review

Review: SOKI Field Watch

This SOKI Field Watch is styled after military field watches. Originally required to synchronize ballistics with infantry movements, field watches provided minimal, easy-to-read dials; with emphasis on no-frills, sans-serif fonts and few if any additional complications were employed to emphasize readability. SOKI’s version of the field watch is an adequate representation of such a watch … not great buy not horrible either.

Lacking any definitive model number or name (as far as I can tell) I will simply refer to this as the SOKI Field Watch. You can find it online by searching on “SOKI Military Watch”. I prefer “Field” over “Military” as it’s more specific to the style. Anyway … I digress …

Conclusion & Rating

BGG_StarRatings_2-5_Stars

Cons

It’s hard to say that you don’t get your money’s worth when purchasing a watch for $5 and the SOKI Field Watch is no different. It didn’t knock me over with it’s style or durable construction but it is a nice watch for the money. It’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with this watch as much as there isn’t anything particularly spectacular with it either. In general, I really like the utilitarian look of field watches. I think, however that these SOKI Field Watches photographed more convincingly than they delivered in person. But this really is a personal preference. If you can’t stop looking at them then you will probably like these more than me.

If I have any specific complaints about the construction, it would be that the watch bands are a little chintzy in the leather department and there is something about the edge of the case, where it meets the crystal that makes it resemble a powder coated, yet durable mint tin.

Pros

Oddly enough however, while the band material is a bit of a downer, the design of the band, and in particular the buckle, are some of my favorite features of this watch. I love the double-pin buckle, and while the metal that the buckle is made of is what I have come to expect from cheap Chinese watches, the double-pin makes it more sturdy feeling when buckling it. I also love the look of the double row of rectangular holes down the length of the band.

I’m not a particular guy and subtle details can get lost on me. I only need a watch to do two things, however, and I judge it primarily on those things …

  1. Keep accurate time.I have not had to , after a month’s time reset the time on the SOKI Field Watch. Being a quartz movement I expect to not have to reset the time very often, and so far the SOKI Field Watch has delivered without fail.
  2. Look and feel great. Although the SOKI Field Watch fulfills the promise that it looks like a field watch, I was kind of expecting and hoping for more. More rugged, more … in the trenches.

Recommendation

Would I recommend this to a friend? I think if you were really taken with the design then this would be an OK purchase. The case actually feels well made and the dial is easy to read. If you were “so-so” on the design then I would recommend that you keep looking. There are several nice, cheap Chinese field watches available. The SOKI W035 is an under $5 watch that looks like it might have more promise. I will have to try this one sometime soon!

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SOKI W035

Interested in further “deets”? Feel free to continue reading to get additional thoughts and feedback of my experience with the SOKI Field Watch.

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Review: Valia 8272-2

The Valia 8272-2 was among the first shipment of cheap Chinese watches I received. It has since become something of my “go-to” watch as it goes with more of my wardrobe that any of my other watches. I am a hoodie, cargo shorts and Sketchers kind of guy and this wristwatch is the perfect level of casual for me.

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Conclusion & Rating

Cons

The biggest beef I have with this watch is the dial design. While it definitely has the “cool” factor, the problem is that I can sometimes lose the second, minute and hour hands in the cross-over detail. Perhaps it’s just me but the crossing pattern is so pronounced it diverts a bit from the readability. It’s not like you can’t find the hands though. I just need to re-adjust my eyes and there they are.

Another issue I have is that it’s billed as a leather and canvas strap. I don’t know whether the leather is genuine or not but the canvas does not appear to be actual canvas as much as a sort of batting or a thin, almost Styrofoam-like material veneered with a canvas texture. Not a huge issue but noticeable in my mind.

Pros

As I mentioned before, this watch, in the colors I have chosen has become my daily go-to as it goes with almost everything I own. I wouldn’t wear it to a funeral or a wedding or anything but it seems to be the universal “casual watch”.

I love the case on this watch as well; perhaps my favorite thing in fact. I love that it’s not a plated, shiny chrome case. It has a more metallic, flat finish to it which I really like.

I’m not a particular guy and the subtle details can get lost on me. I only need a watch to do two things, however, and I judge it primarily on those things …

  1. Keep accurate time. I have not had to, after two month’s time reset the time on the Valia 8272-2. That, for me qualifies as accurate time.
  2. Look and feel great. The Valia 8272-2 pulls through. It’s comfortable and casual and goes with everything in my closet.

