New Yachtmaster II 116688
New Rolex Milgauss 116400
New Rolex Day-Date II 218238
New Rolex DateJust 116138
New Rolex Day-Date 118398BR
New Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116598RBR
Rolex Day-Date 118348
New Rolex DateJust 116138

Can I be Elite and Platinum Members at the Same Time?


Yes, you can own two or more memberships at the same time.

There are members who want to enjoy usage of the Collection, regardless earning affiliate points might choose to be a couple times of Platinum memberships, particularly when they have purchased them in different period of time.
Example One : John is an Elite member and he is of one usage in the Collection. When he sees another timepiece he wants in the middle of the year, he can buy the Elite membership again to enjoy the one usage again. And before X'mas, he wants to get couple more pieces for his family so he bought a Collector membership.

Example Two : Craig is an Elite member and one of his colleagues are amazed with his timepiece so he decides to refer her to join FR Club. As an Elite member, he is of no affiliate benefits (i.e. 20% of what her paid subscription) if he submits a referral. So he decides to be a Collector now. He subscribes $389 and immediately credits $60 right from her $299 Platinum member subscription is received. So he actually pays $329 for the right of 3 usages (less than $110 per usage). The beauty is that if his colleagues brings in more of her friends to join, Craig earns 5% out of them forever. In one year later, he enjoys usages for FREE every year as he has more referrals directly from him and under his line -- timepieces to enjoy for free plus trading those on the marketplace to earn points!

From the above examples, you can see it depends on what your vision on RF Club -- simply a club to join for timepiece usage, or while enjoying your usage, you can also make some bucks out of the Collection.

The Hamilton Jazzmaster Slim

I'm always a fan of the understated mechanical dress watch, and the recently announced Hamilton Jazzmaster Slim fits that category perfectly. Based on the high-grade ETA 2892 movement, it's available in 40 and 43mm sizes, in steel or gold case. Dials are black (shown right) or silver. It's an understated look, with just hours, minutes, and the date at six o'clock.


The 2892 is the next movement up from the ubiquitous 2824, and is considered to be a better design. It's the base for most of Omega's co-axial series, for example, and is held in very high regard by watch aficionados.



I think 40mm is a perfect size for this watch: large enough to read easily without partaking of the big watch craze. Even though I'm close to seven feet tall, I don't want a full-dress watch to occupy too much wrist space -- it's supposed to be understated, after all.



List price for these ranges from $745 to $795, and they seem to be available for a bit less than that. Given the 2892 beating inside it, I consider this to be an excellent value. We're in contact with Hamilton now to see if we can arrange a loaner for review.



A couple of more pictures and comments after the break.



H38615255-1


Check out the bracelet version - gorgeous, isn't it? I quite like the super clean vintage look combined with hassle-free modern movement. I think I'd miss the second hand after a while, though.



Hamilton jazzmaster slim automatic h38615255


Here's another shot of the same model - note the nice case detailing. Congratulations, Hamilton -- this one's a real classic.



By Paul Hubbard



www.watchreport.com

The Guess Mechanical Digital


If you're like me, you probably never thought of using the flip-dot technology that you see on roadside signs for a wristwatch. A company called Sequel AG did, though, and has miniaturized it and licensed the technology to Guess for a line of women's watches appearing this fall to be called G-Motion. If you hit the link, you'll see a Flash video of the watch in action; in this case the design is Swarovski crystals (red/white) which makes for a standout look.

In effect, the face of the watch becomes a bitmapped display -- either on or off -- and we're excited about the possibilities of what a watch designer could do with that. the G-Motion line appears to use it for eight-segment displays of time/date/seconds, but you could also draw graphics, text, or pretty much anything else.

Details are to be determined, but we are slated to get some of the first units for review, so keep an eye on WR for that.

It'll be interesting to see how these are received by the fashionable -- it's a quartz watch, with a digital display, but the pixels are crystals and the maker is Guess. That should be interesting.

By Paul Hubbard

www.watchreport.com

Omega X-33 ref. 3991.52 - The Review

Last year I posted an item about a discontinued analog-digital watch from Omega, the X-33. Today I am finally posting the actual review of the watch, obtained from ebay shortly after that posting. Why the long delay? Well, read on and see!

