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    • Frank W
      This C60 Graphite was shipped last Friday and already arrived on Tuesday! I wanted to wear it for a few days to get a better feel feel for the watch before I posted anything about it.
      I wasn’t sure when I ordered this C60 Graphite. I liked it but it didn’t wow me at first. But as it was a limited edition for a really good price, I figured I may as well give it a shot. And it does not disappoint on the wrist in real life.
      The grey dial is a nice change from the usually black divers we see so many of. It is a nice shade of grey and is just right. The dial markers and hands have the same type of gunmetal finish as the case and this provides a nice contrast against the slightly lighter dial. The brushed matte black ceramic bezel was the right choice for this and is a nice change from the mostly shiny bezels on other C60 models. 

      The bezel ring is black as well and matches nicely with the black caseback. The Trident seconds hand has the same arrow tip as the C60 300 and a good choice for this style of watch.
      The Tide ocean material strap is a pleasant surprise. I used to have another Tide strap that was quite a bit thicker and more stiff on the wrist. This one feels and wears like a very nice material nato strap and is much more flexible. The grey and black color pattern is just right for the Graphite and the black buckle is a nice touch.
      The look and feel on the wrist is of a watch that doesn’t ask for attention but isn’t boring either. I thought the lack of any color would be a bit bland but the monochrome look is what makes it special. And you can add color and texture with any kind of strap if you prefer. The gunmetal bracelet is on the way and looking forward to see how that will look and wear on this C60 Graphite. 
      This watch can can be a bit tricky to photograph and usually looks better in real life. I am looking forward to wear it as often as possible and hopefully can share some better shots soon, especially outdoors if these gray and overcast winter skies allow. But the C60 Graphite fits in with the dark days of winter as well.
      All details and pictures from CW can be found here:

    • Frank W
      Buying a luxury watch from eBay and/or from a grey market seller can be a bit of scary experience. eBay recently introduced this Authenticity Guarantee program and I thought it would be helpful for curious watch aficionados to share my experience with this.
      This was a new watch purchase from a grey market seller with a good reputation for selling only authentic watches. The experience may be entirely different for other sellers on eBay and pre-owned watches.
      I have ordered a good number of watches from Jomashop and always had a great experience with them. Never disappointed with the watches and the return process is easy. Buying through eBay may have some extra assurance and protection as any disputes will probably turn out in favor of the buyer. And you sometimes can take advantage of lower prices and discount codes through eBay.
      I recently ordered an Omega Railmaster though the same eBay program from Jomashop and the experience was the same. That watch was returned to Jomashop because it just wasn't for me. It was sent back to the same authenticator, eBay processed the refund and all was good. I also ordered and returned a Grand Seiko from Govberg Jewelers and the experience was the same.
      There always are good and bad experiences with buying and returning watches but I think people tend to share the bad experiences more often than the good ones. All the details about the eBay Authenticity Guarantee for watches can be found here: eBay Authenticity Guarantee for Watches
      This Omega Aqua Terra was shipped from Jomashop in Brooklyn, NY to the authenticator in Dayton, Ohio. It took 2 days to process the order and 5 days to arrive at the authenticator. This was actually the slightly disappointing part of the entire process because you always want to get your new watch as soon as possible. But everything is still moving slower these days so it is what it is.
      The address of the authenticator leads to Stoll & Co, a factory authorized service center for many brands. I actually had two watches repaired by them and both with great results and customer service. I don't know how many different authenticators are used by eBay but my 3 watch purchases all went through Dayton, Ohio.
      The watch was authenticated and shipped to my home in Michigan the same day as it arrived. This was with 2-day service and the package arrived on time. I had it delivered to my work because someone obviously has to sign for these high value shipments.

      The security seal and type of box gives the assurance nobody else can open the box without obvious damage to the box.

      That satisfying sound and feel of tearing of that carton strip.. you know what I am talking about!

      There is a printed card with all the watch details including the serial number of the watch.

      I bought an Omega Planet Ocean from an authorized dealer 2.5 years ago and this packaging, manuals, box and watch cards are exactly the same.

      Watches purchased from grey market dealers usually don’t include a manufacturer’s warranty so the warranty card obviously wasn’t included for this Omega watch.

      The watch was nicely wrapped in plastic. There also was some bubble wrap inside the box to make sure the watch would stay in place on its cushion.

      You can’t remove the plastic without breaking the security seal. This was different from the Railmaster I purchased which did not have any of this plastic. It just had this security seal.

      You can try it on your wrist for size but that’s about it.

      I was already sure this Aqua Terra was going to be a keeper so the security seal and plastic was removed quickly.

      The hang tag, sticker on the case back, serial number on the watch card and the actual watch all matched and all looked genuine. Serial numbers in pictures are obscured because this is the internet after all.

      Protective plastic on the the crystal and back of the watch, as well on the metal pieces of the strap and deployant clasp. This sure looked like a factory fresh example of this beautiful watch.

      The orange tag is from Jomashop and no returns allowed after this is removed.

      And here it was in all its glory after removing the protective plastic. I am not going into any details of the actual watch in this post but I am sure a long term review like I did with my Planet Ocean will probably follow soon.

    • Frank W
      This new Casio Oceanus OCW-T200S was introduced in April 2019 and appears to be an addition to the model line instead of a replacement of another model. The OCW-T200S-1AJF model in this review  with the dark blue dial and steel bracelet was purchased in Japan recently and I have had a couple of weeks with the watch on my wrist.
      This review will start with discussing all the features and how it performs. I also owned the titanium three-hand model OCW-S100 before (find the review here: link) and will go into all the similarities and differences as well.

