Sunday, October 29, 2023

Swatch Group ETA Mechanical Movement Alternatives

Filling Swatch Group's ETA Mechanical Movement Void
Sellita, Miyota, Soprod, and Ronda

In 2002, Nicolas Hayek, then CEO of the Swatch Group, announced its movement manufacturer, ETA, would stop supplying mechanical movements to companies outside of the 17 that are part of the Swatch Group by 2006. ETA had cornered about 75% of the Swiss Made movement and ebauche (partial movement base) market. That it created a global tsunami in the watch industry is an understatement. They had no Swiss competition to speak of. The demand for ETA's 2824-2 and 2836-2 in particular had been growing like the Australian rabbit population. The ETA 2892A2 and its variants were ubiquitous.

25 Jewel 28.8kbph high-beat ETA 2824-2

2015 Victorinox Airboss

21 Jewel 28.8kbph high-beat ETA 2892A2

2010 Movado Horwitt 38 Automatic; Date Display Not Used (hidden under dial)

2017 Glycine Airman SST with ETA 2893-2 Four-Hand GMT Variant

Hayek didn't do this to kill Swatch Group competition. His primary motive was forcing the Swiss watch industry to design and make mechanical movements. Nearly all the Swiss Made mechanical movement eggs for basic and mid-tier Swiss watches were in a single ETA basket. New mechanical movement development had been stagnant for decades since the creation of Swatch Group during the Quartz Crisis. The only companies making their own movements were high end luxury brands such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. In addition, to the consternation of Swatch Group, and high end luxury brands like Rolex plus the Richemont Group (another conglomeration of over a dozen high end brands), a good number of them were being used in Chinesium Counterfeits. Some of those movements were overstock sell-offs. An independent legitimate company might make a quantity buy from ETA, bigger than needed, to leverage on quantity discounts, knowing they could sell off the excess to others, notably in China, and come out ahead compared to buying only what they needed. The "commodity" selling of them was similar to an auction (put 'em up on a commodity marketplace and see what folks bid for them). That's one of the most common sourcing methods that was being used by the Chinesium Counterfeit dudes for their ETA movements.

A series of lawsuits in Switzerland greatly slowed ETA's plans down to a crawl. The Swiss Government listened to the rest of the Swiss industry that depended on ETA movements. Numerous independent Swiss brands were going to be left bereft of Swiss movements, threatening a sizeable piece of the Swiss watch industry. Nevertheless, ETA was allowed to begin gradually reducing movement quantities to companies outside of Swatch Group. It was designed to allow time for non-Swatch companies dependent on ETA to make or source movements from other suppliers, and give time for some other companies in Switzerland to begin making alternative movements (aka ebauches). If memory serves right, the real pinch began to hit about 2016. Some other companies -- seeing an opportunity -- began filling the void. The agreements reached between the Swiss Government and ETA, requiring them to provide some percentage of production (which was reduced every year) to firms outside the Swatch Group expired in 2019. A long time in coming compared to 2006 that ETA (and Swatch Group) had targeted. It's apparent ETA is still providing movements to others, but how many and to whom is, as far as I know, up to ETA and Swatch Group.


If my memory is still good, Sellita was the first Swiss company to fill the growing ETA void. They had been making movement components and assembling movements for ETA under contract for quite some time. The patents on ETA's mechanical movements had long run out . . . they long predated the Swiss watch industry collapse during the Quartz Revolution in the 1970's, and the formation of The Swatch Group to save major Swiss companies. Sellita was able to very rapidly tool up what little additional was needed, expand production capacity, and begin offering the SW200, a 2824-2 clone.

26 Jewel 28.8 kbph high-beat SW200-1

2020 Aristo Bauhaus Dessau 1

2009 Bulova Swiss Accutron Kirkwood

This took ETA by surprise -- they hadn't expected it. Their offerings now include nearly all of ETA's 2824 series (SW200), 2892A2 series (SW300) and 7750 (SW500) series movements with drop-in clones, including numerous variants. A couple of hiccups early on with the auto-wind on the SW200 has long since been fixed. The SW200 existed on paper in 2007 and the SW200-1 with auto-wind tooth revisions in 2008.


