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    Zelos Aurora

    Zelos Aurora

    Zelos Aurora

    The Zelos Aurora is not the Singaporean brand’s first field watch, but this is an all-new case design and a new model collection. Built from Grade 2 Titanium, with a hard coating, Miyota 9039 Movement with an antimagnetic cage, a choice of quite a few dial colors and materials, and comes in two sizes as well, 42mm as shown here but also a smaller size at 38mm. As usual, Zelos has produced an amazing-looking watch, fully spec’d out, for a launch price of $429. Unfortuanly, at the time of this review article, the day the watch went live for purchase, most of the variations are already sold out. This Black Granite dial is still available though in 42mm and there is an Ice Blue in 38mm. All others are already showing as sold out, which is quite frankly crazy.

    Zelos Aurora

    Specifications:

    • Diameter: 38/ 42mm
    • Lug to Lug Length: 46mm / 49mm
    • Thickness: 12mm / 12.2mm
    • Case: Gr2 Ti with 1200HV Hardened Coating
    • Antimagnetic: 30,000A/m with inner soft iron cage
    • Lug Width: 20mm / 22mm
    • Weight: 134g / 152g
    • Movement: Miyota 9039 Movement
    • Water Resistance: 200m
    • Crystal: Flat Sapphire crystal with inner AR coating
    • Lume: Superluminova C3
    • Bracelet: Titanium with updated Quick Adjust Clasp
    • Launch Price $429
    • On Sale October 3rd, 2022, 11 pm Singapore Time

    https://zeloswatches.com/collections/aurora-ti-field

    So if you are someone that was anticipating this release and have seen some of the reviews already, including our video review that went live on Saturday, the sample or pre-production pieces that went out to reviewers early, are not exactly the watch you will receive. I found this out after the entire video review was done, and I do apologize, but I was not told this information ahead of time. So, this example does not have the hard coating on it, the sandwich makers should be a little larger on the production pieces and yes as you can see on the case back, this states a Miytota 9015 movement, but it is a Miyota 9039. That one I knew, but apparently there will be an exhibition case back, that one I have not confirmed, but information on this sample model was just not provided as it should have been.

    Zelos Aurora

    But, the Zelos Aurora customers receive in 4-5 weeks, should still look pretty similar to this model, and though I thought that the scratch resistance wasn’t that good on the case and bracelet, and I was a little flippant when doing photography on video on the aluminum box, thinking it wouldn’t scratch, I still think what I said in the video holds true. A hard coating is still not scratch-proof and will eventually scratch, but should help keep it looking better longer, but this is a $429 watch, not a $2500 Tegimented Sinn, so just know what you are buying.

    Okay, enough with all that. So what are you getting with the Zelos Aurora? As I said, this is an all-new case design for Zelos, all brushed Grade 2 titanium, very rugged looking, and very appropriate for a field-style watch. And even though is not a dive watch, you still get 200m of water resistance, a fantastic screw-down crown that stops on a dime when screwing back down, as well as a Faraday cage to help protect the movement from magnetic fields. With all the computers, phones, and other electronics, we have these days that have magnets in them, it is nice to see this in field watch, especially for this price.

    Zelos Aurora

    The overall design of the Zelos Aurora has been giving me Sinn Vibes, especially the 556 model. Now, I said vibes, not an homage or anything like that, but if you look at the case, especially head on, the crown and crown guards, and combine it with the H-link bracelet, this could be a good alternative for the Sinn, though these dials are a little more out there than what Sinn offers. I chose this black granite dial, which is exactly what it sounds like, it looks like black gravel on your dial, and when the light hits it right, you can see little white and silver specs in it, just like you would with actual gravel.
    The dial is also a nice combination of applied and sandwich markers, something a few brands are doing these days, but I do like how Zelos implemented it. The applied indices are your cardinal points, and then you have those cutouts to see the lume dial underneath, and even though this dial is a little out there, it is still a very clean and uncluttered dial, and with the 9039 movements, you do not have a date either, keeping it even cleaner and of course symmetrical.

