Digital delights

There’s something about early digital watches that really attracts me, mostly because they can look so interesting.  Often full of complications and with amazing dial designs, which for me is possibly the most important aspect of these creations.  How to display the most relevant information or data to the user, without causing confusion – and still make the function of it, or the “user interface” as they say today, both easy to read, understand and also intuitive to use.

Not an easy task.

Here are a few that for me manage that task pretty well.

Early Citizen D060 Winsurfer, Timex (later) T49976 Expedition, Early Citizen D100 Promaster Windsurfer

And yes they are all quartz, battery powered and every so often you have to change the battery – it can be daunting, though once you get the hang of the user logic, these ones are actually easy to manage.  Sometimes there are printed highlight notes on the module reminding you to short out this or that, or push all buttons prior to setting up and so on, though that’s basically to clear memory ans rarely affects the basic time function.
Any time a battery needs changing – it’s – clear the desk workspace – take care and concentrate.  But seeing the display come to life again and then scrolling through the various functions and reminding yourself just what these modules can do, is always a pleasure.

Casio 931 – BGP-20 Multi-Planner,
Casio 928 DW-7200 Pentagraph Referee Timer

Casio vintage Alarm Chrono, had tough times but still good!

With a reasonable collection of digitals from the late 1970’s onwards, you can see the dial contrast improvements and the creation of more intuitive commands, to manage this or that function, though I’m still bowled over by some of the early ones and realize just how good they are.

I’m not going to go through the functions and so on, but rather just show here a small photo gallery of some of the ones I’ve collected over the years.  The dials say it all really and there are many more, many covering all sorts of sports and pastimes, but increasingly difficult to find these in really good condition.  They are not expensive and as a result tend to get worn “hard”, often not surviving.  Often as not, if the module goes, so does the watch – into the trash, which is a pity as they are a testament to the ingenuity of the first Quartz sports watch pioneers.

Many are Japan made and although there are many, many lookalike digitals around from China, none of them have the pedigree of these or indeed the quality of the Japanese modules and displays, which in their day, were truly science fiction, and particularly in the actual design.

Rare watches today as they represent a time of change and great innovation and ridiculously accurate for their time too, which is a real bonus.  Usually wherever I go when wearing one of these, people comment and mostly they are rather impressed.  Not bad after some 40+ years of plastic/resin molding, early display technology and large battery styles – I take my hat off to them – great!

Note – I have probably featured these somewhere in the web site at some time as a Post. For more information, just use search.

Day Date survivors?

One of the most popular watch styles is the Day Date and yet it is hardly ever marketed with any great fanfare.  But it’s no accident that many of the very best Makers have Day Dates in their range as they know that to so many people, it is the perfect wrist assistant.

They tell you the Time, the Date and the Day, the three most pertinent and popular functions of the wristwatch.   They also are available at very affordable prices.  There are Solar, Kinetic and Quartz, Manual wind mechanicals of all sorts of shapes and sizes, but for me the old classic mechanical Automatic is still around, is in good supply and still fun to own.  That feeling of cogs and wheels and springs and things – ticking along on your wrist – no electronics, no touch screen, no Bluetooth, no Wi-Fi and no Internet – but self contained and still a true mechanical technical marvel.

It’s really difficult to beat – no battery, no light requirement and with mechanics that can easily with the movement of your wrist, outlast you.  Mind you if you suddenly “snuff” it, your watch, after a decent interval, perhaps out of respect will also stop!  But it only sleeps – waiting till the next live person comes along and suddenly it’s ticking away – recording time as it was made to do – something a bit science fiction about that and maybe even a bit surreal!  In fact if you think about it – you are simply the custodian of the mechanical watch . . . .

Citizen Eco-Drive Day Date watch - 100m Water Resistance too.

Citizen Eco-Drive Day Date watch – 100m Water Resistance too.

Anyway I feature a few different models here – The first is one of the relatively few Solar powered ones around – from Citizen.

It’s good as it too never needs a battery, it shows the Time, the Date and the Day.  Those three can be adjusted very easily using the crown as it has traditional geared analog hands display.  It will however need to see a decent light source sometimes as with any Solar model, but basically it’s a set and forget watch and it’s very affordable.

The next images feature a few of the Day and Date Automatic models I’ve found and these can be from Dress styles to Divers and all have a common feature – very easy to use.  And of course being automatic, they require nothing from you, except for you to wear them.

Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Auto Day date

Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Auto Day date

A great feature of the Automatic (and I’ve already mentioned it) is that it doesn’t have a battery,  it doesn’t require a light source and setting Time Zones or Summer Times is so very uncomplicated (so many specialist watches make a real song and dance about it).
Here it’s just a case of, crown out, move hands, crown in – job done.   No instruction booklets or prodigious memory required for what can often be a hugely over-complicated push button sequence.

Maybe this is a more apt description of an ABC watch!  Because it’s as simple as A, B, C!

Tissot DS1 Auto Day Date

Tissot DS1 Auto Day Date

Certina DS1 Auto Day Date

Certina DS1 Auto Day Date

There are other watches of course that can show the Time, Day and Date plus many other functions, but frankly these are often complicated should you wish to use these functions, such as, as I said changing Time Zones.  But that said there are a few today that overcome some of these limitations. Radio Controlled and GPS models can, used correctly, show the correct Time and Zones and the latest models have tried hard to reduce required command functions should changes be required.

Victorinox Officers Day Date Auto

Victorinox Officers Day Date Auto

But for me the mechanical Automatic is still on top in the practicality and no-brainer stakes, so easy to use and will last many lifetimes.

As an Undertaker (watch collector) acquaintance said to me once – “Basically my friend as long as you are ticking, so will your watch and if not – call me or at least leave a note.  Maybe I can do a deal!”

So the basic data provision of Time, Day and Date as an instant view really hasn’t changed much over the years.  It is still one of the true prerequisites for any watch that somehow manages to sell year after year after year, with little change.

And in keeping with this theme, there are of course some modern watches that manage to display the same data and as a default view.  These include digital and ana/digi models and some even manage an easy to remember pushbutton sequence to access more complicated functions.

These models appear in most price ranges, but for me I tend to look at the affordable ones first.

Two of the better affordable models are the Cssio LCW-M180D-1AER

Casio LCW-M180D-1AER Radio Control, Solar, Day and Date view model.

Casio LCW-M180D-1AER Radio Control, Solar, Day and Date view model.

and the Casio Tough Solar Model WVA-470 Wave-Ceptor

Casio WVA-470 Wave Ceptor - default Day date view

Casio WVA-470 Wave Ceptor – default Day date view

– both of which are well specified models offering many functions such as Radio Control, Solar Power, Stopwatch, Alarms etc.

However they both manage to show the Time in analog and the Day and Date in a digital display as the default view, so meeting those three “must have” indications.  The former model is part of Casio’s Lineage series and as close as you’ll get to “get and forget” models today and represent great value and are relatively inexpensive.

Diver Day Date Quartz - simple and effective.

Diver Day Date Quartz – simple and effective.

There are also a few Diver’s watches around featuring the Day and Date window plus Diver capabilities that offer extreme good value for money and well worth a look.

Once again though it is no surprise that today Casio models feature quite prominently especially in the quest for watches that people “want” to wear.  Models that offer the basics properly (so important) and now of course coupled with a higher technological level that hitherto was just not possible.

Take the Casio LCW Lineage series for example – these manage not only to give the wearer the essentials – of Time, Day and Date as the default view, but also “get & forget” features such as Radio Control and Solar Power.  And Casio with these analog and digital hybrids offer in addition highly effective intuitive ease of use.  I also like the fact they have “come of age” in comparison to the older Casio WVA-470 and don’t advertise on the dial the advanced technology within – they are nicely understated and rather refined in my view.

I have the WVA-470 myself and I like it a lot, but the newer LCW-M180 is much more elegant and in fact a real class act (I’m tempted again just writing this!).

So as to the question of Day and Date watches, I have to admit the Casio LCW (my review soon) is probably the successor to the older mechanical Day date Automatics and a worthy one at that. Though that said, don’t write off the Automatics just yet, I have a feeling they will be around for a long time yet.

Who knows they may be the true survivors – and only Time will tell . . . . . . .

Radio Times

A small collection of Solar and Radio Control models all featuring similar functions with the exception of the far left Citizen Satellite model.  Whilst it receives a Radio signal too, it’s from a satellite orbiting the Earth and not a ground based transmitter.  I just love a Radio group photo as they all show the exact same time!

And the time is - the same on every darned one!

And the time is – the same on every darned one – Exactly!

