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This evening at an invitation only event at the Design Museum in Kensington, Bremont launched a new limited edition timepiece – The Supersonic.

The launch of the Supersonic celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Concorde, and 100 years of British Airways. This is the eighth historical limited edition timepiece from Bremont and incorporates a ring of aluminium from Alpha Bravo – Heathrow’s last remaining Concorde in its construction.

The Supersonic contains Bremont’s first ever manual wind movement which features an 8 day power reserve with an indicator on the dial at the 12 o’clock position, an exhibition caseback and an elaborately decorated movement featuring the silhouette of Concorde within its construction.

The Bremont Supersonic will be available in three flavours.

  • Stainless Steel (limited to 300 pieces) for £9495
  • Rose Gold (limited to 100 pieces) for £16,995
  • White Gold (limited to 100 pieces) for £17,995

 

 

 

 

 

 

To register your interest and for further information visit: www.bremont.com/collections/supersonic

 

Earlier this year we wrote an article calling out the issues with traditional NATO watch straps – namely that they add unnecessary bulk to a watch as well as lifting it further away from your wrist. We were quite surprised by quantity of positive feedback on the article. It seems that we were not alone in our views and one UK Company ‘Haveston’ have continued to innovate, evolving the design and implementation of the humble NATO strap without losing its two principal benefits – the ease of which you can change a strap and the added security ensuring you don’t lose your watch if a spring bar fails.

We contacted Haveston to take a look at their A2-Single pass layout straps, and Alex kindly sent us a selection.

The design of the A2-single pass layout straps has evolved the humble NATO into a truly modern strap. Firstly, the lack of the additional piece of material and buckle allows the watch to sit closer to the wrist as well as allowing you to move the strap futher along the fabric. This allows the wearer to position the watch on the top of the wrist whilst ensuring the buckle is positioned on the bottom balancing out the look and feel, and ensuring a comfortable fit. However Haveston did not stop there, they also re-engineered the placement of the traditional NATO metal keepers and allowed one to become a ‘floating’ keeper – able to move along the strap. This allows the excess strap to be held in position without the need to fold and tuck the excess back in on itself. This also contributes to a more slender wear as well as increased comfort.

The fabrics used are high quality heavy weave polyamide in a seatbelt pattern and the fit and finish is excellent. The straps are available with either a polished buckle and keepers, a brushed finish or a blasted PVD in 18, 20 or 22mm widths. Of note is their Canvas series providing a great alternative to the traditional fabric of NATO straps.On the wrist the straps feel extremely comfortable and in keeping with the military history of the nato strap, Haveston’s designs are all historically inspired with unique patterns and colours harking back to Army and Navy heritage.

DBCD8A78-67D3-40C6-AEE3-E1F199AD1585
97588B61-9C8E-4E78-B404-0AB8CA4E8AD6
6EB4DE09-E7B9-4E3A-B1C5-5B055AE4B6B2
A9110806-2FBA-4952-9014-F2E4450C5EE1
BFFED6BF-E337-42B4-9740-7AF6C5030531
F6FDB080-C28E-4E5F-9365-CD0494AF5DFF
FC785B26-A681-4FC8-AD4B-75F5EF87D333
6CA20ED1-13AC-4EC7-B6A6-4BEE5DFDCF8D
330A4210-775D-49DF-ACE0-94403CCAEAB5
CAC45A02-2E16-4271-B6E7-9B61F54BC5E8

We’re delighted that to see Haveston continue to innovate and look forward to more of their offerings currently under development.

The straps are all available directly from Haveston in the UK at www.haveston.com Prices are currently shown in USD as a universal price indication only and payment is taken in GBP. Haveston’s new website (coming soon) will offer localised currencies.

We are proud to announce that from today our Wristworthy online magazine is now available on Flipboard.

Since starting Wristworthy, we have wanted to deliver a unique perspective and journalistic narrative on watches to the broadest possible audience. As part of our strategy to deliver quality watch content, we feel its important not only to build relationships with brands and readers alike, but to also ensure our content is delivered on the best platforms and in the most accessible and appropriate way. For the last two months we have been working with Flipboard to satisfy their criteria as a professional publisher.

Before being approved, Flipboard’s editorial team take time to personally qualify each and every publisher to assure the content and prioritise quality over quantity. Only once approved can publishers deliver their content directly through Flipboard to their community of more than 100 million monthly active users. This achievement has broadened our reach and solidified our presence as a British publisher of quality watch content.

So what is Flipboard?

Flipboard is the world’s largest content curation platform. Flipboard makes it easy to stay informed and get inspired by the stories and products that fuel your passion. Over the years, in partnership with the world’s greatest publishers, Flipboard have built a curated experience with a plurality of voices, where people can find quality stories on any interest, investing in their lives and their passions. Flipboard work with over 4,000 of the world’s best publishers and an editorial team that hand-curates content around the clock to produce a 100% brand-safe environment that values quality over quantity. Flipboard has a Global reach of over 100 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) spanning every country, over a quarter of which are here in Europe.

Flipboard is available in the iTunes store for iOS, the Google Play store for Android, the Microsoft store for Windows and the Web.

You can find and add our magazine by searching for “Wristworthy” or clicking here.

So you’ve gone out and bought yourself a new watch and after having looked at the water resistance rating declared by the manufacturer you’re confident that it will stand up to the daily lifestyle that you’re accustomed to. However after having worn it in relatively light situations, you’ve now noticed that the watch is showing signs of water inside the case. Surely this cant be right?! Well, depending on the rating you could be in for a nasty surprise.

There are in fact two international standards for the water resistance of watches. These are ISO 22810:2010 and ISO 6425. ISO 22810:2010 (which as the designation implies was revised in 2010) defines the standard by which watches are tested and denotes the applied markings allowed to be placed on the watch.

