Watch Review: Nethuns Lava

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One thing that I always think whenever I see a watch that I really like that I haven’t seen before I say to myself “So many watches, so little time.” We all love watches to that almost obsessive point and sometimes beyond. Of course when we see a watch we like, we want to experience it, handle it, own it. If you are like me, there is something magical about holding a watch in your hand. Watches are my escape, my zen place, my happy place. Starring at the dial of a watch is hypnotizing to me, to the point where I don’t even notice the time. Even simple dials can still be hypnotic.

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Today I have in the Nethuns Lava watch with it’s own hypnotic dial. The dial color is what first caught my eye on this watch. When I opened up the beautiful wood presentation box, at first glance I thought the dial was black. It wasn’t until I removed the watch from the box and it hit the light I then realized that the dial was green. The green dial does change shades of green when playing with this watch in different lighting and the matte finish really gives the dial a nice, classic appearance.

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Before I explore this dial any further there is one immediate detail on the dial that I must mention, and it is located at the 9 o’clock position on this dial. There is a circle with Helium Escape Valve printed around the circle. I have to applaud Nethuns for this placement. I am over and quite tired of the current placement “trend” of these words on the rehaut of watches. In my opinion it’s a distraction and quite frankly I don’t think it adds anything stylistic to the overall design of a watch. So thank you Nethuns for you placement choice.

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The markers on the Lava are a series of circles, rectangles and a triangle. The rectangular shaped markers and triangular shape marker give you nice reference points in darker situations when the lume takes over. The 2 layer dial with SuperLuminova sub layer really glows quite brightly allowing for ease of legibility in lower light/dark situations. The hands on the Lava even have the same SuperLuminova treatment, right down to the circle on the lollipop style second hand. Nethuns added a nice touch of color to the tip of the second hand. The red nicely matches the red printed “LAVA” underneath the NETHUNS located under the 12 o’clock position. The other printed text on the dial is located above the 6 o’clock, AUTOMATIC 1650 FT=500M. Which obviously is the the water resistance for the LAVA. Nethuns kept the dial clean with the excluding the date window.

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The bronze case is definitely unique. If you look at the above picture you can see how it looks like the lugs are one continuous piece from one lug to the other lug. The sides of the case curve out nicely on both sides with creates a nice contrast with the angles of the bezel. The green bezel inlay not only matches the dial, but it also matches the killer canvas strap. The combo of the ceramic on the bezel with the matte green is a highlight of the appearance/design on the case. And same as the dial changes shades of green in different lighting so does the green on the bezel. Now that I established how nice I think this bezel looks, how does it function you ask?

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For starters, the angles of the bezel creates easy grip spots making rotating the unidirectional bezel quite easy. The bezel rotates so smooth and has a nice soft clicking sound. There is a bit of extra play in the bezel that is more than I am used to but the fact that this bezel rotates so smoothly and that the triangle lines up perfectly with the 12 o’clock marker, I can overlook that bit of extra play. The non crown side of the case features the helium escape valve that is mentioned on the dial. The crown is located at the 4 o’clock position and is partially tucked away into the case side which excludes crown guards and gives the crown side of the case clean lines. With the crown being tucked into the side of the case on an angle it does create a slight difficulty factor gripping and operating the crown. The crown does have some texturing and angles that do assist with gripping the bronze crown.

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The finish on the case is a combination of brushed and polished, and the brushed portions look fantastic. A lot of people have said that bronze cases are just a fad, but I couldn’t disagree more. Bronze cases might never over take stainless steel as the popular choice for a case, but I would choose bronze over Titanium and gold every time given the choice of the 3. What makes bronze so fascinating to me is it is ever changing as it forms natural patina. If you aren’t patient you can also force patina, or if you don’t like patina at all, a simple bath in lemon juice will return the bronze to it’s out of the box appearance. I think that the Lava looks great in the Cu Sn bronze, with the green dial/accents give the LAVA that awesome yesteryear deepsea appearance. The stainless steel screw down case back features a nice old world map compass that adds to that deepsea charm the LAVA possesses.

Ticking away inside the LAVA is the Japanese made Seiko NH35 automatic movement, 24 jewels, power reserve 41 hours. The LAVA timed in at -11 seconds per day during the review process and then averaged out to -7 seconds per day.

The Nethuns LAVA is a great offering for those looking to get into bronze watches. I think it is a good value at $570 and can certainly hold its own against like/higher priced microbrand bronze watches. You get a unique shaped case, nice raised 3.5 mm thick sapphire crystal, sapphire bezel inlay, bright lume, a legible dial and a custom canvas strap with a nice unique buckle. The wooden presentation boxes with the patina style Nethuns plaques sets this off as a quality choice in bronze watches at or around this price point. There are a few areas for improvement but not severe to be deal breakers. Like I mentioned before the extra play in the bezel and the difficulty gripping of the crown.

