Thursday, February 20, 2014

Apple iPod Nano - A Joy to have but There are Better Options Available in the Market, A Review

This iPod Nano is strictly not a watch. However, it can act and look like a typical wristwatch due to its adaptability. Coupled with the excellent functionality, this iPod Nano can be considered the "Swiss Army Watch" of the 21st century.

There are 18 different dial design for the iPod Nano. From analogue to digital, there are enough choices for most people.

The watch is 38 mm across and about 6 mm thick. It has a clip at the back for you to hang it on your shirt etc. There is a slot to plug in the wires to connect to the computer and to charge the internal batteries. There is also a standard jack for headphones, a on/off button as well as up and down keys on the side of the iPod Nano.

Apart from the watch function, it can play MP3s, tune it to FM radio (the headphones acts like an aerial), display photos as well as the Nike Fitness application installed.

The memory for this particular model in 8 GB.

In the picture below you can see the large on/off switch an the "+" and "-" buttons.

The bracelet does not come standard with the iPod Nano. There are actually a lot of choices in the market. I chose a aluminum based bracelet from iwatchz. The slot you see in the metal plate is where you slip in the clip that is at the back of the Ipod Nano.

This is a good combination to have when traveling for work. Elegant and full of functionality.

The clasp on the bracelet is flushed with the rest of the bracelet.

I have used this combination for traveling on business trips. Ability to listen to music is a luxury very difficult to find when cramped in a seat while traveling. The added ability to tune in the FM signals makes it even better.

I won't recommend you to get this as there are better options available in the market. Do shop around and you will find something that will give you joy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tissot Seastar II T55.8.483.11 - A Refine Watch, A Review

In February 2011, I was in Switzerland. While there, I got a couple of watches. One of them is this Tissot Seastar II for my wife. Although defined as a gentleman's watch, its diameter size of just 36 mm makes it more "feminine" than "masculine".

It is an all stainless steel construction. With a white dial, it has markers with gold plating, including the hands. It has say and date functions situated at the 3 o'clock position. Apart from the brand "TISSOT 1853" at the North of the dial, the South has "AUTOMATIC 25 JEWELS SWISS MADE". All along the perimeter of the dial are micro-markers in 0.2 second intervals.

From the center of the dial right up to the inner edge of the main markers are fine concentric circles painted on the dial. It ends with a Super-LumiNova painted dot by each main markers. The hour and minute hands are also painted with the Super-LumiNova.

The crown is a 3-position push-down crown. Meanwhile, the dial is protected by sapphire crystal.

The case-back is solid without any image or logo etched on it. Only details about the watch. It is a snap-on case-back. This design sets the water rating limit to just 30 meters.

The automatic caliber used is the ETA 2824 with 25 jewels. The workhorse of the Swiss watch industry. Accurate and starts up fast from sleep with just a few shakes of the watch.

The bracelet with safety clasp. On the clasp is a logo of "T" etched on it. Unfortunately, the bracelet is not solid.

This watch is no longer in production. When I bought it, I got it for a price of RM735.85. 

Overall, this watch can be worn anywhere. Replacing the bracelet with a brown or black leather strap will make it look even more refine.

Friday, February 14, 2014

OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial - A Great Tool Watch That Can Take A Beating, A Review

This OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Co-Axial Reference 2208.50.00 was a gift to my wife back in 2010. I bought it to commemorate her obtaining an open water diving certification. This watch has the "600 M" stamp that denotes its capability to operate down to a depth of 600 meters. A very serious tool watch.

OMEGA launched the Planet Ocean line in 2005. This model, with its scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, features a black dial with a date window at the 3 o’clock position. The orange unidirectional rotating divers’ bezel is mounted on a 45.5 mm stainless steel case on a stainless steel bracelet. To put it in perspective the diving capability of this watch, the 600 metres is equivalent to 2000 feet or 60 bar. The Co-Axial calibre 2500 is at the heart of this certified chronometer.

