« Medium-Format Film Cameras Today | Main | Hidden Glories of the Web »

Friday, 03 June 2022

Comments

You reignited my watch lust, although my likes favor vintage, self winding watches. And this time around, I actually bothered to learn something about them, thanks to the internets. I've since bought a '61 Bulova ($200) and a Dirty Dozen reissue ($285). Both keep time to within a minute a day, should I need more accuracy, I consult my work iphone. Just love the retro looks, and abhor the bloated, gargantuan designs of many of today's offerings...

I like mechanical watches and by that I mean purely mechanical and not requiring batteries or containing any electronic components.

My watches wont be very accurate to any degree but winding and setting them in the morning is for me a part of the joy and experience and I just don't need to know the time to the nearest minute let alone second.

Good luck to those who want watches accurate to that degree but I'd rather just have an ordinary wind up or automatic every single time.

This is one of your OT topics that I have come to find quite interesting, even more so, after a recent watch replacement of my own.

As with cameras and lenses - the purchase is a matter of making decisions in a very over constrained environment. Watches that meet one set of requirements fail at others.

For example, I really thought this time that I wanted one of the big chronometer models with all the cool dials. And I think they are delightful looking - but not as easy to read as I hoped. They are also crazy heavy. I don't want a modest filet mignon on my wrist.

The mechanical ("automatic") watches - especially the skeleton type - appeal to my steam punk nature - but I have zero interest in spending so much to end up with a device less accurate than my wall clock. And repair? Yikes.

I like the features of solar, world time and radio controlled. (I live in Colorado so we get a fantastic signal from the tower in Ft Collins!). But I really didn't like the weight that most watches have.

In the end, a solar, titanium Citizen met the needs. There are Citizen models that have all three features: radio signal world time, solar and titanium - but naturally, they were more than double what I was willing to spend.

One requirement that is specific to me is that I refuse to ever again dork with regular battery changes. My previous watch was quite cheap (read - pretty, but loud ticking) and its battery lasted at most 3 years. It was a whole "thing" to go and get the battery replaced - definitely not something the clerk at the Macy's jewelry counter could handle.

I also bought a Casio G-Shock with a (claimed) 10 year battery life - seems like a nice alternate to wear when I don't care to find out just how tough the Citizen's sapphire crystal really is or when a light up dial or easy TZ change would be handy. Yes, the Citizen glows in the dark (for a while) but this is not a tritium coated thing!

Having two watches seems decadent to me already. However, having seen some very nice looking Tissot and Junghans quartz watches, I get how people end up owning one for every day of the week, or more.

I also had a youthful obsession with cool watches, which in my (questionable) judgement were giant, heavy, and shiny metal and commonly found on the arm of the good guy in an action movie.
My parents bought me an Armitron sports watch when I graduated from high school, which was a cheap imitation of that ideal with its chunky metal build and combination analog watch face plus a tiny digital window that also displayed the time. I wore it all through college, but when I started doing wildlife field biology jobs I moved to the very cheapest digital watches I could find, which seemed to work well and didn't hurt so badly when they eventually stopped after being smashed against a rock or drowned.
I still have the Armitron but it hasn't had a battery in it for probably 15 years. I have a $40 Timex Expedition analog watch that I used to wear while traveling, but over the past few years I haven't done any of that either.
The final nail in my watch-wearing coffin was my realization that I have a weird talent where I just know the time, within 5-10 minutes. I used to think it was based on the sun, but it works when I wake up in the middle of the night as well. So, I don't wear a watch anymore because 5-10 minute accuracy is good enough for me and my brain does that all on its own.

Mike,

That's a handsome Oceanus! If you got it at the Amazon price, that's almost as inexpensive as the Seiyajapan.com price. The nicest-looking watches are generally Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) models.

It's also pretty slick how the hands move around when you change from EST to EDT, or vice versa.

My SNE039 is quite accurate too.

My SUR311 -- the one I meant to get rather than the SNE039 -- is equally accurate, plus it has a sapphire crystal and water resistance to 100 meters.

Seiko has a bunch of reasonably-sized JDM models which are quite handsome too. The U.S. seems to get the watches (from all brands) with quite large case sizes and busy dials.

Nice nab of that Seiko 140th Anniversary model. A very handsome dial, fit for even the Grand Seiko series.

I inquired about the 140th Anniversary automatic model SPB259 when it came out (https://seikoluxe.com/products/spb259), but it was unavailable and I decided to save the money. I'm not sure that I'll pick one up, even though the dial is so interesting compared to anything else out there.