DSCF1644
To recap, the X-33 is one of two watches from Omega space-qualified by NASA. There's the mechanical Speedmaster (worn on the moon), and the quartz X-33, known as 'the Mars watch.' The X-33 was released in 1998 and discontinued in 2006, though Omega still sells them to military aviators directly at a discount. (No, please don't bother asking, I have no way to get one for you and don't know anyone who does!) Omega went through several design iterations before releasing it, and two versions hit the market. This one is second generation, with a matte-finished bezel, plunger 'crown' and improved buttons. The case is brushed titanium, the buttons are actually stainless steel finished to match the case, and the crystal is domed sapphire with dual-sided antireflective coating. The analog hands are lumed with Superluminova, as are the hour markers and bezel dot. Note that the bezel is bidirectional - this is a pilot's watch, after all, not a diver.

Read on for more!
Despite being several years old, there are quite a few things about this watch that remain unique. The curved LCD display, which allows larger digits on a round face, the super-bright 8 lux backlight, the 'mission timer' feature, and of course the special super-loud 80dB alarm.
DSCF1929 On the negative side, the alarm volume (which was a NASA requirement, so it could be heard in a loud environment) reduced the versatility of the watch - to get that loud, Omega used a dual-layer caseback with vents, meaning that it's really, really not very waterproof at all. It's rated to 30m (100ft), but having disassembled mine, I wouldn't recommend showering or swimming with it. The gasket is held in place by vertical pressure from the screwed caseback, which is less effective than a screwdown design. And, of course, the venting doesn't help either. Engineering is all about tradeoffs, and for a watch designed for space and flying, this is a perfectly reasonable one. Those of us more earthbound, however, have to keep it in mind.DSCF1930

Another negative is the AR coating on the crystal. I got this one used, and as you can see, there are many small scratches in the coating. In person, it's not that obtrusive, but I do wish they had more durability. From what I've read, Sinn is the leader in this -- perhaps Omega can license their technology in the future.
Similarly, the unalloyed titanium body picks up scratches easily. Compare it to the 2006-vintage Citizen PMT56-2711, which, with its titanium nitride surface treatment, has only a single scratch despite lots of wrist time:
Comparo

There's a lot to like about this watch. Usually, I leave the LCD display off, which saves a bit of power and has a very uncluttered look. Since the hands are driven directly by the watch, this is my preferred wearer for traveling: it has a shortcut for quickly changing the hour, which is perfect for changing timezones.
P1020364 I've also worn it to fly in a Piper Lance. As expected, the watch is unmatched for aviation: I used mission time for flight time, the timer for switching fuel tanks, the UTC time for weather and flight plan, and stopwatch for time since engine start. It was easy to hear the alarm, even in a very noisy plane with headphones on, and the display was super readable. I should also note that, when flying, I really prefer watches without reflective surfaces, as the glints and flashes of light are annoying and distracting; the X-33 is superb in this regard. I also quite like how the combination of domed AR-coated crystal and hands makes the watch readable from a wider range of angles than anything else I've ever seen. It's readable at very oblique angles, which is also nice for sneaking the time in long meetings.DSCF1932

If you look closely, you'll see that the hour and minute hands are white, and the second hand is a light shade of grey. It's a nice touch. Also look at the complex curved shape of the lugs; very beautiful and yet hardly noticeable. The button guards are sculpted ridges of metal, and yet the buttons are easily pressed while wearing gloves. Speaking of buttons, I have to mention that the X-33 has the nicest of any I have ever pressed, bar none. Firm, very definite, almost a 'snap' feel to them. Lovely. The electroluminescent backlight is blindingly bright to night-adapted eyes, so I usually rely on the excellent lume. It's as bright as my Seiko divers, though applied in smaller areas.

A lot of Omega watches have more bling to them, but the X-33 is very understated. The logo on the dial is only visible at close scrutiny, and the low sales volumes mean that I've never had anyone recognize it. I did have a nice conversation with a NASA collaborator about it once I pointed it out, though - apparently some of the pilots in the flight test division have them. From what I've read on the net, it's also still popular with military pilots, so I yet hold out hope that Omega will reintroduce it again to the market.
DSCF1646 Mine came on Omega's leather-backed kevlar strap, which is cool but impractical. (At least in the Air Force, synthetic straps are forbidden in aircraft, as they will fuse to your skin in a fire. Ouch.) I put it on a plain leather strap with white stitching, which works well for a watch that should never be wet anyway. There is a version on a titanium bracelet as well.

