Garmin Tactix Charlie vs Fenix 5x Plus: Which Multisport GPS Watch is Right for You?

Garmin tactix charlie vs fenix 5x plus review

If you are looking for a multisport GPS watch, it’s hard to go wrong with Garmin. Some of the best GPS watches and fitness tools I’ve seen came from Garmin.

Serious fitness enthusiasts and outdoorsmen will require a premium GPS timepiece for training and while out on the field respectively. For today, we’ll take a look at two recent premium GPS watches from Garmin.

For this head-to-head review, we’ll compare the Garmin Tactix Charlie vs Fenix 5x Plus. Which premium multisport GPS watch is right for you? Let’s find out.

Garmin Tactix Charlie vs Fenix 5x Plus: Specs Comparison

Model: Garmin Tactix Charlie Garmin Fenix 5x Plus
Lens Material: Domed Sapphire Crystal Domed Chemically Strengthened Glass or Sapphire Crystal
Bezel Material: Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) Coated Titanium Stainless Steel or Titanium
Case Material: Fiber-Reinforced Polymer With Titanium Rear Cover Fiber-Reinforced Polymer with Metal Rear Cover
Strap Material: Silicone Silicone, Leather or Titanium
Physical Size: 51 x 51 x 17.5 mm 47 x 47 x 15.8 mm

Fits wrists with the following circumference:

Silicone band: 163-249 mm

Leather band: 166-229 mm

Metal band: 166-242 mm

Display Size: 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter 1.2” (30.4 mm) diameter
Display Resolution: 240 x 240 pixels 240 x 240 pixels
Display Type: Sunlight-Visible, Transflective Memory-in-Pixel (MIP) Sunlight-Visible, Transflective MEMORY-In-Pixel (MIP)
Weight: 90 g 86 g

Titanium version: 76 g

Battery Life: Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days

GPS/HR mode: Up to 20 hours

UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 35 hours

Smartwatch: Up to 12 days
GPS: Up to 18 hours
GPS and Music: Up to 8 hours
UltraTrac™ mode: Up to 42 hours
Water Rating: 10 ATM 10 ATM
Memory: 16 GB 16 GB
Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, Wi-Fi Bluetooth Smart, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Smartphone Compatibility: Android, iPhone Android, iPhone

Garmin Tactix Charlie Review

Back in 2018, the Garmin Tactix Charlie was released – a fitness watch that has more features than you will ever need. The Tactix Bravo is a beloved fitness watch and many were looking forward to the Tactix Charlie. Based on my experience, the Tactix Charlie is a worthy update to the Bravo.

Design and Construction

This third generation Tactix watch doesn’t look that much different from the Bravo. The rugged construction is still the primary design selling point of the Tactix Charlie. The Tactix Charlie truly looks like a proper tactical watch that will not look out of place on a SWAT team’s wrists.

Fortunately, the Tactix Charlie doesn’t only look the part, it’s built to be the toughest watch in Garmin’s arsenal.

The main draw of the Charlie is the Diamond-like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium material. With the DLC material, the Charlie is more resistant and durable than the Fenix 5X. While the DLC delivers in terms of toughness and robustness, it’s surprisingly a lightweight material.

The Charlie also features stainless-steel buttons, black titanium rear cover, and domed sapphire lens. These top-of-the-line materials help the Tactix Charlie a true outdoors GPS watch. This is the type of watch that you can wear regardless of outside conditions. Well, after all, it’s a GPS watch that’s designed for tactical purposes.

The 1.2-inch display does a great job of making things readable, even under the bright sunlight. This is a fairly large watch with a large display. For a watch that offers a ton of functionality, I won’t have it any other way.

Comfort and Wearability

When it comes to comfort, the Tactix Charlie doesn’t disappoint.

The watch comes with an all-weather black silicone band and is QuickFit™ compatible. The band feels comfortable even when things get a little moist. However, I was disappointed that you can’t swap the band with a NATO strap out of the box. It would be neat if it did come with another type of strap.

Weighing at 90 grams, the Charlie does have a bit of weight to it which is not surprising at all. This is a feature-heavy GPS watch with tons of features, so be aware that it has some bulk and weight. However, Garmin did a great job of keeping things lightweight despite the tactical nature of the Charlie.

As for the battery life, the Charlie offers up to 12 days in Smartwatch mode, 20 hours in GPS/HR mode, and 35 hours in UltraTac mode. This makes the Tactix Charlie equal to Fenix 5x in battery life but slightly less than the Bravo. The addition of the optical Heart Rate Monitor is the likely culprit here.

Just to be clear, the Charlie is not a touchscreen watch. While I do like touchscreen watches, they won’t make sense for an all-weather unit like the Garmin Tactix Charlie. With a 5-button navigation, operating the watch is easy. There’s a bit of a learning curve but if you have used the Bravo before, you’ll know that they are very similar in operation.

Features and Software

This is the meat of the Garmin Tactix Charlie. This is where the majority of your big bucks go.

For navigation, you can use the built-in GPS/GLONASS and the TOPO maps or the compass. Garmin is a world-leading brand in GPS devices, so you can expect the same level of quality as the Charlie. It’s also a proper ABC watch with altimeter, barometer and a 3-axis compass.

The full-color TOPO map is easy to follow and is preloaded into the watch. You can easily map your route and receive at a glance information while you’re training or on the field. The navigation aspect of the Charlie certainly lives up to Garmin’s standard.

As an activity tracker, Charlie offers plenty of options as well. As expected, the Charlie is loaded with advanced performance monitoring capabilities to help maximize your training. The new anaerobic training effect metric is pretty neat as it gets you an in-depth insight into your training and helps pinpoint the areas that need improvement.

Of course, you can’t talk about the features of Charlie without mentioning the Wrist-Based HR. The watch comes with the Elevate wrist heart rate technology. However, the heart rate monitor is perhaps one of the lowest points of the Tactix Charlier. After multiple tests, I find the HR monitor to be quite erratic and sometimes, a bit laggy. It simply can’t compare to HR monitors with chest straps.

Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Review

The Fenix GPS multisport watches are some of the best fitness smartwatches on the market. The Fenix 5x is one of my favorite GPS watches and the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus looks to be an even better iteration.

Design and Construction

The Garmin Fenix watches are known for their big and bulky profile – the Fenix 5x Plus is no exception. Measuring at a whopping 51mm and weighing 86 grams, the Fenix 5x Plus is about 50% larger and twice as heavy as the Apple Watch Series 3.

That’s one way of saying that there’s no discreet way to wear the Fenix 5x Plus. Sure enough, you’ll get plenty of comments about how massive your watch is.

Despite its large profile, the watch still looks stylish. The black stainless steel bezel adds a sleek aesthetic to the watch. It looks good enough for daily wear. The black silicone band complements the rest of the watch and it’s easily interchangeable as well.

One of the highlights is the color sapphire display which does a great job of warding off scratches. Like the Tactix Charlie, the display is easily readable in sunlight. I’ve been wearing the watch during workouts and the display has yet to who signs of scratches.

Comfort and Wearability

The Fenix 5x Plus is about as comfortable as you can expect from a bulky watch. However, the Fenix 5x Plus is lighter than the Tactix Charlie. At 86 grams, the watch is not exactly light but Garmin deserves some props for not getting carried away with the weight.

The included silicone band is surprisingly comfortable, even after long periods of use. While training the band will accumulate moisture but I’m happy to report that comfort is not affected.

The watch does come with a sleep tracking feature but I’m not compelled to use it. While the watch is quite comfortable for a heavy-duty GPS watch, it’s not comfortable enough to sleep with it.

For the battery life, the watch will last you about 7 to 10 days with regular use. Due to the large number of features and functions (like playing music), I got about a week of heavy usage with this watch. If you are using both GPS and music, you will probably need to charge the watch by the end of the day. In this Garmin Tactix Charlie vs Fenix 5x Plus comparison, the former wins in terms of battery life.

Features and Software

If you have used a Garmin multisport watch before, it will be easy for you to pick up the Fenix 5X Plus. The 5-button interface is still here and requires a bit of learning curve for new buyers.

As expected, the GPS on this watch is solid. As long as you’re in a reasonably open area, the GPS lock-on is fast and easy, thanks to the GPS, Glonass, and Galileo satellites. The watch is also loaded to the brim when it comes to metrics. In fact, the watch is packed with so many features that I find myself learning a new metric or dynamic with continued use.

On top of the usual activity tracking and navigation features, the Fenix 5X Plus also comes with GarminPay which allows you to complete purchases just by using your watch. Another highlight is the ability to store offline Spotify so you can listen to music on the go.

If contactless payment and offline music playback are high up on your list, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus is an easy recommendation.

Garmin Tactix Charlie vs Fenix 5x Plus: The Verdict

We conclude this Garmin Tactix Charlie vs Fenix 5x Plus head-to-head with our verdict.

The Garmin Tactix Charlie and Fenix 5x Plus are very similar watches, even down to the price range. For the base models, the price is similar between the two watches. However, the Fenix 5x Plus comes with a Titanium version which is a lot more expensive.

So which high-end GPS watch is right for you?

Well, if you are looking for a watch with tactical applications, the Garmin Tactix Charlie might be more right up your alley. It’s one of the best military watches available.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more advanced watch in terms of features, the Fenix 5x Plus has the upper hand. The ability to play music offline and contactless payment are winning features in my book.

Regardless of your choice, both watches are durable, versatile, and offer everything but the kitchen sink.

Best Watch for Firefighter EMT [Top Picks]

Best watch for firefighter EMT_Featured

Being a firefighter EMT has got to be one of the most dangerous and unpredictable jobs out there. One moment you’re just cleaning equipment and going over the inventory and suddenly, you find yourself responding to a multi-alarm fire or performing CPR on a car crash victim.

One of the most important pieces of gear that a firefighter EMT must have is a high-quality durable watch. It’s a tough job so you need a timepiece that’s as tough as you are.

For today’s buyer’s guide, we made a roundup of the best watch for firefighter EMT. Each watch has its distinctive features and caters to a certain budget range.

Let’s get to it!

