Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bulova Accutron Farnsworth Automatic Chronograph 63B019

Today I'm wearing my new Bulova chronograph for the first time. I actually just discovered that Citizen now owns Bulova and all their brands, including Accutron of course. I'm not sure if this watch was designed and created before or after the Citizen acquisition, nor am I sure if it matters. It's a nice watch, comparable to my Accutron VX-200 in many ways. Build quality seems as good or better overall, but the bracelet on the Farnswoth is not as complex and possibly not as heavy. Although the chronograph is all highly polished stainless steel and very fancy, it's still built like a tank. The crowns and chronograph pushers have knurling on them, but it's just for looks as none of them screw down. Water resistance is rated at fifty meters. The movement is probably the most unique feature to me. Unlike many chronographs that use the Valjoux 7750 or slightly rarer 7753, this one uses a Valgranges A07.211 which appears to have been designed with larger watches specifically in mind. In this case (no pun intended) the watch is a substantial 44mm wide and 14mm thick with lugs that appear to be 24mm wide. It has a similar self-winding mechanism to the 7750 so it also has the characteristic "wobble" if you get the rotor freewheeling with the movement of your wrist. The dial is very attractive, with a subtle raised pattern, black chrome hands and markers and red accents. So far I really have no complaints. I suppose it would be nice if it had a non-reflective coating on the flat sapphire crystal, but sometimes those are more trouble than they're worth (especially if done with poor quality control.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Bathing Ape Type 1 Clear Shark Bapex

Today I'm wearing one of my most unique watches, but I'm sure some people won't like it at all. It's out of the ordinary for me to pick a watch purely for its style and ignore its function (or lack thereof.) I suppose as I've expanded my collection I realize that all watches are some combination of art and engineering, so just because this watch falls heavily on the "pop art" end of the scale, it doesn't make it any less interesting. This is a watch from A Bathing Ape (often just shortened to BAPE) and was purchased via eBay from a seller in Japan. BAPE merchandise is notoriously expensive, and because of this counterfeits are common (especially on eBay, and especially of BAPE G-Shocks.) This one is authentic, although it was still less expensive than many of the BAPE G-Shocks that I've seen. The watches in this collection were released last August and included gray, navy and red varieties. I've always been a fan of camouflage when paired with bright colors, so the red watch was an easy choice. BAPE has had a number of watches in the past labeled "BAPEX" as a play on "Rolex", and they tend to be inspired by the shape of the Rolex Submariner, Explorer, Daytona or other models. They're certainly never up to Rolex quality, but in the case of this watch it would never been mistaken for a fake Rolex as its constructed entirely of clear plastic. I believe this style was initially popularized by ToyWatch, a brand who have seemed to move on to ceramic-look watches recently. The design on the dial of my Bapex is inspired by the BAPE Shark Hoodies from a few years ago. The design of those hoodies seems to be inspired by WWII fighter planes. The "WGM" on the dial stands for "World Gone Mad" which I suppose is one of their many slogans, like "Made by Human" and "Ape Shall Never Kill Ape" (which is actually stamped on the inside links of the bracelet clasp.) The watch isn't a bad size, about 40mm across with 18mm lugs, but any smaller and I would be disappointed. Also, because this was designed for the Japanese market, it just barely fits around my 6.5" wrist, so no sizing or adjusting was necessary. I think it's a unique and great-looking watch and I'm very happy to have it in my collection.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Casio G-Shock X DGK GX56DGK-1

Today I have my first purple watch. I considered getting a purple G-Shock for a while, but when I saw this 6900 in person I thought it was a little girly. Then I saw this 6900 BAPE collaboration online and thought it might be better, but I was not willing to pay BAPE prices (retail or secondary market) just to have a purple watch. When I first heard about the DGK collaboration I wasn't really excited as I wasn't happy with the previous purple model I saw in person, and with it being limited I envisioned another Dee & Ricky situation, where the $130 watch quickly became a $400 watch. I missed that model at retail and have been kind of kicking my myself about it, so when I saw the GX56DGK-1 in person and actually really liked the purple and rest of the design, I had to buy it (well, 3, actually.) One of them I put on eBay, one I'll keep and one I ended up trading for another limited edition (which I will post after I receive it.) This is actually my third GX56, although I haven't gotten around to posting about the other ones. I think the GX56 is an inspired design. It has a shape that seems to be inspired by the original G-Shock, but increased to giant size (as is the current style.) It's like a classic G-Shock on steroids. It even has a similar display to the 5000/5600, but now instead of being surrounded by printing on the crystal, you can see through to a new shock absorbing structure which looks as tough as I'm sure it is. It supposedly has the same shock-resistance as other G-Shocks (no wild claims have been made, as far as I know) but now that shock absorber is part of the design and on display for the world to see. I wasn't really familiar with DGK and Stevie Williams before, but they seem like a pretty cool company and I do like a number of their designs. The color scheme and DGK branding on the GX56 works well and I think compliments the sort of industrial, gritty design of the watch. Now I see there are a number of new purple-accented G-Shocks being released, including a Frogman, so I have to think DGK was slightly ahead of their time with their color scheme. I think DGK did a great job and I would like to see another collaboration with them in the future.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pirelli P-Zero Tempo Automatic

I actually got this watch close to two years ago, just never blogged about it. I've always been into cars, even before I was into watches, and a while ago I had a couple MOMO Design watches, but I found them to be too small so I sold them. Since then I'd always been on the lookout for a watch with ties to the car or motorsports world, so even though I lusted after a TAG Heuer Monaco and had an interest in some of the racier Orient watches I hadn't decided on anything. When I saw the Pirelli automatic on sale I couldn't resist. (I actually bought a Pirelli chronograph just before this watch and will post about it in the future.) It appeared that the current Pirelli watch collection was being closed out around that time, so there were some sales around, including this one and the automatic chronograph. This automatic is very nice: Swiss made, ETA 2836-2 movement, anti-reflective coatings on both sides of the crystal and, of course, the signature Pirelli tire tread strap. All of that generation of Pirelli watches were manufactured by Philip Watch which is a brand owned by Morellato & Sector S.p.a, who also make Sector watches. Quality is as expected in a Swiss made watch, and the various materials and surfaces mate almost seamlessly. The look is certainly sleek and European, but also industrial, and reminiscent of the machined and polished surfaces found inside a car engine. The case is not quite 40mm wide, but it wears a little larger because it is long. The caseback says "titanium and stainless steel", but I'm not sure which parts are which. I suspect most of the case is titanium as the watch is relatively light. The dial is simple and legible and also seems to mimic the dials on auto gauges. There is no shortage of Pirelli branding on the watch. I counted eight logos or text on the watch, including the rather clever touch of engraving "Pirelli" around the crown which allows the crown to be a straight cylinder but still have a surface you can grasp for winding and setting. I'm very happy with my Pirelli watch and I would consider getting another one in the future.