Citizen Brycen (AW1590-55E) review

So, I finally got my grail watch, a Tudor Black Bay, and was happy. I wasn’t 100% happy because it was the GMT rather than the Black Bay Black, but because the waiting lists are so long to get the GMT it made sense to take it when offered and to see if I would grow to love it.

I grew to love it.

It was a tough buy because I always wanted the gold hands of the Black Bay Heritage, but when the jeweller emailed me to say that a GMT had come in and asked if I wanted it, I jumped. Besides, I can buy a Black Bay Black at any time because they are everywhere, the GMT is not.

And then we were hit by a huge medical bill for my son. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it until we know the full situation, but it’s fair to say that the NHS proved to be so under resourced that they were unable to help in the most potentially serious of cases and the delays could be potentially very serious.

We decided to go private, an experience which has also proved to be less than impressive, in order to save time and the end result is that the GMT has to be sold. It would be a horrible thing to do in normal times, but when it comes to the health of one of your children you start to realise what is important and having a £2,800 watch on my wrist fell way down the list.

I could go into the myriad thoughts I have had over the past two weeks concerning the important things in life and my temporary realisation that an expensive watch is not necessary, but I hope that the feeling for my grail watch comes back one day and that I can rebuild my watch fund to buy the one I want.

The GMT will be gone in a few days, potentially at a profit which will help contribute to the medical bills, and so I decided to pick up a watch that I have had my eye on for some time, one that could be bought 13 times before the cost of the GMT is reached. A watch that I know will not be of the same quality, a watch that no one aspires to, but also one that I do not have to worry about and which may just have enough personality to suffice until the grail returns.

It is a Citizen Eco-Drive and so I am expecting excellent accuracy, but of course there are particular quartz movements in each watch. To date I am on less than 1 second deviance per day which is what I have experienced with previous Citizen Eco-Drive watches.

The case shape is not deep at all and curves a little around the wrist when paired with the right bracelet. The included mesh bracelet is of OK quality, but it pulled hairs out of my arm immediately. I do not have particularly hairy arms and this is the first strap to do that so that is a downside. I changed it straight away and this watch pairs very well with almost any 22mm strap thanks to the muted colours. The gold hands and hour markers are extremely subtle and work well with the very very light green inner colouring. Only the hands are lumed, but Citizen has cleverly managed to match the green throughout the dial.

Talking of the lume, this is a Citizen and so it is exceptional. It is very bright and lasts throughout the night, and with just the hands painted the end result is not overwhelming at all. The pointed hands offer more than enough recognition to tell the time in total darkness and this is without doubt a highlight.

The bezel fits the design very well, but strangely is static. I have never seen a bezel with 60 markings that does not rotate and so it is purely there for aesthetic reasons, presumably to give the watch a ‘dive’ vibe. For me, and no doubt the majority of people who prefer dive watches, it all comes down to the styling rather than the likelihood of being under the sea for any length of time and Citizen seems to have embraced that. Citizen has actually embraced it to the point of only giving 100m of water resistance, only luming the hour and minute hands, and of course installing a static bezel. It looks like a dive watch, it feels like a dive watch, it most certainly is not a dive watch.

If I could change anything it would be the date window. Citizen has a habit of including date windows that are tiny, to the point that I wonder why they are even there. It would make more sense to either remove it altogether to offer a cleaner look or go the whole hog and put a big one on the dial. If you go half way you may as well not have bothered.

Overall I really like this watch and it was the particular model I was looking at above more expensive Seikos and Citizens. I suspect it was because I previously owned an Oris Divers Sixty Five (above) and there is a similar look going on here. I loved that watch, but not as much as the Tudor and so sold it to pay some of the Tudor. I love my son much more than both of them and so now have this Citizen on my wrist, and remarkably I really am liking it.

The Corgeut Black Bay

A friend of mine bought a Corgeut Black Bay homage watch for £80 and initially I was quite impressed with what I saw. He gave it to me to play with for a couple of days and my thoughts quickly changed, but not for any practical or technical reason.

It certainly looks like a Black Bay, from even close distances, and the sapphire crystal does appear to be genuine.

The finishing is not too bad and the markers and hands appear to be well done, albeit the hands are not the right colour at all and thus we end up with a somewhat lacklustre appearance.