      OCW-T200S-1AJF - OCW-T200S-2AJF - OCW-T200SLE-2AJR
      Check pricing on Amazon:
      OCW-T200S-1AJF: https://amzn.to/2RxOD3l
      OCW-T200S-2AJF: https://amzn.to/2FRU8o3
      Overview and design
      This new Oceanus is available in three different models. A dark blue and light blue dial on stainless steel bracelet and a mid-blue dial that comes with both a blue and a brown leather strap. The straps have quick-release spring bars for easy strap changes. The colors that show in the stock pictures are close to real life but will of course change a bit in different light situations. It was a bit difficult to choose between the models as they all have their own unique qualities. 
      The dark-blue sunray dial sometimes looks black and pops in direct sunlight. The light-blue dial is a color you don't see very often and it is a nice shade. While the hands are not as contrasting with the dial as the dark blue model, it was still very easy to read the time. The mid-blue dial was actually my favorite but of course doesn't come with the bracelet. The leather straps felt nice and comfortable. I will focus on the dark-blue model that I purchased but most applies to the other models as well.

      The size of the bezel is 40mm and it feels and wears like a true 40mm watch, very similar to my Damasko DA36. The lug-to-lug size is 49 mm and the lug width is 20 mm. These are standard lugs so you can wear it on the bracelet and any leather or fabric nato strap. Most nato straps should fit fine but thicker zulu or seatbelt straps may not fit between the case and spring bars.
      The stainless steel case is mostly brushed with a few polished sides and edges. The sapphire crystal is flat and is framed by a flat brushed bezel. The dial looks very clean and just has the Casio and Oceanus names and the Oceanus manta logo. The sun-ray dial  is very nicely done and you can not see any solar charging details at all. The date is big and easy to read. The bracelet is good quality and is comfortable to wear.
      The combined weight is only 133 grammes so it wears light on the wrist compared to many of my other watches. The regular bracelet links are 9 mm long and there are two 2/3 links of 6 mm each. This means you can adjust the bracelet in 3mm increments. There also are 2 pairs of adjustment holes on the bracelet for 3 mm adjustments as well. The links are joined together with a pin and collar and removing or adding links is quick and easy. 

      This ACW-T200S has the regular features of other Oceanus models like Multiband 6 radio wave reception for automatic daily time syncing (in Japan, North America, Europe and China), tough movement and solar charging, automatic positioning of the hands so they always hit the dial markers perfectly, full auto calendar and water resistance of 10 bar. Most of us are familiar with these features so I won't be going into any detail here.
      An exciting new feature is the Mobile Link function that allows to pair the watch with a smartphone through Bluetooth. Pairing the watch with an iPhone was very easy with the Oceanus Connected app you can download from the app store for iOS and Android (see links below).
      The app has only a few basic features so don't expect any smart watch functionality. The main functionality is time sync when the watch is not within range of the radio transmitters. Another reason to like this app is switching between time zones as it can sync the watch to the same time on your phone. The procedure is very simple: open the app on your phone, hold the button on the watch for about 2 seconds until the hand points to RC on the dial and you will see the hands (and date) magically move to the new local time where you are at, providing you have auto time adjust set on your phone.
      Changing the time zone can also be done manually using the crown on the watch. Just pull it out and turn the crown to the new time zone. As there are no city markings on the dial or bezel, you select the time zone as an offset to UTC. UTC is the 12 o'clock dial position and offsets are to the left or right of the 00 dial marker. For example, Eastern Standard Time in the USA is UTC -5 so you would point the seconds hand to 0:55 on the dial. Time in Japan is UTC+ 9 so you would point the hand to 0:09 on the dial.

      Availability and price
      This OCW-T200S-1AJF was purchased at BIC Camera in Osaka and they have many stores in the larger cities in Japan. Yodobashi is another large chain with a wide selection of watches by many brands. The Oceanus model range is JDM (Japan Domestic Market) only so you would have to buy online when you'r outside Japan.
      They can be found on eBay, from a variety of online sellers like Seiya Japan, Japan Online Store or Shopping in Japan. All these stores are trustworthy  places to buy and often have great reviews in the online watch community. Another good place to buy is on Rakuten Global Market which is a marketplace with many sellers in Japan. Sign up for the cash-back site Rakuten (formerly eBates) and you may get a deal with the 10 -20% cashback promotions they frequently run.
      BIC Camera shows all their prices without the 8% sales tax. You don't have to pay sales tax as a tourist and you will have to show your passport for the tax-free price. Price was ¥ 42 000 but they provided a 5% discount when paying with credit card so total price came to ¥ 39 995 which is about US$ 365 or €325 at current exchange rates. Prices online are often a bit higher but you can still find a good deal with some patience.
      Differences between the S100 and T200

      Size: The difference of 1mm between the S100 and T200 may not sound like much but they look and feel different on the wrist. The S100 may be more suitable for smaller wrists but I like the slightly bigger size and weight of the T200.
      Design: The cleaner dial of the T200 together with the slightly more angular case design, straight blade-shaped hands and flat crystal makes the T200 look a bit more casual and sportier than the S100 with its sword-style hands, domed crystal and more flowing case design. It is good to see Casio didn't put Tough Mvt. on the dial of the T200.
      Materials: The titanium S100 is definitely lighter than the stainless steel T200. The S100 was a bit too light in weight for me and I prefer the feel and look of stainless steel vs titanium. But this is just personal preference.
      Functionality: the link with Bluetooth is a nice feature to have but may not be important for others. The city names on the dial of the S100 may make time zone adjust a bit easier if you don't use the app on the T200. On the other hand, the lack of city names makes for a cleaner look on the T200.
      Straps: The only choice you have is to wear it on the bracelet with the S100 because of the integrated lug and bracelet design. The T200 is definitely more versatile with the standard lug design so you can wear it on bracelet, fabric/rubber/ leather straps like any other watch.
      Price: List and street prices for the titanium S100 (¥ 68,000) are higher than the new T200 (¥ 60,000). While not a huge difference, it may make a difference choosing one over the other.

