Seiko isn’t trying to beat the Europeans at their own game, Seiko rather wants to be noticed as being included in the game. They have a sufficient level of technical innovation, artistic beauty, manufacturing prowess, skilled watch makers, and customer credibility to be considered on the same playing field with the luxury Swiss and German brands (less as “the Japanese alternative”).
I chose the Bathys Benthic Ti (titanium) as the first watch to write about for this brand. There is no particular reason that I haven't written about Bathys watches yet - I simply needed to get around to it. Now you might hear about this Hawaiian watch brand often. I like well-made, uniquely styled watch that are still not too controversial looking. The fact that Bathys watches as priced well helps it make a watch you should know about - a lot about. While Bathys has both automatic and quartz watches, this is one of the quartz versions. A similar watch (without the same calendar complications) is available with a Swiss ETA 2892-2 movement. However this version has a Swiss Ronda 7003 Mastertech watch that includes the retrograde day of the week display and date - in addition to the time of course. I think this is one of the most diminutive day of the week indicators out there. So allow me to go off on a tangent for a minute on what a day of the week indicator is good in a watch like this - from Hawaii.
The mineral crystal is domed a bit adding to the quality feel of the watch. It is really quite a looker to be honest. Something women will be proud to wear, and something you'll be proud to give them. The strap really makes the watch complete. It is leather and brown on the edges and back. A almost patent leather surface in white lines the top of the watch. The white shininess of the strap goes well with the white shininess of the mother of pearl dial. The watch is also available in other colors - with brown, red, or another version with a white dial but black (instead of rose gold) colored numerals. In my opinion this Orient Ladies Automatic CDB01005W with the rose gold tones is the best of the bunch.
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My personal favorite Linde Werdelin cases are the ones in steel or gold. The reason being that you can fully appreciate the contrasting polished and brushed finishes on the case surfaces. However, if you are going to be highly active with your watch, you might want to explore getting one of Linde Werdelin's DLC (diamond like carbon) coatings that is very strong and scratch resistant. Of course the gold cased versions are going to be the most luxurious (and expensive) of the bunch.
For me, the M103 watch is a good all-around timepiece, with a price of ,400. With a good mix of sport and formal style, you can wear the watch with jeans, shorts, suit, or a black leather jacket. I feel that the watch exudes a sense of practicality and being functionally minded. Its non pretentious, and genuine. A watch like this makes you approachable, and also communicates that you are tasteful and enjoy nice things in life. I personally like the watch a lot and certainly enjoy wearing it.
The Herios is a great, eye catching design. I wrote about the Milus Herios watch first here. The steel case is gently curved and while big, sits on the wrist well. The many strap options give it a lot of character, and the look of the dial is a wonderful combination between Art Deco and modern mechanical watch design. A fantastic timepiece of the "cleaned up type" who enjoys positive attention. The watch is also quite easy to read (but does not have lume).
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I don't know how a watch like this slipped through the cracks. It came out just last summer as a limited edition. This is a very interesting and rare Sinn watch that is thankfully available on James List, and for not that much dough. Many of you know of the super functional and durable Frankfurt, Germany based watch maker Sinn. A few years ago they released one of their most style forward watches ever, the U1. It has a few limited editions including an all black, Sinn U Black (not typo, just "U"). Well this is another limited edition, called the Sinn U1 White (sometimes U1 Snow). It takes the almost opposite approach than that of the all back U Black. The White is a high contrast U1 model that is not only easy to read, but really stands out. White is quite a hot color right now for watches, and the U1 Snow capitalizes on that fact with a white strap and dial. The rest of the watch though is in PVD coated black. Combine the black & white look with the Bauhaus style of the dial hands and numerals you have yourself a winning design, at least in my humble opinion.
There is new stuff all around aside from the smoothly polished design of the ultra readable case. Ball uses a mix of grade 316L and N 1.4435 steel to achieve a durable and lasting case. Ball also boasts about how precision milled the watch and its components are. Pieces are cut to 1/100 of a millimeter precision via their CNC machinery (for cutting precision sized metal parts). The case of the Spacemaster X-Lume has a familiar look that you recognize as being a Hydrocarbon watch, but here you see Ball designers really starting to get comfy with the design, solidifying it at a true icon of the brand. Kept are the distinctive crown and surrounding elements with the slide up guard piece. The case looks better rendered, and the bezel has a new treatment that is a good mix of rugged, functional looks, and a reduction in its complexity. What is left in the bezel are only four "claws," place two at the top and two at the bottom. They help keep the bezel from feeling too wise. I like the special style of coined-like edging around the bezel as well, and there is lume built into it. All of these elements are improvements over previous designs.
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An advertisement for the Automatic Chronograph watch from this Grand Ocean line caught my eye. A bit of surfing around found me a dealer in Belgium and a few phone calls later they had the watch on-site to try it on. I immediately liked the distinctive style of the watch. The black case and rubber band give it a sporty look while the gold touches and rounded case provide a certain elegance. It's definitely a unique design that I haven't seen in other watches.
The interest starts with the heavy satin-finished steel case (also available in black) that was designed in a wind-tunnel and has reverse tear-drop shape. It looks like a space ship but rides on your wrist. The case is 40mm wide by 52mm tall, and centrally weighted to sit even on your wrist. A true driver's watch, it is meant for motorcycle riding and car driving - and makes as much a statement as your ride does. The case lifts the movement and dial at a 35 degree angle so that it is easier to read the watch while not having the twist the wrist. This helps with reading the time while your hands are on handle bars or a steeling wheel. The unorthodox shape feels comfortable on the wrist with its ergonomically curved caseback and lugs that wrap around your wrist. The custom shaped mineral crystal is almost flush with the case, helping to create an organic curved look for the watch as a whole.
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The watch itself is done in high grade steel with a beautiful bead-blasted finish. The CNC precision cut case has a lot of nice details. The bezel is notched like an underwater vessel porthole window. The curved lugs jut out with purpose and wrap around your wrist a bit. The bottom of the case is beautiful. I know that is a weird thing to say about a watch caseback, but it is true. The smoothness of the machine work is clearly evident and really enjoy the engraving on the screw down caseback. Toothing blends to mirror polish and then wave pattern engraving with details about the watch. The work is impressive even if it came from a mainstream watch maker with access to fancier machinery. There on the back you'll also see the number of the watch in the limited edition of 500 pieces as well as the name of the man who designed the watch - Brian F. Green.
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Arpa sued Romain Jerome for wrongful termination, and won via decision by a Swiss court. They found that he hadn't done anything wrong, and Romain Jerome was in the wrong. What his future holds in unknown. What his present holds is this Black Belt watch. Yvan Arpa is known to be a martial arts enthusiast, participating in it himself having a black belt. Perhaps he was constantly threatening to fight (literally) the Romain Jerome board, which is why they freaked out.
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In addition to the rubber diving strap, the watch comes with a 24mm wide leather strap all in a Pelican brand (model 1030) travel case. I know, it is a bit gimmicky putting the watch in such a durable and hardcore case, but it is a nice touch. Reminds you that your watch is not only a good investment, but an instrument in addition to being an accessory. Remember, it is a diving watch too. I am not sure if it is the specific model, but you can see an example of one of the Bathys branded Pelican cases in one of the images, in case you don't know what a Pelican case is.
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