Purple is definitely one of the in colours this year for watches. Now that may not matter a jot to you, as you proudly continue to wear 90s baggy tops and jeans like Bez n Sean are still twisting your melon man..
If you’re baffled, no worries. It’s a Happy Mondays reference and if you haven’t discovered their hits, then give it a listen sometime. I digress again, let’s examine the spec on this Timex T80 which has a cool 80s vibe about it.
You can get a milspec green one, which is more Ukraine $30 billion dollar freedom fighter if you prefer. Both have a night light, timer, alarm, expanding steel bracelet and 30m of water resistance. Retail is £65, which is a bit more than the classic Casio retro digital models, which start at about £30 online and rise to £55-ish for the bigger 36mm case variants.
Entry level on the Casio is about 33mm, but you get the same 30m resistance and a steel strap.
One for sure, buying a new 80s digital watch is way cheaper than trying to get an original example repaired. More at the Timex UK site here.
Fashion brand MVMT has added a midnight blue colour option to its quartz powered chronograph.
The watch sells at £269 and has old school pushers, minimalist hands and dial layout, plus a mineral crystal. It’s a big 45mm wide watch and the strap is ceramic material as well as the case, so you get that smooth, luxury feel that Rado fans know and love.
Would we like a bigger date window? Yes, that 4 o’clock one is a tad small.
But at considerably less cash than a Rado chrono. OK, this is a fashion brand watch, not a Swiss quality product. But if you like the look of it, find out more here.
If you are then this new one from Mondaine should be just the ticket. In grey, green or blue dial colours, it has that Swiss railway vibe that Mondaine fans know and love. Plus it retails at $230. Yep. Not cheap. Just like a rail ticket in Switzerland in fact.
For that sum you get an aluminium case, a stand, or you can wall mount it. Plus a quartz movement.
Yes, it looks very nice. But it’s one for the fanbois. Or fangoirls.
Zodiac are lovin’ bold colours this summer, with new additions to the Super Sea Wolf range. There’s a grass green/orange bezel option, an all blue dial/bezel combo and a brilliant white in the line-up.
Otherwise the SSW is unchanged, with 200m of water resistance, a steel case and bracelet, automatic movement and a 40mm case width. It’s an attractive all-rounder as well as a dive watch, although at £1495 it’s expensive for the spec.
Rivals? Lots of indie brand divers at 200m of resistance and if you like bright colours the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine has plenty of blue or green dial options, some with bronze cases too, at about £1100 or less, depending on spec.
Then there are Certina, Baltic, Magrette, Enoksen, Squale, Invicta and yeah…that Japanese brand Seiko makes a few nice divers under £1000 too.
The latest from Ball Watches in Switzerland, celebrating that polar explorer chap Shackleton. Here’s the word;
The 41mm Engineer III Endurance 1917 GMT features our Manufacture GMT Caliber RRM7337-C – a true GMT chronometer – wrapped in a 904L stainless steel case and shining with micro gas tube luminosity.
Three complementary models are also available, each designed with unique features yet united by incomparable brightness and high-quality build.
Limited to 1000 pieces each, the series is now available for pre-order until 01 June 2022 at an exclusive price. The entry level is £1260 and the range topper in green is £2190 on a steel bracelet.
Our fave is the ice blue dial model, which fits that polar theme of course. Nice cyclops on the date and dare we say it, that blue is er..Tiffanyesque? So yeah, you get that latest Rolex vibe without the waiting list.
Verdict; worth a look on pre-order at £1990, as this is a COSC grade GMT, Swiss made too. Rivals include the TAG Aquaracer GMT at about 2K, the Oris Aquis GMT, maybe the Breitling Avenger GMT has more investment potential long term, although it retails at about £3500 new?
It’s always worth looking at the latest models from Timex.
We love them because yeah, it’s a fashion brand, but they market their heritage with some elan. OK, the modern ones aren’t going to be truly collectable, but hey, they do the timekeeping job with more panache than many other fashion brands in the same price range.
Yes Daniel Wellington, Kors, MVMT, Boss, Armani, Cluse etc. we are looking at you.
Here’s our picks from the latest new Timex stuff then.
We have a Midtown model featuring a 38mm case which is kinda in vogue this year after the Rolex releases earlier in the year. Plain, simple dial, bit small on the date window maybe? But overall, a classic design with mineral crystal for £130.
Details like the QR strap and globe logo on the caseback add a little something, but it’s still expensive for what it is. Rivals like the Accurist Classic, (£70) MVMT Classic (£50) offer budget options. We also saw an Orient quartz on Amazon for £120 with a three hand, white dial design.
We love the blue and white dial variants on the Expedition Sierra models. Again, a tiny date window lets down a classic field watch design and it has the Indiglo push button illuminator for night time.
At £79 this one makes a viable alternative to a Seiko auto field watch, which can be had online for just over £100.
