Didn’t know that…

One of my favorite watches is my Orange Bullet, a Diver’s watch.  What does it mean to have Diver’s indicated on your watch:  You have to meet ISO 6425 standards:

  • The presence of a unidirectional bezel with at least at every 5 minutes elapsed minute markings and a pre-select marker to mark a specific minute marking.
  • The presence of clearly distinguishable minute markings on the watch face.
  • Adequate readability/visibility at 25 cm (9.84 in) in total darkness.
  • The presence of an indication that the watch is running in total darkness. This is usually indicated by a running second hand with a luminous tip or tail.
  • Magnetic resistance. This is tested by 3 expositions to a direct current magnetic field of 4,800 A/m. The watch must keeps its accuracy to +/- 30 seconds/day as measured before the test despite the magnetic field.
  • Shock resistance. This is tested by two shocks (one on the 9 o’clock side, and one to the crystal and perpendicular to the face). The shock is usually delivered by a hard plastic hammer mounted as a pendulum, so as to deliver a measured amount of energy, specifically, a 3 kg hammer with an impact velocity of 4.43 m/sec. The change in rate allowed is +/- 60 seconds/day.
  • Chemical resistance. This is tested by immersion in a 30 g/l NaCl solution for 24 hours to test its rust resistance. This test water solution has a salinity comparable to normal seawater.
  • Strap/band solidity. This is tested by applying a force of 200 N to each springbar (or attaching point) in opposite directions with no damage to the watch of attachment point.
  • The presence of an End Of Life (EOL) indicator on battery powered watches.

When you add it all up, you really need a tough watch.  I didn’t know about the shock and magnetic resistance.  I now have even more respect for my Diver’s watch.  These are all very tough standards that most watches would roll over and die if they were subjected to these conditions.  I guess it really matters if your life depends on it.  And I thought the cool second hand markers was just for show, it is a real standard.  By the way, 200N is 45Pounds!

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Watch strap ideas

Here are some possible combinations for watches that I own.

That watch:

My Seiko “Pepsi”.  It is a Rolex Submariner inspired watch, so it should look great on a NATO “Bond, James Bond” strap:

This is the traditional Black and Grey version.  There is also a red striped version as well:

I think it would bring out the red of the Bezel.  About $20 on eBay or web retailers.  The Pepsi is a 22mm lug width watch, so it is pretty common.

The next watch, my Orange Bullet, currently on Italian Leather with deployant clasp:

Lets start simple, genuine Seiko Diver’s strap:

Hard to see in the photo, but the end tang has the Seiko Tsunami stamped into it.  Rated to 200 meters with pressure venting.  $24.95 on Amazon.  22mm, so it can also fit the “Pepsi”.

How bout some Carbon Fiber?

Pretty cool look, would go well with the Orange Bullet or Pepsi.  About $20 on ebay.

The next watch, my first Automatic, my Seiko Green Military, currently on the original nylon strap:

For this one, something wild, a Bund strap:

What the heck is a bund?  Well, it is a watch strap design the German’s came up with in WWII.  It keeps the metal of the watch from directly touching the skin.  As always, it is shown with a Submariner attached.  So, it would work with the Pepsi or my Green Seiko.  Though, the little green Seiko is only 18mm lugs.   Goes from $20 to $45 depending on the color and quality of leather.

That’s it for now, I am still looking for something for the Two Tone  Kinetic and Speedmaster.

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Store Review: Movado Company Store, Oak Brook, IL

Store Review: Movado Company Store, Oak Brook, IL

Overview: Corporate owned direct sales store

Brands sold/spotted: Movado Only

Prices: Retail ($250 to $6000)

Watch bands/bracelets sold there? No

Detailed Review:

I am not a huge fan of Movado watches, but they are a classic and well respected brand that others like.  Customer service here is excellent, with Enrico being so memorable I still remember his name after 3 months or so.  Selection covers just about every current watch that Movado sells from the classic Museum to contemporary quartz chronographs.  Sad to say, I like some of the styles, but the sport watches tend to hang off of my wrist and they are not that competitive with quality vs. price as Seiko or Citizen.  They are Swiss made and have Swiss prices.  Prices are comparable to TAG Heuer on their mid tier watches.  The Sport’s Junior line (hate the name) is reasonable priced and sized, less than $500, but like I said, does not compare to other makers.  The store is very clean and well lit and it is an enjoyable experience shopping there.  Four out of Five stars.

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Pretty Panerai Homage

Here is an original Panerai Luminor Marina:

This is the homage Marina Militare:

And again, in the really cool blue:

The original is about $5100, the homage goes for about $80 to $120 on ebay for the Asian (read, Chinese) made version.  Considering how nice my “Speedmaster” is, I am sure the quality is very nice as well.  What is also nice is that these watches are homages, not fakes.  It’s a fine line, to some, but not to me.  As long as it does not claim to be the real thing, you can look as close as you want to the real thing and not be a fake in my book.  I have tried on the black Panerai in person, and it is an ugly yet cool watch.  Large, but not crazy huge and works on my wrist.  I really like the blue version.

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Store Review: Rogers and Holland, Oak Brook

Rogers and Holland in Oak Brook, IL

Overview: Corporate owned mall jewelery store

Brands sold/spotted: Hamilton, Citizen, Rado, et al.

Prices: Retail

Watch bands/bracelets sold there? No

Detailed Review:

I orginally checked out this store to see the Hamilton watches. I like Hamiltons, they are American cased and have many military style watches. They did have a nice selection, but the sales staff there is awful. They are rude, pushy, and know very little to nothing about watches. The prices are retail or worse. The salespeople don’t leave you alone and offer credit very early on in the selling process. The second time I went there, it was even worse. Avoid this store unless you really want to buy or try on a Hamilton. One out of Five stars.

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New Feature

I really like to visit watch stores and stores that sell watches.  Wouldn’t it be nice if someone out there could tell you where you can go and what stores to avoid?  Well, here I am.  I live in a Southwest suburb of Chicago and work in a Western suburb of Chicago.  I have visited many stores that sell watches and the occasional watch store.  I have had great experiences and terrible.  All of the reviews are for visits within the last year and will be dated and updated, if possible.  I generally don’t give stores a second chance.  If you would like to add reviews for stores in your area, post in the comments or e-mail me at contact”no spam”@cyberphreak.com.

The first store up is “The Time Center” in Westchester, IL.

Overview:  Family owned storefront watch and clock store.

Brands sold/spotted:  Seiko, Invicta, Bulova, Swatch, et al.

Prices:  Retail or discounted.  No gouging seen and I think you can haggle.

Watch bands/bracelets sold there?  Yes

Detailed Review:

This is a nice, small operation with excellent customer service.  Selection is not huge in watches, but the do stock and sell Seiko 5 watches!  They do repairs on premesis and the store is owed by a watchmaker.  They also have a very large selection of wall and table clocks.  Of particular interest is the sheer breadth of watch bands and bracelets sold there.  They have just about everything from Speidel to Hadley Roma and above.  They have NATO, carbon fiber, rubber, lizard, crocodile, steel, and gold bands in stock.  Their prices are retail or better than some online prices I have seen!  Customer service is excellent and attentive and not pushy at all.  They also have quite a few vintage pocket and wrist watches in stock at fair prices.  All the used watches have been serviced.  This is, by far, my favorite watch store.  Five out of Five stars overall.

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