DSCF1937 Prices have gone up and down on the used market, I (over) paid $1,300 for this one without box or papers. That's an awful lot of money for a used quartz watch, especially now that competition like the new aviator G-Shocks are available. The X-33 is a complex tradeoff: unique features and history, but so-so value and durability. It's more of an irrational decision -- decide for yourself if it calls to you!

For more information about the X-33 project, history and different models, I recommend reading Ryan Rooney's pages.

By Paul Hubbard
www.watchreport.com

Skagen 697XLMLMB - The Review

Face
Today's review is something a little different from our usual fare: Presenting a classically-styled mechanical dress watch with an unusual complication, the jump hour 549-SG2709 from Alpha Watches.

'Jump hour' requires a bit of explanation. If you look at 12 o'clock on the dial, you see a round window with the number '3' displayed. This is the hours, which are on a disc that changes at the top of the hour. Minutes are read from the long center hand, and seconds are at 6 o'clock in a 'subseconds' configuration. The hour change is quite rapid, about 1/2 of one second, which is why it's called a 'jump hour.'

This is more properly labeled a 'jump-hour regulator,' which denotes the central minute hand. It makes an attractive and unusual dress watch, though I must admit that the hours are harder to read than a normal 3-hand watch due to the small window and reflective metal surrounding it.

Side-crown The sides of the case are fluted, with high-gloss polish everywhere. The crown is onion-style, which is easy to wind and set, and does not screw down. While it's probably splash-resistant, I'd not get this watch wet.

The dial has a nice amount of fine detail and is done in a classical style. The minute track and subseconds are circular-grooved, and the face has a mesh pattern impressed. The hands are blue, with Breguet-style minute hand and simple second hand. Overall, it's well proportioned, not too busy and very functionally attractive.

Movement-one On the back we see the display window showing a basic movement of Chinese manufacture. You can see that the bridges and rotor have what I would call 'stamped geneva stripes' on them, meant to evoke a real Cote du Geneve finish. It looks nicer than plain or unfinished metal, and does show some attention to appearances.

Wrist The watch sits quite well on the wrist on the included alligator-patterned leather strap. The deployant buckle is basic but functional. The watch is approximately 38mm by 10mm, and thus slides easily under dress cuffs.

Probably the most compelling thing about this watch is what I've not yet mentioned: the price. List price on the Alpha site is $63, and I got this one on Ebay for twenty six dollars! That's less than a lot of Timexes.Wrist-side

Alpha has a large line of mechanical watches, many of which are Rolex lookalikes. However, there are increasing numbers of original styles like this one, and they cost less than the leather strap of any European brand. This jump hour keeps excellent time, appears well made, and for the price I would unhesitatingly recommend it for anyone interested in exploring the fascinating world of mechanical watches for the price of a Timex quartz.

By Paul Hubbard

www.watchreport.com

Skagen 697XLMLMB - The Review

597xlmlmb1 Our second Skagen review today is of the 697XLMLMB. It's a quartz men's dress watch with a style a bit more daring than most of their line.




Specifications:



  • 35g in weight with strap.


  • 42.5mm across with crown, 40.2mm without, 49mm lug to lug.


  • 8.5mm thick.


  • Black ion plated stainless steel case with polished snap-on caseback.


  • Integral black calfskin leather strap with thorn buckle bearing Skagen logo.


  • 'Super hardened' mineral crystal.


  • Miyota quartz movement with 'big date' complication.


  • Decorative dual-layer dial, with center metal section with etched indices and screws.


  • Matching ion plated crown, non-screw-down type, with Skagen logo.


  • 30m (100ft) water resistant.


  • Lumed hands and indices.

As with the Skagen 233XXLSLB, the 697 is clearly a Skagen in style, but look closely and the differences are pronounced.


597xlmlmb4 Skagen describes this dial as 'layered charcoal', which seems appropriate. The outside portion is glossy black, and the center section is sunburst-finished with a lovely dove grey color. The four screws are decorative but attractive, and the etched minute markers add function.


I quite like the 'big date' complication. Unlike normal dates, which are simply sequential numbers 1-31 on rotating disc, big date uses two overlapping discs, one for each digit. This yields a larger and more readable date, at the expense of having a seam down the middle and slight oddness of differing heights. I much prefer this to the glued-on-magnifier (aka cyclops), as seen on Rolexes.


