Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Alpina Pilot Automatic Startimer 44 mm Reference AL-525B4S6 Limited Edition of 8888 pieces (#2000) – Sold at a price point that belies its provenance, A Review (plus Video)

The pilot watch is a theme that I have been quietly drawn to. This time, I’ve decided to look at the Alpina Startimer series as good candidate for my collection. I did find one I like and it’s the basic three hand plus date model. The Startimer Reference AL-525B4S6 was the choice I made with a limited production run of just 8,888 examples. The particular unit I got was numbered 2,000.

I think my taste has changed. Usually I get excited with dive watches. However, as the years rolled by, I am attracted to simpler and more formal styles of watches. A pilot watch is one of the new found interests to me. I find it more flexible when it comes to usage especially within a formal event.

Alpina Watches was established 1883, making them one of the oldest brands currently in production. Founded by Gottlieb Hauser, Alpina made watches in both Switzerland and Glashütte. In 1938, Alpina introduced durable sport watches with the “Alpina 4” concept, a set of standards that includes anti-shock, waterproof, anti-magnetic and a stainless steel case. In 2002, Alpina was bought by the founders of Frederique Constant. They have several themed ranges, but the most numerous is their line of pilot watches.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Apple iWatch 42 mm Stainless Steel Series 2 - A sophisticated smart watch, A Review (plus Video)

I recently bought for my wife the latest version 2 Apple iWatch. When I went to the Machine shop to look at the watch, I was very surprised by the sheer number of options available. Instead of going for the cheapest, I’ve decided to look at the options with the following specifications: stainless steel, sapphire crystal, more than 40 mm in size, water proof and comes with a metal bracelet.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

An OMG Moment - Rubber Strap Failure of my Bell & Ross BR02-92 Pro-Dial Dive Watch, Advice (Updated)

Back in October 2013, I purchased my Bell & Ross BR02-92 Pro-Dial Dive Watch that comes standard with a rubber strap (for more on the watch, please refer here: Bell & Ross BR02-92 Pro Dial Diver Watch - A French Connection).

There were a lot of complaints from owners about the poor quality of the rubber strap which generally don't seem to last for more than a year. A simple Google search on the subject would give you a list of postings from disgruntled owners. I did take note and I have been careful when wearing it for the last two years.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Uhrenbeweger (or Watch Winder) by Beco Technic, A Review

I got this watch winder as a free gift from my AD recently. This was the exact model of my previous watch winder that I bought that is not working anymore (the motherboard got fried - too expensive to repair).

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blake Watch Roll Reference Item 305628 by Wolf - Accessories, Review

Recently I got a gift from my watch dealer a traveling watch storage system made by the Wolf company. This particular storage system is called The Blake Watch Roll which consist of a leather encased tube that can fit approximately three watches.

It is approximately 20.3 mm long with a diameter of 8.3 mm with purple suede lining. The tube is opened using a snap button. The inner role is where you put your watches.

Friday, June 3, 2016

AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Automatic Pilot Watch AV-4017-02 – A Cheap Mechanical Pilot Watch, A Review (plus videos)

The Specification

UK-based AVI-8 Watches is a fashion watch stylist in my view. In a short period of time they have managed to roll out an extensive line of timepieces; a manufacturing strategy not adopted by any ‘serious’ watchmaker but you will see being done by fashion houses such as Fossil, Daniel-Wellington and others.

I don’t usually cover these brands as I find the inputs they have on their products are generally minimal. They may be the original designers, but the manufacturing process is totally contracted out to OEM manufacturers typically in China. However, I made an exception for the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Automatic Pilot Watch with the reference AV-4017-02 because of a few unique features.
The AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane AV-4017-02 is a mechanical timepiece with a pilot watch design. Made out of 316L stainless steel, the watch is 44 mm wide and 14 mm thick. Its lug width is 22 mm.

Monday, May 16, 2016

BALL Engineer Hydrocarbon AeroGMT Reference DG2016A-SC-BK - Well protected as a tank and a real bright spark in the dark, A Review

This is my first BALL watch. Although I know about this brand, I was introduced to it only lately by a friend of mine that have a lot of knowledge about BALL watches. From a historical perspective, BALL Watch Company is impressive. 

Brand History

BALL Watch Company SA is an American watch company based in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. It was founded in 1891 by Webster Clay Ball (also known as Webb C. Ball) in Cleveland, Ohio, and is directly linked to the American railroad history.

After a tragic train collision in 1891 in Kipton, Ohio, due to timing issues, Mr. Ball was appointed by Lake Shore Lines, a train company to help revamp the railroad system, incorporating accurate timing as a cornerstone that keeps things moving without any mishap. He set up the “RR Standard” (“RR” for Rail Road) to assure a high accuracy and perfect reading to all railroad employees. He also created the BALL Time Service, an after-sale service to which every employee of the rails had to bring his watch every two weeks to make sure the accuracy and reliability of the watch was optimal. Some of the key criteria for a watch to obtain the “RR Standard” certification are as follows; no lid on the dial; size 18 or 16 (44.86mm or 43.17mm); plain white dial, bold black hands and Arabic numbers; minimum of 17 jewels; adjusted to at least 5 positions; adjusted to temperature 40 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit; and accuracy with a gain or loss of maximum 30 seconds a week, among others.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Steinhart Ocean One Titanium 500 Premium - Best Watch on a Budget, A Review

I not had the opportunity to get my hands on a Steinhart watch before. The diving watch styling of Steinhart is too close to the Rolex Submariner design. I don’t particularly like getting something that is too close to an original especially when it is still in production. However, when Steinhart launched the Ocean One Titanium 500 Premium, back in 2015, I was hooked. In fact, a lot of other people also had the same view like mine and the watch is always out of stock due to strong demand. Finally, after a year of trying, I got my hands on one.

