Archive | May, 2008


Christopher Ward pulls out of the pack

Posted on 29 May 2008 by John Biggs

Christopher Ward Watches is starting to pull out of the crowd with some distinctive and handsome designs. From the start, their business model has been to put out a first rate watch on a razor thin profit margin. Their earlier watches were definitely tasteful, but a little on the conservative side.

With the C6 Kingfisher Diver automatic, Christopher is putting a more distinctive style forward. 42mm, with an ETA 2824-2 movement, seems fairly mundane until you look at it. I’m liking it a lot. And with a 300m water resistance and a robust warranty and returns policy, it sounds like he has a lot of confidence in his watches.

Flashier than my usual tastes, but I could learn to live with it.

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St. Moritz Titan II, the all-rounder

Posted on 21 May 2008 by John Biggs

No matter how many watches a body might have, if you’re the watch wearing type, you have a favorite, the one watch that is the fallback not matter the circumstance. This is mine.

I was looking for a watch for all seasons, and this one was the best fit. I wanted an analog, with an alarm, luminous marking, and at least 100m water resistance. It had to be suitable for my professional environments, which can be diverse and a little surreal to many folks in corporate America. Yes, it is quartz, but the only mechanical watch that makes the grade on these requirements is the Panerai 98, and I had not heard of them at the time I bought this one, could not afford them then, can’t really afford them now, and is rather too big for me (although the ease of reading that dial as the eyes age…) The chronograph and titanium were secondary considerations, but I’ve come to appreciate the titanium for the light weight and relatively slim profile it allows. The titanium and sapphire crystal have proven extremely durable despite my cavalier attitude about what activities I engage in while wearing it.

There is an option for a black or white face, and I went with the black. The dial is a little over 35mm, with the crowns and buttons not quite 40mm, 43mm lug to lug and 10mm thick. The dial markings are clearly inspired by 1940s military styles, with the triangle for 12, and the arabic numerals. The chronograph functions are conventional for an analog watch. The alarm is set with the screw-down stem at the first click out, and turned on by pulling the stem on the left side of the face out. The alarm is not as loud as some watches, but I would say louder than most, and adequate for me. I’ve had this watch for years, sent it back for a battery change once (with fast and reasonably priced service from St. Moritz), and expect to get many more years out of it.

Aesthetically, it is a little harsh and austere for dress social occasions, but that simplicity fits my needs, and carries an understated presence that works in my professional environments. On the other hand, it blends well with jeans and a polo shirt. As much as I enjoy other watches, this one is the single best, all-round watch for me.

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Marathon CSAR Chrono Review

Posted on 16 May 2008 by John Biggs

Nubo reviews the massive Marathon CSAR chrono, a beautiful tool watch that looks like a tank. 7750 Valjoux and lots of extraneous markings and screw down push buttons FTW.

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Chuck Maddox, watch guru, dead at 46

Posted on 16 May 2008 by John Biggs

Watch Blogger and horology genius died on May 12. His insight and research into everything from Omegas to mainsprings made him one of the most important names in this business. I’ve had limited interaction with him over the years but the exchanges I’ve had were quite cordial and he was always helpful.

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TX is not just Timex

Posted on 15 May 2008 by John Biggs

TX World TimeI received a TX World Time for review last week. Wow. This is definitely not your dad’s Timex. I think it is fair to say that TX is to Timex what Tissot is to Swatch. Yes, Swatch group makes Tissot, but a Tissot is not a Swatch, and a TX is not Timex. It’s big, it’s dramatic, and it’s a little too much for me.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the TX is big. 45mm on my slim wrists is a little much. But for its size, it is light, but feels solid. I know this sounds like a contradiction, but watches this size are either rocks, or feel like they’ll snap between your fingers. The TX feels remarkably well made for being so light. Fit and finish were immaculate. All edges and corners are clean and sharp. Surfaces had mirror finishes and flats are flat. The black finish is beautiful. The element I liked best was the use of rose gold for the hands and hour markings. The rose gold added a touch of class that the usual yellow gold finish does not. The TX logo is enamelled on the crown and worked into the end of the second hand. The hands and hour markings are luminescent, as are the retrograde hands. The retrograde hands threw me for a loop the first time I saw them in the dark, as there are no reference markings, just mysterious glowing hands floating on the dial. Once you know to look for them, they’ll stop distracting. What I mistook for a blur in the finish was a nicely executed little world map on the dial. This adds up to a rich and dramatic appearance.

The dial is busy, but that is a reflection of the functionality and this adds to its charm. In addition to the customary HH:mm:ss, and date, you have a second time zone. The time zone is indicated by the hand with the crescent at the end, and it points to cities, and countries named along the inside of the bezel for each time zone, and is controlled with the two buttons flanking the crown. Time in the second time zone is indicated on a retrograde hand in the upper right of the dial. The other retrograde style hand indicates standard or daylight savings time, and is controlled by the button on the left side of the dial.

I really like the functionality, I get a lot of use out of a second time zone, and the zone markings relieve me of the need to think through which way is which and how many hours. Put an alarm on this puppy, and it would be a dream come true.

The TX World Time is a beautiful watch, but a bit much for a guy like me, who usually wears an Ollech & Wajs M-65. For what it is, an initial entry into the luxury watch market, it is great. It would be an excellent first up-scale watch for a young man, and a great watch for someone who enjoys the dramatic appearance.

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