My “active” 6 for 2016

Daily Beaters for 2016

During 2016 there are 6 models I’m wearing in rotation, week in week out.   These are from my “Active Group”that for me are both comfortable, useful and practical.  I have various categories in my watch collection, from vintage to Vintage big names, to Classic dress and Milestone models and so on.  But this question is about watches I wear on a day to day basis and they’re all models that for me are “keepers”.

I rate them basically as they are each Practical, Affordable and each does what it’s supposed to do – very well.

First I have the Breitling Aerospace 1999 model.

Breitling Aerospace Minute Repeater late1990's vintage

Breitling Aerospace Minute Repeater late 1990’s vintage

It’s relatively small (in comparison with todays models) has absolute clarity, a great set of hidden functions, Titanium cased and in as good condition as bought, albeit a little smoother.  Terrific timekeeper without RC, needs a battery change only every 5 to 7 years, so no solar.  It is however the most “on the wrist” watch of my entire collection.  Interestingly though it’s an Ana/Digi model, which you might think was and is the preserve of the Japan big three (Citizen, Casio and Seiko), in functionality it’s better than most of them – in other words Breitling got it right.
NoteMy old review can be seen HERE

Second and third models are together as they appear at first glance to be from the same family.

Citizen CC3005-85E Satellite and the Citizen AT

Citizen CC3005-85E Satellite and the Citizen AT CB0020-09E

On the left is the Citizen CC3005-85E and on the right the Citizen AT CB0020-09E .  They are both understated with classic analog dials.  However in function they differ considerably.

The AT has just a few functions, displays the Time and the Date, uses Eco-Drive and Radio Control and has the best travel World Time function I know – and it’s so easy to use.  As usual with RC, sit the watch on the windowsill at night and it will update the time by receiving time signal from the nearest transmitter.  For World Time simply pull out the crown turn to the city, push in the crown – job done.

Facially the two models look very alike, but the CC3005-85E is thicker and heavier at 144 gms (after bracelet resizing) against the AT at just 94 gms (rubber strap).  Function wise it also has Eco-Drive but no Radio Control – instead it has GPS Satellite control.  The default glance on the dial shows the Time, the Date and the Day.

Rather than use ground based Radio Transmitters, it uses satellites for Time control based on location.  Oddly however whilst the AT seeks a time signal automatically, the CC3005 does not – this has to be a push button operation as and when you remember to do it.
For basic Time Control however it is phenomenally fast!  In the house I stood next to the window, pressed and released the lower push button (A) for a second or two – the second hand moves to indicate rx/time and then flicked to OK and almost instantly back to the corrected time.  Total time was maybe 4 seconds!   So this is much, much faster than Radio Control.  Also with the cc150 movement at just +/- 5 secs per month, even without time signals it is the more accurate model.
Full Satellite link you can really forget about once you’re set to your locality and basically use only when you travel – arrive at your location, press and release the lower button (A) for around 4 seconds this time, the second hand indicates rx/gps and will seek the satellites.  Best to direct it towards the sky and within a short period the watch is updated with your new Zone local time.

Another point to note is that with such as simple dial set up and ease of use, it is quite amazing that such technology is hidden beneath such an unobtrusive exterior.

Note My reviews are shown HERE and HERE – Note 2 –   Updated the CC3005-85E Citizen 10th March 2016.

My fourth choice is a real power function watch – and arguably the best ABC model today.

Tissot Solar Touch ABC model

Tissot Solar Touch ABC Pro model – arguably the best ABC today

The Tissot Solar Touch Professional.  An ABC watch that manages to out do most of the Japanese versions at their own game.  26 different functions hidden under the guise of a deceptively easy to read simple, simple dial.  The normal at a glance view is Time, Day, Date, Month, and Year.  Select a function however and the display instantly alters to show the selected data exclusively (I don’t know of another that does this) such as Digital Compass or Altitude or Barometric Pressure, or a Timer or Chronograph or Alarm.  It is also a remarkable time keeper without RC and when checked against my RC clock each week I see little difference.  So no Radio Control but like the Breitling this is compensated by a superb movement.
Note – My previous review is shown HERE

My fifth model is the very practical Diver – the Apeks 200 m Day and Date in stainless steel.

