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Patrick’s Top 5 Watches of 2015

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A little bit earlier this month, Matt brought you his thoughts on what the top 5 watches of 2015 were. That seemed to click pretty well with you, and, as we all have our own opinions and preferences, today is my turn to pontificate. Given the wide variety of watches that crossed my desk this year, this was tougher than I thought it would be. To sort of self-filter the list a bit, I kept my candidate pool to only those watches that I actually spent time with. Without further ado, presented in no particular order, are my top 5 watches of 2015.

Watching the Web for December 19, 2015

Morning Dew On A Web Desktop BackgroundAs always, thank you for taking the time to join us for our weekly feature, Watching the Web, where we point you to interesting posts we find on other sites, as well as highlight our own popular articles.  The week, from across the web, I have reviews of Nomos and Ressence watches, and a short round-up of independent watchmakers.  From our own site, seeing how this is the penultimate weekend of the year, I would highlight our most popular posts for the last 12 months.

Nomos-Metro_Neomatik-Watch-10I don’t think it will come as a surprise to our regular readers that I really like Nomos, I just wish the watches were a little more… modern in their sizing.  Take the Nomos Metro Neomatik that ABTW covered.  Wow that is pretty.  It is also only 35mm.  These days, anything under 40 seems small to me.  But if you can wear a more traditional case size, you should check it out.

Ressence Type 5When I saw that Ressence came out with the dive watch, the Type 5, I knew I would instantly want one.  Of course, I also instantly knew I could not afford one, but such is reality.  But oh my is it a lovely watch.  Hodenkee has a run down on the watch, and it just looks so darned cool.

Mechanical movementThere are a lot of large and mid-size watch makers who are putting out interesting ind innovative watches, but let us not forget some of the very independent companies that are prized by collectors and almost unknown to the greater public.  Total Watch Reviews ran a short article highlighting 4 such makers.

Tissot-Visodate-Milanais-FeaturedTurning inward, we have our most popular articles from the last year.  I am limiting this to articles that were posts in the last 15 months, since we have a lot of older articles that get listed as top posts, but I wanted to highlight the more recent reviews, and include those from late 2014 that remained popular in 2015.  Like our number one post, the Tissot Visodate Milanais.  Patrick had this watch in for a hands on in October of 2014.  It is a sharp looking Swiss automatic that also represents a good value if you want a dressier watch.

Filson-Journeyman-Shinola-Rambler-GMT-05Sitting just behind the Tissot was Patrick’s look at the watches made for Filson by Shinola.  Given that both of these brands have a large following, it was not surprising that linking the two brands would produce a popular watch.  For me, I think these are the most attractive watches Shinola has made.

Tissot Quickster 03Sitting at number 3 was my look at the Tissot Quickster.  I thought it was a well designed and attractive chronograph, from a reputable Swiss watchmaker at an affordable price point.

Michael Kors Jetmaster Automatic BannerOur number 4 post is sitting right at that 15 month posting limit, and is probably the most surprising and divisive review.  I took a look at the Michael Kors Jetmaster Automatic in October of 2014.  The chrono look-alike (the subdials are day/date/month and 24 hour GMT) isn’t something I would buy, but I thought it was attractive and was appreciative that a fashion designer was putting an automatic watch out on the market.  You can also read what ABTW had to say about it.

Tissot T Touch Expert 02Finally, our fifth most popular post is captured by yet another Tissot, this time the T-Touch Expert Solar.  If you want a non-GPS watch for your outdoor activities, this micro-motor driven, solar powered watch could be the ticket.

Top PostsI also don’t want to forget our top posts of the past week, which were the Steinhart Marine Officer Blue, The Sinn 356 Flieger II, and the Deep Blue Diver Pro.  Overall, a pretty diverse group of posts, and one each from myself, Ken, and Patrick

MAwatch10Did you know that John Biggs’ latest book, Marie Antionette’s Watch, is only 99 cents on the Kindle, or you can buy a paperback from Amazon.  Oh, and even if you don’t have a Kindle, you can always read via their free apps or their cloud read (check those out here).

Benrus-Sky-Chief-02There is a little under 2 weeks left to get into our current giveaway for a Benrus Sky Chief. The entry process requires two steps, first comment on the Give Way page, and then follow the link there to the contest entry page.

Citizen-Ecodrive-06We do also have a bonus giveaway for a Citizen Eco-Drive as well. This another two-parter, with you needing to put your entry in here, and then commenting on the original review.

Wrist ShotWe also want to put the call out for wrist shots of our reader’s favorite (or at least favorite of the moment) watches.  Put together an email of your wrist shot and tell us a little about the watch and why you love it.  If you happened to be introduced to it through our site (or won it through a give-away), even better.  Just make sure the image is a JPEG and at least 800 pixels wide.