    That dial though, as fun and different as it might be, and then the ones like the Mosaic MOP, are definitely not what I THINK of when I think of a field watch, especially one with a very subdued case and bracelet such as this. I love the case design, I love the lightweight feel (though due to the Faraday cage, this is heavier than most titanium pieces at 150 grams). But Zelos doesn’t like to be average or normal, and has been doing different dial colors and textures and materials for years now, and has become part of their signature. That said, I would love to see a matte black, grey, or olive green dial in future versions. But, that’s me.

    Zelos Aurora

    On the wrist, the H link bracelet is very comfortable, and a style I absolutely love. This is a large bracelet as well, so this 42mm (I can not comment on the 38mm), is a large bracelet, and I had to remove 4 links (via screws) to fit on my 7 1/2 inch wrist. Now in fairness, all wrists, no matter the size, are shaped differently, so you may get by with 3 links if you have the same size wrist, but either way, there is a new adjustable clasp on this Zelos Aurora. Much like Christopher Ward’s new bracelets, there is a hidden push button inside the dual finish clasp, that allows you to adjust on the fly, though you will have to take the watch off to adjust it, as the extension pretty much locks in place while on your wrist, as it should. The extension mimics the clasp though, and not the links of the bracelet, so it does look a little wonky, but still a nice feature to have.
    Zelos Aurora

    7 1/2 inch or 19.05cm wrist size

    So like I said, apparently there will be an exhibition case back on production models, but I sure hope not. Now, I could be wrong on this, again, the info was not what it should be, but I have seen it out there, that this may be the case. And with these watches selling out so fast, by the time you are reading this, it may not even matter, but I do quite like the case back on these pre-production examples.

    Zelos Aurora

    Lume is very good, and while it is technically dual lume, the blue on the chapter ring numbers really does fade very fast, so this is not a blue and green light show if you were wondering. That said, you will be able to see the time in the dark for quite a few hours, and of course, for that extra little fun touch, the crown is lume again, you know, in case you need to set the time in the dark and you forget what part of the watch the crown is located on.

    Zelos Aurora

    As others have been saying, including Elshan himself, this Zelos Aurora really is a spec monster, and all it includes for the launch price of $449 is just insane. While myself and others did not get to check out the actual production models or should I say, properly spec’d samples, and I hope that the hardened models don’t pick up little scratches as quickly as this one, I can’t deny this is a wonderful watch for the price. With them selling out so quickly, hopefully, there will be future versions sometime next year, and I hope, at least, for some more tame dial colors and textures. We will just have to wait and see.

    About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver

    The About Vintage 1926 At’ Sea Diver is, of course, a vintage style watch, from a brand out of Denmark, with what they describe as Scandinavian style. I wouldn’t exactly put About Vintage into the microbrand category at this point in time, they have been around 5-6 years and the brand was started by two friends, but nowadays they have a marketing team and seem to be a bigger operation than your standard microbrand. The watch I have for review today is one of their quartz vintage diver offerings. This piece is 42mm, but it is available in other sizes, you get a choice of two straps or bracelets, and there are many colors and options to choose from, which I will discuss in this review. Pricing starts at $379.

    About Vintage 1926 AT' Sea Diver

    Specifications:

    • 42mm Stainless Steel Case
    • 22mm Lug Width
    • 50.5mm Lug to Lug
    • 12mm Thick
    • 162 Grams in Weight
    • Seiko VH31 Smooth Sweep Quartz
    • Box Sapphire Crystal
    • 200m Water Resistant
    • Screw Down Crown
    • Country of Manufacture-China

    Price $399 (as reviewed)

    https://aboutvintage.com/collections/diver-watches

    There is a good amount to talk about with this About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver, first of all, the brand name, the owners’ names, and 1926. So, let’s start with the owners’ names, which you will find towards the bottom of the dial. By Skov Andersen. This is the two names of the owners combined, and the story is one we have heard before-two friends who were having a few beers, I believe they said Corona’s and decided to start a watch brand. 1926, is the year Rolex made the first waterproof and dustproof watch, and About Vintage uses this on their divers, as they name their different series of watches after important historical times in horology. A little cheeky, but I get it. When it comes to the brand name itself, well, it makes sense to go with something that immediately tells one what the brand will be about, but I feel they could have done something a little less generic. And the owners’ names on the dial? I think that could have been left for the case back.