Forgotten the prices now, without looking them up when I got them, but I know the dearest is on the far left and the cheapest in on the far right.  But they all have pretty much the same accuracy. The Citizen Satellite model however has the most accurate quartz movement, out of the box, without any synchronization, but give them light (yes they are all Solar Powered) and automatically pick up a signal every day – they all read the same time – precisely.

In fact you could set your watch by them!   🙂

Note the smallest watch in the group is the light dial Casio LCW-170 at just over 39 mm diameter.  It is also the slimmest at around 9 mm depth.

Don’t ask which one I prefer because I like them all.  They each do exactly what they’re supposed to do and do it very well.  I have no issues with any of them and they are proudly what I call – my Estate models – that is they will be here long after I’ve gone and no doubt someone else will have the pleasure of owning and wearing them.

But just not yet!

Citizen making waves

Took me a little while, but at last I’ve got round to looking at the Brand that gave me the Attesa, which I seem to recall I called the “ultimate”, and which to my regret I succumbed to a crazy bout of downsizing my collection and sold it on – yes – sold on!  Madness I know but with the proceeds managed to finance a vintage grail watch – so I’m happy enough (maybe!)

So what has piqued my interest again?  Well it’s the next generation Citizen F100 Satellite Wave GPS CC2006-53E, which is so Attesa like I’m surprised they didn’t just call it the Attesa Wave, but they didn’t, instead calling it after their Wave 100 technology the F100 Satellite.

Citizen Satellite Wave F100 Model: CC2006-61E

Citizen Satellite Wave F100
Model: CC2006-53E

But I can’t complain as this is one of those models that comes up every so often that hits the spot.   Citizen have managed to squeeze into one of the sleekest DLC (diamond like Carbon) faceted Titanium cases I’ve seen, all the updated components to make the world’s thinnest light-powered satellite synchronized watch there is.   It also receives satellite signals faster than any other model (3 seconds!) and keeps +/- 5 seconds per month accuracy anywhere on Earth.

The crystal is anti-reflective Sapphire and the case has a Water Resistance of 100m.  Citizen’s Eco-Drive (solar) means no battery issues ever and the Wave technology gives accuracy with it’s World wide Satellite Timekeeping System, covering a whopping 40 Time Zones.   The Seconds hand doubles as the indicating pointer for various functions (Month, Time Zone, Signal reception etc).  A Perpetual Calendar to 2100 and luminous hands and markers, a Light Level Indicator and a Power Reserve Indicator more or less rounds up the features.   The bracelet is Duratec coated Titanium and fits to small spring bars, so unfortunately is bespoke, but it IS an excellent and tapered Titanium one and if anything like my old Attesa, then I’m happy with that.

Ashampoo_Snap_2014.11.26_16h59m16s_015_But what I really like about this model is that they’ve managed to incorporate this technology behind a simple, clear and very easy to read dial and in my opinion superior to all competition – and as you well know by now this is a particular bugbear of mine.  Date is in a conventional Date aperture @3 and the sub dial @8 shows the Day, Power Reserve and Daylight Saving Time.  Previous incarnations of this technology tended to be oversize with dial clutter the likes of which even your Optometrist could not fix, no matter how many pairs of glasses he recommended!

Note that the watch is remarkably light weighing just 108 g and assisted by the hollowed out skeletal pushers.  It is also a slim case at just 12.4mm thick and 45.4mm wide (I’d swear this was my old Attesa) and it’s a delight to wear and looks great on the wrist.

It basically comes in 3 variations, two for mainstream sales and one Limited Edition, but my preference is as shown here – the 53E.

So another gift idea for Christmas?  or something that you might just drool after yourself – I know I could . . . . maybe this model is truly the “ultimate”.  Basically because you put it on and that’s it!  No battery changing, no time or date adjustments, no location time alterations, swim in it, slip a shirt over it and easily read it in the dark.

The price of the F100 Satellite Wave is just over £1000.

There is of course competition in the GPS stakes, basically from Seiko, but the Citizen is generally smaller, sleeker and as far as the dial is concerned and regardless of Seiko version (they have a few) the Citizen is less cluttered in my opinion in use.  It should also be noted that the Citizen shown here does not automatically receive satellite signals, rather it is manually carried out.  And that’s fine by me as unless the watch is in a sky view position, such reception won’t happen anyway.  The Seiko model I compared it to, does receive automatically, though if unsuccessful for any reason, it will not attempt receive again automatically until the next day, so a manual receive would probably have to be done anyway.