Best Watch for Firefighter EMT

Key Features

Our Rating

Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000-1A5CR Shock resistant, Neobrite, Mineral Glass, Mud Resistant, 200-Meter Water Resistance, Countdown timer, 5 daily alarms, Quartz Movement, Digital Compass, Thermometer, World Time, Stopwatch ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Luminox 3059 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark Precise Swiss-Quartz Movement, Mineral Crystal, Polyurethane Case, Black Dial, Date Function, Water Resistant to 660 Feet (200 M) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 Solar powered, Quartz movement, Protective mineral crystal dial window, Mb6 atomic timekeeping, auto LED, 5 Daily Alarms, Water resistant to 660 feet ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro RR1402 Calibre, 48 Hour Power Reserve, 25 Jewels, Stainless Steel, Black Leather strap combined with a Pin Buckle, Scratch-resistant Sapphire Crystal, Waterproof up to 10 bar (100 Meter) ★ ★ ★ ★
Marathon General Purpose WW194009 Built to Government specifications, Maraglo photoluminescent paint, High impact fibreshell case, Sapphire crystal, ETA F06 3 jewel high-torque Quartz movement ★ ★ ★ ★
Aquaforce Firefighter Brass and Stainless Steel 30m water resistance, Stainless steel back, Brass case, Rose gold case with black trim ★ ★ ★ ½

Best Watch for Firefighter EMT

1. Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000-1A5CR

Casio is a legendary brand and its G-Shock line consists some of the toughest watches on the planet. The Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GG-1000-1A5CR is our top pick due to its supreme toughness and more.

Legendary Durability and Reliability

If you are already used to G-Shock watches, you’ll be surprised with the Mudmaster GG-1000-1A5CR’s size – it’s indeed larger than most G-Shock models.

For me, one of the main selling points of this watch is the design. The overall color scheme and the negative display add a good deal of personality to the watch. It looks rugged and tactical which many firefighters will surely appreciate. Despite the predominantly black dial, it still offers “at a glance” readability. The LED backlight is not the brightest but very serviceable.

When it comes to toughness, the Mudmaster GG-1000-1A5CR doesn’t disappoint. Whether it’s a big drop or a hard hit, the Mudmaster can take a serious beating. The combination of rugged construction and durable materials make this watch a reliable ally during high-pressure situations. It’s also water-resistant which means that you’ll have no problem wearing it while responding to a fire call.

Overall, the Mudmaster GG-1000-1A5CR is an excellent heavy-duty watch, and well worth the money.

2. Luminox 3059 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark

We have listed the Luminox EVO Navy SEAL as one of the best military watches that money can buy. If the Luminox 3059 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark is good enough for the Navy, it should be good enough for firefighters and EMTs.

Swiss-Made Durability

For starters, the Luminox 3059 EVO Navy SEAL Colormark is a handsome watch. One of the first things you’ll notice is the eye-popping orange color scheme. Aside from the fact that it’s a head-turner, the orange color scheme also makes it easier to read the watch regardless of the conditions.

I’ve always been a fan of the Luminox EVO’s big, bold display, and the 3059 EVO Navy SEAL is no exception. Despite the fairly crowded dial, the watch is very legible. If it’s too dark, the tritium luminosity accents ensure that you read the watch with little to no problems.

But is it a tough watch?

Well, the 3059 EVO Navy SEAL boasts superior construction and rugged build. The fact that it’s a big and tall watch reinforces the durability and reliability of the unit. Unfortunately, users with smaller wrists might want to pass since this 44 mm watch is quite sizable.

The 3059 EVO Navy SEAL is a military timepiece that has all the makings to be the best watch for firefighter EMT.

3. Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400

We could fill out this list of the best watch for firefighter EMT with Casio G-Shock watches and be done with it. As expected, Casio makes another solid tough watch offering with the Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400.

Superior Toughness and Functionality

The Master of G series is a popular Casio collection and the G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 happens to be the most popular of them all – for good reason.

The G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is always a solid choice if you are in the market for a tough-as-nails watch. It looks aggressive and bulky, and make no pretensions that it’s a heavy-duty timepiece. From firefighter EMTs to law enforcement, this watch can take a great deal of punishment.

However, calling it merely a tough watch would be a huge disservice. The G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 is a feature-packed timepiece that will serve you well if you like going outdoors. The watch features a Triple Sensor which is basically three functions: compass, thermometer, and altimeter-barometer. Unlike some outdoor watches, all three functions work rather well.

The watch is also solar-powered which means that you don’t have to replace or charge the batteries, provided that you wear it regularly.

For firefighter and EMTs, the G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400 offers unparalleled toughness, a load of features, and amazing value.

4. Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro

The watch industry has become so massive that it now houses many different niches such as divers, sports, dress, perpetual calendars, and more. The Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro represents a lesser-known and quite frankly, a strange niche.

A Firefighter’s Watch with a Flair of Its Own

As you might have guessed from the name, the Ball Fireman Storm Chaser Pro was designed for storm or tornado chasers. While not many people can take advantage of this watch’s niche, it’s a handsome sports chronograph that packs quite a wallop.

The Fireman Storm Chaser Pro is a downright gorgeous chronograph. This 42mm watch boasts classically handsome looks and on-point proportions. If you are a firefighter who doesn’t want to forego style, the Fireman Storm Chaser Pro comes highly recommended.

The dial is also a thing of beauty. The metallic slate gray gives the dial an elegantly handsome look and it looks amazing when it catches the light. The subdials feature a black finish and concentric circles. At 9 o’clock you can find the running seconds subdial which provides the much-needed balance.

Another thing that’s worth mentioning is the price. This is hardly a budget-friendly timepiece. However, for the price, it stacks favorably against more expensive models.

5. Marathon General Purpose WW194009

If you want a simple analog watch that can stand up to high-pressure jobs, the Marathon General Purpose WW194009 is an easy recommendation.

Simple Yet So Intricate

For starters, the WW194009 is built according to government specifications for military use. It fulfills the Nato Stock Numbers 6645-00-066-4279 and 6645-01-304-4308 – in layman’s term, it is one tough watch.

The fibershell case and sapphire crystal do a great job of protecting the watch from serious damage. You can hit and bump this watch all day and you won’t see any dent. After all, it is a true field watch designed for general infantry.

Despite the rugged construction and durability, the watch barely weighs anything at all. Sometimes, I barely notice that it’s there. In this day and age of massive bulky watches, the Marathon General Purpose WW194009 is a breath of fresh air and wearing it is such a liberating experience.

The watch is powered by Swiss-made ETA F06 3 quartz movement which delivers as far as accuracy goes. The dial looks clean and easily readable. The hands are also lumed but it could be better especially during very low-light conditions.

Summing it up, the WW194009 is a lightweight but durable watch that will serve you well while on fire duty.

6. Aquaforce Firefighter Brass and Stainless Steel

The Aquaforce Firefighter Brass and Stainless Steel is the timepiece you want if you want something that’s actually firefighting themed. It’s not the most advanced watch on this list but it gets the job done.

A Solid Fireman-Themed Timepiece

The Aquaforce Firefighter Brass and Stainless Steel is marketed as a dress watch. It’s certainly dressier than other Aquaforce models with its rose gold case and black trim. The dial also features a firefighter logo right smack in the middle. The design is not very elaborate but it looks clean and handsome.

However, I must say that the rose gold color looks more like copper when it arrived which took me by surprise.

In terms of durability, I must say that the watch feels solid and adequately constructed. There’s a bit of weight to it which is nice especially for a budget-friendly piece. It is also water-resistant to 30m which is good for the occasional splash.

Overall, the Aquaforce Firefighter Brass and Stainless Steel is a reliable fireman-themed watch which also makes a great gift.

Watches You Can Rely on While On Duty

This wraps up the list of the best watch for firefighter EMT. These watches are tough, functional, and highly reliable – all essential qualities while fulfilling your duty.

Hopefully, you’ve found the right watch for you using this guide.

Best Automatic Dive Watch Under 1000

Review of the best automatic dive watch under 1000

From our extensive research on the best automatic dive watch under 1000, Seiko Prospex SBDC029 is our favorite. It’s accurate, attractively designed and endures extreme conditions underwater such as pressure or leaks.

To most people, the thrilling excitements of exploring the depths on a dive is one of the best experiences in life. Now having a gadget you can rely on to tell time while taking the plunge is where the automatic dive watch comes in. As a virtual necessity for great water sports, the importance of the automatic dive watch cannot stay ignored.

Although the automatic dive watches can cost quite a bit, but considering that there are other occasions with bills asides from diving, we will prefer to spend our money wisely. Thankfully, the market has segments to match the consumer’s budget and preference.

Seiko Prospex SBDC029 (Best Automatic Dive watch Under 1000)

 

As the best automatic dive watch under 1000; Seiko Prospex SBDC029 is probably the most popular across all price categories. Also known as “Seiko Shogun,” it’s as an introduction to a new dimension in the dive watch world. The Prospex serves as a solid piece for dive neophytes. Initially debuted in 1965 as 6217 – it’s a reissue of Seiko’s first dive watch. This iteration measures 44mm in diameter, which is certainly bigger than the 38mm of the original.

The Seiko Prospex packs an R615 automatic movement for power with manual winding capacity. In addition, it has 41 power reserve with water-resistant of up to 200 meters. The watch makes up the entire needs of sea enthusiasts.

Benefits / Drawbacks – Seiko Men’s SBDC029

Tough build-up

Made of pure titanium, which is one of the lightest and toughest materials on earth, the Prospex SBDC029 is suitable to confront both water and pressure. The case, the crown, and the interior parts are well protected. It includes 23 jewels and automatic movement oscillating at six beats per second.

Although the accuracy falls within 15 seconds per day, the value at the price point isn’t bad at all. You may only need to adjust the time after three weeks. Don’t worry; it takes only a few seconds to complete.

Luminous hands and markers

Besides the stylish design, Prospex also emphasizes on reliability. In cases of underwater and less light conditions, the black matte dial gives the best readability and functionality. The oversized hands and index also add to the efficiency of the Seiko Prospex underwater. With the Lumbrite feature of both the hands and makers, it’s a complete dive piece.

Extra Features

The substantial buildup and water-resistant level of the Seiko Prospex SBDC029 already qualify it to be the best automatic dive watch under 1000. Besides the titanium case and band, it also comes with a three-fold clasp, push release button, and an extender to securely lock the watch on the wrist. You never have to bother about it falling off from a dive. The addition features can’t remain overlooked. It’s got stop-seconds hand, date display and unidirectional rotating bezel for diving.

Seiko Men’s SKX007K Automatic

 

Another Seiko again? Of course, the Seiko Men’s SKYX007K has earned it. This timepiece is the best choice and first watch that should be on your mind when you consider a house-made automatic dive watch. If you want a superb dive watch model that combines, the classic Japanese standards of quality with Western passion; then this SKX007K suits great.

It costs only a couple hundred dollars, making the watch one of the perfect automatic dive watch with better value for the money. In our opinion, despite being rather affordable, the watch looks incredible with impeccable quality.

Benefits / Drawbacks – Seiko Men’s SKX007

Sleek design

Concerning the appearance, SKX007 stands trustworthy. As expected from a Seiko watch, the SKX007K is well-made, sturdy, and robust. Starting from the black dial, the stainless steel case to the tough rubber straps, it would make you feel as if you have won the lottery.

