Sunday, February 17, 2013

Citizen Eco Drive Nighthawk Review

It is easy to understand why Citizen is the number one watch company in the world after wearing the Nighthawk for the last few weeks. Citizen's unique combination of quartz accuracy, solar charging, water resistance and overall solid build make it just about the most convenient daily wearer I've ever owned.
The Nighthawk model seen here is an all stainless steel (including an all solid link bracelet thankfully) aviator/military/navigator style watch that features an independently settable 24 hour secondary hand. The watch measures 42mm in width. Water resistance is rated at 200 meters (which is plenty deep) and the crown screws down. An internal chapter ring can be moved via the second crown to allow for world timer capability. The lume is of excellent quality, a cool blue color that is very long lasting. (It isn't quite in a Seiko Monster's league but it's close) Additionally, the Nighthawk's second hand can be hacked if that feature is of importance. The crystal on this watch is made of hardened mineral glass. The choice of that material, as opposed to synthetic sapphire is the only disappointment I could find with this watch. Mineral glass is reasonably scratch resistant but nowhere near as good as sapphire.
The Nighthawk's most impressive feature to me, one shared by many other Citizen models, is the Eco Drive system. Most folks are familiar with the periodic chore of changing our watch batteries when they poop out. It is an acceptable compromise in exchange for the superior accuracy that battery driven quartz watches provide over their mechanical counterparts. Citizen, however, found a way around this problem by building a solar cell into the watch face that continuously charges the battery. Once fully charged, the watch will run in darkness for up to six months. The result is a watch that, in theory, should never need servicing. 

If you want to own only one watch that will faithfully get the job done with a minimum of fuss, an Eco Drive like this Nighthawk is a great choice. As long as it is stored in a reasonably well lit place so the battery remains charged, it should never need any other consideration. With its excellent water resistance, sturdy construction and good looks, the Nighthawk would be equally at home in the office or at the beach. It is really very well done.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Vostok Amphibia New Murphy Bezel mod

While clicking around on the Murphy Manufacturing website, I spotted a new bezel for the classic Vostok Amphibia.  Unlike the previous version, this one is designed to be a smooth, non-rotating bezel.  One of the things that always bothered me about the Vostok bezel design (aside from its use of chrome plated brass that scratches and dents easily) is that it has no ratcheting mechanism to keep it lined up.  This new bezel replacement make that issue moot.

Like Murphy's previous bezel design, this one is also a solid piece of stainless steel that should prove much more durable that the stock bezel.  I personally like how it gives the Amphibia the clean look and feel of an old fashioned 1940's vintage diver/military watch

Removing and reinstalling a Vostok bezel isn't terribly hard.  A description of the process can be found here.
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