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Home > TOP 20 "Poor Man's" Watches (old format) > - THE TOP 20 LIST - (old format until Nov 2009)

TITLE  +   - 
FILE NAME  +   - 
DATE  +   - 
POSITION  +   - 
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01 - Seiko SKX779K "Black Monster" or SKX781 "Orange Monster"14848 views*Movement & Specs: 7S26, Automatic, non winding, non hacking, 21'600 beats per hour or 6 beats per second
*Chosen by: Reto
*Why?: Because you can rarely find a better case and bracelet with even a hidden diver's extension on a watch in this price class.
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02 - Casio G-Shock MTG Series10435 views*Movement & Specs: Solar & Atomic Casio
*Chosen by: Jittery Jim (James)
*Why?: Everyone needs a beater they can truly rely on, and the G-Shock series of watches provides just that. Beyond the durability, this series adds the extra perks of atomic synchronization and solar power, meaning no pesky batteries to change and it's always on atomic time. It's big and it's thick (everything popular in watches today ) and it is just FUN TO WEAR! Thanks to G-Moy for turning me (and half the PMWF gang) onto these great watches!
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08 - Citizen Eco-Drive "EcoZilla"10447 views*Movement & Specs: Citizen Eco Drive
*Chosen By: Mike Lipphardt
*Why?: In the "My diver can beat up your diver" category has to be the Ecozilla. It's big, it's bad and it's very cool. While the all stainless versions can be very fun to wear they are also very heavy, which to my eyes makes the titanium and rubber version preferable. Nice blue lume, HUGE legible hands, great bezel, and a nicely designed, well guarded crown at 9 instead of 3 to improve wearability. Ecodrive means no batteries, quartz means few accuracy worries. Practical and fun, but you have to like them big at 48mm diameter.
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11 - Orient Diver 200M13248 views*Movement & Specs: Model # : CEM65001D; Orient Japan Automatic Movement 21 jewels; Case width: 41.5mm
*Chosen By: Bob Collins
*Why?: A great watch at just under $100 delivered on a thick stainless bracelet. Has day date complication and is quite accurate from my experience. Wet ink blue dial, good lume, red-tipped sweep, screw down crown and pusher, 200M.
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12 - Hamilton Khaki Chrono16463 views*Movement & Specs: Valjoux 7750
*Chosen by: Robmks (Bob)
*Why?:
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07 - Hamilton Khaki Automatic or Handwind15461 views*Movement & Specs: Mechanical: ETA 2804-2 (latest version); Automatic: ETA 2824-2
*Chosen by: Durable & Andrew F
*Why?: Reason: One of the most legible combinations of dial and hands I have seen; the sapphire crystal and matte finish of the stainless steel is very resistant to scratches; it also looks good with many different types and colors of straps; the oversized crown makes winding easy and a joy; the diameter is a very comfortable 38 mm while the 11 mm height of the watch allows it to fit under one's long sleeves with ease; it beats at 28,800 bph, which provides a silky sweep of the second hand; and finally at under $250 it is a definite bargain!
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06 - Citizen Diver NY0040 (Black, Blue, Yellow, Lume)11023 views*Movement & Specs: Miyota Caliber 8203, handwinding but not hacking
*Chosen by: Paulc, supported by Chris L
*Why?: The Citizen NY0040 series (in black, blue, the rare yellow, and black dial with two-tone case) comes with the robust and hand-windable 8203 auto movement (mine runs less than a minute fast per week). A true 200m diver's watch, it wears a little lighter than other popular 200m divers due to its slightly smaller, rounder case. Visually, however, it wears about the same as a Seiko SKX (ie, 007/009/A35) due to its dial size. Other nice features include the screw-in crown at 8 o'clock (great for those of us with wrists that get dug by traditional 3 o'clock crowns), inky black dial (on the watch pictured) and applied indices. The lume on this one is also very good. Dimensions are: about 41mm across the bezel, 44mm incl. crown, 47mm lug to lug, 12mm thick and 20mm lug width. At just around the $100 mark on the internet, the NY0040 series offers a great deal for your money.
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04 - Vostok Amphibia14398 views*Movement & Specs: Cal. 2416B Automatic ball borne, bi-directional rotor winding and handwinding, 21,600 vph, 31 jewels
*Chosen by: Micha & TakesALickin' (Jeff)
*Why?: I'd like to nominate the Vostok Amphibia. This is a real VPMW! Can be had for as little as $25 to $40 and comes in a wide range of varieties! It's rated 200m and comes with an automatic movement (vintage ones can be hand wound). The case is stainless steel. The only real disadvantage? The standard strap is crap - you're gonna need a new one. I included a picture of the only recent model I own, but remember - there is a wide range available.
As a watch that's more representative of the kind of watch that a lot of us poor men have, I think the Amphibia's a great candidate. Super affordable, with it's own clunky Slavic charm, and reliable as a Sherman tank. Powered by the cal. 2416B, it's a dependable entry level water resistant auto - here's a different pic.
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20 - Vintage or OOP: Seiko 630911013 views*Movement & Specs: Seiko caliber 6309
*Chosen by: Matt V.
* Why?: A great vintage Seiko diver and gaining in popularity lately!
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16 - Citizen Power Reserve Chronograph 21009254 views*Movement & Specs: Citizen Cal. 2100
*Chosen by: Micha
* Why?: Nine hands, Eco-Drive, awesome lume and all this with a little searching for under $300! Need I say more?