With that, I will wrap up this edition of Watching the Web. As always, if there’s something you think we should be covering, feel free to drop us a line. If you bring something up that we end up writing about, we’ll be sure to tip our hats (electronically, if not literally) in your general direction.

 

 

Watching the Web for May 23, 2015

Morning Dew On A Web Desktop BackgroundHello and welcome back (I hope) to Watching the Web, our weekly installment where we highlight interesting watches related articles from other sites, and point out own more popular articles over the last week. Today, we have a review of the Borealis Seahawk 1500 from a diver’s perspective, a photo essay from a watchmaking class held by Audemars Piguet, and a tutorial on how to remove scratches from a watch crystal.  From our site, Patrick swept the top spots, with his recent reviews of the Shinola Rambler GMT, the Gavox Aurora, and the Steinhart Military 42.

Jaques de Vos SeahawkBorealis produces high quality dive watches at affordable price points (I frequently wear the Sea Diver, and Patrick reviewed the Seahawk), and the Seahawk takes the brand down deep, with a 1500 meter depth rating.  Yes, it is overkill for almost everyone, but these extreme watches are popular.  Diver Jacques de Vos strapped one on over his wetsuit and took it for a couple of dips, and shares his thoughts here.

APSF-10Over at TimeZone, there is a good blog post from a reader and his wife that were able to attend a watchmaking class held by Audemars Piguet in San Francisco.

tk-how-to-remove-watch-scratches-gear-patrol-lead-fullOver at Gear Patrol, there is a helpful article on how to remove (shallow) scratches from your watch’s sapphire crystal should it get a bit too beat up.

Shinola-Rambler-GMT-09Shinola always gets a lot of interest on our site, and the Rambler GMT was no exception.  Patrick loves a good GMT, and he thought that this one was worth considering.  In the review he compared the Rambler with the Filson GMT (also made by Shinola); I think the Shinola is the sportier looking of the two, and probably my favorite Shinola to date.

Gavox-Aurora-FeaturedGavox is another brand we like here at WWR, and the Aurora steps up the typical world timer functionality with the ability to change time zones in 15 minute increments.  This can be useful in certain parts of the world, where (as an example) Iran and Afghanistan have their clocks 1/2 hour off from the convention, and Nepal is on the quarter hour.

Steinhart-Military-42-05Lastly, we have the Steinhart Military 42, a vintage military inspired modern timepiece.  Patrick and I are split on the small second hand, with it being a deal killer for him, but I kind of like it.

Cognitime1Time is running out to enter our monthly watch give-away contest.  This month, we have a Cognitime Classic watch to give awayI took a look at the watch back in 2014 and it is an interesting hybrid using a digital display to indicate the analog passage of time.

 

Wrist ShotWe also want to put the call out for wrist shots of our reader’s favorite (or at least favorite of the moment) watches.  Put together an email of your wrist shot and tell us a little about the watch and why you love it.  If you happened to be introduced to it through our site (or won it through a give-away), even better.  Just make sure the image is a JPEG and at least 800 pixels wide.

With that, I will wrap things up. As always, if there’s something you think we should be covering, feel free to drop us a line. If you bring something up that we end up writing about, we’ll be sure to tip our hats (electronically, if not literally) in your general direction.

Exclusive Review: Shinola Rambler GMT

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Back when I reviewed the Filson Journeyman GMT, I noted that, while I liked the watch, the world timer bezel was rather difficult to manipulate (due to a combination of a tough spring and not much area to grip). Today, we are going to take a look at a version that has made some improvements to that bezel – the Shinola Rambler.

Watching the Web for May 16, 2015

Morning Dew On A Web Desktop BackgroundWelcome one and all to our weekly installment of Watching the Web, where we point you (momentarily) away from our site to some interesting watches related articles from across the net, and we recap some of our own more popular articles. Today, I am going to cover a new Kickstarter project, a watch launch from my hometown of Chicago, and then some more insight about Rolex.  After that, of course, we dig into our own archives to see what was popular this week.

Exclusive Review: The Filson Journeyman GMT

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We first brought you word of the new Filson (by Shinola) watches in February. While they are, at their heart, Shinola watches, they have a different look and feel to them that switching to the Filson name allows (sort of how auto manufacturers go for different styles on the same basic platform across brands). My preferences being what they are, I found myself drawn to the GMT models being released, along with their tincloth straps. To the best of my knowledge, we are the first site able to bring you a hands-on review of the Filson Journeyman GMT.