However a word of caution
A collector might regard this as a milestone model, where Citizen  and indeed Seiko have refined the technology such to now produce fine GPS examples and that’s good.  But as a practical Time Zone watch, unless you really do travel all over the world and very often, it begs the question – and also as the only advantage over current Word Timer models is that you don’t have to know the time wherever you are – the watch will find that our during reception – so do they really represent value for money? 
For example I already have the Citizen A-T CB0020-09E with a neat World Time Zone feature (26 zones) which is incredibly easy to set (crown out, turn to city, crown in – job done), it also has Eco-Drive and it’s Radio Controlled.  So it’s a super simple to operate, wear and forget model, great world traveler and it cost me about a 1/4th of the F100 Satellite Wave.

Note – Remember technology comes at a price and not just cash wise – this is still a complicated watch and you will certainly have to read the instruction booklet when you first set up the watch.  Once done it’s pretty much plain sailing – but being a pessimistic sort of guy – don’t lose the booklet!  That’s all I’m saying . . . . . 😉 OK

But this video is absolutely the best! – as it makes everything very clear and better than any instruction booklet!  In fact it shows that Citizen have actually done a fine job in making the operation of the F100 about as simple as you could hope for.

And if I ever decided to buy this watch – I’d stick this video on my iPhone!  Oh yes!

Retro Ana-Digi Classic

Many years ago I remember owning a watch similar to this one – It too was a Citizen and I thought at the time it was the best thing out and here it is again.

Citizen JG2012-50E

Citizen JG2012-50E

I got it at a time when Digital watches and more particularly Ana-Digi watches were appearing for the very first time.  Exciting too as they were trying to incorporate all sorts of exotic functions that the analogue only watches struggled to match. Day and date and months first, then countdown timers, chronographs, dual time indication and this one even had a thermometer – not that this was terribly practical, but in those days you just had to have it as it was so wonderfully way out!

Slim at 9mm with gold tone satin finish.

Slim at 9mm with gold tone satin finish.

Neat base metal back & push button controls

Neat base metal back & push button controls

So what are the specifications of this watch – First the official name – Citizen Ana-digi Thermometer Digital Dual Time Vintage JG2012-50E.

Main Features are an Analog + Digital display, Chronograph ( up to 24 hours), 1/100 sec,  Alarm, Dual-time zone, Thermometer, Auto-calendar (to year 2099), LED back light, Battery life: 2 – 2.5 years, Water resistant, Dimensions: 42 x 34 x 8 mm and the weight is 72g, so a nice light wear on the wrist.

So pretty comprehensive, though I have an issue with the back light, which is a tiny light in the right top corner of the day/month display and which is totally ineffective at the dark, as it doesn’t illuminate the digits properly at all – in fact much like the original one I had all those years ago.

The controls or push buttons are fine to use, the top left one is the Mode function which cycles through each of the watch main functions, Time, Date, Alarm, Dual Time and stopwatch as indicated in the lower left window.  Once selected that particular feature will be displayed.  Also to adjust or set any of these, once you have your selection, press the top right button for 2 seconds and the appropriate function flashes and can be adjusted using the bottom right button – really very simple.  And the bottom left button is the back light, though not the most effective.

The analogue dials are actually very clear to read, which I thought might be a concern, but the color contrast of the dial works well – as does the seconds dial at the right.  I tend to use the watch set to date as this shows the time with continuous seconds on the analogue dials and the day and date in the digital window on the right, so the essential data on a first glance.

The lower digital window on the right in normal or date mode always shows the temperature.  While the watch is off the wrist it is surprisingly accurate against the thermometer I have here in my office.  On the wrist of course as with most of these watch temperature sensors, it will indicate more or less body temperature.

On the wrist - slim, sleek, light and looks the part.

On the wrist – slim, sleek, light and looks the part.

Buy Hey! when I got my first original model of this, who cared!  It was new and exciting and yet another function on your wrist. Of course  to come was the calculator, then the memo functions and goodness knows what else, but this one for me was the first.  And the first of many. . . .!

Since getting this it is amazing how many folks have commented when on my wrist.  Some remember it from years ago, like myself, reminding them of the ’70’s and those days where everything was happening “man”.  Others just admire it’s slimness and the sleek retro look and I have to admit – it is a very nice watch to wear.  It seems to me that Citizen created a clever and neat watch here to show as clearly as possible many different functions – perhaps a lesson to those watch makers today who so often create something that can be cluttered and over fussy and difficult to read.

