How Does Automatic Watch Work?

How Does Automatic Watch Work?

It is not a secret that automatic watches are very pricey, compared to other types of watches such as quartz, digital etc. One main reasons for this high price is coming from how the automatic watch works and made off.

Automatic watch is very different than the normal battery or quartz watch. It does not run on battery or electricity but depends solely on mechanical parts for its timekeeping.

So how cool is that? Very!

Let’s check out further on this special type of watches and learn how exactly does it works.

 

 

What Is An Automatic Watch?

As defined in my previous post, automatic watch is a mechanical watch with self winding capability. The watch movement is the heart of these watches.

It is the mechanism that moves the watch and ensure the timekeeping as opposed to the quartz vibrations in a quartz watch.

And yes, these movements will cost a lot more than just your average Casio quartz watch due to its minuscule parts and workmanship required.

 

How Does Automatic Watch Work? Seiko SARB033

The back of the automatic watch movement of the Seiko SARB033 can be seen from the photo above. It is an automatic watch (notice the semi-circular rotor) which can also be wind by rotating the crown.

 

Difference Of Automatic And Mechanical Movements

The watch movement is powered by a mainspring that stores potential energy as opposed to electrical power in quartz watch. To run the watch, the spring will unwound itself while moving the gear train that it’s attached to.

This mainspring needs to be winded to store its energy. A typical power reserve for the movement is about 38 hours (though most watches have more like the Swatch Sistem51 with 80 hours power reserve).

The difference between a mechanical movement and automatic movement is the mechanical will need to be wind manually whereas an automatic watch movement has a weighted semicircular rotor that will self wind the mainspring.

The rotor inside the watch will freely rotate when the watch is used because of the hand movement of the wearer.

This is the only main difference between automatic and mechanical watch movements – the self winding capability.

It is truly convenient that you don’t have to wind it everyday like those from the early times. This removes the inconvenience and make the automatic watch on par with quartz watches in terms of usability and convenience.

But the mechanical watch movement also has its advantages that is not well known to most people. It significantly thinner than the automatic movement because it does not has a rotor.

It also uses less parts, so it is cheaper and requires less servicing than an automatic movement. But its quite sad that most watch manufacturers now uses automatic watch.

I personally feel that automatic self winding is not that great as a manual wind is very easy to do actually. It won’t even take more than 10 seconds to wind a watch manually.

With a mechanical movement, we can have a thinner and most importantly a much cheaper watch. But alas, it seems that a watch that requires manual winding everyday will not really attract much attention except for some people (like me lol!).

Swatch Sistem51 is an revolutionary automatic watch that only has 51 parts compared to the typical 100+ parts of any normal automatic watch. The watch’s designer uses the basics of the 5 components to simplify the movement until it can be assembled by a robot!

 

How Does Automatic Watch Work?

Now for the technical part, how actually does automatic watch work? Well, the mechanism of an automatic watch movement (or any mechanical watch – wrist watch, pocket watch etc) can be broken down into 5 major components:

 

1- Energy source
2- Wheels or Gear Train
3- Escapement
4- Controller or Balance Wheel
5- Time Indicator

 

Now let’s go into the detail of each of these components!

How Does Automatic Watch Work? Automatic Watch Movement Diagram

Diagram showing automatic/mechanical watch movement components

1- Energy Source

Anything that moves need energy. A basic law of physics states that energy cannot be destroyed but can only be converted from one form to another.

The same goes for our automatic/mechanical watch movement. In order for the movement to work, potential energy stored in the mainspring will be transferred to the other components of the watch.

Mainspring is a long striped of steel. It is rolled tightly inside a case called barrel. The spring will try to straighten itself which will turn our watch movement. But how does one tighten the mainspring?

There are two ways to tighten it. One is by rotating the crown which is connected to gears that will tighten the mainspring.

The other one is by a rotor which is basically an eccentric weight that will rotate due to arm’s movement. This is the main feature found in automatic watch.

The rotation of the rotor will then tighten the mainspring. Most automatic watches have both options while mechanical watch has only the crown tightening method.

Modern watches has a clutch to disengage the mainspring when it is fully wound. This is to prevent form over-winding which could damage the mainspring and even the other components.

 

2- Wheels or Gear Train

The energy stored in the mainspring is transferred to the rest of the watch through a set of wheels or gear train. For those that didn’t know, gears are a set of wheels that is connected through teeth-shaft interface.

Because of this, one full revolution of the shaft (on another wheel) will cause only a small rotation on the teeth connected by it.

By using gears, a small amount of energy from the mainspring barrel (defined by how many times it can rotate) can be used to create a lot of rotations in the wheels that control the second, minute and hour hands. This is one of the important aspect to make a watch has higher power reserve.

 

How Does Automatic Watch Work? Automatic Watch Movement Diagram

A watch movement diagram. It is the same as the first picture above but shows how the components will be positioned to fit a circular watch. Notice how the wheels are stacked above each other to ensure all of them can be crammed into a small watch.

3- Escapement

Escapement is responsible to stop the wheels from spinning freely and out of control. Escapement, and the Controller or Balance Wheel are responsible to maintain the constant rate of rotation of the wheels which in turn will directly affect the accuracy of the watch.

It can be said to act as a brake to control the movement of the whole watch’s gear train.

Escapement consists of an escape wheel (a wheel with odd looking teeth) and forked lever. The escape wheel is connected to the gear train via its shaft while the teeth will be connected to the forked lever.

The forked lever is responsible to lock and unlock the escape wheel causing the escape wheel to move in steps.

The forked lever has a pellet jewel on the contact point with the escape wheel. A jewel material is used to reduce friction and improve longevity of the pallet.

On the other side, the forked lever movement is controlled by the movement of an impulse pin which is controlled by the rotation of the balance wheel.

 

4- Controller / Balance Wheel

The forked lever movement is controlled by an impulse pin. The impulse pin will swing side to side following the movement of the balance wheel that it is connected to.

The balance wheel will rock back and forth because it is attached to a hairspring. The hairspring is responsible to rotate the balance wheel and rocking it side to side.

This will moves the impulse pin which hit the forked lever and subsequently releases the escape wheel.

The hairspring is considered one of the most important part in a watch movement as it will absorb and release and equal amount of force at a regular interval. A slight difference will make the watch behave erratically and inaccurate.

The balance wheel oscillates at a very high speed. The vibrations per hour or beats per second is used to track how fast it oscillates.

One beat is defined as one swing of the balance wheel or the impulse pin hit the forked lever once. Typically most watches now have 6 or 8 beats per second.

A higher beat is better as it means the balance wheel is oscillating at a high speed and not really affected by wrist’s movement.

A higher beat will also make the second hand move smoother because the wheel is moving at a finer steps.

The balance wheel, impulse pin, forked lever and escape wheel are the main components which control the accuracy of a watch.

The sound of impulse pin hitting the forked lever and lock and unlock sequence of escape wheel are what give an automatic/mechanical watch movement the characteristic tick-tick sound.

 

5- Time Indicator

Last but not least, the time indicator. Hands are connected to the wheels that correspond to the time measurement intended.

For example, second hand is connected to a wheel that rotates once in a minute. Minute and hour hand can be connected to other wheels that will rotate at 60 times and 1 time per hour.

I can imagine it will be very hard to understand all of these. Because of that, I’ve attached two excellent videos that will show you in detail how a watch works.

 

A video showing the parts of a simple mechanical watch

 

Great video by Hamilton on the basics of a watch movement. I highly recommend for you to watch this video. Even though the quality is a bit bad, it truly explains the basics and the reasoning of why we need all the 5 components in a mechanical/automatic watch. 

 

End Thoughts

The mechanism of how an automatic or mechanical watch movement work is quite simple. The 5 components that I’ve explained above are fairly normal for all modern watches though you can guess that any added complications (such as day, date, chronograph, moon phase etc.) will add more components and it won’t be as simple as the watch movement diagram shown above.

A very important thing to know is these components are in a very small size in order to fit into that wrist watch. It takes a very high precision to manufacture those parts, and to assemble it into the finished movement.

For me, this is one aspect that gives the beauty of an automatic watch and why I fell in love with it a few years ago.

I hope my little post can provide some knowledge to you about automatic watch movement. Feel free to put your comments or feedback in the comments section below.

Cheers!

Tissot Visodate Review – An Affordable Swiss Dress Watch

Tissot Visodate Automatic Men's Watch Review

My Experience With The Tissot Visodate Swiss Dress Watch

In this post, I’m going to write about Tissot Visodate review, a watch that I had for some time now.

Among Tissot men’s watch, the Visodate model is among the most popular, for a number of reasons.

It brought forth Tissot’s classical styling, with the old fashioned logo/signature. In addition, it’s one seriously good looking watch with domed sapphire crystal.

Not to mention it’s an  affordable automatic watch (it is among the cheapest of Tissot’s automatic watches). 

Tissot Visodate on hand

 

Here’s A Story About How I Got Into The Visodate

I sincerely believe every guy need to have a dress watch. And every guy need to own at least one Swiss watch.

Prior to buying the Tissot Visodate, my personal collection is filled with Japanese watches (Seiko, Orient, Casio). And it’s predominantly dive or sports watches.

It was then when I learned more about horology that I found the world of watches is more than just the Japanese. They are very good value for money, but one can’t say he is a watch enthusiast without a Swiss in his collection.

Around the same time, I find I’m lacking in dress watch – the beautiful watch that is the ONLY one you’ll wear for a formal events.

I was invited to my friend’s wedding at one time and while I’ve got the whole thing correct (jacket, belt, bally shoes, etc.), I realized I lack one thing – a dress watch!

 

Tissot Visodate : My First Dress Swiss Watch – And Why You Should Get It For Your First Swiss Watch Too

So with those two reasons (needed a dress watch for my friend’s wedding + needed to own a Swiss watch), I scoured the internet for a suitable watch.

I stumbled upon the Visodate by chance, while scrolling through some threads on WUS. It blew my mind away, not just because of how good it looks, but also because how affordable it is.

In fact, I dare say it’s one of the most affordable Swiss watches around.

I read some more reviews, and was completely sold on it. Placed my order for the watch and voila! My new Swiss dress watch arrives in time for my friend’s wedding.

 

What’s My Verdict Of The Visodate?

Beautiful! It’s one of the most beautiful watch that I’ve owned! The delicate creamy white dial is a pleasure to look at. It’s highly polished case is a wonder.

I’m totally in love with the domed sapphire crystal. So majestic! The 40 mm diameter size is also a bit on the classic sizing which I absolutely dig.

If you want a stylish dress watch WITH automatic movement AND Swiss made, I can’t recommend any other watch. The Tissot Visodate is the one to get.

 

>> Check The Best Prices Of Tissot Visodate on Amazon.com

 

 

 

Tissot Visodate Watch Specification
Diameter 40mm
Thickness 11.6 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 46 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Brown leather calfskin strap with butterfly clasp
Watch Crystal Domed sapphire crystal
Dial White creamy dial
Hands Silver Dauphine hands
Markers Silver index markers
Style Dress
Movement ETA Cal. 2836-2 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 25 Jewels, 28800 Vibrations per hour (8 beats per second), hacking feature
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 38 hours
Water Resistance 30 m / 100 feet
Other Features Day and date display, Exhibition caseback
Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Where To Buy? Amazon

Tissot Heritage VisodateTissot Heritage Visodate

 

Tissot Visodate Box
Tissot Visodate watch inside box

I really like the box of Tissot watches with the big bulky dimension. It looks great and exclusive in my opinion – a great way to welcome its owners.

 

Clean And Simple – Stunningly Stylish White Dial

It’s very hard not to fall in love with this wrist watch at first glance. It has a white silver dial, which is complemented perfectly by the silver stainless steel case.

The stainless steel index markers and dauphine hands also added to the exquisiteness of this watch.

The applied markers and hands are not illuminated and looks very sharp with pointy edges showing precision in craftsmanship – which is something that I totally love.

The choice of silver markers and hands on a white dial is not the best in terms of legibility. But you can’t deny how seriously good looking the watch is with this combo.

Tissot Visodate white dialThe Tissot Visodate uses a clear white dial with silver markers and hands – to accomplish a really stylish dress watch.
Tissot Visodate applied markersThe use of applied markers make the dial more impressive to look at.