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The LAVA wears comfortably on the wrist, especially with the crown being located at the 4 o’clock position. The unique case shape, the bronze material, and the green dial gives the LAVA some awesome wrist presence. I definitely have no problem recommending this watch to my friends or anyone looking for a unique dive watch. This watch is built well, with a solid case. I put the LAVA through the paces and it held it’s own. That is the other thing I like about bronze, it wears scars well and adds to the appearance (badassery) of the watch.

I want to personally thank Nethuns and thank you all for reading. As always, your comments and questions are welcome below.

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Watch Review: MTM Special Ops RAD

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MTM Special Ops Watch | RAD Watch Collection

It is no secret that I love the outdoors and it is also no secret that I love tactical watches, watches designed to handle the abuse that you can dish out. That is what MTM Special Ops has been doing for years. “For over 25 years, MTM (Multi-Time Machine) established itself by creating tactical timepieces for the watch industry. Over those years, the company founder (ex-military) and MTM team kept their ears to the ground and were quick to respond to the needs of their peers still in service. When called upon, MTM developed and engineered watches to withstand extreme conditions. Crafted like an instrument and designed with unparalleled accuracy, MTM Special Ops Watches are built for action.”  I for one do not want to be worried if my watch can handle whatever adventure I take it on. How will the watch that came in handle itself? Well let’s explore it together.

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Today I will be looking at the MTM RAD. I was so excited to get the packaging opened to see the watch in person. As I am sure you guys are when you order a watch. There are two types of package openers out there, my wife is one kind and I am definitely the opposite. She will savor every moment, carefully peeling back each individual piece of tape. It probably takes her 10 minutes to open each present on Christmas. I on the other hand rip into a package like Arnold did back in the day tearing into the enemy’s base. Speaking of Arnold, when I finally got to the watch, I immediately thought that I could see him wearing this watch either in Commando or Predator.

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The case is definitely a focal point of this watch and that is definitely what I noticed first. The matte finished dark grey solid Titanium case definitely sets the tone for this menacing piece. The bead blasted finish looks fantastic and gives the watch a stealthy appearance. The last thing you want to give away your position is your high polished stainless case glistening in the sunlight. That’s how I also feel about flashlight lume on a “military” themed watch, but I will talk more about that later.

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The RAD(short for Radioactive) case has a complete and finished feel. After spending a lot of time with this watch, that is one thing that I noticed. I could tell that MTM spent quite a bit of time in the planning and design phase with this watch. Each of the pushers follows the lead of the large, oversized screw down crown, all of which have knurled edges. All of which are extremely easy to grip and extremely easy to operate. Each functions with absolute precision. The knurled edges look badass and add to the overall presence that this watch has. Another detail that shows MTM’s commitment to design is how each of the pushers, crown and screw bars have a hexagon shape. This shape is carried through to the 4 screws that are located on the top of the case in each of the 4 corners.

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The bezel on the Rad has a nice staggered, 3 dimensional look. This look was achieved by staggering the height of the bezel in an alternating fashion. For example the 60 position on the bezel jets out, then the 10 position is in, this alternating pattern is continuous around the entire bezel. This detail on the bezel doesn’t stand alone and I will explain this later in the review. The bezel detail adds to the ease of operation in terms of gripping the bezel to rotate. This detail of the 3 dimensional bezel also helps for reference in low-lit situations where you have to rely on your sense of touch for orientation to the bezel/dial correlation.

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The RAD case size is definitely large coming in at 46mm x 20mm. I absolutely appreciate the size of this case and it’s practicality. A small, dainty case wouldn’t work for this watch. Some will complain that it’s large case will create a banging hazard on door frames and door knobs, if this worries you this isn’t the watch for you. This watch is not meant to be babied. It was intended to be used in the field, to take the abuse that comes with that line of work. The last thing on your mind is worry of your watch and if it is going to fail you. And that should be your last thought, MTM designed this case with that in mind. The short lugs on the RAD allow the watch to sit well on the wrist and cuts down on wrist overhang for those who have smaller wrists.

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The large dial is extremely legible yet retains an overall stealthy appearance. The dial is a combination of analog and digital display. The digital display is responsible for displaying the Time, Date, Alarm (RAD), Backlight. These functions are accessible via the button pushers that are located on either side of the case. There is a slight learning curve with navigating through the functions and figuring out what does what. But after a small amount of time, you will be navigating through this watch like a pro.

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The matte grey backdrop of this dial is stunning. There are so many subtle details on this dial that I absolutely love. What I like about this dial first and foremost is that it seemingly disappears until you need it. The combination of dark and light grey keeps the dial stealthy like I mentioned before. I also mentioned earlier that the bezel has a close relation to the dial. Just as the bezel alternates in height, the inner chapter ring color correlates directly to the bezel, by alternating between light grey and dark gray, in sections of 10.  Under certain light the inner chapter ring completely disappears, just as the radioactive symbol on the dial does. A detail that took me a few weeks to notice. The raised hour markes give some depth to the dial on the RAD. At first I thought the hands on the RAD could have been just a little bit longer and thicker. But as I spent more time with this watch I realized why the hands are this way. If the hands were bigger then they would block the digital display and again I find another detail that shows MTM gave serious thought to the design of this watch.