It does go to show that you can’t beat a great design and this in my opinion – is a classic.

User Manual for the JG series – CitizenJGretro

Enblok-Digi – A rare “footnote”?

My new love of all things vintage digital and especially analogue/digital has really quite excited me over the past while.  Indeed my last post but one chatted briefly about my new passion and in that post I mentioned an analogue/digital that was really quite unusual.  We know the more common analogue dial coupled with the digital display, both powered by the same quartz movement and battery.   But in this case I feature an analogue mechanical hand wound movement with dial but with a separate battery powered digital display and quartz movement.  The whole lot “en-bloc” as the French would say –

or perhaps as the Japanese say “Enblok-Digi” – by Q&Q – and here it is. . . .

The oddly named “Enblok-Digi – mechanical AND digital LCD from Q&Q Watch.

Quite a rare little watch this as there are very few around from the 1980’s that feature separate mechanical and digital movements in the same case.  Probably not that well known in the UK, the Q&Q is found in many areas of the world.  Part of the Japan CBM Corporation, better known now perhaps as a subsidiary of Citizen Watch, it first produced watches under the Q&Q name in 1976 and are actually one of the largest makers of analogue watches.

A neat watch at around 40mm lug to lug, 32mm wide and 12mm depth with a plastic crystal front to the twin displays.  On the upper half a conventional analogue hour and minute hands and dial of a mechanical manual wind Japanese movement and on the bottom a digital quartz module LCD display powered by battery.  The mechanical watch is wound and adjusted conventionally using the Bullhead style crown @12 and the quartz, hours, minutes, seconds, month and day adjusted using the two pushers on the lower right of the case.

All Japanese Q&Q

Japan Plastic – metal snap on battery access.

So the watch can be set as an analogue dial watch with an accompanying Day and Date in the LCD display, which is relatively conventional, but intriguingly it can also be used as two quite distinct and separate watches – as for say a Dual time.  On the plane quickly adjust the hands to the destination time and leave the digital LCD display alone as the home time.  Very handy.

Others can feature this too, but a distinct difference here in that – perhaps you forget to wind the watch – no problem, the LCD quartz display is still showing the correct time.  And conversely if your battery dies, then no problem – no worries – because the old mechanical ticker carries on regardless.  And in these ever increasingly electronic days – this old and dare I say “cheap” watch, because it is . . . . is actually quite clever.

The case is a plastic resin produced by Asahi Kasei Plastics Corporation and it seems quite tough.  The back of the watch features a fairly weak snap on round metal insert, under which the battery is accessible.  I managed to remove this easily with my thumbnail so with this kind of back it’s absolutely no surprise that there’s no Water Resistance quoted – it would simply drown.  But for everyday use  it’s OK.

However I now have this model in my small but growing ana-digital collection purely as, what I would call a “transitional watch” and as an interesting footnote.

And as can happen with any subject, and here it is the digital watch revolution of the 1960’s through 1980’s, every so often a few of  these oddities or “footnotes” can turn up out of the blue.  Just as often in the context of their finding, they can suddenly disappear, never to be seen again – or maybe just occasionally like this “rare” – and it surely is – this Enblok-Digi by Q&Q – just a small part of the continuing and fascinating world of Ana-Digital.

Note – Q&Q have moved on a bit since those days and here are two of their current offerings –

Q&Q digital watch today

Q&Q ana-digi today – World Timer


World Perpetual Citizen

The watch featured today is the Eco-Drive A-T CB0020-09E also known as the World Perpetual A-T – a superbly made 42mm diameter, 11mm depth stainless steel Radio Controlled model from Citizen.

World Calendar Citizen AT – Eco-Drive, perpetual Calendar, Radio Controlled, instant world time analog and only 11mm depth – a masterpiece!

This is the rubber strapped version (a couple come with leather straps and a couple with bracelets are also available).  And an excellent quality of silicon rubber strap it is too, with a nice double push button fold-over clasp.  Like many other rubber straps however whilst it is adjustable it also tends to be a sort of final adjustment if you have small wrists as cutting is the name of the game, which is a pity.  However as alluded to in my previous post, this is not the end of the world as this watch has standard case and lug arrangements, so a replacement alternative rubber or leather strap is easily sourced and fitted.

