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 . . . . . . .

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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!

Classic Radio from Casio

There’s no doubt that watches are becoming very sophisticated and with many functions that the old mechanical models can’t match.  Though one of the issues some folks have is that these new-fangled quartz/solar models are somewhat removed from more traditional models. (think of ‘G’ Shocks and ABC models).

However that is actually not the case as the two models featured here illustrate.

Casio LCW-170TD-7AER Titanium Radio Control

Casio LCW-170TD-7AER
Titanium Radio Control

First is the Casio LCW-M170TD-7AER which looks pretty classic to anyone’s eye.  But it is one of these highly technical models that we take as the “norm” these days.  This one though is Analog with an Hour and Minute hand, centre seconds hand plus a small digital window that can show different functions, but can be set simply as the Day and the Date, which let’s face it, is about the most any of us actually use.

The technical functions are Solar power, so no battery required – it also has Radio Control, so it always reads the correct time with Atomic Clock accuracy.  It also sports World Time, so it can correct itself in 29 Time Zones throughout the world.  It is a smart watch no doubt and despite the technology it’s easy to use.

This particular version is Titanium cased, which I prefer for a couple or three reasons.   It is not shiny (apart from the top bezel, which annoys me slightly), it is a brushed finish and it is incredibly light at around 77 gms.  Unlike stainless steel polished cases this one does not show scratches and I’ve found over the years with other Ti watches, the Titanium takes on a lovely overall smooth finish which is rather pleasing.

The electronic Module used in this model is the 5161 and it is used in a few Casio RC models.  Not quite in the same league as my GPS Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, but it works very well and has a good reputation.  Whilst Solar Powered and as everyone says – you don’t need a battery, it actually does have one.  It’s a CTL920 rechargeable capacitor/battery, so don’t be tempted to fit a standard battery with similar dimensions!
That’s not to say that if it gave up the ghost for whatever reason (rare indeed) you can’t change them, because you can and they are available from a good few battery suppliers.  Although Casio say you should contact them for replacement, this is perhaps precautionary and for those who have no wish to delve into the back of a watch or maybe have sausages for fingers, rather than any technical reason.

This model has a neat size of almost 40 mm diameter and just 9 mm depth so is slim on the wrist.  The crystal is Sapphire so won’t scratch easily, though it doesn’t have anti-reflection coatings applied, which I would prefer to see as the almost white dial may not be as matte as would like.  However on balance the hands have decent infill luminous properties and I have no great issues with reading the dial in most light situations.

This model has a relatively modest Water Resistance at 50 m, so wet days, helping your wife do the washing up and showers are OK as indeed is the odd swim – just don’t start snorkeling.

Overall I like this watch, its color scheme makes it dressy rather than sporty, so looks good for evening wear.  It’s also in my “get it & forget it” category and very, very easy to live with.
Full review – coming soon . . . .

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Casio LCW-M180D-7AER

Casio LCW-M180D-7AER

The second model I’m featuring is the LCW-M180D-7AER from Casio, which sports the same Module 5161 so technically the same, but this one is in Stainless Steel and whilst is has the light color dial it is configured slightly differently.  Numbers 12 and 6 are represented by Roman Numerals and all numerals, markers and hands are in Gold tone against an off white coloured dial background.

Whilst this might look quite rich or upmarket I always find with gold color hands, clarity is often an issue and in poor light I personally find them hard to make out.  The luminous infill of the hands is similar though perhaps a little narrow, but I would judge night vision should be acceptable.
The case however has a slightly different profile, Stainless Steel with a quite shiny finish, so may be too easy to show scratches.  The bracelet is also in stainless steel and in a more pleasing link pattern than the LCW170.  Note the Water Resistance is unchanged at 50 m.

Being Stainless Steel this model is some 40 gms heavier at 118 gms, though if it’s an issue you could lighten it considerably by easily changing to silicon or a leather strap as both models have a 20mm standard spring-bar fitting.

As I said the operating Module is the same as are the functions, so it’s a personal choice on looks more than anything else.  Both models are available in alternative versions such as black dial and positive or negative digital displays.

For me personally, although I do like the look of the 180 and the fact is I’m looking for a light coloured dial anyway, I still have the feeling that I’d live more comfortably with the 170 Titanium version.  Firstly owing to the finish and the light weight and secondly the dial has simple markers and a better hand contrast v the slightly lighter background. As readers of this site well know by now, clarity is a personal issue of mine and that Gold color just doesn’t quite do it for me.

