Citizen Brycen (AW1590-55E) review

So, I finally got my grail watch, a Tudor Black Bay, and was happy. I wasn’t 100% happy because it was the GMT rather than the Black Bay Black, but because the waiting lists are so long to get the GMT it made sense to take it when offered and to see if I would grow to love it.

I grew to love it.

It was a tough buy because I always wanted the gold hands of the Black Bay Heritage, but when the jeweller emailed me to say that a GMT had come in and asked if I wanted it, I jumped. Besides, I can buy a Black Bay Black at any time because they are everywhere, the GMT is not.

And then we were hit by a huge medical bill for my son. It’s a long story and I won’t go into it until we know the full situation, but it’s fair to say that the NHS proved to be so under resourced that they were unable to help in the most potentially serious of cases and the delays could be potentially very serious.

We decided to go private, an experience which has also proved to be less than impressive, in order to save time and the end result is that the GMT has to be sold. It would be a horrible thing to do in normal times, but when it comes to the health of one of your children you start to realise what is important and having a £2,800 watch on my wrist fell way down the list.

I could go into the myriad thoughts I have had over the past two weeks concerning the important things in life and my temporary realisation that an expensive watch is not necessary, but I hope that the feeling for my grail watch comes back one day and that I can rebuild my watch fund to buy the one I want.

The GMT will be gone in a few days, potentially at a profit which will help contribute to the medical bills, and so I decided to pick up a watch that I have had my eye on for some time, one that could be bought 13 times before the cost of the GMT is reached. A watch that I know will not be of the same quality, a watch that no one aspires to, but also one that I do not have to worry about and which may just have enough personality to suffice until the grail returns.

It is a Citizen Eco-Drive and so I am expecting excellent accuracy, but of course there are particular quartz movements in each watch. To date I am on less than 1 second deviance per day which is what I have experienced with previous Citizen Eco-Drive watches.

The case shape is not deep at all and curves a little around the wrist when paired with the right bracelet. The included mesh bracelet is of OK quality, but it pulled hairs out of my arm immediately. I do not have particularly hairy arms and this is the first strap to do that so that is a downside. I changed it straight away and this watch pairs very well with almost any 22mm strap thanks to the muted colours. The gold hands and hour markers are extremely subtle and work well with the very very light green inner colouring. Only the hands are lumed, but Citizen has cleverly managed to match the green throughout the dial.

Talking of the lume, this is a Citizen and so it is exceptional. It is very bright and lasts throughout the night, and with just the hands painted the end result is not overwhelming at all. The pointed hands offer more than enough recognition to tell the time in total darkness and this is without doubt a highlight.

The bezel fits the design very well, but strangely is static. I have never seen a bezel with 60 markings that does not rotate and so it is purely there for aesthetic reasons, presumably to give the watch a ‘dive’ vibe. For me, and no doubt the majority of people who prefer dive watches, it all comes down to the styling rather than the likelihood of being under the sea for any length of time and Citizen seems to have embraced that. Citizen has actually embraced it to the point of only giving 100m of water resistance, only luming the hour and minute hands, and of course installing a static bezel. It looks like a dive watch, it feels like a dive watch, it most certainly is not a dive watch.

If I could change anything it would be the date window. Citizen has a habit of including date windows that are tiny, to the point that I wonder why they are even there. It would make more sense to either remove it altogether to offer a cleaner look or go the whole hog and put a big one on the dial. If you go half way you may as well not have bothered.

Overall I really like this watch and it was the particular model I was looking at above more expensive Seikos and Citizens. I suspect it was because I previously owned an Oris Divers Sixty Five (above) and there is a similar look going on here. I loved that watch, but not as much as the Tudor and so sold it to pay some of the Tudor. I love my son much more than both of them and so now have this Citizen on my wrist, and remarkably I really am liking it.

The Apple TV 4K is bad, really bad

I purchased an Apple TV 4K last week as I needed one for a freelance article and was expecting an experience that was better than the previous Apple TV or my smart TV, because after all I spent £179 on it.

The design is nice and of course so is the unboxing experience, but there are some problems-

Apps like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime take a LONG time to start streaming any film or TV episode, and the apps themselves take a long time to start up.

Siri through the remote is poor and rather inaccurate, just like it is on the iPhone or anywhere else.

The remote is fiddly to use and not friendly in the hand in any way.

My Samsung smart TV does everything much, much quicker and remarkably has a more natural interface.

