Tag Archives: rotary

Best Mens Automatic Deals On Amazon

We thought it would be a good time to have a look on Amazon for the best deals on gents automatic watches. Not that we aren’t fans of old school watch shops, especially those that sell pre-loved watches. But there is no denying that for new watches, it is hard to beat the low overhead, store-your-stock-in-a-warehouse approach, then ship it from Bratislava when the sale goes through online.

SEIKO 5

OK this is an old Seiko 5 model, nothing special in terms of movement and you have to shake it, it does not wind up like the later Seiko 5 or Presage models. But for £99 if you sign up for a Mastercard deal, or £119 without the credit card, you cannot grumble. It’s got a guarantee, the box, paperwork and you can always sell it for about £70-£80 on eBay a few years down the line if you liek to churn your collection. Yep, we did say churn it like butter.

ROTARY SUPER 7

Not as cool as a Party Seven giant can of ale from the 1970s of course, but the Rotary Super 7 has that Rolex Submariner Pepsi look nailed down, and it claims to be waterproof down to 1000 feet, yes 300 metres. That a 300m dive watch for under £230. Great daubings of superlume on the dial too. Hard to fault on tech specs, this steel case, sapphire crystal watch is NOT made in Switzerland, but arguably has a few Swiss level quality features for the money. On Amazon, supplied by Watchnation based in Chester, Cheshire.

ORIENT MAKO II

Yes, like the Seiko 5 this is another end of line watch, but the blue dial Orient has an elegant look, an ideal case diameter at 42mm and a 200m depth rating. So yes, swim or dive in it – it’s made by Seiko so it’ll cope. Steel case, steel bracelet, although you can get a NATO strip for an extra tenner on the Amazon deal we spotted. The Orient brand is NOT officially imported into the UK so many examples you see are from overseas sellers in Germany, USA, Singapore, HK etc. That means import duty and VAT on top, so paying £119.50 on Amazon solves that paperwork problem.

BENYAR MILGAUSS

Yes, you could buy a convincing Rolex fake from somewhere in China for £400-£500, but frankly this Milgauss homage, or shall we say blatant copy, is just £55 and yours from Amazon delivered in a day or two. It has an automatic movement inside, plus see-thru caseback, so you can appreciate the rough casting finish on the rotor and the appalling bridgework. We say buy this as a gift for the bloke in the family that you don’t like, Uncle Nobhead basically. He’ll have it round to Cash Converters quicker than you can say `I’m too sexy for my TJ Hughes Shirt.’

That’s an automatic watch for £55 though, you cannot even buy a fashion quartz from Michael Coarse, sorry, Kors, for that money.

BULOVA MARINE STAR

Orange is nice to have in your collection, just for those sporty days, or a trip to the beach in summer when you want a watch that handles some seawater. The Bulova brand is owned by Citizen, so you are getting a reliable Miyota auto movement inside, plus a mineral crystal, 200m of depth rating and a big 45mm case width too. The white dial is quite rare on Bulova models, so it’s a left field choice. Good value for someone with a bigger wrist, especially at £269.

 

125th Anniversary Models From Rotary Have the Retro Touch

Some new retro styled automatics from Rotary, marking their 125th anniversary this year. Now let’s be clear Rotary is no longer a Swiss company, but if you fancy an automatic watch, with sapphire crystal and some nice vintage style then you cannot really go wrong for £249.

These are limited to 300 examples in each style by the way.

There’s a lume green model, canvas strap, vintage luminous hands. Two crosshair designs – one is sold out already, the gold plated one is still on sale. In fact we found the crosshair auto with champagne dial online at £224 – below the Rotary RRP. Go figure.

There are some new Ultra Slim quartz models out this year too, although they don’t really ding our bell here at The Northern Watch Co. Give us a vintage Les Originales any day, great watch with an ETA movement in there.

rotary heritage 125 gp

It’s interesting to note that Rotary now claim their watches are water resistant, not waterproof. For clarity, only dive watches are waterproof – everything else will let water sneak in through the winding crown eventually, especially if you swim in the sea every day – salt loves to attack those silicone seals behind the crown and stem. Just saying, you don’t have to sue us..

 

 

 

Watch Collecting: Don’t Be a Slave to Fashion, Buy Because You Like It

There is one golden rule I follow with old watches, well actually there are two. First is the basic stuff; look at the watch closely under a magnifying glass, because the marks and scratches often tell a story of woe and neglect. How does it wind, cleanly, or like stirring a bag of rusty nails with an egg whisk? Even if the watch is running apparently perfectly, it probably has several problems lurking inside its case, so quiz the owner carefully about work that’s been done.

