Instead of a smartwatch
Some people use their smartphone to check the time. Other people use smart Apple/Samsung/Huawei watches. I preferred to spend about €109 on an automatic Orient TriStar RA-AB0020S19B.
18 days later, I’m still happy with it. Yes, the F4902 calibre is non-hackable, non-windable, but it works pretty well. Of course, a non-automatic watch that is hand-wound every day at about the same time has the potential of being more precise, but here’s how this guy behaves:
- On a relatively active day, when it’s worn a lot, it runs 0…+1 s/day.
- On a sedentary day when it’s only worn symbolically, it runs -4…-5 s/day.
- On a very busy day with a lot of walking (~12 km), it can go up to +4 s/day.
- In the last 3 days, it ran slower by a total of 4 seconds.
- Two days later: in the last 5 days, it ran faster by a total of 7 seconds (as I said, an automatic’s accuracy depends on how much you move your hand).
Hard to beat for the price!
The dial is not entirely flat in design, but with such a bad phone camera I can’t take a good shot of it:
The lume (luminescence) is also pretty decent, but I didn’t time it to see how long it lasts, and I won’t take pictures of the screen in the dark. What’s good is that during the day, either on a sunny day or under strong artificial light, it manages to quickly accumulate some luminescence, so that when entering a darker place, it would glow in the semi-obscurity. Not being a diver watch, I don’t care that it probably doesn’t glow for a long time. You should be aware that all watches, even the most expensive ones, have their lume diminishing in time: the exposure to light wears it out, so to speak.
OK, here’s an attempt: glowing in the… daylight.
Finally, what I got in 8 days was this: after exactly 7 days, +17 seconds faster (with the last 3 days of the period being busy, active days), then after the 8th day, +18 seconds faster (for the entire 8-day period), because it was a lazy Sunday. I should probably only adjust it about twice a month, each time setting it with exactly 1 minute back.
Fine looking wristwatch. The date window is the only element spoiling its otherwise beautiful face imo.
I wanted the date + day of week window! And the Japanese don’t make such windows more unobtrusive anyway.
In that case it’s more than ok.
Fuckin gorgeous. I was actually toying with the idea of getting a Seiko Automatic lately… Still waiting for my Citizen Ecodrive to die… which it may not do any time soon.
It also came extremely cheap for a fine, albeit unsophisticated, mechanism.
Where did you buy it from?
But the WR is 50 m, not 30 m.
Initially, I had other models in mind, such as:
Thanks. The model you chose is the nicest (imho) because it has that nice phosphorescence so you can see what time it is if you wake up during the night.
Others have [some] lume too, but I wanted to buy something I can see in a brick-and-mortar store; [some of the] other models had to be ordered online.
Authorized Orient distributors/resellers/retailers in the UK/GB: NONE.
Orient FER27003W0 Symphony has a good price too: https://www.bb-shop.ro/ceas-de-mana-orient_classic_automatic-27780.html
Hackable, hand-windable calibres cost the double, e.g. in this vintage-looking small-seconds Bambino: https://www.bb-shop.ro/ceas-de-mana-orient_classic_automatic-48067.html
The navy dial version is even sexier, and viewed as the best automatic watch for under €100: Orient 3 Star ref. RA-AB0019L19B – recensione.
I couldn’t find this version in Romania, and it’s also out of stock on Amazon.it (where it was €99); the black version is overpriced and not as sexy as the navy blue one.
What do you think about Citizen Eco-Drive? I’m not into classic wristwatches, but if I were, this is what I’d probably buy.
Orient, Seiko, Citizen – they’re all Japanese brands and I’m quite fond of them; the Swiss brands seem pretentious to me.
I don’t like that much the looks of any of the Eco-Drive models, but if you happen to find one attractive, it should be fine. That is, if you want a battery-free quartz.
I wanted a mechanical one, and I also wanted to see how Orient fares, and so far I’m positively surprised.
Citizen also means Miyota, you know 🙂
Apparently, Citizen’s quartz caliber J810 is extremely accurate, and it can be found in watches as simple as e.g. this one or this one.
I don’t know anything about the quartz caliber E111, to be found e.g. in this one or in this one.
Quartz is definitely accurate. And with just a couple of hours of light exposure, the watch gets enough power for 6 months of functioning. No need to periodically service the movement, or change the battery. That’s a big plus for me.
Also, if you’re into metal bracelets, Citizen has this “Super-Titanium” thing which is 35% less massive than stainless steel – really makes a difference on your wrist.
Not always so. I have a Timex that is able to run faster by 20 seconds a week in hot summer. That’s too much, because another quartz watches can reach a 20-second variation in months or even years.
Oh, sorry. The Timex deviates by 20 seconds a month; it’s a CASIO that reaches 20 seconds a week!
Milanese mesh watch straps are also a good thing, sometimes.
I’m gonna go a bit off-topic here and bring smartwatches into discussion. I never really liked them, mostly because of the battery life. I don’t want another smartphone strapped to my wrist, thank you. And I also want always on display, which is eating even more battery.
Yet the Chinese have recently started producing dirt cheap devices with impressive battery life. A couple of years ago I got myself an Amazfit Bip and it still has 3-4 weeks between recharges, with an always on transflective display. Its killer feature, for me, is displaying notifications on the screen and vibrating when they arrive. Don’t need to look awkward while talking into my wristwatch, or listen music from it, that’s just stupid. The only thing to complain about is the build quality.
Now if only Casio would make affordable smartwatches like this… But their cheap stuff still the same features as watches from the 1990s, while the Chinese are quickly catching up.
I’m afraid the Chinese are quickly catching up in many areas too, but this isn’t the point. My main gripe about smartwatches is that they have a pixelated screen that emits light. And that’s turned off by default. This is something I would never wear!
The Amazfit Bip’s display is always on, and it’s completely visible in sunlight. Somehow similar to eInk. Probably the only device on the market similar enough to the defunct Pebble.
But it’s ugly. Rectangular with rounded corners, sheesh.
They have some round devices as well, 10 day battery life with always on display. An example.
Waiting for them to hit in 3-4 weeks.
Me still no like ’em.
They use reflective LCD, as opposed to transmissive LCD (the common ones, with backlight) and transflective LCD (expensive, works both ways).