28 Apr 2014

Great Swiss Automatic watches for under £300

If you are into watches and are hanging around some of the watch forums and watch blogs, you will meet a lot of guys who kind of look down on anything which is not "Swiss made" and not an "Automatic". The expert opinion also seems to be that you need to spend at least US $1000 (or £ 595.20) to get a great watch. But as I have blogged about earlier, you can actually buy 4 great Japanese watches and 3 Swiss watches for less than £1000.

As I have mentioned before, I am not a watch snob. In fact, I prefer electronic watches  with multiple functions. However, if you really want a Swiss watch (they do make some of the best watches in the World) which has an automatic movement but do not want to (or can't) spend more than £300 (or $504), I can help you point in the right direction.

I have a few specifications:
1. Stainless steel straps &
2. Date function and

If you are not choosy, there are several Swatch automatic watch models for well below £300. A lot of people tend to look down on Swatch watches but they forget that Swatch owns several luxury watch brands including Omega, Longines, Breguet and Blancpain. ETA movements which are made by their subsidiary, ETA Manufacture Horlogere, power models of other brands including Tag Heuer and Hublot. Anyway, among the various Irony automatic watches, I really liked this one called Midday Sun
(REF. YAS409G) which retails for only £120.50. However, the watch is selling for much lower in Amazon UK  for only £114.0.Made of stainless steel, the case diameter is 37mm and it is 10mm thick. Water resistance is only 30 meters  / 3 BAR.

However, let us say you are a bit choosy and you also want a watch with Sapphire crystal and is a more "upscale" brand. It gets a bit harder but you can still get a watch that ticks all the boxes and looks great as well.

First, is one from my favourite watch brand, Tissot. The Tissot Carson Jungfraubahn Gent's watch (model: T95148391) retails for £275.00. I really like the simple classic white dial which is very similar to my old PR50 watch. Would look good on a crocodile strap as well. The Watch is powered by the ETA 2824-2 movement. It is water resistant up to 30 m. The bracelet is held in place with a butterfly clasp.  The watch was produced for the Jungfrau Railway’s Centenary in 2012 and you might be wondering why is it is this cheap for a limited edition watch.

The watch is rather small, measuring only 35.5 mm in diameter and 8.8mm thick. You would have probably guessed the reason by now why it is priced this low. Currently, the trend is to go for big diameter watches (some going up to 50mm) with even 40mm considered as medium. It has a power-reserve of 42 hours).

Finally we come to our last choice, the Bulova Bulova Accutron 63B156 Men's Gemini watch (code:63B156). It originally retailed for £795.00 but you can get it for much less on the H.S. Johnson store and on Amazon UK for only £219.

Water Resistant to 50m and with Case Size: 42mm Diameter and 12.5mm Thickness. Some people do not like the position of the date window (between 4 and 5) but believe me, this is the best automatic watch you can get at this price.

Any more suggestions?

NOTE: Prices are correct as of 28 April 2014.

12 Apr 2014

Complete watch set for under £1000: The Swiss collection

Updated 16 April 2014

I recently wrote a post on getting your complete watch set for under £1000. I focussed on the Japanese brands and selected four models which I felt were really good, packed with loads of features (maybe apart from the dress watch). However, this made me wonder whether I would be able to come up with a similar collection of nice Swiss watches comprising of the three major styles of watches, namely i) Diver, ii) Aviator & iii) Dress watches and of course, one Banger watch which you can wear everyday.

There were some great deals around and Amazon UK seems to offer the maximum choices with some amazing discounts. So here is my Swiss watch collection:

1. Diver: Wenger Aquagraph

The Aquagraph retails at £340.00 but is available on Amazon UK for only £272.00

This quartz diver watch from Wenger (better known for their Swiss Army knives), is water resistant to 1000m, yes you read right - not 100m  or 200m or even 300m but upto 1000m. Though I am not sure how many dive to those depths but it is nice to know that you have a watch which can.

Here are the main features and specs:

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Case Diameter: 43 millimetres
  • Case Thickness: 15.00

2. Aviator: Victorinox SAF Airboss Mach 1 V.25091

RRP: £320.13 (No discounts when I last checked).

This aviator style automatic watch is from Victorinox, the owner of the famous Swiss Army knives but now making fabulous watches as well. It is an automatic watch with a black dial.
Features and specifications:
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Stainless Steel Case with a leather strap
  • Water Resistant to 100 metres
  • Case Diameter 41 millimetres
  • Case Thickness 12 millimetres

By now, we have used up more than half of our budget (a total of £660.13) which leaves us with only £339.87 for the dress and banger watches. So I am going to cheat a bit and go with the discounted prices. So, taking the Amazon discounted prices, we have spent a total of £592.13 which leaves us with £407.87 for the 2 other watches (much better).

3. Dress Watch: Tissot Visodate T0194301605101

RRP: £650.00 but now available at only £373.24 on Amazon UK.

This is an automatic watch from my favourite Swiss watch brand. It is one of the oldest in the World as well. A nice classic design with their old logo.

