Monday, June 29, 2009

Bulova's Accutron "Breckenridge".

(Sony DSC-F717 digital)
At the outset let me say that the current "Accutron" label has no connection with Bulova's patented electronic "tuning fork" technology of the 1960's. The only relationship is in the name and the logo.
The watch seen here - the Breckenridge - sports both (as can be seen on the dial).
However, behind that curved sapphire window and carbon-fibre pattern is a modern, Swiss-made, quartz chronograph movement.

The visible stand-out features of this watch include the curved crystal, the distinctive dial, the thickness and heftiness of the case and the tear-drop-shaped press buttons for the various functions.

Make no mistake about it - this is a solid chunk of stainless steel hanging off your wrist - the heavyweight case is matched by an equally hefty 20mm bracelet made of solid links and held together by a butterfly clasp, the whole assembly capable of anchoring the QE2.
If the Breckenridge fell into the wrong hands it could become a lethal weapon. I'd hate to get hit by it!

Yet appearances can be deceptive. This is a very comfortable watch to wear because its case has a maximum diameter of 40mm, including the crown. Thickness is 13mm.

(Sony DSC-F717 digital)
Functions include.....
  • Chronograph with 1/100th second accuracy; three sub-dials - for 60-seconds, 30-minutes and 12-hours; digital alarm; digital date; dual time (or second zone) feature; water resistant to 100 metres.
  • In addition, if you live in the USA and buy from a Bulova dealer, there is a 5-year warranty.

  • I was really smitten by this watch when I first saw it. I love the design of the face - not just the dial but the whole face - what you see when you look down at it......the bezel, the crown, the buttons......everything.
    It is far, FAR more appealing than any "diver".

    As well as looking great the watch also keeps excellent time. I haven't adjusted it since originally setting the time after it arrived from the USA just over a month ago and it is running within 30 seconds of actual AEST.

    I was very fortunate in being able to buy this watch for much less than what you will see touted around the internet. My Breckenridge was less than AUS$200 and I consider it worth every cent - a worthy descendant of the Accutrons of 40 years ago.
    I assume that the name
    "Breckenridge" comes from the town in Colorado, USA, as I can find no other connection.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    Another 1980's Digital

    This is my third digital watch (see an earlier post which featured the other two) and is certainly the most pristine of the bunch.
    When I bought it (April this year - from Spain) it was working but two functions were intermittent - the light and the alarm.
    So I took it to my friendly watchmaker to see if he could do anything for it and he did a fix to the little circuit board which seemed to cure the dual problems but, after a couple of days, the same malfunctions reoccurred.

    At that point he hunted through his old stock of spare Seiko parts and, Lo! and Behold! - found an NOS board, including the LCD display! (This watch uses the A133-5000 module).

    So now the watch - manufactured in July 1978 - is functioning exactly as intended and is looking superb with its fresh and bright LCD display, unscratched crystal and immaculate case with original bracelet.
    It is hard to believe that it is now over 20 years old.

    I don't wear it, to be honest - it's too nice to risk damaging.
    But it is used: it sits on the desk here in my study at home and acts as a point of reference when I wish to set the correct time on any of my other old manual or automatic watches. The watch is very accurate, gaining less than 30 seconds in a fortnight, which is good enough for me!

    Sunday, June 7, 2009

    Replica or Rubbish?

    The watch world is full of so-called "replicas", some of which are pretty good imitations of the real thing.
    Many, however, present a face that is nothing but complete and utter rubbish.
    See that watch over there - that's a genuine Omega "Moon-to-Mars" model #3577.50 - there's nothing shonky about that watch and there wouldn't want to be - the current price is approx. AUS$4,000.
    You may be able to get it at a cheaper price, by a couple of hundred dollars, by searching around. (I haven't tried because I can't afford one, anyway).

    Now have a look at the two images below (click on them - and any image in this blog by-the-way - to get a full-size version).

    (Sony DSC-F717)
    This watch is not the genuine article.
    It is not even deserving of the dubious term "replica" and I would be hard pushed to grant it the title "facsimile". It may just be approaching "fake", but in my opinion, if you are looking for a good facsimile of the genuine article, look elsewhere. This one is just plain rubbish.

    Look at the dial and compare it with the Omega-made item.
    The most glaring difference is with the wording between the two blobs representing the Moon and Mars. How stupid are the people who throw this sort of garbage together?
    "From Time Moon To Mars"!!!
    For crying out about dumb and dumber! "Time"? What happened to "The"?

    The next items of rubbish to look at are the three circular blobs of colour.
    The one on the left is supposed to be the Earth, that in the centre, the Moon and the one at right, Mars.
    About the only things that they actually look like are multi-coloured blobs of Plasticine found in a child-care centre.

    Hard to see in the photo is the fact that the hand at the 3 o'clock position is slightly off-centre.
    If you look closely at the second pic you might be able to see that its hole is elongated and the centre of the hand is actually to the left of that hole. Built to close tolerances, this machine.

    That the case has been punched out or die-stamped is clear from the fact that the underside edges are almost sharp enough to shave with. They are sharp! I had to use a jeweller's file to smooth them off so as not to slash my wrist.

    Inside the case is an automatic movement that surprise, surprise, hand-winds and hacks, and via a screw-down (signed!) crown.
    Another surprise is that it also keeps very good time.
    I have not taken the case-back off, fearing that the guts may spill out all over the desk, so cannot advise what type of movement may be lurking inside.

    The silly thing about this bit of fluff is that nobody could ever, ever, mistake this for the real McCoy.
    Perhaps the wording on the dial is deliberate (although I doubt it) but even if it said "The" instead of "Time", the rest of the face gives the game away immediately. It's like a low-rez photo-copy!
    You'd have to be Blind Freddy to accept this as a genuine Omega.

    But I didn't buy it mistaking it for the real thing; I bought it for what it is - a piece of inconsequential stuff that, if and when I wanted, I could wear whilst doing manual labour without worrying about damaging a decent watch.

    Or, if I wanted, I could wear it to an important business meeting and compare it to that of the Managing Director and say "Yes, JB, very impressive.....but mine says 'From Time Moon To Mars', so there!"