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Author Topic: What's the most complicated wristwatch?  (Read 14917 times)

superboyac

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What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« on: June 19, 2007, 12:42:00 PM »
I have an odd fascination with really complicated wristwatches.  You know the kind with lots of buttons and a bunch of little dials and rotating bezels.  I don't ever dive, but those diver watches are sure cool!  The Vacheron Constantin Tour de l'Ile is supposedly the world's most complicated watch.  It's two-sided, see the picture below:
large-2-183.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?  large-3-82.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

The watch I use is Casio Pathfinder.  I removed the band and attached a silver chain to it and use it as a pocket watch, because I don't like wearing watches on my wrist.  I got it because it has a digital compass on it, and I never get lost in Los Angeles with it.  LA is so big that if you're not familiar with an area, sometimes you don't even know what direction your headed.  It recently ran out of batteries after 6 years!  I opened it to replace the battery and guess what?  THere are 4 batteries inside!  No wonder it lasted so long.  And not only that, I couldn't find a way to get to the batteries because there's all sorts of stuff in the way.  A couple of tiny springs fell out from somewhere, so I got scared and put the cover back on.  Apparently, to replace the batteries, you have to mail it to Casio, and they'll mail it back.  It costs like $30 total or something ridiculous like that.
PAG40-3V.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 12:52:43 PM by superboyac »

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2007, 01:31:26 PM »
Please, I beg you, don't do this to me, Aram! I'm a recovering wristwatch (and pocketwatch) addict! My grandfathers Burlington Railroad Pocketwatch is on my desk before me and a titanium Citizen Eco-Drive is on my wrist as I write this. In a dresser drawer I have about 60 other watches (nothing in the same leagues as a Vacheron et Constantin, but Rolexes, Longines, Omegas, Hamiltons, Girard-Perregaux, etc.). I'm actually just revisiting an obsession over my Hamilton 992 Crown set pocekt watch in display case - it's GORGEOUS (but sadly won't run for more than a few hours - needs a cleaning).

IMG_0653-small.JPGWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

IMG_0657-small.JPGWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

Yeah, I know, I'll never win any awards for my photography!

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

CWuestefeld

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2007, 03:39:49 PM »
I have what I think is the descendant of your Pathfinder, the Pro Trek. This one never runs out of batteries, because it has a solar charger. I bought mine after going to a consulting gig in NYC, coming up out from the subway, and realizing that I knew where I was, I had no idea which direction to walk in to get to the client. Luckily, it was early morning, and I spotted the sun to the east through the skyscraper canyon.

The compass is a big help. I like to geocache, and a GPS doesn't actually know what direction you're facing, just what direction the last update changed the reading, which is hopefully the direction you're moving in.

I also like having the barometer when I'm on vacation, to get an idea about upcoming weather. And the altimeter is cool when hiking in mountain areas.

The thermometer is just this side of useless, since I'm not at all interested in what the temperature the skin of my wrist is.

superboyac

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2007, 03:58:08 PM »
OOo, Darwin, very nice pocket watch.  I love pocket watches.  I was totally obsessed with them in college, and my friend and I bought a few of the cheap windup Russian pocket watches on eBay.  I thought I was so classy:
image_id2925w0h0_Russian_Pocket_Watch_VICTORY_ORDER.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?
I still like them, but I need the compass so I use the Pathfinder now.  Unfortunately, it's not quite so classy when you pull out a Pathfinder at the end of a nice silver chain...a lot of people laugh at me for it.

My brother in law also gave me a swiss army pocket watch recently with a flip top.  It's my backup watch and I use it for fancy situations.  But the lid doesn't spring open like my old Russian pocket watches, you have to pull it open.  Still, it's nice:
24725.jpg

I'd like to see your collection, Darwin, I bet it's really cool.


CWuestefeld, where did you find this Pro Trek?  I've never seen it anywhere.  I've been wondering about the solar Pathfinders...I keep the watch in my pocket, so I figure that solar power will actually be a bad thing for me.  Is that true?  Are there really no batteries in the watch at all?  I'd also like to have that atomic timekeeping.