This model is larger than most at 40m across, which goes well with the big date window. It's contemporarily sized without being overly large, and in the brushed black finish still nicely understated. 597xlmlmb2


As with the 233XXLSLB, the strap is attached into a slot on the lugs and secured by two small screws on each side. It's very comfortable and perfectly matched to the watch.


597xlmlmb5 The light weight and low profile make for an excellent dress watch; the tapers ensure an effortless match to any cuff style you prefer.


As with many men's dress watches, the emphasis is on style over function. Most of the minute markers are missing to make room for other things, and the lume fades too rapidly to be super useful. It also takes some practice to read minutes precisely, or maybe I'm just too picky about that. Could be.


Overall, it's an inexpensive watch without being cheap, with a dressy look enhanced by ion plating and unusual big-date complication. This one has a lot going for it.


List price is a very $145. Review watch kindly loaned to us by Skagen PR.


By Paul Hubbard

www.watchreport.com

Christopher Ward C8 Pilot - A Review


Face-angle-two Today I'm reviewing a watch that I like a great deal: the Christopher Ward C8 Pilot, model number C8SKK. It's a mechanical watch in the style of pilot's watches from decades ago, updated using modern materials and the ETA 2824-2 mechanical movement. Let's start with the specs:

  • 44mm by 9.7mm, 140g.

  • 22mm leather strap, black with off-white (ecru) stitching, brushed rivets and a nice butterfly double deployant clasp.

  • Antimagnetic inner case and dial.

  • Sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating.

  • Small mineral crystal on the back for viewing of the balance and rotor.

  • Signed oversized crown, gasketed but not screwdown.

  • 50m (150ft) water-resistant.

  • Matte finish stainless steel case.

  • Lumed indices and hands in the new blue-white SuperLuminova SLNBGW9.

  • Applied double-dot triangle at 12 o'clock to rapidly show dial orientation.

  • ETA 2824-2 movement, 28,800 vph and 38 hour power reserve. Hacking, handwinding with center seconds and date at 3 o'clock.

  • Swiss Made (which usually denotes a vastly more expensive watch).

  • List price is 212 pounds for non-EC buyers, or about $311 as of December 2008.

  • Christoper Ward has an unusual "60/60" guarantee for a 60-day no quibble return and 60 month (5 year) warranty.

Other versions are also available (white dial, brown strap, PVD case), but all share the same basics. Read on for our review.

Face-one One of the great ironies of life is that technology often advances fastest in times of strife and warfare. For example, the modern pilot's watch, as well as the entire Panerai company, were both created out of the needs of the last world war. Watches are often decorative as well as functional, so the prospect of imminent demise has a way of removing all excess and distracting elements. At the time, watches were an essential navigational component since dead reckoning requires only a compass, clock, and map. All three had to be reliable and functional. Additionally, piston engines of the time had a much higher level of vibration than do modern jets, so legibility was critical. The original watches of the time were quite large because of this, often 50mm or more, designed to be worn on long straps over an outer coat. Self-winding watches lay in the future, so they were handwound pocketwatch movements.

Iconic designs from this time came from IWC, Laco, Stowa, Wempe and Lange. You can read more about them here and here.

Wrist-angle If you browse those links and the pictures on them, you can see the inspiration for the Christopher Ward C8 pilot here: big crown for use with gloves, upright Arabic numerals, dotted triangle at 12 o'clock, luminous hands outlined in black and an easy-to-spot second hand. There's also the ecru-stitched black leather band with (decorative) rivets, matte-finished case (a shiny case is bad in a plane -- the reflections are distracting), as well as the invisible antimagnetic case and dial. In this case, CW has updated the classic design with a few modern elements: the movement is a self-winding (automatic) ETA 2824-2, the lume is blue, they added a date window at 3 o'clock, and there's a small window on the back to show the balance in motion.