Priced at £80 this is more affordable.
The 40mm Waterbury Classic has a bold white dial, easy to read numbers and er…a gold tone crown. Nope, we don’t see why you’d fit a gold crown onto a steel case either. On the upside it has the Indiglo night light plus a mineral crystal and QR strap. Practical? Yes indeed.
However, at £100 this one is too spicy for us and we think the retro Sekonda 1960s model offers more style for about £30-£40 less.
You can order the latest Yema Superman dive watch, which now features a full lume dial, so everything is glowing at night, not just the hands and markers. It’s priced from 990 euros, plus UK customers have got extra import duty on top, plus VAT.
The watch comes in 39mm or 41mm case widths, and features an in-house Cal movement. Steel bracelet or silicone rubber strap options. No date window by the way.
Here’s the word from Yema;
This one-of-a-kind Superman’s dial is treated with a Grade A Super-LumiNova® BGW9 thick coating providing one of the brightest dials out there. The ultra-phosphorescent ice blue light has a very long durability in the dark, offering a continued optimal reading of time even in complete darkness.
The stark white dial works exceptionally well during day-light conditions as well, really making the black and red elements of the dial standout.
The unique Superman bezel-lock at 3 o’clock has proven very useful to professional divers and is found on all Superman models since 1963. The unidirectional, circular-brushed steel bezel comes with marks at 5 and 15-minutes intervals and a luminescent triangular zero-mark at 12 o’clock.
The iconic seconds hand with its head shaped like a shovel is present in most Superman models since the 1970’s. The luminescent coating and red dot follow a purpose driven design, for scuba divers who dive in the dark.
Verdict; expensive dive watch at over 1000 euros plus taxes. Rivals like LIV, Squale, Deep Blue or San Martin all offer that full lume look for far less cash. The San Martin at £200 looks especially tempting if you are on a tight budget and don’t mind a Miyota automatic movement.
The word from Bell+Ross, who have a new skeleton addition to their range. It has a 40mm steel case, comes with a green strap option, or steel bracelet, and is limited to 500 pieces.
Here’s the word;
Traditionally used in fine watchmaking, the technique of skeleton work magnifies the mechanism by cutting out the maximum material to reveal the essential.
This watch exposes its mechanical heart:the BR-CAL-322 calibre, Swiss Made, with automatic winding. The geartrain that drives it, engages in a fascinating ballet.
The movement and dial assembly are based on a complex construction: it consists of the watch mechanism covered with a green tinted crystal, then a flange housing the indexes, all magnified by sapphire crystal.
It’s a limited edition of 500 pieces and we like the way the caseback looks a bit like an alloy wheel on a sports coupe. Prices start at £5400, which is at the CW Sellors website in the UK.
Verdict: You have to love that whole aviation cockpit dials thing to worship Bell+Ross. Other Swiss rivals offer a sounder investment long term, and some might say a less utilitarian vibe, for around £3000-£3500.
Always got time for a retro dive watch from Orient, which is of course part of the Seiko group. Love the power reserve indicator and that green fume dial colour too.
Here’s the word;
Orient Star will introduce two new Diver 1964 2nd edition models to its Sports Collection. Created in 1951, Orient Star has dedicated itself to producing high-quality, made-in-Japan mechanical watches, that are “shining stars” fusing traditional craftsmanship with the latest watchmaking technologies.
Following the release of the Diver 1964 1st edition last year, the new Diver 1964 2nd edition pays tribute to this proud history once again by combining specific design elements of Calendar Auto Orient*1 from 1964 with a modern, high-performance in-house
movement. This full-fledged divers’ watch is compliant with the ISO 6425 standard.
The latest addition, the Diver 1964 2nd edition, is based on the Calendar Auto Orient, one of the company’s first divers’ watches
released in 1964. The Calendar Auto Orient featured simple dot indices on a mirror black finished dial, hands designed for excellent visibility, a rotating bezel incorporating an anodized aluminum ring, and sharply defined lugs.
The original Calendar Auto Orient equipped with an automatic movement was even more popular among watch afficionados than the hand-winding Olympia Calendar Diver*1 which served as the inspiration for the Diver 1964 1st edition.
While the new Diver 1964 2nd edition reflects the designs inherited from the original model, it features the same specifications enhanced for the Diver 1964 1st edition such as a screw down
crown, a screw case-back, a dual curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, and water resistance to 200 metres compliant with the ISO 6425 standard for air diving watches.
It also features the in-house 46-F6 series caliber F6N47 automatic movement, which provides high accuracy and a power reserve of over 50 hours. In addition to displaying the time and date, the majority of Orient Star models have a power reserve indicator that shows the remaining running time of the movement, a rare function for divers’ watches.