    Looking closer at the dial, you will notice it is a combination of applied and sandwich markers, although the way it is implemented is odd. Only two indices are sandwich, the 12 and 6. I like the shape, but I think they could have done a few more, say the 3 and 9, to make it a little more symmetrical and stand out a little more. The rest of the dial is pretty standard fare-syringe style hour and minute hand, lollipop second hand, and a black sunray dial, which can look charcoal grey at times, pretty common with a sunray dial, and part of the appeal. There is also the logo, which I still do not have confirmation on what, if anything it represents, but a Youtube subscriber mentioned, maybe it is a small S and A, combining the brand owners’ names. Above the dial is a box sapphire crystal, which I do like normally, but I don’t know why I don’t exactly feel it on this watch, it just doesn’t seem to have the pop these types of crystals usually add to a watch.

    Standard fare is probably a term you will see here often, especially when it comes to describing the case, crown, and bracelet. Now let’s be fair, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, but with so many watches out on the market, especially vintage divers, the About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea doesn’t exactly stand out in a crowded market. On the other hand, it is a $400 watch, and just another option out there, so does it have to stand out to get your attention, or is the low price and all it includes enough? The brushed top case and polished sides are pretty standard, and when it comes to the bezel itself, the small coin edge looks good and is easy to grip, though I feel the bezel turns far too easily and can be knocked out of place with little friction.

    The crown feels solid, but I have had more than a few misses when screwing it back down. It gets caught, and while every time I was able to correct it, long term this might be an issue. The bezel insert is aluminum, which fits the vintage vibe, and I seem to be drawn to aluminum bezels much more these days, though I wish this were brushed instead of the glossy sheen it has.

    About Vintage 1926 AT' Sea Diver

    For those not familiar with the movement, this is a quartz movement, the Seiko VH31, which has a 2-year battery life and that is really the only thing that concerns me. The smooth sweep of this movement is pretty decent, and definitely allows it to feel much more like an automatic, but if I wear it often, every two years I will need to take this in for battery replacement and if I am concerned about the water resistance, pressure tested. Many quartz movements that are put into affordable watches these days have 5 or 10-year batteries. Just something to think about.
    On the case back, you will find a beautiful etching, and if you look even closer, you will notice that the bracelet, has quick-release pins, as well as the rubber strap I have with it. More on that in just a second, but I do want to mention that the finishing on the inside of the bracelet could be much better. It just really looks very cheap.

    About Vintage 1926 AT' Sea Diver

    One of the big selling points of this About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver, at least in my opinion is the number of options you have. You can’t switch out bezels and dials, but there is a fair amount of customization you can do, at least when it comes to the bracelets and straps. But before we get to that, I have not mentioned the different size watches available, as this model and the green dial/bezel model come in 3 different sizes, 36mm, 39mm, and 42mm. As far as the rest of the colors available, most of them only come in 39mm, which is quite strange. So if you go over the website and are wanting this in all PVD, it is there, but only available in 39mm. I hope About Vintage will rectify this with future releases.
    But yes, you do have a lot of strap options and you get TWO straps when purchasing this watch. From what I see, all models besides the full gold or full PVD, are able to be purchased with two bracelets, the 3-link one you see in this review, and a 5-link bracelet as well.  Or you can opt for any of the other strap options, and there are many.

    I opted for this green silicone strap, and I love the color and feel it looks great with this black dial. The strap is silicone but doesn’t seem to attract link and dust as many do, and it feels very comfortable on the wrist. I also quite like the texture, which I describe as a meat tenderizer, but I am sure that is not what it is called.
    The bracelet is an absolute run-of-the-mill strap, quick change pins, a brushed finish with polished sides, friction pins, and a generic clasp. Completely functional, but a little boring. Also, notice the male end links. If you have a small wrist, this bracelet may not be the way to go.

