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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ocean Crawler Champion Diver - PHOTO ESSAY


Found these guys on Instagram recently and started chatting with the owner. I was impressed with his designs and passion to create something different. Design imagination in this industry is sorely missing, so when you see it, it is worth celebrating! 

This is the Champion Diver, which is WR to a respectable 1000ft and has a fluted bezel, which is very well executed and slick (in a positive way). It came with 2 rubber (silicone) straps, the orange, which it came on and unbeknownst to me, inside the box was a ultra-cool blue camo version!

I will let the pictures do some more talking:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now this diver is not perfect, it has a few flaws. For one the crown is not as well finished as the bezel. It is very sharp and mat. Yes, it is extremely easy to use and damn grippy, but I would have liked it to match the knurling on the bezel. 

Also, the spring-bars between the lugs hug the case so close as to not be able to fit anything else but these two rubber straps. Now, you can acquire curved spring bars and fit curved end straps, but those are harder to find and excludes shark-mesh / other steel bracelets. 

I would have also liked a more "refined" movement than the Seiko 4R series. Perhaps a 6R or even the Miyota 9015, which I have found to be a solid, reliable and best of all, accurate. That said, this one has been performing admirably and I am satisfied with it. Not to mention, it is a solid workhorse and will run forever, with only the very minimum of maintenance.


That's enough with the nit-picking. What we have here is an excellent example of company not afraid to go to the edge and not look back. Good for you Ocean Crawler. Keep up the good work and I look forward to many new designs in the future!

Technical Specs: 

  • Case Diameter (excluding crown): 44.2mm 
  • Case Thickness: 15mm, 
  • Lug-To-Lug: 51.8mm, 
  • Lug Width: 22mm 
  • Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel 
  • Bezel: Unidirectional Rotating Bezel with 120 Clicks and Swiss SuperLuminova Marker 
  • Movement Accuracy: +/- 5 seconds/day in 3 positions 
  • Water Resistance: 300 meters, 1000-feet or 30 ATM

Mido Ocean Star - PHOTO REVIEW


Two summers ago, I had the pleasure of owning a Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman that housed a remarkable new (or rather reworked) ETA movement, which they dubbed Caliber H-10. Since then, this movement has popped up in Tissot, Mido and other Swatch Group pieces. (more on this movement later)

The subject of this article is the latest dive watch release from Mido, the titanium Ocean Star, which houses the aforementioned movement. This casual, yet elegant sports / dive watch flirts the line between serious tool and casual sport effortlessly.  How about we let some pictures do the talking:


 
 

This all titanium diver is 42mm in diameter and a very svelte 11.75mm thick, making this one extremely cuff friendly. It all titanium construction equally make it very light and a pleasure to wear. In fact, you can barely tell you have it on at all. The case back is engraved with a beautiful star fish and is held down by 5 polished screws. The whole is water-resistant to 200m, while not quite the serious dive watch norm of 300m (the days), still way plenty for most earnest and even professional divers. 

The bezel is nicely appointed with matching dial color, but is rather slick and a little difficult to turn. I can see where having wet/slippery hands may be an issue. I have similar quarrels with the crown, It is super slick and has a short screw down tube. Despite having to fiddle with it, it is quite secure and will not dislodge.

The dial, hands and markers are absolutely first rate. This includes the lume, which lasts all night and outshines most dim locations with ease. A lot of attention to detail went into it here and it shows. Unlike my old Hamilton, which was more of a functional tool, this one looks like it belongs in a office a little more than in the deep ocean. Very classy. 

 

 

The bracelet and rubber strap are both excellent. Though I have never been a real fan of titanium, as it is so light and the lack of heft has a negative perception in my mind. It is no doubt, however, extremely well finished with beveled edges and a complex sliding/adjustable clasp. 

It fits the watch perfectly. That said, it seems to have the same flaw as the crown, with really short treads for the adjusting screws. This made it very difficult to size. When the is is fully unscrewed, it does not protrude enough from the link to fully grasp it. Thus needing a small needle nose pliers and a deft touch to attempt removal. Be forewarned, may be best to let a qualified jeweler/retailer do this one. 

The rubber strap is where this one really excels. It is of exceptional quality and extremely well finished. It also has the same sliding/adjustment system as the one on the titanium bracelet, which is very handy to get that "perfect" fit. I am normally a bracelet guy, but on this watch, I actually preferred the rubber strap and chose to wear that one most of the time. 