Reliable movement

To match the incredible diver design, it’s got excellent utility. Powered by an automatic mechanical movement, there’s no need for batteries to keep it operating. The watch recharges with the sway of the arm, which may be more precise and reliable than the ones powered by batteries.

As an automatic dive watch, its accuracy and lack of hacking leave the timepiece trailing a bit behind other more capable movements. But it offers the day/date display in addition to reliably telling time. The SKX007K won’t let you down when it counts.

Standard water resistance

For good reasons, it’s earned a global acceptance as the typically affordable dive watch. Its 42mm case is resistant to 200 meters or 660 ft. in water plus ISO certified to be capable for swimming, snorkeling and lots of water sports. The Hardlex crystal reinforcement of the watch is tough enough to withstand wear and tears. Also, to last long while in water depths. For one of the best value proposition you expect from a dive watch, it’s got almost everything.

Davosa Ternos Professional

 

With 200 years of experience in watchmaking, Davosa has earned its prestige as one of the durable and reliable Swiss watches throughout the world. The Ternos Professional is a reflection of their aim to preserve this reputation.

Just like the names, the Ternos watch serves not only recreational divers, but also the professional ones who enjoy deep diving. It remains fully functional and readable even in deep waters. Although most users tend to compare the Davosa Ternos to the iconic Rolex Submariner, it’s a successful brand on its own and a trusted companion for any diver.

Benefits / Drawbacks – Davosa Ternos Professional

Elegant, Smart-looking timepiece

The luxury and flawless design of the watch naturally draws attention to its details. The stainless steel strap and two-tone ceramic bezel of the Ternos Professional reflect their utmost attempt for outstanding flexibility. Also for the watch to be suitable for any occasion – formal or casual.

What’s more, this watch has the best features. Depending on individual taste, some prefer larger crowns for ease of use. Ternos Professional has got it!

Best Underwater Companion

Underwater, most high-end watches lose their validity. But for automatic diver like this one, you’re sure to have an excellent and reliable experience with each diving session.

With ISO 6425 certification, the Ternos Professional offers an exceptional level of water resistance. It tells time even at 1650 ft. depth underwater. Both the case back, crown and internal mechanisms are secured and protected from water and pressure.

Unmatched quality

The entire watch is Swiss-made, and if you know about watches, you know that it’s a byword for quality. The scratchproof sapphire crystal, the stainless case, luminous hands and markers with super luminova pigment shows enough evidence. It’s both practical and fashionable.

At 42mm, the whole Davosa watch is of great value. You may think of as quite large, but it’s also not so massive to fit anyone with smaller wrists. Asides from the price, there are no real downsides to this Davosa. It all comes down to your preference.

Marathon WW194026

 

Marathon is another legendary watch-making brand with over 100 years’ experience. Through a reputation of paying utmost attention to quality control and customer service, they have lived up to the expectations of their loyal customers. Making the Marathon WW194026 – one of the best automatic dive watch under 1000 is proof.

The build includes a balance wheel to regulate the time and a mainstream serving as an energy source. Such that it wounds as the wearer moves. It’s a heavy watch and undoubtedly a good one for you.

Benefits / Drawbacks – Marathon WW194026

Classic style design

This time tracker has a sense of vintage for watch enthusiasts and old-style lume watch lovers. While other watches prime on looking flashy, this model seems better for those who don’t target showy accessories.

Marathon offers different colors of rubber wristbands for you to make your preferred choice. If you prefer to modify your piece, the bands are replaceable. You can use leather or fabric to give it a different look.

High level of water resistance

Up to a depth of 1000 feet, it’s able to withstand water pressure. It adopts the International Standard for divers’ watches – the ISO 6425. Meaning the model WW194026 can compete anywhere for the highest reliability underwater.

As expected from the making of a typical dive timepiece, it has a thick and impenetrable glass, ideal to withstand scratches and pressure. Plus, rubber bands and a well-matched stainless steel casing material, typical for underwater expenditures.

Well-built for all purposes

The Marathon WW194026 uses a Swiss Sellita SW200 Automatic movement with 26 Jewels to offer accuracy with less frequent adjustment. Included in the process of making the dial is the Tritium gas so that the diver can tell time even when it’s dark.

The entire features of the Marathon WW194026 in so many ways makes it compatible with diving equipment. But it’s not limited to that alone, Marathon WW194026 suits various occasions.

Wrap-Up

Not only for activities where you find yourself getting wet, dive watches also make fantastic daily wears. If they can handle lots of atmospheric pressure, of course your day-to-day life wouldn’t be that challenging.

Getting the best automatic dive watch under 1000 from the unending models of timepieces on the market requires careful considerations. Starting from the affordability, quality, and level of water resistance. From our research, Seiko Prospex SBDC029 tops our preferences. We hope this review helps you make the right decision. Based on your budget, you can also check out the best automatic watch under 300.

Stuhrling Watch Review: An In-Depth Look at the Stuhrling Regatta Champion

Stuhrling Watch Review_Featured

Stuhrling is a brand that I have always been interested in. The brand offers a wide range of timepieces and many of them are unique or interesting to look at, to say the least. However, I tend to gravitate towards traditional-looking timepieces which is why for this Stuhrling watch review, I’ve decided to take an in-depth look at the Regatta Champion.

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion is a marine-themed dive watch which is something that I tend to like. Many dive watches just try too hard so they end up having too many elements with their designs.

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion begs to differ which is a breath of fresh air. Is this dive watch worth adding to your collection?

Let’s find out!

Stuhrling Watch Review: The Regatta Champion at a Glance

Model:

Regatta Champion 395 Quartz 42mm Diver

Reference #:

395.33U16

Collection:

Aquadiver

Case material:

316L Surgical Grade Steel Case

Case diameter:

42 mm

Case height:

11.47 mm

Crystal:

Krysterna Crystal

Crown:

Screw Down Fluted Crown

Water resistance:

20 ATM Water Resistant (200 meters/660 feet)

Dial:

Deep-Sea Royal Blue Dial

Movement:

Swiss Quartz Movement, Ronda 515

Bracelet:

Stainless Steel Link Bracelet

Bracelet width:

22 mm

Features:

Skeletonized Luminous Sword Hands

Individually Applied Luminous Arabic Numerals – 3,6,9, and 12; and Stick

Indices at All Other Points

Stainless Steel Unidirectional Ratcheting Bezel

Screw Down Case Back with Stührling Wings Logo

Push Button Deployant with Safety Clasp

First Impressions

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion came in a glossy white box with a printed Stuhrling logo in gold. This is not exactly a luxury watch, so I was expecting the packaging to be in the so-so category but its surprisingly well-done.

Inside the packaging box is the actual watch box in orange. The orange box contains the watch, manual, certificate card, and an orange micro-fiber cloth. The micro-fiber cloth is a nice touch for cleaning the watch. As for the watch, it was covered with a shrink-wrapped clear plastic.

As for the look of the actual watch, the Regatta Champion certainly looks better than the pictures. The blue dial looks great with a couple of noteworthy high-quality design elements. One of the first things I’ve noticed about the dial is that the Arabic numerals are a bit too large.

The polished steel case looks fairly standard but the reflective polish does throw me off. The shape of the case is simple but with a highly angular shape. Despite the good-looking design, it’s fairly obvious that the manufacturers had to cut some corners with materials and construction.

Overall, my first impressions of the Regatta Champion lean on the positive side.

The Case

As mentioned, the case of the Regatta Champion looks decent enough. However, the almost mirror-like polish is something that I don’t enjoy. But it’s worth noting that other parts of the case such as the top of the lugs are less reflective.

On the right side of the case, you’ll see two short crown guard. The guards slope slightly downwards and the ends are smoothly rounded. The lugs from the top and bottom of the case also slope downwards, with some sharp corners. This enables the Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion to provide a comfortable fit even on smaller wrists.

The bracelet bars that hold the bracelet feels a bit flimsy and frankly, low-quality. I was worried that they might break while trying to change the bracelet. I thought about changing the bars but there’s not enough clearance between the case and the bar which makes it difficult to install thick bars.

The case back is also disappointing. The case back design looks to be printed instead of being engraved. It feels like the design will come off with continued use. So far, the case back design holds up but my confidence for it to last is low.

The actual design is also uninspired and needlessly busy.

The Crown

As far as watch operation goes, you only have the stainless steel screw-down crown.

The crown is just the right size and it’s easy to grip. The crown guards are positioned just right and it makes it easier to grasp and operate the crown. The engraved coin edge also provides good friction for the fingers. The end of the crown has a small “S” engraving which adds a much-needed detail to the watch.

The crown has two positions of operation. The first pull is used to set the date of the watch. The second pull is used for adjusting the hands.

The Dial

The main selling point of the watch for me is the marine dial. With how the dial looks alone, it’s easy to think that the Regatta Champion costs more than it is.

The minimalistic design of the dial certainly does the watch plenty of favors. At the 12 o’clock position is the “STUHRLING ORIGINAL” text while at the center button, you’ll see the ‘PROFESSIONAL DIVER 200 METERS’ text. I have always been a fan of watches with minimal texts, so plus points for the Regatta Champion.

The markers are applied which adds a good deal of texture to the dial. The markers are also outlined with chrome around the edges. The 12, 3, 6, and 9 hour markers are printed in Arabic numbers while the other markers are represented by trapezoids.

The hands are lumed which comes in handy if you’re going to use this watch for diving. But the seconds hand is not lumed which is a weird design flaw for a dive watch. The lumed hands are decent but I just wish the illumination is brighter.

There’s also the date window located between the 4 and 5 markers. However, the date window is very small which makes it hard to read the numbers inside.

Overall, the dial’s design is very impressive (with the exception of the date window) and does a great job of making the watch look high-end.

The Bracelet

The next stop for this Stuhrling watch review is the bracelet.

The bracelet is also polished stainless steel in the center link which I don’t really care for. It looks like your standard three-link bracelet in most watches. Unfortunately, I gave up trying to make the bracelet fit since I was unable to find the right tools to adjust it.

Therefore, I opted to swap the three-link steel bracelet with NATO and leather straps. And oh boy, it made the Regatta Champion experience a lot better for me.

By swapping the bracelet with something else, the Regatta Champion gained a whole lot more personality. The quality of the steel bracelet is really not that great which is acceptable for a budget timepiece. Luckily, I decided to change things up by swapping the bracelet.

On a side note, swapping the bracelet was not easy especially when there’s not much space between the bars and the case. My advice, choose a thinner strap like the AUTULET NATO Watch Band.