The Miyota 8215 movement surprised me at keeping within 2 seconds per day, but that’s where the positives end. The rotor is incredibly noisy, to the point that it could wake you up at night if close to your ear. Also, and even worse, it stutters badly in two parts of the twelve hour rotation, to the point that you wonder how it can possibly keep time. This is not a refined movement in any way, but in this particular watch it remains surprisingly accurate.

The 90 click bezel is a bizarre choice which I cannot understand in terms of keeping the production costs down. It does, however, look pretty good and feels better than expected when turned.

The lume is not like a Seiko or Citizen, or a Tudor of course, but it is pretty good and lasts through the night.

I found the bracelet to be quite uncomfortable and although it looks almost identical to the Tudor offering there is a world of difference between the two in terms of pure quality and wearability.

Also, and perhaps the most surprising aspect, is that it actually is waterproof and has survived swimming for extended periods.

So, that’s the practical aspects of this watch, but I could not wear it for the following reasons-

A homage? Really?

It’s a subject that divides opinion, but this one has so many aspects that are like the Black Bay that I would call it a fake. The snowflake hands, dial, markers, case etc etc. It may have the word ‘Corgeut’ on the dial, but everything else is Tudor Black Bay by design and the makers know it.

Sapphire glass, an automatic movement of variable quality, decent lume and a case and bracelet that do look good make this a bargain for the price. It’s just a shame that it rips off Tudor so closely because it ruins the whole thing.

When your grail is not the best, it’s still your grail

When I first became very interested in watches, there was one particular model that I always aspired to own. It was the Tudor Black Bay Red and this feeling never really left me. Aspirational is the word because after running through many Seikos, Citizens, Bulovas and countless others I have ended up with the Black Bay red and I think that’s the end of my watch buying and selling story.

I recently owned the Black Bay GMT which is by all accounts a better watch. It of course has the GMT function, it is hard to come by and there are long waiting lists at every authorised dealer, and it is rarely seen in public. If you are wearing a GMT and someone else knows their watches they will notice it and likely be impressed by it. If you are wearing a Black Bay Red the same effect will not be seen because it is a commonly worn watch and in red is the most popular of the Black Bay series.

The problem for me was that the GMT felt cold. The white hands and hour markers didn’t drag me in and the, admittedly subtle, red and blue bezel was a little too noticeable for my liking. It’s hard to explain because it ticked all of the boxes for me, but perhaps it ticked too many which was the ultimate problem.

When you are into watches, and particularly if you have a grail watch, it becomes too easy to compare other watches in an unfavourable way simply because they are not the same. The white hands and hour markers are not a problem in the GMT, but they are not the subtle gold of the Black Bay, a gold that is enhanced by the red bezel more so than in the other colour variants. The date window is useful, but it takes away the clean symmetry of the dateless Black Bay. And then there is the GMT hand which makes the dial feel busy to me. Of course the GMT is still an exceptionally easy to read watch, but once I had seen the Black Bay Red it was hard to not see anything other than business and functions I did not need.

The old adage of less is more has never been truer than with the Black Bay for me. Pulling out the crown just one notch to change the time without the need to gauge exactly which position it is in to make specific changes to each function. The superb accuracy means I rarely need to correct the time and without the need to amend the date every month or two months it just sits on my wrist doing its thing and looking quite splendid.

As easy as it is to say ‘that’s it for me, no more watches’, I have an advantage in that I have never collected watches. I may have owned many, but I don’t like having more than one decent watch in the house. I like one beater watch, in my case a Citizen Brycen AW1590-55E, and a wear the rest of the time watch which is only removed when doing things that a decent mechanical should not be exposed to (grading, running etc etc).

So, this really is it for me. I always wanted this particular Tudor and it is easily living up to my expectations. I have never felt the need to own a Rolex or to spend a huge amount of money on a watch. I don’t care what other people think about what is on my wrist. 99.9% of people have no clue which watch is which and the ones that do probably have a focussed opinion on what a really good watch is and likely it will not be the one you are wearing anyway. And even then, what would I be trying to say with the watch on my wrist? Shall I wear a moon watch and pretend I am an astronaut? How about a massive dive watch for no other reason than it is huge and can go 1000m below the surface? No, why would I want to do that?