Recommendation

Would I recommend this to a friend? Definitely. It’s cool looking, durable (so far) and at $4.87USD is a great value for the money.

Interested in further “deets”? Feel free to continue reading to get additional thoughts and feedback of my experience with the Valia 8272-2.

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Review: BeiNuo 6470G

Introducing what is probably my favorite watch in my collection to date; the BeiNuo 6470G. Sharing the top spot with my Movado Elrio the BeiNuo 6470G has as much class and style … in my opinion … as any higher priced watch. Sure it lacks pedigree, quality materials, or even working sub-dials … but it’s a gorgeous timepiece. It also comes in a variety of colors and straps …

Conclusion & Rating

Cons

The one and perhaps only thing that I found disappointing about the BeiNuo 6470G is the same thing I said about the Valia 8601-1 in my review of it. In fact … it’s so the same I’m going to cut and paste it …

… its lack of density; to the case in particular. These are made inexpensively and that’s evident when you compare them to more established and expensive brands. And you don’t have to go to the hundred dollar watches to notice this either. A $40 Timex Expedition at your local WalMart or Target is enough to see for yourself what I am talking about. The BeiNuo 6407G case metal feels thin and the entire body is light in my hand. With such a beautiful watch the concern is how long will it last. I take extra special care though, hoping to keep it alive for as long as possible“.

I believe also that in addition to the case material being somewhat thin, that the case is plated as well, except for the back. It remains to be seen how long the plating will hold up for me. I hope a long time though … this is a gorgeous watch.

Pros

I could probably quote a good deal of the Valia 8601-1 review as these watches are nearly neck and neck in comparison. This watch, without the “diamond cut” bezel, however has a smoother, slightly more formal look which it carries throughout the design. But perhaps more interesting to me are the details of the sub-dials. While the Yazoli 271 looked decidedly pasted on, the sub-dials of the Valia 8601-1, with their silver faces, stood out beautifully against the white dial. The sub dials of the BeiNuo  6470G have an almost architectural feel against a shimmery satin white watch dial. The hands of the dials are all positioned in the same upright position, which I mentioned in the Yazole 271 review betrays its faux nature. Somehow, however the BeiNuo 6470G carries this off better than the Yazole 271.

I’m not a particular guy and the subtle details can get lost on me. I only need a watch to do two things, however, and I judge it primarily on those things …

  1. Keep accurate time.I have not had to , after a month’s time reset the time on the BeiNuo 6470G. Being a quartz movement I expect to not have to reset the time very often, and so far the BeiNuo 6470G has delivered admirably.
  2. Look and feel great. The BeiNuo 6470G delivers in spades. The shiny satin finish to the dial face provides a level of bling without being ostentatious or arrogant. The finish even lends a little more of a “techno” feel to it. This is a stunning and comfortable watch.

Recommendation

Would I recommend this to a friend? Without question. This is a good watch, a GREAT watch, in fact for under $10. I would argue that this watch could fetch near the $15 – $20 mark. I would never pay that much because I know that I don’t have to, but if I had seen it in a store front and didn’t know I could get it for $5 I would not hesitate to drop the $20 on it. If you like the style, which is personal and I can offer no guidance on, but if you like the look and the styling and are willing to care for it, I do not think you would regret the purchase.

Interested in further “deets”? Feel free to continue reading to get additional thoughts and feedback of my experience with the BeiNuo 6470G.

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Review: Yazole 271

Yazole is a “brand” that you’ll see on many watches in the cheap Chinese watch universe. I have found their designs to be a mixed bag of like ’em / don’t like ’em. The Yazole 271 falls into the “like ’em” category for me. While the white face and brown leather band fit in well in a casual business environment, the black dial and leather band can successfully accessorize a day at the track. And I got one of each.

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My Yazole 271’s in glorious white and black. So cheap, so beautiful I had to get both!