As highlighted earlier, this watch is huge. With a watch case diameter of 45.5 mm which excludes the crown, this watch comes with a number of features. There is a date window situated at the 3 o'clock position. At the same position is the screw-down crown. The crown has a good grip on it and the OMEGO logo can be seen at the top. Part of the case acts as a partial crown guard and it does not hurt the wrist at all if you wear it closer to your hand. Meanwhile, at the 10 o'clock position is the manual helium escape valve to be used when diving at depth. On this model, it is chunkier than the crown but with duller grips and says "He" on it for Helium.

The dial is black with painted markers at 5 minute intervals. There are sub-markers for minute intervals as well. In addition, at the North, West and South positions on the dial are Arabic digits as well (The East position is taken by the date window). The hour-, minute- and seconds-hands are also painted with luminous paint for ease of reference in the dark. The luminous paint used is the Super-luminova which is really effective. A couple of hours exposure to light is sufficient to keep the Super-luminova glowing all night.

The unidirectional aluminum and steel insert rotating bezel is painted orange. There is a lumed pip at the 60 minute position as required under the ISO 6425 Divers' Watch Standard and micro-markers for the first 15 minutes. The rest of the bezel are painted with large Arabic numbering in 10 minute intervals. The bezel is designed with a gear tooth-like design to make it easier to manipulate with heavy diving gloves. It rotates very nicely in 120 click increments.
The dial is protected by a domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Both sides of the crystal have been given an anti-reflective coating to reduce glaring.

The base material for the body of the watch as well as the bracelet is the 316L stainless steel. The design of the watch casing follows the Swiss standard with the technical specifications NHIS 91-10 or ISO 1413 (international equivalent). Although OMEGA does not report the shock resistant capability of this watch, by the fact that it follows ISO 1413 implies it is capable to withstand up to 5,000 Gs.

A very well made case. Don't think OMEGA could have done a much better job on this aspect of the watch. Some people have commented on the bulky design but I find it to be perfect. It does take some getting used to but without this, this watch's character would be lost.

This watch uses the OMEGA Caliber 2500, a self-winding chronometer, Co-Axial escapement movement with rhodium-plated finish. This particular caliber is based on the venerable OMEGA Caliber 1120. This is in-turn based on the ETA 2892. OMEGA has added two jewels to the ETA design for the bi-directional, click-wheel automatic winding system. The escapement of the 2500 adds another two jewels, and another two are added to the mainspring barrel for a total of 27. The movement is 12.5 lignes (27.2 millimeters in diameter), and 3.6 millimeters thick. OMEGA cites a power reserve of 48 hours, typical for single-barreled automatic movements of this size.

The watch comes with a solid screw-down case-back. An artistic rendition of the classic Seamaster logo is etched on the center of the case-back. Truly appreciate the level of detailing done. Also, as you can clearly see in the image above (near the crown), the anti-counterfeit engraving.

When the watch is on your wrist, although weighty, you hardly noticed it. It is very comfortable. Unknowingly, the logo will leave a imprint on your wrist which looks cool.

The OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean is an awesome watch that got a lot of it's recognition and  popularity due to the product placement tie-ins to the James Bond film genre. Excellant looking, rugged "sport" watches that still look elegant to be worn to a formal event. This model was one of two Bond watches for the 2006 film, "Casino Royale".

The bracelet and clasp on the OMEGA are of solid construction and design. OMEGA did a good job on this. As a reference, this bracelet and clasp combination is tagged as Part Number 951. Weighty, solid end links and excellent construction. On the clasp are etched the logo, the brand as well as the words "PROFESSIONAL" and "PLANET OCEAN". Resizing the links is easy as it uses the pin system.

I am also glad to report that the Planet Ocean could handle the rough stuff as advertised. My wife uses this watch for water sports and it has been bashed and scraped against rocks, corals, sand etc. A lot of battle scars can be seen (see below).