One of the watches I thought were really cool was one the early G-Shock models that came out around 1991.  It looked really tough, and it's chronometer was accurate to 1/1000 of a second.  For some reason, I was obsessed by that 1/1000 of a second thing.  Anyway, I never got that watch, but I got the sister watch at the time, but it was too enormous for my wrist (I was 5'3" and 95 lbs at the time).  Anyway, years later in 2000, I saw the watch on ebay, but someone outbid me in the last second.  I told him my sob story and begged him to sell the watch to me.  He agreed, took my money, and never sent me the watch (~$100).  Lesson learned.  I'll probably cry if I ever see that watch somewhere.

superboyac

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2007, 04:10:09 PM »
Just FYI, here is the 1991 model of the watch I got for my 8th grade graduation:
DW-5900 whole.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?
It was a very cool watch, I used it on my wrist and as a pocket watch until about 2000.  I still have it, but all the rubber around it has come off.  But the one I really wanted was the sister watch:
DW-6000 Close.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?
Why I'm so obsessed by the 1/1000 second thing, I don't know.  At this point, it's a nostalgia thing.  I'll tell you one thing, if my girlfriend or someone were to ever surprise me with this someday, it would be pretty emotional for me.


Then, in 10th grade (~1994) or so, my G-Shock mysteriously stopped working.  I changed the battery and it still didn't work.  Surprisingly, my mom wasn't mad and the next day or so, she got me a new G-Shock, also quite cool because it had the blue nightglow in the back which was new at the time:
DW-6600-close.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

One day, in the summer of 1999, I was home from college, and I took that first G-Shock that supposedly didn't work anymore, and I opened it up.  I took all the parts out, looked at them, did nothing else, put them back in, and it worked!  I was pretty happy!  A little later, on one of my flights from school, the newer watch fell out of my pocket at the airport somewhere and I lost it.  So I started using the resurrected one again...that's where I got the idea to put a chain on the digital watch.  I've been waiting for it to become a fad but it hasn't.  I'm just a nerd for now...William Hung style, although I don't know what's hanging at the end of his chain (it's probably a wallet).

I should have made this story one of my blogs here.  Oh well, it's not like there are that many people who care about my G-Shock saga!

You can read all about G-Shocks at this guys website devoted to it:
http://www.g-peopleland.com/
Great site!
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 05:27:31 PM by superboyac »

CWuestefeld

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2007, 04:10:24 PM »
I got my Pro Trek on eBay, it was like $150 about 3 years ago. It must have some battery, since it works at night  ;) actually, the specs say it should go for 6 months without a recharge.

Back in college I had one of the big beefy G-Shock watch. I remember one night demonstrating it to a friend. I pounded the back of my wrist against a wall, saying "see, this watch may be big and ugly, but it's indestructible". My friend said, "so, I can do that with my watch".

He proceeded to do just that, and then together we picked up the pieces of his watch from the floor.

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2007, 05:56:54 PM »
Quote
figure that solar power will actually be a bad thing for me.  Is that true?  Are there really no batteries in the watch at all?  I'd also like to have that atomic timekeeping.

Just give the watch a light bath under a lamp (or in a window) for a few hours before you go to bed once a week or so and all will be well. The solar panel behind the face charges a battery inside the watch, so these watches do indeed have batteries. You can definitely get solar powered watches that will sync with an atomic  clock.

Here's my (now 8 year old) titanium Citizen Eco-star - note how "new" it looks despite being a daily wearer for so long:

IMG_0659-small.JPGWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

Yes, that's MY wrist!

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 06:25:23 PM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2007, 06:33:00 PM »
Crap, Aram, you're making me feel OLD. I was *supposed* to graduate from university the year your grade 8 graduation watch was made and did so the year you were in grade 10 (took three years off after my first year to figure out what I wanted to do - ie party a lot and figure out that I didn't want to work in a grocery store stocking shelves for the rest of my life, but I digress)...
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

app103

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2007, 06:49:42 PM »
Mostly because of my dad (he's a watch collector) I own some really weird watches.

Most of them are packed away and not accessible for photographing.