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Now let’s tackle the RAD name for this model. Yes it is a pretty rad watch, but RAD in this case is short for radioactive. This watch has the ability to detect Gamma-Radiation with A Geiger-Muller tube. The watch is able to record this data which can then be downloaded with a it’s included  flash drive. This isn’t some gimmick faux military themed watch, this watch was designed for field use hands down. I won’t bore you with the technical details. The video below does a good job of showing off what this watch can do in terms of the technical features.

The MTM RAD is a rugged watch with some amazing tech features some that are range from the typical such as day/date digital display, minute/second digital display, backlight, alarm, analog display to the more complex like the Geiger Counter. The watch is very well made, designed to handle the terrain and abuse that transpires out in the field. Even if your field isn’t a military field, this watch will be a great companion for your field, whether your field is hiking in the woods or snowboarding down the mountain side, or mountain biking, whatever your field may be the RAD will handle it. That is part of the reason why MTM went with their proprietary quartz movement with Swiss analog.

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I will address my nit-picky areas of recommendations for improvements on an already well designed watch. The bezel has a little more play in it than I like on a bezel. If you are someone who gets bothered by hairlines on your watch then the sandblasted finish shouldn’t be your first choice of cases. Luckily MTM offers the RAD in a silver and black. Personally I think the hairlines add a badass look to the watch. I call them hairlines because they aren’t scratches in the Titanium, they are superficial hairlines in the finish. Since the RAD was designed for use in the field, the Tritium lume doesn’t glow bright like a flashlight for the reason no to give away your position in dark situations. That is where the backlight feature comes in handy, to light the digital time display to be used at your discretion. For my fellow fans of cartoons/comics from the 1980’s, if Firefly or Snake Eyes from Gi Joe had a watch this would be it.

Some people will be turned off by the case size on this watch and some may say that the trend of watches is reverting back to smaller sizes. My personal view on trends is that they are just bullshit tatics set by the some in the industry to keep you spending money. My feelings on the matter is buy what you like and what makes you happy. So if you are looking for a well made watch, with a killer case, the MTM RAD is a great option. The RAD comes in at $1500 with the military style NATO strap with a large sandblasted signed buckle, the Titanium bracelet is also an option which comes in at $1700. This is a specialty and limited edition watch.

 

https://www.specialopswatch.com/product-category/rads/?utm_source=timetoblog&utm_medium=radreview

I want to personally thank MTM Special Ops and you all for reading. As always I welcome your questions and comments below.

Specifications:

GLASS | Sapphire Crystal; Anti Reflective & Scratch Resistant
WATER RESISTANCE | 100 Meters / 330 Feet
CASE SIZE | 46mm (Width) x 20mm (Height)
WEIGHT | 7.5oz (With Titanium Bracelet) 5.0 oz (Non-Metal Strap)

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Watch Review: Ocean Crawler Champion Diver

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I have been obsessed with the ocean almost as long as I have been obsessed with watches, if not longer. My wife and I have a debate and ongoing argument on which is the more awesome place to go, the depths of the ocean vs outer space. You know what side of that argument that I am on. I am absolutely fascinated by what lies on the ocean floor and the creatures that have yet to be discovered. And eventually though it is not humanly possible to dive to the depths that some of the watches I review can go, it just adds a sense of wonderment to think about what is down in those depths and how the watch can go there to experience it.

Today I will be exploring Ocean Crawler’s Champion Diver. I have to say when I opened up the shipping box and saw the outer box. The box features some of my favorite things, classic movie monster, a deepsea diver and suit and a sea creature. It is the coolest package on a watch that I have ever seen. Usually I am like a kid on Christmas when I get a watch and I want to open the package as fast as I can to get to the watch. This time I spent at least 45 minutes just looking at the box art. It took me back to my childhood and it was a truly magical feeling.

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Once the prying away from the box art was completed, I was finally able to get to the watch itself. Immediately the colors of the dial grabbed my eyes to pull me in. The blue dial instantly reminded me of the ocean. As I held this watch and shifted it back and forth, I watched the way the light affected the dial color. Just as the ocean seems to change color as the daylight changes, this dial did the same thing. It went from almost black to deep blue to a sunburst blue, it really is an awesome effect.

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The hands are the next detail that I noticed on this watch. Not only did the color get my attention but the shape of each hand did as well. The minute hand and second hand are a vibrant orange that make daylight legibility easy. The second hand long, sleek and has a nice arrow head tip. The orange minute hand is also long, sleek and tappers to a nice point that extends to the printed minute markers. The white hour hand shares the same shape as the minute hand and extends out enough to touch the printed hour markers. The minute and hour hands are also treated with lume, to my disappointment the second hand doesn’t have any lume. The hands remind me of the spear/harpoon that the diver has in hand on the package of this watch.