So there you have it.  Two models, same Module, same amazing functions, yet cosmetically different enough to attract different buyers with different preferences.  Both very Classic in their overall appearance and both functionally very good.

These can be bought for between £180 and £230 here in UK and Europe, the case material being the major difference (Titanium being more expensive) and for that money the functions are pretty spectacular, yet refined.  (I also like the fact that both models are not resin/metal hybrids this time, though that said Casio hybrids are great value for money).

But these two are certainly not any old Day Date models and already are best sellers and I expect them to be so for quite some time yet.

Module 5161 – Casioqw5161LCWM170

Casio Ana/Digi affordable

One thing Casio has certainly got going for them is their uncanny knack of making watches to suit everyone.  And if you’re not a great fan of their “G” shock stuff, then what I call their hybrid plastic/resin & stainless/metalized look models could be for you.  One thing is definite, they sport some great electronics, are easy to use, tough as any and make ideal “do everything” daily beaters.

Affordable value Casio World Time Chronograph

Affordable value Casio World Time Chronograph – the AQ-190W

I actually have a “hybrid” model already, the Casio Tough Solar WVA-470, but more of this later as here I want to major on the Casio AQ-190W model shown above which is my newest affordable Casio to date.  I like this for all sorts of reasons and not just the price, but for having none of the over muscular lumpiness and often less than easy to use pushbuttons of a “G” shock. This particular model is easy to use, easy pushers and easy intuitive functionality and reasonable dial clarity.  As I said this is all at a very affordable under £40 price tag – and function for function is pretty decent value.

It has a Citizen Navitimer familiarity about the dial set up with it’s separate digital displays, and it functions in similar manner.  The contrasting background layers, clear digits, contrast and clever use of tones makes this not too bad clarity wise, though the sub dial unfortunately is a little reflective – matte would have been so much better.

Features – Casio Module 5082

As expected with Casio the feature list is long and mostly useful in this particular model and for those who like chronographs, the 1/1000 sec stopwatch analog counter is a bit special.

  • Resin Glass / curved Spherical Glass
  • 100-meter water resistance
  • Case / bezel material: Resin / Stainless steel
  • Stainless Steel Band
  • One-touch 3-fold Clasp
  • LED light
    Selectable illumination duration, afterglow
  • World time
    29 time zones (48 cities + coordinated universal time), daylight saving on/off, Home city/World time city swapping
  • 1/1000-second stopwatch
    Measuring capacity: 99:59’59.999”
    Measuring modes: Elapsed time, lap time, split time
    Other: Speed (0~498 unit / hour), Selection distance input (0.0~99.9), Best lap indicator
  • Countdown timer
    Measuring unit: 1 second
    Input range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
    Other: Auto-repeat
  • 5 daily alarms (with 1 snooze alarm)
  • Hourly time signal
  • Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
  • 12/24-hour format
  • Regular timekeeping
    Analog: 2 hands (hour, minute (hand moves every 20 seconds)
    Digital: Hour, minute, second, pm, month, date, day
  • Accuracy:±30 seconds per month
  • Approx. battery life: 2 years on CR1220
  • Size of case: 50.1 × 45.4 × 13.7 mm
  • Total weight: 98 g

The amazingly bright orange/yellow back light is at 3 o’clock and being just above the 3 marker, it reflects right across the dial and manages to illuminate both the analog hands and the digital windows which is a surprise.  Certainly bright enough to read the time in the dark and maybe even to find your way to the bathroom at night! and certainly better than expected, especially compared to many other Casio models.   Note that the analog hands and markers are also luminous and pretty decent in their own right.

The World Time feature is about as good as it gets and again very Citizen like.  This makes it really easy to adjust, without continual reference to instructions unlike some, so is a practical watch for travel.
It’s easy to set the time or to select another Time Zone or indeed change from your current time to destination time.  As the digital and analog times are linked, you first select World Time and set the destination Zone you want, then “Swap” the digital time you’ve just set on to the hands – simply by pressing buttons A and B at the same time (that is the two upper buttons ) and the hands immediately move quickly round to the new digital setting.  Your previous analog time will now show on the digital screen.  On your return journey again select World Time, press both buttons A & B simultaneously again and job done – the times will revert once again.  Very simple in practice.

However whilst the functionality of this model is commendable, the quality of the band is let down by its rather sharp edges, which can cut into the wrist slightly and this is a real shame.
I say this as in another respect the bracelet is good, specifically in that the band fits to the watch case via a standard 18 mm spring-bar and is not a molded Casio only affair.