Side-crown The dimensions are changed a bit -- for the better, actually. The C8 Pilot is 44mm by a slim 9.7mm. It wears incredibly comfortably because of this, and is effortless to slide under sleeves. After my usual-wear dive watch at 15mm, 9.7 is a lot more versatile and comfortable since the weight sits lower and is spread out, the watch doesn't move nearly as much when your arm moves; less of a pendulum effect. It's hard to explain, but if you've worn a heavy, tall watch, you'll know what I mean. At 140g, this is also a very light weight watch, adding to the comfort. The thinness also means that the C8 can work as an unusual dress watch. C5-comparison-one

I've bought a couple of watches from Christopher Ward back in 2006, and have been meaning to do a review. On the left is a picture of the C8 behind my Malvern C5. I'm personally a big fan of the brand, which is Internet-only and is advertised via word of mouth. You can actually email Christoper Ward himself, and unlike every other watch brand that I know of, he publishes detailed design notes and specs on his website! For example, here's a snipped from the C8 PDF:

Picture 1 It shows how he laid out the inner portion of the dial and hands, and little details such as the hour hand sweeping over the bottom of the triangle. It's the first time I've had a look at design drawings, and I find it really fascinating to see. I wish other brands would do likewise.

In another drawing, he shows how he used the shape of the Spitfire's wing in designing the caseback:

Back-detail-drawing

The movement is the reliable and standard (Swiss) ETA 2824-2. In a recent change, Christopher Ward watches are now assembled in Switzerland and thus now say 'Swiss made' on the dial instead of the previous "Swiss mov't". ETA has changed their rules for their customers to require Swiss casing, and I suspect this is the cause behind the change.

The 2824-2 movement is about 28mm across, and the C8 is 44mm across, so if you look you can see signs of this - the date indicator is closer to the center of the dial, and the movement window in back shows the outside of the rotor sweep. Design purists sometimes are upset if a movement requires a spacer, but it's completely fine with me, and really, there's no reason to limit watch size artificially. The 2824-2 is a good timekeeper, and any competent watchmaker can service or repair it easily. Back A quick search of Watch Report lists 30 instances of '2824', giving you an idea of just how popular it is.

The case is non-glare brushed 316L stainless steel, as is the signed crown. The matching rivets on the strap are also brushed, lending the watch a tool-like appearance I find appealing. The only reflections are from the applied triangle at 12 o'clock and the inset metallic ring around the date window. I'm not sure why he went with the date window surround, to be honest, as it doesn't help readability, but this is a small minus. Clasp

The crown is tapered, signed, and fluted. It's very easy to grasp, wind, and set, but has ample clearance so as not to irritate the wrist below. Lacking crown guards, I can see a bit of risk in it getting caught and damaged on straps or similar if you're not careful. It doesn't screw down, though the watch still manages to be rated for 50m (150ft) of water resistance. Wrist-clasp

The luminosity on the watch is quite good. The blue lacks the initial intensity of, say, the Orange Monster, but remains very legible for eight hours. The numerals (in white) are not lumed, but the hands, minute markers, and triangle are. It's easy to read, and if you look closely you'll see that the second hand has two colors of lume on it; a nice detail to appreciate.

Wrist-sideThe strap is 22mm wide at the lugs, tapering to 20mm at the double deployant clasp. It's thicker than usual at 4 or 5mm of signed calfskin. I've never seen this before on a watch, but the spring bars are quick release, meaning that you can remove the strap using only a fingernail. I'm a big fan of quick-release straps; I've been using them from another vendor for years now on all my watches. I've never had one come loose, and the ease of changing straps is wonderful. Hopefully other brands will copy the idea as well. (You can see the quick-release catch in the above picture of the back of the watch.) Interestingly, on my 7.25" wrist, the strap was at its smallest setting, which hints to me that this is a watch designed for the large-wristed. It's easy to punch new holes in the strap, however; expect to do so if you have smaller wrists.Face-angle

I've greatly enjoyed wearing this watch. Christopher Ward provided us a review unit, but if they hadn't, I'd be buying one out my own funds, I like it that much. Highly recommended.

Wrist-straightLook for a follow-up email interview with Christoper Ward himself soon on WatchReport as well.


By Paul Hubbard

www.watchreport.com

Victorinox Classic XLS MT

Sa_241300_sol_a03As a former pilot, there are two watches that represent the absolute finest gear for flying: the Omega X-33, and Breitling Aerospace. Both are quartz and analog/digital, and have very different looks. Today's post is about a very similar watch that has a much more reasonable price tag to the Aerospace, the Victorinox Swiss Army Classic XLS MT. I've not yet confirmed this, but I strongly suspect that it has the exact same movement as the Aerospace, the ETA 988.432, making it one heck of a deal. Specifications of the Victorinox are:

  • Swiss made, Swiss quartz movement.

