April 24, 2011

Fortis Flieger Automatic Review

Fortis Flieger Automatic Watch Review

  Fortis nailed it with the Flieger Automatic, a very well executed aviation style watch. Flieger itself refers to a pilot’s or aviator’s watch. This Flieger is only 40mm, but the dial is vast, extending almost the same width of the case diameter. The dial has a matte black finish, with Arabic numerals, indices, and hands applied with green SuperLuminova. The seconds hand is done in vibrant orange, giving the Flieger a little added flair. The dial is crystal clear through the AR (anti-reflective) coated sapphire crystal. There is a nice oversized crown common with aviation styled watches. 
  Something a little different about this Flieger than most others on the market is the sandblasted case finish. Sandblasted cases have a more dull gray finish, without brushed lines, opposed to the usual more shiny brushed finishes. This finish gives the Flieger Automatic a little something extra to further distance itself from other fliegers on the market. Inside the screw down case back is an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Each watch is individually numbered and is water resistant to 200m. The watch comes on a decent leather strap, nothing overly special here. A watches hands will sometimes get overlooked in reviews, not this time! Fortis did an excellent job in designing the hands, very crisp and easy to read. They stand out quite nicely.
  If you are in the market for a aviation styled watch the Flieger Automatic is definitely worth looking into. Fortis has always offered a good value with their watches.

Pros - Big open dial, ETA 2824-2, 200m water resistance, sandblasted.

Consideration - Lots of other watch options in the Flieger market.

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 40mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Bezel: Fixed
Strap: Black Leather
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Power Reserve: 40 hrs
Water Resistant: 200M
Lug Width: 20mm

April 23, 2011

Ball Storm Chaser DLC Glow Review

Ball Storm Chaser DLC Glow Watch Review

  The new Ball Storm Chaser DLC Glow does exactly what the name suggests, glows bright and is designed with storm chasers in mind. There are an astonishing 66 tubes that glow all night long, helping the fearless chasers. One of the unique features of the Storm Chaser is the telemeter chapter ring. The telemeter can be used by the wearer to judge distances, for example where lightning has struck. Simply start the chronograph function when lighting is seen and stop the function when the thunder is heard. Based off of the speed of sound through air, the wearer can now estimate how far away the lightning struck via the telemeter. The storm chaser concept is continued onto the case back where there is a Doppler truck depicted and the words “Doppler Radar on Wheels”. 
  Different from the standard Storm Chaser this one has a DLC (diamond like carbon) finish. DLC is superior for scratch resistance and gives the watch it’s gray-black appearance throughout, even the pushers and crown. The chronograph functions represent elapsed hours, minutes, and seconds. Like many Ball watches there is a day/date window at the 3 o’clock position. Rounding out the overall appearance is a red stitched rubber strap, highlighting the subtle red touches found throughout the dial. If you are a “lumaholic”, then definitely look into the Storm Chaser DLC Glow. Watch is limited to 1999 of each dial version, black or white/gray.

Pros - Limited Edition, 66 micro gas tubes, telemeter

Consideration - How will the DLC hold up over time

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 43mm
Dial: Black
Crystal: Sapphire 
Bezel: Fixed Tachymeter
Strap: Rubber
Movmt: Valjoux 7750
Power Reserve: 42 hrs
Water Resistant: 100M
Lug Width: 21mm

April 22, 2011

U-Boat Thousands of Feet AS Review

U-Boat Thousands of Feet AS Watch Review

  The U-Boat Thousands of Feet AS (ref. 1888) is one the few reasonable sizes U-Boat has to offer. For those who have been admiring U-Boat from a far do to size, this might be the watch to tilt the scales. The case is really the show stealer here. There are eight visible screws locking the case back into place. Also, there are four through and through holes, located at each corner of the case in between the sets of screws. Definitely, gives the watch more depth and works well with the design of the watch. Each watch has the serial number engraved on the right side of the case. The crown is on the left side of the case, opposed to the standard right side. Thousands of Feet has a “sandwich” like dial, this stands out nicely with the white on black combination. A black leather strap, with a tang buckle secures this watch down. Thousands of Feet AS is powered by an ETA 2824 automatic movement and has an estimated power reserve of 40 hours. 
  The U-Boat Thousands of Feet AS falls a little short in the water resistance department. The watches name is Thousands of Feet, probably in reference to up, opposed to down for water resistance. Rated only to 100m, equalling 330 feet. This is a more affordable offering from U-Boat and is one of there most versatile from a size standpoint. There are a few variations of the watch case with this, it comes in the Thousands of Feet AS, AB, MS, and few other variations from there.

Pros Unique case design, smaller size for U-Boat

Considerations Water resistance, W&R prefers most watches at least 200m

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 43mm
Bezel: Fixed Brushed 
Strap: Leather 
Lug Width: 20mm 
Crystal: Sapphire
Movement: ETA 2824
Power Reserve: 40 hrs 
Water Resistance: 100m

April 10, 2011

Hamilton Khaki BelowZero Review

Hamilton Khaki BelowZero 1000m Watch Review

  The Khaki BelowZero 1000m is a big step forward for Hamilton in the dive watch market. This is the improved depth rating of 1000m vs 200m. Hamilton’s choice of a 46mm case and the increasingly popular 4 hex screws ensures quite a wrist presence. The hex screws and the crown are nicely done. All too often brands put out too small of a crown on a dive watch, this is happily not the case with the BelowZero. The large date window at 3 o’clock seems a little large for this dive watch. On the other hand W&R would have preferred more substantial hands for this masculine watch. Not only did does the BelowZero go deep, it goes there via a HEV (helium escape valve). W&R are big fans of 24mm straps, especially on these larger watches. An ETA 2824-2 automatic movement powers this beast, with an estimated 42 hour power reserve. 
  Lastly, there is one final subtle touch on the BelowZero, a “0” at the 12 o’clock location.
Easily overlooked, which might make even a littler “cooler”. The BelowZero will not break the bank account and still delivers an overall nicely constructed watch.