The second company I saw appear with an alternative was Citizen's Miyota movement company, offering their 9000 series movements. These are 28.8kbph high-beat, hacking, hand-wind, and generally well made. Reliability and durability is proving itself over time. The 9000 series has become a "Go To" for numerous independent watch makers. I have a number of pieces with a Miyota 9000 series inside.

24 Jewel 28.8kbph high-beat Miyota 9015

2013 Zavtra T-37

2015 Aragon Divemaster 9100; Miyota 9100 Variant

I have two with an 8200 series inside, and will buy no more of them. However, many indies are also using the very old design and by comparison, very cheap 8000 series movements. The Miyota 8000 series was designed decades ago for use in cheap watches made primarily for the Asian and African 3rd World markets where watch batteries are hard to come by; regions where quartz stuff is very impractical as a result. Citizen made many of these, but they're not marketed in North America. There are "hacking" variants of them, but the hacking method implemented is a wacky non-standard one, leading to the "jumping" seconds hand when used. It behooves a buyer to know what is inside that micro-brand indie watch company's offerings. Some of them obfuscate and make it difficult to find out. That always triggers my "Cheap Movement Alarm". The Miyota 9000 series isn't a clone of anything, nor is it a drop-in replacement for an ETA. The watch case must be designed for it.


Festina Group -- based in Spain with manufacturing spread over the globe, including in Switzerland -- also responded, although it took them a while, to create a mechanical movement for production by Soprod in Switzerland. Festina had acquired what became Soprod in 2008, but wasn't using them for entire mechanical movements. They have their A10 line, started in 2012, now called the M100 since 2016 (formerly A10-2), plus the C125 introduced in 2016.

25 Jewel 28.8kbph high-beat Soprod A10 (M100)

2022 Aragon Hercules Swiss Soprod (M100)

These are not clones, but very nearly a drop-in in form, fit and function, for the ETA 2892A2 and 2893-2 respectively, giving them a standard 3-hand and a 4-hand with central GMT complication. There are other variants in their C1xx line of movements. The design concept for them came from the Seiko's higher end 4L/6L movements, with some significant changes in their details to make them more ETA-like. Watchmakers familiar with the Seiko 4L/6L movements recognize the lineage in their basic structure. The A10 family and its derivatives have a number of variants with different complications. Their reputation is growing. Caliber numbering has shifted to the M100 and Cxxx. They're not drop-ins, but very nearly so. Case design modifications are very minimal. The big changes came in 2016. Acceptance and use of the Soprod movements has been growing since then. The M100 and C125 have a definite 2892A2 and 2893-2 feel to them. Footnote: Seiko's high-beat 4L and 6L movements have come and gone now.


Long a Swiss movement company, Ronda had quit making mechanicals in the mid-1980's and focused on entry and mid-tier quartz movements. They've been used in countless quartz watches. In 2016, Ronda announced it was returning to making mechanical movements with their R150, but their target date kept moving out. Finally in 2018, some of the Ronda R150 began finding their way into some indie company watches.

25 Jewel 28.8kbph Ronda R150

2022 Aragon Divemaster 42 Swiss Automatic

They're the newest player in "ETA Alternative" market. The R150 isn't an ETA 2824-2 clone, but its form, fit and function dimensions are close enough to be used as a near drop-in for the 2824-2 provided the user accounts for it being 0.2mm thinner. Stem height from its dial plane is identical, with dial and hand fitting also the same. Time will tell whether the R150 continues to gain traction. Typically a new mechanical movement must prove itself over time.

Friday, December 11, 2020

How Low Can You Go?

How Low Can You Go . . . On Your Wrist? 

The Thinnest Watch title changes hands continuously. One must also be cognizant of the qualifiers used in claims to it. Bulgari and Paiget have been locked in a Thinnest Mechanical Watch Holy War for years now. Their mechanical watches are substantially thinner than any current quartz. The single biggest limiting factor for contemporary quartz watches is the battery. The thinnest Titan quartz, in a stainless case, remains 3.6mm, while nearly all their stainless steel Edge line is 3.9mm. It’s not the thinnest quartz watch ever made. Their ceramic cased version is 4.0mm and they claim it’s the thinnest ceramic quartz watch. Note the “ceramic” qualifier.