The table below is an extract of ratings and their suitability for proximity or use in water (also available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Resistant_mark)

You will note from the table that watches carrying a water resistance rating of 30m or 50m both state they are “Not suitable for showering, bathing, swimming, snorkeling, water related work, fishing, and diving.”

In our research we did find a number of websites, forums and watch manufacturers with differing views and opinions on the suitability of watches rated to 50m (or 5atm) with some stating that 50m should be fine for use while swimming, and others stating that a watch with a rating of 50m must not be subjected to more than a few “splashes”. While writing this article we actually have a watch lent to us by Stowa which has “Waterproof 5 atm” inscribed on the back. However in the guarantee booklet it clearly states “…removing the watch before bathing” – which is not exactly confidence inspiring from the manufacturer as it might as well say “For warrantly purposes, don’t get this watch wet”

The Pro’s…

ISO 6425 on the other hand is a completely different affair. As you can see from the table above, the minimum depth possible in order to attain ISO 6425 is 100m (from the older standard) and nowadays 200m is the minimum to attain ‘6425. Although there are a lot of additional requirements that a watch must meet in order to qualify (such as readability and resistance to magnetism) there are two significant differences with regards to water resistance.

Firstly the watch must be tested to 125% of the stated rating. So for a watch with a water resistance of 200m, it will be tested to a depth pressure rating of 250m. Secondly and most importantly every single watch must be tested. Not a sample but 100% of watches produced must be tested. Once all the test are satisfactorily passed, the watch may carry the designation “Divers”. Interestingly this is why there are a number of different Seamasters in Omega’s range with one called “Divers 300m” as this model conforms to the ISO6425 standard and all watches have been tested. Interestingly there are some great value watches that meet this standard and in fact the rather legendary Seiko SKX is one of them as you will see on the dial it bears the marking “Divers 200” – this alone makes the SKX incredible value for money.

One other notable factor is that sudden changes in heat can also adversely affect the seals in a watch. Therefore plunging into cold water or indeed a hot bath or hot tub could also compromise the seal of your watch allowing water to enter and potentially causing major damage.

As there is so much ambiguity as to the suitability of wearing a watch anywhere near water with a rating of less than 100m we would recommend that for the sake of preserving your watch you either remove it at the mere prospect of going near water or only buy watches that have at least 100m water resistance. However that leads us on to one last point…….

Panerai have produced almost exclusively divers watches for over 80 years (since 1938) ranging back to the Italian navy in world war II. First their Radiomir range of divers watches and then later their Luminor range of divers watches which contain patented crown locks. However their latest watch is nothing short of a lesson in irony. Allow me to introduce you to the Panerai Luminor ‘Due’. This watch as part of their Luminor range includes their iconic crown guard specifically designed to protect it in the event it comes into contact with an object underwater. So I hear you ask, what’s wrong with that? Well the watch has a water resistance rating of 30m! Yep that’s right Panerai have produced a divers watch that cannot go near water!

So which would you choose – a Panerai Divers watch that can’t go near water for £5100 or a Seiko SKX ISO certified Divers watch for less than £200?

Whats your experience of water resistance ratings?  – let us know in the comments.

In the world of watchmaking a brands’ quality & heritage is usually measured by how many centuries it has been in existence.  Brands most often considered ‘high-horology’ such as Vacheron Constantin and Breguet have heritage stretching back to the 1700’s with over two century’s of history and the majority of swiss watch brands you recognise today including Omega, Heuer, Zenith, IWC, AP & Breitling were all founded in the 1800’s.

And in the eyes of many, heritage equals quality after all we learn from experience right? The thought that through time a brand or product matures and improves leads to the thought that older companies produce better products. But is that a fair assumption that older is better and newer lacks the experience, finesse and charm?

Founded in 1990 and located in Glashütte, there is no doubt that NOMOS is a newcomer to the watch industry. Glashütte is a small town tucked away between forests and hills, south of Berlin and near Dresden, located in the eastern Ore Mountains and home to Germanys’ master watchmakers having settled there in 1845. You may have heard of a few other brands from this rather distinguished town including Moritz Grossmann, Glashütte Original and A. Lange & Söhne to name a few.

However in a relatively short space of time, NOMOS have started to make a name for themselves delivering quality and innovation at an affordable price point. With this in mind we wanted to take a look at NOMOS to see what this young German company has to offer.

Last year NOMOS released their Club Campus  – a model aimed at first time watch owners & enthusiasts and so we thought that this would be as good as any place to start. We contacted the lovely folks at NOMOS who were kind enough to send us a watch to spend some time with – so we did!

The Club Campus is available in two sizes – a 36mm and 38.5mm and each is available with either a black or white dial. The watch we chose to spend some time with is the Club Campus 38 with the white dial and open case-back reference: 737. As a matter of fact, NOMOS were kind enough to send us both the 735 (with a closed case-back) and the 737 to compare. Considering the market that NOMOS are pursuing, this does provide two very sensible options. For those who wish to commemorate a notable occasion, the steel case-back has been designed with plenty of space in the centre for an inscription – and indeed NOMOS includes a free engraving with all Club Campus’s should you wish to have an inscription. For those who wish to appreciate the movement as well, the clear case back is available and offers a view of the inside.

The box for the club campus is a slender dark ash wooden box. Opening the box reveals a small envelope containing the instruction booklet and guarantee card tucked behind an elastic retainer in the lid, and held in place in the base underneath a NOMOS cloth is the watch itself. This presentation is in itself the epitome of NOMOS – unfussy, unpretentious, minimalist and yet elegant.  NOMOS haven’t spent a disproportionate on their packaging with a high lacquered wooden or leather finished presentation case that you will put to one side and never see or look at again, neither have they supplied the watch in a cheap tin or cardboard box – it’s just ‘appropriate’ – proportionate and elegant.