  • Anti-reflective-coated sapphire crystal.

  • Stainless steel case, PVD-coated 'gunmetal'.

  • Luminous hands and hour markers.

  • Crown guard.

  • Countdown timer, alarm clock, stopwatch, dual time zone, multiple languages.

  • Water resistant to 100m.

  • 45mm by 12m, quite large.

List price is shown as $1,095USD, but I would expect a discount from that. Let's compare to the Breitling Aerospace:

  • Titanium case.

  • Night-vision-goggle-compatible backlight. (I have no idea what that means, but it sure sounds cool.)

  • Second timezone, alarm, stopwatch, countdown timer.

  • Crown-driven operation.

  • 100m waterproof.

  • AR-coated sapphire crystal.

  • 42mm by 10.4mm, 38g.

(Picture snipped from the Breitling website)

You can kind of see from the pictures that the displays are identical, which makes sense if the movements are the same. You can also see that the Victorinox is larger. 45mm is large but not huge; I'd be happy to wear one.

As with many Swiss brands, Breitling bars selling over the Internet, but Amazon sells them with a list price of $2,795. Picture_1

There are two things I dislike about this movement: the lack of a second hand (useful for 30-second turns), and the crown-driven operation. It's really hard to manipulate while wearing it, which limits the functionality a bit. Nevertheless, I'm hoping that I can try the Victorinox, as that price is much more up my alley, and I really like how it looks.

By Paul Hubbard

www.watchreport.com

Two New Bell & Ross Models


BrtiThe Bell & Ross company (Yep, that's an ampersand. The joke is that Bell & Ross got theirs from Vacheron Constantin, who used to be Vacheron & Constantin.) has been a recurring subject here on Watch Report. We like many of their watches, particularly the aircraft-styled Instrument collection and their new line of dive watches. Today we've got some new models from B&R, so let's take a look and see what's changed.

First up is the BR01 Instrument Pro Titanium. Like their predecessor Instrument models, it has the square case, bold dial and aircraft-gauge style paired with a reliable ETA mechanical movement. This new model is now made of lightweight titanium, and they've also changed the style of the hour and minute hands to a beveled/polished look that I quite like. It's very similar to the style of the hands on the Seiko Marinemaster SBDX001, another watch slated for review here. The BR01 has a chronograph, using the ETA 2892 base coupled with a Dubois-Dupraz chronograph module. Specs are 46mm, grade-2 titanium with a satin finish. The dial is grey with white Superluminova coating on hands and hour markers. The crystal is sapphire with an anti-reflective coating, and the strap is rubber.


About the only thing I don't like is the MSRP of 5500 Euros, or $7900. That's quite a bit for a stock-ETA watch, and probably reflects how well B&R has been doing in the marketplace with the Instrument series.


The other new model is the BRS Ceramic Instrument. This pays homage to the immensely influential Chanel J12 series, debuting in 2000, which were the first to ship watches made from super-tough white and black ceramics.


J12black (The picture is from the Chanel site) Ever since the J12, other companies have introduced watches made of ceramics, which we consider a fine thing: ceramics make excellent watch cases and bracelets. I should also note that other companies have been making ceramic watches for a while, such as Rado, but for some reason the J12 proved more influential. Such is fashion.


Bell & Ross have done some interesting things with it - they used it to make an ultra-thin watch of more moderate size, which combined with the quartz movement chosen should result in a fantastically durable watch.


The specifications for the Ceramic Instrument



  • 55g, 6.8mm by 39mm. Only 7mm less than the Ti Pro, but that's quite a lot in a square watch.

  • More than one material is available - white or black ceramic, steel or gold, with or without diamonds around the bezel.

  • List prices range from 2900 to 7900 Euros, or 4100USD to 11,300USD.

Here's a shot of the family faces, courtesy of their PR:


Brceramics

And one closeup of the black dial with diamonds:


Brdiamonds

By Paul Hubbard

www.watchreport.com

The Tissot T-Touch Expert


Header_2 The Tissot T-Touch is a well known and respected line of tech watches from one of Switzerland's best known watch manufacturers. Tissot has built its name on crafting well built and affordable time pieces — something of a rarity from everyone's favorite neutral federal republic. It has been nearly a year since I reviewed the Seastar 1000 and walked away impressed. The T-Touch Expert is the most feature packed model in the brands history and it offers a comprehensive mix of sport styling and easy to use tech.