Because of that you would think that it could be changed for a standard 18 mm wide strap or bracelet.  Well it can but it’s not quite as easy as it sounds and in any case you really shouldn’t have to, and that’s the point.

The reason for my caution here is that whilst the spring-bar fitting is 18 mm, the actual width of the bracelet at case is around 24 mm, so an 18 mm strap will look much too small in proportion to the watch.  I managed to get round that by fitting a modified 24 mm silicon deployment strap, which wasn’t too difficult to do and it looks absolutely fine (when I get a photo of it, I’ll post it here).  The watch now has the comfort it should have had at the start!

However bracelet apart in terms of price, functions, features, intuitive ease of use, size, weight and style, this is a very good buy and it even manages a 100m Water Resistance as well – So it’s got quite a lot going for it.   A friend of mine has a rubber strap version of this model he picked up in India, where it seems to be very popular (Oh had I known!).

Ashampoo_Snap_2015.05.07_16h21m17s_001_

AQ-190W (left) and WVA-470 Waveceptor (right)

I’ve done a brief comparison of my two Casio hydrids, and if pushed I’d have to say “out of the box” the slightly more expensive WVA-470 Waveceptor is my preference.

My WVA-470 Waveceptor (Radio Control), Tough Solar, World Time with it’s 5053 module overall has more to it and has slightly better build quality including the bracelet (though is Casio fit only) and functionality is good.  For travel you basically have to set a new Home Time, but that said, it’s actually very easy to do – press button A (top left) to first see the transmitter selection, then toggle button C (lower left) to the City code – once selected press button A twice.  The hands will move to the new Home Time, so pretty fast and easy to manage.  It’s a deceptively simple and understated looking watch and it’s also very comfortable to wear and use.
Any downside – NONE

The AQ-190W model (module 5082) featured here doesn’t have Solar or Radio Control, but does have good functionality, especially regarding the World Time feature – and I like the fact you can instantly “swap” any digital Time Zone to the analog hand indication which is perfect for traveling.  Whether the 1/1000 sec chronograph is a good thing depends on personal preference. Personally I don’t need that accuracy.
Any downside – The sharp sided bracelet is really inexcusable from Casio and whilst a strap could used in place, this is hardly the point.  Also after wearing this model for a while I note the Gray color hour and minute hands, in certain light can disappear into the display background.  These would be much better White.  This is something that I didn’t expect, but noticeable after use for a bit and whilst not a sale breaker, being a stickler as I am for clarity it’s a little disappointing.

24 mm wide alternative Silicon deployment strap - fitted to 18 mm spring-bars.

24 mm wide alternative Silicon deployment strap – fitted to 18 mm spring-bars.

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As regards Analog/Digital models I was starting to think these were on the decline – but far from it.  Casio alone have literally dozens of variations on a theme, from the more expensive right down to the incredible under $20 models and each with varying degrees of functionality.  It’s a mark of their remarkable strength in depth that almost all of them are pretty good with just a different emphasis here and there as to the actual featured function.

Unlike their resin cased range, where Casio’s quality is probably unsurpassed, the composite build cased models are a different matter.  You really do have to carefully check build quality, as seen here with the AQ-190, whilst the watch/case etc is fine, the bracelet is not so fine.   And it varies with each model and perhaps influenced by where in the group a particular part of the hybrid make up was produced and/or assembled.   Some like the WVA-470 for example are about as good as you’ll get and yet model wise only marginally more expensive than the other.

A selection of Casio Ana/Digi's - AQF1000WD-9BV, AQ160WD-1BV, AE1000WD-1AVCF, AMW700V-1AV, W89HB-5AV, ERA201BK-1AV

A selection of Casio Ana/Digi’s –
AQF1000WD-9BV, AQ160WD-1BV, AE1000WD-1AVCF, AMW700V-1AV, W89HB-5AV, ERA201BK-1AV

There’s no question in my mind and fortunate for my wallet, that in general with Casio, I find the low to mid range priced models represent best value.  I invariably find the more expensive range such as Edifice and above in comparison do not.

The model featured in this Post and more so with it’s pal hybrid Waveceptor model represent good affordable value.

Also getting away from the grey resin only cased models, I like the look of the composite resin/steel case structure, which certainly reduces the overall price point and they are each a sensible size and whichever one you prefer in this Post, both have exceptional functionality.  And they are two of a wide selection from Casio that manage to get the balance just right, and yet I also note are rarely if ever advertised highly.  Casio’s marketing hype tends to be geared towards their more expensive models, which I suppose is par for the course.