      Casio Oceanus watches are priced a bit higher than the average quartz watch but there definitely is a difference in finishing, quality and  technology that makes it worth the higher price. This watch is manufactured at Casio's premium production line in Yamagata so Made in Japan which is always a plus. I think all Oceanus watches are made in Japan but can't confirm that for sure.
      Should you get the S100 or this newer T200? Is one better than the other? Both have their unique features, quality and designs so it completely depends on personal preference. The S100 is a classic design and looks a bit more upscale. It is model that has been for sale for a while and is praised by many in the online watch community. It may be more suitable for smaller wrists or if you just prefer smaller watches.
      The T200 is the new kid on the block and definitely a bit sportier and cleaner in design. The Bluetooth connectivity is a plus for me and I like the slightly larger size and higher weight for a more substantial feel on the wrist. But you can't go wrong with either one and the most difficult part is choosing between the dark blue, mid blue or light blue dial colors and leather strap or bracelet.
      The batch code for this particular watch shows it was manufactured on the 64th day of 2019 which is  March 5th. This watch was purchased with my own money and I didn't receive any financial or other compensation for making this review.
      Do you have any questions, information to add, found any errors in this review or just want share some thoughts about this review or the watch? Please share your comments below!
      Actual measured dimensions
      Case diameter: 41 mm
      Bezel diameter: 40 mm 
      Width at 3 to 9 o'clock including crown: 43.5 mm
      Height: 11 mm 
      Lug-to-lug: 49 mm
      Lug width: 20mm 
      Bracelet width at clasp: 18mm
      Weight including bracelet: 133 grammes
      Case and bezel diameter: 39mm
      Width at 3 to 9 o'clock including crown: 43mm
      Height: 10.7 mm
      Lug-to-lug: 45 mm
      Lug width: 21 mm
      Bracelet width at clasp: 18mm
      Weight including bracelet: 84 grammes
      Manual: https://support.casio.com/en/manual/manualsearch.php?cid=009&MODULE=5596
      Apple iOS store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oceanus-connected/id1179979492
      Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.casio.premium.oceanus&hl=en_US

    • Frank W
      Planet Ocean 600M Co-axial Master Chronometer
      Model number:
      Case size: 43.5mm
      Retail price: US$ 6,550
      Product sheet: Omega Planet Ocean Product Sheet 21530442101001-en-us.pdf
      Recommended reading: Planet Ocean: The Full Story Of Omega’s Iconic Modern Dive Watch - A Blog To Watch
      This is a long-term owner review and will provide a detailed log of ownership. It will be updated with new information through time and hopefully will be an interesting journey of owning and enjoying a luxury watch. It will be different and much longer than a regular review that talks about the technical details and how it wears for a short amount of time. I had a lot of questions about buying an expensive Omega luxury watch and hopefully the information in this review will be helpful for others.
      I have worn watches as a tool to tell time for a long time and became interested in watches and horology in general only about 3 years ago. It started out with a few inexpensive Seiko and Citizen watches and the iconic Seiko SKX009 was one of them. It was a good place to be as it started as an inexpensive hobby. The collecting slowly progressed to the range of $500 - $1000 which still seems to be the sweet spot for value versus price. The arrival of my first Swiss automatic watch (Certina DS Action Diver) was an exciting moment and many more from Hamilton, Eterna, Oris, Christopher Ward, Alpina, and Damasko followed. 
      When I started with my first watches, I thought I would never spend more than a few $100 on one. But that ended up with my most expensive watch to date which was an Oris Aquis for around $1300. What does this have to do with a review of an Omega Planet Ocean you may ask?  It is just a short explanation of how I worked my way up into this watch obsession and not just went to a store, bought a luxury watch and that was it.

      The journey
      It took a while to find an expensive luxury watch that will last a long time, fits in in many places where I wear watches and I won't get bored with. I always liked Omega as a brand and the Seamaster has been my favorite. I first started looking at the Planet Ocean and then seriously considered the Aqua Terra. I visited an AD in Gibraltar while on vacation last year and looked at the Aqua Terra but just couldn't make the decision at that time.
      There are a few ways to acquire a luxury or any kind of watch these days. This applies to the USA but I imagine this pretty much is the same in other countries all over the world.
      Omega Boutique (OB)  Omega Authorized Dealer (AD) Trusted Reseller Grey market dealer (Jomashop, Authentic Watches, Prestige Time and so on) Pre-owned from dealer or private party Buying from an Omega Boutique or Authorized Dealer is the safest way to buy and includes full manufacturer warranty. Resellers usually buy watches from ADs with full manufacturer warranty at a discount and sell them on to consumers. Watches from grey market dealers in the USA usually don't come with manufacturer warranty and they provide their own in-house warranty.
      Grey market watches from well-known companies are authentic and can give you a significant discount from retail price. Pre-owned watches can come in all kinds of conditions and may or may not include manufacturer or aftermarket warranty.
      I was close to order my Omega from Jomashop as I have had good experiences with them in the past. This doesn't mean everyone has a good buying experience and there is a difference of buying a watch that costs a few 100 or a few 1000  dollars/euros/pounds.
      Omega Boutiques do not give discounts but may include some other products in the sale. Authorized Dealers often give discounts and it shouldn't be too difficult to get 10 - 20% off depending on the model. Discounts are usually only give in the store or by phone. 