The only one I could find on the web is this one:

wof.jpg

A real collectors item from the 80's. It came with a game book so you could actually use it for playing.  :D



superboyac

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 11:06:49 PM »
Crap, Aram, you're making me feel OLD. I was *supposed* to graduate from university the year your grade 8 graduation watch was made and did so the year you were in grade 10 (took three years off after my first year to figure out what I wanted to do - ie party a lot and figure out that I didn't want to work in a grocery store stocking shelves for the rest of my life, but I digress)...
Haha, Darwin, sorry!  That's the circle of life, man.  Trust me, I have my own regrets about things I should have done in my college days.  If only we could go back and do it again, right?  Maybe we'd get it right the second time!

app103, that's one funky watch...I don't understand how you can actually play the wheel of fortune on it.  You know what would be cool, if Vanna White came with the watch...

app103

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2007, 04:07:24 AM »

app103, that's one funky watch...I don't understand how you can actually play the wheel of fortune on it.  You know what would be cool, if Vanna White came with the watch...

The wheel spins (and will hypnotize you if you stare at it too long). And the games included are more like the classic pencil game of hangman with points...pretty low-tech. It's not meant to be single player game either.

It was the 80's...what can I say?  :D

Eóin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2007, 04:45:29 AM »
I'm a watch fan myself, I would consider my watch to be the only peice of jewellery I wear. Mine at the moment is a Seiko Kinetic Auto Relay-
TokyoFlash.pngWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

But if the name of the game is complicated you need look no further than TokyoFlash.

seiko.jpg
« Last Edit: June 20, 2007, 04:48:07 AM by Eóin »

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2007, 04:38:58 PM »
I'd like a Kinetic Relay myself, Eóin. I have everything from Rolex, Girard-Perregaux, through Omega, Longines to Citizens and Seikos. Love them all. Among my favourites are the Hamiltons and Elgins from the 50's and early 60's - still had American made movements in them (as opposed to imported Swiss ones or later Japanese ones). They're not expensive but some of them are exquisite. Of course, this Patek-Phillipe is the Holy Grail for me. The price for this gem from the 1950's? Average price is around $7000. I can buy a lot of computer hardware for that... but will it make me as happy for so long?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

wreckedcarzz

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2007, 06:13:14 PM »
Not that I have much in the way of them, but I did buy one of the most complex watches I have yet to see. It was able to tell time (two different times), tell you the date, provide a calender, 2 alarms, a calculator (a full one, too), light up, and had a couple other features. IMO good buy for $8 at the local Wal-Mart Supercenter :) (it was a really small watch, too. Suprising.)
I have an expensive ($600) watch laying around here somewhere that I got as a gift, I think it may have been a Citizen watch, but I haven't worn it in over a year (it was buried in my backpack, exactly where it should be :P). All it did was give you the time and the day number, though.

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2007, 06:51:58 PM »
Well... in the horological sense, "complication" relates more to what can be achieved mechanically (ie with a spring driven geartrain as opposed to digitally). It actually refers to "a mechanical feature beyond the simple hours, minutes, and seconds movement." The Vacheron et Constantin complication that Superboyac originally posted about is mechanical and features 17 complications including a minute repeater, sunset time, perpetual calendar, second time zone, a tourbillon device, the equation of time and the representation of the night sky. Only 7 were made and retailed for $1.5 million each (chump change!).

Now, how about the most complicated pocket watch? The Patek-Phillipe Calibre 89

expensive-pocket-watch.jpgWhat's the most complicated wristwatch?

featuring 33 complications. Don't know the price, but the watch from the 30's that inspired it, a one-off built for a NY Banker sold at auction for $11 million... I'll take two (oh, except that there's only one. Details).