Taking the watch out of the box reveals its proportions. With a height of only 8.5mm this is a slender and elegant watch that’s entirely polished. The watch case and bezel are one single piece with traditional formed lugs that protrude to carry the strap. Although 38.5mm in diameter, it wears comfortably on a 7” wrist due in part to the lug to lug distance of 48.5mm. The crown is signed ‘NOMOS’ which immediately shows an attention to detail as the text is only 4mm in its entirety, however as you might expect for a dress watch it is not a screw down. However despite this it is still water resistant to 10atm/100m allowing you to comfortably swim in it without fear of harming the watch.

The Dial of the Club Campus is a feature in itself – the result of an anodised white silver plating giving the dial a beautiful metallic finish. The design of the dial is also rather unique being a ‘reverse’ California dial with arabic numerals on the top half of the dial and roman numerals on the bottom. Incidentally, a dial with only roman numerals used on the dial is traditionally referred to as a ‘Buckley’ dial and a ‘California’ dial has roman numerals on the top half of the dial and arabic numerals on the bottom. This dial is particularly well balanced with 10, 12 & 2 on the top half of the dial and IV & VIII on the bottom half with the small seconds hand in the middle. Interestingly many dials using roman numerals do so incorrectly where 4 is represented as ‘IIII’ rather than the correct roman numeral ‘IV’. The remainder of the dial indices for ‘odd’ hours are represented purely by markers. Overall this creates a beautifully balanced dial that is uncluttered yet still interesting and individual. Indices are written in a beautiful soft hue of blue with a very feint orange surround matching the colour of the small second hand.

Dial 1
small seconds
Dial 2

The Club Campus is powered by the NOMOS inhouse Alpha movement. Yes that’s right it has an in house movement – whats more its’s also beautifully finished with tempered blue screws, rhodium-plated surfaces with Glashütte ribbing and NOMOS perlage. If you choose the sapphire case back, this is all on display and can be appreciated. The caseback itself is screwed down helping it achieve its 100m water resistance.

Get in close – as we have tried to do with some macro photography, and you see the attention to detail up close. This is not a movement that has had corners cut even at this price point.

Front and back
caseback
movement 2
regulator

Although the alpha movement was their first movement, we were rather shocked and stunned by its performance. The average deviance measured against an atomic clock was 1.2 seconds per day over the course of the time that we had the watch. That’s not just within COSC chronometer standards (-4/+6 seconds average daily rate) but also within Rolex’s ‘Superlative Chronometer’ standard (-2/+2 seconds average daily rate). This is particularly interesting as NOMOS don’t make any claims regarding the Alpha movement’s accuracy.

NOMOS supplies the Club Campus 38 on their Velour leather anthracite strap which is beautifully soft, extremely comfortable and suits the watch well. Although you wouldn’t be doing the watch justice of you didn’t also try it on a plethora of other straps as its a strap monster! It dressed up beautifully with brown and caramel leather straps to casual social events. Due to the slender proportions of the watch at only 8.5mm thick, it was an ideal watch to wear on a NATO strap. Even with the extra two layers of material behind the watch it never looked clumsy or out of place.

black grey and orange NATO
rubber strap
Brown leather strap
Blue white and orange NATO
red white & blue NATO
Leather strap 1

The second hand meant it went particularly well with a couple of straps which added a flair of colour and allowed the watch to dress down very well. Interestingly on more than one occasion someone thought the watch and strap came together clearly demonstrating their suitability.

Over the course of two weeks we wore this watch to the office with a suit, to social occasions in the evening, to a barbeque, to an evening of Shakespeare and swimming with the kids.

The NOMOS Club Campus 38 is a fabulous watch. Delivering an elegant versatile aesthetic that works as well in the ballroom with black tie as it does on the beach and everywhere in between. Worn with a suit its a clean dress watch that due to its 8.5mm height slips under any cuff, and worn with jeans and a cashmere, its anthracite velour strap looks as casual as it does smart. Although not a typical feature of dress watches, the fact that this watch is also water resistant to 100m means you are able to swim with the watch on and not be overly concerned by the poolside while topping up your tan. In the modern world this is a practical feature and its clear that NOMOS have not compromised the design of the watch in order to achieve this.

Our personal choice is the silver dial and open caseback that allows the beautiful in-house hand-wound movement to be seen and appreciated as we discovered many people wanted to enjoy the back as much as the front of the watch given the chance.

Our two extremely minor criticisms would be that the lume on the dial and hands doesn’t last long and isn’t really usable in the dark. And as this watch works so well on such a variety of watch straps we would love to see NOMOS include quick release spring bars on their straps. This is especially useful when travelling and taking a couple of extra straps for all occasions and not requiring a strap changing tool and spare spring bars in your luggage.

Its clear that NOMOS is punching above its weight with attention to detail and quality that certainly cannot be beaten at this price point if not many times higher. Although short, NOMOS is creating a heritage to be proud of as an innovator with individual style and fantastic quality. While NOMOS may not have the same experience in watchmaking as other brands from Glashütte, it’s clear that previous assumptions need to be challenged. A heritage based on time alone has not prevented NOMOS from delivering quality, finesse and charm in equal proportions, and we look forward to spending more time with NOMOS in the future!

On Wednesday this week, HODINKEE launched a limited edition Omega Speedmaster celebrating a decade of HODINKEE called the ‘H10’. While it is unsurprising that Omega would take the opportunity to produce a Limited Edition watch, the timing of the release marks the second “Limited Edition Speedmaster” Omega have released in less than 2 months (the Speedmaster Ultraman was released on the 10th of July). Omega have often fallen foul of criticism relating to the number of ‘Limited Edition’ watches they produce and releases like this further contribute to that criticism. However,with a production run of only 500 pieces, this marks one of the few releases from Omega that are not produced in the thousands despite being a Limited Edition – the Seamaster ’40 Years of James Bond’ was limited to 10,007 pieces!