    About Vintage 1926 AT' Sea Diver

    And lastly, we get to the lume, and this is a real area of disappointment. Now let me be clear, I do not really need lume, and these days, as far as in my personal life and daily use of a watch, it is not that big of a deal. That said, if you are going to make something labeled a dive watch and put lume on it, it should be done well, and this is just not it. The picture below is at its absolute brightest, and not only is that not that great, but believe me, it starts dimming seconds afterward, and after only a few minutes, it’s almost completely gone, especially on the 12 and 6 sandwich markers.

    If there were only 35 watch brands in the world, or this was the start of the microbrand influx and I saw this watch, especially for the price, I would probably be all over it. Nowadays, I couldn’t even begin to count or list the number of watch brands available and with the exception of the slightly quirky dial, this watch just doesn’t stand out. The case and overall look give that vintage Rolex or Tudor vibe, among others, and there are a lot of watches out there like that these days. I think the key, at least to this About Vintage 1926 AT’ Sea Diver, is the almost countless colors and versions available, much like the Glycine Combat Sub offers, and the ability to get two straps or bracelets with your purchase. I hope to see this model, with a few changes, especially to the ideal and lume, come in an automatic in the future. I think with a little tweaking, the brand can make this watch appeal to a wider audience.

    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    In the market for a dive watch? If you are, then you already know, that there is almost no end to your options these days. But, what about a classic, some would say an icon? And one that is still relatively affordable. That’s where the Citizen Promaster Fugu comes in, a watch that technically dates back to 1989, and in 2018 was refreshed and in 2021 refreshed again. That brings us to today, and now this 44mm Diver’s watch is available in so many colors and combinations it will make your head spin, a hacking movement, and topped with a sapphire crystal. Is this the left-handed SKX replacement? Are there better options out there? Is it too much fashion and not enough function? All will be discussed here in this review.

    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    Specifications:

    Model # NY0158-09L

    • 44mm Case 
    • 50mm Lug to Lug
    • 13mm Thick
    • 107 Grams in Weight
    • Miyota 8207 Automatic Movement
    • Sapphire Crystal
    • 200m Water Resistant
    • Black Ion Plated (Review Model)
    • Price $575 MSRP

    USE CODE WR30 AT SALTZMAN’S WATCHES TO SAVE 30%

    https://saltzmans-watches.com/search.php?search_query=promaster

    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    As you can see in the specifications above, this Citizen Promaster Fugu was provided by Saltzman’s Watches and you can save 30% by using code WR30 on their website, not just for the Fugu series, but any Citizen watch they currently carry. Another note about this, this black and blue model I am reviewing is not currently available (sold out) but I am told if you want one, just email them and say you saw this review and the code and they will send you an invoice with the discount applied and the watch will ship to you as soon as they are in stock, which should be a week or two from today (9-20-2022). As far as how long the code will work, I am not sure, I will update this article at some point so people that are reading this in the future aren’t trying to use a defunct discount code.
    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    Saltzman’s Watches of Newport

    So, let’s get into the review of this Citizen Promaster Fugu already, as I can already hear your groans as you read the preamble here. Anyways, yes, this is the latest version, and when it comes to versions, since doing the video and getting ready to do this article, I have found even more variations of this model when it comes to dial and bezel colors-pretty much it is available in almost any colorway you could imagine, but not all are available at every dealer or retailer. Saltzman’s seems to only have 4 versions, so if you want one that you don’t see, email them and ask if they can get it. But back to this FUGU, why is it called Fugu? Well, I am not sure if that is a nickname given by Citizen or the fans of this watch through the years, but Citizen fully embraces it nowadays, with the Pufferfish etched on the case back as you can see below. Basically, the shape of the bezel cutouts resembles the fins of the deadly fish, and that is where the name comes from.

