Military style?

My friends well know I’m a rather eclectic collector of watches and often on their travels come across items they think may be of interest to me and if not too expensive of course and more for a laugh than anything, they turn up at my door with a present such as this Infantry Model IN-023.

Infantry Chrono Model IN-023

Infantry Chrono Model IN-023

He tells me this was £14 and I have to say it’s one big watch for very little money.  When I first opened the box I though “Oh my G**, what is THIS?”

But once over the initial shock and reservations, believe it or not, I actually found myself rather taken with it and as for wearing it – well it’s amazingly comfortable with it’s soft rubber strap and the watch believe it or not actually fits my smallish wrist.  At first glance it’s huge and whilst it IS big the measurements are at first glance perhaps surprisingly reasonable.  The 136gms alloy structure case is actually only 45mm square and if you add the pushers and crown it’s maybe 53mm across, but the sting in the tail so to speak is the diagonal dimension which is 60mm!

45mm x 45mm and 60mm diagonal, but manages to fit small wrist!

45mm x 45mm and 60mm diagonal, but manages to fit small wrist!

But it fits so well of course because the lug to lug dimension is only 45mm, the strap is a very soft rubber with steel buckle, the lugs are very neat and the strap is not held away from the case body like a Casio, but go straight around your wrist, so are basically at right angles to the case and not sticking out from the case – you can see what I mean by the images on the wrist.

The large dial is round and has clear painted green numerals and markers, with bright white painted Hour, Minute and center Seconds hands.  Unfortunately the hands are NOT luminous, which is a real shame, especially for a watch called Infantry and it’s military styling.  Additionally there are two digital display windows, upper and lower.  The top one shows the Day, Month and Date plus indications of selected functions and the lower one shows the Time or selectively Stopwatch and Alarm.   Also there are indicators for pm and Alarm set.   The display digits are green fluorescent and perhaps a little faint for me, though the display back light operated by the top left pusher is not at all bad and the display is easily read at night.  Also probably by accident rather by design the light pusher is top left, so if worn on the left wrist it means that when you push it, your hand shrouds the watch face – very good in a military situations, in case you’re being scoped by a sniper at night!  😉

Not small by any means - against my old 5600 Casio

Not small by any means – against my old 5600 Casio

The straight mounted pushers (owing to the square case) on the right side, though neat are closer to the crown than I would like and hindered slightly in operation as a result, but they work OK it has to be said.
The large glass crystal is slightly domed and is very clear (not anti-reflection coated) it is scratch resistant and better than many.  The glass however is pretty exposed as it sits slightly proud of the case, so inevitably will be vulnerable to abrasion and possible damage in use.

Snap on back and 3ATM? I might be careful if swimming!

Snap on back and 3ATM – No swimming then!

The case is a black painted satin finish alloy structure and the steel back is a snap on, with 3ATM or 30m water resistance – so no swimming then.

So Infantry yes, Military style yes.   And of course it’s not meant to be  “military”, but inspired by so to speak and I have to admit it looks good and for some crazy reason I actually quite like wearing it!   And OK it has a few limitations of course and for all sorts of reasons, but at the price, for me it’s a bit of fun.

Soft rubber tapered strap with buckle - comfortable fit.

Soft rubber tapered strap with buckle – comfortable fit.

Since my friend dropped this in to me the other day with a big grin, I’ve had a look at the Infantry web site and this Company has been around since 2011 and make quite a large range of military inspired models.  I don’t think I’ve seen one with luminous hands, which is a shame and I would like to see screw backs to give some confidence and perhaps upgrade the water resistance.  I also feel that if the displays were just a tad brighter, then their combo models would really start to interest a wider audience.  The Alloy case seems a good thing and makes the models a little lighter.

I understand it’s produced in Hong Kong and uses a Japan Quartz movement, though without details have no idea if it will last or even be accurate, I have yet to find out – so I’ll report on it in 1 month assuming we’re both still going!

My final verdict –  Appears to be a great watch for the price, though for me a tad large, lume would not go amiss – but apart from that – for £14 – it ain’t half bad!

UPDATE – 23rd August 2017

The hands stopped, and digits misreading. So I guessed a battery had failed. Removed the snap back – easy to pop off and underneath there is a large 2025 battery, under which lies another smaller SR626SW (377) battery which is covered by a small insulating soft plastic plug.  As I did not have any 2025’s to hand I decided to change the smaller SR626SW anyway.  Again easy to do popped in the insulating plug, then replaced the 2025 on top, fitted the cover (small screw here), snapped on the back again and hey presto everything was up and running again.  Reset the time, date etc and the watch is once again running fine.

Have to admit to being pretty pleased with the practical quality of this watch (OK no lume, but that seems par for the course of cheap watches) and it’s a reasonably good time keeper at an approximate 1.5 minutes in 3 years.  So once again a £14 watch – difficult to beat!