Overall performance of the Apple TV is slow and it all feels dated in almost every area.

For £179 it is poor value indeed and most definitely not recommended. One day Apple will get the TV stuff right, one day…

The Bulova Computron

It was a real surprise to see Bulova bring back the Computron in a form that is not dissimilar to the original from the 1970’s. If you want a timepiece that is unique, this would be a good way to go.

The only problem I see is that it has only been publicised in gold or black, neither of which make it ideal for tastes in 2019. I fixed it, below, with a simple bit of tweaking on my iPhone and Bulova advised me to “Stay tuned!” so just maybe it will be available in steel as well.

Inside the big, twisted industry of neighborhood data collection

It was late spring in Buffalo, New York, in 2015 — a season that was unusually hot that year, and heated. The wood-paneled meeting room at Gethsemane Grape Street Baptist Church hummed with anxious homeowners from Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood, where a burgeoning, billion-dollar medical complex threatened to displace them.

Poor folks had called the Fruit Belt home for more than 150 years — first German immigrants, then African-Americans. Lott’s parents bought their pale turquoise two-story house in 1955, moving north from Bluefield, West Virginia, to help build up a community that would become the heart of Buffalo’s black working class… More here.

Well worth a read.

New stuff: AirPods, Kindle and Watches

Apple today announced new AirPods, the second generation of the world’s most popular wireless headphones. AirPods revolutionized the wireless audio experience with a breakthrough design and the new AirPods build on the magical experience customers love. The new Apple-designed H1 chip, developed specifically for headphones, delivers performance efficiencies, faster connect times, more talk time and the convenience of hands-free “Hey Siri.” AirPods come with either a standard charging case or a new Wireless Charging Case for convenient charging at home and on the go… More here.

Would have liked to see noise isolation above anything else, but some decent improvements have been included here.

Adjustable front light lets you read comfortably for hours, indoors and outdoors, day and night.
Purpose built for reading, with a 167 ppi glare-free display that reads like printed paper, even in direct sunlight.
Distraction-free reading. Highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words and adjust text size, without ever leaving the page.
Select from millions of books, newspapers and audiobooks. Holds thousands of titles so you can take your library with you.
Prime members read for free with unlimited access to over a thousand titles.
A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
Enjoy more books with Audible. Pair with Bluetooth headphones, or speakers, to switch seamlessly between reading and listening… More here.

Totally standard features in the new Kindle, but at £69.99 I can see trouble for the higher priced models. This does 99% of what 99% of Kindle owners want and it is so much cheaper.

Baselword 2019 is now in full swing and last year we were treated to some superb new watches. It is, however, almost as if this year the tide has completely turned. Some of the new watches on offer, such as the Tudor P01 above, are startlingly bad.

And then came the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph Steel & Gold, below, which is trying to be far too pretty for its own good.

Don’t worry though. There’s always Rolex to take things even further in terms of poor taste as is demonstrated by the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126719 BLRO With Meteorite Dial In White Gold below.

Thankfully, the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival, below, offers a sense that one brand is happy to simply improve rather than turn down crazy alley.

For more news from Baselworld 2019 check out the excellent Hodinkee.

What Google knows about you

In addition to everything Google collects via its services, Google search aims to be a repository for all the world’s information. That means there’s a mountain of information accessible on Google because someone, somewhere in the world has put it online… More here.

You may know a lot of this, but it is a lot of things.

The Garmin MARQ collection

MARQ integrates revolutionary technology with superior design materials such as titanium, sapphire, ceramic, diamond-like carbon coating, jacquard-weave nylon and Italian vacchetta leather. Each watch is exquisite in its execution — and as inspiring as its owner… More here.

These are expensive, but the ambition is impressive.

This review from A Blog To Watch will tell you most of what you need to know.

Like other serious technology companies such as Apple and Samsung, Garmin has not only been aggressively trying to capture a piece of the growing smartwatch market pie but is also playing catch-up to the traditional luxury watch industry. Last year, I discussed Garmin’s first serious entrance into the luxury watch space with my aBlogtoWatch review of the Garmin Fenix Chronos Smartwatch. The Fenix Chronos was built on the popular Fenix family with a more “premium” feel and packaging. Now in 2019, Garmin makes a massive leap forward with the Garmin Marq. Functionally, it builds on the Fenix family but improves upon it in most every way, including hardware, software, aesthetic design, and case/strap materials.