      Purchase - 5 April 2019
      I prefer to communicate through email or other type of messaging as it is much more efficient and it is nice to have a record of the conversation. But maybe that is why dealers rather don't do it this way as they may get in trouble with Omega. I came in touch with an AD that was recommended through a Seamaster group on Facebook group and the transaction was very easy and convenient.
      The discount was attractive and the price came to just a few 100 dollars more than buying from grey market and same as from a  trusted reseller on the Omega forum. And this of course included the full 5-year warranty from Omega. A Paypal invoice was emailed and the purchase was confirmed.
      A word of warning.. casual communication through email and chat can be nice but you have to be very sure you are dealing with the right person and company. It is all too easy to get scammed these days so buyer beware. It is safest to go to the actual store of this dealer but this may not be practical. The closest AD is 200 miles away from me so that isn't very convenient.
      Watch received - 6 April 2019
      The dealer was kind enough to upgrade their regular UPS shipping to overnight with Saturday delivery without extra cost. The dealer is located in Pennsylvania and I closely monitored the progress through the UPS network. The UPS site has a new feature where you can track the progress of the actual UPS truck with your package and I admit was a bit of a virtual stalker and refreshed my screen many times. You probably understand when you are into watches and have a new watch on the way.
      The store and people are a big part of the buying experience and the reason why a luxury watch costs much more than the average time piece you can buy at a regular department store. I wished I lived closer to Pennsylvania but it was just a bit too far from Northern Michigan. And buying out of state means the watch was not subject to PA or MI sales tax. Of course you should declare any out-of-state sales purchase where tax hasn't been charged on next year's tax return if required..
      It is quite a different experience receiving a luxury watch delivered in a cardboard box by a dirty UPS truck than getting the full OB or AD experience. However, it was securely packaged and it made the journey without any problems. 

      Presentation box and included materials
      The presentation box and other materials are top notch and of very nice quality. Most watch boxes end up in a closet never to be seen again but this one stays on  my desk and is where the Planet Ocean rests at night when I am home. The light-colored wooden box with soft cream-colored interior is just a pleasure to feel and look at.

      The inside cover hides a few small storage spaces where you can keep the hang tag and spare links. There is a soft cloth pouch which I suppose can be used for storing or transporting the watch but I wouldn't recommend that without using a watch pillow of some sort. This will prevent the bracelet from flopping around and avoid scratching of the case back.

      The watch came with the 3 red cards that should come with a new Planet Ocean 8900 were in the regular Omega card holder.
      Master Chronometer card
      This will show the reference number of the watch model, the watch serial number and an access code you can enter on Omega's website to view the METAS test results. More about this later. Pictograms card
      This will have the reference number and serial number of the watch. the back of the card shows the pictograms with features of the watch like water resistance rating, bezel material (ceramic), anti-magnetic rating, type of movement and so on. Warranty card
      It used to be the reference number and watch serial numbers were printed on the card and the dealer would stamp the card and fill in the purchase date. They can also have only the name of the dealer without the numbers printed and the dealer would fill these out by hand. This is information I have read online and as explained by the dealer I bought the watch from.
      Serial numbers and dealer name blurred for privacy reasons.

      Proof of Manufacturer Warranty
      The warranty card for this watch wasn't filled out. I had the invoice when I submitted payment but that only listed the model number and not the serial number of the watch. The dealer said I could send the card back to them and they would fill it out for me. But I could do the same myself as well.
      They also assured me they had a record of all the details and any warranty work would not be an issue at all. I am very cautious with these kind of things and asked if they could send me a receipt of proof of purchase with all the watch details including the serial number. I received the receipt with official dealer details, receipt number, watch details, purchase price and all my details a few days later and all was good in my world.
      Information from the forums show that authorized dealers also register this information with Omega and it makes sense they keep record of watches that have factory warranty and sold by Omega Boutiques and ADs. But I rather have proof of this for my own records, can be used for insurance purposes and may add value when selling the watch again.
      I would be very careful to buy a new or used watch that does not come with an official sales receipt. Just a blank warranty card with a printed name and no numbers does not have much value to me. Anything can easily be faked these days. I don't know if you can contact Omega with a serial number and find out the purchase date and warranty coverage.
      Bracelet sizing - 12 April 2019
      Patience and the right tools are important for bracelet resizing. Removing links from the Omega Planet Ocean bracelet is not difficult but it is easy to leave marks on the screws and bracelet when you're not careful or have a screwdriver that does not fit properly.
      The links are held together by a solid bar that is held in place with 2 very small screws at each end. The width of the screw heads is 1.6 mm. I have a set of reasonable quality precision screw drivers including a 1.6 mm size but the blades of these were just a bit too thin for the screw heads and they moved around a bit when applying pressure. 
      I had another 1.4 mm from a different set but that was too thick to fit into the screw heads. I used some sand paper to sand down the tip until it fit comfortable into the heads. Push down on the screw driver while turning to make sure it doesn't slip out of the screw head. It didn't take much force to unscrew and there was no thread-locker applied to the screws.
      You may need a push pin tool or small wire like a paper clip to push out the bar. Make sure the screws are tight but not too tight. Check the screws for the next few days to make sure they don't become loose. It may be a good idea to use a thread-locker to make sure they stay secure.