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13 - Archimede Pilot15482 views*Movement & Specs: Stainless steel case with satin finish, sapphire crystal, screw down case back with mineral crystal showing the robust ETA 2824-2 inside, 50m WR, optional pilot's crown, diameter 42mm or 39mm (excluding crown), thickness 9.9mm and 20mm lug width
*Chosen by: Paulo
* Why?: A great quality watch with Flieger aesthetics for 245 euros plus shipping (Jan 2007) from a company created by Ickler (a well known quality German case supplier for various companies and also owner of Limes).
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15 - International Watchman Marine Diver17726 views*Movement & Specs: Unitas 6497
*Chosen by: Paulo
* Why?: A PAM 111 hommage with excelent quality all polished stainless steel case, sapphire crystal on both sides, glossy sandwich dial and an Unitas 6497 ticking at 18,000 bph inside. Just 60m WR, so it doesn't qualify as a diver, still water resistant enough for everyday use.
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19 - Vintage or OOP: Citizen Exceed Quartz Perpetual Calendar5929 views*Movement & Specs: Caliber E510
*Chosen by: Catalin
*Why: it is a truly historic watch since it still holds the record for the MOST ACCURATE solar perpetual calendar EVER (at +/- 10s/year). It was the FIRST solar to achieve that (and today Citizen has another caliber still in production - E780 - at that level, but that is not perpetual calendar). The precision is only surpassed 'out of the factory' by 'The Citizen / Chronomaster' (A660, still in production, +/- 5s/year but not solar) and certain limited-editions Grand Seiko (also 5s, but not in normal production and individually VFA, just like some other older very limited editions from the 80s including the +/- 3s/y Cryston 4 Mega and good ETA TC calibers - that apparently ETA does not really care too much to adjust in the factory or generally guarantee after that).
The Exceed is quite amazing with duratect Ti and coated sapphire crystal, but was a little-known very-hard-to-find Japan-only model which could be bought (well into PMWF territory) around 400 US$ - but with the US$ weakness and the model getting out of production the price for the very few NOS models are now over 500$ (and increasing) - still an amazing price.
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10 -Casio G-Shock Mud Man (Nominated by PaulGeo)4509 viewsTough as can be, many colors to chose from, RC! option if you want it, all under the very poor man limit. It's really the epitome of what a tool watch is all about.
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18 -Debaufre Triton (Also nominated by PaulGeo) 6827 viewsIn the world of big, chunky, beefy divers, this watch stands out on it's own. Nothing else looks like it, which is not necessarily good, but this one definitely pulls it off. Distinctive case design, dial, hands, movement, water resistance... it's all there at half the poor man limit. It's just a unique piece that deserves a spot on the current Top20.
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14 -Seiko (Prospex) SBCB009 (nominated by thebarak) 7692 viewsIt always shows the correct time to within a second or two, never needs a battery change, dives deeper than you'll ever need, weighs under 3 ounces including the bracelet, has the same legendary lume as the Monster, Never needs winding, you can always see the time, even if you have very bad eyesight and it's dark, it's not crazy big, but can be read easier than many 52mm wrist clocks, it has a Prospex level fit and finish, The bezel turns so beautifully....
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03 Precista 89 / PRS-17A5853 viewsChosen by: paulc
Why:
I'd like to suggest one of Eddie Platt's Timefactors watches, such as the Precista 89 / PRS-17A that I own. With the current exchange rate, the 17A and 18A are great watches for their price (£180/$300 for the 17A). Closely following known military issue designs, these are made by Fricker in Germany and have the ETA 2824 inside. The size of the PRS-17A is comfortable, (43mm w/crown, 39mm across case; 11mm thick). It exudes mil-watch functionality and good looks without appearing like it borrows anything from the ubiquitous Sub design. Build quality is solid, with no plastic spacers and a double o-ring caseback seal. And although this will vary from example to example, it's by far the most accurate mechanical watch I've ever owned. I wore this most of the spring and summer this year, and timed it over a month, during which it gained 12 sec, with no more than 1.5 sec. variation over any 24 hr. period. That's an average of 0.4 sec/day, or better than most $5K+ COSC certified watches will run (I know it's an aberration: my next best 2824 watch runs at +2/day :) ). Accuracy aside, Timefactors watches are great looking, great wearing, and an incredible value for the money, and the customer service from Platts is unbeatable, in my experience.
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05- Zodiac Oceanaire Automatic 6857 viewsNominated by Chance:
During their first production run, the Zodiac ZO800x Oceanaire automatic divers were well-regarded for their retro styling (quite similar to the Seiko 6105 divers of yore), Swiss Made pedigree, stout bracelets and excellent build quality. There were a few flies in the ointment, however. Prices were high with little in the way of discounting. Upon discontinuation, prices for used examples skyrocketed beyond what the watches likely were truly worth. And the watch's "Swiss Made" badge found some opposition when it was revealed that the Claro-Semag CL888 movement was essentially a Chinese Sea-Gull ST16, albeit with more refinement and better finishing. Though reports of full-on failure have been quite rare, there were reports of seconds hand jumpiness, sometimes during regular operation and sometimes after starting the watch running after setting the time. Despite these issues, the Oceanaire remained popular as evidenced by their relative rarity on sales forums, as well as how quickly they were snatched up when they did appear.