    The design of the Citizen Promaster Fugu has pretty much remained the same since the original, (see pic below)  but there have been a few changes over the years, and this new model now has a larger knurled crown, a different handset, and slightly different indices than the original, making it feel like the Fugu we knew back in the day, but also staying fresh for the current market. One big thing is the size, which is now 44mm. I don’t remember what the original was, it was probably in the 40-42mm range back then, but now at 44mm with a lug to lug of 50mm, some folks fear that they will not be able to wear this deadly fish comfortably on their smaller wrist. While my wrist isn’t exactly small at 7.5 inches (19.05cm), you can see it wears smaller than the specs suggest, and hopefully, you can gauge if this will be too large for you.

    An Original Citizen Promaster Fugu

    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    This particular example has a black ion-plated case, a dark blue dial with a blue aluminum bezel insert, and the dial is covered with a sapphire crystal, something that the original definitely did not have. While I don’t know the pricing of the original model, I am sure it was nowhere near $600 back in 1989, and I believe the original was quartz, and not automatic, so there is at least a good reason the price has gone up. Like many watches like this that are mass-produced, you should be able to find a good discount (yes we are offering one here, but I mean any place you choose to purchase), so you probably won’t be paying full retail, so the street price is probably around $4-$475, maybe cheaper on certain sales or holidays.

    But even at that price, there are a few things to consider. Yes, this watch is marked Diver’s on the dial and is water resistant to 200m, so it is ISO compliant, and with a 120 click bezel, that left the side crown to protect from impact, it is definitely water capable, and more importantly dive capable, if you want to wear this watch as a backup to your dive computer. The case build quality seems pretty good, very solid feeling clicks to the bezel and the crown pretty smooth, though I do find it odd to set the time as I flip it upside down to set the time and date, or in this case the day/date, though I do wonder how long this ion plating will stay looking pristine as pics of the bracelet versions in black IP, do look cheaper to me, and just doesn’t look like plating that will hold up well in the long term. I could be wrong though.
    The dial is very glossy, and between that, the reflection of the applied markers and the crystal (which does say it has an inner AR coating), the dial is just extremely reflective, and you can see that in some of the photography and in the video review. The indices on my example are not filled in perfectly with the lume compound either, and it just looks sloppy. Do you notice this when it is on the wrist? Not really, but once you get closer and inspect it, it stands out. The day/date wheels also look a little off. The cut or separation of the two isn’t really pretty, and again, on regular viewing is no big deal, but I am here to inspect it with a fine tooth comb, and when I did, these are things that I found.

    The movement has been slightly upgraded though, which is good news for some, but if you were expecting the Miyota 9000 series, you are out of luck. Like you, I would have appreciated this upgrade, but since this is Citizens’ budget realm of watches, this Citizen Promaster Fugu series seems like it will have 8000 movements in some form for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, this is a hacking movement now, in the form of the Miyota 8204, but accuracy has not changed, so look for it to be around +/- 30 seconds a day. You could get it regulated to be better, but that’s where this movement usually hits.

    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    These watches are available on rubber straps or full stainless steel bracelets with solid end links. I don’t have a bracelet to talk about, but it seems to have that cheap-looking clasp Citizen tends to use on some of their lower-end watches, with the exposed push button clasp, and if you get a black IP model, those buttons are not coated either and are just an eyesore to me.
    Speaking of eyesores, check out the photo below of the nasty seam where the two pieces of the rubber strap were attached. That is pretty sloppy as well, no way around it. The strap itself is comfortable, it looks good on this piece, reminiscent of the originals, and it fits my wrist with a good amount of strap leftover, but as I have heard from a few, not enough to fit over a wetsuit, so you would need to outfit this with a longer strap or see if there are the dive extender straps for this model available.

    Testing lume, I try to do it in a few different ways. For pictures, and for trying to capture it with the camera, I hit it with a UV light, and then proceed to take photos, so yes, the lume will look its best in those photos. But what about 10 minutes later, or 20, or 3 hours? Well, the problem with that and most watches with lume, even ones with amazingly bright lume, is they all begin to fade, and capturing it properly with little to no light is almost impossible. But in day-to-day use, and what your eyes see, the lume is not bad here at all. 5 hours after going to bed I was able to see the time with no problem at all in a pitch black room and generally found that if worn all day, the lume will hold up well for when you need it. How will it fare underwater is a question I can not answer.