Citizen makes the Eco-Drive One, at 3.98mm, and claims it’s the thinnest solar quartz watch, which not only has a battery limitation, it also has solar panels sandwiched under the dial.

As of 2018, the thinnest mechanical watch is Piaget’s 2mm Altiplano Ultimate Concept. That’s not just the movement, it’s the entire watch, and it's the thinnest watch in current production, quartz or mechanical, but it's still not the thinnest ever made. Originally a concept demonstration, it has recently been released for special order with options such as custom colors, etc. Bring lots of money. You’ll need it. If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. Someone will eventually shave a hundredth of a millimeter or two off of it, using some of the general design principles, and make a new claim.

Regarding quartz, the thinnest ever made occurred in 1978–1981, a feat that hasn’t been matched again for technical and technology reasons. The first salvo in the 
Thinnest Quartz Holy War was fired by Citizen with their 4.1mm Exceed Gold housing their cal. 790 movement. Thick compared to what followed, but still an ultra-thin quartz by today’s standards.

Seiko was hot on their heels unveiling a 2.5mm watch in July at Tiffany’s housing their cal. 6720 movement.

The Swiss watch industry had already taken significant blows from Japan with the quartz revolution turning their entire industry upside down. They weren’t about to be upstaged again. Enter the Concord Delerium.

  • Concord made the 1.98mm Delerium 1 in January 1979 with the ESA/ETA 999 movement using a 1.1mm Renata #32 battery. The 999 in several variants would be the basis for the Delerium that followed.
  • Seiko countered the first Delirium with a 1.79mm version containing the cal. 6720 in July 1979.
  • Six months after the first Delirium, Concord released the 1.5mm Delirium 2 in mid-1979. It is, IMO, the thinnest Concord made of practical use. (The Delirium 3 was a 1.68mm ladies.)
  • Omega made the 1.8mm Dinosaure in 1980 using their 1355 movement. They eventually reduced this to 1.48mm with their BA 191.0xxx, making only 595 of them in several variants (the last three ref # digits). I believe that to be the thinnest practical quartz made. They accomplished it in the same manner as the Delerium, by mounting the movement to the back of the case.

  • In December 1980, the Delirium 4 was introduced at 0.98mm with Renata creating a special 0.8mm battery for it.

    It was fraught with reliability problems. It may be the thinnest watch ever produced, but it had no practical use for everyday wear. Simply putting it on easily flexed the case enough to stop the movement. It was a market failure, and IMO its fragility with extremely poor reliability disqualifies it for any claim at being the thinnest ever made.
The Seiko Lassale 6720, Concord Delerium and Omega Dinosaure are all considerably thinner than the Titan Edge. Servicing them was an expensive nightmare, including battery changes. In addition to the case flex problem, which could be mitigated now with modern materials, the limiting factor is obtaining a battery for a quartz this thin. In 1979–1980, Renata created the 333, a special, very thin, small diameter 2V Lithium cell for the movements used in all these Delirium and Dinosaure. It has long since gone out of production without any replacement. Silver Oxide cells cannot be made that thin. No battery maker is interested in making an ultra-thin coin or button Lithium battery in a small enough diameter for a watch movement, in a package allowing it to be easily handled and replaced every 18 months, i.e. similar to current Ag2O and Li-MnO2 button and coin cells. There’s no profit to be made in it, and it would take much too long to recoup their development and production setup costs. I don’t know what battery Citizen used in their 1979–1981 ultra-thin. The Seiko 6720 uses a TR709SW. All sources I know, including watchmaker supply houses, state watches with that caliber must be sent to Seiko for battery replacement. I’ve not been able to find reliable information on the battery for the Citizen 790.

If you can't afford a Piaget Altiplano Ultimate Concept, or the lower cost (by an order of magnitude) Citizen Eco-Drive One, Citizen's 4.7mm Eco-Drive Stiletto - in a variety of case finish and dial styles - at $150-$200 street price might be the ticket for you. It, and the Eco-Drive One have one major advantage over all the other quartz, including the 3.6mm Titan. You don't need to pop it open every 18 months to drop in a new battery, which risks destroying their paper thin circuit boards.

I have no connection whatsoever with any watch manufacturer, past or present, including all those mentioned herein.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Bauhaus Watch Design


Bauhaus Signet adopted in 1921 (Do you see the profile?)