      The bracelet itself is all brushed surfaces which is great for a tool watch like this. The clasp has a push button inside that allows extending the bracelet for about 1 cm. This is great for expanding wrists when you go from a cold and dry environment to hot and humid. This should be standard on any bracelet on a luxury watch.

      The adjustment can be made without having to take off the watch from your wrist. Just open the clasp, push the button down with your thumb, slide and make the adjustment you want. Perfect.
      There also is a divers extension for adding another 2.5 cm in case you want to wear the watch over a wet suit or jacket. The clasp is very smooth on the inside when folded up and there are no parts sticking out that may cause uncomfortable pressure points on your wrist. 

      How it looks, feels and wears - 25 April 2019
      I have had the watch and worn it for a few weeks now. I was initially concerned about the size of the watch. It is marketed as 43.5 mm but found out that is a bit misleading.
      The case measures 43.5 mm at its largest diameter without the crown. The diameter of the bezel is 42 mm so it looks and wears a lot smaller than the 43.5 mm suggests. The case is actually slightly asymmetrical and it comes out an extra 1.5 mm on the right side of the case to function as an integrated crown guard.
      The shape of the case sides are angled a bit so it also doesn't have the presence of a large case. Combine this with the lug-to-lug size of a relatively short 49 mm and this watch really wears smaller than the 43.5 mm spec suggest. I have/had watches that are:
      41 mm (Seiko SKX007) 42 mm (Glycine Combat Sub) 43 mm (Christopher Ward C60 Trident) 43,5 mm (Oris Aquis) 44 mm (Alpina Alpiner GMT) This Planet Ocean 43.5 definitely wears like a 42 mm dive watch.

      The height of 16 mm was a concern as well and taller than most dive watches. But after wearing it for a while, I don't notice the height anymore and other watches now feel a bit flat on the wrist.
      The wrist presence is just right for me. It looks like a quality timepiece without being too loud or attracting the wrong attention. Many watch enthusiasts will know what it is from a distance but the general public won't notice and won't care. However, this may be a negative for some and may be better off with a luxury watch from the other Swiss brand with the crown.
      The weight of the watch on the bracelet is 214 grammes / 7.5 oz with all links for about an 8" wrist. Each links is 2g. The watch head is probably about half the total weight and it wears nicely balanced on the wrist. You feel you're wearing a watch but often forget you do.
      I wish the bracelet would have half links for the perfect fit. I want to use the full adjustment range for an expanding wrist and sometimes you just need that half link. I ordered a half link from the AD and will update this review when installed.
      Perfect size for my 19 cm / 7.5 inch wrist.

      I have owned several other 40 - 44 dive watches through the years and here are a few pictures comparing the size of the PO 8900 43.5 to others.
      Christopher Ward C60 43mm - Planet Ocean 8900 - Seiko SKX009

      Glycine Combat Sub 42mm - Planet Ocean 8900 - Seiko SBDC053 42.5mm

      300 Master Co-Axial 41mm - Planet Ocean 8900 - Aqua Terra 41mm

      Performance and accuracy
      The 8900 movement and master chronometer specifications are very impressive with a guaranteed accuracy of 0 to +5 seconds per day (spd). The certification an testing process by the Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) is extensive and all the details about how a watch is tested can be found on the Omega website (link). 
      The Master Chronometer card has the serial number of the watch and an access code you can use on the Omega website to see the results of the tests by METAS: https://www.omegawatches.com/en-us/masterchronometer
      Below are the results of this particular 8900 movement in the Planet Ocean. It is important to note the entire watch with the movement is tested as opposed to COSC testing where only the movement is analyzed.
      I like my watches to run a bit fast and the METAS certification was an important part of purchase decision. So seeing the average precision of +1.2 seconds per day was perfect.

      Test results in a controlled environment and real world performance are not always the same. It all depends on how often a watch is worn, activity of the wearer, temperature, storage position when not in use and so on. I timed my watch with an Watch Tracker app on my iPhone for about 17 days and was a bit disappointed to see the watch was actually running a bit slow at -0.7 seconds per day. 
      The good news is that it is still amazing accuracy and it is very consistent in how it runs. It gains about a second when it is stationary at night and looses a couple of seconds during the day. 
      There is a great discussion on the Omega forum where METAS test results, timing tolerances and real world accuracy and performance are discussed. Find those threads here:
      Timing tolerances - a guide to understand how they work
      METAS results versus real world performance

      Half link added to the bracelet - 2 October 2019
      The sliding mechanism in the clasp is a very handy feature when your wrist circumference changes because of heat/cold and humidity level. Watch companies seem to think the clasp has enough sliding range so half links in bracelets are not needed anymore. But that's definitely not true. You want to have the best fit when your wrist is at its smallest size so you have the maximum expansion range when it does start to swell. And that does mean half links are still needed.
      Omega does not include any half links on the PO 8900 bracelet or provide as a part but they are available for the 8800 bracelet. I was able to order one from my AD and it arrived in a few weeks because it had to be ordered. The part number is 115ST1589 and price including shipping was US$ 50. It appears to be expensive for such a small part but it had to be stocked, ordered and shipped by Omega and the from the AD to me and it all adds up. Just consider the 'luxury watch' tax is included as well so not a big deal for the average Omega buyer. 

