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Watches

Watch Review: Wilbur 2020 Automatic Launch Edition JWA

Jason Wilbur is the talented designer behind the still-fresh Wilbur Co. watch brand. He is based right here in Southern California and has a background in both graphic and industrial automotive design. Most watch collectors know Wilbur’s work in the form of the iconic Tread 1, a luxury belt-driven watch produced by the American brand Devon. Founded by Scott Devon, the Devon brand made a name for itself with the over-the-top design of the Tread 1 and Tread 2 watches, as well as the fact that they were powered by small one-step motors and used an integrated circuit board. These are electronic elements, and they proved quite controversial in the market of mostly mechanical watches. Devon is actually going to make a re-appearance in 2021, but back in 2020, Jason Wilbur launched his own brand — with an entirely mechanical watch.
Professionally, Jason Wilbur has more or less stopped designing for third parties and is now all about the Wilbur brand. His particular form of optimistic pop-mach..

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Watches

Watch Review: Seiko Prospex LX SNR031 Titanium Diver

Judging by how much wrist time this Seiko Prospex LX watch has been getting on my wrist, I think it is safe to say that I’m pretty excited about this particular high-end dive timepiece. Seiko produces so many diver’s watches, at so many price points — that doesn’t include Grand Seiko diver’s watches — that it continues to be a collector’s challenge simply to keep track of them. Seiko doesn’t make things easy by supplementing its core collection watches with limited editions that arrive with different price points. Wading through the waters of Seiko divers is something even we at aBlogtoWatch get confused by, but when the right watch dons our wrist and makes us smile, we thank Seiko for all their experimentation and variety. This leads me to start my review of the Seiko Prospex LX SNR031 watch, which is near the top of what a Seiko-branded watch will cost you (but not the top for sure). In the United States, the watch is called the SNR031, but interesting enough in Japan and perhaps oth..

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Watches

Watch Review: HAIM Legacy Chronograph

You can imagine my surprise when I found out that the HAIM watch I was being offered to review had nothing to do with the all-woman rock and roll band from a few years back. In all seriousness, though, HAIM is a new brand to me and a new one to the market at large. It released its first and currently only offering back in September of 2020. The HAIM Legacy Chronograph is a vintage-inspired bi-compax watch. The question, however, is: In a market in which the “vintage-inspired” moniker is becoming increasingly commonplace, will a newcomer like HAIM be able to carve out its own little piece of the pie? We shall see.
That said, the HAIM Legacy Chronograph was born out of classic aesthetic. It is a simple two-subdial chronograph featuring both a tachymeter and pulsometer scale on the dial. This alludes to the ways watches were put to use in years prior. Doctors, pilots, race car drivers, and everyone in between used a wristwatch as an integral part of their gear. The inclusion of both on o..

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Watches

Watch Review: Citizen CZ Smart With Google Wear OS

In 2020, Japan’s Citizen watch company officially entered the smartwatch race with the release of the Citizen CZ Smart collection of products powered by Google’s Wear OS (operating system). Citizen has actually been early to the smart(er) watch game, and back in 2012, it debuted the Citizen Proximity (aBlogtoWatch review here) watch that attempted to meld the world of Citizen’s light-powered Eco-Drive watches with a Bluetooth-enabled phone connection that offered on-dial phone notifications. The CZ Smart is however an entirely different product.
In this smartwatch-maker role, Citizen takes a backseat in some areas that it has traditional expertise, and offers what it knows best (case and hardware design) in others. Competitor Casio has taken a similar role when offering its own Google Wear OS-powered watches where has no choice but to leave much of the watch’s operation to the core operating system and try to design a proper timepiece around it. Casio and Citizen have taken very diffe..

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Watches

Watch Review: Luminox Automatic Sport Timer 0924

The new Automatic Sport Timer collection from Luminox is a handsome all-purpose durable sporty timepiece with an automatic Swiss Made movement and the benefit of tritium gas tube illumination. It also happens to be a retro-revival of one of the first Luminox watches from back in 1990. Understanding a bit of the lineage of this timepiece will help add some important flavor to what is otherwise a more than decent daily wear.
Luminox is now Swiss-owned, but it was actually started as an American company. At the time of Luminox’s launch in 1989, watches from Swiss Traser were being sold in the U.S. and benefited by being the in-house brand of MB Microtec, which produces self-illuminating tritium gas tubes in Switzerland. Luminox saw a marketing opportunity to celebrate the larger appeal of this technology and gained a lot of popularity with its “Navy SEALs” collection watches sold in popular retail outlets such as the Sharper Image.
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Barry Cohen – who founded Luminox ..