Bauhaus (full name, Staatliches Bauhaus)

Bauhaus was a German art school founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar and operated from 1919-1933, when the newly formed Nazi government shut it down. In 1925, Gropius moved the school to Dessau, its most famous location, where it remained open until 1932.
Bauhaus Dessau - photo by Spyrosdrakopoulos - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Gropius fled Germany to Britain in 1934, eventually emigrating to the US in 1937. There he created the International style of architecture for government, industrial and commercial buildings. Mies van der Rohe, another founder, who set up a school in Berlin, also fled Germany when Bauhaus was closed, and moved to Chicago, heading the School of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the Second Chicago School of architectural style. He and Gropius had the same minimalist concept of plain functional design with simple form following pure function without any ornamental adornment. The buildings they designed have strong visual similarities.

Watch Design

Bauhaus influence on watch graphic design continues a century later. During its period of German popularity from 1918-1933 in Weimar Era Germany, a number of watch makers incorporated the Bauhaus style into the graphic designs of their watches. These carried into the Nazi era until WWII began in September 1939 when watch production shifted to supporting the war effort.
Aristo Bauhaus Dessau 1; caliber ETA 2824-2 Automatic
The style is still seen today in its functional simplicity, with plain hour indices and thin pencil hands. Among German watch companies continuing to make Bauhaus designs from their past is Aristo in Pforzheim, one of the major watchmaking regions in Germany before WWII.
Aristo 7001H8; caliber ETA (Peseux) 7001 Hand Wind
Stowa is in Engelsbrand a few kilometers south of Pforzheim. Both have a long history in the region.
Stowa Antea Hand Wind
Stowa's classic is a recreation of their Weimar Era Antea, but it isn't the only Bauhaus style they offer.

The most widely known Bauhaus dial and hands graphic design came much later, after WWII in 1962, by Max Bill in Switzerland, having studied Bauhaus at the Dessau school from 1924-1927.
Max Bill Handaufzug; caliber J805.1 (ETA 2801-2) Hand Wind
Max Bill's designs came at the behest of Junghans, who asked him to design a series of clocks and watches for them. The original vintage clocks, if they're in excellent condition, go for a princely sum. New ones don't come cheap either.

NOMOS Glashütte, is a latecomer. Located in Glashütte, Saxony, formerly in East Germany (aka DDR), the company was founded in the traditional Glashütte watchmaking region two months after the Berlin wall was toppled.
NOMOS Tangente Hand Wind
The entire watchmaking industry there had been nationalized by the East German Soviet puppet Communists into the state owned VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe. With the fall of East Germany, NOMOS could employ watchmaking expertise now freed from their oppresive Communist dictatorship shackles.

Another newcomer is Laco, which has its roots in Pforzheim, established there in 1925.
Laco Vintage Automatic
Following WWII, Laco, which also founded the Durowe movement company, wasn't very successful in reestablishing itself and was sold to Timex in 1959, which was interested in its Durowe movements. In the mid-1960's, Timex sold the company to a Swiss watchmaking firm who wanted their Durowe movements. The Quartz Revolution took its toll and the company folded with its Swiss parent. During the 1980's they were resurrected and continued for a while with spurts of success, but collapsed again in 2009. After a brief period under Kienzle ownership, they they went under again with Kienzle's bankruptcy. Laco restarted again in 2010 with less than a dozen employees. Since then they've put together a modest watch line, including the Vintage and Wittenberg in traditional Bauhaus style.

Frederique Constant, a Swiss company founded in 1988 by a Dutch couple with the brand now owned by Citizen since 2016, entered the Bauhaus market within their Slimline collection.
Slimline FC-306G4S6; caliber FC-306 Automatic
They're one of the few more affordable Swiss Made mechanical with their own in-house movements, versus relying on ETA or Sellita for them. In addition, there are quartz models at extremely affordable prices.

