Budget Watches


I picked up my second JOA Homage model recently. It is a PAM249 homage model, the black dial California dial 47mm Radiomir. I’m a big fan of the JOA Homages as they are very well done and have great dials and lume, quality cases and crystals, and can be fitted with great ETA movements. This one is no exception, and comes exactly as advertised.

As you can see above, the 47mm Radiomir Homage features a black Cali-style dial with blued steel hands. Lume is fantastic, though unfortunately I did not capture a shot. The dial also has the words “Swiss Made” on it, not sure if the dial really is Swiss made, but it is very well made and has great detail under a 5x loupe.

Watch features a slightly domed Sapphire Crystal, without front AR coating. I think there might be AR coating on the inside as it appears to have some degree of AR. Crown is an unmarked crown, not a Brevet-marked crown.

Back is solid and without any markings. I kind of like having the solid caseback on this model as it feels a bit nicer on the wrist, and gives a bit more sense of strength to the case. The stock Unitas movement in the back isn’t anything especially pretty anyway!

The case is fully polished, and slightly thicker and has a higher bezel than the original. Not something I am too concerned with as I am not trying to pretend… just like the style of the watch and enjoy the large, clean dial.

Finally, the wrist shot. I think the 47mm sits nicely on my wrist, but there are many that feel it too large. To each his own, I say.. otherwise we’d all look like lemmings and carry iPhones. Better every one have their own sense of style and preference!

Yet another new addition to the world of Online-based specialty dive watch companys.. enter Armida Dive Watches. Armida watches is a Hong Kong based designer of Dive watches that features both Swiss and Japanese movements. The choice is yours! The Swiss costs more, of course.

Currently the company makes two watches, the A1 and A2 Divers. The A1 is a more unique product with a very cool domed sapphire crystal and 1000m water resistance, whereas the A2 is more of a Submariner clone in a larger 42mm size and 500m water resistance. The A2 is also available in PVD black.

While there isn’t a whole lot here to excite me personally, there is some potential. Many of these boutique online-only companies put out some pretty cool stuff like Korsbek and UTS… but many fall into oblivion. I wonder which category Armida will fall into?

The MontresGB, or MGB Diver, is a German Made watch made for BMS Jewelry in Scottsdale, AZ. Interestingly, their website has less info about them than their eBay site. They also sell other watches by brands such as Tag Heuer and Breitling.

The MontresGB watch is a 1000m Diver designed by BMS Jewelry, and is actually a pretty nice watch. They are currently selling them for $600 on their eBay site, and claim the retail pice is $1500. Given the specs of the watch, there are many others out there selling for that kind of price with similar features, but stronger pedigree.

As you can see, the watch is fairly attractive as Divers are concerned, and features similar minimalistic design as Kobold watches, the arctic diver in particular. The MontresGB is actually quite feature rich for its $600 price tag:

1000m Water Resistance
Swiss ETA 2824-2
Sapphire Crystal
41.2mm Case Diamter
German-Made 316L Stainless Steel Case
SuperLuminova

Nice matte black dial with what looks to me like a Kobold-inspired look, with a bit of Rolex Sub thrown in. Of course everything these days seems like a derivative work, but so I’ll just leave it at that, but it is a nice looking, balanced dial with great lume. Easy-to-read, and nothing to distract you from telling the time.

The German-Crafted case is indeed very nice, and exceeds the quality of more entry level luxury Swiss watches such as Hamilton. The “GB” signed crown is rather uninspired, but I suppose is better than nothing. Unidirectional bezel is easy to turn and use. Sapphire Crystal is flat and no AR coating is present.

Case back is quite nice, with everything deeply laser etched into it, giving it a quality look and feel. The lugs are interestingly only 20mm, which to me looks a bit odd sometimes. Its probably my biggest complaint with the watch as I would really have liked to see 22mm lugs, especially since the lugs themselves are somewhat puny. The watch would look much more substantial with a bit more lug width.

Bracelet is very nice for the price point and appears to be a variation on the all-popular Watchadoo bracelet.

Finally the money-shot. Great wrist presence and in the end what I would call a poor-mans Kobold. Very happy to keep mine as a beater, and will probably use it for a while at least. The 1000m water resistance and quality German and Swiss craftmanship sold me on this watch and I was not disappointed.

Tendence watches has created a special edition watch to help support the Japanese People in wake of the 9.1 magnitude earthquake. The watch runs a very affordable $300, with half of the proceeds going to Japan. Here is the message from Tendence:

“Following the devastating 11th March earthquake and tsunami in Japan many thousands of people have been left homeless and in critical need of aid and support. The incredible strength, energy and determination Japanese people have shown in the aftermath of this atrocious natural disaster could have been misinterpreted by some as a sign that Japan is coping on their own and discourage aid from the rest of the world. But there should be no doubt that Japan is a country in urgent need of help!

Tendence decided to find a concrete way to contribute as much as possible to the relief effort in order to help the Japanese people.

From the new Tendence Gulliver Sport line a special edition watch has been created: “Tendence for Japan”.

Tendence will donate 50% of the proceeds from every watch sold to the Japanese Red Cross, in order to help provide a concrete and ongoing support to those people who need it most.

This special watch will be sold exclusively through the Tendence website in order to enable the maximum proceeds to be donated from each watch sold. For every Tendence for Japan watch bought, the purchaser will receive a certificate in recognition of their support and contribution.”

Been loving the Dievas Vortex since it came out two years ago, and this new Vortex Professional Diver is even more awesome! The Dievas Vortex Professional adds several new features over the original Vortex.

A few of the new features of this Dievas Professional include a DLC Black Rotor, even though its hidden beneath a solid caseback; the same German-made titanium Fricker case, but this one featuring a scratch resistant Plasma Finish; and a killer off-white fully SuperLuminova’d dial!

Specs:
Caliber: ETA 2824-2 automatic w/DLC Rotor
Jewels: 25
Power Reserve: 42 hours
Case Metal: titanium w/scratch resistant Plasma treatment
Diameter: 44mm
Height: 14mm
Finish: Waterproof: 50 atm/ 500m
Crystal: sapphire with anti reflective coating
Dial: off-white with Full SuperLuminova
Lug Width: 22mm

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