The watch itself takes its proportions from the ‘2998’ at 39.7 mm with no crown guards. The bezel is aluminium just as it was on the 1960’s 2998 reference, but there the similarities end with the hands and dial having cues from a number of references. It’s powered by the classic calibre 1861 – a favourite movement for the Speedmaster. The watch is supplied with two straps, a strap changing tool, display box and travel case.

The email arrived in our inbox at 15:07 on Wednesday where HODINKEE announced it was available to order in its store. By 15:18 when we looked, there was only 1 watch left – which was gone shortly after (some 11 mins later). With a window of less than 15 mins, the vast majority of watch lovers and enthusiasts will read their email and about the launch long after it has sold out.

Probably more disheartening was the price that the watch was offered at. The HODINKEE anniversary limited edition is $6500 which is $2000 more than the regular Omega Speedmaster which is $4500 or in GBP £5069.35 verses £3440. We cant help but feel that Omega ‘s marketing strategy is look for opportunities to produce a limited edition watch and then charge over the odds for it.

We think its wonderful to honour those that have inspired us and this clearly has had a very significant influence in Ben Clymer’s life. While many of us would like to own our fathers watch, few of us would ever have the opportunity to create a timepiece in memory of our grandfather – celebrating the “watch that started it all”

While we would like to celebrate with HODINKEE their success and contribution to the watch community over the last decade which has been considerable, we feel sad that so few will have had the opportunity to know about this before all pieces were sold and that Omega hadn’t taken the opportunity of exaggerating the price given the opportunity.

You can read more about the watch, the inspiration and how it came to be here.

Almost all watches we see today are rooted in one of the five main watch types that have evolved throughout the course of the 20th Century. Today we will take a brief look at what personifies each of these historic and iconic watch types, what makes them different and the natural setting and purpose of each. Although I’ve been collecting watches for decades I often wish that i had understood this fundamental perspective before I got very lost in the world of watches.

There is little direct science in creating the boundaries between watch types and i’m sure you will find examples of watches that bridge more than one type however these are broad guidelines that can be helpful in understanding appropriate styles and help refine your decision as to what might suit you well.

The Dress Watch

The Dress watch is the most formal of watches. At its core is the ability to elegantly impart just enough information as to convey the time and nothing more. Simplicity and elegance are the name of the game here. While it is true that at the highest of occasions (white tie with royal formality) wearing a watch in itself is frowned upon as it implies you are conscious of the time rather than pleasantly lost in the occasion, for all other occasions an elegant dress watch is suitable.

The dial is traditionally simple and sparse. Often with simple hour markers if present at all or alternatively elegant script stylising the numerals. The hands are elegant and simple without any luminescence – often with only the hour and minute hands present as knowing time to the second is superfluous at formal engagements. The movement in a dress watch is usually designed to be as thin as possible supporting the overall design and implementation of the watch as a whole to be as thin as possible imparting an elegant understated look. The case is usually polished in keeping with the theme of elegance and often made from precious metals. Complications typically border on the romantic – Tourbillions and moon phases demonstrate a technical prowess and elegant flair on a dress watch although neither form ‘essential functions’ and as such impart a luxurious feel. The strap will usually continue the theme of elegance and luxury typically being made of fine leather or other animal hide like crocodile, or ostrich for example, or from precious metals. Dress watches are at home in the office, at formal or social events.

The Field Watch

The origins of the field watch are steeped in military history. Initially created by adding wire lugs to pocket watches allowing soldiers to wear them on their wrists, they had been recognised as an essential piece of equipment for soldiers, and by the second world war had become ‘standard issue’. Field watches as their name suggests are designed to be a hardy timekeeper able to withstand the rigours of wartime. Able to cope with knocks, bumps and life in a harsh environment while being easy to read. Field watches are typically a little larger than dress watches at 38mm-42mm

As form has now been surpassed for function, practicality ensues. Modern field watches are a ‘jack of all trades’, able to withstand basic water ingress (from falling in a river or swimming) with a shock protection system ensuring the movement is able to maintain good time despite being subjected to a hard life and the ability to resist the effects of magnetic fields. The dial is easy to read and often comes with 24 hour markers (a signal back to its military heritage) a date and luminous hands to aid visibility at night. The case of the field watch will be made from hardened steel and is invariably brushed or sand blasted proving a more rugged and hardy aesthetic. The winding crown will typically be larger and easier to grasp & use and the case design will incorporate more substantial (rather than elegant) lugs with which to attach the strap. The strap can be made from a number of materials ranging from leather or canvas to a steel bracelet.

Field watches are often also referred to as Explorer watches as their ruggedised construction makes them ideal for world exploration and to ensure they stand up to the rigours of harsh environments. Field watches are possibly the most universal watch at home, in the office, worn casually at social events and rugged enough to go swimming in or worn to sports events. Some field watches when paired with the right strap can be worn very effectively as dress watches – the Rolex explorer for example when paired with a leather strap passes as a very acceptable dress watch.

The Pilots Watch

Pilots watches bear a lot of similarities to field watches except they are designed to be much larger. Pilots used watches to aid in navigation as they needed an accurate time reference along with their speed to know exactly how far they had travelled and therefore where they were. Although pilots had been using watches for decades to accomplish this, wartime is an incredible catalyst to accelerate innovation. In the early 1940’s during the second world war, Germany commissioned 4 companies to produce pilots watches for the German airforce (the Luftwaffe) known as Flieger watches. Each was to produce these watches to exacting specifications and stamped with FL23883 (FL = flight, 23 = navigation, 883 = specification by the German Research Institute for Aviation). They were built with many of the same requirements including resistance to magnetic fields, shock protection, and basic water resistance. However in addition to these, the crystal must be able to withstand negative differential pressure to prevent it from being pushed off the watch due to the expansion pressure from gasses inside the watch as the aircraft climbs.