Despite the damage inflicted on the watch for the past 4 years, it remains precise in its timekeeping. I couldn't ask for more.

Although the Planet Ocean is sizable, it can be worn with formal wear relatively easy. This gives it a distinct advantage of being an all rounder. It is pity that a very high percentage of Planet Oceans would not be able to see action as it was designed for. The pricing as well as the (misplaced, in my opinion) advertising messages creates an impression that this is a show watch instead of a tool watch. Unfortunately, a lot of buyers believe this to be true. Only a few, including my wife, realized its true potential and really put it through its pace.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116520 - A Grail Watch To Own, A Review

People do say, once you own a Rolex watch, you become life-long fan of the brand and its mystique. After getting my first Rolex back in 2010 (Rolex Deepsea Sea Dweller), I started to explore the history behind the brand and the various models available.

DSSD Milgauss GV Explorer 1 DaytonaSubmariner ND (TBA) Yacht-Master II (TBA)
TBA – To Be Acquired; excludes same model with different dials i.e. I would not go for another Milgauss (white or black) as I already have the green.

My preference for Rolex has always been the sports model. To be more specific, sports model without the cyclops eye. Honestly, the cyclops eye is ugly in my view. Rolex should keep the crystal on their watches flat.

As a result of my personal choice, there are only six sports model currently sold by Rolex to fulfill my requirements. These are listed in the table above.

Four years since my first Rolex, I have added my fourth, the Daytona into the collection.With this purchase I have another two more models to go before I complete my personal collection of Rolex sports model minus cyclops eye.

This is considered a major purchase on my part. Therefore, I only trust a known AD in Kuala Lumpur to handle the transaction. After the standard "VIP" treatment at the AD's stately establishment I faced a dilemma: Should I get the white or black faced Daytona? After looking at both and comparing them on my wrist, I decided to go for the white faced version. After doing all the paperwork, I walked away with a package.

The main watch box has an outer sleeve devoid of any logo or brand.  

Only after taking off the sleeve would you find the actual watch box with the famous coronet logo embossed on it.

The actual display box with its customary green and wavy top is in this box.

Opening the box reveal the lovely Daytona that I just purchased.

Like the other watches in Rolex’s Oyster Professional series, the Cosmograph Daytona is designed to be a robust watch designed to measure and calculate elapsed time and average speed via the chronograph registers on the dial and the graduated tachymeter bezel. The Daytona has been designed to endure the rigors of motor sports and the Oyster case, Triplock crown and the screw-down chronograph pushers combine provide the Daytona the ability to resist 100 meters of water pressure. The Cosmograph became such an icon in the sport of auto racing, that during the late 1960s, the watch earned the nickname “Daytona” after the Daytona International Speedway. Although the advent of technology has give new tools that are cheaper, lighter and more accurate than what the Daytona could ever measure, the nostalgia of a mechanical measuring devise still captures the interest of many.

One cannot help but admire the beauty of the Daytona. Beneath the sapphire crystal lies a white dial with white gold hands and markers, which provide excellent legibility. The markers and hands are also painted with Superluminova to provide low-light visibility. The polished bezel, case and center links of the bracelet also add to the quality of the Daytona.

The Daytona is powered by the Rolex Caliber 4130 which made its debut in 2000. Like most high-end chronograph movements, the caliber 4130 uses a column wheel design to engage and control the chronograph functions. Rolex uses an innovative vertical friction coupling for engaging the column wheel func­tions. This particular design feature is evident when the chronograph seconds hand is engaged. The chronograph second hand exhibits a smooth start and is free of the staggered movement so typical of other mechanical chronographs.