It also does not have anything too fancy on it. On the dial is just the Tissot logo, “Visodate” and “Automatic” signature. There is also the very convenient day and date display, and that’s it.

Very clean, simple dial and yet it looks so stunning. The phrase “less is more” is totally applicable here.

You’ll also notice the signature of Tissot is a bit unsual. Actually, this watch uses the older Tissot logo because it’s an incarnation of the previous generation Visodate watches by Tissot, made in 1950s.

That’s why you’ll see some retro design elements in the watch (but with modern styling too of course).

 

Tissot Visodate Vintage 1957

Vintage Tissot Visodate 1957 – Notice the white clean dial design is reincarnated in the latest version of the Visodate

A Continuation Of Visodate Legacy

This watch is actually a homage to their famous Visodate model from the 1950s. It is their first model to feature a date function on their watches.

The function first emerged from Rolex with their Datejust model, so Tissot like many other Swiss watchmakers are catching up to that new technology.

Homage watches is certainly a good idea as it enables the current generation to own an updated version of a popular watch from previous decades.

I’ve featured some homage watches such as the Hamilton Intra Matic , Hamilton Khaki King and the Victorinox Infantry Vintage. They all have that vintage style but with some update to cater to the younger generation’s taste.

This Tissot Visodate automatic watch is no different. As you can see, the designer takes the dial design from their 1950s model. The watch got that round white dial and the clean simple dial.

But they changed the index and hands to give the watch a sharper and cooler look. The addition of day function is a very nice touch as I’ve always love watches with day and date.

Tissot Visodate on hand (1)The Visodate continues the legacy with its retro styling – and I can say with certainty that’s one of the biggest selling point of this watch!
Tissot Visodate caseA closer look on the dial. Notice how the Tissot logo is different than the modern logo.

No need to take a look at your smartphone to know what day/date today is anymore. A glance at your wrist is all you need =).

This watch is also bigger, at 40 mm diameter with 11.6 mm thickness. The vintage one got a smaller diameter, around 36-38 mm I think.

The trend now is for bigger watch and I like how Tissot make it bigger, but not too big. 40 mm diameter is perfect on my wrist btw (though it will vary from people to people).

There is almost no bezel on the watch, thus making the watch looks much bigger than it actually is.

 

>> Check The Best Prices Of Tissot Visodate on Amazon.com

 

 

Beautiful High Polished Case

The case of the Tissot Visodate is stainless steel that is polished all around. The highly polished case complements perfectly with the white dial, silver hands/markers and the domed crystal (more on that later).

The result? A stunningly beautiful watch that just shines whenever you look at it.

It’s truly is an outstanding sight! Some of my friends say the watch is a bit hard to tell time with, which I don’t really agree as I never had that problem.

Delicate and stylish – this is one of the best automatic dress watches around.

Tissot Visodate polished stainless steel caseThe Tissot Visodate’s highly polished case shines brightly and complementing its white dial. Beautiful!
Tissot Visodate curved second handIf you look closely, you’ll see that the second hand is curving down a bit at the tip – presumably to be in line with the domed sapphire crystal. 

Excellent Craftsmanship With Calfskin Leather Strap

The Visodate has an interesting case design with slightly tapered down from the top, giving the look of a triangular or some sort.

The tapering is very sublime, in fact it’s quite hard to get this on photo! You might be able to catch a glimpse of this from the top photos.

I really dig this because it’s very different than what the other watches have.

It is also quite slim, at just 11.6 mm thickness. Not the slimmest watch in the market (well, automatics are infamous for being tall) but in my case, there’s no problem to tug it inside my cuff.

Lug to lug width is 46 mm – a typical size for current modern watches. Without a doubt, it’s very wearable even with small wrists.

Tissot Visodate beautiful dress watch (1)The Visodate is coupled with a dark brown leather strap which accentuates its white dial
Tissot Visodate butterfly claspThe leather strap comes with butterfly clasp without buckle which helps to ensure its longevity. Just be sure to take it off wrist gently as the claps didn’t come with push button (it needs to be manually pulled to open).
Tissot Visodate clasp signatureThere’s also a Tissot’s signature on the clasp

A calfskin leather strap with butterfly clasp comes with the watch. The clasp has Tissot’s logo on top of it. There’s no push button for the clasp – which is a real downer though.

The 20 mm width lug is curved a bit to better hold the wrist and reduce any gap between the wrist and the lug.  On the crown at 3 o’clock, there is the “T” engraving on it.

 

Curved Sapphire Glass Dial Window

Tissot TIST0194301603101 VisodateTissot TIST0194301603101 Visodate

Another unique feature of this Tissot Visodate is the curved sapphire glass dial window.

As you can see on the pictures, the curved sapphire glass is very visible from the side.

It gives the watch a nice look from the sides as the watch will appear to be curved, instead of the usual flat watches.

I really love this design as it makes the watch very unique and interesting. Not to mention it looks very stylish too!

There’s a concern that since it is curved, the dial window will be at the top and unprotected from any scratch or impact.

But I don’t think it will be scratched as sapphire is a very scratch resistant material. But a very high impact will surely break it and I highly recommend that the watch is only used for normal indoor activities and not outdoor activities.

Tissot Visodate sides domed sapphire crystalA look from the side will show the domed sapphire crystal
Tissot Visodate domed sapphire crystalThe domed sapphire crystal from a different angle that will show it more clearly. It looks gorgeous, unique and easily is another reason why I love this watch so much!

One small flaw of the dial window is there is no anti-reflective coating on it, again to keep the costs down.

But even without the anti-reflective coating, I’ve never had any problem with glare while looking at the watch.

In fact, it was the silver markers and hands that give a small legibility problem as it don’t have much contrast with the white dial (though it absolutely look stunning!).

 


A video showing the Tissot Visodate up close 

 

ETA Cal. 2836-2 Movement Inside The Tissot Visodate

Inside the watch is the ETA Cal. 2836-2 movement, a sister movement to the venerable ETA 2824-2 that is used in many Swatch Group’s watch brands such as the Tissot Le Locle.

The difference between the 2836 and the 2824 is the addition of the day function in the 2836, and some minor structural differences.

But in general, both ETAs are regarded as similar and function exactly the same.

The movement has a 28800 vibrations per hour or 8 beats per second which will theoretically give it a smoother sweeping second hand compared to Japanese autos (though it’s only minimal I can say).

The movement has 25 jewels in its construction that can be seen through it’s exhibition caseback.

As with any modern automatic watch, it has hacking feature to set the time perfectly. The hacking feature will stop the second hand when the crown is pulled out to set the time.

Tissot Visodate ETA 2836-2 movementThe ETA 2836-2 automatic movement can be seen from the Visodate’s open caseback

In addition to that, it also has self-winding feature to fill up the power reserve in the mainspring barrel by rotating the crown manually.

Just be sure to not do this everyday as ETAs are generally not designed for frequent self-winding.

In terms of winding and operating the movement, all I can say is the feeling is quite different than Japanese movements.

Winding the ETA makes a high pitch screeching sound while winding a 6R15 from Seiko will produce a sound just like when we rotate a gear in a wooden car toy.

Not really sure about you, but I do feel the 6R15 is more naturally sound (like turning a gear!) and less annoying than the high pitch screeching sound.

One thing that I absolutely love about the ETA is how the day and date window changes at exactly 12:00.

The 6R15, on the other hand, will change its date gradually from 10 pm onward, which is quite typical for an automatic watch.

In my opinion, the abrupt change of the day/date in the ETA is much nicer compared to that as we don’t have to look at a half date during the transition period.

Below is a picture of my Seiko Sumo showing just that….

Seiko Sumo 6R15 changing date

 

38 Hours Power Reserve

The power reserve is a modest 38 hours, which I admit, is not much. What I always recommend is to use the same automatic watch for a few days at a time, instead of picking a different watch every single day.

That way, the power reserve in the watch is filled by the everyday usage – just like how it was designed to be used centuries ago!

Since the movement inside is the base level movement of the ETA 2836-2, it only has an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per day.

But in my experience, this accuracy is usually beaten with the watch registering greater accuracy.

Tissot Heritage VisodateTissot Heritage Visodate

 

Glimpse of the ETA 2836-2 Movement From The Open Caseback

The Visodate also has an exhibition caseback where you can take a peek at the ETA Cal. 2836-2 movement. 

At the entry level price the watch is in, we can’t really expect elaborate decoration on the movement.

But it was clear that Tissot had made an effort in trying to make the movement pleasant and presentable to its owners.

We can see the rotor and some wheels are plated with gold color, a nice contrast with the other parts that are silver in color.

We can also see some engraving on top of the rotor  with Tissot’s signature on it.

Tissot Visodate open caseback (3)The movement is decorated, albeit minimally – befitting its entry-price level. Personally, I love the gold plated rotor and gear wheels. It complements beautifully the silver colored parts in the movement.
Tissot Visodate open caseback (2)Another photo of the exhibition caseback with the rotor placed at the other side (just want to show you the full movement LOL!)

Tissot Visodate Automatic Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve listed all the pros and cons below for your easy reference.

 

Pros:

  1. Stylish, sleek and gorgeous looking dress watch
  2. Moderate 40 mm diameter is perfect for most men’s wrists
  3. The non-existent bezel will make the modest 40 mm diameter looks way bigger than it is
  4. Domed crystal gives the watch stylish retro design
  5. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
  6. Day and date function are very convenient to have
  7. Fine details are included such as signed crown and signatures on rotor

Cons:

  1. No anti-reflective coating on the crystal will make the watch harder to see from some angle

 

Wanting To Buy Tissot Visodate Automatic? Buy It From Amazon!

I get my Visodate from Tissot’s boutique – frankly a big mistake as it costs me about $550. When I check the watch online, I consistently find the watch retailing for way less than that!

If you are looking to get your hands on the Tissot Visodate automatic watch, check out Amazon where you can usually get the watch at an amazing offer. Click the link below to go to Amazon for more details.

 

>> Check The Best Prices Of Tissot Visodate on Amazon.com

 

 

Conclusion

Tissot Visodate on hand (1)

The new Tissot Visodate has captured the essence of its 1950s Visodate model perfectly, with modern update to cater to the new age’s taste.

A subtle looking, simple and clean dial design has proven to be evergreen. It is well loved in the 1950s and it still is 60 years after.

I really love the domed sapphire crystal and simple design. It looks sleek and stylish!

With a trusted ETA 2836-2 movement that comes with a very convenient day and date features, the watch comes with robust and well-regarded movement in the industry.

Not to mention, it is very affordable too – for a totally Swiss Made automatic watch. Without a doubt, it is the perfect choice for those just starting out in automatic watches and would like to own their first Swiss automatic.

 

 

I hope this Tissot Visodate review has helped you gain some information on this beautiful watch. Drop your comments below if you already own this and would like to share what are your thoughts about it. Feel free to ask question too. I’ll be really glad to help as much as I can.

Cheers!

Isaac

 

Orient Mako Automatic Diver Watch Review

Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch Review

Orient Mako automatic dive watch is one of the most popular affordable automatics and this post is dedicated for the Orient Mako review.

For over 6 decades, Orient has been producing affordable automatic watches for the masses. They are also one of very few companies that still produce their own movement in-house for their watches and that’s something that every Orient’s watch owners should be proud of.

Very affordable while at the same time being very stylish, it’s no wonder his little timepiece has been a staple beater watch, rivaling even the Seiko SKX007.

Let’s move on to the Orient Mako review and see what it has to offer and why it is very popular.

Orient Black Mako Review

Orient Black Mako

Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch Specification

Diameter: 41.5mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug to Lug Width: 46mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Case: Polished Stainless steel
Strap: Rubber strap or steel bracelet options

Dial: Solid color dial with 3 color options: black, blue and orange
Dial Window: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword shape hands with lume
Markers: Combination of index and numeral markers (at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock) with lume
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel with coin edge

Movement: Orient Caliber 46943
Movement Features: 21 jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour (6 beats per second), non-hacking, no manual winding feature
Accuracy: +-10 to 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: Day display, Date display, screw down crown with Orient engraving, screw down pusher to set day display

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

A Less Sporty And Dressier Dive Watch

Looking on the Orient Mako, one could not resist continue looking at it. It’s seriously a very handsome watch. The polished stainless steel casing is beautifully crafted.