Specifications and features:

  • Sapphire crystal with antireflective coating.
  • 42mm Case Diameter
  • Water resistant to 30 meters.
  • Case Diameter 42 millimetres
  • Case Thickness 12 millimetres
  • Leather strap with deployment push button clasp with buckle (which is a big deal)

If we were to go by the retail price, we have exceeded the budget (total of £1310.13). Even if we take the discounted prices we only have £34.63 which is not enough to buy a decent watch. Fact: Swiss watches are costly.

Just in case you are wondering whether it is possible to buy a Swiss made watch for £34 and less. The answer is a big "Yes!".
Swatch Once Again  retails for only £32.

Swatch Watch Again (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license: Khalid Mahmood)

This nice and simple medium sized (Case : Ø 34mm T : 8.75mm) Swatch watch is made of plastic. It is a quartz watch with day and date and is water resistant to 30m.

Who says you cannot have a complete set of good Swiss watches for less than £1000.

NOTE: Prices are correct as of 12 April, 2014.

9 Apr 2014

Good news for eBay UK private sellers

EBay UK has just announced some great news for private sellers using their services. From the 13th of May onwards, the sellers will be allowed upto get 20 free listings a month in any category except for Motors. This will apply to both fixed price and auction formats.

That's not all, the sellers will be allowed to schedule 20 of their listings (meaning you can choose how long the auction runs and the end date and time as well) for free.

1 Apr 2014

Complete watch set for under £1000: The Japanese collection

I know it is the 1st of April but I am not joking. Read on.

I was in a watch forum recently and according to one of the members, "you need to spend at least £1000 for a good watch". Well, I have to disagree. It all depends on what you mean by a "good watch".

Majority of watch users have only one watch which they wear all the time. Now-a-days, most people do not even own a watch and rely on their mobile phones to tell time.

Then there are the watch collectors who have several watches - I happen to be one of them. However, I am not a watch snob and do not look down on people who wear electronic watches or quartz watches. I do not even think that mechanical or automatic watches, no matter how technical or iconic, are "superior".

However, I do believe that some watches are better suited for certain functions as compared to others. I can't recall who said it but it went like this: "You should have a different watch for each occasion" and I agree with this statement.

Given below are the four main categories of watches and the ideal characteristics:

1. Diver: Good visibility, tough, should be water proof to at least 200m and normally featuring a uni-directional rotatable bezel.
2. Aviator: Large face, good lume, day / date and multiple time zones, designed to withstand extremes of temperature and g forces and preferably with chronograph function. Usually have prominent and large crowns.
3. Dress: To wear to the office and on formal occasions with a suit. Slim to fit under the shirt cuffs. Normally minimalist design with leather straps.
4. The Banger/ Sports watch. Tough watch for everyday wear, usually with chronograph function which you wear when you are engaged in extreme sports, dancing in the night club or gaming at home.

However, you do not have to spend a fortune to have a decent collection of "good quality" watches and in-fact you can have a collection comprising of the 4 types of watches for less than £1000/ I suggest that you do not go for the latest or limited edition models. Some online stores including Amazon offer great deals (sometimes as much as 50% off). Let us look at a selection of some Japanese watches.

1. Diver: Seiko Men's SSC019P1 V175 

 RRP: £279 and just £186.99 on Amazon UK

  • Case Diameter: 47mm
  • Chronograph
  • Solar powered
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Stainless steel case and bracelet
  • 200m water resistant (divers certified)
  • Pepsi (red and blue) bezel
2. Aviator: Citizen Red Arrows Chronograph CA0080-03E 
RRP: £199

  • Chronograph
  • Solar powered (Eco-drive) with Power Reserve Indicator
  • Mineral Crystal
  • Stainless Steel case with rotating Inner Ring
  • 100 m water resistant
  • Atomic Timekeeping.
  • Case size: 43 mm
3. Dress: Orient Cosmos ET0K003W 
RRP: £112.26 (On Amazon UK)

  • Self-winding, 21 jewels, Mechanical Automatic Movement
  • Power Reserve: Approximately 40 hours
  • Mineral crystal
  • Stainless steel case
  • 50m Water resistant
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel with alligator leather band
  • Case size: 40 mm
I love the design of this watch. Their automatic movement is made in-house.

Now, that's a total of approximately: £590 (So if you have a budget of £1000, this leaves you with £410 to spend on the Banger).

4. The Banger:  Casio Solar Chrono GW-3500BB-1ADR
It retails at £290 but you can get it for only £181.50 on Amazon UK. This is an "Aviator watch" according to Casio.

Just check out some of the amazing features:

  • Shock Resistant (The G Shock is afterall the World's toughest watch)
  • Solar Power (no need to change batteries)
  • Stopwatch and Countdown Timer
  • Water Resistant 200 m (meaning that you can use this as a diving watch as well).
  • World Time and Multi Band 6 Radio Controlled - allows this watch to pick up six different time calibration signals around the globe and ensures that the exact time is displayed across Europe, The United States, Japan and China.
One thing I did not like was the case diameter. It is huge - at 50 mm. Better stay away if you have a small wrist. Shop around for other G-shocks with smaller diameters.

So supposing you bought all 4 watches at the retail prices, you have now spent a total of around £880 which still leaves you £120 to spend on other gadgets. You will have saved more if you had shopped around a bit. So why would you spend £1000 on just one watch?

NOTE: Prices are correct as of 1st April, 2014.