When I check the time on the Black Bay Red I simply see the time. I see the chocolate dial and gold hands and markers and a splash of red around the edge. That’s what grabbed me when I first saw it and as silly as it seems it causes me to look just a little longer than I need do when checking the time. This watch is for me, it’s my grail and I neither care what others think and don’t presume they do either. It’s my grail.

Tudor Black Bay GMT thoughts. Too good for me?

For many years I have wanted a Tudor Black Bay Heritage. It has always been the watch I look at and consider to be ‘the one’. I cannot explain why, but the cliche of ‘it needs to speak to you’ is 100% true in the case of watches and the invisible emotions that can make you love or hate a watch are completely real.

When I found myself in a position to finally get my grail I made some enquiries with regards to the red Heritage and was advised by my authorised deal that he had none. I was ready to check elsewhere, they are readily available, but he mentioned that he had just received a Black Bay GMT. That made me stop in my tracks.

You see, the GMT is not easy to find at all which is evidenced by this snippet taken from a watch forum discussing the availability in London last August-

So far:

John Lewis Oxford Street – Long Waiting List
Ernest Jones – Cheapside – 70 people waiting
Goldsmiths – Victoria – 200 people waiting
Watches of Switzerland – Regent St – 120 people waiting

Will update information as when I know more…

This has not changed much at all and to this day many people have been waiting for a long time to get their hands on one. So I asked him to keep it aside and I popped into the store the next day. £2,780 later it was mine.

A huge amount of money for a watch, but the picture is much bigger and far deeper when it comes to this particular watch. I shall try to explain why this amount of money makes perfect sense-

1/ It is a Tudor Black Bay. Try to buy a second-hand Black Bay and you will pay close to the original asking price so it is hard to lose money if you keep it in decent condition.

2/ The GMT is scarce and they are regularly changing hands for between £3,000 and £3,500 and in some cases even higher.

3/ The Rolex GMT Master II is £6,850. Yes, it is in some ways a very different watch, but in others the similarities are stark.

4/ It is an asset which holds its price in a way almost all other products fail to do. If troubling times come, I have +£2,500 to sell at any point. Potentially I will have a lot more once a few years have passed.

There was logically no reason to turn down the GMT even though when I sat in the jewellers with it on my wrist I was not overcome. It was not speaking to me as I expected it to.

I bought it anyway.

A strange thing happened over the next few days and especially so on the first wear. I was paranoid of getting any scratch or mark on it, presumably because of points 2 and 3 above, and so I was being extra careful with resting my arm on the desk etc. It took 30 minutes for me to pull out a second watch from my bag and replace this one in a safe place so that it did not gain any mark.

What was more strange, however, was how I felt wearing a watch that is worth approximately £3,000. It felt overwhelming in a small way. I didn’t feel like someone who should be wearing such an expensive watch. It’s not me and I simply did not feel worthy because it felt so out of place on my arm.

I am not a Rolex guy. Never have been and I never will be. There are many reasons for this; the designs feel as though they have been put together for other people to see and not for the wearer to enjoy. The Submariner is wonderful, but now so generic that everyone who gets into watches owns one. When people reach a certain financial position in life that they want to stamp they buy a Rolex. They don’t look for something different, they go for a Rolex because it is the safe choice.

The Pepsi icon. Rotary has tried to copy it, but failed in a big way. As have many other brands..

For all of the greatness of Rolex, and there is much, the designs feel as though they are aimed at people at least a generation ahead of me and maybe more. Look at the GMT Master II and compare it to the Black Bay GMT- the Master II comes over as far too decorative whereas the Bay feels somehow younger and cooler.

Anyway, I digress. I wore the Black Bay GMT the next day and it managed to get more wrist time than in the previous 24 hours, and the sense of ‘not good enough to wear it’ started to dissipate. But then another feeling clouded my thoughts. The red and blue bezel, which is made up of two perfectly matched subtle colours, pops in the subtlest of ways. It is not noticeable most of the time, but now and again I appreciate the colour scheme used on GMT. The white snowflake hands work perfectly with the grey(?) dial and the GMT hand of course makes sense in red. However, the sense of silver, red and blue all together can come over as too cautious. It is hard to put into words, but it is perfectly possible that I am truly smitten with the Black Bay Heritage and the gold hands and markers. It will sound silly to those of you who don’t have an interest in watches, but when you see something that fits the way you are, it is hard to move to the opposite.

The lack of a date window on the Heritage helps a lot as does the full red bezel and the gold of course, and it is these little things that make it feel special to me. It makes it feel just more special than the GMT. I cannot of course criticise the GMT for this because it is a true tool watch with a brilliantly intuitive movement and it makes no apologies for that. It should be perfect for me because it ticks every box, but the Heritage feels just a little more perfect.

Overall though I am left with the feeling that a £3,000 watch is too much for me. Do I not feel worthy to wear an expensive watch? Does it feel like a risk carrying something like this with me every day? I don’t know, but it makes me feel uncomfortable and somewhat guilty deep down. It feels arrogant and unnecessary which is bizarre because I have always wanted a watch like this. My iPhone cost £1,000 and I don’t have any guilt about carrying that around so why is a watch a problem?

I don’t know why it is, but I suspect that I will end up wearing a £300 Seiko again and will continue to ‘look up’ to watches like the Black Bay GMT. Something about not being able to attain an object makes it seem more special to me than when I have it on my wrist, and it is kind of a disappointing feeling.

If you have no such worries, however, get this watch. It is wonderful and probably the best value watch on the market today when compared to its peers.

Citizen Brycen (AW1590-55E) review

So, I finally got my grail watch, a Tudor Black Bay, and was happy. I wasn’t 100% happy because it was the GMT rather than the Black Bay Black, but because the waiting lists are so long to get the GMT it made sense to take it when offered and to see if I would grow to love it.

I grew to love it.

It was a tough buy because I always wanted the gold hands of the Black Bay Heritage, but when the jeweller emailed me to say that a GMT had come in and asked if I wanted it, I jumped. Besides, I can buy a Black Bay Black at any time because they are everywhere, the GMT is not.

And then we were hit by a huge medical bill for my son. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it until we know the full situation, but it’s fair to say that the NHS proved to be so under resourced that they were unable to help in the most potentially serious of cases and the delays could be potentially very serious.

We decided to go private, an experience which has also proved to be less than impressive, in order to save time and the end result is that the GMT has to be sold. It would be a horrible thing to do in normal times, but when it comes to the health of one of your children you start to realise what is important and having a £2,800 watch on my wrist fell way down the list.

I could go into the myriad thoughts I have had over the past two weeks concerning the important things in life and my temporary realisation that an expensive watch is not necessary, but I hope that the feeling for my grail watch comes back one day and that I can rebuild my watch fund to buy the one I want.

The GMT will be gone in a few days, potentially at a profit which will help contribute to the medical bills, and so I decided to pick up a watch that I have had my eye on for some time, one that could be bought 13 times before the cost of the GMT is reached. A watch that I know will not be of the same quality, a watch that no one aspires to, but also one that I do not have to worry about and which may just have enough personality to suffice until the grail returns.

It is a Citizen Eco-Drive and so I am expecting excellent accuracy, but of course there are particular quartz movements in each watch. To date I am on less than 1 second deviance per day which is what I have experienced with previous Citizen Eco-Drive watches.

The case shape is not deep at all and curves a little around the wrist when paired with the right bracelet. The included mesh bracelet is of OK quality, but it pulled hairs out of my arm immediately. I do not have particularly hairy arms and this is the first strap to do that so that is a downside. I changed it straight away and this watch pairs very well with almost any 22mm strap thanks to the muted colours. The gold hands and hour markers are extremely subtle and work well with the very very light green inner colouring. Only the hands are lumed, but Citizen has cleverly managed to match the green throughout the dial.

Talking of the lume, this is a Citizen and so it is exceptional. It is very bright and lasts throughout the night, and with just the hands painted the end result is not overwhelming at all. The pointed hands offer more than enough recognition to tell the time in total darkness and this is without doubt a highlight.