The 41.5 mm diameter of the watch case is just perfect for most guy’s wrist. With a 46 mm lug to lug width, it is not too long and will rest comfortably on your wrist.

It’s a bit thick though, at 13 mm but that’s about the normal thickness for any dive watch.

The 22 mm lug width of the watch is something that I do not like about as I feel it is more suitable for a bigger watch (more than 44 mm diameter). But overall, the watch is of perfect proportion and solidly built.

On the watch is a black color dial, with Orient logo on it. “Automatic”, “Water Resist” and “200 m” are the signatures on it signaling its automatic movement and 200 m water resistance.

The italic font of the signatures is a nice design touch and looks good on it. The markers are a combination of index markers and number markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock.

They are quite big and easy to read. The usage of these markers instead of the typical circle markers in many dive watches is what make it looks different and less sporty in my opinion.

Circle markers can store more lume of course, but is too sporty. An index marker like this gives it a less sporty look, while making it more stylish.

Orient Mako Review - Pepsi Bezel

The Orient Pepsi Mako

The hands are sword shaped hands. Like the markers, there are lume on it too. The second hand is silver with a red tip, a very nice detailing there.

The watch has an unidirectional rotating bezel (it is a dive watch remember) with small minute markers on the black bezel.

The bezel has coin edges and slightly tapered down to the case, giving the watch an angular shape if you look from the sides. Overall, the design of the watch is very beautiful and stylish.

Day And Date Features For Added Functionality

Two features that I really love are the day and date display at 3 o’clock.

Date is typical in many watches but to have a day display is quite rare and is a welcomed addition. These two functions make the watch much more functional.

Now there is no need to check your smartphone to know what date/day it is. A glance at your watch is what you need!

Unique Unsymmetrical Design

The crown is designed as a screw down crown to ensure the watch can have a 200 m water resistance. On it is Orient’s logo engraving, a surprisingly nice touch for a watch at this price point.

One thing that I like is the pusher at 2 o’clock. It’s also a screw down pusher and used to change the day.

Frankly speaking, it’s not really needed as most watches can change the date via the crown. But what I like is watch has this nice unsymmetrical design due to the pusher.

The pusher makes the watch to be unsymmetrical and very different than watches on the market now. Typically, normal watches has a crown at the 3 o’clock.

Chronograph watches will have 2 pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. With just one pusher at 2 o’clock, it makes the watch to have an unsymmetrical design which is very unique and something that I really like.

4 Different Design: Black, Blue, Pepsi And Orange Makos

There are actually four different designs for the watch: Black, Blue, Pepsi and Orange versions. All versions have both bracelet and rubber strap options.

They are different only in their color schemes but all parts, case and internal movement are the same. All 4 of them are very gorgeous on their own right.

The Orange version is very bold with the orange dial. The Pepsi design on the other hand has the blue and red Pepsi bezel design that is very cool.

Among them, my pick would be the Black version because of its elegance and stylish black dial. It’s the most classic look of them all, and also the most handsome for me.

The Trusted Orient Cal. 46943 Movement

Inside it is the tried and tested Cal. 46943 movement by Orient. The movement has been around for very long time and used in most of Orient’s affordable automatic watches.

It has 21 jewel and vibrates at 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It is fairly accurate, with official accuracy around +-10 to 15 seconds per day.

It is non-hacking (the second hand will not stop when you want to set the time) and cannot be manually wind. The movement specifications really mirrors the Seiko SKX007’s 7S26 movement.

It is not surprising since Seiko basically owns Orient so some technology or design transfer should be there.

Looking at the specification, we can tell that the movement is really a low budget movement but then again it is for an affordable watch.

There’s not much that we can expect with that price range of $100 to $200. There is one thing that this movement excels in: durability. Just like the Seiko SKX007, many people around the world has used the watch for many years for lots of outdoor activities and it still works fine.

It’s the testament of the build quality of the movement and watch. Not to mention since the vibration rate is low and it has smaller number of parts, the wear and tear of it is lower than normal automatic.

Because of that, there is no need to service it as regular as other normal automatic watches.

Orient’s Mako, Mako II, and Ray

You probably has heard about the Mako, Mako II, Ray and Ray II line of the Orient Diver’s Watch right?

Fact is the Mako II and Ray are derived from the Mako. Mako II is the same as Mako except that it does not have the pusher.

Orient Ray on the other hand is considered an updated version of the Mako but with sportier look.

Apart from that, there is also the Mako USA version which is the upgraded Mako (with sapphire crystal, stronger lume, etc) but is notoriously hard to get.

A video showing the Orient Black Mako in action. Now that is a seriously good looking watch!

Orient Mako Automatic Dive Watch Advantages And Disadvantages

Below are the pros and cons of the Orient Mako automatic watch:

Pros:

1- Great combination of sporty and dressy looks. Can be easily dressed up or dressed down with different straps (Nato, leather, rubber)
2- Day and date displays are very useful features
3- Unsymmetrical design due to the pusher at 2 o’clock makes the watch looks very different than other diver’s watch (e.g Seiko SKX007, Invicta Pro Diver, Rolex Submariner, etc)
4- Orient Cal. 46943 movement has been used for decades and has a very good track record as a beater movement with good accuracy and robust performance
5- Affordable price makes it a very good first watch for those starting to dabble in automatic/mechanical watches =)

Cons:

1- Mineral Crystal is easy to scratch and not as durable as sapphire
2- Non-hacking and no manual winding movement are two important features that are absent with the Cal. 46943
3- It is not an ISO certified dive watch.

Conclusion

Orient Mako is a seriously good looking and affordable automatic watch. It is a direct competitor to the Seiko SKX007 and Invicta Pro Diver 9937 due to their price range in the affordable automatic dive watch category.

Unlike the others, it is not too sporty and still have that stylish charm in it giving it the best of both worlds.

With the trusted Caliber 46943 movement, this is one of the most affordable automatic watch that you can get.

I hope you guys find this Orient Mako review helpful. You can always ask any questions or comments on this watch down below. I’ll be very grateful to ask any of your questions. Till next time then!

Cheers!
Isaac

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Thinking Of Buying The Orient Mako? Get It From Amazon!

If you want to buy the Orient Mako, Amazon has the best prices for them. Do note that the price will vary substantially depending on the model.

The Orange Mako is the cheapest as you can get it from around $130 online (depending on availability and season). But the Blue and Black Mako are very popular and are more expensive to get due to its high demand.

The bracelet versions will have a higher price though I would not really recommend it because of the low quality of the bracelet. Anyway, click the links below to check the prices on Amazon.

 

–>>Click The Links Below To Check The Best Prices For Orient Mako In Amazon<<–

Orient Black Mako With Bracelet
Orient Black Mako With Rubber Strap

Orient Blue Mako With Bracelet

Orient Pepsi Mako With Bracelet
Orient Pepsi Mako With Rubber Strap

Orient Orange Mako With Bracelet
Orient Orange Mako With Rubber Strap

 

You might also want to check out these affordable diver watches:

1 – Orient Mako 2 (update to the Mako with improved movement that can hack and manual wind)
2- Orient Ray

3- Orient Ray II
3- Seiko SKX007
4- Seiko SKX009
5 – Seiko 5 Sports SNZH53

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review – A Perfect Second Watch

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches was launched 3 years ago to huge interest from the watch community.

When I first read the news about it, I thought it was just an automatic movement inserted into a plastic Swatch case aka a marketing gimmick.

How wrong was I!

The Sistem51 is much more than that. Just like how Swatch has revolutionized the watch industry more than 30 years ago, the Sistem51 is something truly different than any other automatic watches ever made.

Not just that, with lots of colors and styles typical of Swatch watches, you will definitely be able to find something that you like. Now, let’s get on to the review of this amazing wrist watch.

 

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

 

Update: I’ve recently featured the Swatch Sistem51 in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Specification:

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug To Lug Width: 50.6 mm
Case: Plastic
Strap: Synthetic silicone with buckle
Movement: Sistem51 Automatic self-wind movement
Power Reserve: 90 Hours
Water Resistance: 3 bar/ 30 m/ 100 feet
Other Features: Date display, Lume on markers and hands

Who Is It For: Those looking for a cheap second automatic watch for casual use

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

What Is Sistem51?

The name is coined from the 51 parts of the automatic movement of the watch. The Sistem51 line is a line of automatic watches from Swatch that uses their proprietary automatic movement.

It is not to be confused with the “Sistem51 Irony” that uses premium material such as leather strap and stainless steel case.

Another automatic watch line from Swatch is the “Irony” line that uses ETA 2824 movement with stainless steel case and bracelet (just like other automatic watches out there).

The Sistem51 is a revolutionary of some sort. The 51 parts of components are the least number of parts in any automatic or mechanical watch ever!

Typical number of parts for a basic automatic watch is around 100 to 200 by the way so to design a watch with only 51 parts is nothing short of extraordinary.

The simplification process and innovation done by them is truly outstanding. The production also uses fully automated system, i.e using robots instead of human which is also a first in the automatic watch world.

Not only that, the usage of plastic casing to house an automatic movement is also something unheard of before. This, and many more reasons make the Sistem51 a truly revolutionary automatic watch.

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches – The Cheapest Swiss Automatic?

Swatch customers are usually the young people looking for a cheap, funky and affordable watch in the range of $50.

It is because of this the company has marketed the Sistem51 to be around $100 to $150, with plastic casing that their normal customers already used to.

The idea of a watch that don’t need to be changed battery, as well as having a mechanical movement instead of a typical quartz is very enticing.

Even though it is about double or triple of their normal watches, it is still very affordable and is the cheapest Swiss automatic watch currently.

And considering the cheapest Swiss automatic starts from $300, it is a very good price.

But how are they able to reduce the price so much? The answer lies in the production process of the Sistem51.

By simplifying the watch’s components to only 51 parts through major design change (only one screw to hold everything, break everything into 5 modules, etc), the assembly process becomes much easier so much so that an automated assembly line is conceivable to be used.

The reduction of manpower, as well as cheaper parts and usage of plastic case and strap cut down the cost.

The final result is the cheapest Swiss Automatic Watch ever but still has that stamp of high quality Swiss made watches, albeit in a plastic case.

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

 

Truly Innovative Movement

The Sistem51 automatic movement is very innovative. Designed by ETA, Swatch’s own movement production company, it is still a true Swiss movement.

The 51 parts and fully automated assembly are just one of the first in the industry. Not only that, it boasts a 90 hours power reserve, something that is very outstanding for automatic watches.

Typical power reserve is around 40 hours (8 hours short of 2 full days) which is less than half of what the Sistem51 has. How is that for an $150 watch eh?

The automatic movement is also regulated using robots and laser precision. This means that the room for error is very little, unlike traditional automatic movements that are regulated manually.

Once it’s assembled, the watch is hermetically sealed, ensuring it is airtight and wont allow any water, dust or other things to get into it. Swatch claims  that the Sistem51 automatic movement is accurate up to +-10 seconds per day which is not bad at all.

They also claim that the watch can go for a full 20 years without needing any service whatsoever. Now that’s really huge as normal watches have to be serviced every 3 to 5 years depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

The innovation is very welcomed but I feel the movement is not as refined as any normal Swiss or even Japanese automatic movement.

I’ve tried it a few times and feel the Swatch Sistem51 movement produced quite a loud noise. The sweeping second hand is beating at around 6 beats per second I believe (I’ve tried to find this info but so far I can’t get a hold of it. Swatch is silent on the movement’s specifics).

But the loud noise of the movement is very obvious, though not as loud as quartz movement but still not as quiet as other Swiss or Japanese movement.

Some people feel that the watch lack a “soul” because of it’s mechanized assembly and lack of human touch but to me that’s not a really important factor.

I think an automated assembly of the movement is better than a human assembly because there is little room for any error in assembling the movement.

Though of course this is very hard to achieve because a typical automatic movement contains hundreds of parts and the assembly process is very hard to be automated.

