How to choose a sports watch

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The moun­tains seemed like they couldn’t get any higher and the road: was it pos­si­ble to be any rougher? In the Hon­duran moun­tains in 2005 whilst cross­ing Cen­tral Amer­ica by bike the choice of which sports watch to wear on such an ad­ven­ture couldn’t have been fur­ther from my mind but in ret­ro­spect my choice of an Ad­ina Au­to­matic Am­phib­ian couldn’t have been bet­ter.

Al­though it might seem like “just a watch”, by rep­u­ta­tion Ad­ina wasn’t go­ing to let me down and it was ac­tu­ally so much more. And the best part is, now when I wear that watch I am trans­ported back to those moun­tains and the watch has be­come part of my per­sonal hu­man his­tory.

Fast for­ward 11 years and I’m now GM of Aus­tralian watch maker “Ad­ina”. The de­ci­sion of “how to choose a sports watch”, is some­thing I at­tempt to as­sist peo­ple with ev­ery­day.

His­tor­i­cally Ad­ina be­gan its watch­mak­ing jour­ney in 1971 when en­tre­pre­neur­ial watch maker Bob Men­zies be­gan sourc­ing the globe for pre­mium com­po­nents for his first watch that would be cre­ated to suit the rig­or­ous de­mands of an Aus­tralian life­style. The first Ad­ina Au­to­matic S-22 was as­sem­bled by Bob in 1972 was and still is a tes­ta­ment to his watch mak­ing pas­sion. Tough, great look­ing, re­li­able and re­pairable. Th­ese are the pil­lars on which, our sports watch col­lec­tion known as Ocea­neer and Am­phib­ian has been built.

2016 marks our 45th year of pro­duc­ing watches here in Aus­tralia and over that time the world has changed im­mensely but the essence of Ocea­neer and Am­phib­ian in un­changed we re­main stead­fast in the pur­suit of sport watch that will revel in the Aus­tralian life­style.

First and fore­most Ad­ina don’t do gad­gets. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, watch tech of­fer­ings are quickly out­dated and quite of­ten not re­pairable. To choose an Ad­ina sports watch that is right for you, one that will en­dure and grow with you be­com­ing part of your per­sonal hu­man his­tory, the ques­tion first is to ask is, “What do I do an a day to day ba­sis?”

For in­stance your daily rit­ual maybe as sim­ple as an ocean swim be­fore tak­ing kids to school and meet­ing the girls for lunch or a bike ride prior to don­ning your suit and head­ing to the of­fice. You will need a watch that will make that tran­si­tion ef­fort­lessly.

Be­ing a sports watch the con­struc­tion of the case body is crit­i­cal; it must be of a ma­te­rial strong enough to sur­vive rough treat­ment whilst re­tain­ing the look of the watch. Our ma­te­rial of choice is pre­mium marine grade stain­less steel, which con­tains only minute traces of nickel and can be con­sid­ered nickel free. This en­ables all but the su­per sen­si­tive with allergies to met­als to wear with con­fi­dence.

This pre­mium grade of steel also al­lows for a crit­i­cal process in the pro­duc­tion of high end case mak­ing “cold stamp­ing”. The cold stamp­ing process where each case is lit­er­ally stamped out of solid steel be­fore be­ing hard­ened by an­neal­ing, which is a process of su­per heat­ing the stamped case be­fore stamp­ing again. Think of a black smith and horse shoes!

This process is cru­cial for 2 rea­sons. The first be­ing, that lux­u­ri­ous feel of a cold stamped case but the sec­ond is for a far more prac­ti­cal rea­son. Wa­ter re­sis­tance. After a case has been an­nealed at such ex­treme tem­per­a­tures the chances of the steel to ex­pand­ing or con­tract­ing over the course of daily use on a per­son’s wrist is vir­tu­ally zero. No ex­pan­sion or con­trac­tion brings huge con­fi­dence in the seal­ing gas­ket in the back case of the watch be­tween the glass and the watch case.

Which leads to the next crit­i­cal fea­ture of the Ad­ina Ocea­neer and the Ad­ina Am­phib­ian is the sap­phire glass. Known for its ro­bust, highly scratch re­sis­tant prop­er­ties a sap­phire crys­tal glass will en­sure you can read the time after many years of even the rough­est treat­ment.

It goes al­most with­out say­ing that a watch must be re­li­able so pow­er­ing the Ad­ina range are fully re­pairable and Swiss made move­ments. This raises an­other ques­tion which evokes an­other choice, bat­tery (Quartz) or au­to­matic or me­chan­i­cal (No Bat­tery) pow­ered by the move­ment of the user.

This de­ci­sion will af­fect the weight, size, thick­ness and ac­cu­racy of the watch. A Quartz watch from an ac­cu­racy point of view is un­ri­valled re­turn­ing a range of 0.02 sec­ond whilst an au­to­matic al­though re­quir­ing no bat­tery change sits in an ac­cu­racy range of +/- 4 sec­onds. How­ever, after 2-3 years will need the bat­tery changed which of course can hap­pen when you are a long way from any­where. Both still re­quire reg­u­lar ser­vic­ing and seal re­place­ment over time to en­sure re­li­a­bil­ity and longevity.

A quartz watch can also be made thin­ner and move­ment is lighter than a me­chan­i­cal watch. Aes­thet­i­cally how­ever an au­to­matic move­ment is beau­ti­ful to look at, hence the rea­son be­hind em­ploy­ing a clear back so its beauty is not lost, locked in­side the watch.

It must be ap­pre­ci­ated that as a, sports watch it will prob­a­bly be worn swim­ming, show­er­ing and in all man­ner of daily sit­u­a­tions so it will need to be wa­ter re­sis­tant and rated 10atm or 20atm wa­ter re­sis­tant. It must be at least 20atm if you would like to go div­ing.

Fur­ther­more, and as dis­cussed ear­lier, not only are the glass and back case gas­kets crit­i­cal to en­sur­ing wa­ter re­sis­tance; the crown, known to most as the winder on the side of the watch must also per­form whilst main­tain­ing func­tion­al­ity.

The crown is the ap­pa­ra­tus on the side of the watch en­abling the time and date on the watch to be changed so by its very na­ture must be user friendly yet per­form. At Ad­ina, we em­ployee 2 dif­fer­ent crown sys­tems to keep the wa­ter out. The first be­ing the very sim­ple to op­er­ate dou­ble or­ing sys­tem which in short has two o-rings in­side the head of the crown which en­gage with one an­other to pro­vide a wa­ter tight seal. The sec­ond a lit­tle more com­pli­cated but of­fer­ing un ri­valled wa­ter and dust pro­tec­tion is the screw crown. This is where a threaded crown locks into place en­gag­ing the two o-rings in the process. This thread can be ei­ther ex­ter­nal or in­ter­nal.

The bezel, sonorous with scuba div­ing is a must for the recre­ational diver but is also re­ally handy for tim­ing your park­ing me­ter! Tra­di­tion­ally a div­ing bezel would only ro­tate anti-clock­wise, the rea­son be­ing after you had set your dive time if you ever bumped the bezel you would only be mov­ing it to a shorter dive time.

Ar­guably car­ry­ing the weight of the over­all aes­thet­ics of the watch, to a large ex­tent is the dial. That said it must still be func­tional, that is you must be able to read it, night or day, in and out of the wa­ter.

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