The bezel fits the design very well, but strangely is static. I have never seen a bezel with 60 markings that does not rotate and so it is purely there for aesthetic reasons, presumably to give the watch a ‘dive’ vibe. For me, and no doubt the majority of people who prefer dive watches, it all comes down to the styling rather than the likelihood of being under the sea for any length of time and Citizen seems to have embraced that. Citizen has actually embraced it to the point of only giving 100m of water resistance, only luming the hour and minute hands, and of course installing a static bezel. It looks like a dive watch, it feels like a dive watch, it most certainly is not a dive watch.

If I could change anything it would be the date window. Citizen has a habit of including date windows that are tiny, to the point that I wonder why they are even there. It would make more sense to either remove it altogether to offer a cleaner look or go the whole hog and put a big one on the dial. If you go half way you may as well not have bothered.

Overall I really like this watch and it was the particular model I was looking at above more expensive Seikos and Citizens. I suspect it was because I previously owned an Oris Divers Sixty Five (above) and there is a similar look going on here. I loved that watch, but not as much as the Tudor and so sold it to pay some of the Tudor. I love my son much more than both of them and so now have this Citizen on my wrist, and remarkably I really am liking it.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight (M79030N-0002) thoughts

The Tudor Black Bay is an unusual watch within the Rolex family. Yes, it is not a Rolex, but the influence is clear throughout and there is no doubt that the standards are very high when you inspect the finishing, the feel and the general sense that this is something special.

This watch is technically the follow up to the Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 7924 which was released in 1958, hence the name of this watch, and it has been cut down to 39mm to more closely match the 37mm diameter of the original.

Where it becomes unusual is in the fact that it has also been slimmed down to 11.9mm from 14.75mm (the current Black Bay thickness). This follows the thickening of the Black Bay from 12.8mm when Tudor previously used an ETA movement. Some people prefer the ETA movement purely because the Black Bay was slimmer at that point, but others will prefer to have a Tudor movement inside and cope with the extra depth. This is not the Rolex way which above all else is one of keeping the watches almost identical year after year with changes inside the watch to justify a new reference model number.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is the culmination of the confusion above and for many the smaller form factor finally gives them the Black Bay they want. I am one of these people, or at least I thought I was, because the Black Bey Heritage is a bit of a beast on the wrist. It all comes down to the sides of the watch which are almost vertical and which can tend to make it feel like a square slab when worn. Look at the Heritage from above and it’s lovely. Look at it from the side and it seems like a completely different watch. This does not happen with the Fifty-Eight.

The form feels consistent at every angle and especially so when on the wrist. The vertical harshness of the sides is gone and the way it sits on the wrist makes it feel like an extension of the arm rather than a tall slab of metal that takes up too much space.

It is also very hard to get hold of at this time with many dealers offering the watch with a 9-12 month lead time. At £2,340 this is not a cheap watch, but many many people are clamouring to get hold of the Fifty-Eight purely because of what it is. It often happens in the watch world that people (mainly men) have a gene that means when something is hard to get they want it even more, but this is not the whole story with the Fifty-Eight. From the moment it was announced the watch world went crazy for it and for good reasons. The watch world went crazy purely because of what it is and not what it represents which is unusual.

When I first tried it on I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed. I am not a small guy, but my wrists are not large yet the Fifty-Eight didn’t quite suit me. It felt just a touch too small when look at from above, but there was still something there that was special. Moving up to a watch like this from the likes of Seiko, Oris and Longines highlights that there is indeed a gap and that it is not all a myth. Sure, a lot of the price is usually the badge, but that does not seem to be the case here.

A Rolex Submariner is twice the price, if you can find one, and in many respects it does not feel twice as good. If you look at it through a magnifier you may see differences, but we don’t have magnifying eyes and so the Tudor looks very special to human eyes. It looks special because of the materials, the minimal use of stark colours and the fact that it is obviously a Black Bay. If you know what a Black Bay is, you will automatically know that this is a quality timepiece which kind of fools the brain before you even start.

The use of gold markings on the bezel has not been welcomed by some who see it is leaning too far to homaging a vintage look and rather false. I disagree because to me it perfectly matches the hands and dial markers to the point that the consistency is only broken by the glorious red pip surround at midnight.

