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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am looking for my first quality timepeice and I have a thread in the affordable watches section of this sight. However I have been thinking about mechanical/automatic watches and wonder if they are a good first choice for a watch newbie. In my other post I mentioned that I wanted a watch that I did not have to think about or worry about, "set it and forget it". Then I got to thinking that it is no big deal to adjust the watch 1 min a week if I have to. I also got to thinking about who I am as a person and how I live my life....for example.....I shave with DE razor, brush, and shave soap. I have a simple car with no power windows and no heated seats, etc. I have a tv from 1995. I am the guy who wants value for money and is the "if it ain't broke don't fit it" type of person. That being said, I would like advice please. Here is what I think I want:

price: up to $250
black dial, case, and band
lighted/glow in the dark numbers & hands
brand does not matter
want something that is going to last and be a joy to wear, not just something that "just tells time" and is "lifeless"
I am legally blind in both eyes (visually impaired) so must be easy to read
no chronograph, can not see those tiny dials
this will be an everyday watch and I wear casual clothes

I was wondering if this was a good watch brand and value for the money:
http://www.amazon.com/Stuhrling-Ori...1_17?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319079390&sr=1-17

Thank you for the advice and help. I do not make this kind of purchase for myself so I want to do this right and finally treat myself to a quality timepiece. I am use to Walmart watches and Timex is the most expensive watch I have ever owned.
 

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Theres no doubting you could get quite a nice quartz/eco drive watch in that price range from Seiko/Citizen. They'll keep excellent time and besides adjusting the date 5 times a year you prob wont ever need to touch it. Also you should be able to pick up a nice dressy Seiko 5, its an automatic day/date watch. If you wear it every day or every second day you should be fine and would prob hardly ever need to adjust this watch either. I love mechanicals, and I prob wouldnt buy another quartz watch again, so i'd lean towards getting an auto. Given your price range it is unlikely you'll have a broad selection when it comes to mechanicals so best you decide which one you'd prefer. I have a Seiko 5 military which has quite a large dial, great lume on the hour markers and hands and 100m water resistance, but with a canvas strap cant really be considered a "nice" watch you'd wear on all occasions. Happy shopping
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
do mechanical/automatic watches need "tuneups" so often to keep then running like they should?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
being a newbie, which brands are worth buying in my budget? When you see a watch on Amazon with a price that looks too good to be true....is it? There is a watch that I like (its looks, know nothing of the brand) that they say is $600 retail but they are selling for under $200, something does not sound right. :)
 

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I understand Seiko 5s go a long time without servicing but yes it is usually a good idea to get autos serviced every 5 years or so. Given the cost of a Seiko 5 online theres no point really..if after 10 years it stopped it'd be cheaper to buy another one. You could pick up a black dial/strap seiko 5 military online for about 100USD...less if you dont need one with 100m water resistance
 

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The one you posted in the first post isn't a brand particularly known for great quality or value.

I echo the recommendations that the other made. Seiko and Orient are safe choices.
For example:
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-Mens-Wa...GK5K/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1319169604&sr=8-3

As for servicing -- it is recommended to service an automatic movement every 5 years, but given the amount you are spending, it probably isn't worth it considering the cost of service would be around $100+. It would probably be less to replace the whole movement. There have been plenty of people reporting that their Seiko has been going strong even after 10 years without service.
 

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I don't know what it would cost to find an aftermarket PVD case 007 but Seiko divers are amazingly readable and they definitely have the "glow in the dark" department covered.
 

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I don't know what it would cost to find an aftermarket PVD case 007 but Seiko divers are amazingly readable and they definitely have the "glow in the dark" department covered.
That's my suggestion as well. Or, if you want something a bit more contemporary, a Seiko Monster might float your boat. Same movement as the 007, but a less traditional look.

Check out Long Island Watch for both models, plus some other ideas as well. Seiko Watches - Hard to find Seiko Automatic Watches
 

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That's my suggestion as well. Or, if you want something a bit more contemporary, a Seiko Monster might float your boat. Same movement as the 007, but a less traditional look.

Check out Long Island Watch for both models, plus some other ideas as well. Seiko Watches - Hard to find Seiko Automatic Watches
I'm thinking mostly about the "legally blind" thing. The Monster is brighter, but that stubby little hour hand might not be the best for someone in OP's condition. The 007 is magnificently readable at a glance and has the same lume as a Monster, just a little bit less of it.
 

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To the OP:

If you want set and forget I suggest a Citizen Ecodrive with perpetual calendar.