      I measured the new and existing links and the half link is not really half the size of a full link. The full link measures about 9mm and the half link is 6.5mm in length so a difference of 2.5mm. So the half link is more like a 2/3 link. I have other watch bracelets with 2 half links and they are also actually 2/3 links.
      2 x full links = 18mm
      1 x full link and 1 x 2/3 link = 15.5mm
      2 x 2/3 links = 13mm
      1 x full link =  9mm
      So for the perfect fit, it is better to have 2 x 2/3 links than 1 x half link. Fortunately, the 1 x 2/3 link did make enough difference so I won't be getting a second 2/3 link.
      While a couple of millimeters may not sound like much, it still made a noticeable difference for my wrist. With only full links, the bracelet was either too tight or too loose with the clasp sliding mechanism closed. And with the the 2.5mm difference,  the watch went from flopping around on my wrist to just a bit loose and very comfortable.
      The 8800 2/3 link has slightly different brushing and polished sides but the difference is so small that you won't even see if while the watch is on your wrist. The $50 sure was worth it to me and you may even find them less expensive somewhere else.

      Do you have any questions, information to add, found any errors in this review or just want share some thoughts about this review or the watch? Please share your comments below! ?

    • Frank W

      Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500

      By Frank W, in Watches,

      The Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500 is the latest model in Casio’s well-known line of Pro Trek watches.  The watches are geared towards adventurous and active outdoors men and women and often associated with mountain climbing, fishing, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, downhill skiing and so on.  Even when you are not into these types of activities, you still can look the part with a Pro Trek.
      European PRW-3500 models have names as is common with other Pro Trek models: Cerro Lejia (PRW-3500-1ER), Cerro Tumisa (PRW-3500T-7ER) Cerro San Clemente (PRW-3500Y-1ER) and Cerro Miscanti (PRW-3500Y-4ER).  You may be an experienced mountain climber visiting South America if these names mean anything to you.  For everybody else, these are names of mountains in Chili.
      The v.3 Triple Sensor Engine was introduced with the PRW-3000 in 2013 and it was an instant success because of its size (less bulky than other Pro Treks) and features.  Improvements over the v.2 sensors are smaller size and lower battery consumption.  Casio claims the sensors are 95% smaller than the sensors in version 2.  Previous watches could only use the compass for 20 seconds while the new sensors allows for 60 seconds.
      The PRW-3500 has the same features as the 3000 but is housed in a rugged case with a rotating bezel.  The most important difference for many is the ability to switch out the strap and replace it with a rubber, leather or fabric Nato / Zulu strap.  The lug size is 22mm which is a very common size so many possibilities to personalize your watch.
      The 3500 line was introduced by Casio at BaselWorld 2015 in March.  It is available with a positive display in a black case with a silver bezel, black case with black bezel and orange inserts, and a Titanium version with grey case and black bezel.  There also is a negative display which has a black case and blue inserts.  The PRW-3000 is available in many different colors so it is safe to assume there will be new colors for the 3500 in the near future as well.

      The PRW-3500 is an ABC watch which stands for Altimeter, Barometer and Compass.  There also is a sensor for temperature so it should be called an ABCT watch.  As with other Pro Treks, temperature readouts are most reliable when the watch is not worn for 15 minutes or more.
      This watch synchronizes with an automic clock in five wordwide locations: US, UK, Germany, Japan, and China.  This usually happens at night and a small triangle left of the day/date display shows if time synching was successful or not.  I live in Michigan and it synchs perfectly with the transmitter in Colorado every night.  I also used one of my Pro Treks in southern Florida and it synched fine when positioned near a window.
      Water resistance is rated at 200 meters so good for any outdoors and water activity except for serious diving adventures. Besides the specific ABCT features, the PRW-3500 also has World Time with 31 time zones, 24-hour count-down timer, stop watch, 5 daily alarms, hourly time signal, 12/24 hour format and a calendar programmed to year 2099. This watch is powered by light which can be sunlight or even low fluorescent light in case you’re dreaming of adventure but stuck at an office desk job.  The watch will continue to work up to 7 months when not exposed to light.
      An interesting feature is the sunrise/sunset display where you can see the exact times for sunrise and sunset in your location specified with latitude and longitude in the watch settings.  This can be very helpful for any outdoors enthusiast but also for photographers and videographers.  The light conditions for shooting pictures or video is often best up to 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset.  Using this feature makes it easy to predict the best light in your location.

      On the wrist
      This PRW-3500-4CR with black case and bezel and orange inserts and strap is also sold as PRW-3500-4JF or  PRW-3500-4ER where JF is a code for a Japanese market and ER for the European market model.  It’s safe to assume CR is for the rest of the world and this naming is consistent with other Pro Trek models.  Most newer Pro Treks are made in Thailand and this one shows a manufacture date of January 23, 2015.  The display is lightly orange tinted and doesn’t seem to distract for legibility.
      The silver and black PRW3500-1 has a much more neutral look and the display shows a bit more contrast compared to the orange model.  There isn’t much of a difference in legibility in bright lights but the black/silver model is easier to see in low-light conditions.  It is not a huge difference but definitely noticable. This model is easier to pair with different color straps so a bit more flexibility than the orange model.
      The strap is comfortable and the wings between the strap and case appear to be more comfortable than other Pro Treks I own (PAW-2000 and PRG-550).  There hardly is any wrist hair that gets caught in the wings and strap, something I couldn’t stand on my other watches.
      The unidirectional rotary bezel moves smoothly without any play.  Casio says you can use this to help keep track of current and intended bearings but not sure how useful that will be in the field.    It’s a nice design feature without making the watch too busy too look at.  The bezel is made out of non-magnetic stainless steel and should hold up to daily use (and abuse) better then the aluminum bezel of the 3000.
      The buttons are large and easy to push.  The ABC buttons on the right of the watch have edges around them on the bottom to prevent accidental pushing when you move your hand up.  It’s a larger sized watch but doesn’t feel too big on the wrist.  The weight is just right and you feel you’re wearing a watch without it becoming annoying in daily activities.  It’s heavier than the PAW-2000 and PRG-550 and the stainless steel bezel is probably what’s causing this weight increase.  A future blog article will compare the 3500 with these other watches.
      The Barometric Pressure Change Indicator is a useful feature to alert you when there is a sudden rise or fall in air pressure.  A sudden drop indicates inclement weather like a thunderstorm is on its way or a sudden rise shows good weather will follow soon.  It also can show a sustained rise in pressure  and changing to a fall or sustained fall in pressure and changing to a rise.