Conclusion & Rating

BGG_StarRatings_3_Stars

Cons

I dinged the Yazole 271  a couple of stars because while it was understood that the sub-dials would not function, they could have looked a little less pasted on. They aren’t horrible, but it doesn’t take a particularly thorough inspection to see how obviously “faux” they are. That combined with the overall quality which is a bit “chintzy”. As noted in my review of the Valia 8601-1 the metal used in the manufacture of the case of the Yazole 271 is rather lightweight and the whole watch lacks “heft”. That lack of substance is also reflected in the straps. They start out stiff and … not uncomfortable … but not comfortable either. It’s not that they make the watch a chore to wear, but they are relatively thin and feel cheap. Perhaps they will wear in over time. I had considered new bands for the pair of watches I purchased, but I am not sure that I can justify a $15 leather band on a $3 watch. Not yet anyway.

Pros

That being said, it measures up quite well to my two most important criteria …

  • Keep accurate time – The Yazole 271 keeps time as well as you would expect.I don’t check back to an atomic clock every hour or anything but after a couple of weeks I have not had to reset the time on either watch. So that’s accurate enough.
  • Look and Feel Great – While the sub-dials won’t fool anyone who stops for a close look, how often does that happen? I have worn it to work several times [Watch of the Day – 06/01/2016] and while I was not actually stopped in the hallway by anyone to admire my timepiece, I would have been happy to show it to anyone if they had. It’s a very attractive watch and while I would not recommend paying more than $5 for one, you don’t have to, as it’s easily attained for $2 – $3.

Recommendation

In my opinion, this is an attractive watch and it is VERY budget friendly. At $3 you get far more than you pay for. I can comfortably recommend it with a couple of caveats …

  • Price under $5. Don’t pay more than $5 . There are better made watches in the $5 – $10 price range. Even a few under $5.
  • You are willing to maintain it or accept the fact that it will not likely survive much punishment.

Interested in further “deets”? Feel free to continue reading to get additional thoughts and feedback of my experience with the Yazole 271.

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Review: Valia 8601-1

I thought I would kick off my watch reviews with one of my favorite acquisitions so far:  the Valia 8601-1. Available in a variety of face and watchband combinations you can cover nearly any occasion with the Valia 8601-1.

I have yet to understand exactly what the relationship is between the brand name on the watch and the actual manufacturer of the piece, but Valia has their name on a handful of watch designs that I enjoy considerably.

Conclusion & Rating

Cons

The one and perhaps only thing that I found disappointing about the Valia 8601-1, and honestly nearly all the cheap Chinese watches I’ve seen, is its lack of density; to the case in particular. These are made inexpensively and that’s evident when you compare them to more established and expensive brands. And you don’t have to go to the hundred dollar watches to notice this either. A $40 Timex Expedition at your local WalMart or Target is enough to see for yourself what I am talking about. The Valia 8601-1 case metal feels thin and the entire body is light in my hand. With such a beautiful watch the concern is how long will it last. I take extra special care though, hoping to keep it alive for as long as possible.

Pros

That being said this is my second most favorite watch in my cheap Chinese watch collection … and probably sits among the top 5 of all my current watches; ranking above a $180 James Bond Swatch and shares space with a $1000 Movado Elrio. How could such a cheap watch rank so high?

I’m not a particular guy and the subtle details can get lost on me. I only need a watch to do two things and I judge it on those things …

  1. Keep accurate time.The Valia 8601-1 has, after a month, kept perfect time. It’s a quartz so I expect a high level of reliability from it.
  2. Look and feel great. The Valia 8601-1 does that best of all. It’s sophisticated and refined looking. The sub-dials look like they might actually work and even though the buttons don’t even depress, you’d have to push one to figure it out. This watch LOOKS like everything it’s not. It’s not a fake … it doesn’t presume to be someone it’s not, but while the details and complications of the watch may be decorative and non-functional they are executed convincingly. I also maintain, that at least for most of us … we don’t really use all those buttons anyway.

Recommendation

Would I recommend this to a friend? Without question. This is a good watch, a GREAT watch, in fact for under $5. I would argue that this watch could fetch near the $10 – $12 mark. I would never pay that much because I know that I don’t have to, but if I had seen it in a store front and didn’t know I could get it for $5 I would not hesitate to drop the $12 on it. If you like the style, which is personal and I can offer no guidance on, but if you like the look and the styling and are willing to care for it, I do not think you would regret the purchase.

Interested in further “deets”? Feel free to continue reading to get additional thoughts and feedback of my experience with the Valia 8601-1

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