Friday, May 30, 2008

Timex 20th Anniversary Ironman Triathlon 5H941

Today I'm wearing my Timex 20th Anniversary Ironman Triathlon watch. This watch commemorates the 20the anniversary of the Ironman Triathlon watches. I have one of the earlier models as well, and this one is almost a dead ringer for it, with the exception of the LCD display. As you can see in the photos (especially the side-by-side one) the new Ironman has a very different display than the old one. Not only is everything about the numbers different, but the color is unlike any LCD I've ever seen. While the old LCD was a standard grey color, this new one looks green if you view it from straight ahead, but various shades of brown, grey and purple from an angle. You can definitely see this in the photos below. I still like the watch but it's a bit disappointing that Timex couldn't be bothered to make a display that was more faithful to the original. I don't know if the new display was different by design, or if it was just a cheaper alternative to use this display than produce a duplicate of the old one, but I have a feeling it was the latter. Perhaps if the rest of the watch wasn't such a good replica then the new display wouldn't be so jarring. I guess the upside is these things are dirt cheap, seem to work well and will probably hold up almost as well as my original Ironman. Both the old and new versions are also lighter and lower profile than any of my G-Shocks, so they would probably be good watches to wear for sports or any other time you want your watch to be as unobtrusive as possible, which I guess was the point of these in the first place.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hamilton Khaki Military-Style Handwind

Today I'm wearing my Hamilton Khaki manual-winding watch. It's probably from the 1980s (although I suppose it could be older. The only number on the back is "9219".) and is styled after the watches Hamilton was making for the U.S. military at the time. Actually, it's more than "styled after", it's the same watch, but with different markings on the dial and caseback. Hamilton also produced the same watch for L.L. Bean which just added the company's name to the dial. All of these versions share the same stainless steel case and back, acrylic crystal, lume-filled hour and minute hands (the lume falling out as you see on my hour hand is pretty common) and the dials all share the same lume pips and 12- and 24-hour markings. I think some of the earlier military watches had fixed bars instead of spring bars which is more durable but necessitates the use of open-end or pass-through straps. I believe later ones had spring bars as you seen here. Here's another pic of an early '80s military version along with measurements that match mine. I don't believe this watch has ever been serviced, but it's still keeping excellent time, to seconds a day. I purchased it through eBay for a lot less than an actual military Hamilton would have cost. As you see in my pictures, I have a pretty unique band on mine. This band was my grandfather's and I think he used it during WWII when he was in the Marines stationed in the the Pacific. I have seen other bands similar to this used by other soldiers stationed in places where leather straps would quickly deteriorate. As I don't know specifically when this was made, it is possible that this band was purchased after he returned from WWII. It's actually a little narrow for this watch which is small by modern standards as well. It's probably not a watch I will wear often, but unless I get a new suitable watch to which I can attach the vintage band I will probably keep both of these together.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Casio G-Shock G-9100TC-2 Gulfman

My selection today is my "Triple Crown of Surfing" G-Shock Gulfman. You might recognize the logo from my other "Triple Crown" watches. The orignal Gulfman models came out in 1999 and in 2007 Casio revived the name for this new line of Gulfmen. The new ones do have a tide graph and moon phase indicator like the old Gulfman, and the design is similar, but the two version don't share any parts. I mainly got this new one because it's a unique color and more limited that the new standard Gulfmen. Casio has released a Dawn Black Gulfman as well as an Ocean Gray Multiband Gulfman with radio-controlled atomic timekeeping, but both are significantly more expensive than the Triple Crown version. It's an interesting looking watch with a number of unique details, like the titanium caseback and textured bezel ring, as well as the "Dual Illumination" which you can see in the last photograph. The display is similar in size to the new Mudman models, but the overall size of the watch is smaller and thinner. I think it's a great watch for summer and look forward to wearing it in the future.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Invicta 9937 Swiss Automatic Diver

