This is a story from someone who loves watches and in particular the mechanical nature of complex devices which can fit on my wrist. The history, romance and sheer genius of any mechanical watch still blows my mind, but I am torn between the emotional response to mechanics and the accuracy of modern-day timepieces.
It all started with the Citizen Military AT2100-09E which I picked up for only £99 from Argos. It is hard to explain just how aesthetically pleasing the design is, but it really does tick all of the boxes for me. The military style is simple and big plus the brushed metal adds just the right amount of class to make it look and feel like a watch that anyone would be happy to have strapped to their wrist.
It is deadly accurate, only 2 seconds lost in 6 weeks so far, and the lume is exceptional, if a little busy when trying to catch the time through sleep-ridden eyes. The date window is quite small which will require a certain amount of squinting for those of us over 40, but overall this is an exceptional timepiece for an extraordinary price.
I then decided that I wanted a mechanical watch, but do not possess the funds to go all out for something revered like a Rolex or an Omega. After some research I fell for the 42mm Hamilton Khaki H705450. Notice the similarity to the Citizen design?
It is slimmer than the Citizen and the face is much cleaner, but the marriage of a modern case housing a genuinely classic face stole my heart in an instant. Throw in the red point on the second hand and the glass back, and I just knew I had to buy one. Sadly this watch didn’t work out as intended because mine had a serious fault for which I am currently awaiting a replacement. No matter how much I manually wound it or wore it, time was lost far too quickly to be considered acceptable. 10 seconds an hour is obviously not right and so I will get to try one properly in the near future. Also, the lume was not good at all and strangely the dots around the face illuminate much more clearly than the hands.
There is a bigger concern for me with this watch, however, and that is the fact that it is a mechanical. For all of the genius used to build such things, it dawned on me that the genius of being able to tell the time to the split second, no matter how electronic that is, wins the battle. I am admittedly extremely anal when it comes to timekeeping and as such I have resigned myself to a non-mechanical existence.
And then I looked back at the Citizen and saw it tick. Oh the horror of a ticking second hand which highlighted the fact that it has so few mechanics inside. It’s a conundrum which I can never completely solve because you cannot have it both ways, but then the Bulova Accutron II Snorkel caught my eye. A sweeping second hand, a wonderfully classic design which recreates the original in a sensitive way and accuracy by the bucketload. Then again, so far the Snorkel is just behind the Citizen in terms of accuracy, but it sweeps (maybe too smoothly?) and that’s enough for my tiny mind to be content with.
The Snorkel wears big on my wrist, but it is an example of Bulova getting the design right, for once, by going back in time and I have to say that it stands out in the subtlest of ways. This should lead me towards the original, but where would the accuracy go?
Finally, the lume is again quite poor which is a downer for me, but at this moment in time I will be sticking with the Snorkel as my daily watch. In the time I spent trying these, I also bought and sold 5 other watches and managed to find fault with all of them. It all came down to finding a classic design with modern-day accuracy and just enough personality to make me enjoy looking at it multiple times a day, and thankfully Bulova created a timepiece I can live with, until next week when the search will likely start all over again.
Categories: Watch Reviews