Get it – forget it ?

When buying and ultimately collecting watches over the years, sometimes you get yourself a model that you think will be the one.  You know a “perhaps this is it” moment when the watch you’ve just strapped on your wrist is, for you, as good as it gets.  That’s it, settle back and in the realization that you’ve just got your personal modern holy grail, start the process of slowly selling off the lesser models and call it a day.

Maybe just keep those very few, “landmark” models, that have particular significance for you.

Well that moment may just have been reached, at least for modern watches.  And here I have to quantify what is modern to me, which I suppose it’s from the day I bought my Breitling Aerospace, which was 1999 and funnily enough that was my grail watch back then.

But as I collect both modern and vintage model, this may not really be the end of the day, but it could be the last “modern” watch purchase I make.

If I consider todays technology with new and amazing complications as “modern”, then it’s probably true that this Citizen cc etc etc will be the last one.  Maybe as I can’t see anything really being much better, certainly from my personal requirements.  And let’s be clear, this watch gives the correct and always accurate Time, Day and Date, anywhere, anytime – period!  It’s easy to read day or night and is super simple to use.  As the definition of what a watch does – it’s about as good as it gets.
You simply get it and forget it. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Citizen cc3005-85E on silicon deployment strap – the ultimate? (more info see HERE)

I have to admit that Citizen have done an amazing job with this model – it’s not cluttered to look at, and thats’s a feat in itself (check out other satellite models around), it’s easy to tell the time (anywhere), it’s not too big and what more do you need or want for that matter.

But that might just be the point and certainly as a silly old eclectic (and perhaps eccentric) collector and it makes me start to question why I collect watches in the first place.

For once you’ve got the watch that does it all – what’s next?

Well for me it’s maybe time to slowly sell off some of my older “modern” models – this will clear some of the clutter, both collection wise and in my mind plus (and this is a very big plus) AND help me finance any new purchases too, which has to be helpful!

So many watch models were a product of their time and the limits of technical possibility I suppose and that’s one of the attractions.  They have limitations which can be quirky and interesting and maybe that’s the beauty of collecting.

Yes maybe that is just the point – it’s all a question of TIME.

OK, so here’s the deal – My true vintage watch collecting will carry on absulutely, especially in regard to watches from the early 1900’s to perhaps the early 1950’s.
And I’m still very interested in those zany Digital watches from the Golden period 1970’s to mid 1990’s, as it was such an interesting period in watch experimentation.
And as for modern, whilst I will cut back a bit, I’ll always check out any classic models that come along that simply take my fancy, but mostly can show some elegance and style as my guide.

Buy Hey! I’ve said all this BS before and who am I kidding – it’ll never happen! because if I see it and like it, I might just go and buy it!   😉

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

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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.

The best gets better! (updated April 1st 2016)

As you probably know if you read my web site, one of my favorite models is my Citizen AT, which I’ve had for several years now (2010).  I love it because I travel a great deal and it is easily one of the simplest of watches to use for different time zones.  Simply pull out the crown, turn the second hand to the time zone required and push in again – job done.  All you have to know is where you’re going!

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS - about as good as it gets. . .

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS – about as good as it gets. . .

Now with my new purchase I don’t even need to know that!  Citizen’s new GPS model takes care of that with the advent of new and superior GPS technology, which supersedes even Radio Control which I naively thought was the ultimate!  But my old AT of course was dependent on Radio Transmitter location, so conceivably could be out of contact.   😦

GPS offers so much more, yet the earlier GPS enabled Citizen watches didn’t really do it for me, as they had an angular case shape left over from the Attesa series, which if small to average wrist size, they never quite fitted as snugly as I wanted.  For me that all important lug to lug size being seemed a little bit too long and at the wrong angle and so over hung the wrist.

This latest model CC3005-85E however is a different ball game altogether.  It goes back to the more conventional and in my view a sensible case shape, which fits my wrist just fine and although cased is 44 mm x 13 mm, has that neater lug to lug dimension and angle.

Now where my older AT model was great, this new GPS model is exceptional and it really comes into its own in all respects.   Using the new F150 movement, it has an increased accuracy out of the box and even without GPS or Radio Control is within +/- 5 seconds per month, which is really, really good.   Add in the GPS function and with one press, hold and and release of the lower right button (A) until the seconds hand moves to rx/time.  It then synchronizes with satellite (confirms by moving to OK) then corrects to the exact local time in all around 3 seconds.  This is a lot quicker than the ground based Radio Control models I’m used to and indeed any other GPS model I’ve seen.
Update – (Note – owing to the accuracy of the F150 movement (+/- 5 secs) this watch doesn’t really require an auto time check every day – but if more than 6 days since the last time check, it will automatically seek & correct the Time via satellite between 6am and 6pm).

When traveling it can now locate (previous models did not have this feature) which out of the 40 time zones you are in by a longer press, hold and release (4 secs) of the lower right button (A) – the second hand this time will point to rx/gps and calibrate the Zone and Time using 4 satellites within just 3 minutes.  As before if successful it will quickly flick to OK and then the Zone and Time are corrected.

