The MWC Bond Strap shown above was originally featured over here. See the comments for some more than fair criticisms from the serious watch fans in the readership. The grey/black striped strap is sold out, but they do have a black strap version still available for $199.
Two black, casual watches, both under $200, and both equipped with enough unique features that make them well worth a good long look here. They’re both powered by automatic movements, but that’s about where the similarities end…
MWC’s Positives: It feels extremely solid. Has a nice weight to it. The rotating bezel moves with decisive snappy clicks. Screw down crown looks less like a watch crown post, and more like a piece of industrial piping. 200m water resistance. Movement is hackable and can be hand wound. Case & colors are sharp.
Drawbacks: No word on where the movement (or the case) is made, so, probably China. When manipulating the crown it doesn’t feel flimsy or crunchy, but it’s not as smooth as a Swiss movement. Crystal is a hardended mineral instead of sapphire. No lume to speak of, so forget reading it in the dark. Some like the no-logo feature, but without one the dial looks a little… blank.
Seiko’s Positives: The extra diameter makes this a welcome alternative to the Seiko SNK80 series. Those go for $60 – $80, but at 37mm in diameter, they can look awfully tiny on many a guy’s wrist. This model is 40mm. Exhibition caseback, nice looking dial with a day & date display, and a red tipped second hand. Good luminosity in low light. The matte stainless case and band buckle keep the flash to a minimum.
Drawbacks: It’s pretty plane Jane. Strap it comes with looks like it came off an old Timex Camper watch. Can’t be hand wound. No rotating exterior or interior bezel to keep time with.
The crown & post on the MWC. There’s the beef.
The exhibition case-back and an ever dependable Seiko movement.
The Bottom Line:
I was surprised how much I liked the MWC out of the box (after the understandable criticisms over here) and conversely, how I didn’t like the Seiko quite as much as I thought I would. But that dial on the MWC just looks so vacant. And it’s $80 – $90 more than the Seiko. But the Seiko, and hooray for simplicity, is about as exciting as a Toyota Corolla. But y’know? They sell a lot of Corollas.
Which would you pick? Meanwhile, got any other under-$200 black casual watch options? Leave em’ in the comments below. Difficulty: Try to keep suggestions to in stock (since this and this are both sold out) and sold by reputable sellers.