals, so avoiding any possibility of shadows.

It’s a very neat watch at 39mm diameter and only 9mm depth, so a good bit smaller than current Expedition models.  It has spring bars so you can fit any standard strap to it, though it actually measures a slightly non standard, but gettable, 19mm width.  I have a Timex “E” quick wrap strap fitted and it is perfect and comfortable.

Timex Expedition on the wrist - very neat.

Timex Expedition on the wrist – very neat.

In a dark almost black resin case, light grey bezel with printed pusher data, the back has a stainless steel plate secured by 4 x corner screws and has it has 100m Water Resistance.

1998 v 2012/13 - watches are getting bigger.

1998 v 2012/13 – watches are getting bigger.

Some of the older Timex models like this one, for me, are often nicer to wear than the present offerings.  Only 15 years before the current stuff (an age in electronics of course) the displays funnily enough tended to be neater, as are the watches which were smaller and slimmer and yet managed to portray the excitement of the new Digital age without bulk or large knurled or knobbly bits here and there.  They were and still are science fiction in a way, because they’re ground breaking and the core function and the attraction of the watch is not obscured by too much over the top and perhaps unnecessary Dr Who extravagance.  Note this model has a battery life of around 6.5 years.

I might yet add more to my digital collection, though perhaps it could be more appropriate to call it my Timex collection, as I seem to be acquiring more of these by the week!  Whatever – I’m sure it won’t be the last!

UPDATE – 4th August 2014

Started to get a little erratic this morning and I decided to check out and hopefully replace the battery – assuming this was the problem.  Removed the 4 back screws and realized this was a different style of module that I am used to.  The center part is a round cover which is actually clipped on to the very large CR2016 battery!  The cover is held down by 3 screws to the module board.  Simply removed these and un-clipped the battery from the cover once it was in my hand.  Replaced the battery by clipping the cover over it, then dropped the cover and battery assembly on to the board, lining up the 3 screw holes and screwed it back in place.  Writing on the cover says to “press this” to reset after battery change, referring I think to small metal contact on the module.  However on turning the watch over I saw that the digits were indicating fine, so skipped that instruction.  Replaced the back of the watch and set the time data.  All functions are working perfectly now including the back light, which actually was the first problem I saw prior to replacing the battery.  Instead of lighting, it indicated code and altered the time setting to 12:00.  This I suspected was the lack of power – hence the battery change today.  It took me about 10 minutes start to finish.

Sorry I didn’t think to take photographs, but suffice to say it was very easy to manage.

Ones I would like. . . 1

Trouble with watch collecting is that all too often I see new, or perhaps older models I may be unfamiliar with, that for some reason or other suddenly become objects of desire – that is – I want one!   And there are quite a few, so over the next occasional posts I’ll feature some of them.  Who knows they may interest some other folks as well – maybe even decide a Christmas present or two at the same time. . . 😉

The first one is from a Manufacturer I really like – the Swiss company – Xemex – a young company founded in 1996 by designer Ruedi Kulling, that continually designs in my opinion simply stunning watches  –

This particular one is a wonderful timepiece with two rather clever features.  First is the typical Xemex extraordinary articulated lug arrangement that allows it to fit even the smallest wrist and second, an amazingly large clear face virtually the diameter of the watch.  Dimensions wise it’s really deceptive at only 40mm wide but dominated by the dial, so it looks really impressive on the wrist, without the bulk.

Xemex Piccadilly “Hours”

Xemex Piccadilly “Hours”

The watch is also very well made and the design is such that chunky, angular, but rounded and solid, are all terms that can equally describe this lovely model and in fact their entire range.   This one is from the Piccadilly series and is known as the “Hours” model.  It is slightly quirky (which I like) in that it looks just like any standard chronograph with side pushers, but these actually control the oddly large secondary “hour” sub dial.  The single pointer in fact records hours (I suppose this could be called an “hours” chrono) – so no spinning seconds whizzing round or minutes – countdown or elapsed time style.  But actually simply recording hours and maybe half hours is very useful for those parking meters or meetings that are forever running over time, or perhaps checking when your plane is going to land.  One quick glance and you know the score.

Very clear white edged skeletal hands for hours and minute regular time against the black dial background and the wonderful Xemex red sweep seconds centre hand, white dot markers and a date window @3, plus that thin front bezel allows great dial visibility.  A solid screw down logo’d crown and a sapphire crystal completes the description looks wise.  Internally this is a high quality Swiss Xemex modified ETA Valjous 7750 movement, which is visible through an exhibition back.

