Military fashion?

If you’ve ever trawled through the so called Military watches around today, it’s quite amazing the weird, wonderful, often silly but sometimes really quite innovative designs that crop up from time to time.  It’s fertile ground for all sorts of wonderful designs good and bad and quite often it’s the lesser known manufacturers that come up with maybe the most innovative ones.  There are however a few models around that are worthy of a second look.

Humvee recon Olive Digital

Humvee recon Olive Digital

Not the first to use the name, this one is actually from the named folks themselves – the Humvee Recon – in Olive.

Been around for a few years though this is the first time I’ve come across it myself.  And it certainly looks the part with its rugged shock proof stainless steel case with added rubber protection, oversize digital display and very tough looking 28.23mm nylon fabric fast-wrap strap. The Olive Green and black combination always a winner when thinking military and I understand it also comes in a dark slate color too.
Four push buttons control the functions and setting etc on the side of the case, though there is no protection against accidental use, so difficult to say how they’ll be, unless tried out on the wrist for a time.

Specification wise it’s also not at all bad with Time, Date, Countdown Timer, 3 x Alarms and a Stopwatch with a 20 lap recorder.  If that wasn’t enough it also has a 22 city World Timer for good measure (with DST option).  A 50m Water resistance and according to the spec it has a “scratch resistant” face, but I don’t think this means it has a Sapphire Crystal or it would say so categorically.
The large display is divided in to 3 sections to give separation of the data shown and the LCD uses a matrix layout with black figures contrasting against the grey dial background.

Dimensions are – Case width: 38.44mm, Case Depth: 14.55mm.  Weight is just 60 gms.
The lug to lug dimension is not quoted but it actually looks rather big at around 65mm maybe, which is very substantial, especially for smaller wrists.  Could well be it’s downfall for me personally, but until I see it on my wrist, difficult to say.

With very strong competition in this sector, the Humvee is sensibly priced it and it’s also being offered at discounted prices here and there, so maybe it’s worth more than a look.

But that top to bottom size being so large could be the killer, certainly as far as I am concerned.

Note –

Since finding this model I’ve discovered that there are a few other Humvee models around such as the Zulu range, which are conventional analogue dial military style watches which appear very much like the true Military Specification watches.  They feature Tritium light technology for perfect vision in the dark and seem very well priced.  They feature Japanese Miyota 2035 quartz movements and 100m Water Resistance.
I’ve also seen an analogue Field series which feature day and date windows and the more conventional luminous coatings for night use.

A quick search on Google will certainly flag these up if anyone’s interested.  You will also find the Timex Humvee which is something else again!

Fossil Machine

This week I’m wearing an unusual model from Fossil – the Black Fossil Machine Chronograph Alarm FS4682.  And no it’s not a military watch though it does look like one, as it has that black dark stealthy look about it that says it’s maybe not a dress watch – or is it?  The feature that attracted me was actually the Analogue/Digital display, which for those regular readers should know by now is a format that I particularly like.

Fossil Machine Black Alarm FS4682 Ana/Digi Watch

Fossil Machine Black Alarm FS4682 Ana/Digi Watch

It’s one of those watches that draws comment if seen by friends and I have to admit I like wearing it.

One of the unusual and fascinating aspects of this model is it’s large digital display, which features a “permanent” green luminescent Matrix display in addition to analogue hands.  The display actually reminds me of my Breitling Aerospace in that it has a luminescence that tends to pick up or reflect any ambient light and is visible in most day situations.

45mm diameter but only 13mm depth - means a neat fit.

45mm diameter but only 13mm depth – means a neat fit.

I had some concerns at the time that 45 mm diameter could be too large for me, but owing to it’s relatively small depth at 13mm, it actually fits my 170mm wrist very well indeed.  It sits flat against the wrist and easily slips under a shirt cuff and it’s very comfortable with the extremely flexible rubber strap and flush fitting black stainless buckle.  The case is black Ion Plated solid Stainless Steel with a wide matte black heavily knurled bezel and a flat non-reflective crystal.  The black case body (only noticeable at the sides) has a gentle gloss though the lugs are a brushed matte finish.

Military look Fossil

Military look Fossil

I already mentioned the strap and whilst it looks like “steel bracelet links” it’s actually made of black rubber, the inner surface of which, against the wrist, is actually smooth and very comfortable with a conventional buckle which is rather neatly figured.  It has a full screw back in mirror finish stainless steel with the Fossil logo, model number and a quoted Water Resistance of 5 atm or 50m.
On each side of the case are 4 x black textured push buttons that operate the digital functions and a large knurled center crown adjusts the analogue hands.  Interesting to note the buttons are set slightly straight compared to the case shape and as a consequence are much easier to operate than most.