But don’t be fooled.  Really good value Casio models are there, but usually just under the radar and you may have to actively seek them out.

But if you do, I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it.

NoteThe WVA-470 Waveceptor,AQ-190W was featured here in my “Watch of the Week” as it still represents a great value watch.  I also note there are quite a few variations of this watch (mine could be replaced by now) such as the WVA-105H, the WVA-M630D, the WVA-M640 to name but three . . . . so it appears it was and is still a winning combination and popular.

This time – I keep it!

As discussed on the last Post, after selling on my older model Navihawk, I managed to replace it at long last with this Citizen JY0005-50E Skyhawk A-T Radio Controlled Eco-Drive, which reminds me so much of my older model, AND which has been updated for today with RC and Eco-Drive.  Really pleased with it because in my opinion this is a Classic Citizen model of it’s and probably my generation.

Citizen Skyhawk - home at last.

Citizen Skyhawk – home at last. Note the down curving bezel.

That amazing concept of a digital multi displays coupled with a busy, yet unaccountably readable dial analog dial layout is still a winner and I include a few images here to show it off.  This is also a model that will go into my “milestones” display box and will definitely not be sold on, unlike the last time.  It seems to me to be about as far along this route that Citizen can go without changing the case and tinkering with the dial layout, though not by much I hasten to add, such as the Attesa model, which I know, silly me – I also sold on . . .  ;-(
But for some unknown reason I just wasn’t wearing either one and my mantra in those days was if I don’t wear ’em – they go.  I’m maybe a bit more mature today and that rather strict criteria has eased somewhat and I can see the beauty in owing without over wearing, happy enough just to take it out on occasion and have the odd wearing day or week.

Skyhawk high data dial configuration works and works well!

Skyhawk high data dial configuration works and works well!

But to the model – and there is no doubt that it is a very nicely made piece of kit with lots going for it, such as the anti-reflection coated domed crystal and the clever configuration of the entire dial, which is a masterpiece in it’s own right.  There’s no question in my mind that they got this right and right at the start too.
Another thing I should mention is that I managed to get this at £100 off retail.  The funny thing was and this is actual fact, the price dropped just after my last Post (we’re talking a day ago!) and as this was both the best price I’d seen and the last one the Dealer had in stock, it was an absolute no brainer for me.  Straight on to the web site and that was it!

And very happy I did too and as you see I got myself a lot of watch for the money.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E - Original steel bracelet changed for Silicon deployment - means 196gms to 110gms.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E – Original steel bracelet changed for Silicon deployment – means 196gms to 110gms!

I didn’t in the end buy the Titanium one, which would normally be my preference, purely on weight grounds.  However I solved this minor issue by removing the very heavy steel IP coated bracelet, which believe it or not accounted for 110gms of the total weight of 196gms, or heavier than the watch itself.  Fitting a silicon deployment strap made good sense and the resultant all up weight is now just 110gms, which is actually 10gms lighter than the Red Arrows Titanium JY0110-55E version of this watch, so I’m very pleased with that.

The watch with it’s U600 movement is of course a delight to use, easy to set and once on auto in regards Radio Control is a forget watch.  Get yourself a Radio signal at 2am, 3am or 4am and the time is corrected as good as you’ll get.  Summer/Winter times are automatically accounted for in settings (Auto) and to change Home time for Destination Time if traveling is simple to do.  Crown out to Pos 1, turn to select city shown in display 1 on the right, press buttons A and B simultaneously and the new time jumps to display 2 on the left and the old Home time moves to the 1st display on the right, push in Crown – job done!  Once on the way home just do the same again, but this time simply pull out Crown to Pos 1, press A and B together, Cities move over, push Crown in – job done.  So a very easy to use World Time traveler.

Classic Citizen Skyhawk  - note the domed crystal and bezel

Classic Citizen Skyhawk – note the domed crystal and bezel

With the Citizen penchant for displaying data, the Charge Indicator @10 shows the current state of charge and it also doubles as transmitter indicator for your area.  In other words, when Receiving, the little indicator will point to USA, Eur or Jpn.  At the same time the Second hand will point to H, M or Low signal strength at between 1 and 2.  So it’s very simple to see what’s going on at any time with this dial layout. The lower indicator sub-dial is the Mode selector indicator, which moves around to point or indicate your Mode selection, such as Time, Cal, Timer, Chrono, Alarm 1 and 2 and World Time – so again very easy.  The digital display 1 on the right will show the selection start point.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E at 45mm diameter fits well with silicon strap.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E at 45 mm diameter fits well with silicon strap.