This one does not have a perpetual calendar but has everything else on your list: easy to read, big numbers and hands with lume, black dial and strap. It’s also made of Titanium. So it’s light and anti-allergic. It even has an unscratchable sapphire crystal. And it is well within your price range.
http://www.basictime.com/index.php?plugin=Products&id=221&title=citizen-eco-drive-sapphire-titanium-leather-bm7081-01e

However, if you want total set and forget you should choose a perpetual calendar and a watch with a metal bracelet. Leather bracelets don’t take well to water and sweat. If you wear the watch every day and this is your only watch the leather strap will be ugly within a year and totally shot within two years. A metal strap is good forever. It also makes it easy to give the watch a quick brushing with a soft brush to clean the wrist cheese that accumulates over time.

This would be it:
http://www.basictime.com/index.php?plugin=Products&id=202&title=citizen-ecodrive-perpetual-sapphire-steel-bl1240-59e
It is made of steel instead of titanium but that’s alright, too. It will just make it a bit heavier.

The only problem is that if you are legally blind it will be really hard to read the date on both watches. For that you would need a watch with either a big date or you would need a loupe over the date, like Rolex has it.

If then you could even get a radio-controlled watch that you don’t even need to set, it would be perfect. Citizen has such watches but they are around $350.

So that would be the total set and forget option.

In the mechanical category you have to consider that, yes, these watches do need maintenance performed every 5-10 years. However, I have heard of Seiko 7s26 movements (and thus likely also its successor 7s36) being capable of running for twenty years without a service. Very hardy watches. Cheap to boot. This movement is usually in the Seiko 5 series and the watches start at $70. The movement also sometimes has a day/date display. Question again is if you can read it.

I myself own this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SNZH53-Automatic-Stainless-Steel/dp/B0041LG08U/ref=sr_1_18?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319162343&sr=1-18

It has a blue dial but also exists with a black dial (SNZH55). Excellent readability and lume. You can get it adjusted by a watchmaker to run within chronometer specs. If you shop around you can get it for under $150. It is easy to switch the metal bracelet for any strap you like. Through the see-through case back you can look at the rotor spinning. Nice.

Here is another link where you can see it close up and compare models:
http://www.roachman.com/seiko/automatic/SNZH55.html

And a source to buy it for $152. I don’t know this particular source from personal experience. So this is not a recommendation, just to show you can get it at that price.
http://www.sports-watch-store.com/snzh55k1-snzh55-seiko-5-sports-mens-automatic-divers-watch/

You will find good info on the SNZH series on the forum.
J

If you want the entire watch to be black, it would have to be a PVD-coated watch or one made of a plastic material. It is important to know that PVD will wear off and that good PVD that lasts longer is not often found on watches in that price range. So I’d refrain from looking at anything with PVD coating, especially considering your honorably conservative mindset. If you still want an all black watch with good readability look at the Traser brand.

That Stuhrling is probably not half bad in terms of case and strap. But I bet it contains a Miyota 8215. I got one of those, too. Wouldn’t recommend it. The Seiko 7s36 will be much better out of the box and can be regulated better, too. And it’s the same price.

 

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Why buy a quartz if you can buy automatic, i mean like i quartz dont get me wrong, but the ease of not having to change the battery is a luxury to me at least!
 

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Why buy a quartz if you can buy automatic, i mean like i quartz dont get me wrong, but the ease of not having to change the battery is a luxury to me at least!
my thoughts exactly
 

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Raketa made some watches designed for those with impaired vision like this "Big 0" and they are now desirable among collectors, and not just because of the impaired vision side of things. The company had since released new versions of this and not made a point of the ease of reading side of it. Picture by member NHT.

 

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Whether a mechanical watch is a good idea for a newbie or not really depends on what you are looking for in a watch. Mechanical watches are enjoyed by many watch collectors because the technology hails from another time and represents a big chapter in the history of watch making. For some mechanical watches are easier to understand and visualize than a battery powered quartz timed watch. There are downsides to a mechanical watch: Very short power reserve measured in a couple of days vs years for quartz watches; Accuracy measured in seconds per day vs seconds per month or year for quartz; Cost of maintenance is higher.

All watches, whether mechanical, quartz or tuning fork use an oscillating device to track the passage of time and allow the hands to adance at a steady rate. They are all inanimate devices devoid of a soul or life, regardless of the blather put out by some makers of mechanical watches. Apply power to them and they run...that's it.

