Great post, via Hackaday. He puts sensors into a watch and torture tests for temperature, pressure and water resistance.
Quite possibly Invicta’s finest hour.
A recent podcast (Scottish Watches, with Adam Craniotes) there was a nice side discussion of the nature of men’s watches. “Metal Barbie dolls,” to paraphrase, and it did inspire a thought or two.
This is the watch on my wrist now – Seiko SBGX117, a Grand Seiko quartz diver made between 2014 and 2017. 42mm, steel, titanium hands, thermocompensated quartz movement accurate to ten seconds per year. List price was about 4k USD new, I got it used in a trade for about about 2500.
If you’re curious, Ariel wrote a nice review here on ABtW.
I’ve also been enjoying this Scurfa recently too:
And of course my even-more-accurate 9F GMT:
For men in the western culture milieu, the only socially acceptable forms of jewelry are the watch and wedding band. There are few exceptions, of course; I’m speaking in generalities here for cishet.
And we’re not allowed to ever, ever call them ‘pretty.’ It has to be masculine, engineering-focused, etc. All gendered language. Yet all the while, we’re always looking for beauty, even if we call it proportion, ratio, finishing and craftwork.
We are, however, allowed to Seek Truth, and for that quartz is king. There’s a wonderful well of difficult problems, interesting physics and obsessive engineering required to make a really accurate timekeeper, and these Seiko 9F movements are among the finest ever made. For that matter, I have a lot of meetings these days, often over video with remote participants, so it is super useful to know the precise time.
So watches are how we thread the needle of societal expectations. We can enjoy manly bonding over our shiny jewelry while still performing masculinity. And hey, it really does come in handy to know what time it is with a watch that can get wet, handle rough treatment, lasts a decade or more and doesn’t require charging every day or two and setting every week.
Just wanted to post a brief update – I’m done photographing the watches and will be doing photo edits and starting the writing. It took much longer than planned:
Anyway… it’s in progress!
Yeah, plural! Review here and the time bum. Gorgeous, the new dial is…
That’s on a Scurfa strap which suits it well.
Older daughter’s school has printers too and a high power laser cutter. Damn.
And my Scurfa arrived! More to come on this.
As noted in Coming soon to a WIS near you and Grand Seiko 9F GMTs are out!, I can’t wait to see these. As Seiko does press events, pictures and details are emerging, here’s what I’ve found so far with links to source materials.
Some gorgeous pictures in there! And the lime looks excellent. Interesting to see it next to the (unaffordable, yet grail) Blancpain Bathyscaphe 38mm.
From the Japanese-language oomiya blog (I recommend using the translate feature in Chrome):
Just gorgeous. On reflection, it’s hella expensive, I mean $3,500 for a quartz watch? For half that, you can get a superbly-made Citizen with solar power and perpetual calendar, with the same intrinsic 5 seconds per year accuracy.
And the lugs are, as confirmed by yonsson, a terrible 19mm. Some 20mm straps will fit, but a bad design decision.
A great pity that the green dial version forgoes the lume: (another yonsson picture)
Desaturated orange Barton band – I love this color.
A friend asked me for a few sources of watch straps, so I’ll start a page here that I can share around. I’ve bought a lot of straps and bracelets, probably in the 1-2k range if you count watch-specific bracelets, so I’ve got lots of opinions to share. Here’s a quarter of my current collection:
But first, Paul’s Rules for Strap Acquisition:
… buy the bracelet. Often, watches are offered with and without the bracelet. Buy the bracelet when you get the watch even if you don’t want it immediately.
Because bracelets are specific to a watch. In particular, the end links are nearly impossible to fit and/or find properly. So buy the bracelet; swap it it out if you want but I’ve never once regretted having it. They cost a lot more if you return post-sale to buy the bracelet by itself. For example, IWC wants over $1,000 for an Aquatimer bracelet.
Similarly, if the factory strap has a ratcheting/extensible clasp, buy it. See that post for reasons and details.
… buy the factory leather straps. They’re OEM’d anyway, the markup is severe, and since leather only lasts a year or two, your value for money is poor. Buy a fancy custom one from ABP or Camille Fournet if you want, it’s still a better deal.
If the factory buckle or deployant is to your liking, you can often buy them separately and they are easily fitted to a strap.
… buy watches with non-standard lugs. Oris Aquis, IWC Aquatimer, VC Overseas, Tudor North Flag… all great watches, but finding third-party straps is at least a hundred times more difficult.
This page will probably need lots of expansion and edits; for now I’ll sketch out the major topics and links for later. Leave a comment if you want, it’d be good to know which pieces are useful to know more about.
I was going to write this up, but this Barton page does it better. Read that and come back. Covers sizing, how to fit a NATO, wrist size and more.
If you want more opinions, there’s a WUS forum dedicated to straps and bracelets that is a deep well of knowledge.
For leather, I recommend kangaroo for versatile/comfort, Cordovan for sheer beauty, and calf for comfort/price. You can get real alligator, but it’s import/export controlled, meaning that you need paperwork to sell a watch with a gator strap, and the one I bought isn’t all that awesome.
Erika’s Originals MN straps are like $80 each, but the backstory (French parachutists, see this story) and actual straps are very cool. I have two, and they work on lugs from 20 to 22mm and are pretty good especially in hot weather.
Also cool is the Hirsch Robby sailcloth. It’s $110, very expensive for a rubber strap, but the build detailing and comfort are worth it to me. Instead of a slab of rubber, it’s articulated and vented, so you can wear it with less induced sweat when the weather heats up:
the Robby is my pick for best rubber strap I’ve had.
I think these were introduced with the JLC Navy Seals or maybe the Luminox 3000 series. It’s made a like a bracelet, with individual links, but instead of metal the links are plastic and thus very lightweight. They’re a bit pricy at $35, but I quite like mine. Also note that you can use an Exacto to fit them into smaller lugs, I shaved a 22mm into a 20mm and it looks okay. Get them on Amazon.
You don’t need to spend a hundred bucks to get a great strap, let’s talk both vendors and materials for straps that you can afford and stock up.
Silicone rubber – undoubtedly the Barton 2-piece silicone:
This are about 1/9th the price of the Robby and have quick release, it shouldn’t surprise you that I have quite a few of these!
I used to buy these from Timefactors and had quite a few:
However, they no longer list them, so now I buy and recommend the Barton 2-piece quick release, which I get via Amazon. Well made and I love the quick-release straps.
So many options! Here, my favorite vendors are:
These are different. They fit literally any wrist, since the tang goes into the weave, and they’re like eight bucks each on cheapestnatostraps.com. I bought a fistful and promptly lost them all to my daughter who loves being able to color-match any outfit in a few seconds. Good in warm weather, waterproof but can poke your skin a bit with loose plastic and they definitely look a bit cheap.
As I said above, this is hard. Here’s the only time I’ve managed good end-link fitment:
That’s a cheap ($20ish) 3-link Oyster with hollow end links, that I painstakingly hand-filed to fit the watch. It took a couple of hours, and the bracelet is still uncomfortable with sharp edges. So yeah, but the factory if you possibly can.
For bracelets, start at Strapcode. Good stuff. I’ll have more posts on bracelets since there’s lots of depth here to explore.
I’ve seen this reposed a couple of times in various forums, and words just fail me. I have to assume that this was from the 1970s. Could be worse if so: