Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
OK - here's a watch that's a little less standard than the ones I highlighted so far, in my search for the ultimate diver's watch. The Blancpain Aqualung.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Turns out Citizen has a crazy amount of patents on both the radio control mechanism and the eco-drive mechanism. It's insanely complex stuff - everything from where the solar cell is located, to the placement of the radio antenna within the case, is patented. Reading these patents, it's amazing how much time and energy went into this technology. Everything has been considered.
The claims are quite interesting. For example, US patent 7,372,779 is an issued US patent, with the following abstract and first claim:
The invention is directed to obtaining a radio controlled timepiece that, in a case when the user who uses it moves from one country or one region to another where the time difference is different, has simplified an operation of correcting the time difference between the countries or regions and an operation of correcting the time difference due to daylight saving time's being executed. To this end, the invention provides a radio controlled timepiece 1 that, in addition to the radio controlled timepiece 1 in the prior art, it further includes offset time difference information storage means 8 that stores an offset time difference between a country where reference time information is formed and a country where a standard radio wave has been received and daylight saving time information storage means 9 that has stored therein for future use information on whether daylight saving time is being executed in the region where the standard radio wave has been received, and local standard time information forming means 10 that, with respect to the reference time
information of the standard radio wave that has been received in a particular region, executes calculation processing by using at least either one of offset time difference information with respect to the reference time information corresponding to the particular region and daylight saving time information in the particular region, to thereby form local standard time information in the particular region.
1. A radio controlled timepiece, which comprises: a reference signal generating means that outputs a reference signal; a time keeping means that outputs time keeping nformation based upon said reference signal; a display means that displays time nformation based upon said time keeping information; and a receiving means that receives a standard radio wave having time information, whereby output time nformation output from said time keeping means can be corrected based upon a reception signal output from said receiving means, and wherein said radio controlled timepiece further comprises: an offset time difference information storage means that stores an offset time difference formed between a certain region and a particular region where said standard radio wave has been received, by setting a time information in said certain region as a standard time information; a daylight saving time information storage means that stores therein information whether or not a daylight saving time is executed in the region where said standard radio wave has been received; a local standard time information forming means that executes an operational processing by utilizing said offset time difference information formed between said time information of said standard radio wave as received in said particular region and said standard time information, and said daylight saving time information used in said particular region, so as to form said local standard time information in said particular region; and a time difference correction history information storage means that stores information on whether or not a user has manually corrected time difference information, and wherein said radio controlled timepiece is configured so that when said radio controlled timepiece has received said standard radio wave, said offset time difference of said offset time difference information storing means is adjusted by utilizing said information of said time difference correction history information storage means, said daylight saving time information stored in said daylight saving time information storage means as obtained when said standard radio wave has been received at an immediately preceding sampling period, and said daylight saving time information as obtained when said standard radio wave has been received at the present sampling period, and then said local standard time information of said local standard time information forming means is adjusted based upon said adjusted offset time information and said daylight saving time information as obtained when said standard radio wave has been received at the present sampling period.Based on the abstract, it looks like my watch is covered - the time is automatically calibrated for the time zone and daylight saving time information received. However, I'm not sure whether the watch falls under claim 1 (not sure I have a "reference signal generating means" on my watch).
US 7,408,845 seems more on point:
1. A radio correcting timepiece comprising signal receiving means for receiving plural standard radio waves having time information and timepiece means for correcting time operation to display time on the basis of the time information contained in at least one standard radio wave received by the signal receiving means, wherein: said correcting time operation operates to receive said time information according to a predetermined receiving order for each standard radio wave, and in the case of success in obtaining said time information from either of said standard radio waves or in the case of unsuccess in obtaining said time information from all of said standard radio waves operates to terminate said receiving operation, and, further in the case of said success, operates to correct the time based on the time information obtained, and, on the basis of the information related to success or unsuccess in obtaining said time information from one or plural standard radio waves obtained by said correctingBut the coolest are the design patents. US D554,536 definitely covers the design elements of my watch, though I guess you'd have to have all of the designs to be confusing... If they really wanted to cover it, they would have separate design apps for the different "portions" of the design - the slide rule, the face, the hands, etc.:
time operation operated in the past, said predetermined receiving order of each standard radio wave used in said correcting time operation after the past time is renewed.