    Citizen Promaster Fugu

    Overall, how was my experience with this new Citizen Promaster Fugu, especially with it being so long that I have had a Citizen diver in my hands on my wrist? I generally enjoy it. It’s comfortable on the wrist, the black and blue of this variation is a color I do like, and for some reason, I gravitate towards the dark or blasted grey versions of these divers vs the brushed and polished stainless models. It is an easy watch to use and wear, but when it comes to the finer details, like that date window, the strap seams, the lume on the indices, and of course, the movement, I think I would like to see some improvement, or possibly a lesser price. There are a lot of watches, even divers in this price range, everything from Seiko Turtles (which are not immune to issues either), countless watches from microbrands and even more these days from the strange factory brands and everything in between, so as always, competition is stiff. I think the appeal of these latest versions is all the different colors and options available, and if you can get them at a really good price, could still be worth it.
    What say you? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    Ball’s first iteration of this dive watch dates all the way back to 2006, so 16 years ago, and now their latest version, the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer (get used to that long name being plastered through this article), is hitting the scene. As usual, you will have a lot of tritium tubes on the dial, including some that you would not expect, 300m of water resistance, antimagnetic protection, an inner rotating bezel and a choice of two dial colors and even two color choices of tritium tubes. Pricing starts at just about $2,500 for the rubber strap version in this review and on a full stainless steel bracelet for $2600. Lots of dual crown divers on the market, so let’s take a look at what Ball brings to the table with this one.

    Specifications:

    • 42mm Stainless Steel Case
    • 13.5mm Thick
    • 21mm Lug Width
    • Lug to Lug 50mm
    • 121 Grams
    • Sapphire Crystal 
    • 300 Meters Water Resistant
    • Automatic caliber BALL RR1101-C
    • Chronometer certified COSC
    • Limited to 1000 Pieces 
    • 36 Tritium Tubes
    Price $2,499 (As Reviewed)
    https://shop.ballwatch.ch/en/emiidivercosc

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    I have to say, and I think it caught me a little off guard seeing this watch in person, I was not expecting this much high polish. Now let me be clear, this is purely subjective, and some people will absolutely love this, but for a watch that is marketed as a do-it dive watch, it is a little odd that the outer bezel, case sides, and crowns are all high mirror polished. The only part of this watch that is satin brushed is the top of the case, and the case back has a few different finishes, but for all intent and purposes, this is an all-high polished piece, and if you get the bracelet, which I will show in a stock photo below, it becomes very flashy.

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

     

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    Blue dial on bracelet (Stock Photo)

    I am sure the bracelet is very nice, but it is one of the main reasons I had Ball send me this Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer on the rubber strap, but I have to say, this still does put this watch in the no go category. I prefer little chamfers of high polish or little accents here or there, but for a dive watch like this, and if one were to actually use this watch as a backup to their dive computer, I just see this getting very scratched up. And you absolutely can use this as a backup or as a recreational piece if you would want to go old school, as the internal bezel not only turns via the two o’clock crown, but it does so very precisely and audibly with a clicking sound and feel, and can be used underwater, as you need to push down to turn this crown.

    All that out of the way, this is a beautiful dive watch, and though I have seen a few say this is a little generic looking, I prefer the term classic. I love a dual crown, inner rotating bezel dive watch, basically, anything that resembles the EPSA compression dive watch is usually up my alley, whether it be a true compression case or not doesn’t really matter to me. Obviously, others feel the same as there are so many of this style of watch out there and at all different price points. I wouldn’t say this piece reminds me of any one vintage piece in particular, but yes it does have that basic layout, and at 42mm by 50mm, it is sized like many others as well, which again, is not a bad thing in my opinion and I am glad to see it is over 40mm and not under.

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    The dial of the Ball Engineer Master II Chronometer Diver (What a name right?), is pretty similar to a lot of other Ball watches, especially the diver, and I will admit the logo and text underneath and the different fonts used, can get a little busy, especially with the signature RR (Rail Road) second hand, but its kind of Ball’s thing, so it works, though I would love if they could come up with a different and less wordy logo at some point.