Apeks 200m Diver

Apeks 200m Diver

Unobtrusive, very easy to read day or night, very tough and highly water resistant, very neat and compact so doesn’t look as if I’ve just emerged from the sea and taken off my wet suit, tanks and goggles.  It is one of those models that looks good in any situation.  Can’t say more as it’s just a great watch and does it’s job.
Note – My previous review shown HERE

Sixth and final model is the so, so practical and versatile Timex Expedition T49976.

Timex T49776 Aalrm Chronograph

Timex T49976 Alarm Chronograph S-Shock

This is a model Timex managed to get dead right.  Everything is as it should be and just perfect at it’s job. Very easy and so intuitive to operate, it is a triumph of function and value for money and in my opinion beats most Casio equivalents.
Note – My previous review shown HERE

Note that some of these models have been around a while, yet are still currently available.  To me this shows that some watch models are just “right”, totally “fit for purpose” and within their class, improvement is not an option.

So for 2016 I am very pleased with my “beaters” and my question has to be – What will turn up for next year and will they be any better?

Here are some extra images of the Tissot and my new Satellite Citizen too –

GPS Citizen - uses Satellites for Time and Zone indication

GPS Satellite Citizen – uses Satellites for Time and Zone indication

Citizen AT known also as Perpetual Calendar model - with Radio Control

Citizen AT known also as Perpetual Calendar model – with Radio Control

Solar ABC function "touch" screen Tissot Pro model

Solar ABC function “touch” screen Tissot Pro model

These taken today (11th March 2016) and show the Citizen  CC3005-85E against my Citizen Skyhawk – very similar dimensions and both fitted with alternative Silicon deployment straps.  The CB0020-09E AT model has the original bespoke strap without standard spring bars unlike the other two.

The Citizen powerhouse selection

The Citizen selection – CB0020-09E, CC3005-85E and JY0005-50E Skyhawk

Note the change of strap to silicon reduces the weight of the CC3005-85E from 144 gms to 101 gms and it feels much lighter on the wrist and is actually a good fit (24mm Strap width).

Citizen CC3005-85E with silicon deployment strap alternative (22mm)

Citizen CC3005-85E with silicon deployment strap alternative (24mm) – Note – the top left lug is simply reflecting a gold colored lampshade on my desk.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap


I have not included any of the “collectors” specials I might have – no Cartier or Jaeger LeCoultre or Omega, or IWC or Genta or Muller or Vacheron or Patek or Breguet or some gems I have from before 1900, because generally these are display pieces – perhaps worn on very special occasions (and sometimes never), because that’s not what my web site is about frankly.

But the models featured here are all affordable, practical and useful, and in the case of the latest Citizen CC3005-85E a culmination of many years of research and technology.  The result of which is a device that “simply” provides the basics and displays the Time – wherever you are!

As to the rest of course there are countless different watch models, catering for every sort of taste and price range.  So that said I Post this as just my own take on it all, a small section of my watches – what I call my “active” group of what I’m wearing, for this year anyway.
These are the ones that for the moment it all basically comes down to, and that’s after the many hundreds of watches I’ve bought, owned and sold on over the years.

Moving on (part1) – technology’s march

I suppose “moving on” is about as good way to describe how Quartz technology has transformed watches of today from when I started collecting.  I also belies just how fast this movement was and still is.  I well remember a great quartz model I bought a considerable number of years ago that I thought was about as good as it got.

This was the Citizen Eco Drive BM8180-54E

Citizen Eco-Drive 180 ( BM8180-54E )

Citizen Eco-Drive 180 ( BM8180-54E )

which featured a more or less conventional set up, but sported Solar Power, a Day and Date display and great lume visibility in the dark and is still as good as it gets for what it does and amazingly still around in various guises today.  I mean Solar Power simply transformed the thing into another realm.  No more battery issues though not quite set and forget – allowing for the +/-15 secs/month accuracy of course, as the end of month date was still something you had to sort out.  But that aside . . .