 

A video showing the Swatch Sistem51 in action. You can see and hear that the movement is not as refined as other Swiss automatic watches. But then again, this watch costs less than $150, a very huge discount from the other Swiss watches.

 

A Disposable Automatic Watch?

One thing that everyone need to be wary about is since the watch is hermetically sealed, the watch cannot be opened and repaired or serviced.

Well, its a Swatch after all.. But this concept really goes against the traditional principles of owning an automatic watch – that is you are buying something that you can use and keep for a long time.

It is important to note that vintage watches are still very sought after. They can still be kept running after going through a full service.

It is evident that Swatch intends to make the Sistem51 to be a disposable automatic watch, same as its normal watches.

For me, that’s not a really bad idea. After all, the watch is relatively cheap compared to normal automatic watch, so a disposable automatic watch is not that difficult to swallow for me.

But with the claim by Swatch that the watch can still be kept running for 20 years, there really is no reason to open or service it.

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

Swatch Sistem51 SUTT400 Incognito. The back of the movement can be seen through the exhibition caseback and is different for each of the watch’s models.

 

Colorful And Funky Designs

Looking at the design of the Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches, you will see that it’s just the same as any other typical Swatch watches – colorful, fun and funky design with matching plastic casing and strap.

As I’ve said before, it is essentially an automatic movement in a normal Swatch watch. The dials are colorful and attractive to look at. It also has a small date display for an added functionality.

On the back is an exhibition caseback to display the Sistem51  movement. You can see the big main screw that at the center of the watch.

Swatch has make sure the whole design scheme of any model to be reflected on the caseback too, giving a nice individuality to any model.

One thing that I really love is the rotor of this watch. The rotor is the spinning bearing exclusive for an automatic watch to wind the mainspring.

When we are wearing the watch on our wrist, any movement will move this rotor, which in turn will tighten the mainspring and adding to its power reserve.

Typical rotor design is a semi-circular in shape. But in this watch, the rotor is a full circle. It is transparent in color but have a nice colorful design at the edge of the circle.

Once it moves, the rotor will make a swift rotation that is quite lively to look at. Have a look at the nice spinning rotor design in the video below.

 

A video showing the spinning rotor of the Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watch. Notice how fluid and effortless the rotor spins inside the movement. The rotor edge design really adds up to the characteristic of this watch.

 

Swatch Sistem51 = Second Watch For Automatic Only Guys

I have to admit I really like this watch. I like how it is different than a normal stainless steel automatic watches normally around.

The colorful plastic casing and silicone strap that is very light and superbly comfortable on wrist are big pluses. Not to mention that it is an automatic too. In short, it is a perfect alternative watch for guys that will only wear an automatic watch (for example, me).

I believe Swatch target two groups for this watch: the usual young people that buy their normal watches and automatic watch guys.

The young people will be attracted to the Sistem51 because it is automatic movement, does not need a battery to operate and has the unique movement and rotor seen through its caseback. Automatic watch guys on the other hand will be attracted because of its different design and material use.

It’s also very cheap compared to any other Swiss automatic out there. This will make it a perfect second watch for these guys (Swatch is actually an combination of the words “Second Watch”).

 

Various Variation And Styles For Anyone

There is a huge number of variation and styles offered and it is growing year by year. The colors range from traditional black/blue to more outrageous color for a watch such as orange and pink – very true to Swatch designs.

They also feature different dial designs, different markers (numbers, index, dots, or no markers) as well as different caseback design to suit the watch.

With so much styles to choose from, it is like a huge offering of different watches by Swatch! Below are some of the styles of the Sistem51 automatic watches:

 

The gallery above shows just some of the styles Swatch has released for the Sistem51 line.. and it is growing year by year!

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve summarized the pros and cons of this watch for your easy reference.

Pros:

1- Funky looking and beautiful design.
2- Exhibition caseback shows colorful and decorated movement at the back. The ring rotor is simply gorgeous and captivating
3- Very light and comfortable to wear
4- Even though it is made from plastic, the material is of high quality feels good to touch
5- From $100 to $150, it is the cheapest Swiss automatic watch
6- 90 hours power reserve is very outstanding and useful
7- At only 51 parts, it the automatic watch with the least parts
8- The first entirely machine assembled automatic watch

Cons:

1- Plastic casing might turn off some people
2- 30 m water resistance is too low
3- Lume on the markers and hands are quite weak
4- Movement is not refined as other Swiss automatic watches
5- Since it is hermetically sealed, servicing is not possible

 

Looking To Buy The Swatch Sistem51? Get It Cheapest From Amazon!

If you are looking to buy the Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches, check out the various offers on Amazon.

Amazon currently lists the watches ranging from $100 to $150, arguably the cheapest right now. Click the link below to check out the best deals on Amazon.

–>>Click The Links Below To Check The Best Prices On Amazon<<–

SUTB402 Sistem Chic White dial with black case/strap
SUTR400 Sistem Red Black dial with red case and black strap
SUTS402 Sistem ClassBlack dial with blue case and black strap
SUTG400 Sistem GreenGreen and Blue dial with matching case/strap
SUTN400 Sistem NavyWhite dial with blue case/strap
SUTS401 Sistem BlueBlue and Black dial with blue case and black strap
SUTT400 Sistem Incognito Blue dial with white case and nato army blue strap
SUTO401 Sistem TangerineBlack dial with orange case/strap
SUTB403 Sistem NotteBlue and black dial with blue case and black strap
SUTM400 Sistem Cream Black dial with white case/strap
SUTR401 Sistem Pink Blue dial with pink case/strap
SUTN401 Sistem GridWhite dial with blue case/strap

Conclusion

Swatch Sistem51 is not your typical automatic watch. There is no metal casing, no leather strap or bracelet and no typical black or white dial.

It is essentially a funky and colorful looking Swatch, with a 90-hours power reserve automatic movement inside.

Just like Swatch’s original intention 30 years ago, it is created to be a “second watch” to be used for a more casual events outside of the office and black suit events.

At $100 to $150, it is cheapest Swiss automatic watch that you can get. Don’t let the title “The Cheapest” fool you though.

Just like any other Swatch, the Sistem51 is a high quality watch built up to the Swiss quality benchmark.

 

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I hope you guys enjoy this Swatch Sistem51 review. Which one of the many Sistem51s do you prefer? Let me know in the comments section below =)

Cheers!

Isaac

 

Seiko SARB033 Review : A Hands-On Review Of The Great Value For Money Dress Watch

Seiko SARB033 Review

A Review Of The Seiko SARB033 – An Affordable And Stylish Dress Watch

Seiko SARB033 worn hand

Today I’m writing about the Seiko SARB033 review, a watch that I’ve owned and enjoyed greatly.

The watch is intended to be dress watch and have taken its design cues from the Grand Seiko line – which says a lot of why it’s so good looking.

Simple, elegant and understated. Those are the three words that can be used to describe this watch.

 

 

How I Met My Seiko SARB033

I first encounter this watch a few years ago from watch forums and facebook groups. I still remember how impressed I am with the watch back then from photos shared by others. It was hugely popular and I can clearly saw why.

I didn’t pull the trigger back then. It was until I needed a more decent watch for work that I revisited the SARB033.

The thing is, I was mostly a dive/sports watch kind of guy. It’s versatile and can be used practically anywhere. But then, I sensed that it’s not a good fit to my image (had moved up the ladder in my company that time).

Thus, I needed a new watch, a watch that’s good looking and exudes professionalism.

And that’s how the Seiko SARB033 came to my attention again.

 

What I Feel About Wearing The SARB033

Now, I’m a proud owner of the SARB033 and I still am constantly wowed by the watch every single day.

It’s perfectly sized (my small wrist fits 38 mm diameter watches like a charm) and the deep black dial is just stylish and looks far more expensive that it actually is.

And the best part is it’s packed with so much feature at such an amazing price (sapphire crystal, automatic movement with open caseback, 100 m water resistance).

Long story short, if you’re looking for a stylish dress watch with an automatic movement inside it, you should seriously consider the Seiko SARB033.

 

>> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

 

 

Seiko SARB033 Watch Specification
Diameter 38 mm
Thickness 11.2 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 45 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel brushed bracelet with folding clasp
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Dial Black dial
Hands Sword style hands with lume
Markers Index markers with lume
Style Dress
Movement Seiko Caliber 6R15 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 23 Jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Able to be manually wind, Hacking feature
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 50 hours
Water Resistance 100 m
Other Features Date display at 3 o’clock, Exhibition caseback (Hardlex crystal), Luminous hands and markers
Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Where To Buy? Amazon

 

As with the Seiko Cocktail Time, the SARB033 is also a Japan Domestic Market (JDM) model that is not available outside of Japan.

Luckily, there are a number of watch sellers online that we can use to get our hands on it (Amazon is a good choice). It only retails around $350 to $400, and in that price range, it is definitely unbeatable. A truly good value for money watch.

 

Seiko SARB033 black dial

A close up view of the watch face of the SARB033. Very simple dial design, but elegant and sharp at the same time. I totally dig the laser cut sharp hands and markers!

 

Simple And Understated Design

The SARB033 has the traditional look of a dress watch. It is small (around 38 mm), has Seiko SARB033 frontblackdial, has sword shape hands and index markers. It has a date display at 3 o’clock. The hands and markers has some lume on it for added functionality.

The index markers are quite unique as it has some indentation at the center causing it to have some sort of play with different angles of lighting.

The 12 o’clock marker has double indices to separate it from the other markers. At the outer edge of the dial are minute markers for more accuracy when telling time.

One thing that surprised me is the application of lume on the markers and hands. I did mention that it makes the watch more functional in the dark but it’s still interesting for Seiko to put it on a dress watch.

If you’re wondering if it’s a great lume as in Seiko’s diver watches, I’m afraid to say that is not the case with this watch.

Check out the picture of my SARB033 below and you’ll understand what I mean. (by the way, forgive me for the horrendous photo. That’s the best my photography skill with my phone can deliver LOL!)

 

Seiko SARB033 lume

While it has lume, don’t expect it to be as good as its dive watch siblings. It did give some help telling time in dark places though.

 

Simple Design Reminiscence Of The Rolex Datejust and Grand Seiko

Looking at the design, it is just so simple and clean. It reminds me of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beatand the Rolex Datejust due to the simple dial design.

Sometimes, simpler can be better and it is just true with watches. This Seiko SARB033 is not an exception in this regard.

Just look at both luxury watches below and you’ll understand what I mean.

Comparison between the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat (top) and the Rolex Datejust (bottom). Two top-of-the-line watches with simple dial design. No wonder the Seiko SARB033 has the nickname of “Baby Grand Seiko” as it has almost the same look, but of course with lower craftsmanship and movement quality.

 

Want Your Own SARB033? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

Excellent Craftsmanship by Seiko

Even though this watch only costs less than $500, we can see some serious effort by Seiko to Seiko SARB033 side 1make it look great. The case is made from stainless steel and is beautifully crafted. If you notice from the picture below, the lug is slightly curving down.

It’s a typical case design of Seiko for some of their watches and it just looks beautiful, not to mention it is very comfortable to wear. I have a Seiko Sumo (a diving watch SBDC003) with the same case/lug design and I can attest to how the watch just sits and grip my wrist perfectly.

Ask any SARB033 owner and they’ll agree that the strongest point about the watch is the exquisite craftsmanship, namely the case.

The case is mostly brushed, but it is polished in detail at some part of the case – namely the small space between the top of the case and the case’s edge.

Such attention to detail and effort poured into it is starkly different than what other watchmakers will give, at this price point.

The layering of brush an polish surfaces is very beautiful to look at. I can’t count the number of times when I had gazed on the exquisite case.

It’s truly a beauty!

 

Bracelet and Crown

The lug width of 20 mm make it easy to find another strap to suit it with. It’s very interesting to see how a watch will look like with different straps on it.

I’m a part of many watch groups on Facebook and the creativity of how the owners of the SARB033 never fails to astonish me.

They strapped the watch on leather, Nato, in various colors, – and everytime the watch turns out great. A good thing about black dial is how versatile it is with various straps and this is truly the case here.

There is also the Seiko logo “S” engraved on the crown. These small but satisfying application of details is very astonishing, not less because this is a low-middle range watch from Seiko.

