Time For a New Toy

My absolute favorite device is not the PDA, cell phone, or MP3 player. It’s watches. I’ve always loved them. In fact, if I were a villain in Batman’s word, I’d probably be Mr. Time or something. I used to work for Seiko in Japan, and I always hoped I would have the opportunity to work for Casio, as well (though that never materialized). Currently in my watch drawer are eight different specimens, and one on my wrist (I’ve actually been wondering if I might be able to get away with wearing one on each wrist, but I haven’t yet tried). I have no idea how many watches I’ve discarded over the years either because they have gotten ruined or hopelessly obsolete. My favorite watches are my Timex Messenger (one of the coolest watches ever made, but tragically nearing extinction), my Seiko Chronograph (not technically very fancy, but a great looking timepiece), my Casio Twincept Databank watch I bought in Japan (sort of obsolete at this point, but a classic), and my brand new Casio Solar Waveceptor G-Shock.

I have always considered G-Shocks to be good watches, but not very technically impressive until I came upon this one. It’s an atomic watch (Casio calls this feature Waveceptor) which means it synchronizes wirelessly with the atomic clock in Colorado, which, in and of itself, is not all that unusual anymore, however it is also solar powered, which is an interesting combination. Not only do you never have to set it, but you also never have to change the battery. Five minutes in direct sunlight is enough for 6 months of “normal” usage. And since it doesn’t have to worry about conserving battery life, it synchronizes four times a day, which is once more than my old stainless steel Waveceptor (a beautiful watch that’s been discontinued). It also has nice large numbers for easy reading, an interesting time recording function which allows you to store 30 date/timestamps (something I’ve never had on a watch before), and will automatically illuminate when held perfectly parallel to the ground and tilted at a specific angle toward your face so you don’t have to actually go to all the trouble of pressing a button. Of course it has several standard features: 5 alarms (including a snooze alarm, which will keep bugging you every five minutes until you get out of bed), world time, and a stopwatch. It’s water resistant to 200 meters, and is extremely shock resistant, as well, which I’ve already confirmed after only a few days of ownership. It’s conspicuously missing a countdown timer, however, which is its only drawback, so I still need to fall back on my cell phone occasionally, but overall, it’s very functional and practical.

Any other watch fanatics out there? What kinds of watches do you like, and why? I’m mostly interested in practical and functional designs as opposed to pure technical wizardry. For instance, I had a Casio camera watch for a short time, but returned it because it was too bulky and the picture quality was too low. And what good is an MP3 watch that isn’t expandable?

And finally, what would you consider to be the ultimate watch? Mine? Glad you asked. A Solar Waveceptor Pathfinder Tripple-Sensor G-Shock with a count-down timer, SD slot for expansion, and a GPS receiver. It doesn’t exist yet (all in one watch), but when it does, I’ll buy one for each wrist.

13 Responses to Time For a New Toy

  1. Michael Dyer says:

    Ultimate watch? Easy – it’s a Suunto (http://www.suunto.com).

  2. I used to wear swatch watches years ago – but i would always destroy the bands while skateboarding or other outside activities – so i stopped wearing watched for years – I carried several kinds of pocket watches, some antiques, some new ones – some with compases and other gadgets, but my fossil pocket watches were really nice – I currently really like my Phillipe Starcke Fossil wrist watch – I first saw Phillip Torrone wearing one and thought it was great – Fossil doesnt seem to carry the one I have – a dark gunmetal steel version – but this one is pretty sweet and the same price – a stainless steel model:http://www.fossil.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=10103&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=111&iSubCat=148&iProductID=10103If I had the money though, I would snap up this watch:The TAG Heuer Monaco V4 Concept Watch – looks amazing.http://www.tagheuer.com/basel2004/monacov4.lblTheir site is in Flash too 🙂 check it out.Rob

  3. nick says:

    For extremely cool, unique designs, and technical features, you’ve gotta check out Nixon watches:http://www.nixonnow.comI’ve got 3. (and my wife’s got 2)There should be a support group for people like us. My wife gives me a hard time because each Birthday, I ask for a new watch. I’m still behind you though, only have 5…

  4. Vinny Timmermans says:

    Christian, If you want to add a sober, minimalistic watch to your high-tech collection, take a look at Aldo Rossi’s (famous italian architect RIP) watch. He designed it for Alessi fifteen/twenty years ago. An everlasting beauty and a definite collector’s itemBTW Starck’s Fossil is a beauty too.