By the way when the watch arrives in it’s box it may well have no charge at all, so before anything you need to stick it in the daylight for around 8 hours.  Then it’s ready.  After you’ve done this you’ll see it’s ticking away with Displays indicating and probably not the right time or date of course, but later that night you need to do a Manual Radio Receive.  Easy to do.

First you need to set your Home City/Zone.  Note you have two Displays.  Display 1 on the right and the smaller Display 2 on the left.  Display 1 is your World Time selection.  Display 2 is always your Home City selection.

So to set your Home City/Zone start by pulling the Crown out to Pos 1 and turn the Crown either direction to scroll through all the World Times on Display 1. When you get the one you want, leave it showing on Display 1 on the right.   (Note when you pulled the Crown out, Display 2 will flash “M”, which means it’s in “Mode” setting ready for display switching).  Now the City you selected (your Home City) is still showing in Display 1 (on the right).  To move this city to your Home City Display 2 position, press both pushbuttons at the same time.  This will transfer/copy the City from Display 1 to Display 2 on the left.  You’ll see on my watch here that my Home City is set to London on Display 2 (left), and also on Display 1 which still shows the World Time of London.  This display can also show the Month, Date and Day. Or the Time with seconds running.

It’s all pretty easy to do once you’ve managed it once, so no continual reference to the instruction booklet needed.

When traveling it’s also very easy to select a Destination Time Zone.  Basically your Home City is on the left Display 2 and the new City or World Time destination City you select is on Display 1. And you simply swap them over more or less as you already did above.  So a very good travelers watch.

Of course the watch is also a Calculator, Pilots delight, Motorists and Nerds friend with all sorts of calculations possible using the bezel and indexes on and within the dial, hence the text everywhere, though if you never use them, it’s OK as they’re not actually obtrusive.  The Hour and Minute hands are quite broad with great luminous infill and have a considerable separation above the dial, so stand out very clearly.  The sub-dial indication @12 is the UTC 24hr time and the one @2 indicates 24hr AM/PM, so again good data and well displayed, yet unobtrusive to the main time function.  Note that unlike some other models, Citizen this time have ensured that the sub dial surrounds are really thin and don’t interfere with time reading when light levels are low.  The main 0-12 markers are broad with great luminous qualities and the watch is extremely easy to read at night.  There is also a digital display light operated by the top button which is very clear indeed.

Clean Stainless Steel back shows off sleek case design.

Clean Stainless Steel back shows off sleek case design.  Note – well protected knurled Crown

The watch case is very well made and surprisingly smooth and I particularly like the bezel as it’s sleek and curves down at the edges.  It is of course bi-directional being a calculation instrument and not a Divers model, though that said this model has a commendable 200m Water resistance.  The central knurled Crown is protected by the case and the buttons are smooth and easy to operate.  I also love the back of this model as it’s very plain but in brushed stainless steel and is not designed to be opened by anyone other than Citizen, nor should there be any reason to do so.

Dimensions are not too bad for today at 45 mm wide, though I am glad to see the lug to lug is a neat 49 mm, which means this watch can fit the smaller wrist without overhang, and the depth or height of the case is 15 mm.  The IP coated steel is smooth and has a subtle brushed satin finish, not glossy at all.  The bracelet supplied is a standard 22 mm lug width and uses standard spring bar fixings, so alternative straps or bracelets can be used easily and as I’ve done already.  Another real plus when compared to many of it’s competitors.

Out of the box first impressions are this is a big, solid and heavy watch, yet remove that very heavy bracelet, fit a silicon deployment strap and it’s suddenly not just very much lighter, but seems smaller and fits neater on the wrist.

Well defined dial with great hands to background separation

Well defined dial with great hands to background separation

I’ve included a few images to try and show it in a more realistic light than you see on the Internet, and I’ll take a shot or two at night to show the luminous and display light aspects, though I’ll post the night shots later.   The luminous quality is very good indeed and hands and markers still very clear after 6+ hrs total darkness.  Added to that the digital display light for both Displays is excellent and very clear indeed.  Certainly one of the better night use watches I’ve seen from the big three.

So after all that – I eventually got my Skyhawk and OK it’s not the old Navihawk and whilst I might have got a more lookalike model such as the Blue Angels (if still available), I’m really happy with this one – in fact I love it . . .