Because you are legally blind and have only limited vision I think that you should use battery or solar cell powered quartz watches. Look at the offerings from Seiko and Citizen. A close relative has severe macular degeneration and uses the Timex Easy Readers. Good looking but not high fashion and most importantly they allow him to tell time. The Stuhrling would be a poor choice for many reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thank you to each and everyone of you for this great help and advice. :) I was born with optic atrophy and have been this way all my life. I can see but I am typing this while sitting 6-12 inches from a 22 inch monitor. I used 10X prism reading glasses to read normal print in short bursts.....this is all to give you and idea of what I am dealing with. I find that reverse contrast works better for me and that bright items like a chrome watch case blind me when light hits it......that is why I wanted all black. I did not think of the issue about the coating wearing off over time and that makes a lot of sense. I will take your advice and stick to those well made brands such as Citizen and Seiko. I am wearing a Timex watch right now, I do not NEED this nicer timepeice, I simply WANT one and want to treat myself to a quality watch for once in my life. My Timex works just fine, but some how it is "just a watch" to me and I want something I can enjoy and be proud of......that has value to me so to speak. I am not in any way set against getting a SS non-black watch....I just thought it would make it easier to see, but then again you are reading the dial....not the band. :) I like the idea of having a working mechanical machine on your arm in wearing an automatic watch but unsure if I like the idea of having it "tuned up" maybe in time. I kinda like the "set it and forget it" idea of a quartz watch.....I mean seriously.....once the newness of the automatic watch wears off, how often will I really be looking at the movement though the caseback.....and with my eyes can I really see it anyway? :) Just thoughts to consider. If I just want to simply tell time, I could just use my cell phone as a talking pocket watch, but I want something nice for myself for a change, so it is not just about being able to tell time for me. Thank you for the help. :)

By the way, what is this Kinetic watch? Is this similar to an automatic in that it uses arm motion to turn a weighted wheel which in turn provides power for a quartz watch thus not needing a battery? :)

If I buy an automatic watch or a kinetic, do I also need a watch winder? This will add to the cost of the watch. :)
 

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s1mp13m4n,

It would be rather difficult for us to really understand how your vision is, and then extrapolate what we would consider as a suitable, easy-to-read watch that works for you. It's like one of the Buddhist principles: I can spend hours describing to you the temperature of a glass of water, but until you take a sip yourself, you won't ever know: for us we can't take that sip. Nevertheless, let me try to address to some of your questions.

Apart from auto-wind mechanical watches, there are many hand-wind ones too; for me I actually prefer them as I can wind them every day and be assured that they will keep running, without having to worry about the main spring running down. Automatic watches uses a weighted rotor to do the winding, and as long as you are moving around, the rotor motion would keep the main spring topped up. Of course, once you put it down, the watch would just run on the power held by the main spring.

Most auto watches should have effective enough system to make it run for the rest of the day if you wear it for a few hours to wind it, but that varies a fair bit; since I have more than a couple of watches to rotate, it would be a bit silly to get a watch winder to keep the automatics running, this explains why I prefer hand-wind watches: the Raketa I showed you is a hand-wind, they made a white-on-black dial version some time ago but appears to be hard to find, and the new ones would blow your budget somewhat.

Seiko's Kinetic watches (and similar ones) also uses the same rotor method but it runs a little electric generator, topping up the charge in a storage device like a capacitor or rechargeable battery, and the electric charge runs what is basically a regular quartz movement. Some Kinetics have problems with the capacitor developing faults after a period of time, which would make them unable to hold sufficient charge, but I do not know if this problem has been rectified.

Citizen's Eco-Drive (and similar) system is, for all intent and purpose, a quartz watch with a rechargeable battery charged by solar panels. This cuts down on the need for mechanical parts, and is not as much of a hybrid like the Kinetic system; for practical use I actually think it is a bit better.

Certainly, some Eco-Drive watches are very legible, with white-on-black dials and such. But when it comes to the crunch, I suppose legibility would be the determining issue, and then you can see if what type of movement can bring you the best enjoyment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
s1mp13m4n,

It would be rather difficult for us to really understand how your vision is, and then extrapolate what we would consider as a suitable, easy-to-read watch that works for you. It's like one of the Buddhist principles: I can spend hours describing to you the temperature of a glass of water, but until you take a sip yourself, you won't ever know: for us we can't take that sip. Nevertheless, let me try to address to some of your questions.

Apart from auto-wind mechanical watches, there are many hand-wind ones too; for me I actually prefer them as I can wind them every day and be assured that they will keep running, without having to worry about the main spring running down. Automatic watches uses a weighted rotor to do the winding, and as long as you are moving around, the rotor motion would keep the main spring topped up. Of course, once you put it down, the watch would just run on the power held by the main spring.

