Friend of mine asked if I knew of any watch models that had color – bright color, but he was on a budget (getting a small gift for his boy at Christmas) and his lad just loves color.

AstroAvia Alarm Chronograph 4 Jet

AstroAvia V9S Alarm Chronograph

I think it runs in the family and being kind I always thought that the entire family had a color sense issues, especially as the last time I met Charles (no not the Prince!) he was wearing a rather grand red velvet jacket and a green, yes green bow tie.  Elegant was probably not the word that sprung to my mind especially when I noted (as if one could not) he was also wearing tan trousers and brown shoes!

But we all have our little foibles and why should I criticize – I once had a multicolor Citroen CV that my girl friend at the time thought hideous and I thought really cool!  It was so serious that it was her ultimatum – the car or it’s over!  Well there was of course no question about it – I kept the car . . .  😉  😉

Anyway I digress – his son obviously takes after his Dad and I thought this watch might do the trick – and it’s rather military-ish style might appeal.Ashampoo_Snap_2014.12.14_21h07m58s_007_

This is the AstroAvia V9S Alarm Chronograph and I’ve just thought it would be an excellent match to my friends attire!  But mum’s the word!  Anyway it’s a pretty stylish military style model with a YN 64 Quartz Japan movement, so will keep pretty decent time.  Matte stainless steel case with Black PVD plating and screw back rated 3 ATM, is 43mm diameter by just 11mm depth, so OK for the boy – he’s 14 years old and already going on 6 feet and gangly.  An Alarm function and Chronograph (60 minute timer, 1/5th secs and split times) plus a second Time Zone feature, 24 hour dial, Mineral crystal, black background dial with red sub dials, very green numerals and a white center sweep seconds had – plus a Date window between 4 & 5.

It also features a killer red ringed top push button to start the chronograph which seems just right to me and a Tachymeter scale round the perimeter – in fact the more I look at this the more I like it myself!

Great stainless Steel band is 22mm so looks in proportion has butterfly buckle and twin pushers.  I forgot to mention the hands and dial numerals by the way are coated in Luminova – not Superluminova which is a pity as SuperL is definitely better – and I’ve always been slightly disappointed in Astro’s night look, but hey! maybe they’ve improved.  The image supplied by AstroAvia is brilliant – as they tend to be, but how it performs after an hour in the dark – your guess is as good as mine.

I’ve seen it for around £140-£170 here in the UK which is within his budget  it comes with a 2 year Guarantee and I have a feeling his boy will love this – I know I’m quite taken by it . . . .


I did consider another colorful model this time from Swatch and whilst I have a lot of time for this Brand, it was back to the plastic cased fashion style watch, though in fairness close up it’s quite a substantial piece of kit, especially the substantial hour and minute hands and the dial markers.  But on balance I didn’t think it would really appeal to this adult yearning lad – the military style steel cased model being more up his street.

Swatch SUUB401 "Chromatic Water" model

Swatch SUUB401 “Chromatic Water” model

But it’s certainly colorful – this is the Swatch “Chromatic Water” series Multi-color Black Dial unisex model SUUB401 at 42mm diameter x 15mm depth and 20m Water Resistance with Silicon Rubber strap and buckle.  Cheaper at around $66 in USA, so perhaps near the £100 once in the UK – and there probably wasn’t time to get it anyway for Christmas.

However in the event whilst it’s certainly a “color” contender, in this instance it’s no contest as the AstroAvia definitely has the “look” and is a very adult watch.  It manages to get away with the color scheme too, as it just seems to work!

I’m hoping my suggestion of the AstroAvia will be just fine.  On the other hand if the boy hates it – I’m just a call away!  😉


Military look? (1)

Good question actually as the so called “military” watch is somewhere between a rainbow and the Holy Grail!  Such a maligned term and used as a descriptive on so many watch models that often the models referred to can make me laugh out loud, or make me cry . . . ( don’t you love mixed metaphors!).
But seriously what is it that we want from a so called “military” watch?  And that’s a problem from the outset – do you consider the actual current Military Specifications (US, UK, Sweden, France, Germany etc.) and bearing in mind they tend to differ.  Or perhaps instead you take the all purpose loose term of “Military style” as your guide.

Timex Expedition T49976 with easy to fit Zuludiver camouflage NATO

Timex Expedition T49976 with NATO.  Military look and difficult to beat.

Personally I take the latter, as so many of the legitimate “Military Spec” models actually don’t do it for me at all.  And that’s mainly because the only important criteria for me when considering a Mil Spec or “military” model is – will it do what I want it to do?  – is it reliable, really legible day and night, does it have a conventional strap fitting (if it breaks can I replace it easily), if battery powered – how easy to change, how tough is it in my circumstances, does it have the functions I want or need and is it easy and intuitive to use.

And the trouble with the above wish list, which incidentally for me is as good as I need, is that we all want something different because it IS very personal and our circumstances are very different as indeed are our requirements.  So a “military STYLE” model is obviously the way to go.