43mm x 11mm makes for a neat watch on the wrist

As said the other versions come with alternative strap arrangements, but this is not the only difference.

Whilst this model has a button @4 which is used to set the world time for example, the leather strap version has a recessed pusher instead.  I personally prefer the button as it can easily be operated with the finger and not the end of a pen or other pointed object which may not be to hand.
Another difference is the omission of a bezel – where this model is clearly marked with the city positions – the strap versions have no bezel and the city markers are tucked under the sapphire crystal and part of the dial.  Those who are familiar with my blog will know I’m not a great fan of bezels, but  in this case not only does it look well but I find it a little easier to read.  And apart from some other minor variations the watches share the same functionality and internal mechanics.
The flat sapphire crystal is anti-reflection coated and is very effective, especially as the internal dial markers and so on are not over chromed or reflective anyway and as a result the dark dial face has good contrast and is clear and easy to read.

The movement is the H144 caliber and with radio receivers built in and Radio Controlled so assuming you can receive a signal from one of the 5 transmitting stations, then it’s pretty much the perfect time keeper – it’s stand-alone accuracy without RC is pretty much standard fare for this range of Citizens at around +/-15secs per month.
Radio Control wise, the watch automatically scans for a signal at 2am, then 3am and 4am.  If it receives successfully at either of these, then further attempts are deactivated.  You can also initiate demand reception manually rather than wait for the automatic update and this is easily done.  Simply press and hold the button @4 for around 2 seconds then release.  The seconds multi-function hand will move to the “RX” in the little window @9.  Let the watch sit in a position where it can best get the signal and note the receiver on this watch is on the 9 side of the case, so point that side roughly towards where the signal is

Stainless push button fold-over clasp

Here in the northern hemisphere I point it south as the European radio transmitter is located in Germany and it manages fine – here it takes under 5 minutes (the instruction booklet says allow up to 15 minutes as it’s dependent on signal strength).
After the update completes, the second hand returns to normal operation.  The indication of success or otherwise can be checked easily – simply press the button once and the seconds multifunction hand will move to the little window @9 and point to OK or NO.  Can’t be much clearer than that!

Interesting system means this watch is a perpetual calendar until 2100 anyway – set the time and it sets the year, month and day automatically.  But note that only the date is shown in the window@3, it doesn’t display day or month like the ana/digi Citizen Attesa models, such as the ATV53-2833 (click for my review).
Note – in case of problems the day, date, month and year can be set manually.  There is also a quick set date concealed pusher @2 – so pretty much everything is catered for.

Setting the world time in 26 cities and time zones from 0 to 12 with a couple of half zones in there, is a piece of cake – crown to position 1 and turning it moves the seconds hand (which doubles as a control pointer) to each city in turn.  The hands follow automatically to whatever zone is selected.  Daylight Savings time is indicated in the little window between the 4 and 5 o’clock position and will automatically be set when a signal is received.  It too can be set manually if needed.

Being one of Citizen’s Eco-drive models it doesn’t require battery changes.  Managing to power itself from available light, when fully charged it can run for 2 years with the power save function activated or around 6 months if not (Power Save is used if the watch is in the dark for 7 days – it stops the hands and deactivates the Radio Control receive function, but the watch continues to keep quartz time).
Note that the watch will also not try to get a signal if the power is low – indicated by the second hand moving in 2 second intervals – another neat feature of this watch.

Other features include a full reset, hand repositioning etc. and the Time and Calendar can also be set manually to allow the auto calendar function to continue after that.

So all in all a pretty comprehensive unit, beautifully made, an excellent 200m Water Resistance, a very comfortable rubber strap and with sensible operational and safety features seamlessly built in.  It can be found from around £230 in the UK, though fortunately I managed to find this one for less and coupled with the inclusive Citizen 5 year Guarantee I’m pretty pleased with this new and modern watch for my collection.

Update – May 2013

In use this model has proved to be one of the best everyday watches I have and as a World Time model it is perhaps the best I’ve ever owned.  Basically as it’s operation is so simple and foolproof.  I have found in the past that some World Time models if not used for a while it can be tricky to remember the sequence required to set time zones or change back to local time.  Very embarrassing on the plane when the chap next to you simply moves his 1 jewel Mickey Mouse hands back one hour and you’re still trying to figure out what to do with your all “singing and dancing” World Time watch!  This model though is really, really easy – just pull out the crown, turn one click and an hour change is what you have – exactly.