Here are the complications that the calibre 89 features:

Day of the month
12-hour recorder
Day of the week
Hour of second time-zone
Moon phase display
Winding crown position indicator
Century decade and year displays
Leap Year Indicator
Power reserve
Month
Thermometer
Date of Easter
Time of sunrise
Equation of time
Star chart
Sun hand
Time of sunset
Split second hand

PS sells for over $6 million. At these firesale prices, I'll take three(assuming they made more than one)!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007, 06:57:45 PM by Darwin »

Grorgy

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2007, 07:43:51 PM »
Quote
All it did was give you the time and the day number, though.
sooooo what more do you really need in a watch?? :tellme:

wreckedcarzz

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2007, 07:53:57 PM »
Quote
All it did was give you the time and the day number, though.
sooooo what more do you really need in a watch?? :tellme:
That post would go longer then the ice age ;D

Carol Haynes

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2007, 08:33:33 PM »
I have a Casio SeaPathfinder (it calculates tide times and moon phases!) which has a Solar battery. Trouble is it works fine when I don't wear it but I think I must generate odd electrical interference because when I wear it it resets itself to factory settings (and the default - new battery time) - really useful. I have sent it back to Casio on more than one occasion and they can't find anything wrong with it despite keeping it in diffeerent environments and getting a technician to wear it for a day. Strange.

I also have a Casio Pro Trek Altimeter which is very complicated and you need a magnifying glass to read it (at least I do these days). It's a cracking altimeter though, which is why I got it, and great for mountain navigation. However, I'd really like to replace it with a GPS watch but they are too expensive. The Pro Trek costs about £20 for a new set of batteries but they last 2-3 years and getting it done by Casio means it remains waterproof to 100m so I can use it for sailing and caving (or even swimming).

Trouble with both of those watches is that they aren't very girly! Most of the time I wear a small gold Citizen Quartz watch which cost me about £30.

Being his final descendant my mother recently gave me my great grandfathers gold fob watch, which  dates back to the 19th century! Beautiful craftsmanship but it does need cleaning professionally to get it working again. Not sure what I would do with it though - I wouldn't want to sell it but I couldn't really use it.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2007, 08:35:41 PM by Carol Haynes »

cranioscopical

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2007, 10:13:45 PM »
Being his final descendant my mother recently gave me my great grandfathers gold fob watch, which  dates back to the 19th century! Beautiful craftsmanship but it does need cleaning professionally to get it working again. Not sure what I would do with it though - I wouldn't want to sell it but I couldn't really use it.

Seems a shame to hide these things away, doesn't it? If your taste leans towards it, a decent display box/frame lets you display and admire it. My father-in-law has a couple displayed this way and they're quite appealing.

Carol Haynes

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2007, 06:45:41 AM »
I should do something like that - rather than have it hidden in a jewel box.

Uncle John

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2007, 04:48:28 PM »
...
The watch I use is Casio Pathfinder...

Since you mentioned Casio Pathfinder I thought you might be interested in the Suunto Core..
http://www.suunto.co...;bmUID=1188162682510

Purists like Darwin would probably say this should not be called a watch and he probably right, Sunnto refer to it as an Outdoor Wristop.

Core_rev1.gif

It's simple appearance belies it's complication. But if you consider all of the things it can do I think you'll find this "watch" is about as complicated as you'll find anywhere.

 
« Last Edit: August 26, 2007, 04:57:58 PM by Uncle John »

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2007, 05:39:55 PM »
Ha ha, I'm not such a purist... I'm wearing a Citizen ProMaster "Wingman" WR100 at the moment. It's a great bulky thing that has both analogue and digital registers and does everything but tuck me in at night. Here's a review posted in a different forum about the watch with pictures. I concur with just about everything the reviewer and respondents have to say about it.

The great thing about this thread is that it's inspired me to start varying my watches again. I had gotten lazy and stopped "rotating" through them with any regularity. So, today it's the ProMaster, tomorrow I think I'll either go for the BW Raymond Railroad chronometer or perhaps one of my Eterna-matics... After that, I may just go nuts and wear my Birks quartz moonphase from the late 80's. Gold plated with a brown face and brown highlights on the case and metal band!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 07:29:27 AM by Darwin »

Darwin

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2007, 05:40:52 PM »
Crud. Started posting the above to mention that I've always wanted a Suunto and got carried away/lost  :o!
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 07:29:45 AM by Darwin »

Carol Haynes

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Re: What's the most complicated wristwatch?
« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2007, 05:05:30 AM »
Yep - I fancy the Sunto altimeter/GPS version! Trouble is you need a mortgage and an armed guard to buy it and wear it!