Wednesday, June 25, 2014

High Tech in Unexpected Places

I had thought about gettting a smartwatch after seeing the Motorola Moto360 prototypes. They are round and look like a watch. Plus it's really what your would call wearable technology. I came across an article in the Economist that proposes high-end mechanical watches are actually more innovative and advanced than anything digital on offer. The prices for these watches are high but there is already a trickle-down effect. For example Omega is workign to make all of its in-house movement anti-magnetic by using silicon and other parts. Omega is a Swatch brand and don't be surprised to see this and other technologies incorporated by Swatch's "mid-level" brands soon. Have a look at the article and let's hear what you think.

Economist Article link.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Breathalyzer Watch

I came across an interesting watch a few weeks back and had to post about it. This is the Kisai Intoxicated LCD watch by Tokyoflash Japan.  By the name you would think it gets you drunk through some sort of watch-to-skin osmosis. A fascinating concept but probably immoral and illegal.  However, it does function as a breathalyzer.

A breathalyzer is a device for estimating blood alcohol content from a sample of your breath. According to their website:

" the sensor cap and press the alcohol button to start the test. Once the sensor has warmed up, blow for 5 seconds and wait for the watch to give an on screen reading. The display on the right of the screen shows 10 different levels of blood alcohol content. A green display showing 0.00‰ means you're sober. A yellow display showing between 0.41 and 0.60‰ means you're buzzing. A red display showing 0.61‰ or above means you're drunk!"

Not only will it tell you how intoxicated you may be (read the fine print, it does not imply that it is accurate, so don't try to use results in court), but it does come with a drinking game!  This is definitely a device for entertainment, though it does tell time in a vaguely legible manner. But is the $149 price tag worth it?

 Can you easily tell the time on this watch? What if you had a few drinks?

See here for more details:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How Much Swissness is Swiss Made?

Apparently it is now 60%. That doesn't sound like much but previously it was 50%...The Swiss parliament passed a law that "...sets at 60% the minimum rate of Swiss value for industrial products."

This is how so many watches can claim to be Swiss Made but really aren't that Swiss. They are like swiss cheese but with only half the holes (well maybe not) but you get the point. This is how companies like Fossil can use Swiss movements and a few more parts, and call it a Swiss watch. It's the same with hundreds of other brands. They need the "Swiss" brand name to give their products some legitimacy. These are perfectly fine watches but then they would not be able to charge a premium (the Fossil Swiss line watches retail for upwards of $900)  if they used Chinese or Japanese movements (again these are not bad, they just don't have the "name").

That's why when you make an investment in a Swiss watch (or any watch for that matter), make sure you research it and find out where it's made and if it's actually a Swiss-based company. Good sources are the forums at Watchuseek and TimeZone. Just ask away. I got a lot of good help and advice on these sites.

How Watches Are Made

Well, how Breitlings are made. This was forwarded to me by a Breitling owner. He has the first Chronomat with the in-house Caliber B01 movement.

Brietling Caliber B01

I think since Swatch announced it would not provide movements carte blanche anymore outside the Swatch Group, it has made many companies rediscover watchmaking. And that is a good thing, especially for a company like Breitling which makes expensive timepieces and touts it's aviation watch instrument history.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

How Many Watches Do You Wear?

Have you ever seen pitctures of guys wearing a watch on each wrist, or more? I always thought it was an odd way of showing off your watches. Plus it looks goofy. But to each his own.

I was talking with a co-worker recently about watches and what might make a goo Father's Day gift. I recommended a few brands based on the father's likes, etc. and offered to bring a few into work so they could get a feel for what these brands were like.

I don;t like carrying watches in bags or anything for a perverse fear of them being destroyed - like in a magic trick gone horribly wrong. So I decided to wear one on each wrist and and made sure they were comfortably under my dress shirt sleeves to avoid being "seen". 

It was an odd feeling having one strapped to my right wrist. It was easy to tell the time but it would have been funny to see my try to wind it, much less change the time and date. As a transport method, this was probably the best way to move them and we were able to review the watches. But I would never do this with a short-sleeved shirt. Maybe.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kids and Watches

Watches are something that can be collected, shared with, and passed down to your children - if they are interested. But you have to get them interested first. I am working on this with my son, getting him interested in my watches. A little while back I thought he was about ready for a "nice" watch - I was looking for a mechanical watch, and found a Seiko automatic and an Armitron automatic for under $50.

I was going to go for the Seiko because of their quality and reputation when he received a gift from family overseas - a Russian-made Vostok Commander manual watch. This was perfect. It is a nicely made watch, unique and is not quartz (Note: I do like and have quartz sports watches, but prefer mechanical for dress watches). It does not have a transparent rear case so he can't see the movement but he loves it nonetheless. I let him play with my automatic watches and see how they work for this. He winds it everyday before going to school and has so far been taking good care of it.

Unfortunately this is about the only way to get your kids into watches unless they fall into it on their own later in life (like I did). I read an article over at Watches by SJX that local school children visited the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture in Switzerland to learn about watchmaking and participate in some of the process. What a great field trip! It's too bad that the watch industry is practically non-existent in the US - I think this would be a great visit for anyone. Until then, get your kids involved in a great activity.

Jaeger Lecoultre Manufacture
Taken from The Telegraph: Watchmaking in the 21st century

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wrist Watches - New Blog

I admit it. I like watches. A lot. But until recently I haven't really paid attention to the issues, so to speak, within the watch world.  Like anything else, there are various groups and schools of thought, etc. that make it interesting.  One is mechanical vs quartz. I have a preference but it depends on the situation. I will go more in to this later.  I picked "Mechanical Time" as the title because all the clever/cool names I wanted were already taken.

If you are starting to buy a first "real" watch or just collecting, go with what you like.  But do your research. I thought I knew what I wanted until I started reading watch blogs, magazines, and various watch websites.  It is an eye-opener.  There is a whole lot to choose from and in every price range you can find something great.

I hope to offer some useful advice, perhaps review some timepieces and offer opinions based on my experiences. Thanks for coming by.


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