Armand Nicolet J09 | Watch Review

Armand Nicolet J09 Armand Nicolet is a brand that I know in name, but not overly familiar with their watches. It is not one that I see the watch community post about on social media, such as Instagram or Facebook Watch groups often. After receiving this model for review, the Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date, I honestly had to wonder why this brand has not been getting the love it deserves currently. Now, keep in mind, I am saying that I have not personally seen a lot of mention of their watches, it does not mean you haven’t, they could have just not been on my radar for some reason. They definitely are now though. For those not familiar, the Armand Nicolet brand has been around since 1902, and was named after its founder. In 1988, the brand was sold by Willy Nicolet, the founders son, and though not family owned anymore, they have continued making watches in Switzerland, with designs being done in Italy. Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date Specifications: Mechanical automatic movement with Day&Date functions. Calibre AN2846-9. Guilloché dial with luminous indexes and hands. Case with antiglare treated sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal in the see-through screwed back. Case and Buckle: Stainless Steel 316L Water Resistance: 5 ATM Diameter: 41mm Thickness: 12.5mm Lug Width: 24mm Lug to Lug: 50mm Strap: Stainless Steel 316L MSRP: $2700 USD http://www.armandnicolet.com/collections/j09/day-date/watch-d650aaa-gr-pi4650na/ If you have not watched the video yet, you may notice I show it on both a bracelet and a rubber strap here in the photos. That is because I had the company send the rubber strap as well, to show some of the ways the Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date can be configured. There are just way too many options for this model for me to list, but you can purchase them with either a bracelet, leather strap or rubber strap, and depending on what you choose, you can pick up one of the other straps as well, at an extra cost. Depending on what you choose, it really does change the look of the watch from sporty to dressy and somewhat industrial looking on the bracelet. The Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date is an interesting watch, for many reasons. First, the size at 41mm, yet it has a 24mm lug width, something rarely seen on a watch this diameter. If you have a small wrist or like a smaller watch, this can be deciving. It really wears like a round 43mm would wear. For myself, I love the size, it is in right in between that small and large. It would be a medium if we sized watches like we do shirts. On my 7 1/2 inch wrist it is damn near perfect, and I still have not decided if I like it better on the bracelet or the rubber strap, but more on that in a bit. As I spoke about in my last review, if a watch is going to have a date, I prefer it to be at the 6 o’clock position. Obviously, the Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date is perfect for me in terms of date position. The guilloché  dial is something that I love in a watch such as this, it is that something extra that stands out on an otherwise basic dial. Even with the day and date, the dial is fairly clean, and applied markers keep it classy. One thing that has perplexed me with the Armand Nicolet J09, is that I do not know what category to lump it into. It is not a dive watch of course, nor a pilot or field watch. It is not a traditional dress watch, even though with either the bracelet or an alligator leather strap it can surely play the role. It is not your typical sport watch, even though the rubber strap does give it that sporty feel. I guess I would call it dress casual. The type of watch that can be dressed up for the office and dressed down for the weekend when going to your favorite pub. The very low water resistance prevents it from being an all around do everything type of watch, but if you are not regularly jumping into the pool or ocean mid day, you should be fine with this on the wrist. The heart of the Armand Nicolet J09 is the Calibre AN2846-9, which is basically an ETA 2846 automatic movement that has been customized with a beautiful rotor. While this movement is not an in-house masterpiece, it is not a movement you see used all the time, and Armand Nicolet has dressed it up for sure. This is how I like a movement to look if it has an exhibition case back.  A bracelet has to be well made and very comfortable for me to want to wear these days. I almost always prefer a strap, as many readers might know. I have gone back and forth on this, and while the rubber strap has a very nice deployant clasp, I think the winner is the bracelet. It is very nicely brushed, has a beautiful buckle with a stamped logo and just flows with the watch head perfectly. One word of caution though, the Armand Nicolet J09 uses double headed screw bars, and they are very, very tiny screws. And you will need two screwdrivers to size as well. I would suggest sizing over a clean table and not in a room that has carpet, as you some in your household might think you have a case of turrets if one rolls off the table into the sea of fibers. Of course, one of the biggest things when reviewing a watch, is the price. At $2700, there is no denying that the price is up there and that a lot of other watches can be considered at this price point. The 15% discount does make it more appealing, and while the movement is not in house or anything, it is nicely decorated and is a solid Swiss ETA that should give no issues. The styling of the Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date is unique, and when looking at google images and bringing up past versions of this model, they have definitely upgraded it, in terms of dial and hands aesthetic. With a low water resistance and a non screw down crown, it is not going to be that one watch for all occasions, but I think if someone wanted to put something dressy in their collection, but does not go for the standard dress style watch, this might be a good way to go.