Other watchmaking companies outside Europe, such as Orient, Japan's #2 watch company in prestige just behind Seiko, have adopted the style in their pieces. Some are in the version three of their second generation Bambino line.
Orient 2nd Gen v3 Bambino; caliber F6722 Automatic
Most recently, their new Maestro line is a Bauhaus style with very narrow hour and minute obelisk hands, a plain needle seconds hand, and no lume on hands or dial.
Orient Maestro on aftermarket Milanese; caliber F6722 Automatic
How do you know if a watch is "Bauhaus"? There's no absolute rigid definition, or they would all look completely identical. After seeing a number of prime exemplars, and the style of their hour indices, the style of their hands, and the style of arabic number font used (those with them) with how they're laid out on the dial, you will know one when you see it. These aren't the only brands and models, there are others.

Form follows function, Bauhaus' basic tenet.

Walter Gropius, 1919; photo by Louis Held
Bauhaus' founder, Walter Gropius, probably had little idea his concepts would be so widely used in wrist watch graphic design a century after he created his school in Germany.

I have no connection with Aristo, Stowa, Junghans, NOMOS Glashütte, Laco, Frederique Constant, or Orient, and have not received anything from them, or from any distributors, dealers or sellers of them in compensation or consideration for my remarks here.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Tool Watch Doesn't Have to Look Like a Tool

Aragon 45mm Divemaster Automatic
SII NH36A: 21.6 kbph 24j automatic with day/date complication

  • Reference #: A064BLU
  • Also offered in lime green and purple dials, and in a larger 50mm size
  • Mfr. year: 2016; current model and currently available
  • Case diameter: 45mm (without crown or crown guard)
  • Dial diameter: 30.5mm
  • Case thickness: 17mm
  • Lug-to-lug length: 50mm
  • Lug width: 22mm
  • Stainless steel case, crown, and back
  • Crystal: flat K1 hardened mineral glass
  • Back: Screw on with mineral glass display window
  • Bracelet: 4mm thick solid SS links, 22mm wide at lugs with no tapering
  • Clasp: signed double push-button z-fold with safety
  • Weight: 234 grams (with all bracelet links)
  • Movement: Seiko Instruments NH36A 21.6kbph mid-beat automatic with day/date complication and 42 hr power reserve
  • Diashock shock protection (per SII and Seiko specs)
  • Crown: screw-down 3 position push-pull for winding, quickset day & date, and time setting
  • Water resistance: 200 meters
  • Dial: Blue sunburst centered on the central hands with day/date window at 3.
  • Hands: Polished silver broadsword minute hand, short arrowhead hour hand, and dark red needle pointer seconds hand
  • Hour markers: Raised bold, broad batons at 3-6-9-12, and discs at the other hours
  • Lume: Hour and minute hands filled with lume along with the hour markers and a pip in the 0/60 minute wedge on the bezel ring
About Aragon Watch:
Aragon is a rebranding by OKO International in 2015 of what had been their Android brand of watches, founded in 1991 by Wing Liang. The trademarking of "Android" by both Wing (OKO Int'l) and Google wasn't a problem for some years as Wing made watches and Google made an operating system for cell phones. It's not that uncommon for a name to have multiple trademark holders so long as they're in different business and product sectors that prevents public confusion about who the trademark represents. The problem arose when electronics firms began designing and making "smart watches" using and/or interfacing with Google's Android O/S. Now both companies were in the business of watchmaking and both using "Android" related to watches would not work. The pragmatic solution for Wing was reaching an agreement with Google (et alia) and rebranding his watch line with a new name, Aragon. If there seems to be a strong resemblance in style between Android and Aragon watches, they have the same designer, Wing Liang. The Divemaster Automatic is one of six models that launched his new brand name in December 2015.

The 30.5mm diameter dial is a single layer with ultra-fine sunburst pattern radiating from its center. It's plenty large enough to see well without impinging on the width of the rotating dive timing bezel. The Aragon name and other labeling, along with the minute track is printed on it. A nice frame surrounds the day and date window. The broad, bold baton and disc hour markers stand proud from the dial. The long polished broadsword minute hand is beveled slightly which aids in maintaining visibility under different lighting directions. The bold and short arrowhead hour hand prevents any confusion between it and the minute hand, which is important for divers timing their dives. The central seconds hand is a fine pointer style in dark red, which provides significant color contrast to keep it from getting lost on the dial. Overall it has a simplicity that makes it very easy to read under all types of lighting without looking empty.