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The hour, minute/second markers have a green tint effect to them which adds ease of daylight legibility but also kind of clues me in on what kind of lume quality I will be dealing with which is pictured below. The Champion Diver does have quite a bit of text on the dial and most of it works in favor of the watch. There is a small bit of text that I would have preferred been left out which I think can be a little misleading. At the 6 o’clock position you will see printed small ‘Swiss Lume’. At first glance I thought it was Swiss Made, to eliminate that I would have rather Ocean Crawler excluded this from the dial all together. Now onto the text that does work. Under the 12 o’clock position printed in white is Ocean Crawler’s name and logo. Also printed in white above the 6 o’clock position is ‘Limited Edition, Automatic, 1000 Feet, Champion Diver’.

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What I like that Ocean Crawler did with their date window is the location and the number layout. They went wih the non traditional number layout using all even numbers and it’s this layout that makes for why the date window works well at the 3 o’clock position. Because of this overall layout choice there was no need to eliminate an hour marker thus there was no dial balance interruption. The black inner chapter with the white printed minute marking numerals that count by 5’s. The black border around the blue dia makes for some nice contrast.

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The brushed stainless steel case was an appropriate choice in finish for a tool/dive watch. The case size is also a good choice as well in my opinion as well. The 44mm x 15mm with 51 lug to lug, 22mm lug space. The coin edged bezel is a unique choice and it works well with this watch, giving it a touch of vintage charm. The inclusion of the lume pip is a crucial feature in my opinion for a tool/dive watch in terms of functionality and purpose driven tool. The bezel functions with great clicking sound and soild performance in terms of no extra play. The bezel is a bit tricky to operate with wet hands and with gloves on.

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The blasted finished crown not only looks awesome but functions like a champ. When I had wet, muddy hands it still was extremely easy to grip and operate. The details on this crown add to the overall finished look of the Champion Diver. I applaud Ocean Crawler for also having the crown signed. So often I see watches that miss that detail which gives the watch an unfinished appearance, thankfully Ocean Crawler signed this crown with their logo.

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The case back also adds to the finished look of the Champion Diver. It features some nice engraving work that gives depth and texture to the case back. Companies sometimes forget that just because a case back isn’t a focal point like the dial, it still is an important detail and extension of the watch’s personality.

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The Movement inside the Champion Diver is a Caliber OC729. This is a modified Seiko 4R36b movement enhanced for added accuracy and shock resistance. Power reserve has also been increased from the original 41 to 44 hours.” The movement has an accuracy rate of +/-5 seconds per day, and this particular watch was timed at +4 seconds per day during my review process. I like that the shock resistance was boosted up to 6000 G which means that this watch can take some abuse but remain an accurate time telling instrument. I like that Ocean Crawler took a stock movement and added upon it infusing it with a touch of their own personality into it, insted of just leaving it a standard stock movement.

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The Champion Diver comes with a nice assortment of strap options that change the overall look and feel of the watch itself. If you want to dress it up for the office desk diving adventure you can use the included leather strap. The leather strap is nicely padded and has a signed brushed tang style buckle. It you want to dress the watch down and take it on an outdoor adventure just as I did during my review, you can strap on the orange rubber strap with a signed deployment style buckle. The orange strap is my personal favorite strap of this package. I like that the strap has the Ocean Crawler logo on both sides of the strap near the solid curved lugs. Not only does the strap match the dial but it is functional and comfortable.

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The limited edition Champion Diver comes in at just a hair under $1000 USD. What I like about this package that you get for your money is a reliable adapted movement that is extremely shock resistant which is ideal for this style of watch. Even if you baby your watch, accidents still do happen. You also get a nice thick domed sapphire crystal with a extremely legible dial that can be easily read in both day and night. You get a nice assortment of well made straps, a box with killer art work and an overall well made limited edition of 300 watch.

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The watch does come with areas for improvement like I mentioned before. A lumed tip second hand is extremely helpful in my opinion when using a watch in low lighting  situations. I would also remove the swiss lume from the dial and place that information on the case back. The bezel would be easier to grip if the bezel had extended out the portion of the bezel at the 12, 3, 6, 9 positions. Despite these recommendations for change, they aren’t deal breakers in my opinion. I still highly recommend this watch to anyone looking for a unique, well made diver.

I would like to personally thank Ocean Crawler and you all for reading this review. As always your questions and comments are welcome below.