Today I'm wearing my Invicta 9937. You might recall I mentioned this one when I wore my modified 9937. The 9937 was created at least partially at the request of members of the Invicta Forum. Invicta had another Submariner-style watch called the 8926 and many people bought and loved it, but also knew it could be so much better with just a few tweaks. The biggest thing was the Japanese Miyota movement on the 8926: some people wouldn't even consider buying the watch because it didn't have a Swiss movement. So Invicta responded with the 9937 which you can read about here. On later models the "Swiss" was removed from the dial and replaced with "Swiss Mov't" in small text at the bottom of the dial. The reason for this is the specific requirements the Swiss government have for calling a watch "Swiss Made". It is generally agreed that this watch is not "Swiss Made" even though the "Swiss" on the dial seems to indicate otherwise. While it came on a high quality bracelet, I typically wear it on the black leather band in the pics. You can see the original bracelet and nice packaging at the review link. I've seen a number of Invictas that have caught my eye, but the only two I own are 9937s. I could see myself owning other Invictas in the future, but the combination of great looks, high quality and Swiss reliability make the 9937 a very attractive package that was impossible for me to pass up.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hamilton Khaki Aviation Chrono Automatic

Today I'm wearing my Hamilton Khaki Aviation Chrono Automatic. I think this might be my favorite Hamilton so far. It's big (44mm with a 22mm wide strap) but certainly not the biggest watch on the market nor even in my collection. It has a heft to it that just feels right. I think the only thing that might make it better is the factory stainless steel bracelet but I really love the leather strap, so maybe it wouldn't. One complaint was the watch didn't come with a deployant (and Hamilton deployants, bracelets and straps are notoriously hard to buy on their own) so I used the deployant that came with my Field Chrono since I usually wear that on an aftermarket strap. I have no idea why some models come with deployants and others don't, it certainly doesn't seem to go by price, series nor anything else I can think of. On to the dial, which I think is one of my very best looking dials. The sunburst-patterned silver dial with dark grey subdials and printing has just the right amount of extra details, pips, circles, etc. and the delicate but legible hands reach perfectly out to the minute and tachymeter tracks. The unique symmetrical subdial arrangement is a function of the movement, a Valjoux 7753, which isn't as common as the Valjoux 7750 (which is found in my Field Chrono and dozens of other models.) It's a great watch and has excellent timekeeping, classic good looks, great size and I really love wearing it. I don't think I could ask for anything else.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Casio G-Shock DW-5600CF-3JF

Today I'm wearing one of my first 5600s, a green camouflage DW-5600 from the G-Python series. I have an affinity for camo, as well as bright orange (no, I'm not a hunter) so when I saw this watch I had to buy it. The reverse display seem s to have an olive background that makes it hard to read even in moderate light without activating the backlight. Not that I really care, I wear it mainly because of the way it looks. This watch will never see any rough treatment either because the camo pattern is not all the way through the plastic (as it is on the Jam'in Color watches,) it is more like a coating applied to it, so there is a chance of damaging it or having it wear or peel off. As with most of these limited series, I would love to pick up some other variations, and with these being camouflage, that goes double.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vintage Orient Automatic (Green and Gold Dial)

Today I'm wearing my other vintage Orient automatic. It's similar in many ways to my blue-dialed vintage Orient as they are both from the late 1970s or early 1980s, both contain the 469 movement, both have silver day and date wheels and both have funky stainless steel cases. I also don't know any more about this one than the other. This Orient has a neat faceted crystal that is hard to capture in photographs. The outside of the crystal is flat, but the inside has facets that creat a tic-tac-toe pattern which is pretty neat looking. I also really like the green and gold sunburst dial with the textured gold ring around the outside. That combined with the gold Orient crest and hour markers gives it a very nice look. I receieved this on a Citizen bracelet from the same time period that works well with the watch and I see no reason to change it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Vintage Hamilton Thin-O-Matic Automatic

Today I'm wearing a watch that was given to my grandfather by the Humble Oil Company (which later became part of Esso which became Exxon.) It was a gift for 30 years of service as a tanker truck driver. Hamiltons were popular "presentation" gifts at the time, often engraved on the back as this one was. I don't know what movement this watch contains as I've never opened it, but it is a Swiss automatic movement so it was purchased from some other company (possibly Buren, Certina or others) and imported for use in this watch. Hamilton never produced any automatic movements in the U.S. It has a solid 14k gold case and very attractive dial with applied gold markers and numerals. It's on a new lizard strap, and might have been serviced sometime in the last ten years or so, but hasn't been polished or restored in any way. This watch has seen very little use in its lifetime as my grandfather probably felt it was too good to wear very frequently. I'm not big on family heirlooms, but this is one watch that will stay in my collection for as long as possible.