Sunday, December 03, 2006

Vixa Slideshow

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Croton "Noriega"

I guess I am a ShopNBC shopper as I am almost ashamed to say I’ve purchased several watches from them. One, which I have been pleasantly surprised with, is the Croton 200 M 2836 in a dial shade Croton calls “Pineapple: I have dubbed this watch the Noriega. While the specs would suggest this is a diver, truth be told it is a dressy diver or maybe even a “bling” diver. Since I am at a best a sport swimmer and by no means a diver, this turn of events suits me well and makes the watch doubly attractive in a way I didn’t
really foresee.

I ordered the Noriega quite some time after its initial offering although I did see it presented on TV with David Mermelstein and the much beloved Jim Skelton. Despite the haranguing and absurd yelling during the presentation, I was intrigued by the large auto diver with Swiss Movement even though it is not Swiss Made. The price was $299 and though mildly enticed, I passed on the watch. Shortly thereafter, a member at the watch forum I favor (JeffR and 3T) started posting his pineapple dialed Croton. I thought it looked pretty damn nice and had second thoughts about passing on the watch. What the Hell I thought, but KABOOM SOLD OUT!!

Fast forward a couple weeks and the pineapple-dialed model is again available at a reduced price, I’ve got a Slop code, and my birthday is fast approaching. Since I knew this year wasn’t going to be the grail, I thought I would pull the trigger. I have to say I am glad I did.

The Specs (courtesy to professionals at ShopNBC)

This watch has a round stainless steel case with a unidirectional rotating bezel and an exhibition back. The textured dial houses silver-tone luminous index markers at the 3:00, 6:00, 9:00 and 12:00 positions. The day/date window is located at the 4:00 position. Silver-tone luminous dot markers indicate all remaining hour positions. The logo, "CROTON", and "AUTOMATIC" are displayed below the 12:00 position. "20ATM-660FT", and "WATER RESISTANT" are written
above the 6:00 position. This timepiece has a silver-tone luminous hour and minute hands, and a silver-tone second hand.
· Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
· Movement: Swiss automatic ETA 2836 movement
· Crystal: Sapphire crystal
· Crown: Screw down crown
· Clasp: Deployant clasp with push button release
· Bracelet Measurements: 8-3/8"L x 15/16"W or 23mm
· Case Measurements: 1-13/16" or 46mm
· Water Resistance: 20 ATM - 200 meters - 660 ft
· Model Numbers:Grey: CA301075SSGYPineapple: CA301075SSYLSilver-tone: CA301075SSSL
· Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty provided by Croton

Well this is a no brainer from the service aspect as Croton offers a limited lifetime warranty and enjoys an outstanding reputation for their high level of customer service. In that regard, I felt confident even purchasing from Slop. I am pretty certain I’ll never need to go that route as the Noriega proves to be a solid well built watch with some great points and few real knocks if you like the styling and accept the watch for what it is. Moreover, it is large and in charge with an impressive case some 46mm in diameter.

I have a couple other large watches, namely my Vixa which is reviewed in another post here, and a Glycine Incursore. Those watches are 48mm and 46mm in diameter respectively. In addition to its girth, the Noriega is thick at nearly 15mm. The lugs on the watch are sculpted elegantly and curve downward which aid comfort with such a massive case. The 316L is high polished and finished nicely with no visible defects other than the poor decision to etch “CROTON’ on the case’s 9:00 side. For some this is the kiss of death, but in my mind the offending etching faces me and isn’t a deal breaker. Truth be told I like it a bit in a cheesy way. In a nod to tool divers, the crown is located at the 4:00 position. The crown is nicely signed and gnarled for easy grasping and works like a dream in conjunction with the 2836. There is an exhibition back giving us a look at the unfinished 2836.

The case is capped with a non-traditional bezel with diver style numbering. In my interpretation, the bezel is akin to an open flower being divided into six “petals” but fingertip sized indents for grasping the bezel. These are not really practical but more decorative and score points in that respect. This makes sense in that the bezel is cut into six ten minute pieces. There is a flat sapphire crystal that doesn’t seem to have any anti-glare material applied which is somewhat refreshing instead of having your watch appear blue at angles.