Now if my own XE5000 model is anything to go by, this will be one very accurate, smooth and dependable watch.

Butterfly clasp Xemex rubber strap compliments the whole ensemble and this is definitely one watch I intend at some point – to get myself or perhaps an Xmas present could be coaxed? from family. . .

There are a good few other models from true chronographs to Big Date and GMT etc. so quite a range to tempt.  They all have one thing in common – perfect fit, a sort of “elegance with power” look and very high quality throughout.

I don’t think I need any more convincing – this will be the next one. . . . I’m sure or I would be if I had the money!  It’s a little bit more expensive than most of my picks. so I may have to wait. . . .


Seriously Casio

One of my friends on returning from a holiday brought me little watch as a present just for fun and thought this might amuse me.  On opening the box I was not only amused, but actually rather impressed.
The watch is the little Casio Poptone Chronograph model LDF-50-1EF and one of the cutest contemporary watches I’ve seen for a long time that isn’t silly design over functionality.  Dimensions wise it could be called Unisex, though it’s short strap will limit it to the smaller wrist.

Casio Poptone LDF-50 1EF

First off it is really neat and looks good with it’s black and chromed metal composite case with a clear digital display on the front and a stainless steel back plate.  The watch sides are finished in a highly polished chrome which sets off the black surround of the digital display very nicely.  On the face there are 4  front facing “quadrant” keys just below the display and these though looking quite funky being in pretty colors are also a very well designed and functional size.  But did I say neat? – well no apologies here as neat it certainly is.

The Poptone on the wrist

In fact the whole watch may be neat but it has some serious features, such as a decent Water Resistance of 5Bar (50m), a Dual Time display, Daily Alarm + Hourly Chime if required, and a 100th/sec stopwatch – all features that are each excellent and useful, without any silly gimmickry stuff.
In normal mode it directly reads, month, day, date, hours and seconds, am/pm indicator, which alarm indicator is set – all of which are clearly seen.   It has moving graphics running bottom left of the screen showing a continuous 10 second countdown, which may or may not be useful.  It does however have a very good EL (Electro-Luminescence) back-light feature at the touch of the front pad entitled “light”.  (note the tiny figure 3 bottom right of the display – this is the back light duration in seconds) – it has two options either 1½ or 3 secs and I much prefer 3 secs to allow enough time to read it.

The strap is a resin rubber material and is proportional to the watch, being just the right thickness and has a simple buckle fitting.  The strap is actually quite short – OK for my small wrist, but for a large wrist could be a problem.  However I also note it seems to fit to small but standard style spring bars, so a replacement strap may be possible.  The watch is very light and at  just 23mm wide and around 40mm lug to lug sits well on the wrist and barely noticeable.  It has a thickness of 11mm at the middle of the watch as the front display is curved.  This model version is the most unobtrusive of  the range – I think there are 5 in total with alternative and somewhat brighter color combination’s.

The watch movement is accurate to around +/-20 seconds per month and is powered by a CR1216 Lithium battery and you can expect around 3 years life with sensible use of the back light feature.

This has to be winner from Casio in my opinion and at an incredible £20.00 (UK) is an absolute bargain.  . . . . Seriously. . . .

Any downsides?
Well if being picky – maybe the alarm is a tad quiet for me (but I’m slightly deaf – so maybe an age thing!).

UPDATE – 15th February 2011 – I’ve worn this watch for a week now day and night – I thought as the buttons were on top they might operate by mistake.  Well no worries on that score – they work only when you want them to.

UPDATE – 20th November 2012 – Watch is still a fabulous little item – keeping excellent time (as it should being quartz) – incredibly easy to wear as you forget it’s there and I’m wearing it all this week.  I note it’s still available, though the colors I’ve seen are a bit garish currently and they seem to be pushing it as a ladies watch.  When I bought this there was no gents/ladies classification attributed to it, though I did note above on the article, that the strap is quite short.  That said however it fits me perfectly!

Boccia Chrono

Sometimes you come across a watch or in this case a complete range of watches that for some reason strikes a chord.  And as I am quite a collector of Titanium watches it was of considerable interest that I chanced upon the Boccia range (pronounced Boschia).

Boccia Titanium Chronograph Cal.05.11

I don’t know about you but I have found that many of these “designer” watches often use too much chrome in their dials, with numerals and hands not being the easiest to read – too much ” bling” I suppose, a fashion I personally dislike.  In the Boccia range there are indeed some like that but fortunately not all.