Specifications:

Case Diameter (excluding crown): 44.2mm
Case Thickness: 150mm, Lug-To-Lug: 51.8mm, Lug Width: 22mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Bezel: Unidirectional Rotating Bezel with 120 Clicks and Swiss SuperLuminova Marker
Movement Accuracy. +/- 5 seconds/day in 3 positions
Water Resistance: 300 meters, 1000-feet or 30 ATM

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Watch Review: Viribus Unitis A-24

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I have been into watches for longer than I can remember. I have had the great honor and opportunity to handle quite a lot of watches over the years. Sometimes I think that I have seen and experienced it all. Then something comes along that is a new experience, something that I haven’t seen in person before. That is what happened when the A-24 from Viribus Unitis (With United Forces) arrived on my doorstep. When I opened up the box the chocolate dial is definitely the first detail that immediately grabbed my attention. I do believe that this is the first chocolate colored dial I have seen in person. I typically gravitate towards matte black dials, so seeing this chocolate dial is very refreshing.

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Viribus Unitis created some pretty nice depth to the sandwich style dial on the A-24. At first I thought that the minute/second markers were painted on but under closer inspection I pleasantly discovered that it was the white, bottom layer of the sandwich dial. The A-24 has some of the most beautifully detailed  hour markers I have seen on a watch, especially for a watch that costs $460 usd. The applied bronze colored markers encircle the white bottom layer that is peeking through each of the hour markers which are circular in shape except for the triangular shaped marker at 12 o’clock.

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The hands on the A-24 are just as beautiful as the hour markers. Same color and same polished finish. The second hand is very cool and adds the the overal theme of this watch. There is an anchor on the end of the second hand and a lumed arrow tip at the opposite end. It was hard not to watch this second hand goide around the dial. It really moves with nice fluidity and with the detail & polished finish the second catches the light, creating a truly stunning look. The same can be said for the minute and hour hand as well. Each of the hands and the white sub layer of the dial are treated with super luminova lume. Which you can see by the picture below, glows a nice green glow. The lume glows nicely and lasts through out the night with enough of a glow to be able to read the time in darkness.

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Before going further into the dial design I want to make note of a detail that could have taken this dial a bit further. The date window at 3 o’clock would look so much better if it had the same border as the hour markers. A detail that would give the A-24’s dial a nice completed look. The date wheel is white with black printed numerals.

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I really like how Viribus Unitis handled the text on this dial in terms of the color and the unique way they have displayed the water resistance depth rating. The color of the text is just a shade lighter than the dial color so under some lighting you cannot even see the text. Had Viribus Unitis printed the text in white, I believe that it would have taken away something from this beautiful dial. If you look at the 9 o’clock position there are two arrows and some numerals. “The two arrows on the dial on position 9 are taken from a historical instrument for measuring the vertical speed. In this case, the upper arrow shows the service peak height of the A24, the lower arrow shows the water tightness of the watch (data in feet).” This is a nice, cool and unique detail. One of my personal favorites of this dial. Of course the dial wouldn’t look half as good if it wasn’t for the domed sapphire crystal with AR-coating.

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The bronze case is hard to ignore any longer. The case is made of CUSN8 which is a high tin alloy of the phosphor bronze family. The additional tin within the bronze results in higher mechanical properties with a modest reduction in electrical conductivity. The case is 42mm (excluding crown) with a height of 11mm and 52mm lug to lug. The curved tappered drilled lugs allow the A-24 to hug the wrist nicely. The square shape of the case makes the A-24 wear closer to 44mm which adds to the great wrist presence this watch has. The aluminum bezel inlay has a good appearance. I like that the model name is included on the bezel as well. Something unique and different. The bezel is easy to grip and operate. There is no extra play and has nice 120 click action.

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The screw down case back features an awesome engraved A-24 that this watch is based on. “The respective inspiration for this watch was the HANSA BRANDENBURG CC seaplane with the identification number A24. The pilot was Gottfried Freiherr von Banfield, who entered the list of the most successful Austrian-Hungarian fighter pilots with 9 confirmed and 11 unconfirmed won air combats. The original painting of the A24 was the basis for the design of the dial of this watch.” The case back is another nice detail that makes this watch special at the price point. I also love the little hammerhead shark on the case back as well.

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Another detail that works well both functionally and aesthetically on the A-24 watch is the signed screwed down crown that features an engraved anchor. The large crown is extremely easy to grip and operate. The diamond shaped crown has that is synonymous with aviation/pilot style watches. The A-24 is devoid of any crown guards which gives the watch a clean look. The noncrown side of the case has Viribus Unitis stamped into the side of the case. This is a detail that people either love of hate. I typically don’t like it on watches, but I will tell you why I make an exception here. The bronze case is what makes it an interesting detail. As natural patina begins to form on this case, it makes it look so much better especially inside each of the letters.

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Ticking away inside the A-24 is the Miyota 9015, with date display, 24 jewels, vibration frequency of 28800 bph. The A-24 timed in with an accuracy rate of -8 seconds per day during the review process. The A-24 comes on a 22mm nato strap in military green. The strap color is the perfect choice in my opinion and really plays well off of the bronze case. Another good choice option would be a brown nato strap to play off of the chocolate dial.