The dial of pilots watches are simple and easy to read with both hour & minute references. The hands are large usually with considerable difference in size allowing easy time reading through flight goggles and applied with luminescence aiding visibility at night. The case of a traditional pilots’ watch is very large at 55mm to allow it to be worn on the outside of a flight jacket. The case of modern pilots’ watches are typically 40mm-47mm, and finished with a brushed or sand blasted finish which eliminates light reflections and glare from the case. The strap on a pilots’ watch is typically leather or canvas. Pilots watches lend themselves well to be worn casually rather than at more formal events where an oversized watch does not pair well with black or white tie.

The Sports Watch

With the advent of the motor car, it didn’t take long until the advent of motor racing. By the 1920’s Zenith and Universal had started to produce sports chronographs but it wasn’t until the 1940’s that large scale production of them began. In 1955 as motor racing continued to grow in popularity and culture, Rolex had launched the watch that was to become the Daytona – later to be worn on the wrist of the infamous Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans cementing its place in horological history. In 1957, Omega launched the Speedmaster their take on a racing watch – later to be adopted by NASA as officially qualified for space flight. These sporting chronographs allowed the wearer to measure intervals of time through the use of an integrated stopwatch or Chronograph. Many other manufacturers made chronographs based on movements made by Venus – the 170 and 175 movements were extremely popular and were used in almost hundreds of watches by a plethora of manufacturers. Other sports watches were created to allow gentlemen to play sports while wearing them without damaging them. In 1931 for example Jaeger LeCoultre released the Reverso specifically designed for Polo players as Polo mallets and glass watch crystals were not a good combination. So the watch was designed with a housing allowing the watch to flip over thereby protecting the glass.

With the exception of the Reverso, the dials on sports watches often contain a plethora of markings supporting the measurement of time to the smallest possible unit. Hands are usually thin or skeleton and designed not to obscure the dial. The cases of modern sports watches are practical and substantial whereas older traditional sports watches were more refined and elegant where sport engagements were a ‘gentleman’s pastime’. Typically leather straps or steel bracelets are used as sports watches are not designed for heavy water use.  Sports watches are most often but not always made with timing chronographs so as to be able to measure specific lengths of sporting time. Sports watches are great to be worn casually in casual, social or work environments but do not lend themselves well to the most formal of events with the possible exception of JLC’s Reverso which is more akin to a sporty dress watch.

The Divers Watch

Diving watches were made popular during the 1950s with both Blancpain and Rolex investing heavily in the creation of divers watches at the same time as the Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) was developed. Although modern divers rely on dive computers to aid in their underwater activities, dive watches were used to calculate the quantity of air remaining to a diver which carries life or death consequences. Other than the obvious requirement for a divers watch to be able to resist the pressure of water ingress up to and typically beyond a specific depth, a divers watch has a number of other key requirements including an indicator that the watch is still running, thermal shock resistance, presence of a time-preselecting device (for example a unidirectional rotating bezel) protected against inadvertent rotation or wrong manipulation, resistance to salty water and more.

The dial of a Divers watch is large and intended to be read easily while wearing a face mask. Hands are typically large and highly luminous including the second hand indicating the watch is still running. The case will often incorporate crown guards to protect the crown from damage when coming into contact with objects underwater and generally be of a substantial construction. Typically the bezel if external will rotate counter clockwise only, and if internal will have a second crown to independently operate it. The strap on a divers watch will usually be made of a highly water resistant material. Rubber straps or metal bracelets are popular which usually incorporate a wet-suit extension allowing it to be worn over the top of the increased size of a wet suit. Alternatively, canvass or cordura straps are versatile options. Divers can be worn in most circumstances dependant on the model as some brands offer divers more akin to a dress watch (the Nomos-Ahoi for example).

Understanding these types will help you choose and wear a timepiece appropriate to you, your lifestyle and the social setting you most often find yourself in. In addition, you will probably notice watches that hold true to the core principals and identity of a particular purpose make an excellent choice. Although many watches today are universally acceptable, there are times when a 55mm flieger pilots watch is inappropriate – like wise it may prove an expensive mistake wearing your dress watch in the pool!

Due to style, culture and the era they were born many people find they often find one style of watch personally appealing, however as is often the case when people start collecting watches, they find as lifestyle becomes more diverse they’d like something different for occasions their ‘daily’ watch isn’t suited.

Which watch type do most identify with and which type of watch do you own? Do get in touch and let us know in the comments.

 

 

The Hamilton khaki field mechanical (reference: H69429901) is a great example of simple, well executed design, implemented at an accessible price point. The  aesthetics deliver an everyday watch with classic proportions coupled with a seemingly unbeatable value proposition including sapphire glass, drilled lugs and a Swiss movement all for £375. Indeed there’s no shortage of blogs, articles and magazines singing its praises and recommending it as unbeatable at this price. However, although the Hamilton Khaki Field mechanical represents fantastic value for money, is there a higher value proposition with its bigger brother? We take a look at the Khaki Field Auto 38mm (reference: H70455533).

Firstly lets start with the visual appeal. We found the slightly dressier aesthetics of the auto made for an extremely versatile watch. The watch had an uncanny ability to be suitable with almost any attire. The stepped dial adds a level of texture and detail without becoming fussy.

Wearing the auto with a suit highlighted its versatility. The presence of the polished bezel allowed the watch to feel classy without drawing attention to itself. The brown leather strap that Hamilton provided was an almost perfect pairing with white stiching. The leather took very little time to contour to the shape of the wrist and was extremely comfortable and the flat tang on the buckle is curved to allow the strap and buckle to sit flatter when fastened which maximised comfort. As the watch is only 11mm in height it tucks under any cuff easily and seamlessly. The auto also includes a date complication which is invaluable at work. We liked the way the date was displayed on a white background contrasting the black dial which aided readability at a glance on a smaller dial.