It's kind of cool. And Citizen, (or Swatchgroup, or anyone else) - if you're looking for someone to file your industrial designs in Canada, let me know - no one else will be able to convince the Canadian Patent Office of the distinguishing elements of your design better than me!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
As you may have noticed from earlier posts, I have a thing for atomic watches. That is, watches that can receive the radio signal from the US military atomic watch (which is, I think, in Boulder, CO) that is used to synch satelites. The appeal of these watches is that they tell the "perfect" time. Well, till now I had one (the red faced Casio). It's a great watch, but not the most appealing from a esthetic point of view. I've been meaning to upgrade it for a while.
So I've had my eye on the Citizen Skyhawk series for a while now. These are probably the most upscale of the Citizen sports watches. The one I bought looks great, and has an insane amount of features.
Like the Casio, it's Atomic. But unlike the Casio, it can receive the radio signal from four different atomic clocks: the one in the US, one in Europe, and two in Japan. It chooses the right radio signal automatically, based on the time zone you tell it you are in. It listens for the radio signal three times a day - at 2, 3 and 4 am, where atmospheric conditions are optimum) and automatically adjusts the time and date (both the hands, and the digital face) accordingly. You can also set it so it receives Daylight Savings Time information from the atomic clock - so you never have to worry about that, either.
You can also ask it to synch at any time, by pushing a button. This doesn't work too well during the day, since it has trouble receiving the signal. And if that's not enough, you can change the 4am synch time to any other time you want.
The watch has so many additional features, I've got to use headings!
This is an an "eco-drive" watch, which is the trademark for Citizen's solar technology. Citizen was probably the first watch company that used a solar panel that doesn't look like a solar panel. On this particular watch, you can't tell there's a solar panel at all. I think the whole face is a solar panel, but it looks just like a normal, black watch face. It's quite amazing to me that the solar panel is so efficient - there is very little real estate on the watch dial, what with all the markings, hands, lcd screens, and all. But if you look at it closely, you can sort of tell that the solar panel is there - the dial isn't quite black, seen under strong light, it's a bit of a translucent gray.
The solar panel charges a capacitor. The advantage of using a capacitor instead of a rechargable battery is that, in theory at least, the capacitor will never need to be changed, and the capacitor can be charged and recharged ad infinitum. A rechargable battery only has a certain life span, and a certain number of charges. Apparently, the watch also has a back-up battery, but I'm not sure how power gets allocated.
All in all, this must be pretty sophisticated technology - a capacitor isn't normally very good at giving a slow trickle of energy. The solar panel would need some kind of "cut off" so you don't over charge the capacitor or the battery. There needs to be some kind of switching from capacitor to battery, when the charge gets low. Lots of circuitry.
Apparently, at full charge, the watch is good for 200 days.
The solar panel allows the watch to "know" when it's being used, and Citizen has used this to its advantage in a really clever way - if the watch is locked up in a drawer for longer than a certain amount of time (i.e. if the watch face doesn't see any light at all for a certain amount of time), it goes into a hibernation mode. There are actually two levels of hibernation - for the first, the watch shuts off the digital display. For the second, the watch hands stop moving (but the watch still 'remembers', or counts, the time). The minute the face hits a bit of light, the watch "knows" it's in use again, and the hands jump to the correct time. Really, these guys have thought of just about everything.
The neat thing about this technology is that, really, you never need to open the back of the watch. The watch back actually says "do not open! service center repair only". The only time you would ever need to open the watch is if it broke. I've never had a watch that tells me not to open it! Very neat. I suppose this also makes it easier to get the water resistance where it is (no o-ring worries).
So the battery never needs changing, and the time never needs adjusting. Talk about a low maintenance watch!