Is there a Downside? – well if honest, it is a bit larger than my old one, which seems inevitable these days – my old Navihawk was around 40 mm diameter against this one at 45 mm and it’s very much heavier, though I’ve fixed the weight issue by changing the steel bracelet for a silicon strap, with the result it’s now actually lighter than both the old one and the new Titanium version, so that was easily solved.  You can of course have a silicon strap version of this model (cheaper) though I wanted the bracelet basically as if I did sell  it on . . . which in this case I’m definitely not going to do, it would have that option.

Anyway the Upside of this model far outweighs any negatives, as this watch is very much updated for today with addition of Radio Control and Eco-Drive and the inclusion of a Crown and only two pushers makes a neater and certainly easier operation, plus the more advanced U600 movement module, are improvements that really do Citizen justice without diminishing their concept.

And of course it’s on my wrist!  And one thing that is certain – it will not be sold on, not this time . . . . no way!

Note 1 – Where did I get this one?  I bought it HERE – and note they don’t now have stock and the price has increased – it was reduced for 2 days to £299 – and I snagged it – so there!   😉

Note 2 – The Attesa I refer to is a Citizen model I bought in 2009 and was probably the real upgrade model of the original Navi/Skyhawk concept – cleaned up and much more advanced and yet – well click on the Attesa in the Post (the paragraph below the first image above) and it’s article is there and the note at the foot explains all.  Interestingly I see the latest Skyhawk has moved the slide rule, bezel data indexes inside the dial.  This unfortunately is starting to look just a little cluttered – unlike my model.  It appears Citizen may be going too far though I hope not, but the Promaster Skyhawk PMV65-2272, seems perilously close and nearly £400 plus mailing costs from Japan.  However on the plus side I note it has nice short lugs and a standard strap fixing, so that is a big improvement.

Ah well perhaps you can’t get everything . . .

How could I . . .

Just thinking the other day how could I manage to sell on my old Citizen Navihawk and realizing afterwards what an idiot I was.  Maybe it was the fact that I was still looking for new things and it wasn’t being worn as much as I liked.  Or maybe it was the technology at that time and maybe it was me that wasn’t ready for it, or it had too busy a dial or whatever – I simply don’t know and that of course was as I now realize – regrettable in the extreme.
For it was a classic of it’s time and I should be wearing it now – but alas not to be . . .

My old "techno 3" - or what I thought were the greatest. But only one remains!

My old “techno 3” – or what I thought were the greatest. But only one remains!

Today of course fortunately there are models that are now the offspring of that great watch and fortunately they have improved them and not messed around with that amazing dial construction, which let’s face it was the attraction that so many of us felt at the time.  My old model for example didn’t have Eco-drive and didn’t have Radio Control and it was stainless steel, though in fairness it was very neat on the wrist, as most watches were smaller than today’s counterparts.

So I thought OK I messed up last time and today I’m going to make amends for passing up a classic of it’s era.  Yes I’ve decided I’m going to get myself a Citizen Navi or Sky something and it’s going to be a keeper!  And there are a few around, though some don’t have that “look”and some seem larger, not as neat, so I’m being careful here because it’s important to me – this time.

At one time I had what I called my techno 3, that is the models I thought were the latest thing.  The Navihawk, the Attesa and the Breitling – and would you believe of the trio I only have one remaining and it’s not the Citizens, but my Breitling.

But and it’s a big but – what Citizen model will I choose?
Well  there are quite a few models to pick from and they all have little differences and at the end of the day it’s about personal preference.  It’s about the one that “says” it for you and I remember so well that my old one did just that and for whatever reason.  So after a lot of looking and examining and thinking how I feel and so on I have a choice of two.

Either the Citizen Skyhawk model JY0110-55E Red Arrows Titanium AT or the JY0005-50E Skyhawk Radio Controlled, Eco-Drive AT model.

Latest classic for me. The Citizen Skyhawk JY0110-55E in Titanium

Latest classic for me. The Citizen Skyhawk JY0110-55E in Titanium

Why I picked these two versions over others is just the feeling that they have the “look” of the old one with that curved bezel look, the short round buttons as opposed to the T shaped pushers others have, and just two not four plus an added crown, which eases World Time changing over the older model.

Citizen JY0005-50E A-T RC, Eco-Drive

Citizen JY0005-50E A-T RC, Eco-Drive in IP stainless

I also like the different bezel grips, elongated in the first one and dot protrusions on the other which reflect the original bezel grip idea and I prefer that both hour hands are NOT skeletal (my only dislike on my old model).  Functionality wise they are both identical and both models are now Eco-Drive, so no battery concerns ever and being Radio Controlled there are no accuracy issues when changing time zones, each of which is an improvement.  One is Titanium and the other is IP Stainless Steel so one is lighter on the wrist, and both have short case lugs, which are wrist friendly and they’ve improved the water resistance from 100m to 200m.