Most auto watches should have effective enough system to make it run for the rest of the day if you wear it for a few hours to wind it, but that varies a fair bit; since I have more than a couple of watches to rotate, it would be a bit silly to get a watch winder to keep the automatics running, this explains why I prefer hand-wind watches: the Raketa I showed you is a hand-wind, they made a white-on-black dial version some time ago but appears to be hard to find, and the new ones would blow your budget somewhat.

Seiko's Kinetic watches (and similar ones) also uses the same rotor method but it runs a little electric generator, topping up the charge in a storage device like a capacitor or rechargeable battery, and the electric charge runs what is basically a regular quartz movement. Some Kinetics have problems with the capacitor developing faults after a period of time, which would make them unable to hold sufficient charge, but I do not know if this problem has been rectified.

Citizen's Eco-Drive (and similar) system is, for all intent and purpose, a quartz watch with a rechargeable battery charged by solar panels. This cuts down on the need for mechanical parts, and is not as much of a hybrid like the Kinetic system; for practical use I actually think it is a bit better.

Certainly, some Eco-Drive watches are very legible, with white-on-black dials and such. But when it comes to the crunch, I suppose legibility would be the determining issue, and then you can see if what type of movement can bring you the best enjoyment.
Thank you so very much with this great advice, care, and help. I certainly understand what you are saying because I could try and help you understand what I see but until you could see through my eyes....well it just would not make sense. :) I can give you numbers such as what I had at last checkup which were 20/300left and 20/400 right....but again without seeing it....it does not help much. I also do not have depth perception. :) The good news is that I can still see and you know what....it could be worse, but it isn't...therefor I am thankful.
I have been looking at the brands of watches listed above and I like a few Seiko and a Citizen so far. The plan is to wear the watch daily, not to switch off watches from a collection that I do not have. I do not have that kind of money yet I would enjoy having a small collection to choose from. This would be my everyday watch. In that case I guess a watch winder for an automatic that I would wear everyday would not be needed....or a kinetic for that matter. My goal is to buy something that will last and that I can be proud of. I have saved up for this and want to treat myself to something nice.....as I live in a fixed income because of my eyes. Here are some watches that I am looking at:
Citizen Eco-Drive


Seiko SKA427P1
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-Mens-Wa...IO1G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1319311527&sr=8-1


Seiko SKZ285
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SKZ285-...r_1_1?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311620&sr=1-1

Stuhrling 161.33511
http://www.amazon.com/Stuhrling-Ori...r_1_1?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311660&sr=1-1

Bulova 65B114
http://www.amazon.com/Bulova-65B114...r_1_1?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311693&sr=1-1

Haurex 7K374UNN
http://www.amazon.com/Haurex-Italy-...r_1_1?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311727&sr=1-1

Seiko SNZJ41
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SNZJ41-...r_1_1?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311771&sr=1-1

Wenger Swiss Military
http://www.amazon.com/Wenger-Swiss-...r_1_9?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311491&sr=1-9

Wenger Alpine
http://www.amazon.com/Wenger-70487-...1_14?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311973&sr=1-14

Seiko SNQ007
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SNQ007-...1_21?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319311973&sr=1-21

Wenger 72326
http://www.amazon.com/Wenger-72326-...1_32?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319312137&sr=1-32

Seiko SNE107
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SNE107-...1_36?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319312217&sr=1-36

Victorinox 241333
http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Sw...1_50?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319312326&sr=1-50

Seiko SRP027K
http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-Mens-Au...1_69?s=watches&ie=UTF8&qid=1319312379&sr=1-69



Here are some watches that I have found via a fast look that I like. Now on pure looks from the pics I like the Stuhrling the best, but I have never heard of that brand and do not know if they are a quality watch. Now I am not above a normal SS band so I will have to look at those as well....I just like the all black look so the watch does not blind me while trying to read it in bright light. :) Please feel free to suggest watches as you are the ones who know what you are doing. :) Thanks for the help.
 

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It's very difficult to choose from that list because of the different movements - from standard quartz, quartz kinetic and solar, and automatic. In my opinion, in this price range, if you have a preference for automatic for the reasons previously noted I'd go with a Seiko, whichever design you prefer. Otherwise, Citizen Eco-drives are well known for their value and reliability and you have the benefit of a longer power reserve. I'd certainly choose one of them over the Sturhling which don't have the same reputation. For the same money or less there are many models to choose from. The BM8475-00X is just one example. It's more of a military design, but there are plenty of others.

 
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