Home > Electronics, Tech, Time > Watch Wonkiness

Watch Wonkiness

Update:  I have two new additions to my collection, the Texas Instruments MSP430 Chronos and the Citizen BM8475-00E Echo Drive.  I’m getting older, now pushing half a century, and my eyes are steadily getting worse.  I’d been searching for a watch that is easy to read without glasses, yet is smart in appearance.  The Chronos is actually a development platform along the lines of the Arduino in that you can write applications for it, and it attaches to a PC wirelessly.  It includes an altimeter, thermometer, heart rate indicator, accelerometer, and a few other things I can’t think of off the top of my head.  It’s an okay watch for daily use, though spectacular if you include the geek factor.  My problem with it for daily use was that I tended to depress the display button when pushing back my sleeve to check the time/date.  That got old pretty fast, so I bought the Citizen.  Oddly enough, I can’t find it on Citizen’s website, so I used an Amazon link.  It’s great.  Though still a bit fuzzy, I can read it without donning my reading glasses.



I have something of a time fetish…

so I like to have at least two time references wherever I spend any real amount of time (ya never know when one might fizzle!). In fact, sitting here in front of my main computer I see no fewer than six references: an atomic wall clock, a clock in my browser’s status bar, my wristwatch, the clock in my land line phone (sans land line service), and two cell phones. I like to have them set as closely as possible to “atomic time,” the official time prescribed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. For my computers, I use Gregory Braun’s application WebTime 2000 to sync my systems’ clocks to an NTP server (Network Time Protocol). Works great, last long time!

And man oh man, do I like wristwatches. Were I a multimillionaire, I’d have an extensive collection: Rolex, Tag Huer, IWC, Bell & Ross, Harry Winston, Roger Dubuis, and many, many more. However, I’m not rich, so I don’t own a single one of those brands. My humble collection consists of at least: Timex Expedition, Seiko Railroad Approved, Swiss Army Officer, Seiko 5 Sports Diver, and Casio G-Shock 2688.

Timex Expedition Seiko Railroad Approved Swiss Army Officer Seiko Sport 5 Diver Casio G-Shock Solar

Not a lot more to say about the Expedition than it’s reliable, rugged, and super inexpensive. Oh, and the controls are too confusing. I don’t use any watch for more than determining day, date, and time; all else is superfluous. The battery died and I’ve not gotten around to replacing it nor do I even know where it is. In a box. Somewhere.

The Seiko Railroad Approved is my sentimental favorite. I actually have two. The first was a graduation gift from my father. In 1979 it was arguably the most accurate watch made. At least that what Seiko said. I won’t argue as it does keep fabulous time, I think in error of only about a second per month. The second was a replacement; it took less than a year to ruin the one my father gave me. I still have both. In boxes. Somewhere.

The most expensive was the ~$200 Swiss Army Officer I bought it in the mid 1990s. It’s stylish and accurate, but so small that a woman could easily wear it without appearing butch. The battery died at eleven-oh-three on the 24th of … some month. It was my primary time piece until I got the Seiko Sport 5 Diver and then relegated to the role of on-the-road back up. Being a road warrior is a tough, tough gig and I have to carry pretty much two of everything. I mean a real road warrior, of course, not one of those guys that spends a few days a month out of town. A real road warrior spends months at a time living out of a suitcase, getting home just often enough not to go insane yet staying home only long enough that it doesn’t begin to feel comfortable. A post in and of itself. My least favorite thing about the Officer is that it doesn’t display the day along with the date. It now sits under my monitor with a dead battery. It’s somewhat expensive to get it changed due to the oyster style back, so I’ve been putting it off.

The Seiko Sport 5 Diver is a beefy, handsome watch, but keeps horrible time. This bothers me greatly. Not only that, but it’s an automatic. Automatics are self-winding and require constant motion to keep them powered. Some allow you to manually wind them, but this one does not. The amount of time the watch will run without being in motion is called “power reserve.” This one has but a few hours of reserve and often been the case that between the time I take it off for the evening and when I put it back on the next morning it has completely unwound. Another problem is that the movement, a 7S36, is non-hacking. This means that when the crown is pulled, the second hand continues to move. I hate that. It’s sitting next to my Steinhausen winder.

My most recent acquisition is a Casio G-Shock Waveceptor Solar. Oddly enough, I discovered it in a roundabout way: reading the Amazon.com reviews of a child’s electronics toy. I naturally gravitate to the negative reviews and one of the reviewers, a seeming absolute nitwit, decried the toy after seeing on the box that California had deemed it a possible hazard to reproductive health. Good gawd. California might as well tattoo newborns’ foreheads, “Warning: Now that you’re alive, you’re dying!” I decided to read through the guy’s reviews to find out if he is in fact an absolute nitwit. Turns out not to be the case. He’s just an environ-alarmist nitwit; the other reviews weren’t of the same idiocy. I saw his review of a Casio GW500AJP-1AV (basically the same thing, but different colored accents), and searched Amazon to learn more about it. Turns out, this was almost exactly what I’d been looking for:

  • Automatic time setting every morning through the NIST signal from Boulder, CO plus it tells you the time and status of the last sync attempt.
  • Displays time, day, month, and year.
  • Large display that’s easy to see.
  • Perpetual calendar is good until 2099.
  • Rechargeable battery.
  • Solar battery charger.

I’ve never been too keen on the looks of the G-Shock series: too ‘plastic-y’ and cheap looking. I like the look and feel of solid, thick, stainless steel, but this one’s beginning to grow on me. The gold accents help, I guess. A neat trick is that you can set the back light to come on with just a flick of the wrist when under low light conditions. The three rings? I originally thought they were analog displays of hours, minutes, and seconds, but they’re actually setting indicators that are way too small for me to see without magnification. I’d rather that space be used to enlarge the other information. As for the accuracy, I can attest that thus far it’s been fabulous: less than a second’s difference between it and my atomic wall clock.

On a side note, there’s a right way and a wrong way for a man to wear a watch. Environ-Alarmist Nitwit mentioned in his review that he takes it off while typing because it “slides down to the end of [his] wrist and knocks against [his] hand.”  Wtf?!  If he wore it properly, that wouldn’t happen.  The wrong way is over the joint. The wrong way is loose like a bracelet. Don’t do either unless you’re either female or gay. You’re a man — act like one!

All photos are copyright of whatever site I stole them from.


Categories: Electronics, Tech, Time
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