Tag Archives: quartz

Watch Picks: Timex New Arrivals

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.

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN?

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.

EXPEDITION SIERRA

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.

WATERBURY CLASSIC

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.

More info at the Timex UK website. 

OK, Your Watch Won’t Work With a New Battery, Now What?

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.

One.

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.

Two.

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…

Three.

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.

Torgoen T43: DLC Edition Dive Watch

Torgoen has released a limited edition of its T43 dive model, in DLC for that all-black look.

It’s got a hefty 44mm wide case, shiny diamond black carbon coating of course, sapphire crystal and a Swiss Ronda quartz movement. It offers 200m of depth resistance and comes with a rubber strap. You can buy extra leather straps which are £54 a pop.

Bezel rotates naturally, red indicator feature too. Price is £252.

It’s a clean looker, and with those big numbers it might be more readable underwater than many other entry level scuba/snorkel dive watches.

More here. 

No Moonswatch Available? Here’s an Alternative

Hey we couldn’t get a Moonswatch either, but no matter, there are other composite Swiss watches just launched in 2022. Although not as in demand with eBay scalpers.

For example, check out the Tide range from Maurice Lacroix. These colourful watches feature recycled materials salvaged from ocean waste as their case construction, 40mm width, plus quartz movements, plus it comes in a plastic coffee cup type box, not a conventional watch box. Again, recycled ocean waste, so good consumerism. See the promo here;

Here’s the press info from ML;

Beyond its vibrant hues and its case, the dial is adorned with a ‘Vague du Jura’ motif, a stylish reference to the ocean. The case measures 40mm in diameter and features a flat sapphire crystal, augmenting readability.

The AIKON #Tide is endowed with a screwed crown together with a screwed caseback, details that contribute to the model’s impressive water resistance of 100m. The model is also endowed with the Easy Strap Exchange system, allowing the wearer to swap the strap for an alternative without the need for tools.

At the heart of the AIKON #tide is a quartz movement, delivering convenience and precision. As you would expect of a Swiss watch, the AIKON #tide is a quality product, backed by a 5-year warranty. After all, it’s an AIKON.

Early adopters can get er…colourful socks, or more interestingly, the chance to design a one-off, limited edition Aikon Tide model. That sounds cool, we would go for something in reclaimed Russian oligarch gold, tick that woke box y’know..

Prices start at 690 euros. Bit more than the Moonswatch, but then, there’s no waiting list.

More info here.

Timex Midtown is Suave, But Slightly Too Expensive

I’m not gonna lie, there have been too many retro models and reissues from Timex lately. Yes, some great designs are worth a revival, but you always need the fresh, the new, the innovations. Otherwise your brand stagnates.

So the Timex Midtown chrono is both routine and refreshing at the same time. On the one hand it looks remarkably similar to amny other quartz chrono watches from the last 2-3 years, with a clean design, nice deep dish effect on the dial, plus those classic piston type pushers.

It has a 40mm case, mineral crystal and a japan sourced movement inside. Comes in grey or white.  There is a blue dial variant for the US market.

It’s a no nonsense everyday watch and apart from the steep £145 price tag, it has a great deal going for it.

Verdict; Accurist, Sekonda, Lorus, Casio and many more brands have a head start in this niche. Many are well under £100 too.

Alpina Refreshes Auto & Quartz Startimer Range

Alpina is refreshing its Startimer model this year, here’s the word frokm the brand;

For 2022, Alpina is giving its Startimer collection, designed for aviation enthusiasts, a complete overhaul, taking it back to its origins with a new design inspired by the pilot watches created by the brand at the beginning of the last century. A new case, new bezel, new hands and a brand new 41mm diameter. Two versions in this collection are already bearing this new fuselage, the Startimer Pilot Automatic and the Startimer Quartz Chronograph Big Date. With three new models each, they feature a blue, black or green dial, a steel or black PVD-coated case, and finally a steel or top-stitched calfskin leather bracelet.

Pioneer in aviation

Whether it is a matter of reaching a summit to determine a change of direction, fuel consumption or reaching a turning point, or simply calculating the duration of a flight, the watch and the aviator have always been intimately linked.