 

Seiko SARB033 Review

Notice how the lug of the Seiko SARB033 beautifully sloping down as if to provide a grip to the wrist. Very comfortable and give a sleek design aspect to it.

 

A Lot To Be Desired From The Bracelet

As with any Seiko at this price range, the bracelet can be said to be it’s weakest point, and the same can be said for this SARB033. The stainless steel bracelet is solid and tough though, don’t get me wrong.

But what I’m talking about is that Seiko does not put as much effort on the bracelet, as it has done for the watch/case.

 

 Seiko SARB033

The bracelet is brushed, and have a small deployment clasp which looks modern. The Seiko sign on the claps is a nice touch too.

But the finishing of the bracelet could have been better in my opinion but then again we need to understand that Seiko had to cut corners on the bracelet to maintain a low price for this watch.

Another small mishap in the design is the gap in-between the clasp and the top bracelet links. But this should not be a huge issue, at least for me.

Sizing the bracelet is a tad bit difficult though as Seiko opted to use a pin and collar design. I’d suggest to check out Youtube (here is a great tutorial) on how to remove links and size the bracelet.

Fortunately a replacement strap is very easy to get and for some few dollars, one can get a beautiful leather strap online for this watch and it will look stunning too.

 

Seiko SARB033 clasp bracelet

Seiko SARB033 clasp

Yes, I like to wear my watch tight =)

Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal

A great thing about the watch is the sapphire crystal on top of it. It can be said to be the best type of watch crystal to be used on a watch due to its great scratch-resistant properties and longetivity.

Sapphire sits at the top of the hardness scales, only beaten by a few materials such as diamond. I never tested this myself though but it should withstand scratches from normal materials around us such as bricks, metals and such.

I’ve owned some mineral and hardlex crystal watches and I dare say those scratches easily. But with this baby, not so much as a scratch is there after some good use!

This makes the watch a totally huge value for money, as it’s quite hard to get an automatic watch with sapphire crystal at the kind of price the SARB033 is in.

 

Seiko SARB033 side 3

 

Want Your Own SARB033? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

The Trusted Seiko Automatic Movement Cal. 6R15

Inside this watch is the Automatic Self-wind movement Cal. 6R15, Seiko’s trusted movement in Seiko SARB033 open caseback

the middle range watches (this is also the same movement in the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time).

This is a very solid and robust movement from Seiko. I would like to point out that Seiko’s diving watch range (the Prospex line) would typically use this movement – a testament of how the 6R15 is so tough, that it can be used for even the harshest condition underwater.

The Seiko Cal. 6R15 has 23 jewels and vibrate at 21,600 vibrations per hour (or 6 beats per second). Since the beats are not high, the smoothness of the sweeping second hand is not as good as a normal Swiss ETAs movement.

But in return of that, Seiko claims the 6R15 will be able to go without service for much longer as its “mileage” is lower. Which is kinda true. If we think about it, an 8 beat movement has about 30% extra movement than a 6 beat (2/6 x 100%).

By this, the Swiss 8 beat movement will have 30% more mileage on them (versus a 6R15 movement) and would require services sooner and more frequent in its lifetime.

By the way, I’ve also owned the Seiko Sumo SBDC003 which has the same movement as in this SARB.

One interesting thing that I noticed is the winding sound in this SARB is a bit “loud”, akin to some ETAs that I have handled before.

On the other hand, the winding sound in the Sumo is more quiet. Not very sure whether it’s the extra steel on the Sumo (it is a bigger watch at 44 mm diameter) which have reduced the sound.

 

 

A Good 50 Hours Power Reserve

Another important thing to add about the 6R15 is it’s able to last for 50 hours, thanks to SPRON510, a proprietary mainspring by Seiko (read this article for in depth explanation of how an automatic watch work to understand this).

50 hours power reserve is a good power reserve for an automatic, and much better than a Swiss ETA 2824-2 (another common ETA auto movement) that only has 38 hours. Of course, there are other watches will more power reserve (such as the Tissot Powermatic 80 with 80 hours) but a 50 hours is good enough to at least lasts for a weekend =)

It also has hacking feature (meaning the second hand will stop when you want to adjust the time) and can be wind manually via rotation of the crown. You can also peek at the movement through the exhibition caseback of the watch.

 

Seiko SARB033 Review
There is an exhibition caseback on the Seiko SARB033 to allow you to marvel at the Cal. 6R15 automatic movement.

 

It has a published accuracy range of +25/-25 seconds per day. But from my own experience (as well as countless others review of Seiko lovers around the world), the accuracy can be as high as +-5 seconds per day which is just within COSC Chronometer range.

One thing about this movement is that you need to wind the movement manually at least once a day for it to keep perfect time, even though you are using it everyday. This is because all automatic watches is at their best accuracy when it’s fully charged.

 

How About Seiko SARB033 Accuracy?

What’s a watch review without discussing its accuracy? To my great relief, my watch is performing miles better than what Seiko specified for the 6R15 movement (which is +25/-15 seconds per day).

Over a period of 5 normal working days, I’ve averaged +4.5 seconds per day.

There’s some spikes here and there but on the big picture, yes, the SARB033 did beat COSC chronometer specification by 1.5 second (COSC +6 sec/day – 4.5 sec/day).

 

Seiko SARB033 Accuracy 6R15

 

But I need to note here that the COSC chronometer is tested for 5 different positions of the watch in 3 different temperatures. This is definitely a more extreme test encompassing a wide range of conditions.

Whereas my testing of the SARB033 is more towards real-life usage with just two main conditions of use: a) put the watch dial up in a box overnight; b) pick it up for work the next morning.

Without a doubt, if the SARB033 and the 6R15 inside it is tested for COSC chronometer, the result might not be pretty.

On the other hand, I fail to see if other guys would use the watch any differently than how I use it (unless you are involved in outdoor activities and such.. but then again you SHOULD NOT wear a dress watch like this for such activities LOL!).

The point I’m trying to make here is how important COSC chronometer watches are anymore? We can get a pretty accurate watch in the SARB033 (which actually beat chronometer accuracy spec) without spending thousands for chronometers.

Just a point to consider when looking at those chronometer adverts =). Let me know what you guys think about it!

 

Seiko SARB033 (top) versus Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time (bottom). Two beautiful and affordable watch. But which one is better?

 

How Does Seiko SARB033 Compare To Seiko SARB065 (Cocktail Time)?

I’ve covered the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time before (you can read the review here) and it is just a stunning dress watch. It has a sunburst guilloche dial that is so mesmerizing to look at. But how does both of these watches compare to each other? It is truly a difficult thing to ask.

Technical wise, both have the 6R15 movement inside. The Seiko SARB033 has a simple and traditional black dial, as opposed to the flashy sunburst dial of the SARB065.

Some people might not agree with me but I believe that the SARB065 wins over the SARB033  aesthetically for the dress watch category. With its beautiful dial, it will surely caught people’s attention. I also love the blue second hand and also the detail on the markers and hands – they are so well executed. It’s just a gorgeous watch for when you are dressing up for the occasion.

But for other more casual activities, the SARB033 will be my pick. The not-so-flashy-and-simple dial would work better when going out with friends, etc. Plus, the curvy lug will ensure you are comfortable wearing it for long time. I’m for sure won’t be wearing the SARB065 when going to the beach or taking a roadtrip as it’s just not the right watch for those activities.

 

-To sum it up, get a SARB065 for a perfect dress watch. For a more versatile watch that can be used casually, the SARB033 is one to go-

 

A video showing the SARB up close

 

Seiko SARB033 Automatic Wrist Watch Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve summed up all the advantages and disadvantages of this watch below for your easy reference:

Pros:

  1. Traditional and simple styling is very beautiful and elegant to look atSeiko SARB033 in box
  2. Good quality watch for low range price. Great value for money
  3. Seiko automatic movement cal 6R15 is very reliable, accurate and robust
  4. Luminous hands and markers as well as 100 m water resistance make it a functional watch as well
  5. Exhibition caseback allows us to peek at the movement inside
  6. Sapphire crystal dial window for an extra scratch protection for your peace of mind
  7. It is versatile can be used for any function or activities

Cons:

  1. The understated styling could turn off some people that loves flashy design for their watches
  2. In this age of oversize watches, a 38 mm diameter watch might be deemed too small and not everyone’s cup of coffee
  3. Shipped with a good but definitely could have been better bracelet

 

Impressed with its simple and understated elegance? Get this Seiko SARB033 From Amazon!

Seiko SARB033 worn hand

As with any other JDM watches, there is no possibility at all to see this watch at our local watch shops. The only way to get it is by going to Japan and buy it there, or buy it online.

If you are looking to buy the Seiko SARB033 automatic watch, look no further than Amazon. Amazon usually has the lowest price for this watch. Click the link below to check the latest deals of Seiko SARB033 on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

>> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

 

 

Update March 2018: It seems that Seiko will be discontinuing some SARB watches including this SARB033. If you really want it, I suggest to quickly get it NOW!

 

Conclusion

The Seiko SARB033 automatic wrist watch is a simple, elegant and understated watch that is just so amazing. Built with quality in mind by Seiko, this watch is definitely a great value for money given its solid construction and minute details in its craftsmanship.

With a Seiko automatic movement Cal. 6R15 inside it, you are getting a reliable and accurate movement that is used in Seiko’s diving watches intended to be used in tough environments.

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy my Seiko SARB033 review. If you have any questions or comments on the watch, feel free to ask me.

Let me know in the comments below =)

Share this on your social media if you loved it. I really appreciate it =P Don’t forget to subscribe to my site for more awesome stuffs in future. Till next time then.

Cheers!
Isaac

 

 

*Update: I’ve recently reviewed the Seiko SARB035, a white version of this SARB033 which comes with a snowy white dial. Check out the review (click HERE) where I go in depth on the watch plus a side by side comparison with the SARB033. Below is the picture of that beauty =)

 

Seiko SARB035 Review

 

Automatic Watch Anatomy

Automatic Watch Anatomy

Automatic watch anatomy is quite hard to understand for those new to it. In this article, I will lay down the basic information of the automatic watch anatomy. The watch diagram below will show you the parts of a watch as well as its name.

Automatic Watch Anatomy

Front view of the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time, a dress watch with guilloche sunburst dial design. It is a normal watch with just a date function.

watch-anatomy2

Back view of the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time. Notice the exhibition caseback that showcase the internal automatic movement inside. This watch also uses the leather deployment clasp for long lasting leather strap life.

 

watch-anatomy3

Bulova 96A135 with 2 subdials: running seconds hand at 5 o’clock position and 24-hour hand at 9 o’clock. It also has an aperture to showcase its movement inside. On of the movement’s wheels can be seen from the aperture. Notice also the red jewel of the wheel at the center.

 

watch-anatomy4

Seiko SKX007 is a classic diving watch. Can be seen in this picture is the unidirectional diving bezel for diver’s usage to track time underwater. The markers are big circles to allow for maximum luminescent material for the brightest lume underwater.

 

watch-anatomy5

Victorinox Infantry Vintage is a traditional military watch with telemeter scale. It also has chronograph function that is operated by it’s pushers at the right side of the watch.

 

Automatic Watch Anatomy Parts:

Aperture: An opening on the watch’s dial. It can be used to show the internal automatic movement (which is really cool btw, you can see the Bulova 96A135 dial above with its aperture that shows one of its wheel.)

 

Bezel: The edge of the case with the dial window. Some of the more popular usage/types of bezel are:

1) Unidirectional bezel with minute markers (diving bezel): This bezel is usually for diving watches. The minute markers is used to keep track of time underwater. Simply set the “00 Minute” to the minute hand when starting the dive. As you dive, the minute hand will move and you can see how many minutes has elapsed during diving.

The unidirectional is keeping the bezel to be rotated only anticlockwise. It can’t be rotated clockwise as this will cause problems for divers to keep their diving time in check. You can see the Seiko SKX007 above for an example of a diving bezel.