The second is more controversial; don’t be a slave to fashion, because guys trying to outdo each other on bragging rights down the pub with an `iconic’ watch often don’t really know much about the watches they own. You can apply the same rule to classic anything in fact; cars, guitars, motorbikes, Lambrettas etc.

Take for example the recent rapid rise in Tissot Seastar Visodate models from the 60s/70s. Once you could only get about £200 retail for a gold case one, as many enthusiasts thought they were `workhorse’ models, and poor relations to an extent within the Omega empire. A recent search online revealed people asking £300-£350 for the same watch…not they are guaranteed to get it of course.

tissot visodate 1

In fact the Cal 784-2 Visodate is no better or worse than a similar era vintage Omega Geneve, Rotary, Vertex Revue, Bulova, Oriosa, Uno or a hundred and one other Swiss brands from that `golden age’ of Swiss watchmaking, before the Japanese kicked their ass with cheap quartz models. Another important thing to remember is that any watch that may have been used for half a century, could be physically wearing out, even if the dial and hands look nice.

We recently serviced a Tissot Visodate and a good thing too, as the owner insists on using it as an everyday watch. He places it by a radio and his smartphone at night, exposing it to magnetic fields, it’s also worn inside a modern car – again alive with magnetic fields, as that’s how the ECU sends/receives data to all parts of the car’s electrical system, monitors the brakes, lights, steering, fuel injection etc.

Bear in mind the Visodate, or a nice Omega Constellation, is a watch designed in an era when a radio or TV was perhaps the greatest source of magnetism that the owner could expose the timepiece too – unless he lived under an electricity pylon. So if you use a vintage Swiss watch, then expect the demands of modern life to take their toll on it, as well as the general wear and tear that anything 50 years old suffers from.

So long story short, the Visodate ran perfectly again, but the owner knocked the watch, and then brought it back saying it was gaining lots of time. Indeed it was, and we figured out the problem; The fault lay in the hairspring, which had moved from its perfect position where two tiny pins, that are actuated by the regulator, sort of clasp the spring. Having moved from its correct position, the coil had `jumped’ closer to its centre, off one pin. The coils were now touching, the beat was all over the shop, and the result was a gain of an hour a day. Now the solution was to remove the spring and delicately attempt to uncoil it, to a more concentric shape, then carefully re-fit the regulator and balance assembly. The ideal alternative would have been a complete new balance assembly; spring, wheel, staff, cap jewel etc – but it’s 50 years old, so where can you get new Tissot Cal 784 parts off the shelf?

You cannot. The answer is you end up using other old examples that appear to be running well and have been serviced, but buying another runner, just for parts, then paying a watchmaker to fit everything means spending more than the nominal £300 value of the watch.

This is what I mean about fashion trumping real value in classic watches. These are NOT everyday timekeepers, in the same way classic cars are not everyday motorway commuters. Only a fool would drive a 1960s Austin 1100 to work everyday, because it would go wrong, almost every week in winter. Then it would rust away, fail its MoT and off to the scrapyard – why do that? Use your Austin car, Triumph Tiger Cub or Tissot Visodate sparingly, save it for best, cherish its potentially finite lifespan.

If you find a nice example of an old Rotary, Longines, Hudson, Montine, Seiko, Citizen, Accurist, or heck – even a basic Timex – then enjoy looking at it far more than you enjoy winding it fully and checking its accuracy against your mobile phone. Have it serviced once every 5 years if you really love it, but don’t kid yourself that it’s some gold plated investment on par with an ex-Steve McQueen Heuer.

 

Most of us aren’t ever going to be collecting at that level, so accept that mainstream Swiss, US, British, German and Japanese mechanicals/automatics are decent old watches that were mass-produced, in their thousands, not hand-crafted by trained artisans wearing half-moon spectacles and calico aprons, slaving away in some fabled House of Horology.

timex nov 14 008
Retro style, reliable auto movement and years of use – all for about £30-£50. 

Here’s a fact for you; I have a £20 Timex automatic in the shop that is more accurate, and runs for three hours longer on a full wind than that 9ct gold Visodate. Classic watches are, to an extent a lucky dip, because you don’t know the half a century of history that lies behind the face of that vintage watch. So buy assuming that you’ll have to spend money one day getting it fixed, because you will – it’s only a question of when. If you decide to walk away and throw the watch in a drawer then you’ve lost £20-£50 on a Timex, a Buler, Seiko 5, Ricoh, Citizen or many other cooking models, not the hundreds that a fashionable model like a Tissot or Omega will cost you.

That’s the true value of watch collecting; the fun-per-pound factor, not playing a game of oneupmanship down the club.

Keep ticking over.