The dial work while clearly too perfect o be of human hands, is exemplary and really makes this watch special. A classic diver’s wave runs across the watch with an inner ring cut with concentric lines flowing with the ring. I find this most pleasing and well though out and executed on a watch for this price The color is quite unique, not a true pineapple to me but more a faded yellow which is subtle and lovely. The day and date are displayed at 4:00 and there is a chapter ring, which displays the 24-hour numerals. There are luminous pips and the numbers with larger marker at the cardinals. Additionally, there are luminous pips on the chapter ring between each 24-hour numeral. Although the lume is at best fair and nowhere in a tool diver’s league, the pattern displayed is aesthetically pleasing and unique. Another nice little touch is the red 24-hour numeral on the chapter ring. These details may seem inconsequential but to a dork like me, they enhance my enjoyment of the watch. One weak point in my opinion is the hands. While the lume-coated swords are just all right for the hour and minute, being a lume freak I would have preferred a better hand than the sewing needle proffered and might even accept this had if it had a luminous tip.

The movement is another favorite ETA this time with the day date complication. While it is obviously not finished in any sort of way and some WIS argue the “gilded” versions are either wholly Asian of just assembled there, the movements functions properly with the crown, and keeps reasonably accurate time though nowhere nearly as accurately as the same movement tweaked by say Mido. It appears there is a metal movement holder though I haven’t even thought about cracking the case to check the movement. All in all highly adequate.

Now on to the bracelet, which I really enjoy. I like bracelets and I’m not overly fussy so keep that in mind. This is a solid bracelet, which polished center links and brushed outer links. I like the look and find it supple though it is working hard to comfortably carry such a large heavy case. The clasp is pretty weak in my opinion with a bushed finish and a single button deployment. It seems an afterthought on such a nice bracelet and the brushed finish is a swirly making farm. I gave it a good bang the first time ever wearing the watch.

Then we must address the styling. To my eye, this watch is big and bold and a bit blingy. It is an eye catcher indeed, as I have seen people’s eyes following the watch while speaking to groups. However, if you’re a “true diver” sort this will not be for you although there is just no reason why you couldn’t dive with this watch. I must admit to not even water testing it as I just got it in late September. During its stay with me, it hasn’t quite cracked into my favorite rotation, but I am always pleased when I do wear it. In my opinion, this is solid watch for the money and shows the real value in the Croton product. For me this watch is a keeper.

If you have a comment please search out the link and leave it. Many thanks to TD for the inspiration! That’s what WIS are for!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hamilton Khaki Navy GMT

I purchased a late model Hamilton Khaki Navy GMT from a seller on the PMWF sales forum one afternoon while at work and have to tell you; this is a true sleeper watch. I bought the watch on a blue alligator strap but the seller included the original integrated rubber strap, which just turns this watch into a powerhouse workhorse beater with style and a righteous pedigree, comfortable filling almost any role in your watch rotation. I sometime pass this watch over for another and that is too bad since once I am strapped into the Hammy GMT, I often wonder why it would ever take it off… well, the answer is for cleanings of course.


Hamilton Khaki Navy GMT Men’s Watch H77655343
Case ;Stainless Steel with 3 screw-down crowns.
Dial: Blue with GMT time display on semi-circular sub dial. Luminous hands and markers
Bracelet: Blue rubber Strap, Rubber strap with decorative topstitching.
Clasp: Standard buckle,
Movement: Swiss Automatic (self-winding) Caliber ETA 2893.1
Crystal: Sapphire
Bezel: City display on bezel, Internal-rotating bezel.
Case Diameter: 42 mm.
Water Resistant: 200m / 660ft.
So there you have it. In my mind, a most versatile contender for heavy rotation. Obviously the watch is good sized, simple and rugged while having plenty of style condensed within a fairly busy dial with internal bezel. With three screw down crowns, which operate absolutely smoothly and soundly, the internal rotating and locking timing bezel, and water resistance of 200 meters, this is a perfectly adequate professional diver. It may not be the ultimate diver, but it is a very competent one indeed.