The new Diver 1964 2nd edition is available with a black or green dial, each providing their own appealing look. The black version is a faithful tribute to the Calendar Auto Orient with a mirror black finish on the dial and a matching shiny black bezel surface. The glossy black colour gives this sporty divers’ watch a dressy look, fitting in perfectly with current lifestyles and trends that see such watches being worn on any occasion with any style of clothing.
The other colour option is a matte green dial with a matching matte green bezel surface. The green gradation on the dial is inspired by the Ryusendo Cave in Iwate Prefecture, Japan, thought by some to be the most beautiful and mysterious limestone cavern in the world.
The case is made of high-quality stainless steel (SUS316L) and its relatively compact 41-mm diameter makes it ideal for everyday use. The five-piece link metal strap is made of the same SUS316L stainless steel, providing an unmistakable presence on the wrist as well as a comfortable fit.
A divers’ extension structure and the trifold deployment buckle with push button and security latch are included, making the watch practical to use when playing sports or walking around town. The pyramid-like ridges of the additional silicon strap echo the design of
the metal band of the original Calendar Auto Orient, providing a different look to enjoy.
The two new models of the Diver 1964 2nd edition deliver features of a full-fledged divers’ watch as well as designs steeped in the heritage of Orient Star. Both will be sold as regular models.
This can be a common problem and there are plenty of reasons why the watch doesn’t want to start ticking again.
Let’s start with the basics and assume you had a go yourself and don’t really know what you’re doing.
You fitted wrong battery. Easily done, for example a 364 or a 377 will both fit into a typical quartz movement battery slot, but the 364 is slimmer so it might not make as good a contact. Unlikely in most cases, but more typical errors include trying a little 346 or a tiny 379 into a watch that needs a beefier battery.
The serial number of the battery is on the old one, but don’t assume the last fitter placed the correct battery in there. Some Casio watches have two batteries, plus they need to have tweezers placed onto the contact points after fitting to reset the movement – usually the contact points are marked but you might need a loupe or magnifying glass to see them.
So, always Google the watch make n model and track down the CORRECT battery serial number. Some have SR numbers, but others are just called 377, 373, 341 etc. Fit a Sony, Renata or decent quality brand – cheap pound shop batteries will not last long.
Dead battery oxidised. You can see this oxide residue sometimes, a fluffy greenish dust will be lurking inside the battery slot. Occasionally, an old battery might split. Once that happens the movement is usually dead, game over.
If you have some petroleum ether then use tweezers to drop a little onto the movement, and carefully clean the battery contact with ether. Use a blower to try and get dust specks out. About one time in ten this might get the movement alive again, depends how long the dead battery has been rotting away for…
You touched the capacitor or battery contact arm and broke it. Again easily done, especialy if you like changing batteries with kitchen knives and £1.99 screwdrivers from the local 8-til late shop.
You see the copper wire coil in the photo below? DO NOT TOUCH IT. It really is that simple.
In general, modern quartz movements fail to start again after a battery change because moisture has got inside. Sometimes, as with the vintage Omega above, it can be 30 years of dirt from an old guy’s wrist, that sneaks in under the snap-on caseback – sweat too. The silicone caseback seal can sometimes rot away and fragments get inside the movement. Nasty.
Another point worth noting on older quartz watches is that they are partly mechanical, they have gears and jewels.
These jewels have a single drop of oil fitted when new, but the oil dries out. If not serviced by a watchmaker, the staff bores a little hole in the jewel, or at least encounters resistance. Game over, watch doesn’t go – dirt and dry jewels can be a fatal combo.
PROCEED CAREFULLY IF YOU SEE A STRAP
OK study the photo below; this is a typical Swiss watch with a retaining contact strap across the battery. See the little slot at one end? That has to be screwed down in EXACTLY the right position, just after you ease the stepped end under the end of the battery slot.
It’s immensely fiddly work, so easy to lose the tiny screw, or damage the retaining strap. As a bodge – not in an Omega – I have cut n shaped a sliver of base metal to do the same job in an old Swiss quartz and incredibly, it worked.
LIMITED LIFESPAN & SHOCKS
One last point; any quartz watch has a limited lifespan, even a prestige Swiss movement. The electrical power from a battery is evened out via the capacitor and it vibrates a quartz crystal at a regular rate – that’s how the second hand ticks. After 20-25 years, most of the crystals stop vibrating, yes, even in an Omega.
So that’s something to think about when investing in a collectable old Swiss or Japanese quartz watch. It could just die and there isn’t a damn thing you can do, because the factory will not be making any spare quartz movements for vintage watches from the 70s-90s.
If you drop a watch it can damage the movement beyond repair too. This can be a typical problem for cheaply made Chinese fashion watches, some of which haven’t even survived being bounced about in a padded bag in the post in my experience.
Hope that helps and if you are keen on watch repair, then invest in good tools, powerful lights, plus a X10 head loupe.