You can actually affect the accuracy of a mechanical watch yourself, based on how you store it when it's not on your wrist, i.e. overnight. This is because gravity actually has its miniscule effect on the components of the internal mechanism. It's a little hard to predict what orientation will do what to the accuracy of the watch, but as an example, my automatic Orient dive watch runs quicker when it's lying face up on the nightstand, however if I hang it on a hook so the face is vertical, 12-o'clock up, it runs slower. Having learned this over time, if my watch starts to be a couple of seconds fast, I hang it up on one of my wife's jewelry hooks so it's in the 12-o'clock up position for a few nights, and that evens the time back out. It's just another way in which the intricacy of a mechanical artifact makes for an interesting break from the increasingly digital reality we experience day to day.

Mrs Plews spent ten years working at a high end jewelry store that had watches ranging from Swatch to Cartier.
They had a Patek with 23 complications including knowing when it was leap year (amazing).
I loved to cruise the Omega aisle checking out the moon watches.
Never really got the watch bug but I did dig the moon watch just not enough to throw six house payments at one.
That said have you seen the Omega X Moonswatch?
I thought it was a joke but they can't keep them in stock.
One thing I did learn is that Tissot makes some nice watches that won't send you to the poor house.

I carry my Great-grandfather's 1904 Elgin pocket watch in a 1914 14k gold filled open-faced hunter case. Beautiful piece of mechanical art. Accurate enough for me and a joy to carry.

I also have a very nice quartz movement wristwatch, but I dislike the strap, so I carry the Elgin instead.

A watch is both a time keeper and a wrist accessory. I look at other people's wrist watches to see the time so as not to offend the folks at a meeting that I find them boring or I am getting impatient.

I admit this post baffles me. I have never in my life owned more than one watch at a time, and I think I've only ever bought 2, the rest were gifts. For most of my adult life I've been one of those people that always knew about what time it was, without a watch, or phone, or nearby computer, or wall clock, or anything else. I'd wake up and before I opened my eyes I usually knew to within 15 minutes either way what time it was.

And then I started to have to periodically travel by aircraft for my job, just before cell phones were really a thing, and I NEEDED to know what time it was, to the minute, for nearly every minute starting about 6 hours before flight time. I bought a cheap watch. By the time it died I had a cell phone, and every other digital device had a clock, and they were everywhere, so once again, I had no need of a watch.

That didn't stop my wife from giving me one. I didn't understand what half the dials meant, but I wore it to work as costume jewelry. The battery is dead now, and I doubt I'll put another one in it. I might never again wear a watch in my life.

[I get that. I didn't wear a watch at all for quite a long time...maybe 17 years? In fact all this started when I wrote a post asking "why would anyone buy a watch?"

https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2021/06/open-mike-why-a-watch.html

Several readers got me interested and off I went, but it was a short diversion. Read P@L's comment, he's a real watch guy!

It's like everything else, if you're a geek you're a geek, if you're not you're not. --Mike]

Confession of a self-proclaimed watch geek …

“Quartz watch accuracy is usually claimed to be 20 seconds per month, mechanical watch accuracy 15 to 20 seconds per day” – these are rather manufacturer specs and on the low end of the scale – the small print you would normally see on the warranty card as a way to fend off some claims from disappointed users looking for bargain treasures.

Seiko themselves are making several quartz movements that are much more accurate than that – but this is dully reflected in progressive taxation on your wallet. Their top of the line Seiko 9F series quartz movements (used exclusively in Grand Seiko’s) are thermo-compensated and accurate to 10 sec a year with some fine-tuned and selected movements making into limited editions that are stated to be further accurate to 5 sec./year.

https://www.grand-seiko.com/jp-ja/-/media/Images/GlobalEn/GrandSeiko/Home/collections/movement/quartz/9f61.png”>

Also, most Swiss made mechanical timepieces with their official certification as chronometers are accurate to -4 and + 6 seconds a day (COSC testing criteria) with Rolex own day to day standard of accuracy being even stricter at -+ 2 sec. In this later scenario – best mechanical watches are approaching levels of mid-range quartz performance.

Do lucky finds exist at all? Well … maybe … and here is my little story to support that … I went once to a SWATCH store and as a result of a friendly conversation with a supportive clerk ended buying two carefully selected watches from them. Strangely I was allowed to do this on my own terms and got to choose from a pool of all exact same timepieces that they had in the store at the time. First selection was on how accurately the second hand was landing versus markers on the dial - with this simple test quickly reducing the number of eligible units to about half and since they were still showing factory set time (read different time zone) it was an added bonus as no one reset them for quite a long time – long story short … I ended with two watches that had smallest margin of error … fast forward several years on and I still keep one of them (the other was gifted) and it is still pretty much accurate to 10-12 sec a year, but HAQ it is not – just an extraordinary accurate regular SWATCH watch with run of the mill ETA movement – try to expose it to some temperature extremes and all this stated accuracy is out of the window … at room temperature it is more than good enough tough.