Fossil with flexible rubber strap & black IP steel case

Fossil with flexible rubber strap & black IP solid steel case

The watch face features conventional analogue hour and minute hands, which are quoted I recall by Fossil as “hi visibility” orange tipped and an orange center seconds hand.  Now whilst these do show very well against the matte dial black background in good light, they are not quite so good in low light.  The hour baton markers are silver colored.
Personally I would have preferred a white color for both the hour and minute hands and hour markers – from my experience so far, it would be clearer, certainly in low light.  Note there are no luminous features on this watch at all – though this is not uncommon on ana/digi models.

The large digital Matrix display shows Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Day and Date and as independent of the analogue settings can be used as a 2nd Time zone if preferred.  The display normally shows a slight luminescent green color and is quite clear to read in most daylight situations.  It can also be back lit (EL) using the top left button B and changes to a blue color (see image below) for a few seconds for low light and night time use.

EL Back- light turns green to blue - quite effective for night use.

EL Back- light turns green to blue – quite effective for night use.

For me I might prefer it to be just a little brighter, but I wear glasses and am getting older – so perhaps this is more my problem!

The standard digital functions on this model are scrolled through using button A (lower left) and in order of – Time/Day/Date, Alarm and Stopwatch, then Time/calendar setting.

As the Date seems to set correctly for odd months it obviously is an auto-calendar, though I don’t know the final date (perhaps 2099?).  There is also a PM indicator on 12 hour format, but using button C (upper right) you can toggle either 12/24 hour time.

The Alarm function can be set for Alarm, Chime or both.  The alarm sounds a double beep, though as these days I can’t hear it so good, same for the hourly Chime, so I have to leave opinion to others – My wife always hears it!
The stopwatch has standard functions with stop/split (you can measure multiple split times) and reset, works great.  This is is a digital stopwatch only – the hands are not involved.

As said when in normal Time/Day/Date view the button A (lower left) scrolls in sequence to Alarm and Stopwatch, then continues to Time setting and the Seconds flash.  The setting sequence is Seconds, Hour, Minute, Month, Date and weekday.  If you adjust with button C (upper right) it then progresses to Hours and so on – pretty normal stuff.  It’s quite logical and reasonably intuitive once you’ve tried it a few times.  I would note that the standard Instruction booklet that’s included does NOT actually cover this model, so there are no Digital settings instructions.  You have to download a supplementary set for it – called Ana-Digi QFL133SB.  I provide a link HERE.

This trend for NOT including specific model instructions with the watch I find quite annoying as not everyone has internet access.

Overall though this is a really smart looking watch with a surprisingly good digital display in reasonable light.  It’s slim enough to fit most wrist sizes and very OK as a dress watch.  If you like the “military” look then it’s OK for that too, with the IP black stainless steel case and black rubber strap (note- the strap is 24mm wide with quick release bars at lugs).  The build quality too is pretty good, dial, hands and case and the Matrix display a bit of a revelation and it’s available at a reasonable cost.

Any downsides? –

Well for me maybe the loss of analog clarity in low light which could be better.  Also the lack of a model specific instructions with the watch is disappointing.  Also note this model has 3 batteries! and it would be useful to have instructions as to which powers what, to enable changing when required.

Overall: – an excellent watch for the money and I’m very pleased with it.

I’m not too familiar with the Fossil name, though not just a fashion company it seems.  They have quite a history of watch acquisition and now manufacture in their own right apparently.  They both import and manufacture in Switzerland and China and distribute in USA, Germany and Asia.  In 2012 they bought the well known company Skagen and in 2013 started an upscale Swiss range – Fossil Twist which they both design and make.  Some other brands are associated with them such as Adidas.

How to display, two different ways.

How to display, two different ways.

My last image shows it with the Timex Expedition just as a comparison.  Two totally different displays, yet both looking good.

Note – You can see a range of Fossil watches available in the UK HERE
Note 2  This model comes with 3 batteries.  As shown in the image – the 1st (recessed) is for the analog time, the 2nd (bottom) is the Digital movement and the 3rd to the left is for the EL back light. Remember the analog and digital are independent of each other (hence the Dual Time function).
Note 3
 – This model comes with a standard 2 years Warranty.  However more importantly there is also a Lifetime (limited) Warranty on the movement, hands and dial and if sent for repairs here in the UK, Fossil will require a copy of the proof of purchase or stamped and dated warranty.

Addendum – unfortunately the Ana/Digi model FS4682 is no longer available, which is a pity as it is one of the best Fossil models I’ve come across in a long time.

Ref. SO 050815