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Watches

Watch Review: Mitch Mason Chronicle

Singapore-based brand Mitch Mason Watches says that its aim is “to bring timeless and enduring timepieces to your wrist through vintage-inspired designs refreshed with contemporary purpose.” The first result of that pursuit can be seen in the Chronicle watch, which it says is inspired by military field watches of World War II. Some of that vintage field watch DNA is present, but the use of colors, lume, and case finishing is more contemporary, making it not instantly recognizable as the field watches you are probably used to seeing.
One thing that is vintage-inspired about the Chronicle is its size. At 36.5mm-wide, it occupies a size range that is more difficult to find in the modern watch landscape, especially from affordable microbrands. People who prefer vintage sizing and want a mechanical movement are often stuck shopping for actual vintage watches, so this will be a breath of fresh air for them. I prefer bigger watches than this, myself, but I felt more comfortable wearing the C..

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Watches

Watch Review: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute To 3705”

The original IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik Ref. 3705 performed like a true stealthy pilot’s watch: it flew right under the radar of watch enthusiasts the world over. After a few years of just a 1,000 examples navigating the IWC catalogues, the 3705 disappeared on the horizons, only to now re-appear in the form of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute To 3705.” And that’s the watch we have in for review for you today.
What Was The IWC Reference 3705? The IWC Reference 3705 was IWC’s first Pilot’s Watch in black zirconium oxide ceramic. That novel and early use of black ceramic, and the fact that it has gone under without anyone really recognizing it for what it was, render it quite a fascinating watch. Its stainless steel equivalent, the IWC Ref. 3706 (to which our Bilal Khan addressed a beautiful obituary here) and its subsequent iterations have carried on the compact pilot’s watch theme, but there had not been a true continuation of the black Fliegerchronograph until ju..

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Watches

Watch Review: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition ‘Tribute To 3705’

The original IWC Fliegerchronograph Keramik Ref. 3705 performed like a true stealthy pilot’s watch: It flew right under the radar of watch enthusiasts the world over. After a few years of just 1,000 examples navigating the IWC catalogs, the 3705 disappeared on the horizons, only to now re-appear in the form of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “Tribute To 3705.” And that’s the watch we have in for review for you today.
What Was The IWC Reference 3705? The IWC Reference 3705 was IWC’s first Pilot’s Watch in black zirconium oxide ceramic. That novel and early use of black ceramic, and the fact that it has gone under without anyone really recognizing it for what it was, renders it quite a fascinating watch. Its stainless steel equivalent, the IWC Ref. 3706 (to which our Bilal Khan addressed a beautiful obituary here) and its subsequent iterations have carried on the compact pilot’s watch theme, but there had not been a true continuation of the black Fliegerchronograph until just ..

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Watches

Watch Review: Patton Hyperbare 1000M Liquid-Filled Diver

One of the things that brings me a lot of joy as I approach nearly 15 years of writing about watches is when something from the past comes back to greet me. Such is the case with the watch brand Patton, which I originally covered on aBlogtoWatch back in 2011. At the time, the brand was fresh and I wrote about its Hyperbare model — a relatively attractive macho diver’s watch that features a dial filled with liquid. Now, in 2021, I have the Hyperbare 1000M watch to review — never something I would have imagined, as the brand was shut down for at least a while.
Some watch brands have that kind of resiliency. Even from deep hibernation, they can return with new energy and gusto. New leaders at Patton are trying to bring the brand back, and I think the effort has some merit. New models are probably on the horizon, but it’s worth checking out these original Hyperbare models that are still available today.
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The Patton brand is, indeed, related to the American four-star Ge..

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Watches

Watch Review: Armand Nicolet J09-3 GMT

This watch grew on me over time, but for some reason I can’t think of a decent nickname for it. I challenge you, dear reader, to imagine a proper title for this Armand Nicolet J09-3 GMT timepiece, with its even sexier “A663AAA-BU-MA4660A” reference number. That just rolls off the tongue. The boys and girls at Armand Nicolet have a sense of humor, at least. Each new collection I view from the brand seems like a combination of something we very much know with something we have never seen before, a dedication I admire.
The J09-3 collection is actually just the name of this case style; the GMT is just one subfamily. As of writing, across the Armand J09-3 family, there are 36 different references. This includes three movement families, which include a Swiss Made automatic three-hand with date movement, GMT (as reviewed), and a mechanical chronograph. The three-hand model is the most conservative, from afar, and the chronograph is probably the sportiest of the J09-3 pieces. The GMT feels th..