I’ve bought Apple Watch 5 when it came out this year and I’ve grown to like it, but I also still like good old classic watches. And while there are too many watches out there and I only have two wrists, changing dials or watch faces to one that fits my mood at the moment is a nice thing to have.
So, I’ve decided to make Apple Watch faces inspired by real old school watch brands and some iconic designs like Omega’s wave pattern dial, Seiko’s Snowflake or Rolex’s Meteorite dials. Dials are tested on Apple Watch 5 44mm and they fit the display perfectly without any adjustments. Black ones obviously drain less battery and do not dim when not in use, brighter ones like Snowflake or Meteorite do. I’ve thrown in some Apple branded ones as well since it’s an Apple watch… I might add other brands and designs in the future.
All the watch faces/dials are fan made by me and are not paid, sponsored or otherwise endorsed by their respective owners. These are also not allowed to be monetized in any way shape or form. I made them for my watch as I like some of these brands. Maybe someone else will too without having to make them on their own. For personal non profit use only! I don’t know the exact legal conditions for logos and trademarks, but I think I shouldn’t be in trouble for making and sharing these.
How to use:
Download to your iPhone, select the image, click Share button and select “Create Watch Face” (Apple’s “Watch” app needs to be installed). Select digital watch type and position the time to upper or lower position so it matches the logos correctly. You can manage the complications in your Watch app or on your Apple Watch directly.
We all know Xiaomi for their smartphones, smartbands/bracelets and other tech gadgetry for home like air purifiers and stuff. But I don’t think many of you know Xiaomi this way…
Yup, you’re seeing this right. And yes, it’s indeed made by Xiaomi. It has a smartwatch, almost Apple Watch design, but doesn’t have a single electronic component in it. Pretty cool seeing the exact opposite in a form factor known for being an electronic gadget. It’s powered by heavily skeletonized automatic mechanical movement ST1646K made by Sea-Gull which is also a Chinese watch manufacturer, one of the largest in the world actually. The movement also hand winds and hacks (stopping of second hand during adjustment). All of it protected with sapphire crystal and water resistance up to 3 ATM/Bar.
It comes with two straps that both have quick release levers for quick tool-less replacement. One is Milanese bracelet, a mesh design and a really soft leather strap that has one of the lightest buckles I’ve seen to date. It has to be either titanium or aluminium.
The movement, while not decorated much is beautiful, case is amazingly detailed with caseback screwed in with tiny screws, blue screws on the movement, sapphire crystal and 2 absolutely amazing looking and feeling straps. To an uneducated user, it looks like a watch that costs 50.000€. To a watch enthusiast, 500€ watch for sure. So, certainly a magnificent piece of machinery. I’m all for electronic tech, but I also love going the exact opposite of it. This Xiaomi Ciga Design is exactly that 🙂
Hehe, no, I’m not talking about literally being allergic to watches as devices. I’m talking about allergic reactions to stainless steel. More specifically nickel that is used to make stainless steel alloys.
So, you want to wear a watch, but you’re allergic to nickel component in stainless steel. Well, here are few options that can help you out.
Selection becomes quite limited, but there are options…
First and most obvious choice are titanium watches. Titanium is incredibly light, pretty much as strong as stainless steel and is also very resistant to corrosion and is non-allergenic. Which makes it perfect choice for people allergic to nickel in stainless steel. It is more expensive, but since absence of nickel isn’t the only good quality of it, it is easier to justify higher cost. There are plenty to chose from, starting at prices of around 250€ up to few thousand €. So, anyone can pick something, even if you’re not rich.
Second most obvious choice are plastic watches. However, here is a small catch. There are plenty of good quality watches made of high quality plastics (resin material) like G-Shock. However, unlike 100% titanium watches, these often come with stainless steel back. Which is great in general, just not to people allergic to nickel. It is in direct contact with the skin and when you start sweating it will just get even worse. So, make sure you inspect the watch before purchasing it. Make sure it has no stainless steel parts that will be in direct contact with your skin.
