While something called the Charles sounds like it might be designed for a saucy British BDSM fan, Armitron has decided to make it a watch. The Armitron Charles Watch, which costs $100, is a simple but handsome piece that will look bold on the wrist and features enough design quality and ruggedness to be worth a look for folks searching for an entry-level fashion watch.

The Charles, which comes with a leather band or steel bracelet, is clad in gunmetal chrome and features a quartz movement and pushers that set the day and date. That’s right: this is not a chronograph. Instead, the pushers bump the day or date ahead one tick, giving you the approximation of a perpetual calendar. A 24-hour dial at 6 o’clock lets you know if it’s day or night.

The watch snob in me considers this movement an affront to all that is good and holy but – and I mean this – the design more than makes up for that affront. You’re not getting haute horology here. You’re getting a timepiece that tells you what time it is and offers the suggestion of a date window.

The whole package is nicely designed. The band is bold and solid and has an adjustable buckle so you can shrink it down to size. The gunmetal case and bezel are very handsome and the face very readable.


Armitron has been inching its way back out of the drugstore quartz category and I’m glad I got to see this thing in the flesh. It’s a nice piece, looks great, and if you ignore the movement, it’s a good enough watch for someone who isn’t quite into watches but wants to wear something cool. Sure it’s quartz and sure the movement is goofy but darn it, I like Charles.

You can check out the Armitron Charles here.

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About the Author / Author Expertis& Authority

John Biggs: I live in Brooklyn, NY and write about technology, security, gadgets, gear, wristwatches, and the Internet. After spending four years as an IT programmer, I switched gears and became a full-time journalist. My work has appeared in the New York Times, Laptop, PC Upgrade, Gizmodo, Men’s Health, InSync, Popular Science, and I’ve written a book called Marie Antoinette’s Watch about the most famous and mysterious watch ever made. I am the former East Coast Editor of TechCrunch.com.