For in amongst this range I spotted the B3777-02 Chronograph model which definitely bucks the trend of their other watches.

First off I like this one as it has that nicely sculpted dark Titanium colored case with matching chronograph buttons and a rather neat and clear dial arrangement.  The numeral/markers are both large and very white applied and the hands are similarly done, which contrasts well against the dark dial face.  The hour and minute hands are also well proportioned and broad which aids clarity.  The chronograph sub-dials are positioned vertically between 12 and 6 and are colored in a medium gray, which is OK and doesn’t detract – a little different from the normal white or silver.  A center seconds stopwatch hand in white, plus a contrasting date window @3 and an inner seconds chapter index completes the dial set up.

Clear hands and numerals makes for clarity

Luminous infill hands and painted numerals, large as they are I would only class adequate in the dark.

Overall however and looks wise this watch from my perspective has a lot going for it.

The crystal is a flat mineral glass and coupled with a narrow top case profile on the wide case, the watch appears larger than it actually is – though not a small watch at 47mm diameter including the protected crown (without crown is around 43mm)and is quite clear to read even without an anti-reflect coating which I usually prefer on this watch type.  The overall dial design and colorway has a great deal to do with this clarity which in this case is good design and to be recommended.  Depth of the watch is very neat at 10mm.

Titanium screw down back with watch data

The movement appears to be a Japanese Citizen Miyota Cal. OS 11 Quartz Chronograph (60 minutes) and it functions well and is accurate to around +/-20secs month so is quite acceptable.   There is also a chronograph reset function used if the 1/1 second hand doesn’t return to the O position after the chronograph has been reset or after a battery change.

The watch power is a Silver Oxide SR9 27W battery or equivalent.
The watch is marked on the screw down Titanium back as 10bar (100ft) water resistance.  I understand all Boccia Chronographs are 10bar.

Build quality appears excellent, the all Titanium case is well finished and the rubber strap is of good quality – Note this watch can also take a standard leather strap as an alternative as the case features standard lugs and pins.  A point I’ve made before and I’m really pleased to see it here.  In fact thinking further on this, a good Nato strap would suit this model very well if rubber is not your thing.  I’ll post an update when I fit one later this month for comparison. (see addendum below)

So what do we know about Boccia watches?

It is marketed from the United States importers Universal Watch Company (NOT to be confused with the UWC of Geneve fame) who have their headquarters in Las Vegas.  Watches are said to have either good quality Japanese or sometimes Swiss movements in their range of products and I’m assuming this one is Japanese with the Cal. OS11 description.  I’ve not unscrewed the back as I’ve no wish to compromise the water resistance – I’ll check it out when it eventually needs a battery.  With no data that I can find as to manufacture location I would surmise the watches are built and produced in the Orient somewhere and nothing wrong with that, though I note that their design team is actually European.

  • Marina Sechi from Italy
  • Minuca Casadavell from Spain
  • Michael Qvortrup from Denmark

I quote the above data from one of their outlets and I can see certainly see the European  influence in the finished designs.

So a marriage of European and Orient – and hopefully taking the best from both.  If this is an example of  East West collaboration then I’ll certainly look out for more of them and especially if this model is a precursor of things to come.  They are also reasonably priced for what appears to me to be a decent mid range quality product.

So overall a nice Chronograph in Titanium for a fair bit under £200 and complete with a 2 year International Guarantee and instruction booklet which includes a list of Wordwide Service Centers.

Not much to complain about though perhaps the luminous quality could be improved if I was being picky.

But nevertheless the Boccia Titanium’s are now on my watch list . . . . .

Addendum – I mentioned that I thought this watch might suit a Nato strap – Well I was wrong – it doesn’t.
The reason is that as this watch is quite large lug to lug the Nato strap quite doesn’t sit the watch snug against my smallish wrist (170mm).  Regarding the supplied strap which for a buckle version is really very good, I confess with rubber straps a preference to a deployment or fold-over clasp to buckle, so as an alternative I’m in the process of buying a third party 22mm silicon rubber strap with a fold-over clasp and I’ll let you know on an update feature once it arrives and I try it out.
Actually as I write I’m wearing it with the supplied buckle strap and whilst ii is comfortable it has a pronounced curve just at the lugs and if being picky it can’t quite sit against my smallish wrist perhaps as I would like, so the alternative one should be an interesting trial.

See Bocca Addendum – post dated 18th February 2011