The spirit behind the brand is Mr. Guenter Steinhart. He studied architecture and engineering in Munich, Germany. He was interested in making watches that looks good, shows the quality and above all inexpensive to the masses. He set up shop in the Jura region of Switzerland. Ever since the first Steinhart came off the production line, the brand continues to grow a strong following of fans due to its affordability.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Titanium T091.420.44.051.00 - A smart watch that has style and class; worth every bit, A Review

Up to this moment, I own two Tissot watches. Both I bought when I visited Switzerland back in 2011; the Tissot Gents T-Classic Le Locle (see: and the Tissot Seastar II (see: Before and since that purchase I have not looked at another Tissot because of the many issues relating to the brand from counterfeit all the way to the lack of serial numbers (Google it to find out more).

In recent years I have been attracted to one of Tissot's most famous series, the T-Touch after seeing being worn by Richard Hammond of the Top Gear fame. In all his overseas Top Gear adventures you will always see him with an orange strap Tissot T-Touch.

Although Tissot presented its first tactile multi-functional watch in 1999, it was only 15 year later, in 2014 that a T-Touch with solar power capability was introduced to the general public. I finally took the plunge and got myself a T-Touch Expert Solar Reference T091.420.44.051.00.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

GMT Watches - Why it is Better than Worldtime Watches

The purpose of a watch is to tell time. A mechanical watch has been doing that for centuries. However, from a 'purpose' base approach, technology has made mechanical watches obsolete. From a practical point of view, technology has made electronic watches more accurate with much more possible applications for a given size.

Why there are still mechanical watch around is purely due to its artistic beauty. People tend to romanticized mechanical watches due to abstract reasoning while disregarding its true effectiveness. I can understand why. It is nice to appreciate something pretty.

A number of people have asked me this question, “What would be the most useful complication on a mechanical watch today?” This is an easy question to answer. For me, it is the GMT function (some called it UTC; conceptually there are differences but operationally they work the same i.e. tracking another time zone).

Writing about watches is a hobby of mine. Not a lot of my readers know this but my daily job and career is totally different. It involves the world of finance. Travelling to the four corners of the Earth is a normal occurrence for me. If I am not travelling, I would be engaged in teleconferencing with global clients. This set of circumstances require me to have a watch (if it is mechanical) that can track global time zones so that I would know when would be the best time to make conference calls.

Wouldn’t a Worldtime watch be more appropriate? Yes, it could if it has the location of all my clients. Due to the lack of space on a dial, it is close to impossible to note every possible location on Earth onto the Worldtime watch. Also, if a country suddenly decides to move to another time zone, the dial of any Worldtime watch prior to the change would be erroneous. Case in point: the change by North Korea by 30 minutes last year to move the country from GMT+9 hours to GMT+8.5 hours. I don’t think any major brand has ever put Pyongyang as a Worldtime reference before but the fact that you need to relate to a city to get the time zone is a step too far. A simpler process would just remember the reference time zone plus (+) or minus (-) GMT and refer directly from there.

Daylight Saving Time used in the summer months for certain jurisdiction also plays havoc to a Worldtime watch. Typical way to denote such jurisdiction is to colour such cities differently from the rest. Furthermore, as it is now, a dial on a typical Worldtime watch is too busy for my liking.

What would be most efficient is a fourth hand; a GMT hand that moves one round of a dial in 24 hours. There should also be 24 hour scale for reference.

I usually fixed the GMT hand to point towards GMT time. Now, you just need to take note of the target location time zone reference to the GMT. For example, if you know North Korea is 8.5 hours plus GMT, you just refer the GMT hand and add 8.5 hours to give you the time in Pyongyang. If Los Angeles is 8 hours minus GMT, you just refer the GMT hand and minus 8 hours to give you the time for the US West Coast.

As a travelling watch, you don’t it to be too big or too obvious. Something around the 43 mm range would be sufficient. It should also have a sporty nature to it in case you want to take a dip in the hotel pool. In short, it shouldn’t be too dainty or too expensive or made out of precious metals (don’t want to provide the necessary temptation to the unscrupulous when travelling). Nevertheless, it should have a pedigree that exudes style, quality and class.

In my collection of Western watches, I got the following GMTs: (Left) Schroeder Joailliers 1877 GMT; (Right) OCEAN7 LM5 GMT.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Limited Edition watches - the Pros and Cons

Watch makers tend to promote Limited Edition pieces more aggressively. The special effort and design of such watches tend to make it look better compared to standard production models. Such special attention invariable allows the watch makers to input a premium price to the LE watches.

I personally do not go for LE watches because most-often-than-not such watches are redressed standard models. I would prefer to go for the standard models anyway. Nevertheless, there are LE pieces that are unique.

In my collection I have only two LE watches, the Omega Seamaster Bullhead Chronograph and the Disney Parks Authentics Gears Link Mickey Mouse.

Monday, January 4, 2016

WristReview’s Top 20 Most Popular Articles of 2015 - I was featured in 8 of them!

WristReview’s Top 20 Most Popular Articles of 2015

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