The Movement

Stuhrling Watch Review Ronda 515 Movement

The Stuhrling Original Regatta Champion is powered by the Swiss Quartz Movement Ronda 515. Being a cost-effective dive watch, Stuhrling would have just slapped a generic quartz movement here and I would have been fine.

It’s a good thing that Stuhrling opted to include a fairly reliable movement, the Ronda 515. The 515 is truly a workhorse movement and based on past experiences, I have nothing to worry about. In addition, on top of being reliable, the Ronda 515 also boasts decent accuracy for daily timekeeping.

The only downside is that the durability and battery life of the 515 is lesser when compared to a newer movement like the 715.

The Regatta Champion’s timekeeping is solid and reliable, thanks to the Ronda 515 movement.

Pricing

One can argue that the best part about the Stuhrling Regatta Champion is the price. By all accounts, the Regatta Champion is a slightly above average dive watch that excels in design more than anything.

Performance-wise, I haven’t tested the Regatta Champion for diving so I can’t really comment on that. However, it does offer a 20 ATM Water Resistant rating which should be more than enough for most divers. As for the timekeeping aspect, the watch delivers the accuracy and reliability aspect which all I ever need for a budget watch such as this.

For less than $100, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a dive watch this good-looking. On the flip side, if you’re going to use this for diving, even the sub-$100 price might not be worth it.

There are plenty of durability, construction, and quality issues with this watch, making it hard to recommend for heavy-duty activities such as diving. Plus, the lume is lacking in brightness which is a problem when you’re underwater.

For a beater watch, on the other hand, I highly recommend it for the price.

Should You Get the Stuhrling Regatta Champion Dive Watch?

Stuhrling Watch Review_Featured

As per usual, we conclude this Stuhrling watch review with our verdict. Is the Stuhrling Regatta Champion Dive Watch worth buying?

Well, it really depends on you.

If you are planning to dive with this watch, then I struggle to recommend this diving watch. Although it has the waterproof factor, it has some issues that could affect your diving experience. For instance, the quality of the watch is not that great. Second, the lumed hands and markers are not bright enough for underwater excursions.

On the flip side, I highly recommend the Stuhrling Regatta Champion Dive Watch for casual use. The dial is bold, clean, and minimalistic – just the way I like my watches. The blue dial is stunning and is joined with some very exciting design elements.

If you can get past the quality issues, the Stuhrling Regatta Champion is worth looking into.

Best Women’s Dive Watch

Best Womens Dive Watch

We’ve researched for hours on end to provide you with a few recommendations for the best womens dive watch. When diving, it’s crucial to have information at the tip of your finger.

If you’re wondering whether a womens dive watch is necessary or not, we may be able to give you some insight. Overall, the best women’s dive watch is the Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch. Why? Mostly because the price-point is very affordable and isn’t as expensive as other brands. Plus, the company ensures you’re not skipping on quality. Although it is the “mini” version, which may not be suitable for all divers.

As a water sports enthusiast, it’s essential to have a stylish yet reliable wristwatch on hand. Each of the watches on this list are beautiful watches. Not only do they work while you’re diving but can quickly transfer into the workplace or everyday life — no need to purchase a separate dive watch, as you can use it as your everyday wristwatch.

Alternatively, if you’re just looking for a men’s dive watches, then check out this article.

Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch

The Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch is the best womens dive watch. The attractive and detailed watch face is incredible to look at and is specially designed to fit women’s wrists. It includes a slim  31 mm diameter outer case, which is perfect for diving and other daily activities. Even though it’s a “mini” version, you’re still getting all the enhanced features you’d find in a full-sized watch. Plus, there’s a large variety of colors to choose from, ensuring you’ll find one to your liking.

Elegant Design

The M1 Mini features one of the thinnest watch-faces on the market. The thickness is approximately 31mm and includes various features. Some of the features included is a rotary bezel, date window, luminous dial, and buckle closure. Each element is based on classic diver watch designs, ensuring you’re getting a stylish product. Lastly, the analog display includes marks for minutes, seconds, and the date.

Long-Lasting Precision

As for other features, the long-lasting precision ensures that the watch never lags behind in time. The main watch face includes Japanese quartz movement that’s been powered by a non-standard battery. Each clock consists of a battery length of at least two years at minimum and three at max.

Water-Resistant

All dive watches are waterproof, but this one includes a few enhancements. The dive watch has been rigorously tested to ensure that the device will still work even submerged at 200 m/660 ft. This makes it ideal for scuba diving, boating, or other types of watersports.

This not only makes it suitable for recreational diving but also everyday life. It doesn’t matter if you’re washing your hands, taking a dunk in the pool, or just walking in the rain – this watch can handle it all.

Comfortable

What makes this watch a step above the rest is the unique natural mini rubber band. It’s much smoother and softer than other materials, plus the size is suitable for women’s wrists. The rubber ensures that the watch stays on your wrist at all times, which is designed for all day use.

What Do We Think?

Overall, the dive watch includes many features any diver would be happy with. The watertight sealing helps prevent any accidents by keeping water out of the working parts. Plus, the battery replacements happen every 2-3 years. This helps avoid tinkering with the case to replace the battery and loosening the casing.

As for the watch face, there’s more information than other dive watches including a rotary bezel, luminous dial, and a date window. Plus, the multiple color and design options are what make this version stand out amongst many others. We’d say it’s well worth the investment and would even go as far to say that it’s the best womens dive watch of 2019.

Invicta Mako Pro Diver Women’s Dive Watch

 

The next choice on our womens dive watch list is the Invicta Mako Pro Diver Women’s Dive Watch. If you’re looking for a stunningly detailed watch with all the features you need to succeed it in your dive, you won’t have to look far. The slim band is perfect for dainty wrists, and the case features a small 24.5mm design. These features make it lightweight, manageable and enable you to use it in everyday life.

Classic Nautical Design

When thinking about dive watches,  you don’t exactly imagine a stunning silver and gold peice. Instead, you think of dark bland colors. However, the Invicta Mako Pro is designed to give classic nostalgia to the signature colors you’d find on any diver’s gear. The case itself is only the size of a quarter, or roughly 24.5 mm, which works well for small wrists. Plus, the long bracelet band is around 170 mm, but you can remove and adjust the band as needed.

Sturdy & Stunning Watchface

The watch face features Japanese quartz movements while also boasting an analog display. Beyond that, the screen is coated with an anti-reflective mineral crystal dial window to make it easy to read in all forms of lighting. Plus, the anti-reflective properties ensure that you’ll be able to read it above or below water.

Water Resistance

As with any excellent dive watch, the case must be fully waterproof. Each clock includes different levels of submersible, which can be useful depending on what watersports you’re doing.

The Mako Procan resist water levels of 330 ft, or approximately 100 m. This makes it suitable for recreational scuba diving, watersports, etc. Although, the company does suggest that you tighten the crown every time you set the watch, ensuring water won’t leak in.

What Do We Think?

It’s a stunning womens dive watch that can be used for watersports or other daily activities. When compared to others, it features higher quality materials such as stainless steel and a blue bezel. If you’re looking for a diving watch that’s not only accurate but also stunning, then this is for you.

Orient Automatic Women’s Dive Watch

 

The next on our list is the Orient Automatic Women’s Dive Watch. It’s an affordable priced automatic watch which has been specially crafted for female divers. With the affordable price range, you’re getting a steal with all the beautiful features, inducing the luxurious and stunning design. Plus, the textured wristband is crafted from sturdy urethane rubber, which is goth sporty yet comfortable.

Extremely Durable Case

The case is crafted using sapphire crystal, which is known to have high durability and scratch-resistant properties. Plus, the 32 mm thick stainless steel case can be put through rigorous everyday tasks and still hold its delicate design. If you’re looking for an all-around, watch that not only is water-resistant but can also last through daily life, you can’t go wrong with the Orient.

Automatic Movement

The watch is powered through automatic movement, which uses a self- winding Orient caliber 55742. This means that instead of relying on batteries or other energy sources, your movement will keep it functioning.

Why is this a huge benefit? Other cases require you to replace the battery, which can lead to water leaking in if it’s not placed correctly back together. Plus, the Orient also includes a clear backing, allowing you to watch the intricate mechanical movements.

Beautiful Design

With the fact that it’s been designed for women’s wrists, the watch face includes a beautiful design. Displayed is a luminous dial which includes contrasting hands. Each of these consists of both hour and day markers, along with an easy to read screen. The casing is made using anti-reflective sapphire crystals, which ensures you’ll be able to read it in any lighting conditions.

What Do We Think?

Compared to the others on the list, we believe that the Orient Automatic is an excellent choice for those looking for a more reasonably priced watch. Just because the price point is dropped doesn’t mean you’re skipping out on quality. It includes a very sturdy stainless steel casing. Plus, the rotating bezel is beautiful and provides you with more information than just the time.

Other than that the automatic movement can come in handy for those who don’t want to replace the battery. It ensures that the watch will always be working, plus you won’t have to pay for an excerpt to replace batteries or risk doing it on your own. This ensures that the case stays intact and that no leak ever happens.

What is the Best Womens Dive Watch?

Overall, the best women’s dive watch is the Momentum M1 Mini Women’s Dive Watch.

Purchasing a womens dive watch can be a difficult task, as you want to make sure that the quality is superior. Picking a bad dive watch can not only ruin your scuba diving experience, but also lead to the watch becoming damaged. 

To ensure that you’re getting a reliable watch, we’ve research hours on end to give you the top pics for womens dive watches for 2019. However, if you find that you didn’t find a watch that you like, we recommend checking out our review for the Breitling Superocean 44 or the Seiko Dive Watch.

Just remember, when searching for womens dive watch it’s important to keep a note of two factors. The first factor is that is has a wristband that is designed for dainty wrists. If its a multi-gender or men’s dive watch, it will likely not fit and may fall off.

The second factor to keep in mind the different water-resistant levels. Some watches are suitable for deeper dives, while others are only good for diving on the water’s surface. Check what meter/feet the watch can withstand water to ensure it fits your needs.

Best Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor: Top Picks for Triathletes

Best Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor_featured

For triathletes, staying on top of their training is a major priority. With that said, one of the best ways to stay on top of your training is to use a heart rate monitor.

A heart rate monitor is an essential piece of training equipment for triathletes. This device allows you to reliably determine the intensity of your exercises. Therefore, you can work hard enough without overdoing it with each workout – effectively increasing your training efficiency.

If you are in the market for the best triathlon heart rate monitor, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we help you find the top-rated heart rate monitor that best fits your triathlon needs.

