Author: Cameron Martel

Review: MQT Horlogère Suisse Essential Four Gent

Priced at $229 USD as of the time of this review, the Essential Four Gent affords its wearer versatility via sapphire glass, a clean and minimal face (surprise!), and a quick-release leather strap. Style is conscious and reserved, boasting a good degree of attractiveness. Also worth noting is the use of the Swiss-made ETA 955.412 quartz movement, which alone allows the Essential to stand out compared to other microbrand watches following a similar formula.

So, while the Essential Four Gent is similar in nature to others, it stands above the majority due to its attainable price, excellent construction, and affordability. Let’s dive in and check it out in more detail.

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Best Affordable Dive Watches Priced Under $1,000

A good dive watch is a virtual necessity whenever you find yourself getting wet. Whether you’re actually going diving, or simply want to lounge in the backyard pool, a good dive watch should be able to keep pace.

Not all dive watches are made equally, and not all dive watches need to be overbuilt deep-divers, either. As I curated the watches for this liset, I organized them based on water resistance ratings and then ranked them by price within their respective categories. This list will grow and evolve over time as new and notable divers get released.

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On the Wrist: the Spinnaker Bradner

Not long ago I reviewed the Overboard, a 1000m overbuilt dive watch that can go deeper than you’d ever take it. At the same time I received the Overboard I also took delivery of the Bradner, a casual-wear moderately sized automatic watch that carries a 150m / 500ft water resistance rating. Not bad.

I like the Bradner’s casual style and wrist presence. Let’s take a closer look.

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Wearing the Timex Command Shock

Timex is one of my favorite watch brands and it’s with that context that I write this review of the Command, a 54mm wrist-dominating plastic and camo digital watch from the American king of digital watches.

Long guarding its pervasive position as the “tough watch” segment leader, Casio now finds itself directly in the crosshairs of Timex. The Command is Timex’s answer to the G-Shock, and there’s no mistaking that Timex clearly has the G-Shock in its sights.

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Hands-On: BOLDR Venture

BOLDR Supply Co. is releasing the Venture – a sub-$100 Swiss-quartz powered watch – with an expected ship date of November of this year. Pre-orders are taking place right now. They asked if I’d be interested in showing the Venture to my readers, and after assessing the watch hands on, I am happy to give you a look.

This is a pre-production unit, but if it’s representative of the final product, the Venture will be a good watch to buy.

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On the Wrist: James McCabe Heritage Automatic II

Here’s an automatic from James McCabe with the same case and similar aesthetics as the Heritage Retrograde. While the dial loses a few complications, the watch itself gains a Miyota automatic that is nicely decorated and shown off via a mineral exhibition caseback.

Despite an entry-level movement, the Heritage Automatic is a solid watch to consider if you’re wanting something distinctly styled and still 100% watch. If you want to add an inexpensive automatic to your collection, and you want that watch to be something special, well, you’ll want to keep reading…

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Taking a Deep Dive With the Spinnaker Overboard

I’ve been checking out a lot of dive watches lately as research for an upcoming dive watch article, so when Spinnaker reached out to us and asked if we wanted to review one, the timing couldn’t have been better. I received the Overboard early August and have given it plenty of wrist time since.

Compared to some of the other divers I’ve been wearing lately (the Scurfa Diver One and Hamilton Navy Sub Auto, for example), the Overboard is bigger and heavier at 46mm. The Overboard boasts 300m of water resistance, a sapphire-coated mineral crystal, and a helium escape valve.

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Hands-On: AVI-8 Flyboy Centenary 1960s

Avi-8 is one of my favorite little/big watch brands because of how on-point their watches are thematically. Avi-8 embodies the aviation watch in fun and sometimes over the top ways. Their latest – the Flyboy Centenary edition – is a great example of that.

Both the 1960s and 1980s versions are fitted with three color schemes. Here I’ve got the blue dial 1960s (model AV-4060-02), which I think is the best looking. Let’s take a closer look.

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Scurfa Watches Diver One

Several weeks back a reader emailed me asking if I’d ever seen a watch from Scurfa Watches hands-on. Scurfa, a microbrand based out of the UK, is owned by Paul Scurfield. A North Sea pressure diver, Paul created Scurfa in order to build dive watches that gave divers high-end capability… but at an affordable price.

Scurfa is a two-person brand – my favorite kind of company – and so I decided to buy a Diver One Blue and get my feet wet. Let’s dive in.

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Undone Urban Tropical Sahara

UNDONE is an independent brand that has taken a unique approach to their watches: customers can customize their watch – changing cases, dials, casebacks, and even engraving initials – via UNDONE’s website watch builder. Fans of customization rejoice!

Priced at $345, the Urban Tropical Sahara is within the scope of what most would consider a “nice watch”. This is the first UNDONE I’ve seen hands-on, so let’s not waste any time in having a closer look.

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Citizen Promaster “EcoZilla”: One Serious Diver!

Powered by an Eco-Drive quartz movement, and with styling only an underwater welder could love, the Promaster BJ8050-08E is one of the few watches I’ve come across where the photos do not at all demonstrate the entirety of it. Suffice to say that this Promaster is 100% business, built tough as nails, and designed to handle itself under pressure. With a common street price of under $225, it’s also an affordable option that gives its wearers more for less. So, let’s go for a deep dive as we explore the Citizen Promaster BJ8050-08E!

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