The indices on both I note are heavier which aids clarity and both digital displays are slightly different in layout and smaller on the right side, but with larger digits than the older model, and with the addition of better quality anti-reflection coating inside the glass these should have better overall clarity.  All good and yet without compromising that indefinable element of what attracted me in the first place.

They both in their way look right.

Which will I finally pick is down to how I feel and at this moment I’m favoring the JY0005-50E owing to dial coloration in and on the dial and maybe the bezel grips?  I also note that the IP Stainless model is considerably cheaper by around £100, which is important especially as functionality is the same.  Though on the other hand I do like Titanium!  I also like the fact that one of them has marginally less dial text (no Red Arrows).   Yikes! this is NOT easy!

It’s also true to say, that whichever one I choose, that this is one of the classic Citizen milestone models which basically has hardly changed cosmetically from the day it first appeared.  Always a good point in any design is when they get it right from day one – and that’s a feat in itself.

It was a winner then and it’s a winner now.

But hey! whatever one I do pick –  this is definitely a keeper for me – this time! 😉

Addendum –
The model I’ve picked (yes I’ve made my selection) will be featured as a more in depth subject of a near future Post. 
One thing is so obvious when the watch is in your hand and that’s the fact it is a Citizen Classic.  The wonderful analog/digital dial layout (which some said would never work) and function combination, heralded a new age in digital watches and Citizen to my mind came of age with their introduction.  The addition of Radio Control and Eco-Drive to the range is a logical extension and will ensure the popularity of the Navihawk and Skyhawk to a new generation.

Moving on (part 2) – complications

The trouble with complications is that once you have these squeezed into a watch, there are usually two distinct problems.  The first is Size and the second is user friendliness.  Regarding the first problem – often the watch is physically just too big, the lug to lug distance resulting in overhanging the average wrist so much that it simply doesn’t fit the average wrist at all.  An excessive diameter measurement even though large, might be acceptable, but coupled it with a large Height or thickness, the entire watch becomes unwieldy and looks pretty silly if we’re being honest.

The second problem of User friendliness or ease of use is another matter and a direct result of the added complications factor.  How does the Manufacturer enable all these extra functions without having more buttons, pushers and so on and expect the user to remember what on earth to do, to action a particular function.  Do the instructions make sense, easy to follow and above all are they intuitive?

Casio GW-1000-AER

Casio GW-1000-AER – big watch with complications

A for instance is this Casio GA-1000- 1AEF model that has a respectable functionality with analog hands showing the time, plus a digital set up that also can show the time (not linked) and also a Timer, Chronograph, Alarms, World Time, Thermometer and a Digital Compass for good measure.  It now becomes complicated and it doesn’t have Solar which is a pity as the Solar function doesn’t require any input from the user at all!
It has 4 pushers plus a large Compass pusher too but no crown.  To adjust the analog time takes a fair old bit of push buttoning (is there such a phrase?)and digital sequence of events and to get both digital time and analog time to agree is even trickier.  And you might well have left the instructions at home – silly boy!
Casio has however made compass calibration simpler? than usual, by using the 180º method, which means you only turn the watch 180º and the watch does the calibration automatically – sort of . . . . . and no I don’t understand it either! and I still need the instructions to remember how to manage it . . .

One other thing to say about this watch – for a twin sensor model it is a brute and just far too big!

Many models today maybe digital only and any and all adjustments are managed by a sequence of pushers and buttons and a good user memory.  Add in an analogue function or two as in ana/digi models and there are more choices perhaps for the introduction of Crown usage – or not – in the case of some Radio Controlled models.  With these why have a crown at all as the time should always be correct via the Radio Signals?
There are some models however that have thankfully decided that even with Radio Control functionality, maybe a Crown is a darned good idea.  It’s another and importantly a familiar control that users could certainly appreciate.

The trouble was I wanted a model with a Digital Compass.  Don’t ask why – I just did, perhaps the geek in me and funnily enough apart from making the watch very large the Compass is the easiest thing to work on the Casio GW1000 watch.  Simply push the big button and Bob’s yer uncle!  And I like the watch, but surely I thought there must be an alternative?  Something sleeker, more user friendly and without frequent referral to that darned instruction booklet.