The movement driving the GMT is another ETA, this time the 2893.1, which gives us our GMT function. Couple this movement with an additional rotating and locking bezel with international city names and you have a watch capable of displaying three time zones. I have always loved a GMT function. Time Zone two is displayed with a separate dial that displays inside the 9:00 position. The dial is an understated work of beauty when examined closely with a loupe. The dial is a rich blue with a dazzle of sunray. Each hour is numbered in both 12 and 24-hour time with a luminous marker at each position. There is also a minute track. The date is with white background and displayed at the 3:00 position while time zone two, denoted with a simple “T2” and a white arrow pointing to the 24-hour time, is displayed within a gently arcing cut in the dial under which a white dial with black numerals spins gleefully off the 2893. The GMT is of course completely independently adjustable. On the periphery of the dial sits the internal rotating bezel smartly finished with timing markers and a cut out which displays the international city ring for time zone three. This dial is again white with black lettering and the bezel has light blue highlights surrounding the international city cut out. The bezel is well finished and almost appears ceramic. I wonder what the material is? A pair of saber hands and a mil sub second hand see duty. The lume is adequate but not spectacular with the luminous pips at the hours fading immediately and only the hands truly retaining much luminescence at all. A perfectly flat and tough as nails sapphire crystal finished the package. So herein lies function two of a useful tool watch, the GMT function presented in an easy to understand at a glance fashion.

I guess another great calling card of this watch is its great comfort and durability, not to mention its damn near bombproof dependability. In reference to its accuracy and durability, I have to reiterate how each of the crowns is so perfectly executed that its function is mind numbingly smooth. For me, this is huge particularly with screw downs. Each function operates flawlessly and like butter and the sucker keeps darn good time mostly at about +4 to +6 over 24 hours. The hardworking movement is contained within a beautifully sculpted and brushed lump of stainless steel with down turning lugs. At 42mm, the case is large but not brutishly so and as the dial uses of much of the space of the face, only a sliver of brushed stainless peeks forward. All crowns are protected by guards and the crowns themselves are polished and signed. This is a subtle but tasty treat. With the integrated rubber strap, which snugs right up to the case, you have a piece that is exceptionally comfortable. The case is not overly thick and with the hanging lugs, the GMT has a low profile.

Another essential function has to be style and versatility in that regard. I am a fairly casual guy who can get away without wearing a suit or tie more than half a dozen times during the year and this watch works well from clomping around to work for me. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this watch with a suit especially with the low profile which slips effortlessly under long sleeves. In my opinion, the styling on the watch is an unforced blending of elegance, sportiness and utility unmatched by many. Do I like this watch? Oh yeah.

Another keeper which deserves more respect. I have yet to try the watch with its dressier strap option, as I cannot get away from the comfort and durability the watch offers on its native rubber strap. I know many do not care for integrated rubber straps but I enjoy this one as well as the one on a Mido diver I own. I treat this watch roughly when I wear it so maybe it doesn’t mind a little extra time in the watch box or on the winder.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Vixa Nettuno Professional Sea Power Automatic

< I was checking out the ads on PMWF one morning when I saw Shane Delaurian was selling off some Pseudo Ruhlas and one included one of his straps. Shane Delaurian is a well-known strap artisan who has mastered the craft of making distinctive custom straps of extremely high quality and rich in personality. Shane also stated in one of the posts he was selling off some of his watches. He is also known for his collection of dive watches so I thought I would inquire about the Ruhlas with his strap and ask if he had anything else I might be interested in. Shane replied he was selling a nearly new Vixa Sea Power and that was it. The Vixa Nettuno Sea Power is, of course, an Orange dialed diver, and I have a fondness for this dial color above all others. Shortly thereafter (VERY) I was the proud owner of a Vixa Nettuno Professional Sea Power Automatic. Here are the details on this watch.