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    Tritium tubes are all around here and I did say there were some unique ones, and there are. You may have already noticed that the inner bezel is lumed, but that is not lume paint under those stencil numbers and markers, no that is a ring of tritium all around the inner bezel, basically sandwiched between 2 different layers, to give you long-lasting bezel lume. I believe Ball is the only company that has ever done this with a watch, and I for one do think that is pretty cool.
    What I don’t really love though is the cyclops, and it seems Ball really loves these date magnifies these days, and all I will say is for those who like them, great. But for those that don’t, and for those of us where a cyclops is a deal breaker, maybe Ball should look into offering the date magnifier as an option and not standard. Just a thought.

    Ball offers a lot of watches that have COSC movements, and this one is no different, with the ETA 2892-A2 as the base moment used here, and while it is a great movement and my example has been keeping time well within spec, Ball did do something I enjoy very much, and that’s covered up that movement! I know, I know, most folks love to see a movement through a display case back, and I do myself when it is a really special movement, but especially with a dive watch, I expect a solid case back, and here they did not disappoint. Would you really prefer to see the movement instead of this awesome relief artwork of the dive helmet and seahorses? Really?

    As I stated previously, 42mm is a great size, as I feel that even for those that prefer a much larger watch 42mm works, and it’s not so big that it works off those who prefer something a little smaller normally. Now you can be on either side of the coin and reading this right now and saying, “No, I will never wear a 42mm watch!”, and that is fine, we all have our reasons and at $2,500 you damn well better like the size of your watch, but I have always found 42mm by 50mm to be my sweet spot, at least for the past decade or so anyways and on my 7 1/2 inch wrist, this is very comfortable watch and with the case back making this watch ride a little high, I don’t feel those crowns riding into the back of my hand either.

    The rubber strap is a little plain, but it does work and the custom buckle kind of reminds me of a roller-style buckle and feels like one on the wrist, so all good there, but I do have to say, this strap stinks of vanilla to a point that it is almost sickening. This is not the first rubber strap I have encountered that wreaks of vanilla, I have found some will have a light scent, of course, some not at all, and others, like this one, like I accidentally dropped a bottle of vanilla extract on my arm. So much so, that the girl at the post office asked me if I had cookies or cupcakes on me. No joke. If you are overly sensitive to smells, you may want to let this one air out a bit.

    Then we get to the tritium of the Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer (thank goodness I am copy/pasting this and not typing the name over and over) and like any watch with tritium, it shows up in complete darkness, so you will not be getting any day lume with this one. For those that are not familiar, these are tritium vials encased in glass tubes that need no light source to charge, but they are not as bright and you do need to be in pretty much complete darkness for them to glow. The tradeoff is, that they will glow this bright for at least 10 years, even if you stuck it in a drawer for a solid year, it would not matter. No focus stacking here, I did my best to give you an accurate look at this yellowish orange and green tritium lume.

    Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer

    What would I like to see different on this Ball Engineer Master II Diver Chronometer? Well, I think it’s pretty obvious, but I would prefer a much more satin finish, either brushed or blasted or even brushed titanium. The date magnifier would need to go as well, and I think the dial text, well let’s just say less is more. I love the overall design and case shape, the size is great and the coolness factor, as well as the functionality of the way the inner bezel operates and the ring of tritium under the bezel, are big high points, but possibly not enough for this to become a daily wear piece. What say you? Is it perfect as is? Let me know what your thoughts are down below or on Youtube.

    Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second

    Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second

    When it comes to classically styled watches, I am not the target audience. Whether it is Nomos or a dress watch from countless brands, I find them beautiful, but they just don’t appeal to me. The Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second is definitely in the same genre of watches, but there are a few things that make this watch stand out among the others. First would be the size, as this watch is 42mm in diameter, which is on the larger size for a watch such as this, and honestly, these days is just on the large size in general. Then there is the yellow accent on the crown and the yellow backing to the leather strap and a few other things I will discuss in this article, but at $1200, is this a watch I would want for myself, or more importantly, is it one that you would want?