Attesa – the ultimate watch?

The Citizen Attesa ATV53-2833

Perfex Multi 3000, Solar powered Eco-drive (with 2.5yrs power save),Radio Controlled (US, Japan, Europe), Titanium (Druratec Ti), Double coated AR.

The ultimate watch?

I took possession of this just the other week and it has NOT been off my wrist since – What a watch!
My biggest surprise was when I opened the box –

Whilst listed as around 42mm diameter (ex crown), this has none of the elegance of my previous Oceanus Manta – It is one very SOLID piece of kit!  Maybe the lug to lug measurement could be an issue for small wrists? – We’ll see.
However this model is incredibly clear to read despite a quite busy dial, the big broad luminous hands so easy to see against the black dial.

With double AR and not much on the dial that’s actually reflective anyway, it is very, very impressive.
Unlike my Navihawk this model has a centre seconds hand which I personally have always preferred. It doubles as a Radio signal pointer to indicate signal strength and receive confirmation.
A Charge level display @10 shows the secondary battery state and I note it points to the centre of each level, so level 3 is fully charged, which is around 130 to 180 days. Also at the same location on the dial is an indicator which shows which transmitter the watch is using – this is location dependent on the setting youv’e keyed in as your Home etc.
UTC displays permanently @12 and the mode selector is @6 and is operated by pulling out the crown 1 click and rotating left or right.

World time – Simply set your home town, which will show in the  display @9, press a button and the hands immediately move to your own time. The previous hands time then jumps to the digital display. It has 43 cities built in to the programme and you can also manually set odd Time Zones or a new city.

Dial detail

Dial detail – packed but superb broad analog hands stand out clear

The case is really solid and does away with the ever larger slide rule bezels that virtually no-one uses – the watch is much cleaner as a result. The plain bezel is actually coloured a dark brown, but as the image here shows, it’s really quite subtle. The two pushers either side of the crown are also brown.
The crystal is outstanding with probably the best double AR I’ve seen. It is very clear under any lighting situation and the dial information is clearly laid out.
There is also a rather cool LED orange glow light feature available to illuminate the digital displays if needed. And the hands and numerals have an improved lume – certainly much improved from my old Navihawk.
This model also has a full auto Calendar (with Daylight savings times), 24hr 1/100sec Chronograph, 99 minute Timer and two individual Alarms that can be set in world time or Home time.

It also has a nice broad bracelet – starting at 24mm and tapering to around 20mm at the clasp, which features a slider adjustment for when you’ve had too large a dinner!

Fits even a small 6.7" wrist

Fits even a small 6.7″ wrist – just . . .

Whilst it looks neat even on my smallish wrist at 6.7″ – it is deceptive being nearly 54mm lug to lug (and this might be a problem as the main case extends past the normal line of the lugs and almost into the strap profile) and is about as big I as would want to take (42mm diameter and 12.6mm height) – but it sits neatly enough, just, and the fact it’s Titanium means that after a minute you don’t even know it’s there!

Finally – the Radio Control – This watch due to my UK location, picks up the DCF  77.5kHz signal from Mainflingen, near Frankfurt/Main in Germany and I live 700 miles from the transmitter. It picks up the signal every time, usually at high strength (H) and synchs in around 2 minutes. I don’t even take the watch off and I’m one restless sleeper….! (Note the watch has 5 receivers (US, Europe, China and Japan).

So one of the most practical watches around for my money – Solar powered, absolute RC accuracy, World Time easily set, Chrono, Timers, scratch proof Titanium with the Duratec coating and the clearest crystal I’ve seen………

So…What’s the downside, the faults and the points I maybe don’t like?

That’s easy to answer – NONE

Quite simply for me this could be the Ultimate

I love it!

Note 1 – Movement – Cal.No.U60
Note 2 – Perfex 3000 system features –
1 – JIS Type-1 anti-magnetic
2 – Impact detection system
3 – Hand correction function

Update February 2015  – However after some years I found I was not wearing this model – why?   The answer to that was I suppose the fact that after wearing and owning it for some time I realized the lug to lug dimension was in practice just too big for my smallish wrist.  It over overhung the wrist and couldn’t wrap around the wrist and to change the bracelet for a strap wasn’t really an option.   The case shape and the non standard bracelet fixing didn’t lend itself to change.  So as my mantra at that time was – if I don’t wear them – they go . . .  simple as that.    Hey Ho!  😉