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 . . . . . . .

Compass compacts 2

Decided to revise this post to allow what I consider two very close Digital Compass watch contenders to be on the same page, as it were.

The first Digital Compass find is from Tissot – very high quality built and somewhat more expensive Tissot T-Touch Expert Alarm Chronograph T0134201105700.

T-Touch Expert Tissot Alarm Chronograph Compass watch

T-Touch Expert Tissot Alarm Chronograph Compass watch

A watch that comes with Analogue and digital display (like the Casio Pro trek, but conventional) and some 6 functions, so a highly specified watch.  The dimensions at 44mm diameter and 14mm depth are within my remit and from images I’ve seen so far it sits very compactly on the wrist.

There are a few different models of this series and I note that dimensions differ as do prices, so I will have to narrow the search down to ensure the best for me.  However the Titanium cased one Expert model will probably be my choice.  Note the available functions around the perimeter of the dial.  What is outstanding with this watch is the sheer amount of functionality – it is pretty awesome I have to say.  Weather prediction data is covered by the Meteo function @12, Altitude functions covers difference data, ascent and descent speed and lots more.  The compass shows North, angle, variations and the outer bezel rotates for quick navigation assistance.

So far in my investigation of compass watches, this one is the most impressive and with a considerable amount of very serious kit contained within it’s very solid and compact high quality steel or titanium case.  No gimmicks here – even the T-touch screen is very, very good and a great quick method of operation.

One point I’ll make now is that whilst folks love these added functions, it is fact that many owners simply do not take the time to understand what they have just bought.  I know of a few friends who have Compass and Altitude function Casios, who have not a clue as to the correct use.

“Oh the height indication is way off” or “this compass doesn’t point north at all” – and when I mention in conversation “Do you calibrate the altimeter at any time?” – I get a blank look!  Or “Yes I did it when I first got it!” Or “have you adjusted the declination setting?” – and again the blank look.  So it’s all very well having all these wonderful functions, but like the traditional chronographs with that lovely outer chapter or bezel with Tachymeter figures on it – just how many users have a clue as to what it does or how to use it?

And this is true with the new multi-function watches like the Casio or T-touch – there is a certain learning curve required to gain the most from the watch – it’s not just about the looks.  Though who am I to say that’s not just as valid a reason for buying – I mean you like the look – buy it!  However in the case of the top models these can be quite expensive, so it seems a pity that some buyers don’t take the time to find out how it all works to get the best from it.

Of course depending on the model and the price range the Digital Compass functions themselves may be very different – one that points North and that’s it, or one that provides additional data that you can use practically in the field. It’s sometimes difficult to know just what they provide on the available blurb on the web.  So reviews are handy – if you can find one regarding your watch choice of course.
Continuing my quest for compact Digital Compass watches (analogue preferred) I found myself another real serious bit of kit.  From Victorinox – meet the Swiss Army ST5000 PathFinder.

Swiss Army ST5000 PathFinder

Swiss Army ST5000 PathFinder

Lovely Titanium cased, black dial, Swiss Quartz with black rubber strap, this model oozes professionalism.  Anti-reflection crystal and no gimmicks, just a very well specified Digital Compass with practical functions and ease of use.  A 5-point LED color Light System showing Heading Accuracy, Heading memory, an 8-point LED Magnetic North Indicator System, a Rotating Compass Rose Indicating Cardinal & Intermediate Points, 15-degree Increments.  Analogue luminous hands and numbers, screw down case back, 50m Water Resistance and all in a Titanium 42mm diameter case – all looks pretty impressive.

High contrast digital display @6 and a leveling bubble @4/5 gives this watch a rather outstanding presence and the dial clarity is very good and very easy to read.  A short press on the large button @7 and a green arrow seeks and freezes to indicate North – very clearly indeed.  You can then instantly lock your heading and a series of lights above the small digital display keeps you on track – green for go and red for off track – the digits say by how much etc.  From a walker’s point of view simply “follow the green” – that has to be good!

This is the first model I’ve found that seems to say – this is a very good watch AND a very good practical Digital Compass.  Certainly bears further investigation.

There is also a video introduction to it HERE.

Both models have really impressed me – The Pathfinder as it has a wonderful simplicity of operation coupled with sheer quality and the Tissot, whilst similar, has a huge function array in addition and it too seems simple in operation.

But I’m very taken with both so currently I’ve got them neck and neck!