The Skyhawk comes in stainless steel, a blackened stainless steel, and titanium. The one I bought is titanium. Says so right on the dial. I tried on all three, and the titanium one is remarkably lighter. The watch face is still fairly heavy (I guess all the electronics inside can't be too light) but the bracelet is about half the weight you'd expect it to be. This results in a watch that is very easy to wear.
Titanium also looks great, in my opinion - it's slightly different than stainless, with a bit more of a gray tint.
Titanium is famous for being very hard to work with, which is why all the detail on the band is quite surprising to me. Note that the majority is brushed titanium, but the small links that connect the main links are polished titanium. This gives a subtle two-tone effect. Note that not all of the small links are polished - this would make it look stripey, like a Cartier Panthere. Instead, just the linking links (if you know what I mean), or every second link is polished. Very neat look.
The clasp is operated by two buttons, one on each side. There is no wetsuit extension. A bit disappointing, but I guess this is supposed to be an aviator watch, not a diving watch.
Of course, the watch has a sapphire crystal. This is almost standard these days. I imagine it will be hard to scratch. There doesn't appear to be any anti-glare coating, though, which is a bit disappointing, I suppose.
200 Metre Water Resistance
I would have settled for 100m. 50 is kind of weenie - most watches have this, and it doesn't mean much. But 200m water resistance is serious water resistance. You can wear this in just about any situation without worries.
Yes, the watch has a rotating bezel. And in true aviator watch style, the rotating bezel is one part of a three part slide rule.
The slide rule is actually very useful if you know how to use it. Multiplication and division are very, very easy to perform. Apparently you can use it to calculate a square root, but I've never needed to calculate a square root, so I never learned how. Time calculations are also easy, thanks to the third part of the slide rule. So, you can calculate how much time you can fly for if you are using 30 gallons of fuel per hour and have 73 gallons of fuel in your tank (just slide the "30" to the 12 position, and look at the time at the 73 position). Equally useful are the little indicators for commonly used calculations. I can never remember how many km there are in a mile, so it's actually really nice to see km, nautical miles, and statutory miles actually indicated on the bezel. It also has indicators for fuel lbs/litres/oil lbs/imperial gallons/US gallons, which I would probably use less (though US gallons to litres might come in handy at some point). Very cool, very functional - it's like having a metric conversion calculator watch, without all the geeky buttons.
I think the bezel is titanium, painted black with white numbers. The interior (non-moving) bezel looks like an aluminum, painted black with silver numbers. A bit wierd to have the white so close to the silver - it would have been nicer if they were all the same colour - but it's hardly noticable, and obviously cost a whole lot less than either painting the aluminum numbers white.
Because the bezel is titanium, the machining on it isn't as perfect as I hoped - it's a bit tough to turn. But maybe that's by design. In any event, the twelve round protrusions add both functionality (making it easier to turn the bezel, both with or without gloves on) and interesting style.
The dial is amazingly cluttered. Four dials, two LCD panels, a three layer slide rule, 8 hands, hour markers, minute markers, and a whole lot of writing). Despite this, it looks quite organized and it is very, very easy to read the time. The main hands are very large and legible in all light conditions. The hour markers are also quite large, and luminous. The minute markers are also larger than on most watches.
As if this wasn't enough, the watch has an LED backlighting (red, so that it doesn't effect your night vision), though it only lights up the LCD panel (it would have been nice to light up the whole dial). This backlighting only works in some modes, so if you're using the chronograph in the dark, you're out of luck.
I'm going to go through each of the features of the dial in clockwise order, starting at 6.
At the 6:00 is the mode dial. This features 8 different modes: starting at 6 again: time, calendar, timer, chronograph, world time-set, alarm-1, alarm-2, and radio control-set. You change from one mode to another by pulling out the crown one notch and turning it. This is actually quite annoying - it would have been much better if they kept with the old Citizen system - jsut turn the crown in the standard position, without having to pull it out first. Citizen probably had a reason for changing this - maybe people were complaining that the mode was always accidentally changing while it was on your wrist.