48mm case diameter
Mechanical automatic movement optimized by Vixa, date, 25 jewels (ETA 2824-2)
Extra crown at 9 o'clock blocks the bezel from rotating
200m/660ft water resistant with screw in crown
High grade, solid stainless steel casing
Sapphire crystal/mineral crystal?
Solid case-back
Unidirectional bezel
Black genuine leather band; size 24mm Luminous hands and numerals

When I received the watch, I was pleased to see Shane hadn’t appeared to have used the original Vixa strap and had put the watch on a nice 24mm rubber strap. The Vixa strap is unbelievably supple and buttery sweet. I kept the rubber on as it was summer when I got the watch, and I am a sweaty man. Its all right I know I’m a sweater… I do believe I will hold off on wearing the original until the temperatures around here drop off. That won’t be too very long from now in the part of the world where it stays cold longer than it stays warm. Why do we do it??

This watch is a large 48mm diameter brute with a somewhat pale orange dial and black contrasting bezel over a lightly brushed business like stainless steel case with screw down caseback. The watch also features dual screw down crowns at 3 and 9 o’clock. The crown at 3 o’clock is a signed crown, which sets the 2824-2, and the crown at 9 o’clock locks the unidirectional rotating bezel. This seems practical and easy to operate and enhances the watches overall burliness in my opinion.

At 48mm diameter, this is clearly a large watch, which will be noticed merely for it sheer breadth. This makes for a very evident dial with luminous numerals at the cardinals and luminous circular markers at the remaining hours. The date is at 4 o’clock, which you either love or hate. There is a black chapter ring with 5-minute numerical markings and minute markers. The cardinal numbers receive dots of lume on this ring. The dial’s orange is different from archetypal orange in that it is a touch washed out and reminds me of delicious sherbet. The hand are luminous swords at the hour and minute with the sweeper being a luminous arrow tip with a red edge. The second hand is well executed in my book. The dial branding and lettering are pure joy with another splash of red! Again, I find the dial well executed overall. The lume could be beefed up but is more than adequate to visualize the time and the case back work while pleasant, is certainly underwhelming and perhaps unfitting for a watch of this deportment. There is also confusion in my mind regarding the crystal’s material. I have been told the first run of these had a sapphire crystal and fully engraved case back while later runs had mineral crystals and etched casebacks. Mine would fall into a later run based on this info. I have only heard this from others on boards so if anyone can shine more light please do and I will gladly post an update.

The watches impressive case is water resistant tested to 200m and houses the workhorse ETA 2824-2 movement. For me, this is the standard all automatic watches should aspire to. I am uncertain of how new this watch was or how heavily it was worn, but it has been a bit inconsistent in its timekeeping. The very inconsistency leads me to believe the watch may still be braking in as I have noted less variance over time. The watch is typically +8 to +10 over 24 hours which is not highly accurate in my opinion though it is certainly within respectable limits for an automatic watch.

For being such a large piece, this watch is quite comfortable. It definitely has presence to be the wearer and wearees and has a most respectable heft to it. The Vixa feels sold and reassuring on the wrist and functions well on land and in water. I only learned how hefty this watch was upon trying it on my right wrist, which is unaccustomed to wearing a watch. With the watch in this position, I could truly appreciate the girth of the Sea Power. I must also confess to treating this watch rather poorly having dropped, scraped and bashed it on all means of material without the watch missing a beat of even seeming to think twice. The brute has shrugged off every tribulation I’ve dumped on it and greets me with a sunny disposition.