Pros - HEV, hex screws, nice movement

Consideration - Lacking in the lume department for a dive watch

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 46mm
Bezel: Unidirectional 
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Strap: Rubber
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Power Reserve: 42 hrs 
Lug Width: 24mm 
Water Resistant: 1000m

April 7, 2011

Panerai PAM372 3 Days Review

Panerai PAM372 Luminor 1950 3 Days Watch Review

  Panerai delivers a new standard in “base” models with the PAM 372 Luminor 1950 3 Days. This has to be one of the best new vintage models in current production by any watch brand. A “base” model in short is a PAM with no seconds hand, day, date, or any other type of time display other than the hour and minute hands. 
  The sandwich dial is large and clean resting in the newly designed 47mm 1950‘s case. The case used on this watch is a little different from the standard 1950’s case, with noticeably lower profile lugs. The lume is beige in color, giving the PAM372 an instant patina vintage look. The hour and minute hands are gold, with the beige lume that rounds out the dials vintage appeal. Keeping true to watches of yesteryear, instead of sapphire crystal Panerai went with a distinctive domed Plexiglas. Powering this watch is Panerai’s in-house manual wind P.3000, with a 3 day power reserve. An exhibition case back shows of the manual P.3000 movement. Panerai’s new 1950 case flows like no other Panerai case, executed beautifully. The brushed crown guard compliments the case and bezel that are done in high polish. A large 26mm brown strap keeps this watch secured tightly, an appropriate width for a watch of this size.     
This is one of those watches you hope to spot on someones wrist one day with pure admiration and respect! 

Pros - Vintage appeal, in-house movement, new 1950’s case

Consideration - Plexiglas is far from sapphire, but fitting for a vintage styled watch

Specifications & Dimensions:
Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 47mm
Crystal: Plexiglas
Dial: Black
Strap: Leather
Movement: P3000
Power Reserve: 3 days
Water Resistant: 100m
Lug Width: 26mm

April 2, 2011

Rolex Explorer II Review

New Basel 2011 Rolex Explorer II Watch Review

 Rolex is the popular kid back in school, everyone waiting to see what cool thing they will do next. Enter the long awaited and once delayed Rolex Explorer II (ref. 216570) unveiled officially at Basel 2011. There has been big changes to this model when compared to the previous generation (ref. 16570) from size, movement, to aesthetics. 
  Probably the biggest visual change is Rolex continued move to larger cases. The Explorer II is now 42mm compared to the previous version at 40mm. W&R thinks this is better fit because the watch wears smaller in general do to the lower profile bezel. The new case will beef it up, without being obnoxious. Rolex went back to the vintage Explorer look with the new orange GMT hand. This gives the Explorer the extra little touch it needed to help further separate it from the GMT Master II. The dial now has larger, more pronounced hands. The bracelet has also moved forward with positive change, now featuring Rolex’s patented EasyLink system. This allows the wearer to change the bracelet length by about 5mm, weather and physical activities can all effect wrist size. The EasyLink system is truly a fantastic feature. Rolex has put a brand new GMT chronometer movement in the 216570, called Caliber 3187. The Caliber 3187 features a blue Parachrom hairspring and the new Paraflex shock absorbers. The new chapter ring that we all knew was inevitable has the repeating “Rolex”. There seems to be no stopping this evolution, if you want modern Rolex’s you better get use to liking this change. The watch is offered in white or black, will be nice to see these out in the real world. 
  Overall, the new Explorer II looks to have done almost everything right, especially the old 1970’s orange GMT hand. 

Pros - New movement, new styled GMT hand, EsayLink, 42mm case

Consideration - Lots of change on a classic and iconic watch, some will prefer the older

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 42mm
Bezel: Fixed 24 hour
Crystal: Sapphire
Bracelet: SS 
Lug Width: 20mm
Movement: 3187 
Water Resistant: 100m
Power Reserve: N/A 

April 1, 2011

Bulgari Diagono Chronograph Review


Bulgari Diagono Chronograph Watch Review

  The Bulgari (Bvlgari) Diagono Chronograph is a little more toned down than some other Bvlgari offerings. Bvlgari has not been shy about putting their name boldly on the watch in the past. Whether it be a bracelet and the bezel combo or just the bezel. What W&R likes about this offering is the branded name is tamed down on the bezel, it is not a distraction from the watch itself. 
  The watch has beautifully done embossed textured black dial. The dial layout is one of W&R favorite chronograph versions, with only two sub dials at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. This helps to keep the dial less cluttered in appearance, especially on 40mm watch. The date window on the Diagono also does not distract from the clean lines of the dial. The window is nicely tucked away between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. The crown and pusher are not over styled and are well proportion for a 40mm watch.The show stealer on this particular version is the strap and it’s 3 blade folding clasp. The case back is solid, housing an automatic movement, with a 42 hour power reserve. Overall, the Bvlgari Diagono Chronograph (ref. DG40BSLDCH) is well executed. There are not many sport chronograph offerings coming in at 40mm with the larger case trends. If you are not into larger watches this Diagono might be worth taking a look into. 

Pros - Good proportions, great dial, great strap

Consideration - Price point vs. other watches in the same price range

Case: Stainless Steel
Case Diameter: 40mm
Lug Width: N/A
Bezel: Fixed 
Crystal: Sapphire
Dial: Black
Strap: Black Leather 
Movement: Automatic
Power Reserve: 42 Hrs 
Water Resistance: 100m