      The 3500 has the same recommended retail price of US$300 as the 3000.  The PRW-3000 is a nice watch but feels a bit less substantial, smaller and lighter than the 3500. Main drawback of the 3000 for me is the inability to easily switch out the strap which is a dealbreaker. Overall, the 3500 offers a bit more value for money but may be too big for some.
      Street prices will be in the lower US$200s as most are discounted 30%.  The PRW-3500 is a very nice watch that fits perfectly in the Pro Trek line-up. It is a welcome addition with the newer 3414 module from the PRW-3000 and offering the same features in a larger and rugged case.
      There are a few areas that could be improved on but that probably would make it more expensive as well.  None are dealbreakers though and I think the PRW3500 will be a long-term resident in my modest affordable watch collection.
      I used both the orange/black and silver/black models for a couple of weeks so far.  Both are great but my preference goes to silver/black model for its better display contrast in low light and the ability to pair with different strap colors.
      Do you have any comments, questions or experiences to share about this watch?  Please leave your comments below!
      Very functional with many features: ABCT, sunrise/sunset, atomic clock synching and solar power
      Great looking rugged outdoors design without getting too big and bulky
      Recessed protected crystal
      High contrast display on the black/silver PRW3500-1
      Large day and date display
      Looks and feels like a quality watch
      Very reasonably priced for what you get
      Comfortable strap, can easily be replaced with other strap
      Casio quality and reliability
      It’s a Pro Trek!
      LCD display area small compared to size of watch
      Mineral crystal, could be easily scratched
      Orange strap looks ok, would look better with black strap
      Orange tinted display legible but would be better with neutral display
      Could be a little bit too big for smaller wrist sizes
      Many features require the owners manual and some time to get familiar with.
      Actual measurements:
      Weight (including resin band): 88 g / 3.1 oz
      Lug-to-lug: 50.1 mm
      Bezel diameter: 46.0 mm
      Case width: 53.2 mm (9 0’clock to 3’o clock)
      51.3 mm (10 o’clock to 4 o’clock)
      Height: 14.2 mm (15.0 mm at N E S W on bezel)
      Check prices on Amazon through these links:
      PRW-3500-1CR – PRW-3500Y-4CR – PRW-3500Y-1JF – PRW-3500T-7CR

      PRW3500 vs PAW2000
      The Casio Pathfinder PAW2000 is an older model and has been around for quite a few years.  It has the v2 sensors but is still very competitive compared to PRW3500.  They both have similar functionality but the PAW2000 has a second LCD layer.  This makes the watch more user friendly with an easier to read compass display but also makes the display look a bit dimmer, especially in low light.
      The PAW2000 has larger digits for the main time display area and the PRW3500 has larger digits for the date/day/month display.  The 3500 is definitely the better looking one of these two but some may prefer the lower height of the 2000.  Casio moved the Adjust button from the bottom of the 2000 to the top left on the 3500.  It’s easier to press the larger Light button in the dark on the 3500.
      All pictures copyright Frank Wulfers except for stock Casio images, please do not use commercially without permission.

      Many possibilities for customization with different colors nato straps.  The black-red-green is often referred to as the Bond Nato.

      The PRW-3500-4 comes standard with an orange strap.  Pictures below show this watch on a 3-ring premium nato strap and a strap borrowed from a PRG-550.




    • Frank W
      A nice watch collection deserves a good storage and display box to keep your watches neatly organized and protected.  You can find many cheap boxes but it often is worth it to spend a little bit more and get something nicer.
      This watch box in Black Ash wood with a grey inside is made by Tech Swiss.  The wood grain finish is very nicely done and certainly gives a quality feel.  The display window is large and is made from glass, according to the manufacturer.  The lid is nicely constructed as well and has 2 small magnets.  This will provide for a secure fit to the case when it is closed.
      The chromed hinges appear sturdy and are nicely finished.  The inside is lined with a soft charcoal grey faux suede fabric.  The individual cushions are made of the same material and have a nice sturdy feel.  The cheaper boxes often have those softer pillow-type cushions which do not hold watches in place very well.
      My watches are between 40 and 44mm and they all fit fine with some room to spare.  It should be sufficient for pretty much any watch collection.  The bottom of the case is covered in a velvet-like material so it will not scratch any surfaces.
      The dark black color of the exterior together with the grey interior makes for a classy combination.  This will direct the attention to the watches and not the box itself like some other brightly colored cases.
      Dimensions supplied by the manufacturer and verified on the watch box I purchased.  You can order them directly from the Tech Swiss website but I found this watch box for a bit less money from Amazon.
      Tech Swiss makes many different kinds and sizes of watch boxes and you can probably assume quality is similar throughout the same range of models.  However, this is the only watch box I purchased and this review applies to this particular model only.  I am not a professional reviewer and just write about the gear I buy and use myself.
      Model number: TSBOX10ESSBK
      Dimension of Box: 12.25″ L x 8.5″ W x 3.5″H Individual Compartment Size: 3 1/2″ L x 2″ W x 2 3/4″H
      Tech Swiss website: http://www.techswiss.com/10-watch-box-black-ash-finish/
      Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1RtzVAC
      Actual pictures of the Tech Swiss watch box:

    • Frank W
      There aren't many small radio-controlled solar-charged watches available that have a classic look to them. Most of these watches are larger, have busy dial and tend to be sportier watches. This Oceanus is a nice exception from the norm.
      The actual size is smaller than the official numbers by Casio suggest. At 39mm, it is a great size for small and lager size wrist. The height is 10.7mm but that includes a slightly domed crystal. The actual height from bottom to top of bezel is about 9mm. The very low weight of this all titanium watch often makes you forget you're actually wearing a watch.
      The case and bracelet have a titanium carbide coating which makes it much more scratch resistant than regular titanium and stainless steel. The bracelet and clasp on mine have some light marks and scratches from desk diving. However, the bracelet is lightly brushed so they blend in. Adjusting the watch when travelling to a different time zone is a snap. Just pull out the crown and point the seconds hand to the new time zone on the dial.

      This Oceanus has a shock-resistant Tough Movement movement which is proudly displayed on the dial as Tough Mvt. Solar charging works great and keeps it charged sitting on my desk during the dark winter months. The radio-controlled time sync works in North America, Europe , Japan and parts of China.  I live in Michigan and it has no problem picking up the signal from Colorado.
      Time sync during a vacation in London and the Netherlands was without any issues as expected. There are transmitters in the UK and Germany and they cover all of Europe. With the auto calendar and time sync, there is no need to adjust the watch at all. Even when you don't live with the radio controlled areas, it is still an accurate quartz watch that runs ± 15 seconds per month.
      Does it annoy you when the seconds hand on a quartz watch doesn't exactly hit the markers on the dial? Never an issue like that with this Oceanus. Even when the seconds hands is knocked out of position by external shock, you can adjust it again to make it go back to normal. The date display is larger than most mechanical watches and is easy for me to see, even with my 50 year old eyes without reading glasses that I normally use when reading.

      The crystal appears to be slightly tinted. This makes the dial look a bit dim in low light but still easy to see the the time. In bright sunlight when most watch dials can look washed out, the light tint brings the dial to life. The 5-minute dial marker have a blue edge. That gives an interesting effect under different angles and light and is a nice detail to an otherwise understated design of the dial.
      There are many other Oceanus models and I think they are a Japanese Domestic Model (JDM) only. This model is part of the Classic line and there are also the Manta, Cachalot and bluetooth/gps models. These watches are very different form you regular inexpensive Casio watches most people in the rest of the world are familiar with. I also have a Seiko Presage and I think the Presage quality and attention to detail is similar to the Oceanus. This isn't the average $50 quartz beater you find at department stores.
      As these are JDM only, you'll have to find these online on eBay or other Japanese sellers. They often can be found new for about $500 which makes them an excellent value with the materials, quality and technology that is built in. I bought mine from SeiyaJapan after reading great reviews on the forums. And the experience didn't disappoint. The watch I received left the factory only a few months before and it arrived within 2 days from Japan to my home in northern Michigan. SeiyaJapan is a bit more expensive than the average eBay seller but they sometimes have discount codes and I rather pay a bit more to buy from a seller with a good reputation.
      To summarize, this is the perfect daily wearer and travel companion. Its size is just about perfect on my 7.5" wrist and the style is somewhere in between dress and sporty watch. Nothing flashy but it looks and feels nice on the wrist. It feels at home on the beach and at the office. I am very picky when ti comes to watches and there are a few minor things that could improve this watch. The bracelet is integrated with the case so toy can't easily swap it out with a leather or nato strap. But perhaps that is a good thing because it's such a joy to wear on the bracelet and it just looks great. A sliding mechanism in the clasp would be nice as well. But that's about it.  
      Actual measurements with digital calipers:
      Case and bezel diameter: 39mm
      Width at 3 to 9 o'clock including crown: 43mm
      Height: 10.7mm
      Lug-to-lug: 45mm
      Lug width: 21mm
      Bracelet width at buckle: 18mm
      Weight including bracelet: 84 g
      Module: 5235
      Water resistance: 10 ATM
      Crystal: Double-domed with inner anti-reflective coating
      Manufacturer website: https://products.oceanus.casio.jp/_detail/OCW-S100-1A/
      Owners manual in English: http://support.casio.com/storage/en/manual/pdf/EN/009/qw5235.pdf

    • Frank W

      Alpina Alpiner 4 GMT

      By Frank W, in Watches,

      Alpina is a brand that provides a lot of value in their watches and the Alpiner GMT is no exception. I purchased one and sold it later. After a few months, I regretted that decision and bought another one.
      Really nice quality and feel GMT hand is small but looks great Nice dial with some sunray effect Cons:
      a bit large and heavy date wheel is sunken quite a bit below the dial so date can can be difficult to read Compass bezel looks nice but probably wont be used by many. A countdown or 12 hour dial would be more useful Stock leather strap is very stiff and feels cheap  

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