The whole movement of the 4130 has 201 components. The caliber uses ball bearings made of ceramic in the automatic winding system. The use of ceramic ball bearings means better rotor spin efficiency and lower maintenance. Meanwhile, the free-sprung balance wheel is finely regulated via Microstella screws and employs Rolex’s PARAFLEX shock absorption system. Attached to the balance is the Rolex “Parachrom Bleu” hairspring, with it’s unique anti-magnetic and temperature resistant properties. All in all, the 44 jewel movement oscillates at 28,800 bph and has power reserve of 72 hours.

The caliber 4130 is self-winding via a bidirectional rotor but can also be manually wound. Of course, no Caliber 4130 finds its way into a Daytona case without first attaining COSC certification.

Above is the guarantee as well as the attestation of the COSC certification for the watch. Note the lake of any reference to "Daytona". Instead, the formal model name for the watch is just "Oyster Perpetual". This is a real surprised as Rolex has more-or-less adopted the nickname when it etched the rotor of the watch with the word "Daytona" as well as the same on the dial itself. Below is a photo of the Caliber 4130 taken from the internet that clearly shows Rolex recognizing the nickname given to the watch by branding it as such.

The Daytona is 40 mm across. Measuring from the bezel, it is 38.5 mm across with a 30.5 mm diameter for the sapphire crystal. Thickness is approximately 12.2 mm. The lug width is 20 mm and the bracelet tapers down to 17.2 mm at the clasp.

The bracelet and clasp of the Daytona are of solid construction. The bracelet, clasp as well as the main watch casing are made of polished 904L steel. A super-alloy, the 904L is extremely resistant and highly polish-able.

The bezel is made out of the same material as the watch casing i.e. 904L carbon steel. The tachymeter is etched on it and painted black to make the necessary contrast for ease of reference. Its scale provides a measuring speed of up to 400 units per hour, whether expressed in kilometres or miles. The centre has the hour, minute and seconds-chrono hands. The seconds hand is in a sub-dial set at the 6 o'clock position. A 30-minute counter is at 3 o'clock and 12-hour counter is at 9 o'clock. The seconds-chrono hand is accurate to within 1/8 of a second.

The markers as well as the hours and minute hands are painted with Superluminova to provide the necessary brightness in low lighting situations.

Just outside the boundary of the markers are micromarkers painted on the dial itself. There are 25 micromarkers in-between two main markers which makes up 300 overall. This gives a measurement accuracy of 0.2 seconds.

Rolex loves to put a lot of information on its dial. Apart from the customary "ROLEX" and "SWISS MADE", there is also the official model of the watch "OYSTER PERPETUAL" and the term "SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED COSMOGRAPH". Interestingly, the nickname "DAYTONA" is written in red. I have yet to find the explanation on why it is different. If anyone knows, please add a comment at the bottom of this posting.

The side profile of the watch shows the smooth design of the watch casing. This is good as it minimizes the possibility of snagging on shirt cuffs.

Note the seamless shine on every part of the watch. The use of a common base metal and subjecting each part to the same treatment create the consistency.

Rolex has added a micro adjustment mechanism to the clasp system. This enables users to adjust the tightness of the bracelet without the need of a tool. Approximately 1 cm of play is available.

The size is just nice for my 7.5 inch wrist. There is no weight to the watch and your wrist feels natural very fast. Although the chronograph function and the tachymeter scale is one of Daytona's claim to fame, unfortunately, it is too fine for my aged eyesight.

I am not blaming the watch at all. It just goes to show that valuable things can only be afforded by old men after a life time of working (well, in this day and age, you do find many millionaires at a very young age). The pocket is willing, but the body is not!!! 

This watch is designed as a tool watch but capable of being a dress watch in a split second.

Another angle to show you the curves designed into the watch case to minimize snagging.

Overall, I am impressed. There wasn't any instances when the watch function anything less than what has been advertised. Despite the inability to fully utilize the various timing functions available on the watch due to my failing eyesight, everything else fits perfectly with any conceivable scenario imaginable.

The Daytona really fits in the bill as a "Grail" watch. The best thing is that I have one!!!

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