The 120-click rotating timing bezel in the same background color as the dial is smooth, firm and precise without any slop or lash, and it's unidirectional, as a dive timing bezel should be for safety reasons. It takes some definite torque to turn it, without any undue force required, which is also a Good Thing for divers. It's not going to accidentally get rotated very easily. The width of the bezel is in good proportion to the watch head and dial diameters, with nice bold, easy to read numbers and tick marks.

In a shade of blue slightly darker than the one commonly used in the Androids, the overall dial, hands and bezel design and layout get high marks for their unambiguous legibility.

The brushed finish bracelet has solid machined links, including the end links that attach to the watch head and integrate very smoothly with the lugs. Clasp is a signed double pushbutton Z-fold with a safety and three holes for micro-adjustment of the bracelet length. While it's not machined steel, the clasp is very heavy gauge sheet metal. It's not going to flex or bend, even with some harsh use. Closure is firm and solid, including the safety. Links are held together with industry standard "split pins" and the links have arrows on the backside showing the direction in which to remove them. At 4mm thick and 22mm wide without any taper, the bracelet has enough heft to counterbalance the watch head.

Movement under the dial is the SII NH36A, a caliber number SII and TMI use instead of the 4R36A caliber number Seiko Watch Company uses when they put the same movement inside Seiko branded watches. This 24 jewel, 21.6 kbph mid-beat is an evolution of the 23j 7S36, that includes hand-wind and hacking capability, and has the same ~42 hour power reserve with full wind. Even though the NH36A/4R36A is a relatively new movement, its design is based on a very mature and proven workhorse. In spite of the display back, it's undecorated, a "feature" that's pretty to look at and raises the manufacturing price of the movement (and hence, the watch), but doesn't contribute anything to reliability, durability, precision or accuracy. The one small nit I have with this watch is the Aragon logo and other data printed onto the display glass. Wing used to etch it into the steel frame around the display glass on the case back. Even though I used to sit and stare at the test pattern on TV as a young child (you have to be old enough to remember the test patterns - from when broadcast TV stations signed off the air at night for several hours), I don't stare at running watch movements, although a running balance is pleasing to watch for a short bit, so it's not anything significant. I did notice the back has holes for a case back wrench with round pins, and these are right in the middle of where the serial number and other watch data would be etched. The back wrench is less likely to slip out of these holes compared to the traditional shallow, rectangular edge notches found on most wristwatch backs. If that was the design trade-off, I'll go with the round pin holes for the case back wrench.

The Aragon logo in the signed screw-down crown is filled with red paint, a nice touch. The proportionally sized crown has good knurling with just a touch of radius added so that it doesn't feel jagged, allowing it to be screwed down, unscrewed and manipulated easily for winding and setting the watch, even with the ample crown guards around it. This is facilitated by the offset position of the crown relative to the crown guard. This offset allows it to be turned more easily and provides it with greater protection from above the watch, the most likely direction from which a blow to the crown would occur.

At 45mm diameter and 17mm thick, the watch head is not small, even though there are much larger watches now. It can still fit small wrists well in spite of its diameter with a 50mm lug-to-lug length that's not much longer than the main watch body diameter. The short lugs curve downward rapidly toward the wrist and away from the watch head, allowing the watch to wear "smaller" than its physical size. I have a 6-7/8 inch wrist (17.5 cm), which is not that large. This 45mm Divemaster fits on it quite easily without completely filling it, more easily than a couple slightly smaller diameter watches I have with longer, more horizontal lugs. It also fits under my dress shirt cuffs without any trouble, even with its 17mm height (your mileage may vary depending on how tight your shirt cuffs are).

Lume is very bright with excellent persistence. The bezel ring has a lume pip in the middle of its index wedge. The hour indices are filled with lume making them bold and very visible. Likewise, the centers of the hour and minute hands are filled with lume, making them bold as well. The hands are slightly brighter than the hour indices and bezel pip, making them stand out more and keeping them from being lost visually in the rest of the lume.

Even though it's rated to 200m, I strongly recommend having it depth tested by a competent watchmaker equipped to do so before using it for diving. After that it should depth tested at least every two years as long as it continues to be used for diving. This is a sound safety practice not just for this watch, but for all watches and dive computers regardless of brand, depth rating, or water resistance reputation, if they're being used for diving.