All in all this is a great watch for me. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it lightheartedly as it requires some thick skin to wear such a brute with dimensions approaching Flava-Flav style. For an avid lover of orange such as me, the Vixa is a good fit.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Invicta Scuba Diver 500 (3076)

I am almost ashamed to admit it, but this watch came courtesy of ShopNBC. T is also an Invicta. For many WIS’, this is anathema, as Invicta and their partner ShopNBC, or as they are semi-affectionately known, “Invictim” and “SlopNBC”, are so named due to their reputation as cold businessmen with little or no concern for QC as long as they can move 5000 units. Reports of defective or DOA watches issued from ShopNBC appear repeatedly on many of the watch boards. Factor in the fact that I had just purchased an OTV item, which had arrived DOA, (disposition still open), the retailer’s less than stellar reputations, and it is easy to understand my hesitation to pull the trigger on this one. On the vendor’s side was the sub $300 price tag, which only got better with a promo code and the watch’s potential as a legitimate 500m water resistant, Swiss motor supplied auto. I pulled the trigger.

The Specs:

Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet
Movement: Swiss automatic movement
Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Crown: Screw down crown
Clasp: Deployant clasp with locking closure
Bracelet Measurements: 9"L x 25mm
Case Measurements: 44mm
Water Resistance: 50 ATM - 500 meters - 1,650 ft
Model Number: IN3076

Nothing left to do but sit back and wait for the watch to arrive. A few days later, the FedEx man came a calling with my package. I opened it carefully and much to my relief found a hefty, well-built deep diver. I wound it, set it and let it run, not forgetting my recent experience with a watch arriving in non-operating condition. After it kept time and I had a chance to examine it, which I did intently, I decide to size it. At that moment, it became clear to me just how substantial this watch’s bracelet truly is.

The bracelet is SEL 316L, lightly brushed, with a width of 25mm and does not taper down to the clasp. The beefy links are held solidly with split pins, which proved to be a bit off a pain to get out. In other words, yes, I did use a hammer to size the bracelet in this watch!! !! That being said, this is a very solid high quality bracelet that infuses the watch with a sense of presence. This is the sort of bracelet you would want to spin over your knuckles for use in hand-to-hand combat. It has a lightly brushed finish that adds to its purpose built appearance.

The case is a 44mm slab of metal with crown guards protecting the screw down crown. It is branded on the 9 o’clock side of the case, which many WIS disprove of. I am unsure at this point how I feel about this tag so left by the watch behemoth. The case shape is round, somewhat bulbous in a way I find reminiscent of the ORIS divers. In most instances, a case size of 44mm would be on the large size, but this case almost appears a bit small when fitted to a bracelet of this magnitude. The caseback screws in with eight fasteners and is nicely etched with the watch’s specifics and a scuba diver in descent.

I managed to dislodge one of these screws my first day with the watch. I did play racquetball and go swimming the first day I had the watch and it may have been loose when shipped but either of the two activities that day could have been the culprit as racquetball is racquetball and I was performing aerial flops from our local pool’s high dive. I replaced the screw and have decide this is a no harm no foul event as I really should have checked the screws upon receipt. Actually in retrospect, a new watch should be checked by the vendor,not the buyer. Needless to say they are all tight at this point. I have no idea how this might effect the claimed 500 meter water resistance and don’t plan on finding out. The watch was watertight even with only seven of the eight screws.

The watch has a classic re/black bezel around a black dial, which is more a deep charcoal then true black. The charcoal color give s the dial some texture and depth. The chapter ring is marked with second and sub-second indices and has luminous pips every five minutes with 12 having two pips. The applied markers are luminescent, plump and rounded at their ends. Lume is adequate but not out of this world. The illuminated face is pleasing though. The date is a white window at three o’clock. This watch would look great with a red window date as its dept resistance is stated on the dial in red lettering. The hands are wonderful, in my opinion. They are swords with the hour hand being split by silver edging and the second had is a long tipped arrow with a red tip. It moves with the seamless sweep of an ETA 2824-2. All this is, of course, covered by a sapphire crystal.

Now, to the movement.