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I think that Viribus Unitis has hit the mark with the A-24. The case construction is solid. The case material is beautiful and is always changing. Just from receiving the watch to the end of my review process it has already formed some natural patina. I put this watch through the paces and it kept up nicely. I did manage to put a small nick on the bezel which you are able to see in some of the pictures in between the 2 o’clock hour and 3 o’clock hour. I wiped out pretty hard running down a muddy embankment. The watch sustained no other damage. The cool thing about Bronze is that if you dent or nick the case, it just adds to the overall badass look of the case itself.

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Some purists might have a problem with the unique A-24 on the bezel and the stamped Viribus Unitis on the case. I personally like the uniqueness of both details. The A-24 is packed full of nice little details. It is a unique choice if you are looking for something different from the same old diver clones out there and id you are looking for a unique tool watch with a bronze case. The A-24 is a quality piece which is packed full of details that give you a lot of watch for your dollar. I highly recommend this watch to anyone looking for a different choice and a truly unique experience.

I want to personally thank Viribus Unitis and you all for reading this review. As always I welcome your comments and questions below.

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Watch Review: Florijn Een(1)

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Price never really played a part in my decision making or affected my overall opinion of a watch. Of course price played a part in what I can afford and what I can’t afford. Other aspects have directly influenced my decision making. When I look for a watch there are certain things that I personally look for, such as crown design/style, the case size, size of the hands in relation/proportion to the dial itself, etc… It makes me laugh when I think about how my preferences have changed over my years of collecting watches. I am able to look back as well at what certain watches have influenced me over the years. I find it very interesting to hear what influences watch designers and to see the final product.

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When I first saw Florijn’s final design I was very interested. The bezel is what honestly caught my attention first. The double numbers on the bezel was an interesting feature. Florijn combined both the hour and the minute on the bezel. For example at the 10 o’clock position on the bezel there is the number 10 over th number 50. I first thought that this would make the bezel look busy/cluttered, but it’s ease a reading especially when out in the field when a quick glance is all that you have time to get. This bezel really helps in those types of circumstances.

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Functionally the unidirectional rotating bezel works well both in easy of grip and ease of operation. There is a little more play in the bezel than I typically prefer, but by no means is it a deal breaker. The bezel has nice, large notches that allow you to grip the bezel in different situations, for example in the water, with wet hands, with gloves on, in mud, etc… The top of the bezel has a brushed finish and the sides has a polished finish. I would classify this watch as a “tool style watch”, meant for taking out into all types of environments and activities, Florijn design choice of having a brushed finish on the top of this bezel was a great decision.

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The lugs are another design feature that I like what Florijn has done. As you can see in the pictures the lugs are quite wide, giving this watch a more menacing appearance and giving it a “I can handle what you dish out” feel. The lugs and the case sides have a brushed finish. The screw downed case back features the Florijn logo engraved in the center which has a great finished look to the case back. Florijn opted for a large screw down crown which is very easy to grip and operate. They nailed the functionality down and adding the engraved Florijn logo to the crown also adds a finished look. The large crown guards will have no problem protecting the crown itself.

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Clean. That is how I would describe this dial if I could only use one word. The large, white applied markers adds a nice degree of legibility to the dial. Especially being set against the matte black dial. The markers also add depth to this dial. You won’t find anything unnecessary on this dial either. Like I said before this dial is clean. Sterile white markers, hands and printed second/minute track all add to this functionally clean dial. Florijn added a pop of color with the red printed logo underneath the 12 o’clock hour marker.

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At the 6 o’clock hour marker is a date window. Typically I don’t prefer a date magnifier, but Florijn did something slightly different here that made me give this detail a second look and a second thought. I like the round shape of the magnifier it just looks cleaner than an oval shaped magnifier. I also like the black date wheel with the white printed numerals which keeps consistency to this dial. The white hands are a great size and are perfectly proportioned to this dial. The length of the minute hand and the second hand are exactly what I look for when I am making a purchase decision. Yes, hand size and length are a deal maker/breaker for me. I prefer when the second hands actually reach the second track and same for the minute hand. The hour hand doesn’t have to reach the hour markers but they can’t be too short or again that’s a deal breaker. Thankfully, Florijin got the hands right.

Ticking away inside the Florijn is the Seiko NH 35 with 41 hour power reserve, 21,600 bph, diashock protection, 24 jewels. The model I reviewed was timed at +15 seconds per day.

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The rubber strap that the Een(1) comes on is pretty cool in its own regards. I haven’t seen a rubber strap wih actually stitching very often. It adds a little cool detail to the traditional rubber straps that are often plain and boring. The rubber strap is very soft, smooth and pliable, but most importantly it is very comfortable. The strap has a traditional style stainless steel buckle which functions as you might expect and has a bit of detail itself. The brushed finish buckle is signed with an engraved Florijn logo.