Best Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor

Key Features

Our Rating

Garmin HRM-Tri Specifically designed for triathletes, Adjustable strap, Soft rounded edges and covered seams, Stores and forwards heart rate data to your compatible Garmin fitness device 5/5
Polar H10 Built-in memory, Can be paired with a GoPro Hero 4 or 5 camera, Smart coaching when paired with a Polar wrist unit, Stay up-to-date with firmware updates, 400 hours battery life 4.5/5
Garmin Forerunner 310XT

 

Waterproof to a depth of 50 meters, Tracks bike and run data, 20 hours of battery life, High-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix, Easy-to-read display, ANT+ wireless technology 4/5
Wahoo TICKR X Battery life of up to 12 months, Built in memory, Personalized Heart Rate Training, Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ compatibility, Works with Wahoo RunFit + 50 Smartphone Apps 4/5
Timex T5K726 Ironman Target Trainer Flex-Tech digital sensor, Three-workout chronograph memory, Two interval timers, Hydration and nutrition alerts, Indiglo Light-Up Watch Dial 3.5/5
Scosche Rhythm+ Works with all Bluetooth smart and ANT+ Enabled devices, Green/Yellow Optical Sensors, 8 Hour Battery Life, IP67 Waterproof, Heart rate zone and training 3.5/5

Best Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor

1. Garmin HRM-Tri

The Garmin HRM-Tri takes our top pick because not only is it specifically designed for triathletes, its performance is off the charts as well. It’s no wonder why it’s the choice of professionals.

The Choice of Professional Triathletes

Garmin has always been about their attention to detail. Garmin has made some of the best triathlon watches available, so it’s not surprising that its dedicated heart rate monitor is a winner as well.

For starters, the Garmin HRM-Tri is one of the lightest and smallest heart rate monitors around. It is a chest strap design which is good for accurate results. It’s a good thing that this HRM device is very comfortable. The bi-fold adjustment feature makes it a breeze to find the right comfortable fit.

This device is capable of storing up to 20 hours of heart rate data which should come in handy for most triathletes. This way, you can easily review all your workout data and make adjustments as you go. Transferring the data to a laptop or smartphone is very streamlined as well.

On top of providing heart rate metrics, the HRM-Tri also provides other information such as running form and dynamics. Its accelerometer ensures a high level of accuracy. When paired with other compatible Garmin devices, it can even measure vertical oscillation and cadence.

The HRM-Tri is a must-have heart rate monitor for hardcore triathletes.

2. Polar H10

Polar is another brand known for its fitness devices and these include their heart rate monitors. The Polar H10 is a go-to option for triathletes who value accuracy above all else.

One of the Most Accurate Sensors

The Polar H10 is not exactly a device designed for triathlons but more of a “catch-all” heart rate solution. However, its performance and accuracy are more than enough to meet the needs of triathletes.

Much like the previous heart rate monitor, the Polar H10 features a built-in memory and is sufficiently waterproofed. However, the main selling point of this monitor is that it comes with Bluetooth support. In addition to the ability to connect with other supported devices, the H10 can connect to smartphones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices too.

If you own a Polar wearable, you can connect it with the H10 for even better results. Otherwise, you can still use the Polar Beat app to transfer data to your smartphone.

Again, the Polar H10 is a masterclass in monitoring accuracy, thanks to its enhanced electrodes. The device is strapped to your chest and provides a good fit. There are silicone dots and a good buckle system to keep things comfortable.

The Polar H10 is powered by a replaceable battery with an impressive battery life of 400 hours.

3. Garmin Forerunner 310XT

Garmin Forerunner 310XT

If you want reliable heart rate monitoring with a lot more freedom, it’s hard to go wrong with the Garmin Forerunner 310XT. It’s a wrist-based device but it certainly belongs on this list of the best triathlon heart rate monitor.

A Triathlete’s Indispensable Training Tool

The Garmin Forerunner 310XT is mainly a GPS training tool but it’s not afraid with a little dip in the water.

This swim-proof device will track your cycling and running data, and send it wirelessly to your PC. The 50-meter waterproof rating means that you can use it to swim in a pool or lake. It’s a fairly slim device so you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way.

The heart rate monitor is optional but it doesn’t mean that it’s just an afterthought feature. Based on our tests, the Forerunner 310XT did a great job of continuously tracking the beats per minute. On top of that, it can even compute calories burned but it’s more of an estimated data than an accurate metric.

There are times when the heart rate monitor won’t read properly but it’s usually fixed with a soft reset.

The Forerunner 310XT is not the most advanced heart rate monitoring device out there but it’s reliable, robust, and a great triathlon training tool.

4. Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor

Wahoo Fitness may not be as well-known as brands like Garmin or Polar but they do offer a robust heart rate monitor. The Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor is an excellent heart rate device that won’t break the bank.

Excellent Heart Rate Monitoring for Less

The Wahoo TICKR X Heart Rate Monitor might be a fairly affordable option but it doesn’t that it is lacking in features. For triathlon training, you can measure your heart rate, rep count, calories burned, and provide training analytics.

Like all good heart rate monitors, the TICKR X comes with a built-in memory. This means that you can freely train without carrying a smartphone or any other device. Since the TICKR X is compatible with most fitness apps, it allows for incredible versatility.

Speaking of versatility, the TICKR X heart rate monitor can also several running analytics such as vertical oscillation, cadence, ground contact time, and more.

On the negative side, the TICKR X may not be the most durable heart rate monitor out there. I’m not sure it’s just a flawed unit but mine had some connectivity issues a few weeks after use.

Overall, the TICKR X from Wahoo Fitness is a solid budget-friendly heart rate monitor for triathletes.

5. Timex Ironman Target Trainer

The Timex Ironman Target Trainer heart rate monitor is considered a classic. However, it ranks low in our list of the best triathlon heart rate monitor because the competition just got hotter.

An Oldie But a Goodie HR Monitor

Don’t get us wrong, the Timex Ironman Target Trainer HR monitor is still a very reliable and robust training tool, despite being a fairly dated device.

If you have been working with Timex watches, you’ll find the Timex Ironman Target Trainer easy to use. Operating the device is an intuitive experience despite a large number of functions and features to access. The display is very legible even during intense training. However, it’s a big and bulky HR monitor.

As for the accuracy, the Timex Ironman Target Trainer did a great job of providing accurate readings. However, there are some times when the device struggles to find a signal. The Flex-Tech digital sensor helps with minimizing interference.

Other features include the Hydration alerts to ensure that you replenish at regular intervals. The Recovery Heart Rate feature is a useful indicator of your training and fitness level.

Ultimately, the Timex Ironman Target Trainer is an expensive HR monitor. However, it’s still a favorite among triathletes so take that as you will.

6. Scosche Rhythm+

If you are looking for a wrist-based HR monitor, the Scosche Rhythm+ is more than a decent option. It’s a feature-packed device and comes at a great price too.

Good Value and Very Solid Accuracy

The Scosche Rhythm+ is a solid solution for monitoring your heart rate all across the board. That’s right, you can even monitor your heart rate even when underwater. Triathletes can now keep their heart rate in check without needing a chest strap.

The Rhythm+ has 8 hours of battery life which could use a lot of improvement. If you are training daily, you’ll find yourself charging every so often which can get old pretty quick.

One particular thing that I like about the Rhythm+ is the heart rate zone. If you want to work with less intensity but longer, you can use the HR monitor to set it as such. This tool features advanced optical sensors for a precise BPM reading. With the Rhythm+, you can easily stay in your zone to ensure that you achieve your workout goals.

With that said, I have no problems recommending the Rhythm+ even to the most jaded triathletes.

Maximize Your Triathlon Training

With the right HR monitoring device, you’re on your way to getting the most out of your triathlon training. Hopefully, this quick buyer’s guide for the best triathlon heart rate monitor has helped you out.

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing: Reliable Watches and Chest strap Heart Rate Monitor

best heart rate monitor for rowing

We have carried extensive research on various fitness sensor devices, and we select the WAHOO Tickr as the best heart rate monitor for rowing.

We chose this device because it has massive onboard storage and offers accurate stats. It even works with Bluetooth and ANT+ devices. Generally, this chest based monitor enables you to track your performance during your rowing workouts. What’s more, it is very affordable for those looking for a budget-friendly heart monitor.

 

Best Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing

Rowing workout helps to enhance your total body, but having a heart rate monitor handy is a big plus. Doing this workout indoors as well as on the water helps to burn more calories due to the constant movement of your body. However, without a heart rate monitor, you could end up hurting your health in the long run.

Using the best heart rate monitor for rowing will help keep your health in check and allow you to know the intensity of your workout. It also enables you to improve your performance, and know when to adjust your training.

Today, there are many heart rate monitor on the market, but it can be pretty challenging to get a good and reliable model that provides an accurate rating. Luckily, we have tried out numerous models that work great. With this experience, we’ve put together a sincere list of best heart rate monitor for rowing on the market.

Garmin Fenix 5 Sapphire Edition

 

When it comes to the best smartwatches for rowing, the Garmin Fenix 5s is certainly a top contender. This watch comes with great features that will keep your heart rate in check and provide calories burned information. One exciting part is that it works independently, which means you don’t need to connect to any data collector.

Sturdy Construction

If durability is your outmost concern when looking for the best heart rate monitor for rowing, then the Fenix 5s is a perfect choice. This smartwatch is made of superior quality material that can withstand tough condition when rowing like knocks and falls.

It has a sturdy built that features 52mm stainless steel case while a scratch-resistant sapphire glass covers the display screen. In addition to its durability, the watch is also water-resistant to 100 meters. Hence, it is a perfect choice for on-the-water rowers.

Quality Band

As you should know, there seems to be a lot of movement of the hand when rowing. For this reason, you will need a device that won’t come off easily. The Fenix 5 has a high-quality silicon band that will stay secure and comfortable on your wrist.

One exciting part is that the band is interchangeable. Hence, you can easily replace its original band with a leather or metal strap to suit your training outfit.

Clear display and Features

Since it’s best to get a device that provides you with easy reading and bright display, this watch has an LCD screen. The display also has a transflective technology that makes the watch face looks brighter under direct sunlight.

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry when working out at night. It features a backlight for easy reading in low light condition.

Accurate Sensor

Garmin heart rate smartwatches have never failed to provide users with accurate and precise reading. The Fenix 5 features a highly efficient sensor that can accurately monitor your heart rate. Not only that, but this smartwatch also provides reliable calories burned information.

It stands as one of the best heart rate monitors without chest strap as you don’t need to wear anything around your upper body. What’s more is that the sensor can also count your step, monitor your sleep, and let you know the intensity of your workout.

Opinion and Drawbacks

With all mentioned above, the Garmin Fenix 5 is undoubtedly a great watch for rowers due to its durable parts, accurate sensor, and other impressive features. However, it stands as the most expensive option on our list of best heart rate monitor for rowing. But we consider the quality material and impressive features, it worth the price.

Another downside is that the watch is quite heavy, which make it a lesser comfortable option for rowers.

Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor

 

The Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor can be seen as the best heart rate monitor for rowing because of its comfort, accuracy, and flexibility. It also offers excellent battery life and onboard storage, which makes it ideal for rowers who do not work out with their smartphones. Also, if you to consider other models on this brand, the H10 stands as the best Polar heart rate monitor for rowing due to its impressive features.

Dedicated App for Heart Rate Monitoring

The H10 works with popular third-party apps such as Cardio Mapper, Endomondo, and Runtastic. However, it has a dedicated app – the Polar Beat offers features that will benefit the indoor or outdoor rower.

This app helps you hit and sustain your peak heart rate during sessions by displaying your heart rate zones. It allows you to view your performance and its duration when rowing, and share your data via Bluetooth with compatible devices.

Long-Lasting Battery

The battery on this chest monitor is replaceable and lasts for 400 hours. This helps you use the strap for long periods without carrying the extra weight of a charger around. Additional batteries are sold separately and can be purchased at your local retail store.

High Degree of Accuracy

This strap stands as one of the most accurate heart rate monitors from the Polar brand. It gains this status because it provides excellent ECG measurements, thereby making it a top choice for all activities, including rowing.

Comfortable Build

This product has a slim profile that does not add pressure to your torso, thus allowing you to perform rowing strokes with ease. It also does not chaff your sink during your workout sessions.

Opinion and Drawbacks

Accuracy and comfort are some of the exciting features on this device. However, like most items on our list, it has some issues. First, you will make some payments before you can fully unlock the features on the app. Next, the product lags during a Gymlink connection.

Garmin Chest Strap, HRM

 

Do you need a durable heart rate monitor for rowing? Then you should check out this heart rate monitor from Garmin. Although the Garmin HRM-Tri Chest strap is mainly designed for triathletes, it would be a worthy investment for both professional and amateur outdoor rowers.

Lightweight and Portable Design

The Garmin Chest Strap HRM is a small and lightweight heart rate monitor. It comes with a thick pod with soft edges, thereby allowing you to move rowing strokes comfortably. Furthermore, its strap has seams that will not chafe your skin when you are emerging or using an actual boat.

Water Resistance

You can use the strap for either indoor workout or on the water rowing. The reason is that it is water-resistant to 5 ATM, which means it can handle splashes from the oars or a short dip in the water.

Impressive Battery Life

This HRM strap runs on batteries that will for last for 10 months, depending on its use. Furthermore, these batteries are not rechargeable. However, you can purchase a replacement from retailers.

Data Storage

As expected from a rival to the best heart rate monitor for rowing, the Garmin HRM-Tri delivers up to date heart rate data. It provides 20 hours worth of heart rate information during training sessions and sends it to a data collector.

When combined with the Garmin watch and its app, you can use this data to create training sessions and workout plans on your indoor rowing machine. You can also view your heart rate graphs to track your performance on open water or at the gym.

Opinion and Drawbacks

This heart rate monitor stands as an excellent fitness accessory because of its design, data storage abilities, and water resistance. However, finding an ideal replacement for its batteries can be difficult.

Wahoo TICKR

 

The Wahoo TICKR is a classic chest strap that accurately monitors your heart rate during workouts and forwards it to connected devices. It also comes with technology that counts steps and records related information. These features make it stand as the best heart rate monitor for concept 2 rower.

Ideal Protection against Moisture

It has a sensor with a water-resistance rating of IPX7. Thus, it can handle sweat and splashes that comes when engaging in rowing exercise. You can even wash it by hand without damaging the unit. However, it’s not ideal for swimming.

Dual Connectivity and Multi App Support

This device works with both Bluetooth and ANT+. With this said, it is compatible with any rowing machine model. The strap also connects well with any smartphone.

On your phone, you can use the TICKR via third-party apps, including iCardio. You can also access other information such as reps for strength training with the Wahoo’s dedicated apps like RunFit, and 7 Minute Workout.

Massive Internal Storage

If you feel uncomfortable using your phone on a rowing session, you can leave it behind because the chest monitor offers onboard storage. With this feature, you can save 16 hours’ worth of data which you can forward to your phone and app.

Practical Design

This device has a sensor made from plastic while an elastic band with button fasteners holds the device to your chest. Generally, these features allow you to wear the chest monitor quickly without feeling uncomfortable.

Opinion and Drawbacks

The Wahoo TICKR’s compatibility with various watches makes it an ideal option for the rowing enthusiast. But it does not have extra features while the app requires an upgrade.

Garmin Forerunner 35

 

Unlike most devices on this list, the Garmin Forerunner 35 is a GPS Smartwatch with an inbuilt heart rate monitor. It also offers an activity tracker and notifications for your smartphone.

Unique Apps for Rowing Stats

Garmin offers the Connect IQ store where you can download third-party apps that focus on rowing workouts. These apps include the Rowing Stroke Connect IQ app (that measures strokes per min without the sensors), the Rowing Dashboard (for heart rate and stroke stats), and the Rowing Cockpit. You can use these apps to check your performance and set up workout sessions.

Battery Life

The watch can run for nine days in watch mode and 13 hours in GPS mode. When it becomes low, you can recharge your battery with its portable clip-on USB charger after your workouts.

Sturdy Build with Practical Display

If you want a GPS watch that can handle the pressures of rigorous rowing sessions, you should consider this Garmin product. It comes in a bulky case with its sensors on the back panel while a moisture-resistant band secures the watch on your wrist.

This display uses sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel while the hard strengthened glass offers protection to its watch face. Such technology enables you to view your heart rate data in direct sunlight or low light, especially during outdoor rowing.

Water Resistance

Splashes or occasional dunk in the water does not affect the performance of the Garmin Forerunner 35 as it is water-resistant to5O meters. But we advise that you avoid exposing this device to water for long periods.

Opinion and Drawbacks

This item is an excellent choice for outdoor or indoor rowing since it has dedicated apps for such activities. However, it might provide less accurate stats than chest based heart monitors while its connectivity is based on Bluetooth only.

Wrap Up of the Best Heart Rate Monitor for Rowing

For a roundup, heart rate monitor is essential for rowers as it helps to keep track of their fitness. There are many great options listed above, but the models you should choose all depend on how comfortable you want it to be when rowing and your budget.

If you want one of the best heart rate monitors without a chest strap, then the Fenix 5s is a perfect choice. But if you’re looking for the best affordable heart rate monitor, the Wahoo Tickr is the most budget-friendly option for you.

For those that still want the best chest based heart rate monitor, we suggest that you opt for the Polar H10. The reason is that it is comfortable, affordable, provides accurate heart monitoring, and can connect with any ANT devices.

If there are other things you’re looking in a heart rate monitor, you could check out other models on our list. They also come with great features that will be of great benefit when rowing.

Best Garmin for Triathlon: Get The Most Out of Your Triathlon Training

Best Garmin for Triathlon

When you are training to be a triathlete, staying on top of your performance is a must. If you are only guesstimating the number of laps or miles you’ve covered, it will be hard to tell if you’re progressing or not. So for today, we’ve made a roundup of the best Garmin for triathlon.

Garmin made some of the best GPS watches money can buy. For a triathlete like yourself, it’s hard to go wrong with a Garmin triathlon watch. A good multi-sport watch can accurately monitor your running, cycling, and swimming metrics.

Let’s get to it!

Best Garmin for Triathlon

Key Features

Our Rating

Garmin Forerunner 935 Advanced running and multisport features, Built-in barometer, altimeter and electronic compass, Advanced dynamics for running, cycling and swimming, Built-in activity profiles ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Built-in mapping and navigation features, TOPO mapping, Advanced performance metrics, Wrist-based heart rate, Garmin Pay, Easily store and play up to 500 songs, Smart notifications ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Garmin Forerunner 35 Built in GPS, 5 ATM water rating, 24/7 heart rate monitoring, Vibration alerts, Activity tracking milestones, Virtual pacing progress, Step counter ★ ★ ★ ★
Garmin Forerunner 735XT 24/7 Heart rate monitoring, Built-in activities, Smart notifications, Multisport mode, Step Counter, Advanced Running Dynamics. Move Bar, Recovery Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★
Garmin Instinct Military standard 810G, 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter, heart rate, activity and stress monitor, smart notifications, TracBack feature ★ ★ ★ ★
Garmin Vivoactive 3 15 preloaded GPS and indoor sports apps, VO2 Max feature, Smart notifications, 14 days of activity tracking data, Garmin Pay, Heart rate monitor ★ ★ ★ ½

Best Garmin for Triathlon

1. Garmin Forerunner 935

The Garmin Forerunner 935 is a certified beast when it comes to multi-sport watches. I’ve checked out the newest version of Forerunner, the Forerunner 945, and I think it’s not worth the upgrade yet. This is still the reigning king of Garmin GPS watches.

Takes Your Performance to Another Level

The Garmin Forerunner 935 has been my go-to device for running.

Perhaps one of the best selling points of the Forerunner 935 is the excellent battery life. With every charge, I could squeeze in plenty of workouts before it needs to be charged again. With watch mode, it can last as long as 14 days in a single charge.

Furthermore, the Training Status is a godsend feature that will automatically evaluate your recent workouts. There are even performance indicators to let you know if you did have a productive workout or not. This is a key feature for triathletes who are looking to optimize their training sessions.

Of course, the Forerunner 935 offers some built-in activity profiles for running, cycling, swimming, and plenty of other activities. The watch can provide advanced metrics with just a press of a button. With the information at hand, you can tweak your performance to help you achieve a better lap time.

Ultimately, the Forerunner 935 is one of the best GPS watches that you can get in the market.

2. Garmin Fenix 5 Plus

The Garmin Fenix 5 is one of the more popular watches from Garmin’s collection. The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is a worthy upgrade to the original, thanks to its numerous impressive features.

A Worthy Upgrade

For starters, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus is a rugged watch. It’s clearly designed for more rugged activities and is appropriately referred to as a multi-sport adventure watch. Despite being a hard-wearing GPS watch, the design looks sleek and very high-quality.

There’s a bit of bulk to the watch but you won’t have a hard time wearing it all day with plain clothes. It’s utilitarian but sensible at the same time.

As expected, the Fenix 5 Plus offers a wide range of built-in sport modes. However, the watch does let you easily tweak the information that displays on the watch during workouts. The intuitiveness of operating the features is very much appreciated.

For triathlon, the running, cycling, and swimming metrics are all here and come with a rich feature set. For instance, you get advanced swimming metrics such as drill logging, stroke detection, and swim efficiency scoring. Most, if not all, of the monitored metrics are highly accurate.

It’s also worth mentioning that the watch can store up to 500 songs that you can listen to while training.