That end of month issue was eventually sorted out or bypassed by the introduction of digital displays – the module took care of the date as it was programmed to a date well in the future and probably longer than you would have the watch for.  However as I like the traditional Day and Date window idea, technology today has come to the rescue again and even with mechanical disc Date windows, these can be what they call Perpetual Calendars – or until 2099 or some-such, so good news.  Such as the Citizen AT World Time – image below.

But that said with the introduction of digital displays and the newer hybrids showing both analog and digital displays things really took off.  Just look at Casio, Citizen or Seiko, who between them probably account for the bulk of the watch quartz revolution and how their models have multiplied in sheer technological functionality.  Not only do we now have Solar Power, we can add in World Timers, Chronographs, Alarms, thermometers and now ABC’s or Altimeters, Barometric Pressure, Forecasting and Digital Compasses.

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

Citizen AT World Time – center crown control – so easy!

Unfortunately there is always a down side and as I’ve said before, this is usually SIZE – yes to shoehorn all this technology into a watch is difficult and as a consequence watch sizes have got bigger.

Whilst efforts are made with every new model to reduce module and sensor sizes.  This adds another problem because they’re smaller.  What happens can defeat the object.  I can hear them already – “Wow, we can put even more into the watch” and so the watch size is still perhaps larger than ideal.  Couple this with the incredible rise of “tough” watches or in the case of Casio, the “G” shock phenomenon, for that’s what it is.  It is a fact that a quartz watch in a standard stainless steel case is already pretty tough, and be honest, probably tough enough for most of us.  So a cult and fashion thing perhaps, but add this “tough” aspect of a physical case shroud to more functions, more sensors etc. that “tough” protection swells the watch size again and perhaps out of proportion.

So we saw the rise of super tough models which were and are “macho” perhaps, but also were the models featuring all this “boys own” technology – and let’s face it, no matter how much fun, much of it is superfluous.

So it’s refreshing to see the same Watch Brands addressing that issue in another way.  Here they’ve taken much of this new technology and started incorporating it into more traditional looking watches.  And without tough case shrouds the watch sizes reduced from diameters of 50mm+ back to 40’s and importantly slimmer too from 16mm down to 12mm or 13mm.  It proved if nothing else that it was “Shock” watches that were and still the main culprit for the rise in watch sizes, and not actually the technology.

Which brings me to my latest model from Casio – The Casio Edifice EQW1200B-1AJF.

Ashampoo_Snap_2015.01.24_17h45m43s_001_It’s a conventional looking model with Solar Power, 44.5mm diameter and just 12.8mm height.  It has World Time, Chronograph, Timers and Alarms plus a perpetual Calendar (till 2099) with a conventional style Date window and a Digital Compass, which is also relatively slim and sleek and for what it contains, definitely understated (similar crown control to the Citizen AT).

For more detail on the Edifice EQW model – see Part (2) next post.

And here I think at last our Watch technology is finally fitting into it’s rightful place.  A bit like the old Computers that used to fill an entire room and now you carry in your hand!

Tissot T-Touch Solar - my new Daily Beater!

Tissot T-Touch Solar – hidden functions!

Here’s another non Shock but though not quite a conventional watch – the Tissot “Touch” Solar.  Perhaps the ultimate ABC classic at the moment which has a similar functions but operationally unique, with Digital Compass, Barometric Pressure, Altitudes and weather forecasting, Chronograph, Timers, Alarms, Dual/Swap Local Time (what I call practical World Time – so many are a catalog of city codes) etc. – great luminous properties and night light and all in a very plain dial background.  And that’s it’s particular secret – that dial is virtually empty and only shows what is selected and even the digital display hides away when not required.  Once again an understatement if there ever was and yet hiding an amazing range of functionality.

How much of all this stuff you would find useful is anyone’s guess and we’re all different of course, so for some a must have and for others – well like me.  However I love the EQW Edifice here simply as it is so understated and the quite unexpected bonus of the Digital compass?

Well I was a boy once and it just appeals . . . but importantly the core value functions are all there too and it doesn’t look like science fiction at all – but of course it is . . . it really is!