In the "time" mode, the left hand LCD indicates the current time zone of the hands of the watch, and the right hand LCD indicates the time for the time zone you've selected as your "world time". Pulling out the crown one stop enables you to set the time zone for the right hand LCD display.
In the "cal" mode, the right hand LCD display indicates the day and date.
Timer and chrono features work like on any digital watch, with the features appearing on the right hand LCD. Oh - one nice thing, in chrono, you get hours, minutes, seconds, and hundredths, all showing. None of this hundredths disappearing when you start logging hours.
World time set allows you to add or remove different time zones from your scrolling list of time zones in "time" mode, and allows you to set daylight savings time manually.
The two alarms work like on a normal watch, with one exception - you also set the time zone, which is a great feature. So you can set the alarm to ring at 8:00 am Cairo time.
Rx-S mode allows you to set the various features of the atomic/radio controlled aspects of the watch.
Just below 9:00, and between 3:00 and 4:00 are two LCD panels. They are used for the various modes/functions, as discussed above. It's kind of cool to have a dedicated LCD panel that tells you which time zone you are in.
At 10:00 is the battery and radio indicator. In every mode except radio reception mode, it indicates the life of the battery, with four positions. Kind of like a "reserve de marche" indicator. Very neat. I've never seen it anywhere but the "fully charged" position, but I imagine that may change over time.
When the watch is receiving a time signal, the battery indicator hand rotates to indicate which radio frequency it is dialed in to - US, Europe or Japan. The radio frequency is set automatically based on your time zone, so this is a bit redundant and useless information, but it's pretty cool to have the words "US, EUR, JPN" as settings on the watch - which is probably why they did this.
At the 12:00 position, the largest subset dial, is the "UTC" dial. There are two hands, one a normal minute hand (in white) and the second a 24 hour hand (in orange). This dial always indicates UTC, otherwise known as (I believe) Grenwich Standard Time. Kind of cool for an aeronautic watch, since GMT is used constantly when flying. But for me, it would have been much cooler if this was set to the second time zone, for quick reading of that time.
24 hour hand
At the 2:00 position is another dial, with one hand, which indicates the time, on a 24 hour scale. This could have easily been replaced with a little orange aperture (am/pm) since you already have the time on a 12 hour scale with the big hands. If they had done this, it would have left room on the dial for an analog view of one of the alarms, which I would have preferred.
As it is, the three dials on the top half of the watch are pretty much useless to me, but that doesn't stop them from being cool.
Radio Signal Indicator
At the 11:00, 12:00, and between 1:00 and 2:30 are indicators for the radio signal. When the watch is attempting to synch with the atomic clock, the second hand will move to "RX", which is indicated at the 12:00 position. If the watch fails to receive a signal, the second hand will move to "NO", at 11:00. If the watch receives a signal, it informs you the strength of that signal by pointing to L (low), M (medium) or H (high) indicators between 2:30 and 1:00. Very neat. You can also confirm whether a signal was received by pushing the lower of the two pushers.
All in all, a very nice watch. A tad complicated, but actually quite easy to use.
After a week of wearing it, I would make the following improvements:
1) LED lights for the whole face rather than just the LCDs
2) LED lights that work regardless of mode
3) Second time zone indicated at 12:00 dial, rather than UTC (though I'm sure people will disagree with me on this one, so I'm not too fussed)
4) Alarm indicated at 2:00 dial, rather than 24 hour hand
5) Mode dial that works in default crown position, rather than having to pull the crown out to change modes
6) Bezel that is easier to turn
I think you'll agree that these are all pretty minor points. So far, I'm thrilled with the watch.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
This one is a "sub date". The biggest difference is that it features a date window. Personally, I don't like the date version as much, for a few reasons. First, the date window is magnified by what's called the "cyclops" loupe. There's actually a big piece of glass (or acrylic, depending on the year of manufacture) that sticks OUT of the crystal. If I had one of these, this would get banged up. A lot. I'd end up with lots of scratches on this piece of glass, since it sticks out and just asks to be banged into something. Second, I think the big white aperture window detracts a lot from the symmetric nature of the face. Everything else is black. Your eye just automatically goes to the magnified (and distorted, since magnification will do this) date, rather than to the time. Other watch brands have used an inverted date (with the number in white, on a black background), and I like that a little more. Finally, this is a sports watch. A diving watch. I'm going to wear it diving. Even James Bond didn't wear his all the time - he had a dress watch for dress occasions. So every time you wear it, you have to set the date. No thanks.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Fourth, ideally, the bezel should be designed so that sand and salt won't gum it up. I don't want to have a "stuck" bezel, just because I've been in the sand or sea - that's what it's for! I'm a bit torn about whether this means that the bezel needs to be an internal bezel (like the one on some of the IWC aquatimers). With an internal bezel, you just turn a crown to turn the bezel, but the bezel is under the crystal, and is therefore protected from sand and salt. However, it does change the look of the watch a lot - I'm not sure if a "perfect" dive watch should have an internal bezel...