On a negative note, the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus commands a hefty price tag which is hard to ignore. However, I have to say that it’s a worthy investment.

3. Garmin Forerunner 35

If you are looking for the best Garmin for triathlon that won’t break the bank, the Garmin Forerunner 35 is worth checking out. It’s a great option for triathlon beginners or those who simply run for fitness and fun.

Covers the Basic

As the budget option on this list, the Garmin Forerunner 35 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of other, more expensive Garmin GPS watches. However, it’s still a very good activity tracker for all fitness levels.

The Garmin Forerunner 35 provides the expected features and functionalities without dialing it to 11. With this GPS watch, you get the usual features like intervals, auto-laps, daily alarm, notifications, and heart rate monitor. Again, nothing too crazy here but it gets the job done beautifully.

The wrist heart rate (Garmin Elevate) works great and I’ve had no issues with accuracy. The display is easy to read but the quality of the screen could be better. But that’s to be expected from a budget-friendly Garmin watch. The vibrating alarm is also another feature that works well and is a welcome addition to the watch.

Style-wise, the Forerunner 35 looks like your typical smartwatch. The square face reminds of the Apple watch which is not a bad thing at all.

If price or simplicity is your thing, the Forerunner 35 offers a tremendous value.

4. Garmin Forerunner 735XT

Another candidate for the best Garmin for triathlon is the popular, Garmin Forerunner 735XT. This multi-sport watch is very comparable to the Forerunner 935 with some key differences. This is a good watch to consider if you think the 935 is too expensive.

A Great Multi-Sport Watch With a Learning Curve

For starters, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT is a great option if you’re looking for a thin and lightweight triathlon watch. Whether you’re in the track or the gym, you’ll forget that it’s even there.

Although it’s light in weight, not so when it comes to features.

The Forerunner 735XT comes with built-in sports profiles. It supports a wide variety of activities such as running, cycling, swimming, hiking, skiing, weightlifting, and cardio. A neat feature is the ability to track multiple activities as one which is obviously great for triathletes. All you need to do is to press the lap button so enable the feature.

As mentioned, there’ a bit of a learning curve to use the Forerunner 735XT. There are five buttons to operate which can be confusing for first-time users. However, if you have used other Garmin GPS watches before, operating the watch shouldn’t be that hard.

Once you get the hang of it, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT should cover most of your triathlon needs.

5. Garmin Instinct

The Garmin Instinct is your watch of choice if you are a triathlete who also loves to explore the great outdoors. Although it’s mainly a hiking watch, the superior GPS and mapping features are useful for triathlon training.

Tough Watch With Superior Navigation

When it comes to looks, the Garmin Instinct can be a bit polarizing – you either love or hate the look of the watch. If you are a fan of Casio G-Shocks, there’s a good chance that you’ll love the Instinct’s design.

With that said, the main draw of this watch is the navigation features.

The Instinct features a built-in 3-axis compass so you won’t need to guess your bearings while training. The TracBack feature is a great addition especially when you like running on a less-traversed trail. Basically, it allows you to easily backtrack to your starting point.

Also, there’s the ULTRATRAC battery mode which gives the watch a battery life of 40 hours. It’s a neat power-saving feature especially when I don’t like charging watches every so often.

Customization is excellent when it comes to setting workouts. You can choose to follow a predefined workout or create one using Garmin Connect – all of which can be done on-the-fly.

Wrapping up, there’s so much to unpack with the Garmin Instinct. It’s not your typical triathlon watch but it gets the job done and more.

6. Garmin Vívoactive 3

Hardcore ironman athletes will likely find the Garmin Vívoactive 3 to be a bit inadequate. It’s not specifically designed for triathlon but its a pretty good multi-sport watch for orienting yourself with training concepts.

Feature-Packed Multi-Sport Watch

Unlike watches that are designed for triathlon, the Vívoactive 3 lacks a way to transition from one activity to the next. However, the watch does support various sports profiles and you can even set custom workouts. For triathlon, it comes with unique tracking features for running, cycling, and swimming.

Furthermore, the Vívoactive 3 is not only waterproof but also comes with a compass, barometric altimeter, and accelerometer. Whether you’re working out indoor or outdoor, this watch has got you covered.

In terms of accuracy, the GPS and heart rate monitor are both fairly accurate. However, for serious triathletes, the gold-standard accuracy is simply not here. For steadier pacing, the watch is accurate. On the flip side, accuracy becomes erratic at higher intensities.

Overall, the Vívoactive 3 is more of a fitness tool but it packs enough features to be a reliable triathlon training companion.

Garmin Knows Triathlon Watches

This concludes our buyer’s guide for the best Garmin for triathlon. Garmin makes excellent GPS watches, so it’s hard to go wrong with any of our selection. Here’s hoping we have helped you find the best triathlon watch to help with your training.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches: Lesser Known Divers That You Need to Know

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Featured

When most people think about dive watches or just watches in general, they usually think of large, popular brands such as Rolex, Omega, Casio, Seiko, and many others.

We have already made several guides and reviews about the best dive watches available, so for today, we’ll do something a little bit different.

Today, we’re going to set out eyes on the best microbrand dive watches. Before we start with the round-up, I think it’s best that we first define what exactly is a microbrand watch.

What is a Microbrand Watch?

By definition, a microbrand is basically a small, independent brand. For microbrand watches, they are tiny-fledgling businesses that are generally run by watchmakers and craftsmen.

There are “larger” microbrands out there but they are mostly small-person companies that work with third-party manufacturers to bring their creations to life. There are microbrands that actually create their in-house movements but those are quite rare in the scene.

Microbrand designs are not exactly commercial but most of them are quite creative and can spark the interest of collectors who are looking for something exclusive and rare. The growth of crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter has made it possible for small companies to get their designs and ideas funded.

Some examples of early microbrand watches are the Timefactor’s Dreadnought or the OCEAN7 LM-1. However, it’s worth noting that most of the brands included in this list have expressed some distaste at the “microbrand” terminology.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches

Best Microbrand Dive Watches

Key Features

Our Rating

Farer Aqua Compressor Leven 316L high grade stainless steel, Satin sunray brushed top, Silver sunray dial, Oversized polished black steel hour hand, off-white Super-LumiNova, Natural black rubber strap, 30ATM water resistant, 2.2mm double curved sapphire crystal glass front, Solid bronze tapered crown for movement ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Pantor Seahorse Miyota 9015 Japanese automatic movement, 316L stainless steel with brushed finish, Sapphire crystal, Swiss C3 SuperLumiNova, 24mm with 15pcs links separately and 6 step micro adjustment, 40 hours power reserve ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Spinnaker Bradner Japan NH35 Automatic Movement with 3 Hands with Date, Stainless Steel, Waterproof Genuine Leather Strap, Tang Buckle, 18 ATM Water Resistance, 41 hours of power reserve, Swiss Super-LumiNova ★ ★ ★ ★
Vostok Amphibia 200 m (20 Bar) Water Resistant, Luminous hands and dots, Official supplier of watches for the Defense Department of the Soviet Union ★ ★ ★ ★
Unimatic U1-EM Aluminium black bezel, Super-luminova lumed dot, Black matte stealth outline dial, Horween Cordovan Shell strap, Unimatic two piece design, NH35A automatic movement tuned to 21600bph, 41h power reserve, Brushed SS signed custom buckle ★ ★ ★ ★

1. Farer Aqua Compressor Leven

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Farer Leven

Farer is a British company that has unveiled its first few models back in 2015. All of Farer’s timepieces and are notable for their 60’s inspired designs with a touch of the tropical. The Farer Aqua Compressor Leven is one of the three dive watches that the brand offers.

Modern Classic with a Colorful Touch

The 60’s aesthetic of the Leven is very apparent with its super-smooth silver sunray dial that adds a timeless elegance to the watch. The Leven features a steel cushion case with both brushed and polished elements. The polished ring is quite subtle but it looks great and is a testament to Farer’s attention to detail.

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of the Leven is its dial. From the burnt orange minute hands to the baton’s square color blocks teal edge, there’s a surprising pop of colors present in the dial. At the same time, the watch looks like a mature, classic dive model and will only look out of place for dressier formal outfits.

As for many dive watches, the legibility on this watch is top notch. The minute markings and hands are treated with the Super-LumiNova illumination which not only looks great but functional as well. The split color bezel is a nice touch with a 20-minute detailed scale for decompression times.

This dive watch boasts a 30ATM water resistance. The Leven provides a great balance of sophistication and playfulness.

2. Pantor Seahorse

The Pantor Seahorse is one of the more affordable dive watches in this list. Pantor is a microbrand that somehow went under my radar, and I’m sure on many people’s radar as well. Pantor is a company based from Hong Kong and it has a pretty solid dive watch under its belt.

Earned Its Place in the Microbrand Dive Watch World

The Pantor Seahorse is one of the first models that was released by this microbrand, way back in 2013. However, it’s good to know that Pantor is still in the business of manufacturing watches.

Anyway, the Pantor Seahorse is not exactly an original design and it’s clearly inspired by the Rolex Submariner. With that said, the Seahorse is a good-looking watch with a simple and clean dial. The large markers are popping out and great for legibility. The case reminds me a bit of the Seiko Turtle case design but it still looks unique on its own.

The Seahorse is waterproof to 1000 meters which means that even pro divers can use this watch underwater. The automatic helium valve at 9H is also a nice touch. The watch is powered by the ever-present Miyota 9015 automatic movement. It’s not the most superior movement out there but it gets the job done.

Best of all, the Pantor Seahorse is offered at a fairly affordable price.

3. Spinnaker Bradner

 

 

When it comes to quirky microbrands, Spinnaker definitely comes to mind. It’s a budget-friendly brand but it still manages to churn out timepieces with out-of-the-box designs. The Spinnaker Bradner is one of the best microbrand dive watches when it comes to sheer quirkiness and whimsy.

Wetsuit-Inspired Dive Watch

While researching the Spinnaker Bradner, I found out that the inspiration for the watch is a wetsuit – then it all suddenly made sense. The watch was named after Hugh Bradner, the inventor of the neoprene wetsuit.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Spinnaker Bradner_1

This 42mm dive watch comes with a stainless steel case with a 20mm strap. Despite the size and build of the Bradner, it’s a fairly light watch. However, the comfort level could definitely use some improvement. With that out of the way, the case itself looks aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, you can’t talk about the Bradner without mentioning its dial. The dial just oozes with personality, thanks to the wetsuit-inspired bi-directional rotating inner-bezel. Adjusting the bezel is quite the delight as it doesn’t jump or click, just smooth all the way through. However, I think the hour indicators and hands are not matching up to the bezel, stylistically speaking.

The Bradner is far from perfect but for the sub $500 tag price, I am more than willing to forgive its gripes.

