Category: Hands-On Reviews

Hands-On – Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph

Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph 42mm Swiss Watch

I think it’s fair to say that any watch which replicates another instrument is a kind of gimmick. Dashboard watches come immediately to mind, as do more specific gauges like altimeters and speedometers, and even digital recreations of vintage video game consoles, and so on. Rarely do I find these gimmicks interesting or original, but the Reservoir Sonomaster Chronograph is an exception to my general disregard for such timepieces.

Hands-On – Bremont Broadsword Recon 40mm Limited Edition Military Watch

Bremont Broadsword Recon Dirty Dozen Watch

One of the problems I often have with two-piece watch cases this thick is that the sides can be super boring or, as the kids say, “slab sided.” The 40mm Broadsword case is 11.9mm tall, which is the exact same height as Tudor’s Black Bay 58, a watch I don’t buy precisely because the thing is so “slab-sided.” (The new BB54 is better, I hear, but I digress.) The Broadsword case is simply not slab-sided. It’s actually quite elegant and interesting.

Hands-On – Nodus Sector GMT Watch

nodus sector gmt

The Sector GMT features a twenty-four-hour hand and scale in a clearly delineated sector on the dial. That scale is raised by a step and I was delighted by the legibility of the second time zone. This is in sharp contrast to the more common long GMT hand stretching to the bezel. I finally understood the sector design advantage. The chapter ring subtly breaks up the six AM/PM with a light blue that matches the GMT hand. It’s a remarkably legible design.

Hands-On – Nodus Sector Deep 39mm Left-Hand Drive (LHD) Dive Watch

nodus sector deep dive watch 39mm

I feel lost these days considering a dive watch costing $575. Seiko had been my benchmark; alas, no longer. As the 2020s roll on, Seiko divers have gone up in cost, if not quality, while random Chinese brands are making better Seikos for $179 than Seiko makes for $900. Now in the $500-range, we’ve got Bulova, Timex, Lorier, Vaer, Vero, Yema, Benrus, Vero, Boldr, Unimatic, Raven, and, yes, Nodus to choose from, among many others. At one time when suggesting a cheap diver, all you had to say was. “Just get an SKX007,” and now I feel like you need to lay out a massive road map and begin plotting a course through late capitalism itself.

Hands-On – Moser Endeavor 42mm Perpetual Calendar Tantalum & Steel With Blue Fume Dial

Moser Perpetual Calendar Endeavor 42mm Tantalum Steel

I can’t think of another serious watch brand—Swiss, nonetheless—of which one can genuinely—that is, without Irony—say: Fucking brilliant, mate…really taking the piss. And it is certainly elevating my foul mood to be awash in thoughts of Moser on this shit morning. This is what I turn to watches for, exactly. I aspire to be as unlike the inhabitants of Hollywood as possible. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool East Coast Aesthete, high-minded and always a little angry at the world for not being as smart as I think I am. I enjoy the illusion that I am an independent thinker, and so when I see something like this Moser Perpetual Calendar awaiting judgment on my desk, I smile knowing that this watch is not going to insult my intelligence, and that it may even challenge it.

Hands-On – Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver 42mm GMT Left-Hand Drive (LHD) – The Watch That Proves Zodiac is Back

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver 42mm GMT LHD Black DLC

What this watch represents to me is a kind of proof that Zodiac is not f’ing around. They’re serious, and they’re making serious dive watches for really competitive prices, and they’re also styled after and reminiscent of one of the most important dive watches in history. I can’t see why Zodiac shouldn’t be fully absolved of whatever sins they may or may not have committed to so greatly offend the horological intelligentsia.

Hands-On – Bremont Fury 40mm Pilot’s Watch

Bremont Fury 40mm Pilot's Watch

The movements in the Fury models I tested ran well within COSC specifications (-4 to +6 sec/day). Bremont tests in-house using its own H1 chronometer protocols, which differ from COSC in that the movements are tested inside the watch they’ll ship in. This is conceivably a better standard, as the actual context of the movement is being tested as well, not to mention there’s no need for regulation after installation into the case as there is with COSC. The crown and setting of the watch felt as good as you would hope for in the price point. This is definitely a quality timepiece.

Hands-On – 1978 Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 3700-01A – One Owner, Unpolished

Patek Nautilus ref. 3700-01A 1978

Like many watches from Patek Philippe (and countless other brands), the original models from the 20th century are just so much mellower and understated than their modern counterparts, but I didn’t expect to have such a strong feeling of understatement and class from a Nautilus – perhaps because the trends have elevated this model to a thing of bling. What this tells me is that even during the disco years, Patek was driven by the same understatement that gave us the Calatrava and countless other gorgeous studies in classic design over the 20th century.