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
So, instead, I'm going to describe my most recent acquisition. My Leonidas chronograph.
I bought this at a local auction, for very little. I think part of the reason is the face - which shows a LOT of oxidation (i.e. rust) coming through. You can barely read the name of the watch. In fact, the auction house had it wrong, listing it as a Leonadas or something. Not that many people going to that particular auction would think a Leonidas is something to write home about...
I love the way this watch looks. There's something about the oxidation that adds to the character of the dial. I was thinking about refinishing it, or putting a new dial on it (something NOS from Heuer would probably be most appropriate, for reasons I'll get to later) but the more I think about this, the more I think I'm keeping the dial as is.
The most impressive thing about this watch is that, despite the oxidation on the dial, it's in immaculate shape. The movement is running very strongly, and the chronograph registers snap back exactly to where they should, immediately and precisely. The ticking is even and strong. I've never seen a chronograph this old act this way - either it was worn regularly or it has recently been cleaned and serviced. I think the watch was pampered over the last 50 plus years - the case is in great shape, as are the crown and buttons. The acrylic crystal doesn't have a single scratch on it, and the hands look great. Maybe this was a project watch for someone who really knew what they were doing? Who knows. If it was a project watch, they had a lot of class - keeping the dial as is, and the speidel band... Some people would have changed both.
But let me get to a description of the watch itself, rather than its condition... Leonidas was a well known, well reputed Swiss house; they were bought by Heuer; I think in the 50's. Heuer continued to use the Leonidas name for a while, as a "second tier" brand (kind of like Rolex/Tudor) but after a while dropped it. Heuer itself was purchased by Tag in the 80's, and became the marketing marvel it is today (though it's just a marketing house today - Tag's are only gorgeous because they re-issue some of their watches from the 60s and 70s. I can't think of a single modern Tag I'd want in my collection - even the "ana-digi" Tags are less desirable than the ones from other companies... And don't get me started on the French Champagne and canvas bag company that bought Tag in 1999... But I digress).
So this watch is either a pre-Heuer Leonidas (from the 40's), or a Leonidas made recently after the Heuer purchase (50's, possibly 60's). I really can't tell. If anyone has seen this watch before, or can provide more information about its origins, year of manufacture, or anything else, it would be appreciated - just post it to the comments section and I'll edit the post to add.
Based on the hand placement and approximate year of manufacture, I would guess this has a Valjoux 72 in it. I haven't opened the watch up yet to confirm. The three registers are a second hand register (at 9), a thirty minute register for the chronograph (at 3), and a 12 hour register for the chronograph (at 6). The second hand acts as the chronograph second hand register, and stays at 12 when the chronograph is not in use. Many, many watches have a similar register pattern - the Omega Speedmaster, the Rolex Daytona, etc., though they may have used other movements (the Daytona famously was based on a modified Zenith el primero movement). I doubt the movement in my watch is a Zenith, though that would be an amazing find.