So no need to do much of anything again except on occasion push a button – and that means ease of use (so often the enemy of complication watches) which is quite amazing.  You can of course quickly set a Zone & Time without using GPS at all by simply pulling out the crown to Pos 1, turning to the Time Zone/City required and push the crown in, just like my old AT model.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

I like the fact this model not only calibrates and shows the Time, Day and the Date, each of which is shown on the dial, but displays it in analog on a simple and clear, easy to read dial.  I am really pleased that Citizen have achieved what I have long been an advocate of – a simple “display v complication” ratio – and this model manages this to perfection.  The Solar cell internal charging system is also nothing short of spectacular (updated yet again) and can operate for a day after just 3 minutes in the sun.  I find this extraordinary and coupled with the fact that, once fully charged, if you chuck it in a drawer, it will manage via its Power Save function to keep ticking away internally for up to 7 years!

Even without Power Save activated it will run happily for around 2 years.

Now I have to ask myself if I actually need all this technology, as being perfectly honest my current AT model does just fine, but HEY! this is tech done right!  And I collect watches, so it was a no brainer that I was going to get it – wasn’t it!

Practically I like the fact it has decent luminous hands and baton markers and the dial is uncluttered, very clean, clear and very easy to read.

There is also a Battery Charge indicator around the right segment of the sub dial, marked with 5 lines.  Battery Charge shows what is in the tank so to speak, the level of battery charge – press and release the upper right button (B) and the sub-dial pointer indicates the level of charge – towards the top line is the best (see image) and will give up to 24 months.

The Power Generation indicator means this – if you want to ensure the watch is charging it needs a position where it can get to light.  Outside sun is the best of course as it will charge quicker. So to check you have a good position for charging – press and release the upper right button (B) again and this time note the analog hands.  These will close together forming a large pointer which will indicate on the main dial (note the 6 lines around the dial from 12 to 6 ) if the watch is getting enough light to charge.  The 6 o’clock position is the best (see image).  Note if below 5 o’clock then it’s better to find somewhere with more light to efficiently charge the battery.

I’ve found with mine that even outside on a white cloud dull day the Power Generation pointer is indicating MAX, so it’s getting enough light to charge properly.  That’s gratifying as where I live to see the sun is a cause for celebration!

I tend to leave most of my solar powered watches on a window ledge in the house and they all have full charge indicated – it always ensures my watches are at their best.  Note the watches cannot overcharge in normal light situations. (they could of course overheat if left on a dashboard in direct sun).  Also I would note that if you wear the watch as your daily beater and you usually have bare arms then the watch will more than likely always have full charge.  If however you wear the watch under a sleeve, then you should make a point of locating it somewhere there is good light, at least for a a few hours every month.  But you can easily see the Battery state at any time so you can make your own regime that works for you.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and power Generation.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and Power Generation.

Nice deployment bracelet - which I might change to silicon . . . but we'll see . .

High quality bracelet with standard spring-bars (24mm) – so if a strap preferred can easily be changed.

Sapphire glass is used so few scratches will ever bother you and with its Perpetual Calendar until February 28th 2100 should also see me out (if not it means either I’m unique in my own right, or my watch has got a problem, and I know which one is likely to fail!).

And perhaps best of all, for me, is the fact that this wonderful technology comes in a familiar and, considering the technology, an understated style and just as unobtrusive as my Solar AT model.  Citizen have definitely got this one right – improved and upgraded technology in almost every department and managed it all in a sensible case size.  To then display that technology without an F16 cockpit dial set up is also to be applauded.

I love it and I love this one too.

There are competitors out there of course not least Seiko, but I’ve had a look at them and so far they don’t do it for me!  They all tend to look a bit cluttered and look complicated and I have the impression the technology seems to be shoehorned in to the case.  And on the wrist they are just not that super easy to read.

But Citizen with this model have very successfully merged technology and simplicity together in a very sleek and dare I say conventional watch – complicated yes, high tech yes, but super simple to use.

Now for me that’s real progress.

A friend has a Seiko GPS model though I prefer the Citizen.  Not sure of the model but from what I’ve seen this Citizen has a few plus points over it.
The Citizen has a much clearer and uncluttered dial in comparison, it also has a smaller case, a much longer charge life up to 24 months (7 years with Power Save) and it is a far more accurate watch movement (Seiko is +/- 15 secs – and Citizen +/- 5 secs), so it’s really not essential to time check every day (why they’ve not provided an auto time check function).   The main points for me are the simple uncluttered dial, the size and the ease of use of the Citizen.
However as always in his fast moving field, no doubt the next model of either watch will improve, so it’s up to personal choice at the end of the day, but I certainly love this one.

Note – The Time check indicator if selected will indicate probably NO if you haven’t time checked for 6 days – this is just a reminder to Time check every so often, though with a non GPS accuracy of +/- 5 secs I suggest it hardly matters.  I’ll probably do a Time Check/Adjust monthly maybe . . . .

Updated 12th March 2016 – new images shown here with silicon replacement deployment strap (24mm width)

Citizen cc3005-85E with silicon deployment strap

Citizen cc3005-85E with 24 mm wide silicon deployment strap

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Great luminous qualities on a super simple dial.

Very clean case back - standard spring-bar bracelet or strap fittings

Very clean case back – standard spring-bar bracelet or strap fittings

Note Whilst a GPS watch uses Satellite signals this doesn’t mean it doesn’t use Radio signals, because it does of course.  Each of the main 24 satellites around the earth carries an Atomic Clock and the GPS watch picks up the radio signals from these.  It should also be noted that the satellite clock is compensated and a small correction applied.  The space based clock,s owing to the fact they run in a reduced gravity, actually run slightly fast by around a net 38 microseconds a day compared to ground based clocks.   Not that this should worry anyone – as long as the computer chips within the clock works of course!

Anyway  I see on my office clock it’s about 10 at the moment so a cup of tea is required . . . . . .   🙂