Down the rabbit hole … since the beginning of the year, I am running a little experiment involving two GS Seiko’s and a Longines V.H.P and so far the results are a bit surprising (to me at least) … to spoil the mystery a bit … Longines Cal.L288 is running constantly at half the deviation rate of these two HAQ units from Seiko; notably 9F61A and 9F83A – which considering the price difference makes it a spectacularly good value for the money. The lesser of these 9F`s was on my wrist most of 2021 and ended being 3 second fast all year long – a true HAQ territory.
What I am wearing right now You may ask? … a mechanical timepiece with automatic Sellita movement (re-branded of course) in a re-issue of a diver watch with a striking design harping back to the 60-ties that has such thick and glowing hands that I can read them day and night without ever a need to put my reading glasses on … LOL … I gave this exact watch as a birthday present to my 27 years old son two years ago and he returned it to me a year later saying that he is not using it at all and do not mind parting with it … I bought it back from him in an instant and love it … accurate to 10-15 sec a week depending on my level of physical activity. Could not be happier … Full Circle.

Accuracy and solar charging were the attraction for my Oceanus. Very happy with it.

The 46mm Samsung Galaxy, on my wrist, is as accurate as your iPhone. No need to use my Samsung Galaxy phone for calls, etc. As Martha Stewart is wont to say it's a good thing.

I was given an Accutron with a blue face (very spiffy) as a high school graduation present. Sadly something happened to it - I can’t recall what, but I no longer have it. I always got a kick out of putting my ear up to it and listening to the hum. I guess it’s no surprise that I also owned two Mazda rotary engine cars.

These days I’m not wearing watches much, though my favourite is my Lip Electronic, first worn by Generals DeGaulle and Eisenhower.

The other watches I currently have are both Timex models. They are cheap and cheerful and can be easily replaced. Unlike the relatively expensive Casio Pathfinder I left at an airport nearly twenty years ago. Ouch.

My Seiko, many years old, was beyond affordable repair. So, about a year ago, I bought a Citizen Eco-Drive divers watch. Eco-Drive is their version of solar powered. I think it cost around £300. I have never measured it's accuracy because it seems to always be within a couple of seconds. Most younger people these days plump for a smart watch. They have to remember to charge it every other day. Enough said.

I have a watch that never drifts from GPS time. After all, GPS satellites just broadcast UTC to an absurd number of decimal points. It was also about $150.

My first watch came as part of a children's meal at Burger King. So quartz never quite had any allure for me.

Hi Mike,
My comment is almost out of topic, almost provocative, but I can't resist giving a link to this amazing page, explaining through interactive animations how mechanical watches work. A pure wonder:
https://ciechanow.ski/mechanical-watch/

Best,

N.

Having the knowledge or admitting you have enough is a good thing. I walked into Bucherer with my wife to buy a specific watch (a Hamilton Khaki Field). I tried it on and she said to me: "You're not going to be satisfied with that are you? You will buy that and in a couple of months you will want something else." She was right.

I walked out with a Tudor Black Bay 36 with the knowledge it will probably be the last tool watch I'll want to buy in this lifetime.

Pak

"Alexa, what time is it?" That's my watch. LOL

When I was young and my parents started asking me to be on time once in a while, they gave me a pocket watch, which I felt was a distinct step down from a wristwatch. I went through a couple and then got a wristwatch when I was about 13. I used that one for about 15 years. In between I received a nicer watch after a particularly successful academic year, which I promptly lost. I inherited a gold Omega when my dad died, but it was too valuable to wear regularly, and it meant too much to me. In the 70's, when my grandfather died with no other heirs, I settled his affairs and before coming home bought my small kids some extravagant stuffed toys and my wife a Rolex. Next Christmas, my wife bought me a Rolex and said that the one she bought me was probably not the one I wanted, so she knew and was fine with me exchanging it for another. So I picked out a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona which I wore daily for 20 years and still have. Luck and good fortune smiled on me that day. Now I wear a solar Seiko.

I'm a fan of Citizen Eco-Drive watches. I love the fact that they are analog watches that run forever on just a little bit of light each day, and when fully charged will work for several months in total darkness. I have one that syncs with an atomic time-server each night, so it's always accurate and I never need to adjust the time or date, I just select my timezone and it takes care of the rest. They are just brilliant pieces of engineering.

dad carried a hamilton pocket watch in his front bib pocket

as a railroad lineman it was required and necessary
also quite accurate

there was some scheduled interval for maintenance, each time it was worked on the watchmakers engraved their initials and the date on the inside of the cover

i only needed a timepiece for a couple of years
it had to be be accurate and virtually indestructible...a timex ironman...who'd of guessed it

i probably haven't worn a watch for more than a month in the last thirty years and have yet to miss the experience

The comments to this entry are closed.

Portals




Stats


Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007