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.

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