Of course it is the snowflake hands that make this look like a Black Bay above all else and to me this is just about the perfect watch in terms of the colours and the form, but there is a problem that is specific to me.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is simply too small for my wrist which is a surprise because I don’t have large wrists (7.25”), but maybe they are a little flatter and wider than many other people which means the Fifty-Eight does not reach either side. It looks strange to me which is a shame because the slimmer depth and everything else excites me in the way only a watch that feels right should.

My problem is that the Heritage Black Bay is very thick and the sides of the watch are too angular and stark, in my view, to offer any meaningful elegance. This puts me in a position where the Black Bay as a design feels close to perfect, but the form factors on offer are either too big or too small. There is of course the older model with the ETA movement which is form-wise perfect for me, but I am not spending +£2,000 on an ETA powered watch.

The Fifty-Eight was, in my mind, my modern grail watch, but it turned out to not be right for me. It is a fabulous watch, it really is, and those who see are almost always impressed which my 18 year old son proved in an instant. He is now walking around with the watch on his wrist having paid for it with cash and through the sell of his Oris Artelier. My 18 year old son is wearing my grail watch and I am kind of jealous.

Longines HydroConquest (L3.742.4.96.6) review

My watch got too big for me. My beloved Oris Aquis Date which ticked all of the boxes for me suddenly felt ridiculous on my wrist and I knew I needed to change it.

I have lost a lot of weight recently, just hit 84lbs gone since June, and this has meant changing my wedding ring to one that is 3 sizes lower and removing a full 4 links from my Oris bracelet. The end result was a watch that looked silly and that just did not suit me anymore.

It was more than that, however, because the larger size alone was not the only problem. It reached the point where I felt self-conscious about wearing it and so I had an overwhelming desire to buy something smaller. After much research that something smaller turned out to be the Longines HydroConquest.

It uses the same base movement as the Oris Aquis, is of a more traditional and slimmer design, and just about ticks the boxes I need ticking in a watch. I had reservations concerning the overly large 6, 9 and 12 digits and the actual Longines logo which is a bit too Breitling for me, but I decided to make the purchase anyway because something was telling me that it would work for me.

As it happens I was right and a few weeks later I am absolutely loving this watch, as much for its imperfections as the excellent finishing. The Oris feels like a more substantial watch and is arguably even better finished and better engineered, but the Longines offers more of a traditional watch experience that feels right when worn every day.

There is a sense that the Longines is built to a price, which is actually low for the brand and movement included, and it’s not easy to see what is going on, but the movement inside is tried and tested and over the past 3 weeks has lost 12 seconds in total. This can happen with brand new watches and a knock or two, or even resetting the time, can affect accuracy a great deal, but first impressions on that side are very positive.

Less positive is the lume which does not work well with the shape of the hands and which does not glow anywhere near as brightly over time as a Seiko or an Oris. This is still an £800 watch and to my mind if you are going to include lume, what is the point in not offering the best experience you can?

The included metal bracelet is also engineered to be very difficult to remove in places. Changing the strap is tough because you have to push both ends of the pins in at once and this normally requires a tool that costs well over £100 to accomplish. Once I had battled the strap off I stuck the pins in a box and replaced them with standard ones that are much easier to remove. It’s also difficult to undo and can hurt your fingers- secure no doubt, but a bit of a pain. The bracelet itself is sweet though and fits the watch design perfectly with come rattling occurring now and then to let you know it is there.

Overall, the HydroConquest has grown on me great deal in a short space of time and I suspect I will be wearing it for some time to come, and it cost less than my Oris has already sold for so I am not out financially. It is ironic that the Oris is to me a better watch in so many ways, but that the Longines is a better watch for me.

Citizen BN0100-51E Promaster Sea review

Any watch that comes in below £150 could be considered to be at the low-end of the spectrum for those who have a passion for timepieces. There are, however, some brands that offer consistency and quality in important areas at such a price point. Seiko and Citizen in particular stand out in this regard, but even then we tend to expect compromises at the lower end of their ranges.

There is something unusual about this watch though and that is the sheer quality throughout the feature set. From the moment I tried it on, I had a sense that this is a carefully considered design that does not try to do too much, but rather concentrates on doing the important things well.

The design is somewhat classic with just a touch of ‘Black Bay’ in the case shape. The sizing works well and is substantial yet slim enough to be worn comfortably by almost anyone. It is actually much more pleasing to the eye than you may expect when you look at the marketing shots of this watch and the feel is one of quality way above the asking price.