BaselWorld, Shinola, and new Argonite Movements

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It was just last month that we were bringing you word of a new collaboration between Shinola and Filson. With some of the watches coming out of that collaboration, we saw new functionality that the Argonite movements had not previously offered (specifically, a GMT complication). Shinola was not about to let those go unused in their own lines, and at BaselWorld, they introduced, formally, two new Argonite movements.

Introducing Filson Watches by Shinola

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I have made no secret my affinity for the watches that Shinola produces. Sure, not every single one of them is a home run for me, personally, but in general I like what they’re doing, and in specific, I like how they brought some industry back to Detroit. I have also long admired Filson (and one day hope to add a tin cloth jacket to my closet) as they have produced some amazing, long-lasting gear. Well, these two companies have teamed up to create a new line of Filson watches.

The Shinola Black Blizzard Review

 

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Titanium seems to be a popular material for watches these days. At least, that is, for watches that have been crossing my desk. As we saw with the Tempest Commodore, titanium helps cut down the weight of a watch while still offering strength and durability. Today, we’ll take a look at another one that leverages those attributes, the Shinola Black Blizzard.

The Shinola Runwell Contrast Chrono Review

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Quick, how many watch brands are there producing products in Detroit? Two that I know of, actually (we wrote about the lesser-known one here). The most well-known one, of course, is Shinola. We’ve reviewed their watches before, and I continue to have a soft spot for the brand given my ties to the area. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a more complicated version of one of their most popular models, the Shinola Runwell Contrast Chrono.

Shinola-Runwell-Chronograph-18

As you can tell from the images (and my reference to complication up above), we were sent over a Runwell Contrast Chronograph for review. This particular one carries the Contrast appellation due to, well, the high-contrast dial. In this case, it’s primarily grey, with white showing up on the subdials and chapter ring, and some bits of orange accent. Paired up with the grey leather NATO strap as it is, you might be tempted to call the monochromatic fellow boring.

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Perhaps it’s just my own personality and preferences, but I found it anything but. Rather, I saw it as a well-sorted (at least in terms of styling) outing, doing what they set out to do (making a not-quite-high contrast dial) in a slick way. Oh, and as long as we’re talking about the dial, I just want to touch on the one and only numeral on the dial.

Shinola-Runwell-Chronograph-08

That number, of course, is eight. If you’re at all familiar with the Detroit area, you know that 8 Mile Road is one of the boundaries of the city of Detroit (yes, the same one that Eminem popularized). So, I dug into this a bit with the brand, and oddly enough, it wasn’t actually an intentional reference to the road. Rather, it was just a styling decision to try and balance out the dial (against the date window). Be that as it may, I’m surprised they didn’t jump for the 8 Mile reference, as it makes for a much better story associating the brand with Detroit.

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That’s probably enough of my editorializing on the styling, let’s have closer look at the watch. As with many in their lineup, the Runwell Chrono is no petite watch – it’s polished stainless steel case measures in at a hefty 47mm. Surprisingly enough for that, paired to the leather strap, it only weighs in at 120g. Some of that surprisingly low weight can certainly be attributed to the quartz movement inside the case, this time being an Argonite 5030 (assembled in Detroit, of course).

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Also surprising? How well the large case actually fit to my wrist – both literally and visually. For the former, I attribute that to the curvature of the wire lugs, paired with the flexibility of the 24mm leather NATO (made by Hadley Roma). As to the latter, well, that comes back to the styling again. The curved sides of the case drop off pretty quickly from the dial, and the wire lugs really reduce the visual “bulk” of things (as compared to what standard lugs would look like). In short, this is one of the most compact “big” watches I’ve reviewed as of late.

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This all went a long way to comfort in daily wear as well. The watch performed just as you’d expect a new quartz to (flawlessly), and the grey contrast palette worked well, whether it was in the office or a more casual setting. In the end, I was surprised I liked this watch as much as I did. While it was a bit larger than I personally prefer, the overall fit paired with the color scheme really won me over. If we have the Runwell show up in a more compact size (which I’m told is on the way, and we’ll review when available), it will be a very tempting option, I think. For now, though, the Runwell Chrono – coming in at $775 – is what it is – a stylish (and relatively compact) big watch from Detroit.   shinola.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Shinola Runwell Contrast Chronograph
  • Price: $775
  • Who’s it for?: This is for the guy who’s been admiring the Shinola style, but has been waiting for something in a different colorway
  • Would I wear it?: Yes – but perhaps not as much as I would if it were sub-44mm
  • What I’d change: How about something even more different – let’s toss some lume into those subdials!
  • The best thing about it: For me, it was the overall use of grey in the watch, with the strap coming in as a close second

Backgrounds courtesy of Gustin and Renaissance Art