Anyway now I’ve got the new battery in, I’m wearing it today and whilst a little macho for me – I like it and although big, is VERY easy to wear, so maybe the rest of the week then . . . .

Amazing, inventive & cheap?

It never fails to amaze me, the wonderfully inventive, military and sports style watches that appear each year from the Far East and mostly at incredibly cheap prices.

The Infantry Chrono @ £14.99

The Infantry Chrono @ £14.99

The fact that digital module prices are so low today means that with some plastics molding equipment, a bit of imagination and flair in design, almost anything is possible.  Whether they’ll last of course is another matter entirely, though that said, the basic digital movement could well outlast you!  Though any complications outwith the basics could well be another matter entirely.

But one thing is certain – they look amazing! and if you don’t take the hype to heart and don’t take them too seriously, probably a bit of fun too.

Take the INFANTRY Mens LCD Date Day Black Dial Combo Digital Quartz Watch for example.  I mean it looks pretty good and has a fair bit of functionality with Day and Date, Alarm and Stopwatch displays.  It cites multi-time zone, though doesn’t specify details).  I do like the fact it doesn’t depend entirely on display,s as it features conventional analogue Hour, Minute and Seconds hands too.  Another plus is that it takes a conventional fitting rubber strap (nothing molded here) and has a Japanese quartz movement.  Mineral anti-scratch glass is quoted and there is also a dial light.  Case dimensions are about normal for this type of watch at 47mm x 16mm, at 115gms weight, so quite large but without being totally silly.
Then there’s the price – here in the UK via Amazon it’s quoted currently at £14.99.  Amazing!

Here’s another interesting non mainstream watch, this time from LAD WEATHER, the GPS Navigator model.

LAD WEATHER GPS Navigator

LAD WEATHER GPS Navigator

Seems to to pack a lot into a wrist worn piece and according to the advertising, this is just what it does.  I have copied the data – as there’s too much for me to just note –

■Functions
・USB charge (With dedicated cable)
・100 meters waterproof
・GPS(Auto acquisition date and time/ Acquisition and recording of the root and the current position)
・PC connection
・Root confirmation in Google earth
・Measurement(Distance/ Lap time/ Average pace/ Movement time/ Heart rate/ Calories)
・Alarm
・Countdown timer
・Pacemaker
・Digital compass
・Continuous use time:about 12hours (GPS on)/ about 1year (GPS off)
・Charge:about 500 times
・Charge time:about 3hours

■Size
・Case size:about 47x47x20mm (height, width, depth)
・Band length:about 140~200mm
・Weight:about 62g

■Attachment
・Watch box
・Instruction Manual(English)
・CD-ROM
・USB cable
・Heart rate measurement sensor
・cleaning brush
・6-months warranty

This model comes in 6 different colors, some looking quite smart I have to say, though this is a big watch at 47mm x 47mm and a depth of 20mm and it’s at a higher cost too at some £92.00 UK priced.  The advertising alludes to a retail of much higher at £350 and certainly for what this model apparently offers, that could well be right.

A little expensive for me just to try it for fun, unlike the first watch shown here, but I have heard variable comments about LAD watches, some good some not so.  This model may have sensors from Germany, maybe assembled there too, though presumably the highest percentage of parts will be Asian I would guess – the origins and details are sketchy to say the least.  They also have ABC models without GPS mode, which seem to fare pretty well against Suunto watches (and somewhat cheaper!) to such an extent I would not be surprised if the movement modules were from the same source.  There is a comparison on You Tube which is quite interesting.
However the features appear pretty comprehensive and the addition of a GPS with track functions, brings it into the same ball park as the Garmin Forerunner, or perhaps even the Fenix.  Then the price doesn’t look too bad after all – it all depends on how the watch performs and there’s only one way to find that out.  Buy one!

LAD WEATHER GPS watch

LAD WEATHER GPS watch

But with anything out of the mainstream Brands it’s always worth taking each model as it comes, make decisions on the good and bad of each, consider the manufacturing quality and possible after sales/Warranties etc. should they go wrong.  Do your homework, check You Tube, check comments, reviews and user experiences and make you own judgements.  If really cheap like the first model shown here, then it’s often worth having a  punt at it – you never know – and if a dud, then bin it and move one . . . . no worries.

At nearly £100 for this GPS model – I’d have to give it some serious thought – but for new ideas and some great and designs, there are lots of these guys around and they can be fun.

I’ve also seen if I’m not mistaken some Pyle models which are possibly the same generic watch, so it’s quite possible it could appear in another cosmetic guise and the price could well fluctuate considerably up or down – mostly down I would imagine.

I have to admit here I’m tempted, though it would have to easily readable – and you know what some digital displays can be like – but it might be worth taking the chance.