The screw down crown is protected by angular crown guards that lift the design from the more traditional to tool modern yet they just about manage to fit in with the dial and case shape. If I had to sum up the aesthetics, I would say that it is one of the smarter looking watches I own. It does not stand out in any way, but it holds its own against much more expensive timepieces that also attempt to go for the Submariner feel.

Readability is superb thanks to larger than expected hands that stand out from the otherwise colourless look thanks to the bright orange minute pointer. There is no problem choosing a specific point when setting the time thanks to the sharp tips and for me it works perfectly for quickly catching the time at a glance when you are busy. Add to this a quite superb lume, seriously superb, which borders on being too bright at night. It does, however, add to the sense that this is a genuine diver’s watch despite the low price.

It has 200 metre water resistance and the bezel, which clicks strongly with no play at all, is also well lumed for when you are not being a desk diver.

With a Citizen quartz movement inside I expected accuracy and after 1 week it is not even 1 second out. My experience with Citizen quartz is that they are easily as accurate, if not more so, than the Seiko equivalent. Obviously a mechanical movement is preferable to us watch people, but if you want accuracy you will have it here.

So, is there anything wrong with this watch at all? Just one thing which is the tiny date window. The size and colour of the window dial are to the point that I fail to see why there is even a date function included. This is standard for Citizen though and I have seen this time and time again from this brand, but it is a small price to pay for a watch of such quality at such a… small price.

This is one of the best value watches I have owned to date and I find myself wearing it much more than I expected. It’s perfect at night if you wake up and want to check the time, it is highly accurate, it is subtly designed and it has a charm that you would not expect in a watch of this price. Throw in a quite brilliant metal strap with an excellent dive extension mechanism and you really are looking at a beater watch that you may find yourself wearing a lot. Seriously, this is a great watch. It really is.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight (M79030N-0002) thoughts

The Tudor Black Bay is an unusual watch within the Rolex family. Yes, it is not a Rolex, but the influence is clear throughout and there is no doubt that the standards are very high when you inspect the finishing, the feel and the general sense that this is something special.

This watch is technically the follow up to the Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 7924 which was released in 1958, hence the name of this watch, and it has been cut down to 39mm to more closely match the 37mm diameter of the original.

Where it becomes unusual is in the fact that it has also been slimmed down to 11.9mm from 14.75mm (the current Black Bay thickness). This follows the thickening of the Black Bay from 12.8mm when Tudor previously used an ETA movement. Some people prefer the ETA movement purely because the Black Bay was slimmer at that point, but others will prefer to have a Tudor movement inside and cope with the extra depth. This is not the Rolex way which above all else is one of keeping the watches almost identical year after year with changes inside the watch to justify a new reference model number.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is the culmination of the confusion above and for many the smaller form factor finally gives them the Black Bay they want. I am one of these people, or at least I thought I was, because the Black Bey Heritage is a bit of a beast on the wrist. It all comes down to the sides of the watch which are almost vertical and which can tend to make it feel like a square slab when worn. Look at the Heritage from above and it’s lovely. Look at it from the side and it seems like a completely different watch. This does not happen with the Fifty-Eight.

The form feels consistent at every angle and especially so when on the wrist. The vertical harshness of the sides is gone and the way it sits on the wrist makes it feel like an extension of the arm rather than a tall slab of metal that takes up too much space.

It is also very hard to get hold of at this time with many dealers offering the watch with a 9-12 month lead time. At £2,340 this is not a cheap watch, but many many people are clamouring to get hold of the Fifty-Eight purely because of what it is. It often happens in the watch world that people (mainly men) have a gene that means when something is hard to get they want it even more, but this is not the whole story with the Fifty-Eight. From the moment it was announced the watch world went crazy for it and for good reasons. The watch world went crazy purely because of what it is and not what it represents which is unusual.

When I first tried it on I must admit to being slightly underwhelmed. I am not a small guy, but my wrists are not large yet the Fifty-Eight didn’t quite suit me. It felt just a touch too small when look at from above, but there was still something there that was special. Moving up to a watch like this from the likes of Seiko, Oris and Longines highlights that there is indeed a gap and that it is not all a myth. Sure, a lot of the price is usually the badge, but that does not seem to be the case here.