In summary, the Aragon 45mm Divemaster Automatic is an attractive watch that maintains the traditional diving tool watch style, elements and principles: bold and highly legible hands, indices and timing bezel markings. It's comfortable on the wrist, even a smaller wrist, in spite of its size and mass compared to many other watches. It's an excellent model in Wing's relaunch of his watch business under the new brand name. Divemaster is a very fitting model name as it shows Wing's mastery of dive watch design. It demonstrates a functional tool watch doesn't have to look like it's just a tool; it can also be visually very attractive with style and class.

I have no affiliation, association or financial interest with the Aragon Watch brand owned by OKO International, its predecessor brand, Android, or any of their distributors or dealers.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Black Pearl on a Cushion

Android Parma 9015 Automatic
Miyota 9015 28.8 kbph 24j Automatic

  • Reference #​: AD658BK
  • Diameter (W/O crown): 46mm
  • Dial Diameter: 35mm
  • Case Thickness: 13mm
  • Lug to Lug Length:55mm
  • Lug Width: 24mm
  • Weight (with all links): 280g
  • 316L Stainless Steel Case
  • Screw down case back with hardened mineral glass display window
  • Slightly domed hardened mineral glass crystal
  • Cyclops on underside of crystal over date window
  • 5mm thick 316L stainless steel bracelet with solid end links
  • Solid bracelet links with unique rectangular hole traversed by a steel dowel
  • Miyota caliber 9015: 24j 28.8kbph high-beat auto with quickset date, hand wind and hack
  • Miyota Parashock shock protection
  • Screw down crown with sunburst in lieu of Android logo
  • Water Resistance: 200m / 660 ft
  • Partially lumed skeleton broadsword hour and minute hands
  • Black mother of pearl dial with lumed hour indices

A brush finish case set off by a polished mirror finish bezel houses a Miyota 9015 high-beat movement. Its cushion shape makes the watch appear larger than its actual dimensions. Steep falloff of the lugs and end links allow it to fit smaller wrists.

The cyclops over the date window is on its underside, giving the date display greater legibility, and the very slightly domed crystal mitigates glare. The signed spiral knurled screw-down crown has plenty of grip without sharp or rough edges, extending sufficiently beyond the crown guards when unscrewed to be easily manipulated for winding, day/date quickset and time setting.

The Miyota movment's high beat rate is readily apparent in the smoother sweep of the second hand compared to mid-beat and standard beat movements. The movement is decorated with Geneva stripes on its bridges and a fine sunburst brush on its rotor. An idiosyncrasy of the Miyota 9015 is its unidirectional auto-wind. Most auto-wind movements are bidirectional which requires additional mechanics in the auto-winding mechanism (Seiko uses an eccentric wheel and a twin-pawl lever), but unidirectional aren't rare either. Miyota's auto-wind have remained unidirectional. The rotor only winds the movement in one direction and freewheels in the other. In a watch this massive it's very unlikely you'll ever feel or hear this (as some do with the ETA [Valjoux] 7750 chrono movement), nor should it make any difference in keeping the watch wound through normal wear, even office workers that work mostly at a desk. It does make a difference if you're using a watch winder, which will need to be set to wind (spin the watch) clockwise, the opposite of what you'd set it for to wind a Miyota 82XX series movement.

Each of the long and broad hour indices is filled with lume, the one at the three slightly smaller to accommodate the date window. The semi-skeleton hands are lumed at the tips and are slightly brighter, making them visually prominent among the bold hour indices.

The standout graphic design feature of this Parma 9015 is its black mother of pearl dial. Light plays off the dial with subtle metallic pastels in blue, green, pink and purple, constantly shifting as the lighting angle changes. Wing uses real mother of pearl, making each dial in the Parma 9015 MOP a subtle one-of-a-kind.

I have no affiliation, association or financial interest with the Android Watch brand owned by OKO International, its successor brand, Aragon, or any of their distributors or dealers.

Swatch Group ETA Mechanical Movement Alternatives

Filling Swatch Group's ETA Mechanical Movement Void Sellita, Miyota, Soprod, and Ronda In 2002, Nicolas Hayek, then CEO of the Swatch Gr...