December 30, 2010

Oris BC4 Big Crown Pointer Day Review

Oris BC4 Big Crown Pointer Watch Review


  The Oris BC4 Small Seconds Pointer Day (ref. 645 7617 4164) is a modern take on a classic aviation watch. The BC in the name stands for “Big Crown”, a homage to when larger crowns made it easier to wind mechanical movements. The day pointer hand has a nice large red tip to easily locate the day on outer dial. There is small seconds as the name implies at the 9 o’clock position and a rotating date disc displayed at 3 o’clock. The black dial is textured enhancing the “pop” of the white numerals. The face is clean and easy to read through the domed sapphire crystal. The sapphire crystal has AR coating on the inside, much prefer this over double AR as it is prone to scratches. The engine that keeps this watch ticking is an Oris 645 movement, built off an ETA 2836-2. There is an exhibition case back for a nice view of the movement. The Oris BC4 Big Crown Pointer Day is finished of with a black aviation style leather strap. 

Pros - Fresh aviation design, unique day display

Consideration - Larger numerals would be nice

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 42mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Bracelet: Stainless Steel
Movmt: Oris 645
Power Reserve: 38 hrs Water Resistant: 100m
Lug Width: 22mm

December 20, 2010

Cartier Roadster S Review

Cartier Roadster S Watch Review


  For those who have always wanted a Cartier Roadster there is now a more “affordable” option. The Roadster S is not inexpensive by any means, but does offer a lower entry point to timeless brand. Cartier has done a great take on the classic Roadster, while managing to have the Roadster S stand on its own. This Roadster is 46mm including the crown. It sounds quite large until you consider how far the crown sticks out and the case design. The Roadster S will wear much smaller than most 46mm watches on the market. Cartier did an amazing job on the dial. The Roman numerals are easy to read and the quality of the dial is as to be expected from Cartier. The date wheel is black, this works quite well with the over all design of the dial. Noticeably missing compared to other Roadster’s is the date magnifier, many might prefer this better. The sapphire crystal is hardly noticeable do to the AR coating. The sword styled hands are applied with Super-LumiNova. Cartier went with a high polished case, contrasting nicely with the satin finished bezel. The Roadster S is powered by Cartier’s Calibre 049 and the watch is water resistant to 100m.
  Words to describe the Roadster S would be sporty, dressy, beautifully finished, and unmistakably Cartier. 

Pros - New take on classic design, price point, high quality craftsmanship

Consideration - Exhibition caseback would of been a nice added touch

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 46mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Silver
Bracelet: Stainless Steel 
Lug Width: N/A
Movmt: Caliber 049
Power Reserve: 42 hrs
Water Resistant: 100m

December 12, 2010

Movado Bold Chronograph Review


Movado Bold Chronograph Watch Review

  Movado has been modernizing some new offerings from the Movado of yesteryear, creating new designs to fit today’s trends. The Movado Bold Chronograph is definitely bold and aesthetically it is a stunner. We all know Movado for the Museum series that has kept them relevant for years. This is a modern take on an iconic watch series. The layout is nice with 3 subdials and date window located inside the 6 o’clock subdial. The watch case is made from black TR90 composite and stainless steel. The chronograph pushers and leather strap are black as well. I am not sure how useful the actual chronograph function are on the Bold, the indices in the subdials are hard to read. The iconic “sun dot” at 12 o’clock is still there, only with a different spin on it. 
  I like that the Movado Bold Chrono is a larger watch at 42.5mm. Overall, if you have always liked Movado, this is an affordable offering coming in currently at $495 MSRP. The Bold is very distinctive and can only imagine it will be a conversation starter.

Pros - It is bold, distinctive, fresh look, nice design

Consideration - Chronograph functions are more aesthetics than practical in design

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Black TR90/SS
Case Diameter: 42.5mm
Case Back: Solid
Crystal: K1 Crystals
Dial: Black
Strap: Black Leather
Movement: ETA Quartz
Power Reserve: N/A 
Lug Width: 22mm 
Water Resistant: 30m

December 11, 2010

Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Heritage Review

Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Heritage Watch Review

  The Bell & Ross Vintage BR 123 Heritage already looks like an instant fresh classic. Bell & Ross seems to get it right more often than other brands with new releases. Their designs are distinctive, with very clean lines throughout. This homage to the pilots of the 1940‘s is no different. The dial on this BR 123 is matte black with tan colored luminescent on the hands, numerals, and indices. Wow, does that combination look amazing! The matte black dial is set into 41mm PVD finished steel case. The layout of dial is very well done, including a unique date window located partially into the seconds subdial at 6 o’clock. Not to be overlooked is the domed AR coated sapphire crystal, best appreciated in person. Rounding out the overall vintage appearance of the BR 123 is a comfortable natural leather strap. Aesthetically, one of the best aviator style watches in the market. Easy to read and unmistakable Bell & Ross. 