Most obvious choice here would be Swatch brand. They have tons of 100% plastic constructed watches and they also have latest quite interesting series named “Sistem51”. I don’t like it because it’s entirely plastic, but for situations like this, it’s absolutely perfect.
400 series grade stainless steel watches
It is rather rare in watchmaking industry, but I’m quite sure there are watches made of 400 series grade stainless steel. Most watches are made of 316L grade stainless steel which is cheap, durable, highly corrosion resistant and non-magnetic, but contains nickel. 440 stainless steel on the other hand contains no nickel, just chromium and is magnetic. To retain hardness, they infuse it with more carbon during manufacturing. If watchmaker mentions the use of 440 grade stainless steel, it means you can wear such watch without risking nickel allergic reaction.
The trend of golden Rolex watches has kinda died out these days since they are just too flashy and they just look vulgar because they look like the kind of watches pimps wear. But some people still buy them. And they are non-allergic if they are made of 16 karat gold and up that doesn’t contain nickel. They are a lot more expensive and prone to dents since gold is a lot softer than stainless steel, but it is an option. You may want to avoid white gold versions because they may contain nickel.
Coated stainless steel
Next option are coated metals. There are two options within this group really. Gold platted watches or DLC coated watches. Gold is non allergic material and despite it being pricey, a thin layer of it over stainless steel hardly raises the price. And DLC or Diamond-like Coating. It’s basically a very strong coating that imitates diamond structure. It is black in most cases (at least I haven’t seen any other), meaning the watch can be more restrained and not as flashy as gold platted ones. The coating separates your skin from the stainless steel, however, over time both will wear out in certain spots that have constant friction and you may get in contact with stainless steel again. Take that into consideration.
Also, not all DLC coated (or gold coated) watches also have DLC coated case back. Steinhart below does, but some have an untreated “silver” stainless steel for case back.
Ceramics are the high tech stuff that’s just becoming more accessible to casual consumers. There are famous older brands that specialize in ceramic watches like Rado, but you can also find more affordable options from watchmakers like Citizen. You may again want to check the watch case back if it’s also ceramic or stainless steel…
Cheating with NATO and aviator straps
Maybe it’s not the perfect solution or if you only have mild reaction to stainless steel, you could get away by using NATO straps or leather aviator straps. Because of their design, the strap itself separates watch case from the wrist, meaning even if it’s a 316L stainless steel with nickel, it may have very little or even no contact with your skin.
Cheating with clear case back sticker
Another way to kinda cheat and be able to wear any standard stainless steel watch is to cover case back with round, transparent, water resistant sticker. It may not be the most comfortable or nice option and may sometimes come in contact with your skin, but is an option to isolate the watch stainless steel case from your wrist skin.
Surgical stainless steel
I’ve wanted to include this category into the guide, however, watch sellers have watered down this term so much it somewhat lost its original meaning. They just stick “Surgical grade stainless steel” on everything just because it sounds cool. I mean, if it’s surgical, then it has to be good right? Not quite, because majority calls regular 316L as “surgical”.
Only stainless steel that actually deserves to be called “surgical stainless steel” is actually the above mentioned 440 grade stainless steel. It is often used for blades and razors because they are in direct contact with skin and they must not cause allergic reactions. High chrome and carbon content, but no nickel.
I hope this guide will be helpful for new or even old watch enthusiasts. Happy watch collecting and wearing 🙂
Are you tired of regular metal watch bracelets, classic leather straps and you don’t really like NATO/ZULU straps? Well, here is an interesting middle option. Cordura straps. Cordura is a very high strength nylon like material developed by Dupont and now owned by Invista.
Cordura strap feels similar to leather strap due to leather like Lorica padding on the inner side (also developed by Dupont, a synthetic breathable micro-fiber), on the outside it looks like NATO/ZULU, but has the double or even triple the thickness of ZULU. And unlike NATO and ZULU which come in a continuous band, Cordura comes in traditional two piece set with a classic buckle. End result is a less formal, somewhat sporty looking strap that can still be used for more serious applications than strictly casual or sporty wearing as you can see on the Bulova Accutron II example below. Original leather strap simply looked way too formal, but with black Cordura, it still feels very similar, but more casual.