The minute register "clicks" into place, rather than sweeping, making it very easy to read. The watch also has tachymeter markings (in blue) and telemeter markings (in red) around the outside of the dial. The tachymeter is used to determine conversion of distance to speed, based on the time it takes for travelling one unit of distance. For example, you would start the chronograph at a mile marker on the road, stop the chronograph at the next mile marker, and read the tachymeter dial. It would tell you how fast you were going, in miles per hour. By using a km marker instead of a mile marker, you would find out how fast you were going in km/hr. You can use it for any unit of distance - for example, if you were measuring parsecs, it would tell you how many parsecs you were travelling per hour. Unfortunately, it only works for distances travelled in 60 seconds or less, since the tachymeter marker only goes around the dial once.
The telemeter converts speed of sound into distance. Basically, you use this to determine how far the German cannons are (or, more mundanely, how far away the lightning is striking). Start the chronograph when you see the lightning; stop it when you hear the thunder. The telemeter will tell you how far away the lightning strike was, in miles. It's an approximate reading, I think it assumes the speed of light is instantaneous and the speed of sound is 330 ft/sec (which, I think, is the speed of sound at 20 degrees celcius). But I'm not entirely sure what the exact assumptions are. The only downside to the telemeter is that it gives you markings that go to 12.5 - which are easily confused with the hour hand markings, especially if there are no hour hand markings, such as on this watch (well, it does have hour hand markings for 11, 12, and 1, but that's about it). No big deal - I don't think it affects time reading, but it's a bit annoying.
Inside the telemeter register is a minute hand register with markings in arabic at 5 minute intervals, and line markings, at 20 second intervals (5 per minute).
The dial is just drop dead gorgeous. The interplay and overlap between the chrono subsidiary dials and the telemeter/minute hand registers is a work of art - it took a lot of time and effort to get this right. The minute register is amazingly fine and accurate. The hands complement the dial perfectly - simple stick hands with tapered ends for the chronograph registers; the same, with a luminescent insert, for the minute and hour hands; and a simple thin hand, extending beyond the centre of the dial, for the second hand.
The case is nice too, though nothing to write home about. The part of the case that holds the crystal, and the back of the case, are polished stainless steel; the rest (i.e. middle part) of the case also appears to be stainless steel, but not as polished (possibly cast?). The lugs are simple and functional.
The watch is complemented, I think, by the vintage Speidel stainless steel band, which is in great shape. I always thought bands like this (stretchy, spring loaded bands) would pinch, or, at the very least, catch the hairs on my wrist, but for some reason, these older ones don't. It's remarkably comfortable to wear, even on a relatively hairy wrist like mine. I might eventually replace the band with something in leather, but I haven't quite decided yet.
Anyway, there it is! My Leonidas chronograph.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
So many different ways of doing this. And yet, the answer came to me as I was, well, checking the time.
I'm going to start this "watch of the week" site with a comment on the watch I'm wearing today: A Breitling Aerospace "Repetition Minutes"
Breitling has been designing watches, primarily for marine or aviation use, since 1884. They are well known, and a bit of a "poseur" watch if you don't have a flying license. Great branding, but not all that common. The most common and well known Breitling is the Navitimer, which has a circular slide rule as a rotating bezel - so people who know how to use a slide rule can do essential flight calculations at the drop of a hat - pounds of fuel to litres, anyone?
The Breitling “flying B” is a scripted B incorporated into an anchor, having wings. This way, the Breitlings appeal to both flight professionals and sailors, though they're really more known as a flight watch. Richard Branson's solo flight around the world in a hot air baloon was sponsored by Breitling, and you don't get tougher (or more "poseur") than that... Imagine a big silver hot air balloon with BREITLING in huge letters and you'll understand what I mean.
The Breitling aerospace is one of my favorite watches, and a perfect example of an “ana-digi” watch. I've got a bit of a weakness for ana-digi watches, as you'll learn over time if you follow this site. By perfect example: it's thin, lightweight (because it is made of titanium), water resistant, and simple to use. It has an easy to read analog dial with two apertures containing digital readouts. The digital readouts can be used to display time, date, a second time zone, a countdown timer, an alarm, or a chronograph. Or, the digital readouts can be left blank. All functions are operated through the crown: rotate to change the readout from one feature to the next; press to start the chronograph, timer, or toggle the alarm; pull out to set; hold down to reset.