It also paired beautifully with jeans, brogues, oxford shirts and sweaters to transition beautifully to casual attire without looking out of place. Here the brown leather strap continued the understated theme looking good without drawing attention to itself

On the beach paired with a rubber strap it was completely at home. One of the key differences is the auto has a 100m Water resistance whereas the mechanical only has 50m. This is a huge differentiator as a 50m water resistance means it is splash/rain resistant but not suitable for swimming whereas a 100m rating means it is suitable for recreational surfing, swimming, snorkeling, sailing and water sports. This brings with it a level of comfort knowing not only can you continue to wear the watch while you’re enjoying recreational activities, but if you accidentally end up in the water you don’t need a new watch!

At the heart of the Filed Auto is Hamiltons H10 automatic caliber. This is a highly modified derivative of the ETA 2824-2 in which amongst other things, the vibrations per hour have been lowered from 4Hz to 3Hz (28,800vph to 21,600vph) as well as controversially removing the traditional regulator to make a more robust movement with less variance. The result of this fettering is that is that the watch now has an 80 hour (3 days and 8 hours) power reserve allowing you to put the watch down on a Friday evening with the confidence it will still be running on Monday. While the movement cannot be regulated and is not COSC certified, it performed admirably within a few seconds of COSC requirements. Given this, Hamilton’s decision to remove the regulator and make an even more reliable movement that will stand up to the rigours of a hectic lifestyle was a good choice. The added display caseback allows you to see the movement which is a nice touch and here you can see the H10 Rotor denoted by the presence of an ‘H’ cut into the middle of the rotor.

Overall we spent a number of weeks with the Hamilton Khaki Auto in a variety of settings and found it to be an understated, dependable, versatile watch that not only served well as a daily wearer but a compelling choice especially at this price point. The additional water resistance, presence of a date, open caseback, leather strap and a whopping 80 hour power reserve add up to a substantially higher value proposition especially when you understand the cost difference. The retail price for the Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 38mm is £390 – a mere £15 more than the mechanical and we think this delivers quite frankly an incomparable value proposition.

This takes the ‘ultimate weekend watch’ characteristics of the mechanical and ups the ante delivering an everyday watch that’s as home in the office as it is at the beach, and everywhere in between. At under £400 it represents incredible value from a Swiss manufacturer with an in-house movement.

Over the last decade, more and more watch companies are supplying rubber watch straps and with good reason. Once chunky rubber straps were the staple necessity for a divers watch, however as technology, manufacturing processes and design and all have improved, rubber is no longer the cheap offering but a practical and luxurious alternative. With the hot weather upon us, a good rubber strap can be a life saver. Unlike canvas and leather straps, rubber straps are far more resilient to wear and tear. There is an inherent amount of give in a rubber that helps maintain its comfort as your wrist expands in the heat and in addition, it’s not made of a porous material, it doesn’t absorb sweat or other liquids.

What follows is in our view the most comprehensive look at rubber straps we think anyone has ever done. We have covered a plethora of price points from cheap to expensive, silicone to Vulcanised Rubber, aftermarket and manufacturer supplied. In total we looked at 13 straps from 8 suppliers on 6 watches! Read on for what we hope is an enlightening review!

Lets start where most people do when they think of cheap rubber straps – eBay!

Ebay

Availabile from: www.ebay.co.uk Price: £ various

We chose to look at a number of straps available from eBay as we are aware many may choose this route for an ‘occasional’ rubber strap. We bought a number of straps from eBay however the fit and finish were not great and even though the price was low, so was the quality. This was usually because there was no brand name behind the strap that has any reputation to lose. The straps attract dust and lint and look very cheap. Often with excess rubber not properly trimmed from the straps. While this may seem a sensible option for a very cheap watch, we would not trust these to adequately secure an important watch. While it may be possible to buy a reasonable strap from eBay, our experience is that buying an inexpensive item without having the opportunity to see and feel the product before hand leads to very unreliable results. In most cases we would return the products as not being of suitable quality or as described.

Opinion: With affordable straps available from reputable suppliers we wouldn’t recommend buying a rubber strap from eBay. The quality is very low using cheap rubber that is a lint magnet. The straps constantly look dirty and make a decent watch feel like a cheap swimming pool key on your wrist. In addition, the price gap between these and Barton’s Elite Silicone is marginal while the difference in quality is staggering.

Barton Watch Bands Elite Silicone quick release

Availabile from: www.bartonwatchbands.com Price: £14.76

We have some experience with Barton’s canvas and leather straps so we were excited to try their silicone elite straps. These straps incorporate a number of surprising design features. Each is available as a bi-colour combination adding a flair of contrasting or complementing colour to your watch. It comes with a quality brushed stainless steel 316L buckle, and is fitted with quick release spring bars making it a breeze to change the straps. The shoulders of the straps are curved to help the rubber conform to the shape of your wrist – meaning the strap never feels tight while ensuring a snug fit, and it tapers from the lugs to the buckle. Each strap is supplied as standard with two lengths to ensure a good fit, with two floating keepers on the buckle length. Interestingly one keeper has a hidden tooth on the underside which locks into the end of the strap once on your wrist and wont move unintentionally. The silicone used is a “high tensile” silicone with a matt finish (rather than a traditional silicone) with a textured top which feels nicely tactile and overall the strap feels a much higher quality than you would expect given the price.

Opinion: We cannot recommend these enough. While these straps my not be a permanent replacement for a luxury strap on an expensive watch, they are perfect ‘additional’ straps for the hot weather or when you might get your watch wet. We would recommend adding these to your collection and keeping with you as ‘travel straps’ when you’re away from home and for the summer months.