However today I think I’ve found it at last!  My Holy Grail – maybe . . . .

EQW-A1200B-1AJF Japan domestic version - RC, Solar, World Time, Digital Compass etc.

EQW-A1200B-1AJF Japan domestic version – RC, Solar, World Time AND Digital Compass.

I introduce the EQW-A1200B-1AJF from Casio – and note this is a Japan domestic model and on the face of it – it looks a nice smooth watch.  Doesn’t even look complicated.  But it is . . .

This model has not only the same functionality as my previous watch, but has additional ones, such as Radio Control and Solar Power.  That means it’s always correct time wise and you forget about batteries.  And yes this model also has a Digital Compass which is only noticeable because it says so on the dial!  This is something I wasn’t expecting – a rather understated refinement and an almost elegant watch from Casio.  Isn’t that nice . . . .
The watch dimensions are also rather good at 44.5mm diameter, a commendable lug to lug of just 52mm (I think my “G” shock above is something like 58mm) and a very slim and compact 12.8mm height.  So very wearable for anybody – and about time I’d say!

The dimensions are very encouraging indeed, so it appears the Size issue has been resolved here.  What about the second issue – User friendliness.
Important especially when you consider this model has not less but more complications than my big Casio – have they addressed this too?

Slim model at only 12.8mm height - with a compass!

Slim model at only 12.8mm height – with a compass!

Well things are looking good as this model doesn’t have a digital display and does have a Crown and that to me is a very good sign.  Note too that it’s got just 3 pushers plus the Crown – so how will Casio manage with what appears to be less?
Well they manage very well with the Module 5325 as it happens and I give a quick run down on the different aspects of control with this model –

1) World Time and setting your own Home Time – this is as about as easy as it gets.  Unscrew the Crown, then pull out the Crown.  The Second hand will move and point to the City code the watch has been set to previously.  Simply turn the Crown to move the Second hand around the city codes to the one you wish to set.  Then push the Crown in – the hour and minute hands, perhaps the date and 24hr hands will move to reflect the time of that city.  If OK screw the Crown back in – Job done!  You can also swap Home and World cities and that’s easy too.

2) The lower dial – shows the mode the watch is set to – such as Timekeeping, World Time, Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, or Alarm.  And note the same dial on Timekeeping points to the Day of the week.  And also note that push button [C] (lower left) is the mode selector control so each press will cycle through the available modes.  Note this dial also shows Receiving state and battery state too.

3) The Digital Compass – couldn’t be simpler as it has it’s own control at [A] push button (the buttons are lettered clockwise from [A] upper right).  Unlike the digital display Casio GA1000 model this watch does not display any digital angular degrees.  It is just like a standard North indicating compass.  The bezel is fixed but does have some (sparse I’d have to say) degree markings on the inner blued ring which may be useful.  So turning the watch around with Compass mode activated so that the North pointer lines up with the N on the bezel, then checking the bezel against your direction of travel and you’ve got some idea where you’re going.  To use practically, I suppose the tried and tested “sit it on a map” alignment procedure is about as good as you’d get.

4) The Timer – this is up to 60 minutes only.  Again use button [C] to select TR (Timer) on the lower dial.  Unlock the Crown by screwing it out, then pull out and turn to set the Timer duration.  In this operation the Minute hand will be the pointer – set it at 12 for 60 minutes and clockwise to any other time less than that.  Press [A] to start.  An Alarm will sound for 10 seconds on completion and button [B] will reset.

A similar idea for the Chronograph operation, select via [C] and [A] to start and [B] to reset and so on – you’ll soon get the hang of it.  And the Alarm is more of the same and here you can see the value of this Crown and in use a pattern is quickly established that you can remember – Select with [C]- set with the Crown – start with [A] and reset with [B].

Interesting lug/strap fixing to resin strap.  Possible alternatives if required?  maybe . .

Interesting lug/strap fixing to resin strap.  Possible alternatives if required? maybe . .

It all reminds me so much of my older Citizen analog Radio Controlled, Solar and World Timer model, which used the crown in exactly the same way, though a simpler and less complicated model of course.  I love it and wear it often and I can see the same thing happening here even with all these complications.

Other features are a very good night “Neobrite” illumination on hands and indices, good Water Resistance at 10BAR or 100m, Date, Day and Time continuous indication (always a good thing), a fully automatic Calendar to 2099, light weight steel and aluminum case & bezel resulting in a weight of only only 92gms.

I’d say Casio might have just about got it perfect this time – though as always until you have it on your wrist for a week or so – you never know!