Probably the most widely available Cordura straps are made by American Hadley-Roma and Italian Morellato. If you get one of these you can be assured of high quality, but there are many other makers who probably also offer high quality straps made using Cordura/Lorica material.
Looks pretty good doesn’t it? And you can get them in pretty much any color you like. Black (the one on Bulova), Desert Khaki (the one on Sea-Gull), Military Olive green, red, blue, orange, grey, white, pink, anything you can imagine pretty much. They might cost a bit more, but they are totally worth it.
Oh wow what I’ve experienced today on WUS (What U Seek) forums. It’s a horology forum where you can talk about all sorts of time keeping devices. Just make sure you don’t comment anything negative over Rolex. A lesson I learned few hours ago and I was just absolutely shocked at how moronic some people are. Clearly the ignorant ostrich way of ignoring reality. Stick a head in the sand and pretend it’s all brilliant and flawless.
It was a thread about some guy getting hands on a new Rolex Sea-Dweller watch. We do that all the time, you buy a watch, make few wrist shots and post it with your opinions and experience. Other people join in the thread and you form a conversation. Nothing we haven’t done like billion times before for other brands like Bulova, Seiko, Orient, Casio, Sea-Gull etc. But those threads weren’t about Rolex. I’ve stated about stuff I don’t like on other watches before and it was just that. An opinion like any other and users accepted it normally. No one complained, no outrages, nothing. Neither did I when someone commented something they disliked about my watches. But not here…
I just commented the insane amount of text that Rolex puts on a dial. See a photo and judge for yourself why I said that…
It has crown logo, “Rolex”, “Oyster Perpetual Date”, “Sea-Dweller”, “4000ft/1220m”, Superlative Chronometer” and “Officially Certified” on a dial. Oh and a SWISS MADE on the bottom. If I’d wanted a book, I’d buy one. So, apparently I’m not allowed to have an opinion that they use way too much text on the dial. Nope, not for Rolex.
Wouldn’t it look like billion times better if it only had crown logo and ROLEX on top and below just “SEA-DWELLER, 4000ft/1220m and Chronometer”. Just that and nothing else (i let them have the Swiss Made below as well because I’m nice). That was my opinion. And apparently 0% of population agreed. Yet I’ve seen countless times other users also complained over this very exact same thing. Apparently they were all banned from the WUS forum or something after that…
I just don’t see why they have to mention oysters and date on a watch dial where 90% of people don’t even know what oyster is supposed to mean on a watch and we can already see it has a date window there. So why double confirm what we already see with our healthy pair of eyes? And don’t get me started with the “Superlative” word there. That’s like designing a V12 turbo charged Ferrari and then write “Ferrari Superlative Fast F12” on a back. It’s a fucking Ferrari, we already know it’s super fast either way. Why do you have to write that there and point out the obvious!? And what’s worse are people refusing to accept your comment about it and they flip out like I committed some sort of crime against humanity by commenting that. And among few it was also a moderator that did that. A person which is supposed to be neutral as Switzerland. I was like what the fuck dude, when he started basically threatening me to stop doing that through personal messages.
Apparently the forum is supposed to consist of only praises and positive things. Like there are only sunny days and grasslands filled with colorful butterflies and pretty colorful flowers. Did I mention the rainbow above it? Oh yes, it has to be there. Lets all live in a perfect world. There were already 6 pages of “Oh wow that’s a pretty Rolex this and that” and when I faced them with what it now seems like a really harsh reality (in a perfectly civilized manner mind you!), I was instantly flagged as Mr Negative bashing their beloved Rolex brand and then bunch of some lame ass accusations dropped in that I’m a Rolex hater and that they know it for sure (yet again I was like what the fuck). Seriously idiots, get a fucking life. I’ve never ever seen anyone flip out so badly about any other brand and I’ve commented things I don’t like about others in similar threads as well.