Crafterblue Curved End Rubber Strap for TUDOR BLACK BAY Series (TD01)

Availabile from: www.crafterblue.com / www.watchobsession.co.uk  Price: $65 + postage / £64.95

Crafterblue’s strap clearly punches above its weight and is available for a range of Seiko divers watches as well as the Tudor Black Bay – each with a custom fit to conform to the lugs and barrel of the watch. The fit and finish of the blocked integration is superb and the dual colour is a nice touch. The buckle has been well designed using a flat tang that will not tear the rubber and includes two kinks to ensure the strap sits properly despite its thickness. It comes with a single floating metal keeper stamped with “Professional” that really adds to the premium feel of the strap. One interesting element that sets apart the Crafterblue strap is that it has been infused with vanilla essence. It is extremely subtle however it does mean that if you are particularly sweaty in the summer, your wrist wont smell like a gorilla’s armpit! If you were to go diving with your watch, this strap is clearly substantial enough to stand up to the rigours of wet suits, open water and the perils that lay beneath.

Opinion: CrafterBlue’s rubber strap is a good choice. Some will find the thickness of the strap lacks the finesse of more expensive straps, while others will feel the rugged aesthetics perfectly accompany a divers watch. We believe the quality and finish of the Crafterblue are great at this price point.

Vanguard Speciality Straps – Tudor Black Bay Fitted Rubber Strap

Availabile from: vanguardstraps.com  Price: $120

Vanguard are a relatively new company offering block integration straps for the Tudor Black bay.  The strap is supplied with an inexpensive tang buckle so it can be worn traditionally as a conventional strap, however it has been designed to be fitted to Tudors ‘deployant’ clasp if you have one (this only comes on Tudors that are bought with a leather strap). This does provide a flexible option if you have and appreciate the benefits of a deployant clasp. The silicone has a matt finish and felt similar to the Barton Silicone Elite strap. Vanguard offer these straps exclusively for the Black bay and their current range includes Red, black and blue variants.

Opinion: These straps offer a more elegant aesthetic than the Crafterblue with a softer silicone rubber.  Although the Vanguard straps didn’t match the quality of the Everest or RubberB straps it is half the price which represents good value. The buckle was the one area of weakness as we felt it let the strap down not being of commensurate quality.

Vanguard are in the process of substantially improving their strap and have been keen for feedback. As a consequence they are switching to a more premium rubber paired with a forged buckle. Vanguard are keen to share this with us as soon as its ready and when they do we will share the results of their hard work with you.

UPDATE: Vanguard have now revised their strap and we’ve had it on test – you can read about it here: www.wristworthy.uk/vanguard-mk2-strap/

Everest bands Vulcanised Rubber strap

Availabile from: www.everestbands.com  Price: £170

The Everest strap is clearly very well made. Its made from Vulcanised rubber which has distinctly different finish and feel to it than silicone rubber. This particular vulcanised rubber is extremely supple and very pliable allowing it to bend and flex comfortably to your wrist. The block integration is flawless and fitted our two Black bays perfectly. They have included a solid structure in the top of the strap to ensure the fitting remains rigid and installing and removing the strap is easy given the slot they have left. The strap tapers beautifully from the shoulders to the tip and Everest have included two keepers. Both are essentially ‘floating’ keepers that can move the length of the strap, however notches close to the buckle will allow one to remain as an initial keeper preventing it from moving without intent. Everest include an extremely well-engineered buckle. This appears to have been milled out of a single piece of steel and then brushed beautifully. It is very substantial and in keeping with the quality of the watch that the strap is intended to be fitted to. Closer inspection reveals the attention to detail for the design. The holes for the tang buckle are all at an angle and allow the strap to be secured without fear of tearing the rubber over time. The underside has a channel the length of the strap allowing sweat and moisture to escape.

Opinion: This is an extremely comfortable and well made strap. You could easily replace your existing strap with this and wear it all year round without compromise to comfort or quality.

RubberB Vulcanised Rubber deployant strap

Availabile from: www.rubberb.com Price: $250 plus $30 shipping (£213)

The RubberB strap is unlike most others on the market. The Vulcanised rubber texture of the strap has a more matt finish and doesn’t have a ‘sheen’ like others. It is extremely slender with a profile much like a fine leather strap rather than a traditional chunky rubber strap, and is extremely pliable & soft. It has been designed to integrate with the Tudor deployant buckle and once connected you would be forgiven for thinking that it is an OEM strap supplied and fitted by Tudor. The Block integration at the top is perfect and completes the look of the strap. As a premium rubber strap it complements the watch’s aesthetics and had a superb premium feel to it. This has the quality and comfort to wear all year round. One of RubberB’s options is a Dual colour strap. This provides a subtle contrast to a pure black strap and if chosen correctly, will accentuate the colour of the watch it’s paired with. This is definitely a strap that you can wear all year round as your only strap on the watch without compromising the look or feel.

Opinion: A fantastic strap whose quality, fit and finish match the watch it is attached to. This can comfortably replace your steel bracelet or leather strap as your only strap to be worn all year round, and should last a long time if cared for properly. We have selected this strap for a long term review and will be writing about this later in the year.

Bremont OEM Rubber strap

Availabile from: www.bremont.com Bremont boutiques & authorised dealers Price: £155

Bremont provide a rubber strap as a second strap with a number of their watches so this becomes a good option during the summer months. Bremont has designed the strap to take on the form of a traditional blue leather strap with a padded centre spine which allows the strap to not stand out as a rubber strap. The ends of the strap are curved in keeping with Bremont’s leather straps. This allows the strap to maintain its snug fitting to the watch without rubbing on the knurled barrel of the watch and thereby wearing down the surface. The strap comes supplied with a pair of custom curved 22mm spring bars fitted to it which helpfully means the spring bars don’t easily get lost as they take some effort to extract form the strap. Its made of a substantial rubber, and takes Bremont’s traditional milled tang buckle. The only negative observation is that because this strap is not a block integrated strap it can feel like its squeezing your wrist when it’s fastened snugly, however this should pass in time with wear.