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The Florijn Een(1) is definitely a tough “little” watch packed with some some unique little details. I highly recommend this watch to anyone looking for a tough daily beater and timing is everything right now. Because right now these are 40% off which means you can get this watch for approximately $200 usd. That is an absolute steal if you ask me. Like I said earlier price has never really influenced me in my decision making, but having experienced this watch, putting it through the paces and handling what you get at $200, well for me it’s kind of a no brainer here. It will be very hard to find an automatic watch, with a sapphire crystal, decent lume, 300 meter WR, with a two year warranty and a limited edition run of 100 pcs.

My area of suggestion of improvements if I am going to get nit picky here, it would be a bezel with less play, wider grooves on the crown and a more detailed second hand, for example an arrow head tip. I do challenge you to find a better bang for your buck, honestly it will be hard to do.

I want to thank Florijn and all of you for reading my review. As always your questions and comments are welcome below.

 

http://www.en.florijnhorloges.nl/collection.php

 

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Watch Review: UNDONE Mystique

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https://www.undone.watch/mystique#pre-order_section

Having options is always helpful, especially when you need affordable options. I am definitely not made of money so it is nice to have those options that won’t break my wallet. This is what UNDONE has started which was kind of adopted as their mission statement, to give their customers affordable options and have options for their customers be able to customize the watch. Today though, I will be looking at UNDONE’s new Mystique line. Which comes in at an affordable option at $260 USD

There are definitely design details that I notice first when I first get a watch in, for the Mystique that first noticed detail was the dial. The video below shows the process of how the design/ look of the artisan gradient  dial was achieved.

These dials were very popular in the 1960’s. UNDONE has taken these dials and have aligned them with the solar system. I have in the Mercury and the Neptune. The Mercury has a blue dial. Blue, a calming hue that resonates with Wisdom and Peace.”  I also have in the Neptune with the green dial. “Green, a zesty hue that connects well with Nature and Youth” 

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Both dial colors just pop as you can see in the pictures. The dial of the Mystique is simple, with no unnecessary clutter. There are two subdials, one located at the 12 o’clock position and the other at the 6 o’clock position. The top subdial is responsible for counting for the chronograph while the bottom sub dial is a small seconds counter. There is nice guilloche application done in the subdials that adds a touch of texture and depth to the dial. The domed K1 crystal with the curved edges adds more depth along with the how the color of the dial progresses from darker around the edges to lighter as you progress towards the center of the dial. The vintage style hands and applied hour markers are very reminiscent of men’s dress watches from the 1960’s. I could totally see Dean Martin rocking this watch with swagger back in the day. Both the hands and the applied markers have a high polished finish that catches the light brilliantly.

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The 40mm by 52mm by 13mm stainless case is a nice comfortable size for every day wear. The Mystique will easily fit under a dress shirt cuff with no problem. The case has a combination of a brushed and a polished finish. The case back is highly polished which can almost act as a mirror. It is so clean and simple, I actually love it’s simplicity.

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The push/pull style crown is easy to grip and easy to use. More importantly it functions without flaw. The crown has great detail with both the UNDONE ‘U’ and the finished edges. The crown is a generous size as well which makes operating very simple. The pushhers that operate the chronograph function are easy to push and respond well. The top pusher starts and stops the chronograph while the bottom pusher resets it. The lugs are quite beautiful on the Mystique. The sides of the lugs have a brushed finish which is continued around the circumference of the case. The lugs gradually tapper as they progress out from the case.

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The lugs gladly accept the quick release spring bars on the leather strap. The quick release works like a charm and allows you to take the strap off without the need of a tool, and more importantly allows an easy realease without the threat of strap change scratches. The black leather strap has to be one of the softest, most pliable straps straight out of the box that I have ever experienced. It is so absolutely comfortable. I want straps like this in every size for the watches in my collection. The strap has some detailing with some white stitches near the lugs and at the tip of the non buckle side of the case. The signed brushed stainless steel buckle finishes off the strap with a nice complete look.

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Ticking away inside the Mystique is the Seiko VK61 mechanical quartz movement. For those who aren’t familiar with the mecha-quartz movement let me explain. Mechanical quartz movements are constructed in a hybrid style. The hybrid comes in through a combination of quartz-regulated electronic “fuel” and a mechanical chronograph “carborator”. Mechanical quartz chronographs have the accuracy and stability that people come to know in trust from a quartz movement.  The Chronograph functions like that of a mechanical chronograph but rely on a battery source for it’s power instead of a rotor like that of an automatic movement.

The Mystique is a nice little package at an affordable price. My favorite part of the Mystique has the be the dial, followed closely by the crown. The blue dial almost looks black in certain light, then it appears to be sunburst blue in other lighting. The strap is a so comfortable and teamed with the lightness of the watch itself makes for a great all day wearing watch. You almost forget that it is on your wrist. The domed crystal is also a good looking detail, I just wish that it was a sapphire crystal. While I am I a suggesting roll, I would love to see a future Mystique in a non-chrono, Automatic movement version.