2) Normal empty bezel: Dress watches usually have an empty bezel. It helps them to achive the clean and sleek look a dress watch need. The Seiko SARB065 as pictured above and the Tissot Le Locle are some examples of dress watch with empty bezel

3) Tachymeter scale: The bezel is used to place the tachymeter scale on top of it. The scale can be used to calculate the speed of a moving object and is typical for any racing or sports watch

4) Telemeter scale: Telemeter scale is put on top of the bezel to make it easy for its user to calculate the distance from him to an event that happened far away, provided he can see and hear the event. Example of events are artillery firing, lightning and bombs. The scale is set based on the principle of speed of sound and typically seen on a military watch. (The Victorinox Infantry Vintage above has the telemeter scale, but it is positioned on the dial and not on the bezel.

5) World Time: Bi-directional rotating bezel that can be used to determine the time at other time zones.

 

Case: The casing/housing of the watch. It comes with many shapes (circle, rectangular even triangle! (see the Hamilton Ventura watch here ). It can also be of many material with the most common is stainless steel.

Case diameter is an important thing to see if the watch will fit on your wrist or not (especially if you are buying online and don’t have the chance to try it!). A typical men’s watch will be around 38 mm to 45 mm. Bigger than that is not advised unless you have a really big hand. Case diameter can be reported as case diameter without crown and with crown.

Case thickness is another thing to check. A very thick watch (more than 13 mm) can be too big for some people and can also indicate the watch will be very heavy!
 

Crown: Round knob at the side of the watch. It is very important for an automatic watch and has many usage:

1) To manually wound the mainspring (increase energy reserve of the watch). Typically is done by rotating the crown clockwise (upwards, to 12 o’clock direction) for 20-30 times. This will varies depending on the movement of the automatic watch

2) Changing date, day or time. Pull up the crown and rotate it to change the date, day or time. There will be different levels that the crown can be pulled depending on the watch. e.g if a watch does not have any date or day function, the crown can be pulled once only to change the time. If the watch has a date function (like the Seiko SARB065 above), then the crown can be pulled twice, first pull to change date, second pull to change time.

3) Screw down crown – some “serious” diving watches have screw down crown. It basically means the crown will be screwed into the case. To operate it (to wound, change time etc), the crown has to be unscrewed first. By screwing the crown inside, water can be prevented from going inside the case during diving. Never dive by not properly tighten the screw down crown as water will go inside and wreck havoc in your timepiece.

 

Dial: Face of the watch where the markers, hands, signatures, day/date is located. It is a very important aspect of the watch as it’s the first thing someone will glimpse at first. The dial can be of different design and color.

 

Dial Window: The “glass” on top of the dial to protect it from being exposed. Dial window is made from “crystals”. 2 most common crystals are mineral crystal (cheap and basic) and sapphire crystal (more expensive and scratch resistant). Dial Window can also be treated with coatings to increase its strength or making it less reflective under light.

 

Exhibition caseback: The back of the watch is normally stainless steel. The exhibition caseback replaces it with a crystal (same as the dial window) to show the movement inside. A very cool feature and is something that I really love. You can see the exhibition caseback of the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time above.

 

Hands: Long pointy things that indicate the time. There are 3 hands usually: Hour, Minute and Second Hands. A very cool feature of an automatic watch is the sweeping second hand. The second hand (normally the thinnest hand) will move by sweeping, instead of tick-tock movement like a quartz watch.

 

Jewel: Jewels or jewel bearings is a bearing for the wheels of the internal movement. The movement contain many wheels and gears that will be pivoted on shafts to positioned them. Since these wheels continuously spin and move, the jewel bearing is necessary to attach the wheels to the pivot. A jewel (such as ruby or sapphire) is used instead of metal because it has low friction, light and other benefits. These will lead to greater accuracy of the mechanical watch. Not to mention it really looks cool and give a colorful presence to an otherwise all steel internal parts. You can see the jewels inside the Bulova 96A135 above through its aperture.

 

Lug: The extension of the casing to enable a strap to attach to the casing. Lug to lug width is an important dimension that is used to determine how big the watch is (apart from case diameter). You can measure your wrist’s width and compare with the lug to lug width to check if a watch can comfortable sit on your wrist or not. Lug to lug width that is very long (more than 50 mm) means the watch is very big and will be over sized on your wrist.

 

Luminescent Paint: or short for lume, it is paint that allows the hands and markers of a watch to glow in the dark. Previously achieved by using the radioactive Radium, recent development in luminous material has allows watch manufacturers to come up with safer paints that glows much brighter and for longer time. It is considered a must-have for any serious diving watch (see the Seiko SKX007 above) and sports or utility watch (Victorinox Infantry Vintage). Definitely nifty when you are going to watch a movie at cinema =)

 

Mainspring: Spiral torsion spring that stores the energy to keep a mechanical watch running. Winding it will tighten the mainspring. As the spring unwound, it will release energy to move the watch’s numerous gears and wheels, bringing the watch to life. (you can read it further here )

 

Markers: Symbols on the dial that shows the hours. The markers can be of many different forms such as:

1) Normal number (or arabic numeral) markers – such as the Victorinox Infantry Vintage above

2) Stick/Index markers – such as the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time

3) Roman numbers markers – see the Bulova 96A135 above.

4) Circle markers – typical for diving watches (such as the Seiko SKX007). The circle is used as more luminous material can be applied on it.

 

Movement: The internal mechanism that moves the automatic watch. For more information on the different types of watch’s movement, you can read my article here .

 

Pusher: Acting like a switch to activate/stop/reset a chronograph watch. You can see the pushers on the 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock positions of the Victorinox Infantry Vintage above

 

Rotor: A semi-circular metal that acts as oscillating weight that rotates freely when the watch is worn. It is the mechanism that is very important for automatic watches as it winds the mainspring when it is rotating.

 

Signatures: Signs by the watch manufacturer on the dial. Usually watch manufacturers will sign with their brand name, jewel numbers, water resistance and other important information (e.g chronometer, movement ID number, marketing information etc.)

 

Strap: Watch strap to attach the watch to the wrist. Typical watch strap material is leather (as with Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time and Victorinox Infantry Vintage), stainless steel bracelet, PVC and NATO/fabric.

 

Strap Clasp: Simply the mechanism to secure and tighten the strap onto wrist. They are lots of clasp type. Some of the most used ones are:

1) Needle buckle: Normal needle buckle for leather strap. Know the buckle for our leather belt? That’s the same thing, except its much smaller. Traditional type of buckle but will damage the strap over time due to usage. The deployment buckle is an innovation to solve this issue.

2) Leather deployment clasp: An innovation on the normal needle buckle. The leather strap has a deployment clasp to join them. Easy to use and does not damage the strap like the needle buckle. The Seiko SARB065 above has this type of clasp

3) Bracelet clasp: For steel bracelet, there are quite a few number of clasps that can be used. Some of it are the normal folding clasp, folding clasp with safety (normal for diving watch) and hidden clasp.

 

Subdial: Small dials with its own markers and hands that are used for many complications that a watch might have. Some common subdials are for chronograph function (minutes and hours measurement), seconds, 24-hours and date. The Bulova 96A135 above has the subdials for seconds and 24-hours time. Victorinox Infantry Vintage has three subdials: running seconds hand and two chronograph subdials for minutes and hours measurement.

 

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I hope you have learnt something new from this article. If you feel there are something that I’ve missed, or you do not understand something or just want to say hi, please do let me know at the comments section below. There are lots of other elements in a watch that I think I should elaborate more such as lume, bezel, movements, case material, jewel and others. But to write all of them here would make this article too long so I thought it will be better to write those topics another time. Stay tuned!

Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch Review

Victorinox Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch Review

Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch is definitely one of the best looking military/sports chronograph watch out there. From a brand that is more recognized for their Swiss Army Knives, this watch truly exceeds expectation in the built quality, design and finish.

The company was started in 1884, selling cutlery and multi-purpose knife to the Swiss Army. The brand name “Victorinox” was a combination of Karl Elsener’s (Victorinox’s founder) mother’s first name “Victoria” and “Inox” – another name for stainless steel. Their Swiss Army Knives become very famous all round the world for its impeccable quality. On 1989, they started to enter the watch business with the brand name Victorinox Swiss Army.

The Victorinox Infantry Chronograph comes with a few variations with different dial color, casing color and strap. But the overall design, chronograph function and internal mechanics of the watch are the same. I’ve chosen the 241526 variation for this review as I love the brownish gunmetal case and the gray copper dial as compared to the rest.

Victorinox Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch Review

 

Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Chronograph (241526) Specification

Diameter: 44mm
Thickness: 15mm
Lug size: 23mm
Dial: Dark gray dial
Dial Features: Seconds index markings and Telemeter index markings (in km) at the outer dial.
Subdials: Running second hand (9 o’clock), 30-minutes chronograph subdial measurement at 12 o’clock and 12-hour chronograph subdial measurement at 6 o’clock
Case: Stainless steel with brownish gunmetal PVD
Band: Dark gray leather band
Dial Window: Sapphire crystal with triple coating for glare/reflection reductions
Movement: ETA Valjoux 7750
Movement Features: Automatic self-winding, Swiss Made, 25 jewels, 28,800 vibrations per hour (8 beats per second), 40 hours power reserve, manual winding via crown, hacking feature, accuracy of +-15 seconds per day
Water Resistance: 330 feet / 100 m
Other Features: Exhibition caseback, Chronograph function, Telemeter function, Date display, Luminous hand and markers, signed crown
Best Place To Buy: Amazon

 

A True Military Watch

From the first look, the Victorinox Infantry Chronograph gives the vibe that it is a very rugged watch and will become a loyal companion to your adventurous trips, wherever that may be (except for underwater of course. You will need a diving watch for that lol.). It looks tough but at the same time is very beautifully designed. The dial is dark gray, with large numerals as markers. The hands are also big and you can clearly see the luminous material on them. The visibility is definitely there, even in dark environment that’s for sure.

The 44mm diameter casing of the watch is okay and will fit with most men’s wrist comfortably. The only problem I have with this watch is it is too thick, at 15mm. I doubt you can wear a suit with this watch as it definitely won’t fit into your sleeve. This is probably because of the ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic movement’s (more on that later on) chronograph function that takes quite a bit of space as compared to normal automatic. But then again, the watch is never intended for cocktail parties and the like. You are better suited with a dress watch for that purpose (for example the gorgeous Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time).

 

Gunmetal PVD Case – What Is PVD?

The casing of the Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Chronograph is stainless steel with brownish gunmetal PVD. As you can see from the pictures and video below, the casing color matches well with the dial and the 23mm leather darg gray band. But what is PVD? I think I should write a bit on this PVD for my readers that first encounter this term. PVD is actually a method to apply a coating to an otherwise gray colored stainless steel.

Stainless steel is a common material for watch due to it being hard (it’s steel after all) and it won’t corrode easily. It has a natural color of gray. By polishing or brushing it, watchmakers have created beautiful stainless steel watches over the years. But of course not everyone likes a gray colored watch. So in order to apply color to it, coating is applied on the steel – kinda like a paint if you may. This is the traditional method but it is not durable as the paint can be easily peeled off the surface.

PVD, or Physical Vapour Deposition, is a method to apply coating on the stainless steel. It will bond metal compounds with the color to the case, combining them to become a unit. PVD cases are more resistant to peel and crack but a deep scratch can still expose the base case (they are still coatings mind you). You can read this interesting article on the pursue to make a black watch at this link here. )

 

What’s The Three Subdials For?

On the dial, you will quickly noticed that there are 3 subdials. It is quite easy to make a mess of a watch with 3 subdials but Victorinox had done a good job designing them to make it look pleasing and complement each other. The top and bottom subdial at 12 and 6 o’clock are the 30-minute and 12-hour measurements for the chronograph function. The third subdial is for the running second hand of the watch and is beautifully designed to be half circle so that it wont obstruct the 9 o’clock marker. I should point out that the main second hand is just for the chronograph and won’t be running normally. It’s a waste actually as we won’t see the sweeping motion of the second hand (same disappointment I felt with the Hamilton Intra Matic. Gorgeous watch but no sweeping second hand!).


  You can watch this awesome review of the Victorinox Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph to see it up close and how the chronograph function works

 

Very Useful Chronograph Function. But, How To Use It?