Founded in 1883, Alpina was present during aviation’s pioneering days, and has become a benchmark for professional pilots’ watches. Over the first half of the last century, Alpina was the official supplier of military aviation watches to air forces on the continent. These instruments had to meet strict requirements, they had to be extremely precise and offer the ultimate shock-resistance. Furthermore, Alpina pilot watches were mostly equipped with an anti-magnetic case, and high-contrast dials with luminous hands and numerals for instant legibility.

A new case reminiscent of the design of the era

In 2022, Alpina returns to the original design of its aviation watches, and gives its Startimer collection a new 41mm case, the carefully considered ergonomics of which resemble the brand’s first military timepieces. This size offers the perfect compromise between the more generous size of 44mm, and the 40mm version (which remains in the collection).

A new bezel has also been designed to accompany this new case, with its typical notched profile, symbolic of the period. It was designed in the early days of aviation, to make it easier to grip with gloves on. The famous Alpina red triangle is engraved at 12 o’clock, facing the twelve-hour index marker which also adopts the same geometry.

The crown, also especially designed to revisit the original aviation styles, is positioned at 3 o’clock and displays a fluted “onion” profile, of a more discreet size. Screwed down, it ensures that the case is perfectly waterproof, guaranteed to 100 metres.

Finally on the back we see the traditional engraving that accompanies all Startimer pieces. This one features an aeroplane about to fly over a mountain, accompanied by the vintage version of the Alpina logo, as it was at the time.

The return of cathedral hands

The hands have also been revised. Initially a leaf shape, they have regained their cathedral inspiration with this larger body filled with luminous material, ending with a finer tip that enables the index markers to be read more precisely. The seconds hand has been refined and preserves the identity of all Alpina timepieces: a triangular counterweight, the emblem of the brand.

These hands point to Arabic numerals in a smaller font, which contributes to clearer and sharper legibility, in conjunction with a more open 41mm dial. The minutes hand has a “railway track” look, similar to a railway line encircling the dial, with the five-minute intervals distinguished by a luminous marker opposite each index marker – on the Startimer Pilot Automatic model, this is accompanied by Arabic numerals every five minutes.

Startimer Pilot Automatic: elegance in flight

For this occasion, the Startimer Pilot Automatic (UK retail is £950) has a new date window at 6 o’clock, unlike the previous version where it featured at 3 o’clock. Hours, minutes, seconds and the date are powered by the FC-525 automatic movement, thus continuing the tradition of pilots’ watches. With its understated, sporty and elegant aesthetic, the new lines come in three variations.

The first, with a black dial, is designed entirely in steel: case, bezel and three-link bracelet, alternating between polished and satin-finish surfaces. The hands as well as the white-coloured index markers encourage perfect legibility, with a modern and functional aesthetic for a piece designed for an everyday lifestyle.

The second version with a black dial and a steel case opts for a raw-touch black calfskin leather strap, adorned with top-stitching in a similar tone to the index markers – a vintage off-white reminiscent of the heritage this version is inspired by.

The third version flaunts a trendy blue dial, combined with a steel case, all set on a brown calfskin leather strap with off-white topstitching. The final detail that will be appreciated by collectors: this vintage strap is trimmed in red, the same colour as the Alpina logo on the counterweight of the central seconds hand.

Startimer Pilot Quartz Chronograph Big Date: the peak of precision

The new Startimer Pilot Quartz Chronograph (UK retail is £895) Big Date maintains its fundamental details, namely its large date and its bicompax chronograph. Ideal for calculating flight times, the latter enables times to be measured to the tenth of a second, and over twelve consecutive hours. Positioned at 6 o’clock, the large date is displayed in two separate windows, one for the tens and the other for the ones. Two watch-making details that are rarely combined, this partnership will appeal to lovers of fine Swiss made watches.

The Startimer Pilot Quartz Chronograph Big Date is already available in three versions. The first one focuses on robustness, with a steel bracelet, steel case and a black dial with two large luminous hands.