The Mystique has some great vintage charm and an attractive price. These would definitely make for a good Christmas present. The 40mm case size can work easily for both a man or a woman, with the dial color options and the silver or rose gold option you can definitely find the perfect match for yourself or for a gift for someone else. A friend of mine who is getting married was looking for gift ideas for his groomsmen and I suggested the Mystique, not only for the affordability, but also for the case back space that can be easily engraved.

The Mystique is an affordable option for a daily beater that can transition from the office business attire to the bar in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. I would like to thank you all for reading. As allows, your questions and comments are welcome below. Thank you to UNDONE as well.

https://www.undone.watch/mystique#pre-order_section

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Watch Review: Aquator Corps

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What attracts you to buy a watch? The brand name? The company’s history? Price? When I was fairly new to watch collecting what I looked for was a company with a long running history and also I only looked at certain brands. As I became more immersed within the watch industry and community I discovered that my narrow vantage point was causing me to miss out on some pretty fantastic pieces. Some up and coming watch brand owners, watch enthusiasts befriended me and began my education on smaller, passionate brands. There is so much passion in some of these smaller brands that is quite infectious. The more immersed I got, the more enthusiastic I became. Igniting a re-energized flame inside of me making me become much more excited about watches and much more excited to experience watches. And I haven’t looked back since…………….

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Today, I will be looking at a watch from a passionate watch maker, and the watch is the Aquator Corps. I discovered this watch on Instagram. The clean dial immediately caught my attention in the pictures that I saw. The large yellow hour markers where very hard to ignore. I really liked was how the Corps did a different spin on the numeral layout by including only the even numerals. It creates a new and unique balance to the traditional watch dial layout that I have become accustomed to. They color of the numerals does change depending on the lighting. Sometimes they appear to be yellow, while other times they take on a more orange appearance.

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The Corps dial includes a nice, detailed seconds/minute track that is reminiscent of the old military field watches which adds to the overall old school tool watch feel that encompasses the Corps. The sword style hands completes that feel. The attention to detail on these hands is what impressed me the most. Each hand touches the markers that they indicate. For example the hour hand touches the hour markers, the minute hand reaches the minute markers and the long second hand reaches the second markers. This really assists you when you need percission timing in the field. Whether your field is the office, or if your field is out in nature, the Corps will assist those timing needs. This dial has what you need, no more, no less. This holds true with the text as well, where all you will find is ‘Aquator’. Simple, balanced with a lovely vintage feel, sums up this dial.

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The 45mm case is also simple, yet full of that vintage charm. A combination of brushed and polished finish. The  Corps features a fixed bezel which allows the dial to be the full focal point. The main star of case on the Corps has to be the engraved case back.

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The case back was a surprise to me when I received the watch. I had no idea what the solid, screw down case back was going to look like. It also revieled to me some specs on the Corps that I was equally surprised by. Shockprotected, antimagnetic, perfect additions to a tool/field watch in my opinion. I don’t baby watches by any means and the Corps exceeded my expectations on how it handled itself while I was hiking, trudging through waste deep mud and water. It never faulted.

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The short, curved lugs allow the Corps not only wear comfortably but also allows for comfort as well. The Corps comes on a thick, padded, handmade leather strap. This strap has the look and feel of a high priced, well crafted custom strap that I have come to love over my years as a watch collector and enthusiast. Vintage looking leather with small, white stitching, with a slightly distressed finish. I love swapping out straps on all of my watches, but honestly I don’t think that I could change this strap, it completes the look of the Corps and stays true to that vintage feel that encompasses this watch. To complete the look of this strap, it has a nice polished buckle signed with an engraved ‘Aquator’.

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The screw down crown functions well as one would expect from their watch. Now this is the only area of the Corps that my suggestions come into play to improve upon the design. I would have really liked to see a larger crown for easier operation in the field. I also would have liked to see the crown signed with the same logo that is engraved on the case back. This really would have finished the Corps case brilliantly in my opinion.

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Ticking away inside the Aquator Corps is the swiss ETA 2836-2 workhorse and highly reliable movement. We all know this movement so I don’t need to bore you with what you already know. I will say though that this movement in the review piece times in at +7 seconds per day.

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The Aquator Corps is a well made watch that will surely handle any adventure. It handled everything that I dished out at it. When I was climbing, I banged the mineral crystal pretty hard against a rock, I thought for sure when I turned my wrist over that it was going to be chipped or shattered, but much to my surprise it didn’t have any mark on it after I wiped off the dust from the rock. The Corps is a nice interpretation of a classic field watch. It comes in at $599 which you do get a lot of nice specs for your money. I know some people will have a problem with the choice of the hardened mineral crystal as apposed to sapphire crystal.

When I saw the dial for the first time at night, I was truly wowed as everything that is printed on the dial, is coated with lume. Glowing a lovely shade of green. I would definitely recommend the Corps to anyone looking for  nice, hand assembled field watch. You definitely won’t find another one like it on someone else’s wrist, a unique wrist experience.

I want to personally thank Aquator and you all for reading. As always, I welcome your questions and comments below.

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