A Rolex Submariner is twice the price, if you can find one, and in many respects it does not feel twice as good. If you look at it through a magnifier you may see differences, but we don’t have magnifying eyes and so the Tudor looks very special to human eyes. It looks special because of the materials, the minimal use of stark colours and the fact that it is obviously a Black Bay. If you know what a Black Bay is, you will automatically know that this is a quality timepiece which kind of fools the brain before you even start.

The use of gold markings on the bezel has not been welcomed by some who see it is leaning too far to homaging a vintage look and rather false. I disagree because to me it perfectly matches the hands and dial markers to the point that the consistency is only broken by the glorious red pip surround at midnight.

Of course it is the snowflake hands that make this look like a Black Bay above all else and to me this is just about the perfect watch in terms of the colours and the form, but there is a problem that is specific to me.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight is simply too small for my wrist which is a surprise because I don’t have large wrists (7.25”), but maybe they are a little flatter and wider than many other people which means the Fifty-Eight does not reach either side. It looks strange to me which is a shame because the slimmer depth and everything else excites me in the way only a watch that feels right should.

My problem is that the Heritage Black Bay is very thick and the sides of the watch are too angular and stark, in my view, to offer any meaningful elegance. This puts me in a position where the Black Bay as a design feels close to perfect, but the form factors on offer are either too big or too small. There is of course the older model with the ETA movement which is form-wise perfect for me, but I am not spending +£2,000 on an ETA powered watch.

The Fifty-Eight was, in my mind, my modern grail watch, but it turned out to not be right for me. It is a fabulous watch, it really is, and those who see are almost always impressed which my 18 year old son proved in an instant. He is now walking around with the watch on his wrist having paid for it with cash and through the sell of his Oris Artelier. My 18 year old son is wearing my grail watch and I am kind of jealous.

Is the Oris Divers Sixty Five perfect?

Probably. Well, it seems to be perfect for me or as perfect as any watch can get.

Perfection is an unachievable aim and one that we would likely not want to attain even if we could. The opposite sex, or same sex of course, watches, cars and any other material object. Perfection is never happening, but the best you have experienced is a good thing and will offer a glimpse of what perfection is like. Until the next one comes along which is just a little more perfect.

My wife bought me the Oris Divers Sixty Five a couple of months ago and in that time it has grown on me more and more. I have a list of things I like to see in a watch, but it is the entire form and the unseen parts that I cannot list which make a watch what it is. Anyway, the list-

Divers style with a prominent bezel

Simple and easy to read

Not too deep, not too shallow, not too big, not too small

Decent mechanical movement (automatic or hand winding)

Subtle and long lasting lume

The Sixty Five ticks all of those boxes with ease and the form in particular is what first attracted me to it. The bracelet is thin and extremely flexible, and it flows perfectly onto the shallow side casing which makes it sit naturally on the wrist.

The dial is stunning in its simplicity and it is exceptionally easy to read with prominent hour markers and hands that sit perfectly within it. For perfection I should have gone without the date window which would add to the vintage feel, but it’s not the end of the world.

The colouring is wonderfully considered as well. The blue dial (looks black a lot of the time), the fautina hands and markers, the black bezel and silver casing work so well together. They stand out and blend in at the same time which is not an easy trick to pull off. Indeed, the colour of the hands and hour markers is so clean that it does not feel like a vintage recreation, but rather a blend that just sits as it should when on the wrist.

The 100 metre water resistance has been criticised by some, but consider this. It is a watch that will likely not be worn when diving, like 99% of diver watches, and the honesty of only running to 100 metres makes a lot of sense, as does the beautifully domes crystal which finishes off a near perfect design. The obsession with seriously high numbers when it comes to water resistance makes little sense for desk divers like me, and presumably for the majority of you reading this.

By the way, mine has proved to be deadly accurate (+ – 2 seconds a day) when worn each day and it really is one of the few watches I own that I do not notice 95% of the time, but when I need to see where I am in the day I take a second longer than I should to admire it, just a little.

Is it perfect? No, nothing is. OK, maybe it is.