4. Vostok Amphibia

Vostok is a lesser-known brand that’s hailed from Russia. While Vostok is not the biggest brand out there, it has managed to create several iconic timepieces. The Vostok Amphibia offers cheap thrills outside the traditional charms of the Swiss cantons.

A Lesser-Known Classic

The Vostok Amphibia is currently available in many different case styles and bracelets. The watch is named “Amphibia” because it looks like a watch that is both suitable for land and water.

The Amphibia’s design for water resistance is quite interesting because the resistance is improved as the surrounding pressure increases. Central to this interesting design is the caseback system. The watch uses a bayonet style caseback. At increased pressure, the case back is pushed towards the rubber gasket which improves the resistance of the watch.

Truly a watch that’s worthy of the Soviet defense department.

The quirky design of the dial is another feature that attracted me to the Amphibia. The off-beat, retro-infused charm is certainly hard to deny. The lume of the watch is not really that special but it functions as intended. With that said, the legibility of the watch is not that great which can be polarizing for many collectors.

The Vostok Amphibia is crude and simple, and can be yours at a ridiculously low price.

5. Unimatic U1-EM

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Unimatic U1-EM

Unimatic is an Italian watchmaker that’s known for their beautiful, minimalist dive watches. Most of their designs are limited edition runs, so you’d better be fast on your feet. If you are looking for something stealthy and minimalistic, the Unimatic U1-EM should be right down your alley.

Stealthy, Minimalistic Dive Watch

The Unimatic U1-EM is a thing of beauty and its minimalistic design just adds a great deal to its overall look. The black matte stealth outline dial with thick indices look simple but packs a lot of character. However you look at it, the Unimatic U1-EM looks unique and it seems like a deconstructed dive watch.

Best Microbrand Dive Watches Featured

The case is also a standout with the brand’s signature minimal aluminium black bezel. The sharpness is definitely there and the brushing looks absolutely well done. The domed crystal sapphire with interior AR coating is simply eye-catching and offers a sleek vintage touch.

On the other hand, the luxurious Made in Italy Horween Cordovan Shell strap certainly helps in making the watch feel premium. I can wear it all day and I have experienced no discomfort while using the watch. The watch houses the Automatic calibre Seiko NH35A 21600bph which is a decent movement and very cost-efficient.

The Unimatic U1-EM offers a very compelling package in terms of design, function, and value.

The Rise of Microbrand Watches

This wraps up our buyer’s guide of the best microbrand dive watches.

The microbrand scene is definitely catching on and it’s becoming a wild west as more companies join in on the fun. Overall, this list should be a good starting point for collectors who are looking to start a microbrand watch collection.

Rolex Air King Review: A Design Departure or a Fresh Take on a Classic?

One of the most common criticisms about Rolex is that their watches tend to look the same. To some extent, there’s a truth to this sentiment and it applies to both Rolex’s historical timepieces and contemporary models. However, Rolex’s meticulous consistency is what made it one of the largest luxury brands in the world.

Therefore, many people are caught off-guard when they see something as unorthodox as the Rolex Air King.

Today, we’ll take a long hard look at the Rolex Air King. The Air King is widely considered to be the Swiss luxury brand’s entry-level pilot watch but is it worth the entry-level price tag?

Let’s take a look.

Rolex Air King Review: At a Glance

As mentioned, the Air King is the least expensive model in the Rolex line. For this review, we’ll focus on the Rolex Air-King ref. 116900 model. But first, let’s see the key specs and features.

Model:

Rolex Air King

Reference no.

116900

Model case:

Oyster, 40 mm, Oystersteel

Oyster architecture:

Monobloc middle case, screw-down case back and winding crown

Material:

Oystersteel

Bezel:

Smooth

Winding crown:

Screw-down, Twinlock double waterproofness system

Crystal:

Scratch-resistant sapphire

Crown:

Screw-locked, two gaskets
Water-resistance: Waterproof to 100 metres / 330 feet

Movement:

Perpetual, mechanical, self-winding, with a magnetic shield to protect the movement

Caliber:

3131, Manufacture Rolex

Precision:

-2/+2 sec/day, after casing

Functions:

Centre hour, minute and seconds hands. Stop-seconds for precise time setting

Oscillator:

Paramagnetic blue Parachrom hairspring

Winding:

Bidirectional self-winding via Perpetual rotor

Power reserve:

48 hours

Bracelet:

Oyster, flat three-piece links

Clasp:

Folding Oysterclasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link

Dial:

Black, Highly legible Chromalight display with long-lasting blue luminescence

First Impression

Rolex Air King Review Featured

The Rolex Air King is perhaps the most confusing Rolex I’ve ever owned.

It’s worth noting that the original design of the Air King was very simple and in some ways, a very purist Rolex. I mean it has no date aperture, it comes with a water-resistant case, chronometer, and a screw-down crown. It had the most essential Rolex elements without the distractions.

However in 2016, Rolex released an Air King version (reference 116900) which was a significant departure from the original design.

If you are familiar with the old Air King design, you’ll find the new design to be quite extroverted. The rather unorthodox design is mainly seen on the dial. The new Air King’s dial is uncharacteristically colorful and is somewhat busy when compared to other iconic Rolex models such as the Submariner and Datejust.

I must admit that the 116900’s overall look takes a bit of getting used to. The old Air King’s popularity was mainly attributed to its simplicity and robustness. I have to say that Air King still has those qualities with an extra touch of personality.

However, as with any drastic changes to time-tested Rolex designs, to say that the latest Air King is polarizing to timepiece collectors would be a severe understatement.

The Polarizing Black Dial

It’s hard not to agree that most of the confusion about the Air King lies with its satin black dial. The new Air King retains the black dial but with some strange design elements introduced.

First off, the dial features applied, Arabic numeral markers with the familiar Rolex Explorer layout. The Arabic 3, 6 and 9’clock markers are fitted in polished white gold, and the 12 o’clock marker is an inverted triangle which is also fashioned in white gold. The rest of the dial’s layout takes a strange turn as the rest of the hour markers go from ‘5’ to ’55’, only interrupted by the Explorer layout.

While this is a layout that divided many fans, I personally like this design as it reminds me of a cockpit indicator. Some people may not like the layout but it certainly looks like a pilot watch for the most part. With that said, legibility is excellent with its bold and unapologetic dial. The addition of the Chromalight lume makes readability a non-issue even in dark environments.

Another noteworthy departure is that the Rolex name is printed in green font and the familiar Crown logo is printed in yellow. Above the 6 o’clock sits the stylized Air King text with the Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified text below. I have to admit that I was taken aback by the logo designs but they certainly grew on me.

Like it or not, this enigma of a dial is what gave the Air King its distinct identity.

The Milgauss Case

If you think the shape of the Air King’s case is familiar, it’s probably because it reminds you of the Rolex Milgauss case. Well, the Rolex Air King 116900 uses the same Milgauss case which means that the watch is protected from magnetic fields.

Both the case and the bracelet is made from the signature 904L grade stainless steel and boasts a stunning satin finish. However, it’s worth noting that the Milgauss’ bracelet features a PCL (polished center link) bracelet while the Air King is all satin.

The Air King case has a thickness of about 13mm which is roughly the same thickness as the Omega Speedmaster. While it might be a bit too thick for some people, the Air-King never felt bulky or unwieldy. It’s safe to assume that the thickness is due to the anti-magnetic shielding.

As you might expect from a Rolex timepiece, the Oyster bracelet and folding Oyster clasp provide the much-needed ease of use. The bracelet is noiselessly smooth and operates reliably. I have no issue with comfort as well and it’s like wearing silk instead of steel. It’s a fairly hefty watch but Rolex did a good job with weight distribution. The signature Easylink adjustable extension links go a long way to ensure an excellent fit.

It never felt that the Air King is weighing me down.

The Air-King Movement

Rolex Air King Review 3131 Movement

This isn’t a Rolex Air King Review without talking about the movement. With that said, the Air-King is powered by the self-winding mechanical movement, the Caliber 3131. Again, this is the same exact movement used not just for the Rolex Milgauss but for the Rolex Explorer as well.

The movement operates at a frequency of 28.800 vph with a 48-hour power reserve. As mentioned, the movement is protected from electromagnetic fields. The inclusion of the blue paramagnetic Parachrom hairspring adds further magnetic protection and toughness to the watch. This pretty much ensures that the watch will be precise and reliable even when you’re on a flight.

Like with most Rolex models, the Air-King promises -2/+2 sec/day precision. The Caliber 3131 movement may not have the same fanfare as with the new Chronergy escapement, it’s a solid movement that offers good precision and some nice features.

Pricing

As I have mentioned earlier, the Rolex Air King is the brand’s less expensive model. It just edges out the updated 39mm Explorer in terms of affordability.

So is the Air King worth the entry-level asking price?

In my opinion, the Air King is as close as you can get to a proper Rolex sports watch. If you are looking for a darn good pilot watch with the signature Rolex polish, then this watch is more than worthy of its price tag. Would I go as far as recommending this for would-be first-time Rolex owners?

Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question.

While the old Air-King is considered a classic, the Air King 116900 looks nothing like the original design. For all extents and purposes, the Air-King is a handsome watch. However, it doesn’t really scream Rolex. I imagine that most people who are looking to own their first Rolex is aiming to buy into its heritage.

With its enigmatic design, the Air-King looks nothing like your classic Rolex. However, it does have the iconic Rolex polish and reliability.

In its current price point, the Air King is not worth the entry-level price if you’re looking to own a traditionally designed Rolex. On the other hand, those who are looking for a Rolex watch with plenty of personality, I highly recommend this watch – it’s practically a steal.

Should You Get the Rolex Air King?

We conclude this Rolex Air King review with our verdict.

To be quite honest, the Rolex Air-King Reference 116900 didn’t really make me excited at first. However, the more I look into it, the more endearing it gets. It’s a watch that’s all about risk-taking and needs to catch your attention. While we celebrate Rolex for the brand’s reliability and consistency, the Air King reminds us that it can still venture far from its comfort zone.

The Air King is also a fairly versatile piece that can cater to a wide range of needs. I have worn this watch from sportier activities to dressier events. It looks great, wears comfortably, and offers excellent reliability. Legibility is also on-point and remains true to the spirit of the best pilot watches.

The Air King is clearly targeted towards younger users who are turned off by the classicism of the Oyster or the omnipresence of the Submariner.

Many collectors have turned up their noses with the idiosyncrasies of the Air-King but I think its polarizing aspects are its greatest strength. This is a Rolex that dares to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

Is the Air King too much of a departure from a classic? Or is it a fresh take on a classic? Regardless of what we think, you really can’t fault the Air King for being dull and boring.