Friday, April 21, 2017

Overtime Once Again...

With the Hager Aquamariner -

So apologies in advance, I clearly forgot the golden rule of
never starting a watch review just before BaselWorld.  Well, live and don't learn...

So now I am back, and have time to reflect not only on the Hager Aquamariner, but also on the watches that I saw in Basel's sparkling halls.  And ordinarily you might think that having seen everything that the big dog's have to offer, a "micro brand" might suffer by comparison.  Well, in the case of the Aquamariner you would be wrong.

I spend a lot of my free time not just reading about watches, but about fashion as well.  And one of my recent favorites was the (now) seminal tome on the vagaries of fashion - F*ck Yeah Men's Wear.  And it did have a brief section regarding watches.  And as so many before, it showed a wrist shot featuring a Rolex Submariner.  But what was interesting was that there were two wrists featured in this particular wrist shot.  On the other was an Ollech & Wajs.  And that got me thinking.  The look of what we consider to be the "classic" diver is pretty much universally held to be a black dial, uni-directional rotating bezel, stainless steel bracelet.  And if we are being really, really honest, this "look and feel" has been championed by several different brands both big and small for far longer than most of us have even been drawing breath.   

We have pretty much reached a point where you could almost call it a default "diver" style.  And if we are all being honest with each other, we're okay with that.  Olech & Wajs, Tag Heuer, Blancpain and others.  And it is clear that diver style watches with black dials and bezels are clearly what the buying public wants.

The Aquamariner is a good looking diver to be sure, but there are a lot of "pretty faces" out there in this particular category.  Where the Aquamariner truly differentiates itself is (at least in my opinion) in the price/performance proposition.  

So apologies for the "swirlies" on the clasp, but I will share with you that these were honestly come by over the course of the review.

And believe it or not, these marks serve to underscore the quality of the Hager Aquamariner.  

Although in theory, winter is supposed to be over by the time April rolls around, suffice it to say that when you live in the North East, your mileage may vary.  So it was a very unhappy morning that found me sprawled out on the driveway, metal thermos bottle in extreme disrepair, to say nothing of my un-gloved hands (hamburger is for eating, not for using as finger and thumb prints).  But a  very superficial swirl, not even a true scratch, was all the damage sustained but the spot where I literally landed, full force (and weight). 

Now I know that guys have this idea that a dive watch is a "bad ass" piece of "man gear" and that by putting the watch on they are going to be magically transformed  into the ultimate action hero and they'll be spending their spare time punching out Nazis on a Normandy beach.  The people buying these watches tend to bandy phrases like: "It's a beast!".  And it is there that it becomes painfully clear that the people marketing these watches fall into the same fallacy.  Let's be brutally honest - a dive watch is designed for, constructed for, and sold to customers for (spoiler alert) using to tell the time while under water.  

And to that end, Hager decided to add something that was ONE HELL OF A LOT MORE PRACTICAL than the usual "quadruple fold" dive suit extension which is typically as easy to use as the name might imply.
And that is a sliding wet suit extension that can be operated while wearing the watch using two push buttons on the clasp itself.  It is smooth and secure in its functions and offers a solution that several brands have done a half-ass job in implementing, but just not delivered on so far.  It is a REALLY great feature to find on a watch priced at the usurious level of $450. 

There is more to come, so stay tuned!

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