Allegedly, this watch has a plastic movement holder, which I find unconscionable in a watch with the supposed retail price of this one. In fact, I hate plastic movement retainers as a cost savings measure in any watch!! Realistically, this isn’t the end of the world, but I really expect it only in cheap rip offs and homages. Perhaps Invicta wishes to troll in those waters. It is of course the old chestnut ETA 2824-2, which needs no introduction to mechanical watch fans. The movement is said to be gilded (whatever that means), and again, I haven’t ripped open the case to verify or disprove since I don’t really give two sh*ts. I know this movement to be reliable and accurate and find this one to run about +7 per day. I am satisfied with this performance from the movement.

Overall, I think this is a great package at the price I paid for it. I would not wish to spend much more than that as the watch is Swiss movement only and is put together in Asia most likely. This is not a kiss of death, merely a fact, which keeps this watch from ever really attaining more than a purpose, built tool watch with little cachet. Not a biggie for me. I find the watch extremely comfortable although it weighs a ton. This watch has a lot of presence and looks rough and refined in context.

This is probably the only Invicta I will ever own as I prefer to spend my hard earned with companies that have more soul and love watches like we WIS do. Invicta seems too soulless a conglomerate to bother with, but I am glad I got this piece at its bargain buster price.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

RLT "Tag Heuer" Divers Watch - RLT29

There’s a bit of a story behind the watch I’ll write about today. This is the RLT -29 “Tag Heuer” Dive Watch from RLT watches. Many will not know of RLT watches as they are a smaller company which sells and assembles watches out of the U.K. RLT is basically a fine gentlemen named Roy Taylor, known in watch lover’s circles as his web site, is becoming more popular and has its own active forum.

I saw a post on WUS (link) mentioning this watch and listing the web site’s address. I followed the link, gave the watch a cursory once over, thought it was cool but decided I might visit it again and perhaps order one if the urge grabbed me. I completely forgot about the watch until about a week later. When I returned to order, I found that though the watches were not listed as sold out, there was no link to purchase. By this time I was now stoked for the watch as I had gone through the order process which allowed to pick from many color dials, as well as various sets of hands. In short, this would be a custom, albeit a quartzer with a quirky case design. Of course, orange would be my color choice.

I emailed Roy who responded the next morning and told me he wasn’t making anymore up until he had finished the orders her had. Although he never said, I had heard they were sold out.

Turns out Roy was true to his word, contacted me about 2 weeks later, and asked it I still would like one of the watches. O yes I did. I quickly made my choices and placed the order.

Let’s just get the specs out of the way:

· RLT "Tag Heuer" Divers Watch - RLT29
· Quartz Swiss movement
· 200 Meter water resistant
· 42mm all steel Tag Heuer prototype case with ratchet bezel and screw on back
· Signed screw down crown
· Luminous Hands
· Sapphire crystal
· Rubber strap
· Custom Orange RLT Dial-Black Markers

This seemed a perfectly adequate quartz custom diver with a twist. I have since educated my self a touch on the origins and back-story behind the piece. Apparently, the case was a prototype design for Tag Heuer in the early 80’s or 90’s. It seems only a small number ever were produced and Tag shelved the concept. You’ll see a picture taken from German eBay, which shows the Tag version.

Apparently, Roy came across a small number (less than 100) of these prototype cases and decided to produce this neat watch. I am glad to say mine arrive about 10 days after I ordered it. What a truly unique watch.

First off, we need to examine the case. You either love it or hate it. I must say it appeared a bit severe to me at first look, but the lines washed over me, and I began to see a bold design, which would have a certain appeal. The case is a large chunk of steel about 42mm in diameter and is cut with square edges at the lugs. It is a bit of a cushion case with rounded elements in the case sides from one to 4 o’clock and from 10 to 8 o’clock. The rounded element serves as a crown protector, which envelops a gnarled Tag signed screw down crown. The caseback is a screw down with Tag markings and the bezel is an oddity while being rotated. Uniquely strange stuff indeed.

The dial came in 16 combinations all of which are very basic and contain no lume. I chose the black on orange combo and then selected one set of hour and minute hand from the eight choices available. I then picked a second hand from the six choices. I welcome you opinions on my selections and will tell you I wish I hand gone for chunkier hands more in line with the case design. The watch would have benefited greatly from lime of applied markers, but these would only have driven up the super low price of 49.95 GBP. The dial does work for me, as it is orange.