Pros - Design, extremely legible, very well executed 

Consideration - With PVD scratches are not easily buffed out do to the finish.

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel PVD
Case Diameter: 41mm
Crystal: Domed Sapphire
Dial: Matte Black
Strap: Natural Leather
Movement: ETA 2895 
Power Reserver: 42 hrs
Water Resistant: 100m

November 27, 2010

Cartier Santos 100 XL Review

Cartier Santos 100 XL Watch Review

  Cartier is a well branded name and their classic designs are highly recognizable. The Cartier Santos 100 XL self winding automatic is no different. It was created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Santos de Cartier watch and what a beauty it is. One of the  advantage of Santos 100 XL is the larger size. It fits in quite well with the recent larger watch trends. Even though it is only 38mm wide, it comes in at 51mm lug to lug. These dimensions still make it very comfortable to wear, while managing to not be “in your face” while on the wrist. This can not be said about some other brands “larger” watch offerings.
  The Santos 100 XL has a brushed case with a fixed bezel. Eight screws accent the bezel, further adding to the sporty nature of the Santos. The sword style hands flow nicely with roman numerals hour indicators. A crown is sometimes overlooked, not the case with the Santos. It has an amazing octagonal crown with Faceted Spinal that is a must see in person. The crown design is one of the best design features. 

Pros - Larger design, classic Cartier, top notch fit & finish

Consideration - Price point

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 38mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Silver
Strap: Black Alligator 
Lug Width: 22mm
Movmt: Caliber 049
Power Reserve: 42 hrs
Water Resistant: 100m

November 21, 2010

Breitling Airwolf Raven Review


Breitling Airwolf Raven Watch Review

  W&R always been a big fan of the Airwolf, being a non-dorky multi-functioning tool watch. Now enter the Breitling Airwolf Raven (ref A78364), with a new intimidating look. The biggest aesthetic change over the standard Airwolf model is the black rubber bezel and the subtle touch of black molded rubber integrated into the pushers. The dial has a nice depth, with the vertical pinstripe texturing. The Airwolf Raven of course still has the bidirectional bezel, with slide rule for calculations. 
  All digital operations are accessible through the crown and activated via the pushers. Simply turn the crown to put on desired function, pull crown out to adjust settings. Some of the functions include: chronograph, countdown, GMT, UTC, digital perpetual calendar, and EOL (end of life) indicator for the battery. 
  A few final points that should not be overlooked. This Airwolf Raven is equipped with NVG (night vision goggles) back-lighting system, making it compatible with night vision goggle reading. That is cool! The caseback has the turbine shaped construction, acting as a resonance chamber for the alarms and other function indications. Lastly, the watch is powered by Breitling’s very well know SuperQuartz thermo-compensated Caliber 78. It is COSC certified and is extremely accurate, not to lose more than -15 seconds per year.

Pros - Top notch fit/finish, easy to use functions, SuperQuartz Caliber 78

Consideration - Dial is busy as to be expected with all the functions

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 43.5mm
Lug Width: 22mm 
Bezel: Bidirectional
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Strap: Ocean Racer 
Movement: 78 (B78)
Water Resistance: 50m

November 6, 2010

Mido Ocean Star Captain IV Review

Mido Ocean Star Captain IV Watch Review

  What is this? A quality Swiss diving watch under 1K? That’s right! Mido does it again with the Ocean Star Captain IV. This Ocean Star has a day/date complication with one of Mido’s go to movement an ETA 2836-2, viewable through the transparent caseback. This version is shown in blue, it is also offered in black. The dial has a blue wave pattern and the blue is continued into bezel. There is a red seconds hand adding a good visual contrast to the watch. The minute and hour hands have a unique style, helping to separate the watch a bit from masses. 
  The Ocean Star Captain IV is not over designed, a refreshing change compared to many other brands. It is a relatively straight forward dive watch, with a screw down crown, and a depth rating of 200m. Mido continues to put out affordable quality Swiss time pieces in a watch world where seemingly the prices keep climbing. A quick search of internet forums continually shows owners singing praises of Mido. From value to the overall quality of the timepieces.  

Pros - Versatile daily watch, sporty, value

Consideration - Relatively common looking in overall appearance.