The watch is a “repeater” (hence the “repetition minutes” in its name) - though this isn’t as complicated a feature as it would be on a mechanical watch. Pushing down the crown in "time", "date", or "blank" mode and the watch will count off hours, quarter hours, and minutes, using three different ‘chimes’. This allows you to tell the time without looking at the watch.
The watch is a COSC certified swiss chronometer. This is a bit of a gimmick, I think, for digital watches - they're all pretty accurate. Apparently, the COSC has a different accuracy tolerance for digital watches, so these are "really, really accurate", but I've never really noticed any digital watch gaining or losing more than a second or two a month. I guess when you make expensive watches that take batteries, you need to justify it somehow - a COSC certification is one way of doing that.
The watch features an all titanium watch body and band. The band is a premium band, with a double clasp, screw-type pins, and a wetsuit extension. I really like the look of the band - something about the brushed titanium looks really good. I think it has something to do with the bevelling around each rectangular piece. Nice integration with the face, too. Only one little annoyance - it's not the most comfortable band on the planet. The curvature on the double clasp is a bit wrong for my wrist, which makes that part of the band dig into my wrist. also, the "double clasp" part tends to dig in as well. Maybe I need to adjust the links so that more are on one side?
The watch features a gray dial that is exactly the same color as the body and band (other dials, such as blue and black, were also available for this watch, but I really like the monochromatic look). The dial features green luminescent hour markings with arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9. Hands are matching with green luminescence. The two digital apertures feature greenish LCDs on a black background. The top aperture indicates the mode (CHR=chronograph; T2 = second time zone, etc.) where the bottom aperture indicates 3 sets of two numbers from 0-9. The hands are gorgeous, simple, also titanium colored (though a little lighter than the face). I love how the minute hand extends beyond the middle of the watch, but the hour hand doesn't. the tapering on the hands make for very precise reading of the minute. Hands move once every thirty seconds, or 120 times an hour.
The dial is surrounded with the characteristic Breitling rotating bezel engraved from 0-59, with inserts at 0, 15, 30 and 45, and a luminescent dot in the insert at 0. The bezel, and inserts, are all titanium (the watch was also available with gold inserts). Rotation is bidirectional. There are screws on the side of the bezel, every 5 minutes. Part of me likes the look of this (since it's very different than any other watch), but something simpler might have been nicer. The inserts on the bezel, especially the one at 12, have a tendancy to catch thin pieces of clothing, and I worry that one day I'm going to bend it or break it. Hasn't happened yet, though.
Dial is covered in a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. Mine has a tiny imperfection or scratch in the anti-reflective coating, close to the 6. I'm not sure how it got there - it was there when I bought the watch (I bought it used). I'm pretty hard on my watches, and the sapphire hasn't got a single other scratch on it, so the last owner must have banged it pretty hard to get this scratch.
Original crown, of course, marked with Breitling “B”. Not the flying wings or anchor, but just the scripted B.
Interestingly, the back of the watch contains metric conversion information purportedly useful for pilots. for example, it tells me that 2.54 cm = 1 inch, 1 cm = 0.39 inches. I guess this is a holdover from the Navitimers - I'm not sure how useful it is on this watch, since the watch doesn't have a slide rule.
Strangely, the back is a pop-off (I would expect a screw back on a watch of this quality). Probably because of the titanium - not sure how easy it is to machine a titanium screw back. Watch is considered waterproof to 50 m.
I love this watch. It's a "no excuses" watch. I can wear it anywhere - it's never "too good" (the titanium finish and the digital dials downplay it to a certain extent - no bling here); it's never "not enough" (it's a Breitling. Completely respectable in just about every circle). I can wear it in the shower, it'll wake me up in the morning (though the alarm isn't all that loud - maybe the titanium doesn't resonate as well as stainless steel?). I like the redundancy of a chronograph function and a rotating bezel. Just love this watch.