I already have a few and as you see not all would meet the true (but variable) Military Specs that are around.  But I’ve discounted that anyway in favor of what suits me and perhaps what I consider good enough to be called in my book “Military styled”  Or maybe we should forget the military description bit altogether and simply look out for a “suitable for me” watch . . . which fits my lifestyle and seems to make sense.

The very affordable Timex Expedition T49976 (which I have had for a while myself) with it’s neat black/green resin shock case is a pretty good example of a “military style” watch that on the face of it, is difficult to beat.  The supplied strap is resin/rubber camo with a non reflective buckle with standard lug fixing – hence the NATO strap fitted here – took about 3 minutes to change it over.  This model is digital only, has excellent day and night vision with one of the better incarnations of Timex’s Indiglo, has chrono, alarms, timers and so on and is very easy and intuitive to use.  I particularly like the Shock case which on the upper bezel above the glass is a softer compound than the main case, almost rubbery, so top protection is very good indeed.  The watch is also a sensible size even though shock protected at just 45mm diameter and if you include the slanted pushers barely 47mm.  Lug to lug is commendably short at 48mm, so this watch will fit the smaller wrist without looking like macho man.  14mm depth is also OK and the overall look of the watch is quite unobtrusive with no shiny bits at all.  100m Water Resistance and a CR2016 battery (available almost anywhere) completes the specification and to tell the truth I could stop this Post right now.  It’s about as good as it gets at a very affordable price of around £45 in the UK.  It works, it’s tough, easy to use, neat, any strap will do and has the no fumble top mount Indiglo pusher for the back light – no searching around with fingertips looking for it or even remembering which pusher it is (unlike many a Casio).

So this is my top tip.  For further info see my Post HERE.

So after mentioning Casio just a second ago, what can they offer?  I first looked at a similar “camo” military style model – the Casio GD120CM-5 – a digital only model, which came out earlier this year (2014) which has a similar function set plus World Time.  It is a T-Shock model.

Casio DG 120CM-5 Camo Digital only - but is BIG

Casio DG 120CM-5 Camo Digital only – but is BIG

This Casio also like the Timex has an excellent display with a good standard blue back light for night use and with positive digitals it’s good to see in the day also.  A tough case, dull finish, shock resistant, water resistant to 200m and plenty functions from chronograph to Alarms + World Time.   It is however considerably larger than the Timex at 51.2mm wide and lug to lug at 55mm and with an unfortunate hefty depth of 17.4mm, this is one big watch.  As a digital only military style model priced at $130 or £85 it’s a nice enough watch but certainly not as good value as the Timex (£45) which in my personal opinion is simply better.
So overall although it looks the part, in comparison to the Timex it’s overpriced, the strap for me in a problem and the large overall size is not ideal for me.  So no cigar!

My third pick was gong to be either the gents Nixon Unit SS or the ladies Nixon Unit 40 in black – the only difference being the gents is 44mm diameter and the ladies 40mm, the latter being perhaps the better fit for my small wrist.

The Nixon Unit 40 - Ladies model!

The Nixon Unit 40 – Ladies model!

But whilst it looks the part (even the smaller ladies one) and it’s features – are up there with Casio and Timex –

indestructible polycarbonate case, a positive or negative display segmented dial layout, hardened mineral crystal, good visibility day and night (back lit), 100m Water Resistant with screw case back and a standard silicon style strap with locking polycarbonate buckle.   Function wise it features Time and Calendar plus Seconds, 12/24hr selectable, Chronograph, Dual Time, Timer, Hourly Chime and Alarm and nicely sized at 40mm diameter.  And the Unit 40 option is under £90 – which is good value”. . . .

– and it looks great and so on – I have one reservation – and that is the legibility or clarity of those digits.  I’ve not seen this model “in the flesh” as it were, but looking at the odd review on You Tube, I’d say the clarity of the digits might very well depend on the angle it’s seen from – and that is no use to me.  So as often the case I would advise any prospective purchaser to check out “in your hand”.
I know the images here look great – BUT so often we’ve been fooled by those enhanced web images.  So CHECK IT before you buy.  And IF it’s OK, then there’s no doubt this could be a sweet watch – and if really like the image shown here – could easily be a winner.

And on the same subject – A friend of mine swears by Suunto brand models and whilst I’m not too familiar with them, I have seen them on occasion in the odd high Street store and had them in my hand and found their readability disappointing and for that reason I won’t include them here.

Anyway these are 3 possible “military style” models that might suit and first one, the Timex Expedition T49976 for me is the one to judge all others from.  Basically from Price to functions and to practicality and indeed “look” it could be difficult to find anything else that can match up – Mil Spec or not.

In my next Post I hope to check out some more “military” look or inspired models that I think might, just might fit my criteria – so as ever – Watch this Space.