  5. Roger Benningfield says:

    I don’t know that I’m a watch fanatic, in that I don’t have any desire to own a lot of them. But I feel very, very strongly about the ones I *do* own.MUST-HAVES:- Big, digital face… my vision is something like 20/300 with my glasses off, so I need all the help I can get.- Bright night-light… see above.- Adjustable timers.- As much metal and as little plastic as possible.WANTS:- Data storage.- Communication.I’ve been wearing one of the original Timex DataLinks for the last four or five years… y’know, the ones that you hold up to your monitor while a sensor reads data that’s flashed on the screen. The poor thing is nearing the end of the line, though, and I’ve been struggling to find something that matches or exceeds its capabilities.So far, I’ve looked at:- The Fossel Wrist PDA. I actually had one of the original models in my hand at a Fossil outlet store and put it back… it was too big and plastic-icky. I was holding out for the 2nd-gen, metal version, but they keep pushing back the release date. And if they *do* ship, they’ll be pretty pricey, at least by my standards.- The Timex Internet Messenger. I’m thinking about ordering one, given the “free year of service” from Skytel… it’d be handy to have my CF monitoring app just page me when JRun dies.- The new Timex DataLinks. I love the USB connectivity, and WristApps mean that I can add features that were left out of the shipping product. But the USB port makes them look a bit clunky, and the latest, slimmest model has more plastic and rubber in its design than I like.

  6. I’ve been researching the the Suunto X9. It looks like it might be the most amazing watch out there right now. I’m looking for objective reviews (worried about battery life, and the size of the watch), however I’m having a hard time finding any. It’s also on the pricey side at around $700, but it definitely looks to be in a league of its own.Anyone have a Suunto?

  7. Ed Tenannt says:

    I got a Casio G-Shock Atomic Solar for Christmas and I am still absolutely crazy about it. Mine is the MT-G and is the only G-Shock I’ve ever seen up close without a rubber band. I was never comfortable with a rubber watch band in a business setting but that’s likely just me. It replaced a Timex DataLink that Microsoft gave me at a conference probably 10 years ago. I still have some phone numbers in that one now that I think about it. I don’t have a collection, the only other watch I keep around is a nice looking Seiko I got in 1992, but I am happy to discover I’m not the only one who geeks out over a watch.One feature you left out that fascinates me is the power save mode. The watch shuts off the display at night to conserve battery.

  8. Rick Mason says:

    Christian,For the ultimate geek watch check out this URL:http://www.radiocontrolledclock.com/aratwa.htmlFound out about this company from the pages of the ham radio mag QST. They offer a wide selection of watches that sync up several times a day with the WWV time signal automatically. They will even reset themselves when you change time zones.Haven’t broken down and purchased one yet but I am severely tempted.

  9. Roland Collins says:

    This is my baby:http://www.seikousa.com/Product.aspx?productId=98I had to have a kinetic watch . . . but having one made out of titanium to boot . . . _awesome_!;)

  10. The titanium kinetic is awesome. I love Seiko for a good balance between timekeeping technology and good looks. Admittedly, my solar atomic Casio G-Shock isn’t very good looking, but it’s extremely practical. I would love to have a Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay. The hands will stop moving after three days of inactivity, but the watch will continue to keep time. When the watch is picked up again, it will automatically reset the hands to the correct time. It is able to restore the correct time after the hands have been stopped for up to four years! That’s perfect for me since I would only wear the Seiko on occasions when I wanted to dress up a bit, which is about once or twice a year. They aren’t cheap, though (over $500), so if I were going to spend that much on a nice Seiko, I might rather go for the kinetic titanium, like yours.I wish Seiko would combine kinetic technology with the chronograph and perpetual calendar.

  11. Kelly says:

    Looking to find a Pyramid Studded Cuff Watch by Nixon… I don’t know the name of the watch, if I could find it on the internet, I would tell you… Does anyone know where I can look?

  12. Mihir Sanghavi says:

    Dear Christian,I am also a Casio twincept watch fanatic. I truly love the idea of a digital overlay over an analog watch. It also gives you the ability turn off the digital overlay if you want the watch to look a bit more formal. I bought the Casio WVX100DA-7AV watch (check it out at http://www.casio.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=products.archivedproduct&CATALOG=Watches&SECTION=Waveceptor&Product=WVX100DA%2D7AV ) on the internet only to later find out that the watch is no longer available because Casio discontinued it. It is very disappointing that Casio would do such a thing with so nice a watch. In fact, in the months after they discontinued it, I was hoping that they did so because they were bringing a better watch like that into the market, but that never happened. Do you have any idea why they would discontinue such a watch?Take care,-Mihir.

  13. Nixon 51-30 says:

    Plenty of excellent watches out there but it’s all about style now as they are rather obsolete. People use their phones to check the time.

    For me, it’s G-Shocks, Nixons, Nooka.