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 42.5mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Strap: SS or Rubber
Movmt: ETA 2836-2
Power Reserver: 38 hrs
Water Resistant: 200M
Lug Width: 22mm

October 30, 2010

Citizen World Perpetual AT Review

Citizen World Perpetual AT Watch Review

  The Citizen World Perpetual AT packs a big punch at an extremely reasonable price point. One of the biggest features easily overlooked in my opinion is the use of sapphire crystal within this collection. This will help ensure you can see your dial scratch free for years to come. The dial is designed very well, it has nice depth and contrast throughout. In between the 4 and 5 o’clock position there is an “on/off” function, this is for day light savings time. You will also notice in between the 8 and 10 o’clock position there is a section for that is used for syncing the atomic clock via radio controlled frequency. Nice! 
  World time is a breeze, simply pull the crown out and pick the needed timezone from any of the 26 major cities for your travels. There is a standard date window at the 3 o’clock position. The World Perpetual AT has nicely defined hour and seconds hands, complimenting the hour indices markers. Citizen offers the World Perpetual AT in many variations, dial color, bracelet or strap, stainless steel, titanium, and some limited editions. Overall, great watch, packed full of practical features, including Eco-Drive.

Pros - Sapphire crystal, atomic time, ease of use, newer movement being used H144

Consideration - The crown may be hard to work for some, it is on the small side.

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 44mm
Strap: Leather or SS
Lug Width: 24mm 
Bezel: Fixed
Crystal: Sapphire
Power Reserve: 180 hrs
Movmt: H144 Eco-Drive
Water Resistance: 200m

October 23, 2010

Bulova Champlain Precisionist Review

Bulova Champlain Precisionist Watch Review

  There is a lot of buzz about the breakthrough movement from Bulova, the Precisionist (more info on the Precisionist movement in the Claremont review below). The Champlain is sporty and bold in design. From the many crisp angles to the carbon fiber dial, the Champlain is not under designed. The first time I saw this watch the hands of all things grabbed my attention, they remind me of IWC’s Aquatimer 2000 hour/minute hands.    
  Anyway, the Champlain comes in few different color scheme options, this version 96B131 (96B132, 96B133 available) is accented in blue and yellow. The yellow seconds hand manages to be distinctive and subtle, a nice touch. The date is nicely displayed at the 3 o’clock position and integrated into the flow of the 24 hour time. The screw down crown has machined diagonal groves for easy gripping. At 300m of water resistance the Champlain is ready to get wet.
Overall, with the unique Precisionist movement, deployant bracelet, and carbon fiber dial, the Bulova Champlain delivers a well rounded watch at nice price point.

Pros - Precisionist Quartz, carbon fiber dial, 300m   
Considerations - Mineral crystal scratches much easier than sapphire.

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 46.5mm
Crystal: Mineral
Dial: Carbon Fiber
Bracelet: Stainless Steel
Bracelet Type: Deployant
Movmt: Precisionist Quartz
Water Resistant: 300M
Lug Width: 24mm

October 16, 2010

Movado Datron Series 800 Review


Movado Datron Series 800 Watch Review

  A refreshing change of pace from Movado, away from the highly recognizable Museum Collection. This is a step back in time, bringing the retro 70’s back to the forefront. The Movado Datron Series 800 (ref. 2600084) is the first watch from Movado that has grabbed my attention in some time. Noticeably missing is the sun dot located at 12 o’clock, now replaced by an appropriately sized date window. I like that the quintessential dot is gone, but not forgotten, represented by the shape of the date window. 
  The Datron Series 800 is offered with a silver or black dial. On this watch, I prefer the silver dial as the black subdials have a nice “pop” visually off the face. The case and bracelet are a combination of polish and brushed finishes. Movado did a nice job on the butterfly clasp, works well with this watch. The movement is the quality ETA 2894-2, visible through the exhibition case back. A well built watch, that is visually appealing and well thought out. 

Pros - Case has great retro feel, versatile 

Consideration - Pushing 3K MSRP, this is in the upper tier of Movado’s collections.