Earlier this year, it came as a surprise (at least to me) that Zodiac resumed production of the Oceanaire divers. And even more surprising was the fact that prices had come way down. Just over a month ago, Metro Watch Company, Zodiac's eBay outlet, unloaded a bunch of 'em for less than $200 each. Same great watch, great new low price.

At its present price point, both when found new and when found on sales forums, the Oceanaire is a surefire nominee for inclusion on the Top 20 list. If new examples are all like mine, any rough edges on the CL888 have been smoothed out. The seconds hand on my example, a black-dialed ZO8000, is smooth, though it does move two or three seconds when set to run from hacking position. Not a problem, as 2-3 seconds later, it begins running as intended. It's also very accurate, just 5-6 seconds fast per day. Still present from the first run is the wonderful build quality, bold dial/hands/case styling, robust screwdown crown (10 turns worth), and nifty and deeply engraved caseback. My only gripe with this watch is with its bracelet, which unfortunately has links so big and clasp micro adjustments so few that precise sizing is difficult. Luckily, the Oceanaire is a knockout on rubber straps. (see below) Simply put, you will not find another Swiss Made diver with this much presence and such a rich set of features for $200.
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09- Citizen Promaster Air Diver's PMX56-xxxx Series 6626 viewsNominated By Lukipedia:
This watch has it all:

-Citizen Eco-Drive movement, hacking, 6 month power reserve
-Titanium monocoque case (with Citizen's Duratect coating), 40mm diameter without crown, 11mm tall
-Titanium bracelet with hidden, multiple-setting diver's extension, 20mm lugs
-PMX56-3002 and -3003 models have black DLC coatings; -2811 and -2812 are brushed titanium
-200M water resistance
-Scratch-resistant hardened mineral glass
-Superb lume (in the classic, sky blue color Citizen uses)
-Great face designs with choice of Arabic numerals on a black face (PMX56-2811), indices plus a '12' and '6' numeral on a blue face (-2812), or orange-and-white indicies on a black or brown face (-3002 and -3003, respectively)

All for between $360-500 depending on the model. This is an ABSURDLY good watch for the money!
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17- Debaufre Ocean 17080 viewsNominated By JohnnyT:
Since its introduction in 2008, the Ocean 1, in all its variations, has established an incredible record of rave reviews and customer delight. In fit and finish, quality of execution and in the extraordinary history of astonishing customer service, Debaufre has consistently won the hearts of its owners. What is truly the coupe de grace is when all its virtues are multiplied by its retail cost. Unquestionably this is one of the remarkable values is WISdom today, making classic style and outstanding presentation affordable at roughly 1/2 the PMWF limit.

In recommending that the Marcello be displaced, I do not in any way mean to disparage it. It remains an outstanding watch as it always has been. However since it is approximately the same watch at more than twice the price, I feel it is fitting that it be the one displaced by Ocean 1..

Following are some of the specs from the vendor.

This is the Classic Edition of the Ocean-1 Swiss Automatic watch powered by the ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Due to the popularity of this model, it has become a regular in our lineup. This is the same case as the renowned Ocean-1 watch, however this features a Classic dial with larger markers.

# 42-mm 316L stainless steel case
# Swiss ETA 2824-2 Automatic movement
# Screw-down crown and case-back
# Sweeping second hand
# Super-LumiNova illumination
# Sapphire crystal glass
# 1000 feet water resistant
# 22mm Stainless Steel Oyster bracelet with screwed links
# Solid end pieces
# Weight: 6.8 oz
# Stainless steel clasp with safety clasp
# Consists of 275 individual parts
# Ships in beautiful box
# 42-mm diameter, 46-mm incl. crown, 13-mm thick

A true classic diver's watch with the large markers reminds of the early days of diving; the origins of the Navy Seals; stealthy operations in dark waters. The uni-directional turning bezel ensures that you don't run out of air and its stainless steel casing is water resistant up to 1000 feet. So rest assured that you can trust in your watch, the Classic Ocean-1.
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