Opinion: A classy rubber strap that goes below the radar with the classic aesthetics of a leather strap. We favour watch brands who thoughtfully supply alternative straps with their watches and to this end Bremont have provided an excellent strap.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean OEM Rubber strap.

Available from: Omega dealers Price: £185 (+ £185)

Omega’s rubber strap for the Seamaster Planet Ocean is quite unusual. It is made of soft, and supple high quality rubber with full ‘block integration’ at the lugs which provides a very clean look. The exterior surface although made of rubber, has the feel and texture of leather. This is further enhanced by stitching down each side in the same manner as most leather straps. The strap uses an Omega deployant clasp and incidentally cannot be used with a ‘tang’ type buckle. When closed and on your wrist, it maintains its clean lines as the excess rubber is tucked inside rather than outside requiring an additional keeper. The deployant clasp means its very quick to put the watch on and you’re extremely unlikely to drop the watch when undoing the strap as it will still hang loosely round your wrist.

Over the course of the review, most people were very surprised to learn that this was a rubber strap and all had assumed it was leather. This provides the durability of rubber with the visual aesthetics of leather meaning you can wear it comfortably at work and on occasions where smarter attire is appropriate. At £185 its not cheap but it is very good quality. It is a great choice if you are buying on a watch as invariably this is the same or cheaper as buying an Omega on a metal bracelet. However this may become an expensive option if you are buying this for an existing watch as you will need to additionally purchase the deployant clasp at an additional £185.

Opinion: An Omega rubber strap can easily be chosen as an alternative to a leather or steel bracelet to wear all year round. Its fantastic quality and comfort are a perfect accompaniment to an expensive watch.

Overall

While its very clear that you get what you pay for, there are a variety of options at different price points allowing you to get a good quality comfortable rubber strap to tackle the heat & humidity and add a little style while you’re at it. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality and comfort of Barton Watch Bands’s Elite straps who proved that a decent rubber strap is within the reach of everyone.

The blocked integration straps offered a great level of comfort as the fixed ends ensure the rubber curves nicely round your wrist rather than ‘clamping’ it between stiff rubber.

While the RubberB strap was the most expensive, we can see why. Everything from the type of vulcanised rubber to the proportions of the strap showed that a considerable quantity of time and effort has been spent finessing and perfecting this strap.

If you’re looking at getting a rubber strap and can afford it, the Everest & RubberB are simply the best. Both are supremely comfortable, built exceptionally & fit perfectly.

Do you own any of the straps on test? if so please do leave a comment and let us have your views – we’d love to hear from you!

Disclaimer: The review above is based on personal experience with the brands and products listed above. None of the brands or companies listed above have paid us to review their products.

Over the years I have had many interesting conversations with people who extoll the virtues of NATO straps, however its amazing how many people simple regurgitate what they have been told. While its true that by the inherent design of a NATO strap it secures the watch by passing a single piece of material through both spring bars, the additional piece of material behind it is simply not necessary and serves no useful purpose on a modern watch.

The idea of a NATO is that in the event of a single spring bar failure, the whole watch doesn’t fall of your wrist but the strap remains attached to your arm, and the watch head will still be there attached by the remaining single spring bar – and while this is not ideal, it means you haven’t damaged your watch by if falling off your wrist or worse still lost it entirely while swimming in a river or ocean.

However, the additional piece of material and added keeper was not designed for modern watches – it was designed for very old fashioned lugs that were curved much more than modern watches and allowed a leather single piece strap to pass through them the lugs without having to be ‘kinked’. If you were to pick up this kind of strap by the buckle, the watch would simply slide off the end of the strap – therefore by adding an additional piece of material and keeper, behind, the watch head would remain securely in place until the owner intentionally removed the strap.

However, this original design has remained a staple feature of the trusty NATO strap and has two rather undesirable consequences on a modern watch. As there are now two additional pieces of material behind the watch lifting it further away from your wrist, the fit and visual aesthetics mean it now looks much more bulky and clumsy than it would with a fitted strap. This is further confounded by the fact that there is limited adjustment on a NATO as to where the watch head sits, so although the buckle is hopefully on the underside of your wrist, the stitched in keepers are on one side of your wrist, and the other additional keeper is on the other side.

Tudor’s answer to this problem was to design and build a fabric strap that is a hybrid with two clever elements. It is a single piece of material with holes integrated into the material for the spring bars to slide through. Additionally, Tudor use a buckle with a sliding adjustment. This allows you to move the buckle along the strap for fine adjustment ensuring it sits comfortably on the underside of your wrist. This means Tudor’s watches sit closer to your wrist, are extremely comfortable, and look like the strap was designed for the watch rather than an afterthought.

However, although Tudor’s solution to the problem is elegant, there is a much simpler solution – make a simpler NATO strap. By making a NATO strap that does not include the second piece of material, you can position the watch head anywhere on the strap ensuring the buckle is located on the underside of your wrist no matter how large or small your wrist, and with much cleaner aesthetics the watch sits closer to your wrist and looks smarter without buckles and keepers on the sides. In addition it is simpler to make, has less materials and would cost less – so everyone wins!

We’ve modified a NATO strap to see the difference and its really transformative! its comfy without compromise. Take a look to see for yourself:

We would love strap manufacturers to start making simple NATO straps and from our discussions with friends in writing this article – they would too! What’s your view? Do you wear NATO straps? Do drop us a line and let us know what you think!

#SimpleNATO

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