The Victorinox Infantry Chronograph has a chronograph function that is very useful should you want to keep track of time. But then, how actually do you use the chronograph? The operation of it is very simple. There are two pushers, the top pusher at the 2 o’clock for starting and stopping (you can also pause it). The bottom pusher at 4 o’clock is for resetting the chronograph. Simply push the top pusher to start tracking time and you can see the main second hand started sweeping at 8 beats per second. Once it completes one minute cycle, the top subdial will changes position to denote the 1 minute elapsed time. Very simple to use and very convenient to have.

 

Telemeter? What’s that again?

On the top of the dial, you will see a signature “Telemeter” with some indexes next to it – on the outer edge of the dial. The telemeter scale is basically a way to help you calculate the distance between you and an event that can both be seen and heard. It works by the simple mathematical calculation of the speed of sound. Sound travels around 340 meter per second. In other words, it will take about 3 seconds (more or less) for sound to travel in 1 km. Since light travels faster than sound, you have to start the stopwatch as soon as you see the light of that event (e.g thunder, fireworks, artillery fire-this is a military watch, remember?). Stop the stopwatch when you hear the sound. Read the outer scale of the Telemeter to know the distance between you and the event.

It is a really cool scale to have, but I think Victorinox can also include a Tachymeter scale on the bezel. Tachymeter is used to calculate the speed of something, provided you know the distance it has travelled. Since the bezel is empty, a Tachymeter scale will be perfect there. Not to mention it will make the Infantry Vintage more useful and full pack of features.

Victorinox Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch Review

Tag Heuer Carrere with Tachymeter (or Tachymetre) scale on its bezel. Most racing watch has it because it enables the user to calculate the speed of a car.

Powered By The Ubiquitous ETA Valjoux 7750

Inside the Victorinox Infantry Vintage is the ETA Valjoux 7750, a widely used caliber for most automatic watches with chronograph nowadays. Developed in 1970, it is widely used because of its toughness, durability and affordability. It can also be tweaked easily to reach COSC Chronometer standard. Even high-end watchmakers use this movement in their chronograph watches, though they will make some adjustments here and there to suit there design. What we have in the Infantry Vintage here is the plain vanilla 7750 movement though. A major disadvantage of this movement is the quite thick profile. It is unavoidable as the chronograph module can take some space inside the movement. Some also argue that the thick profile has actually helped the movement to be robust and can be used for years.

The automatic movement has 25 jewels, and vibrates at 28,800 per hour, giving 8 beats per second. It has 40 hour power reserve, hacking feature (the second hand will stop when you want to set the watch) and can be wound manually by rotating the crown clockwise for about 20 to 30 times for a full charge. This watch has the plain 7750 movement that is accurate up to a maximum of +-15 seconds per day. This accuracy value is the maximum accuracy published by ETA though real life accuracy reported by watch owners can be very accurate, around 4-5 seconds per day. In short, the Victorinox Infantry Vintage has a very trusted automatic chronograph movement in it that is well respected to be an accurate and solid timepiece – the things that is very important for a military watch.

Victorinox Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch Review

The ETA Valjoux 7750 movement can be seen from the exhibition caseback

Victorinox Swiss Army: Is A Good Watch Brand?

I think this should be a question that will pop up in your head right now, is Victorinox Swiss Army a good watch brand? Well, the short answer is yes. It produces great quality product, with solid construction and beautiful design. It seems they have completely replicate what makes their Swiss Army Knives so successful into their watches. The movements also are sourced from reliable Swiss movement makers e.g ETA, so you can rest assured that the watch’s internal mechanics are from the Swiss master watchmakers. So their watches are true Swiss Made quality without a doubt.

The only think that is lacking is the brand power. What I mean is the brand power of Victorinox Swiss Army in the watch market. They are very popular with their multipurpose knives that their other products (watches, travel gear, cutlery, etc) are easily overlooked. Not to mention they have been been in the watch industry for only 20 years, which can be considered a toddler age for a watch brand. Other brands have been around for more than 100 years. There simply do not have that much history in their watchmaking. Victorinox watches are great, that’s for sure but the brand name is still not mature enough to be considered alongside other heavyweights such as Tissot, Hamilton, Bulova etc.

 

Victorinox Infantry Automatic Chronograph Watch – Advantages and Disadvantages

I’ve summarized the advantages and disadvantages of the watch below for your easy reading:

Pros:

1- Chronograph function is a great feature to have
2- Beautifully designed chronograph subdials that are in harmony with the dial and case
3- Big markers with lume will guarantee visibility in the darkest environment
4- Hiqh quality craftsmanship and build quality – everything you would expect from a Victorinox quality
5- Rugged and solid, perfect for outdoor activities
6- Telemeter scale is cool to have
7- Very nice leather band with clasp (won’t damage the band like buckles)

 

Cons:

1- Brand name of Victorinox is not that outstanding in automatic watches market (as compared to other traditional bona fide watchmakers, e.g Tissot, Seiko, Hamilton, etc.)
2- At 500$+, the watch is a bit on the expensive side, coming from a non-traditional watchmakers.
3- A tachymeter scale on the bezel would be a nice addition
4- The watch is a bit thick, at 15mm

 

The Victorinox Infantry Vintage watch is a very good looking watch. It is uses Swiss ETA movements, and manufactured by the great Victorinox company, the same company behind the high quality Swiss Army Knife. It is no doubt the watch will be of great quality and reliable to be used, especially for outdoor activities.

 

I really hope this review is beneficial to you guys. If you feel there are some mistakes here or you feel that I have missed out on some important information, feel free to comment on this post by using the comment box down below.

 

 

Currently, the Victorinox Infantry Vintage Automatic Chronograph Watch is sold on Amazon at a very attractive price. Click the link below to see the best deals on Amazon for this watch.

 

–>>Click Here To Check The Best Price Of Victorinox Swiss Army Infantry Chronograph On Amazon<<–

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watches For Men Review

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watches For Men Review

Bulova is one of the few American watch companies with rich history. The Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watch is one of the few automatic watches the company made these days. Founded in 1875, Bulova traditionally produced mechanical watches for the masses in America, before inventing the “Accutron Watches”, the first electronic watch.

It then shifts to quartz watches due to lower costs and popularity and right now, Bulova’s line of watches are predominantly quartz. The company produces only a handful automatic self-winding watches these days and the 96A135 is one of it.

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watches For Men Review

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watch Specification

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 11 mm
Dial: Black and grey dial with aperture
Subdials: 2 sub-dials: 24 hours and seconds hand subdials (very cool!)

Dial Window: Mineral crystal
Hands and Markers: Luminous roman numeral markers and hands
Case: Stainless steel
Band: Black leather band with butterfly clasp. 22 mm width band

Movement: Japan Automatic self-winding movement by Miyota (part of Citizen Watch Group). 21 Jewels
Water Resistance: 99 feet / 30 m
Other features: Exhibition caseback, Aperture on dial, 24-hour and seconds hand sub-dials

Best Place To Buy: Amazon with Free shipping for $220 and 2-year warranty

 

Bulova Automatic Watches For Men – Automatic Collection

Bulova is one of the major watch makers that I like because of its daring and gorgeous styling of its watches. Just take a look at its line of watches, all features futuristic and modern looking dial which are absolutely gorgeous. I’m always been a classic-watch type of guy, but having one of the Precisionist or the Marine Star definitely won’t hurt =).

The Automatic collection by Bulova is the only automatic watches in its stable, and is powered by a 21 jewel automatic movement by Miyota, a subsidiary of Citizen. You can say Miyota is something like ETA to the Swatch Group.

In case you don’t know, Bulova has been acquired by Citizen back in 2008. Quite a sad thing really, for an American company with a very rich history like Bulova to be bought over by outsiders.

But like Hamilton, the acquisition brought Japanese technology into Bulova. And as a result, it was been able to produce a high precision quartz movement that is featured in its Precisionist series of watches through technology transfer from its parent group. So, not really a bad thing eh?

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watches For Men Review

Beautiful Futuristic Dial With 2 Subdials and Aperture

The dial of the Bulova 96A135 Automatic is anything but simple. It has a normal roman numeral markers and hands on its black and grey dial. But what’s amazing is it has 2 sub-dials: one for showing 24-hours time while the other is for the seconds hand.

To have these two sub-dials at this price point is just fantastic! I really love the 24 hours sub-dial as it can show us the exact time it is now (am or pm). I believe that is a crucial thing that is missing in most automatic watch.

The seconds hand sub-dial is not really needed in my opinion though it does looks nicer to have two sub-dial instead of one. Again, I have to say again that to have these functions in a $200 watch is something sort of extraordinary.

On the dial also is a small aperture where you can see one of the wheels spinning inside the Miyota movement. Coupled with the exhibition caseback, the combination gives us a glimpse of the inner workings of an automatic watch which is really really cool.

Bulova really knows how to design a watch to make it look beautiful as well as gives the mechanical thing feeling through the aperture and its sub-dials.

 

 

Automatic Movement By Miyota

Bulova 96A135 Automatic watch is powered by an automatic movement by Miyota. There seems to be little info on which caliber it is using. There is no mention of it in Bulova’s website and nothing on Amazon too.

Regardless, one thing for sure is that a Miyota movement is something that you can be proud to own. Granted that it is not Swiss made or an in-house Bulova movement, but the movement is really robust and have good accuracy that can even rival the Swiss.

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watches For Men Review

Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watch Pros And Cons

Below are the summary of the pros and cons for the watch:

Pros:
1- Good looking watch
2- 2 Subdials (24-hour and seconds hand)
3- Aperture on dial
4- Exhibition caseback
5- Solidly built and quality watch construction
6- Leather band with butterfly clasp ensuring longevity of the band
7- Reliable automatic movement by Miyota

Cons:
1- Not enough information on the automatic movement caliber
2- Dial window uses Mineral crystal which is not as scratch resistant as Sapphire crystal
3- No date function

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If you are interested to buy the Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watch, you can get buy it at Amazon for the cheapest price right now, about $200. Check out the link below to go to Amazon.

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Conclusion

For a $200 watch, Bulova 96A135 Automatic Watch is definitely a bargain. It is an automatic watch by a very old brand, solidly built, features a gorgeous dial design with 2 sub-dials and an aperture.

The mineral crystal dial window is a let down but you can’t really expect much from this price range. Overall, a solid and gorgeous watch for the low-middle range price. A very good buy for your money.

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Hope you guys find this Bulova 96A135 automatic watch review useful. Share it on social media if you like it. That will really help me =). Subscribe to my blog by using the subscribe box inside the right sidebar for more awesome stuffs in future.

Cheer!

Isaac

Are Automatic Watches Accurate?

How Accurate Is Automatic Watch

Automatic watches are outstanding inventions. Hundreds of combinations of minuscule parts such as gears, springs, screws etc. work together to produce a timekeeping device. Since it’s all mechanical moving parts, there is no way that it can be totally accurate. Are automatic watches accurate then? How accurate is automatic watch? The relevance of these questions varies between people. Some people can live with a not so accurate watch, as long as it’s automatic and looks great while there are people that really obsess with accuracy and need their watches to be really accurate.

A general rule of thumb that I’ve taken for accuracy of automatic watches is +-25 seconds per day. This means the watch should only gain or lose 25 seconds between two days. This is actually consistent with most watch manufacturers published accuracy of their movements. So if your watch is gaining or losing more than 25 seconds per day, get it checked! That could mean some serious problems with your watch.

This accuracy is only for normal automatic watches and its fairly accurate (25 seconds/ 86,400 seconds in a day = 0.03% inaccuracy. So about 99.97% accurate). But there are those who seek the perfect accuracy either due to work (divers, military personnel, etc.) or for self pleasure. For those people, a Chronometer watch is most suitable. Chronometer is a watch with almost perfect accuracy (-4 or +6 seconds per day).

Are Automatic Watches Accurate?

A Breitling NavitimerChronometer

Automatic Watch Accuracy Standard

Chronometer is a name to indicate that a watch has been tested and certified to be a truly accurate timepiece based on some standards. Generally, automatic watch accuracy standard is referred to the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) and the ISO 3159 standard. Japan companies also has their own accuracy standards with Seiko (the Grand Seiko line of watch) and Citizen have their in-house testing. Here, I will only explain on COSC/ISO standards as the Japan’s standard is more or less the same as the COSC.

Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres aka COSC is a non-profit organization set up to measure, test and certify accuracy of watches. Watches that are certified are granted “Chronometer” status – the highest prestige a watch can have. It is a mark that means the watch is of highest accuracy among the millions of automatic watches in the world, a symbol of pride for the owner of the watch. I should also clarify that “Chronometer” is not the same as “Chronograph”. Chronograph is a function in watches (automatic and quartz alike) that can function as a stop watch.

The testing of COSC is based on ISO 3159. All Chronometers will have a unique serial number from COSC and is typically engraved on the watch. The movement is tested for 16 days, whereby 15 measurements are taken after each day. It is then put in different positions (horizontal face up, face down, vertical etc.) and subjected to different temperatures (8, 23 and 38 degrees celcius). The movement then is judged according to 7 criteria in which it has to pass all. The COSC Chronometer testing criteria and its permissible (maximum) variations in timekeeping are below:

 

COSC Chronometer Testing Criteria:

1. Average Daily Rate: -4 or +6 seconds/day
2. Mean Variation In Rates: 2 seconds/day
3. Greatest Variation In Rates: 5 seconds/day
4. Difference Between Rates In Horizontal And Vertical Positions: -6 or +8 seconds/day
5. Largest Variations In Rates: 10 seconds/day
6. Thermal Variation: +-0.6 seconds/degrees celcius
7. Rate Resumption: +-5

From what we can conclude from the criteria above, a Chronometer should be accurate and consistent in its timekeeping. It must also be able to be accurate at different temperatures. Since gravity plays a role in accuracy of movement’s parts, a Chronometer should be able to be accurate at any position either horizontal (watch face up or down – as in when you take it off at night) and vertical (when you are wearing your watch).

Only about 3% of Swiss watches are certified Chronometers and most of them are very expensive and costs thousands (think your usual Rolex, Breitling, Tag Heuer and Omega). This is because it is very expensive to manufacture a Chronometer movement as the parts need to be of the highest quality. It also need to be assembled by hand and sent to testing. This all adds up to the cost of the watch. Now you know why that Rolex will cost you at least $5000.

I would like to add that a non-certified watch can also have a Chronometer like accuracy. Movements such as ETA 2892A2 (in Hamilton Intra Matic), ETA 2824-2 (in Tissot Le Locle), Seiko’s Cal. 6R15 (in Seiko SARB065) and Citizen’s Cal. 9010 (in Citizen Signature Grand Classic) are reported to have Chronometer-like accuracy in normal condition. Bear in mind the COSC testing standard is quite rigorous encompassing various positions and temperatures. A non-certified fine movements listed above can achieve the -4+6 seconds/day accuracy in normal usage conditions just fine, as long as the owner take care of them well. No need to pay those thousands of dollars then eh?

Are Automatic Watches Accurate?

Rolex GMT Master II,  certified Chronometer. Rolex holds the record as the most COSC certified Chronometer movements.

Factors Affecting Automatic Watches Accuracy

There are a few factors that can affect the accuracy of automatic watches. Some of the major factors that I believe are important for all automatic watch owners to know are:

1- Temperature
Using your watch in environments that are too cold (less than 8 degrees celcius) or too hot (around 38 degrees celcius) can really affect your watch accuracy. This happens because when it’s too hot (hotter than normal room temperature) metal parts inside the watch will expand, and when its too cold, the metals will contract. The expansion and contraction is not much, perhaps only a few millimeters that you can’t detect with you own eyes. But even that is enough to disrupt most of automatic watch’s movements from functioning properly. As a rule of thumb, your watch will lose time in hotter weather, and will gain time in cooler temperatures.

2- Magnetism
Watches are also sensitive to magnetism. They are steels parts remember? Any magnetic objects as well as electronic objects that can become magnetic such as phones, PC, television etc. should be avoided of any direct contact with your watch.

3- Shock
Any shock to the watch may also damage or move some of the internal parts. Your watch might be able to run like normal after that big fall on the ground but it might not be as accurate anymore.

4- Manual Winding For Full Mainspring Energy Reserve
Automatic watches are meant to be used without any manual winding for it to function properly. Yes it is functioning properly but how about its accuracy? Most automatic watches (based on my watches and some reviews I’ve read) would become very terrible at timekeeping accuracy if you don’t wind it manually (by rotating the crown). You can read a blog by Bernardwatch.com here <<LINK that shows how even a Breitling (certified Chronometer) will have bad accuracy if not wound manually.

5- Interval Service

It is recommended to have interval servicing for your watch to examine it, oiling and cleaning of its internal parts. The service interval vary between manufacturers. For example, Seiko recommends for 3 years, while Tissot recommends 4-5 years. This will depend on the exact model though.

 

It is very important to know that our automatic watches are very delicate and need proper care for it to function properly and keep accurate time. Please remember these tips well next time you want to throw your Tissot PRS 516 carelessly into your table.

 

What Is The Most Accurate Automatic Watch?

That’s a very tough question. For me, the Chronometer certified watches are all very accurate. It’s very tough to find a watch that can rival those slim tolerance levels. Though some would say the Japanese standards are stricter, but it’s definitely very hard to say that with certainty. For me, it is important to know that we have to live with this inaccuracy in timekeeping as that is part of the charm of automatic watches. If you want higher accuracy, buy a Quartz then =p.

 

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I hope you have learnt a lot from my post here. Do keep in mind on the factors that affect your watch’s accuracy. Those are very important things to remember. If you have any thoughts, please drop your comments below. Till next time then. Cheers!

 

Hamilton Intra Matic H38455131 Automatic Dress Watch – Gorgeous American Classic

Hamilton Intra Matic H38455131 Automatic Dress Watch - Gorgeous American Classic

Hamilton Intra Matic is Hamilton’s classic line of watch, designed by taking the cues of the American brand’s vintage dress watch models. They are really popular in the 1960s for quality watches that rivaled even the Swiss. Just like the Hamilton Khaki King this watch is a homage to their American heritage, specifically their vintage dress watches.

Side by side comparison of the Hamilton Vintage (top pic) and the new Hamilton Intra Matic (bottom pic). Timeless beauty is the word here. The design works in the 1960s, and it still looks gorgeous in this time and age.

Hamilton Intra Matic Specification

Diameter: 38 mm or 42 mm
Thickness: 10 mm
Lug to lug width: 48 mm
Lug width: 20 mm
Weight: 50 grams
Case: Polished stainless steel
Dial: Black dial
Dial Window: Sapphire Crystal with dome shape
Band: 20 mm width multi-link polished stainless steel bracelet with butterfly clasp.
Water Resistance: 50m / 164 ft
Movement: Swiss ETA 2892A2
Movement Features: 21 Jewels, 42 hours power reserve, +-20 seconds maximum daily variation (average of +-5 seconds per day)
Other Features: Crown at 3 o’clock, exhibition caseback, decorated movement, date display at 6 o’clock, Swiss Made
Best Place To Buy: Amazon.com

 

5 different designs were produced. Each of them is offered in 2 sizes : 38 mm and 42 mm case diameter

 

Hamilton produced 10 different Intra Matic models (shown above or you can view it all at Hamilton’s website here).

The models are similar, but with different combinations of dial color (black or silver), band type (stainless steel multi-link bracelet or leather band), casing diameter (38 mm or 42 mm) and casing color (polished stainless steel or gold coated stainless steel).

Everything else (dial design, the venerable ETA 2892A2 movement) is the same for all the models. The watch I’m reviewing in this article is the 38 mm diameter, black dial with bracelet version (because this is the one I fancy the most =) and it’s serial number is H38455131.

But as I said earlier, the other watches are basically the same with this one and this review should be able to cover all of them.

 

Hamilton American Classic Watches – Gorgeous Slim Profile

American Classic is the other name of the Intra Matic line and I explains itself. The watches are designed as a tribute to the vintage Hamilton dress watches. The dial with the stick markers and slim hands are reminiscent of their old watches.

Even the Hamilton signature and logo is the same as their vintage ones. This is a vintage Hamilton watch out the outside, but with modern parts and manufacturing processes to give you the best of both worlds.

The watch is produced in 2 diameter, 38 mm and 42 mm. I would definitely take the 38 mm as my wrist is quite small but for those that have a bigger wrist, you can always get the bigger version, albeit at a higher price than the 38 mm.

The one thing I really like about this watch is the slim profile, at 9.5 mm thick thanks to its slim ETA 2892A2 movement (more on that later).

Coupled with the overall slim case design, and the dome shaped dial window, the watch is very sleek and looks as elegant as what you would want from a dress watch. At just 50 gram, this could be the lightest watch you ever use.

The dial is black in color, and has stick markers. A date display is located at 6 o’clock, a very refreshing and unique design as it is very different than today’s common date at 3 o’clock design.

The Hamilton signature and logo is located at the center top of the watch and featuring Hamilton’s old logo and signature. The dial window is made from sapphire crystal and shaped to be like a dome.

The polished stainless steel case is also designed to be curvy at the edges, creating a round shape all over the watch which is very beautiful to look at.

Hamilton Intra Matic H38455131 Automatic Dress Watch - Gorgeous American Classic

Beautiful Multi-Link Bracelet

The bracelet of the Hamilton Intra Matic is a true art in itself. The bracelet is constructed from multi links instead of the traditional one piece link in many bracelets.

The multi link bracelet’s polished stainless steel create a beautiful and reflective effect, catching lights from different angles. It’s just truly amazing to look at and beautifully complement the handsome watch.

The clasp is butterfly clasp with push button, same as the Tissot PRS 516. Because of this, it would be quite hard to adjust the bracelet perfectly to your hand because of the absence of adjustment slots in the clasp.

But if you are not a bracelet type guy, there is also models of the Hamilton Intra Matic with leather bands that looks as stunning.

 

Swiss ETA 2892A2 Movement – High Quality Movement In A Middle Range Watch

Inside the Hamilton Intra Matic automatic watch, is the Swiss ETA Caliber 2892A2 movement. If you noticed, the movement is different than other typical Swatch Group low-middle range watches that uses ETA 2824-2 and 2834-2 (day and date) movement family (such as the Tissot Le Locle and Hamilton Khaki King).

The ETA 2892A2 is an improved version of the 2824-2, in which it has a slimmer profile, smaller diameter to be able to fit with lots of watches, newer technology and more accurate.

The result: a higher quality movement that is said to be on par with Rolex’s own movement and typically equipped in higher end brands such as Breitling and IWC.

And that is what makes the Hamilton Intra Matic a true bargain for automatic watch lovers. The 2892A2 in a middle range watch is just unthinkable of.

The slim profile of this movement is what enabled the watch to get its slim profile. One thing that I really don’t like is the absence of seconds hand (you would need some time to notice it from the photos and videos).

Hamilton opted not to put any seconds hand in this watch, which is not a really good decision. For me, a seconds hand is what will give automatic watches its characteristic sweeping motion. Not to mention you cannot set the watch to the exact time if there is no seconds hand.

It is truly a foresight by Hamilton in this part. I really hope they reconsider this and re-release another Intra Matic model with seconds hand =)

Hamilton Intra Matic H38455131 Automatic Dress Watch - Gorgeous American Classic

The watch also has an exhibition caseback – a standard of some sort for dress watches. Through the caseback, you can see the back of the ETA 2892A2 movement.

It has been decorated beautifully. The rotor got Hamilton signature engraved on it, and is very well executed. The watch also is rated to have 50 m or 164 feet water resistance for your peace of mind.

 

Conclusion

Hamilton Intra Matic is a very beautiful dress watch, with timeless dial design that is just classy and elegance to wear and look at.

The slim profile, dome sapphire crystal dial window and the case’s curvature all make the watch slimmer than it is and looks sleek. Inside the watch is the venerable Swiss ETA 2892A2, ETA’s higher range of movement.

The multi link bracelet is so amazing and really goes well with the watch. This is definitely a catch for a watch below $600.

 

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If you are interested to buy the Hamilton Intra Matic, Amazon is the best place to buy it as it has the lowest price right now. Please click the link below to check out this amazing watch on Amazon

 

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