Do I happen to write Chinese or I sometimes just don’t understand some people who behave like they landed here from Jupiter… must be both.
Here is one of the most amazing quartz watches I’ve seen in my life. In general I’m all for mechanical watches, because they are just the good old school machines, but here and there there are companies that surprise me with modern tech that blends perfectly to their heritage. Bulova has released watches with such movements in their Precisionist models range few years ago, but they were really big and dials were just too busy for my taste with so much stuff going on, it was just too much. But few weeks ago, Bulova introduced the new Accutron II range of watches, a true tribute to their original Accutron from the 1960’s that had a metal tuning fork instead of quartz crystal that we use these days.
What is so special about it? First thing you will notice on the above video is the fact that second hand doesn’t tick like it does on 99,99% of quartz watches. It’s gliding across the dial and that alone gives it such special feel. It will attract the looks with this alone for sure. And while most other watches would drain battery in no time, Bulova quartz watches with Precisionist movement will last for roughly 2-3 years on a single battery. Second thing about it is the fact that it’s incredibly accurate. Some a lot more expensive HAQ (High Accuracy Quartz) watches achieve this with built-in thermal compensation system that adjusts the quartz oscillation relative to the environment temperature, making them incredibly accurate. They are often accurate from +-5 to 10 seconds a year. Most casual consumer quartz watches are accurate within +-15 to 30 seconds a month. Bulova Accutron II models are accurate to +-15 to 20 seconds a year. And they achieve this not by thermal compensation, but with three prong quartz crystal oscillator (regular watches have only two prong quartz crystal) and much higher oscillation frequency. End result? Very accurate watch with a less than one fourth of the HAQ price. HAQ watches are usually around 1500 € where Accutron II models like the 96B213 that I own cost below 350 €.
Bulova 96B213 comes in a really nicely carved and polished stainless steel case. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such shapes on any other watch and I must say it looks really nice. On top of it is the domed mineral crystal. While I’d prefer a sapphire, especially on a watch that costs more than 300 €, but still, I forgive them a bit because it looks so nice.
Dial has a mild sunburst effect that changes slightly when you move the watch under the light. It’s nto as strong as the Bulova’s marketing photo suggests, but it still looks really nice. It comes in off white color dial paired with markers without any lume, but they are very legible in anything but absolute darkness. Watch hands are also very nicely made, super legible and they do have lume applied. The downside is that lume isn’t particularly bright which was a bit of a disappointment. Blue second hand doesn’t have the lume, but has a tiny tuning fork on the opposite end which I think it’s a nice touch. Date window and the date numbers are very big, so anyone can see them nicely and they also change rather quickly at the end of the day.
It comes with genuine black leather strap which looks a bit cheap and plasticky on Bulova’s marketing photos (which is strange), but is actually very high quality strap that comes pre-curved in a box so it fits the wrist perfectly straight away. Buckle is a traditional one, made of really chunky piece of stainless steel and again has the Bulova’s tuning fork logo. Nice touch, though it’s not carved into the stainless steel, but rather welded to the buckle. It’s nothing wrong with that, though I’ve noticed threads and my dog’s hair is getting stuck underneath it. Which is a bit annoying.
It’s a beautiful watch with really special quartz movement. It is a bit expensive to most people who aren’t into watches, but considering there are watches that cost 1500 € with nearly the same functionality, I’d say it’s a great value. And we haven’t even plowed into the Rolex territory with prices beyond 10.000 € or the likes of Patek Philippe that can cost even over 6 digit price figures. In Euros 🙂 So yeah, like I said, great value.
