December 3, 2005

Breitling and analog-digital

For a long time I’ve lusted after a Breitling B-1 watch:

B1B1

A TimeZone review is here. It’s a nice analog-digital combo, but vastly overpriced at 3,000USD or so. Hard to justify unless readable with night vision goggles’ is a must-have for you.So that’s right out. That’s just waaaay too much money for an (admittedly nice) quartz watch. Here are some of the alternatives I’ve found so far:

timextimex

This is a Timex, which I’ve seen in person - reasonably nice, super cheap ($70 list!) and you can turn off the digital for a cleaner appearance. Timex has never had the austere simplicity of a Seiko, but it ain’t bad and the price is right. Then there’s the Orient CVZ00002J:

OrientOrient

Much better. More readable face, good luminosity, better hands, very readable. 100 to 150USD. (Roachman has it for sale.; you can also find it for about 100 on ebay) Does not have a backlight for the digital portion, alas. (See the comments for Hari’s nice take on this as well!) Note that, on ebay, one seller lists this as model CVZ00002J0. I’m unsure which is correct. The image above is a link to this review.

On that review thread, someone mentions that Citizen now has something similar, the Citizen Wingman VI. Now, I have a Citizen flight watch, the Navihawk Blue Angels:

NBANBA

It’s nice, and was the apple of my eye for a couple of years, but it has some annoying limitations - there’s no backlight and no lume, you can’t read it at night! However, the new Eco-drive version does. After searching for a while, I found two models of it:

(Images are links to the reseller I found, about 300USD each) Not bad. It has a backlight now, though the hands are a bit thin and the face is still harder to read than I’d like. Still and all, getting better. (See Hari’s comment - he likes his quite a lot) Then there’s the Omega X-33:

X33X33

(TimeZone review here.) Solves all the problems, has multiple timers (very nice for things like flight time, time per tank, leg time, etc) and an alarm loud enough to be heard while flying. Even has a backlight!Too bad it costs, erp, 2600 USD. Well, so much for that idea.

Conclusions

If you’ve got the cash, get the Omega. The Citizen is well priced, usable and just not quite right. I’d probably lean towards the Orient for close-enough and cheapness.

And I really like the Orient in blue. Very nice aesthetics.

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