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 40mm
Case Back: Exhibition
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Silver or Black
Bracelet: Stainless Steel
Movement: ETA 2894-2
Power Reserve: 42hrs 
Lug Width: N/A 
Water Resistant: 50m

October 9, 2010

Hamilton Khaki Pilot Review


Hamilton Khaki Pilot 46mm Watch Review

  First requirement of a good pilot watch is a nice large, easy to read case. The Hamilton Khaki Pilot comes in a 46mm, it certainly qualifies. What does the Khaki Pilot watch bring to the table that is unique? It is an automatic watch, powered by an ETA 2836-2 Swiss movement for well under $1000. I am continually amazed at the price points from Hamilton without compromising on quality. The case is quite nice, with polished and brushed finishes. Personally, my favorite feature of the watch is the applied numerals made of steel, gives the dial a subtle depth. There is a nice detail to the watch that can be easily overlooked, the hour hand. Notice the tip of the hour hand is skeletonized to see the 12 hour markers. Great attention to detail and well thought out. 
  At this price point the Khaki Pilot (ref. H64715535) delivers sapphire crystal, ETA 2836-2, day/date display, exhibition case back, applied markers, and a substantial brown leather strap. If you are looking for classic looking pilot watch without breaking the bank, this watch will deliver

Pros - Quality, finish, movement, value

Consideration - 46mm is not small

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 46mm
Case Back: Exhibition
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Strap: Leather
Movement: ETA 2836-2
Power Reserve: 42hrs 
Lug Width: 22mm 
Water Resistant: 100m

October 2, 2010

Baume et Mercier Classima Magnum XXL Review

Baume et Mercier Classima Magnum XXL Watch Review

  
  Baume et Mercier has released the largest Classima version to date. It is called the Classima Executives Magnum XXL (ref. 8852), it comes in at 44mm. This Classima has a well balanced design, that can been worn as a sport or dress watch. That said, it does not really “press the envelope” in the overall design of the dial. The Classima Magnum XXL is powered by a Valjoux 7753, a nice proven movement. The chronograph subdials are easily read and spaced appropriately. I do like how the pushers are integrated into the crown guard, this flows quite nicely. Back to the dial, the indices and hands have applied SuperLuminova for night time viewing. Noticeably missing is a date window, the benefit is a less visually busy dial. 
  The case back uses a triangle shaped sapphire window for viewing of the movement, this is a nice touch. The strap uses a triple folding clasp, which is works very well. There are grooves on the case side, adding a more unique feel to the overall look of the Classima Magnum XXL. The fact that the watch has 200m of water resistance is a great feature. I would not consider this a scuba diving watch, it has the water resistance if you wanted to though.

Pros - Versatile, case back view of movement, water resistance 

Consideration - A lot of watches to consider once you hit this price point

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 44mm
Lug Width: 22mm 
Crystal: Sapphire
Strap: Black Rubber
Movement: Automatic 
Power Reserve: 48hrs
Water Resistance: 200m

September 19, 2010

Tissot PRC200 Review

Tissot PRC200 Quartz Watch Review

  Tissot brings another great value in the PRC200 (T0144101605700). Tissot increased the case diameter from previous models, this is a plus. The dial has some contrasting red accents beyond each stick hour marker. W&R favorite aspect of the PRC 200 is the large hands. To often the sporty/dressy watches go with smaller/thinner hands, this watch is easy to read. It is offered on a bracelet, though it looks best on the black leather strap, with contrasting stitching. PRC200 is only 10.5mm thick, it will fit nicely under a dress shirt. Even with it being on the thinner side, it still has 200m of water resistance. Overall, it somewhat basic in design, but manages to have it’s own look. Tissot has priced this watch very well and with a little digging it can be found for a “no brainer” price. Making it easy for anyone looking for sporty/dressy crossover watch to pick one up, enjoy. 

Pros - Sapphire crystal, water resistance, value

Consideration - Somewhat basic in overall design.

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 40mm
Lug Width: 20mm 
Bezel: Fixed
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black 
Bracelet: SS or Leather 
Movement: Quartz
Water Resistance: 200m

September 5, 2010

IWC Big Ingenieur Review


  
IWC Big Ingenieur Watch Review

  The new improved, bigger, badder, classic Ingenieur, now called Big Ingenieur (IW500505). Why go bigger on already amazing watch? The 7 day power reserve in-house caliber 51113, with it’s Pellaton winding system is a larger movement. This requires more space, also benefiting with nice larger face. The size works well, mainly do to the fact the watch does not have an external bezel. External bezels often give the illusion of a watch being larger than it truly is. Every hear someone say “it wears large”, odds are the watch had an external bezel. New to the Ingenieur is the Power Reserve indicator located ate the 3 o’clock position, with the last day of power indicated in red. The red adds a nice accent to the otherwise all black face. W&R’s favorite new change is the now sapphire case back, showing off the beautiful 42 jewel engine in clear view.

Pros - In-house movmt, new design, 7 day power reserves

Consideration - Larger watch at 45.5mm

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 45.5mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black or Silver
Strap: Rubber 
Lug Width: N/A
Movmt: Caliber 51113
Power Reserve: 7 Days
Water Resistant: 120m