Some more info and specifications:
Movement: Accutron Precisionist
Accuracy: +- 15-20 seconds/year (estimated)
Dial color: off white with sunburst effect
Crystal type: Edge domed mineral crystal
Case material: stainless steel
Strap: non textured genuine black leather
Water resistance: 3 bar (30m or nearly 100 ft)
Power source: battery (1x 3V CR2016)
Like me, you have most probably noticed obsession with smart watches from all major hardware vendors. Samsung is desperately trying to sell us their smart watch(es), people are speculating Apple is designing their iWatch for ages, there are bunch of kickstarters with smart bracelets, hell even Razer and Nike made one. The question here is, do we even want or better, need one?
I love technology as I’m surrounded with it on all ends. One PC, a laptop, Windows tablet, Android smart phone and I’m also surrounded by watches that I also totally love to use. So, naturally I should be the first one to love these gizmos. But I really don’t. Not yet in their current form.
Why? Let me guide you through a couple of reasons…
What exactly are smart watches? Because currently, they are neither. Smart or watch. What makes them “smart”? The fact that they display you a notification of a received SMS on a phone that you have in your pocket? Or an e-mail? People always back this feature up with excuse that you can’t always take a smart phone out of your pocket during a meeting or some other business activity where it’s not polite to play with your phone. Great. You get a notification for an SMS or e-mail. But, aren’t SMS messages and e-mails, by their core design, well, designed to remain on your phone even if you don’t notice them at first, so you can basically read them AFTER the meeting? What good is it to know that you’ve received an e-mail if you can’t bloody read it because the phone is in your pocket and you’re not suppose to take it out? And yes, I know some “smart watches” display first few lines of SMS or e-mail, but still, you are on a meeting where you most likely can’t leave anyway. So, knowing something during a meeting or knowing the same info after the meeting makes absolutely no difference to the end result. If you’re expecting something important, like your girlfriend/wife giving birth to a baby, you won’t even bother silencing your phone in the first place (I know I wouldn’t). So there goes that “smart” part of these watches out of the window. Besides, looking at your watch (they don’t know it’s “smart” one) too regularly during meeting or other similar activity would give impression to others that you’re bored to death and you’re just counting down the minutes till you can leave. Might be even worse than poking your phone around…
The other part is being a watch. For example, quartz watches from Citizen using solar power from Eco-Drive are superior time keeping devices. Or solar powered Casio G-Shocks. They display time, day and date with absolute precision, especially those atomic models. And because they are solar, they require zero maintenance and last forever. Can smart watches do that? Nope.
Next thing wrong about them is that you can’t possibly use them for voice communication. Talking into a watch for voice commands might look cool for a closed group of friends who might joke around that you’re 007 (James Bond), but for other 99% of people, you’ll just end up looking like a dork who’s talking to his watch. And actually using them as a phone would make you look even more dorky.
And what’s up with all the biometrics collection. Body temperature, heart rate, fingerprints, what’s next, our rectum temperature probe and retina scanner? Exhaled CO2 emissions? Seriously? How would any of it be useful for anything other than strictly medical use only when necessarily required by the patient? It’s not that far away from stamping our credit card PIN on our forehead and hand over all our private data to the insurance companies. It’s not that bad here in Slovenia, but I know life insurance is absolutely mad in the US of A even now, without all these gadgets being massively used, imagine what would it be if they could gather all this data. And they’d love to get their hands on all your health biometrics, trust me on that. It’s hell awaiting to erupt and people aren’t even aware of it. No, I’m not one of those conspiracy theorists, but I still find this a bit concerning in general.
For now I’ll stick with good old “dumb” watches that only tell the time, day and date. Or just the first one. And keep my smartphone dedicated for the rest of the tasks. If you want something different, sort of smart watch looking but without the crappy actual smart watch part, throw an eye at Phosphor World Time or Touch Time watches. They are curved and use e-ink to display time. They look pretty cool. Or the mad CST-01 from Central Standard Timing (CST) e-ink bracelets. Thinnest ever watches ever to be made in the whole world that use super thin rechargeable battery that lasts for a whole month after a 20 minute charge. Sure, it only displays time, but it’s really good at doing that. And keep the rest of the tasks to your existing smart phone.