    Specifications:

    • 42MM Case 
    • 11.4mm Thick
    • 20mm Lug Width
    • 49mm Lug to Lug
    • 91 Grams in Weight
    • Sapphire Crystal
    • Sellita SW2611 Automatic Movement
    • Crocodile Patterned Leather Strap
    • Country of Origin: Switzerland
    Price $1200 
    https://www.fromanteel-watches.com/en-us/collections/watches

    So, I do consider the Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second, and the entire Pendulum lineup (chronograph, 3-hand, and this Small Second) to be dress watches, but others may have a different classification. To me, it checks all the boxes-high polished case, low water resistance, simple yet elegant dial and a gorgeous leather strap. There is nothing rugged about it and to me this is a watch that one would wear either to the office each day if you happen to wear a suit or even just a nice button-down and slacks, or of course, for that classy event you are headed to. And that is one of the main reasons I do not gravitate towards these pieces; I just don’t get dressed up all that often to warrant a watch in the stable like this.
    But it got me thinking, well, why don’t I have a watch in the stable like this? Even though it’s probably only a few times a year that I would wear this piece, shouldn’t I have a good special occasion watch such as this Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second? Normally I would wear one of my nicer dive watches, as other people do as well, and hell, many people these days are wearing their Apple Watches with their suits to work or all types of events, but as a watch guy, a watch enthusiast, and a watch reviewer, maybe its time I get a proper watch for such occasions.

    Yes, the first thing that stands out to me with the Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second is the size. Even though I try often, and I will have a few review pieces coming in soon that hit the 39/40mm size, those sizes are still just too small for me. But this Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second sized at 42mm, it feels proper on my wrist. It doesn’t look too large at all, but I do have a 7 1/2-inch wrist, so I am aware this may be large for some folks out there. The case design with the flared round case and thin lugs also make this a very comfortable watch, though the leather strap plays an important role in that as well, more on that shortly.
    The case, like the dial, is simple and clean. High polished, with no sharp lines or angles, and an easy-to-grip crown, with that signature yellow insert Fromanteel is known for.

    Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second

    The dial is elegant and has everything you need for functionality and nothing more. The date, the small second register to keep track of seconds, and the brand and model name of course. The leaf hands and indices are polished steel, but they do reflect a lot of light, so expect them to look black most of the time, but when the light hits it just so, it is a gorgeous example of a silver and white dial. Speaking of that white dial, it is a little more off-white than stark white, it’s a beautiful shade of white, it has a warmth to it, and the sunray pattern is very subtle, but again, when you catch in the light, quite attractive.

    Around the back, you will find the Sellita SW-261 automatic movement, which really is just the small second variation of the SW200-1, but as you can see it has a gold rotor, and in my opinion, I would like to see some more decoration going on, but the back is simple and clean, but I would still prefer a nice solid case back, with a stamped or etched logo.

    But we have to talk about wearability here, and this strap is a big part of why this watch is so comfortable. Like many straps these days, this is a quick-release strap, so taking it off is easy if you want to switch it out. But I would personally never switch this strap from this Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second. This beefy padded leather strap looks great with the deep crocodile pattern, smells great as they used real leather (they even tell you to smell it on the back of the strap), comes with two buckle options, the dual depolyant on it and in the box a tang buckle if you want something a little simpler. I can’t express it any better than this is just a fantastic strap front to back and I love it. The only negative is it is a little short, and I was hoping with the larger diameter case, that they would provide a longer strap for those bigger wrist gentlemen.

    Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second

    So, will I be adding this watch to my rotation or will I continue wearing whatever watch I find suitable for the moment when that next occasion pops up? I don’t know yet to be honest. This Fromanteel Pendulum Small Second is no doubt an elegant, modern, and refined dress watch, but at $1200, is this the one to drop the money on? In my case, there are a lot of other options out there that would be much less expensive. I could probably pick up a Hamilton or Tissot for half the price that would be beautiful and well made and do the job as well. So, I am still on the fence, but what about you? Is this a watch you would add to your collection? Does it have everything you are looking for? Let me know in the comment section below.

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