The markings are a mil-sub style, which appeals to me as well. Additionally, a great value at this price was to be found in the sapphire crystal.

All this is served up on a basic tire tread rubber strap, which will be hard to replace without filing something to fit as the lugs are approximately 17.5 mm. The bare bone strap with tang buckle adds to the overall tool feel of the watch and is best cherished on a hot summer’s day.

Shortly after the “out of stock” banner appeared and it was done. I’ve seen them here and there for sale since then. I will never sell mine unless this somehow can guarantee perpetual financial stability for me and progeny… not gonna happen!! The watch is a pleasure to wear and had kept excellent time. I wear it mainly as a beater and don’t think twice about poking my hand into a fire pit or jumping into the pool with this baby on. I am helping along a nice patina on the case back!! Whenever I wear this watch, someone will ask me about it or ask to try it on. Definitely a conversation piece.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tissot PRS516

I broke out my Tissot PRS 516 today and was delighted by it. This watch often times goes forgotten in the watch box which is really too bad as it is a joy to wear.

The PRS 516 was one of the first "real" watches I purchased for myself. Though a novice, I knew the Tissot name meant quality and value and the PRS 516's specs bear
that out:

Water Resistance: 50 METERS
Hour indicators: INDEX
Movement Caliber: 2836-2 MECHANICAL AUTOMATIC
Function(s): DAY/DATE
Power reserve: 42 hours.

So it really is all there and can be hand for under $300. My only regret is that I did not purchase the model on a bracelet. The bracelet is very cool and retro with holes running through the stainless steel. May be someday I'll get it together and order one from Tissot.

This is a quality watch with a lot of style and deserves to be treated better...

The dial is a real work of art with raised indices which the Tissot T shaped second hand passes underneath. The indices are coated in sufficient lume as are the characteristic boxy hands. The dial is a deep black with the chapter index alternating between red and white indexes. Naturally it is branded, and I find the font of choice most pleasing in a modern sporty style. There is ample room for both the day and date function which accompany the ETA 2836-2.

The sapphire crystal is lovely, but it is somewhat tricky to photograph. The bezel appears to be ceramic with white hour numbers painted on it. I've heard the bezels can wear and chip though I haven't had any problem with mine. The case is a 40mm chunk of 316L, brushed on front and high polished on the sides. In this day and age of ginormous watches, 40 mm can seem small when viewed as a spec, but I maintain it to be a most excellent size for a man's watch. The exhibition caseback displays the lightly adorned ETA, and the exhibition window is finished so that it appears to be an old school steering wheel complete with the punched holes in the spokes for hanging a stop watch. This is a nice touch which I fear will become the provence of NASCAR as Tissot is a sponsor and has begun producing NASCAR specific models. The crown is, of course, signed with the Tissot T.

The supple brown leather strap features holes of diminishing circumference and contrasting white stitching. It is secured with a signed deployment clasp. The strap is striking, but there are numerous after market suppliers which make a similar "Rally" strap so it isn't any too special as the bracelet would be. The strap enhances the retro feel of the watch as the is a recreation of a sport minded model which Tissot produced in the 1960s and 1970s. All in all, this watch brings a modern update to a retro classic and is a big winner in my book.

The watch's operation is flawless with a firm crown which feels well connected to the very dependable movement. I haven't done in any measured timings but will do so and post the deviation over 24 hours. (Testing shows this piece to be +4 over 24 hours). I believe it will be minimal. Stylish and functional, this is a purposeful watch which is most at home strapped to the wrist of a spirited driver. I always feel a bit racy while wearing the PRS 516 but think the watch is classy enough to serve many purposes.

One of my most cherished pieces as it came to me early in my quest, and as I stated earlier, a piece that slips through the cracks. I highly recommend this watch to anyone wanting to get into Swiss timepieces without breaking the bank.