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Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue | Watch Review

Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue The name Favre Leuba has been around since 1737. It is the second oldest watch brand, in name, ever. I can go on an on about their history, but that can be easily googled. The brand has changed hands a few times since going defunct in the 1970’s, but was purchased by Titan Co. Ltd in 2011. It took a few years to bring the company back from the ashes, but late last year, Favre Leuba rose again and started producing models that are reminiscent of some of the iconic pieces from the 60’s. The model in for review, the Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue is a combination of new and old, combining elements of their original diver, the Deep Blue, and using improved materials such as sapphire crystals, high beat automatic movements and well made stainless bracelets and rubber straps. This is definitely a watch that has got my attention, and for good reason. Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue Specifications: 44mm stainless steel case 52mm lug to lug 14mm thick 24mm lug width Aluminum Bezel Insert Sapphire Crystal Sellita SW200 Automatic Movement Rubber Strap or Stainless Bracelet Retail Price $2500 http://favre-leuba.com/ Vintage is the new black as they say. No, wait, that is Orange is the new Black. And that’s a tv show. Well, vintage is for sure in when it comes to watches, and I for one, consider that a good thing. The styles of the 60’s and 70’s are popular for a reason, there were a lot of fantastic looking watches produced at this time, especially when it comes to dive watches. As I stated above, this Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue is a throwback of sorts to the company’s first dive watch, the Deep Blue, and the Bathy 160, both pictured below. Familiar elements are easy to see and the basic case shape is represented in this new model. One thing that is noticeably different is the disk on that dial that functions as the second hand on this model. One of their other models, the Harpoon, utilizes this disk as an hour hand in a very unique way. The Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue is a little more traditional than its big brother for telling the time.   You can see other similarities between the vintage and new models with the applied markers, shape of the minute hand and the brand name font and logo. I did some research but could not find a dive model from them that had crown guards such as the ones on this Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue, so that might be an element added to this new production. As I stated in the video, I do wish the screw down crown was larger or had more grooves to it, as it is hard to grip, especially for someone with bigger hands. My only other gripe would be that you can really only turn the bezel by grabbing it with your fingers placed at 9 and 2, due to the case design. These are the only two issues I have found with this watch, and both are minor issues in my opinion. Looking at the case design, you might be thinking that this watch is uncomfortable, or does not sit on the wrist properly. I thought the same thing when I first pulled it from the amazing packaging (Check the video). I could not have been more wrong. For my 7 1/2 inch wrist, this is one of the most comfortable watches I have reviewed in a long time. Most watches I review are comfortable in their own right, but this Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue wraps around my wrist so well, it is a watch I just did not want to take off. It might actually be one of the most comfortable watches I have worn period. Obviously this is going to depend on the shape of your wrist, I would consider mine to be fairly flat. The branded rubber strap is another reason the Raider Deep Blue is so comfortable. This rubber is right up there with some of the best rubber straps available on the market. If you are not a fan of rubber, fret not, a beautiful stainless bracelet is also available. The blue hue used on the dial and aluminum bezel is not your standard blue, and I think that is one of the reasons it stands out to me so much. It is definitely more of a blue/green and is a striking color for sure. If for some reason it is not tripping your trigger, there is a version with a black dial and orange accents. I actually requested the black/orange model for review but there was a mix-up in communication and the blue was sent instead, and I could not be more happy for said mix-up. These days most dive watches are moving to ceramic or sapphire coated bezel inserts due to their scratch resistance, but Favre Leuba went old school and used aluminum. I am glad they did. It gives it that vintage flair and the texture seen on the bezel is something that can not be attained using other materials. Remember when I said that I only found two issues with the Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue? Well, I guess I fibbed a little. The third issue would be the seconds disk. It functions just fine, but usability is not sublime in my opinion, as it is just a short arrow and accurately measuring time is hindered. The look is cool no doubt, but I find the seconds disk to be more gimmick than useful. While it does not state on the website what movement is used in this model, I have confirmed it is the Sellita SW200 movement. As with most readily available movements, the SW200 has been discussed in depth here on Watchreport. It is a Swiss movement, essentially a clone of the ETA 2824 and has been used in countless brands from Oris, to Tag Heuer and more. The BGW9 lume is more than adequate, and one of the unique features that you do not see until the watch is in the dark is the lume under the seconds disc, which shows through the cutouts. It has no real purpose, but it is something a little different and noteworthy. Lately, there has been a few watch brands that have gone under or have sold or partnered with other watch brands to stay afloat, so it is quite an undertaking for someone to relaunch a defunct brand. Sure, Favre Leuba was a big name decades ago, but they will have an uphill battle in this marketplace. As far as the Favre Leuba Raider Deep Blue, I do love the design and overall the I feel the watch is superb. I mentioned a few quibbles and with all things being even, the price is probably slightly high, but I can not deny how unique this model is, something that is hard to attain these days. The Raider Deep Blue is obviously paying homage to its past models, though it is not a straight copy of those either, nor it is a copy of anything else currently on the market. The look is there, the quality is there, but only time will tell if the current form of Favre Leuba is here to stay or just another flash in the pan. I hope it is the former, as I look forward to see what they produce in the years to come.

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