The second one pairs an olive green dial with a black PVD-coated steel case, reminiscent of a military khaki fibre that will delight fighter aviation enthusiasts. Beige hands and index markers, as well as the luminescent material, echo its brown calfskin leather strap, featuring off-white topstitching with a vintage accent, in a chromatic balance that demonstrates Alpina’s attention to detail.

The third offers a brand new petrol blue dial, with white hands and index markers for perfect legibility. Set on a brown calfskin leather strap with off-white topstitching, its steel case creates a perfect contrast, bringing a resolutely modern combination to life. Very trendy, young and dynamic, this variation will appeal to flight enthusiasts and urban explorers alike.

Powered by the AL-372 quartz movement, it guarantees an autonomy of at least four years – enough to take off on a trip with peace of mind.

Hamilton Ardmore Gets Jazzy Colours

Those springtime colours are in at Hamilton watches, ideal for ladies, or blokes who identify as chicks. Here’s the word;

Now available with either a cool turquoise or sunny coral leather strap, this American Classic demands a second look with matching-in-color Roman numerals and an angular stainless steel case.

Whether it’s shining against an all-neutral ensemble or blending into a brightly colored look, the Ardmore is a wristwatch with a fun and unique character you can wear all year long.

They have the classic Art Deco vibe and retail at £415.

Undone Stellar Purple: Dare To Be Different

Bike, the magazine that dares to be different. That was the tagline that got me hooked on RD400s, Kawa Z1s and more back in the day and in those crazy times one of my dream machines was a purple H2 750 triple.

Never owned one, but I did have a purple KH400 until some Herbert in a Cortina pulled out in front of me.

Happy days, and 70s fans can relive that vibe with this Stellar model quartz chronograph, which features a deep purple dial. In fact a Deep Purple Fireball edition watch could be on my wish list if Undone fancied making it.

The dial is coated in a high gloss, enamel paint finish that harks back to watchmaking of the 60s says Undone, and gives a lush, deep mirror sheen.  One minor detail; there’s no logo top dead centre on the dial, which we would love to see. Nice retro 70s chrono pushers by the way.

It also has a 40mm case, the Seiko VK64 meca quartz is inside it and you get a see-thru caseback so you can observe those er…flux capacitors, well OK, regular capacitors.

It has a K1 crystal and retails at £297.

More here.

Coffee Time? Anytime is Good For a Brew Frankly

Brew watches have a new Espresso model online an as you’d expect it features a coffee brown dial, with some of that Gold Blend vibe in the case. Not infringing trademarks or anything, just a gold PVD coating.

Like many Brew watches it has the TV dial layout, with a sapphire crystal and meca-quartz movement inside. Retails at $375, plus import tax and shipping for UK buyers.

Here’s some background from Brew Watch;

In the early 1930s a specific category of chronograph watches were nicknamed telephone timers. They were designed with special markings that highlighted a range between every 3 minutes on the subdial register. After each 3 minute marker was reached, it would remind the wearer that they would need to insert another coin in the meter to continue their call.

Similar to this method of counting seconds and minutes with a direct correlation to the wearers action – the Retrograph has specific markers that specify when the optimal espresso shot has been extracted. The time for this ranges from 25 to 35 seconds – depending on the barista and the machine.

Solid Gold Seventies Action, By Timex

Timex are still mining that velvet goldmine with their Q Series 1972 edition. Yes, the great days of T.Rex, Kawasaki Z1S and awesome flares can be yours again.

In fact it was exactly 50 years ago that Timex began selling quartz watches so this red dial beauty celebrates a company milestone. The striking gold tone case is also pure 70s, with its wide body, tonneau styling, plus the neat battery compartment cover makes swapping the 377 battery a doddle.

That’s a 70s Brit word btw, it means easy-peasy.

Priced at £155 this isn’t a cheap watch, in fact we have to say there are more appealing retro quartz watches out there for less cash. Like the Sekonda 1957 model which can be found for £50, or the Accurist Racing chronograph at £129.

If you want to go chrono there’s the OSO Orbit from Singapore with a VK Seiko movement for£185 on Kickstarter.

Verdict; Great styling Timex but what happened to watches for the masses?