I’ve never been known to buy one of anything. In fact I’m somewhat obsessive when it comes to research on new toys. My closet is full of stuff I have bought and tested that didn’t quite measure up to something else. Here’s a great example, and this is the perfect example for this blog post:
NIKE FUEL BAND
This thing was a Piece ‘O Shit extraordinaire.
In fact this was like the 4th one I had on a single purchase. The other 3 broke and Nike replaced them and the one in the picture is New Old Stock. I never wore it because………I knew it would break.
They came out in 2012 and already by 2018 Nike has discontinued support and service for the device on their Nike Connect service. It is now a functioning piece of hardware that is worthless.
If you have one and it still works……….you can’t do anything with the data. So from cradle to grave the mighty Nike + Fuelband lasted 6 years and was an expensive fitness watch at the time of its release ($150). To my knowledge it doesn’t export its data to any 3rd party service either. It was proprietary. Continue reading →
I’m a regular guy and while I’m a tech guy I find that most reviewers over-analyze stuff way too much. I don’t care how many electrons there is in a pixel ? or how far off sRGB that something displays in chartreuse.
Give me a fitness watch and I’ll tell you if it works or not from a regular guy standpoint. And while people might tell you something is the greatest technical achievement ever that opinion isn’t worth a hill of beans if it is uncomfortable or gives you a rash when you wear it.
Case in point. I have some large Casio Mudmaster watches and while I generally LOVE them I absolutely CANNOT strap one up and go jog with it. It makes me sweat under the band awful and it slips unless it is so tight it cuts off my circulation. Great watch for camping and hiking and doing woodsy stuff but utter crap while jogging.
So that’s what I’m going for. A review that may contain some technical aspects but while simultaneously explores real world usability.
So here it is, New Years Eve…….I’m up at 1 AM and reading “Best Tech of The Year” articles. Either one of two things has happened. Either nothing tremendously wonderful happened in Tech this year or the imagination and writing skills of journalists are now nearly non-existent.
Every list shows the latest cell phones or drones, or gaming device or newest TV offering. I’m sorry, but that just isn’t that inspiring to me. I may be a dinosaur but newer is not always better. Case in point. Look up the home entertainment category and most lists have some SONOS player. That’s a networked streaming audio system.
I’ve been using Logitechmediaserver so many years it isn’t funny. It streams Spotify, Tidal, TuneIn, Pandora (I dropped my Pandora subscription) and many, many more services.
I’m a lover of the Military Field Watch style and probably more accurate to say that I’m a lover of the military watch in general. Lots of watch companies will claim “Official Watch of the US Navy SEALS” or “Official Watch of the US Military” or whatever.
The simple fact of the matter is that military members can wear any watch they want as long as it is tasteful and there are probably only a handful of jobs these days where the military will issue you a watch.
The only watch company that is on the US Government Qualified Products Database that qualifies to a Military Specification (Mil-Spec) which is Mil-PRF-46374 is the Marathon Watch Company. Every link on the picture below goes to Marathon Watch Co.
Casio has a line of wristwatches that utilizes something called Multiband 6. What that is is a radio receiver which allows the watch to receive a signal from WWVB in Fort Collins Colorado which keeps the watch synchronized with their atomic oscillators. There are also transmitters in the UK, Germany, China, and Japan which provide the same service. If you have a Multiband 6 watch and travel it should sync with the perfect time most anywhere. The actual definition of Multiband 6 is that is the number of transmitters that the watch can receive from. There are six such transmitters.
60 kHz Transmitters (click pics to enlarge)
The station WWVB is run by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which maintains the time and frequency standards and makes them available to the American public. The signal is broadcast on a frequency of 60kHz with a 70kW signal.
NIST was on the chopping block about a year ago by our esteemed government who decided to shut it down. Then at the last minute it got a reprieve. While losing the ability to sync a Casio G-Shock may not be catastrophic there are many time sensitive computer and clock devices that even the US government and scientific fields NEED. Shutting down would have been problematic. This web page gives a list of manufacturers and what services they use WWVB for. Much of it is academia and scientific research and GPS usage. Shut down NIST and GPS’s might act weird.
Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Casio, Timex, Citizen and on, and on, and on. Some watch brands we know. Some we have never heard of. I recently became interested in Horology, which is the study of the measurement of time.
I AM NOT A WATCH SNOB. I do own a nice Omega Speedmaster though. For many, many years I stopped wearing a watch because our phones have taken over the duties of other devices and of course, the measurement of time being one of those duties. Darn phones have taken over the role of stand alone cameras as well. (I still like stand alone cameras as well). Call me old school.
Anyway as I began studying Horology it became apparent that the modern wrist watch evolved from World Wars I and II. My personal preference in watches revolve around those military style watches sometimes referred to as “Field Watches”. While I don’t get out as much as I like, I love to camp and hike and I’m a gear junkie. Knowing what time it is while hiking is VITAL. I not only want, but NEED a Field Watch.
So I began digging into military field watches and keep running into these Bertucci Watches. Never heard of them before. I hit the watch forums on the internet and while there isn’t much chatter about Bertucci most of what I read is positive.
The modern wrist watch gained popularity in World War I and World War II. Previous to the wars it was considered most un-manly to wear a wrist watch. It took the rigors of combat to convince men that having both hands free while being shot at or while trying to fly an aircraft in combat was a worthwhile endeavor.
The GG-W-113 watch and subsequently the Mil-W-46374 watches found considerable favor with military personnel during WW2. Essentially a quick glance at a very legible time piece was all you needed. The watch also needed to withstand pressures, moisture, shock, vibration and not be reflective to give up your position. (The picture below was snipped off the internet).
The modern wristwatch evolved from military usage. Without getting into a history lesson, basically it goes like this. First there was the pocket watch and then came the wrist watch which was not largely accepted by men for quite some time. The wrist watch became popular during wartime, specifically WW I and WW II when men needed to know what time it was and needed maximum alertness and both hands free during the rigors of combat. So it stands to reason that the Government had a military specification written for a combat capable wrist watch. Today’s current spec is MIL-PRF-46374G
This specification was first published in 1964 as MIL-W-46374, and is now a Performance Specification on Revision G which is from Nov 1999. The spec is interesting reading. You probably never thought how many requirements there were for a military combat wristwatch.
As a typical guy I go through phases of wrist watches. I wear them, I don’t wear them. They aren’t as practical these days as your smart phone has a big old honking time display on it so for the purposes of telling time all your devices suffice nicely.
I have a very nice dress watch, an Omega Speedmaster that I bought in 2003.
It is an amazing watch that I thoroughly enjoy wearing on special occasions but you don’t wear a watch like this to work and you don’t wear it while going to McDonalds.
There is a time and place for all good watches.
Then I went through a bit of a tactical phase and decided to get a watch that looked slightly military in style but slightly flashy as well.