 

 

 

I briefly spoke of the movement earlier and now it is time to go a little deeper into the Mido Caliber 80. It is basically a reworked ETA 2824. What have they done? Well, for one they have done away with the old regulating system and changed it to a high-tech, laser adjusted (pew-pew) version and secondly, they slowed down the beat rate. Going from 28,800 BPH (4hz) to 21,600 BPH (3hz) thus increasing its power reserve by a factor of two. 

That is correct, you read that right, 80 hrs of power reserve! (hence the name) This means you can take your watch off on Friday evening and put it back on Monday morning again and it would not have stopped! How cool is that? This is perfect for someone who has an extensive collection and enjoys a variety of watches during the week. I also enjoy the sound of the lowered beat rate. I know this sounds silly, but to me 21,600 BPH sounds less "stressful" than 28,800.... but that's just me. 

I know that some fear that lowere beat rate would affect the normally very steady ETA 2824 performance. Well, this is the second timepiece (really 2nd and 3rd) that houses this movement and it is quite remarkable, as all of them have keps above COSC Chronometer standard accuracy. 


If you are looking for a sharp, casual/dress diver that will fit well under any cuff and is not seen on everyone's wrist, you should definitely consider the Mido Ocean Star. It is very reasonably priced (under 1300$ Canadian MSRP). In my opinion, this watch represents great value from a house that is a member of one of the world's largest and most respected watch conglomerates,

Bracelet or rubber strap, you cannot go wrong. Go check them out and like me, you will be pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

DELTAt NBS Bronze - PHOTO ESSAY


I recently acquired this incredible timepiece and decided to bring it with me to Greece this summer. It was much warmed than I had remember, though my previous Hellenic vacations have been during the "off-season". This was my first time during peak. Not only was it almost unbearably hot, there were humans everywhere!

Luckily, the beaches were in abundance and swimming with this beast on my wrist was a joy. I also wanted to see what the salty sea / sweat / sunscreen and the occasional pool would do to the patina. As it turns out, it looks better now than it ever has. That is one of the pleasures of owning a bronze watch. Seeing it mature with time.

Here is what it looked like when I first received it:

 

Now for some pictures in wonderful Greece:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

I was hoping to wear it more often, but instead opted for the more reasonably sized Oris. Not because I could not pull off the size, but because nothing can be much less comfortable than 300g of bronze stuck to your sweat and sunscreen soaked wrist in +40C heat... 

That said, it performed admirably and I received compliments when dining our one night in Santorini. The latter has shops that sell Audemars Piguet, Hublot, Patek Phillippe and of course Rolex, just to name a few. So to get noticed among that crowd says something about this design.

Here are the specs for this beast:

Movement: 
  • Japan Miyota Automatic Movement 
  • Cal. 8N24 Manual/Automatic winding 
  • 21 jewels 21,600 vibrations per hour 
  • more than 40 hours power reserve when fully winded 

Hands: 
  • Lumed Hour, Minute hands 

Case: 
  • 49mm diameter excluding crown 
  • 66mm from lug to lug 
  • 20.2mm thick Aluminum Bronze Satin and Sandblast finishing 
  • Screw-down 
  • 316L Stainless Steel Inner 
  • Bottom Cover with Mirror finishing Logo 
  • 316L Stainless Steel Outer Bottom Cover 
  • Three Main Screws locked Bezel and Outer Bottom Cover 
  • Automatic Helium Escape Valve 

Dial: 
  • Antique Style Dial with Lumed index 
  • Windowed Dial to see-through the Balance Wheel and Pallet Fork 

Crown: 
  • 7.7mm diameter with cross-diagonal pattern screw-in Crown 

Crystal: 
  • Sapphire Crystal with anti-reflection coating 

Water Resistant:
  •  1,000m/3,300ft (100ATM) Water Resistant 

Straps: 
  • 22mm width / 5mm thick One set of 
  • 90/130mm fine genuine leather straps 
  • One set of 90/130mm unique canvas straps 
  • Uniquely designed Aluminum Bronze Buckle and Loop
I am not going to do a full review of this one, as I feel Jim Skelton has done an excellent job reviewing it on Youtube. Here is this review:


So if you are looking for something really off the beaten path and are not afraid to take chances, get yourself one of these DELTAt NBS models. You will not regret it!

DELTAt