The T-Touch line is famous for its "touch" ability that turns the regular-old sapphire crystal into a touch sensitive interface for selecting one of the many, many functions. Lets take a look under the hood:

  • 43.6mm titanium case.

  • Matching titanium bracelet.

  • Sapphire crystal.

  • Dual time zones.

  • Dual Alarms*.

  • Barometer (absolute and relative)*.

  • Chronograph/Countdown timer*.

  • Thermometer*.

  • Altimeter (can record difference)*.

  • Compass (with Azimuth ability)*.

  • Perpetual Counter.

  • 100m Water Resistance.

  • Integrated LCD with red backlight.

  • Touch enabled crystal.

* Touch-activated features.

The above list, while somewhat overwhelming, shows what can be done with modern technology. The kind of tools that would have filled Batman's utility belt can now be packed into a relatively small 43mm case. I remember seeing the spec sheet and being surprised by both the laundry list of features and the fact that almost every one of the features can be activated on the touch crystal, which has seven touch points. Some of the touch points even have two feature levels (ie. Chronograph/countdown timer) activated by tapping the allocated area twice.

The Case

The case on the Tissot T-Touch Expert is the kind of case (and bracelet) that makes your brain skip a beat with you pick it up. It looks heavy and solid but the titanium is light and relatively hollow feeling. It doesn't feel cheap at all -- it feels strong and confident while being worn, and is yet another watch that proves titanium is a great case and bracelet material. I am admittedly not the biggest fan of the styling on most Tissot watches, but I consider this to be a very handsome watch that is both cool and sporty without being too nerdy. The T-Touch ExpeCase_2rt incorporates a large LCD screen that takes up most of the lower third of the dial and relates data in tandem with the hands based upon which feature you've selected. The chronograph-style side buttons are used to manipulate certain functions while the middle button is pressed to activate the touch mode or held down for two seconds to activate the backlight.

When a feature is activated the screen shows fine point data (heading, barometric pressure, lapsed time) while the hands take on a contextual meaning. For example, when the watch is in "meteo" mode the hands group together and depending on their position to the right or left of 12 o'clock, they indicate whether the pressure is rising or dropping. Wrist_3Depending on the amount of change in the hands position, you can predict bad weather. The best feature, as far as I'm concerned, is the ability to blend the features with standard time keeping mode so you can monitor a feature on-screen and still have the time reading on the hands. This is a great feature and really shows that Tissot knows what they are doing and what is needed in tech a watch. I can activate touch mode, choose the countdown timer by touching "chrono" twice, begin a countdown, and the watch returns to time keeping mode but leaves the countdown information on screen. Great for cooking, driving long distance, etc. Its just an obvious feature for a watch with a screen and I really appreciate it on the T-Touch Expert.

The Bracelet

As Img_1106previously noted, the bracelet is made of titanium so it is light and strong and I did not find the review model to be especially scratch prone (titanium's Achilles heel). The bracelet is noise free with a firm pushbutton divers-fold release and a nice folding divers extension inside the clasp. The extension is likely not designed for diving, per say, because the watch is only rated to 100m and the functions cannot be used while submerged. I like to think of it at a jacket extension to get the watch on top of lighter weather protective clothing like jackets and sweaters. I usually have a complaint about the bracelet on almost every watch, but this is a rare exception. It's light, precise, has a good clasp, and there's no noise. If you get this watch, get it on the bracelet.

Conclusion

This is a great watch, but it is not without fault. Granted, you can only cramCompass so much tech into one watch case, but where is the atomic regulation and solar charging capability? As the Expert is a premium watch, I feel like these features should be present. There is no watch that will be for everyone and no watch is perfect, but Tissot has come close to perfecting the tech watch. Obviously, the T-Touch Expert is not dressy or flashy nor is it especially boisterous for a sport watch whose peers are covered in bumpy plastic. In a world ruled by G-Shocks and a few Suuntos, the Expert has come to the fight with solid build quality, sharp styling, and the easiest user interface of any watch since the single-button chronograph. The T-Touch Expert is a solid performer that is so dead simple to use, its like its powered by magic. Arthur C. Clark would have been impressed.

By James Stacey

http://www.watchreport.com/

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