Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: Nectar Cruze Sunglasses

As someone who grew up on the beach in Southern California, I'm no stranger to sunglasses. They are a  must have item for me, and I don't ever leave the house without a pair of shades. Cheap ones, expensive ones, distinguished-looking or over-the-top gaudy, I like 'em all.

When I was asked to pick out a pair to review, I wanted to chose something different--something fun. So I settled on the Cruze, and Nectar graciously provided a pair for review. They have also provided a 10% discount code of "lovenectar" for readers to take advantage of.

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 1


Product Description


The Cruze is a unisex model in Nectar's Sunnies line of sunglasses. The $20 price tag puts them into the budget category, well suited to a day at the lake. Stylish, with lightweight frames and a good built quality, this one definitely caught my eye. What I like about this line is that there's a look for everyone.

Official Specs (From Nectar)


FEATURES
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FRAME SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR MAXIMUM COMFORT 
  • DURABLE POLYCARBONATE FRAME MADE TO TAKE A BEATING 
  • OPTIMUM IMPACT RESIST FRAME MATERIAL 
  • INSANE AMOUNTS OF STYLE 
  • IMPACT RESISTANT POLYCARBONATE LENSES FOR MAXIMUM STRENGTH 
  • SCRATCH RESISTANT FILM OVER ALL LENSES 
  • DUAL INTEGRATED BALL AND HINGE JOINT FOR SIMPLE AND STURDY CUSTOMIZATION 
  • GLARE REDUCTION 
  • EMBOSSED LOGO FOR SUPERIOR RECOGNITION 
  • FLEXIBLE THERMOPLASTIC MEMORY FRAME 
  • 100% UV PROTECTION  
  • REDUCES BLINDING EYESTRAIN OFF WATER AND SNOW
DIMENSIONS
  • FRAME: 5.7 IN. 
  • HEIGHT: 2.1 IN. 
  • THE ARMS ARE EXACTLY 5.5 IN. LONG
ADDITIONS
  • BRANDED MICROFIBER POUCH TO KEEP YOUR SUNNIES SAFE 
  • EXCLUSIVE STICKER THAT STICKS TO ANY OBJECT 
  • ENVY FROM ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS 
  • FREE COMPLIMENTS 
  • RELAXATION FOR YOUR EYES
Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 2

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 3

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 4

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 5



Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 6

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 7

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 8

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Product View 9

Initial Impressions


I knew they were an edgy company. After all, they say "do epic shit" on their web page. But these shades were even edgier than they looked on the web site. Unboxing them, I heard terms like "broglasses" and "hipster" from the peanut gallery. The consensus was that I wasn't hip enough to wear these, by people who coincidentally offered to take them off my hands.

The next thing I noticed about these shades was that they are light, and I do mean light! At 0.8 ounces on my scale, they are the lightest pair of shades that I own. They seem well put together and don't really have that cheap look. The lenses are fairly dark just like I like them, though they are a little larger than I would prefer for every day wear. 

Fit and Finish


There's not much to nit pick with this pair. There were no scratches on the lenses or frame, which is one of my pet peeves. They also sit perfectly with the arms swung out, which is another thing I look for. 

About the only thing I can find is that one of the frame screws looks like it's not screwed down all the way compared to the other one, but it's not something obvious. It took me about 20 minutes to find that one tiny flaw, so it's safe to say that this review sample pair has a superb fit and finish when you consider that these are budget shades.

Everything else looks legit: the Nectar logo is nice and sharp on both arms, the hinges fit together nicely, and the finish on the frames is uniform.

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Frames View 1

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Frames View 2

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Frames View 3

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Frames View 4

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Frames View 5

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Frames View 6


Usability


These shades have dark lenses, and are very comfortable to wear because they are so light. The lenses almost look polarized which there's no way they could be at this price point, so maybe it's the anti-glare coating on them. Whatever it is, the lightness of the frames and quality of the lenses really stand out on this pair. These are very wearable.

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Old Guy

Style wise though, they might not be the best choice for an old dude like me, though as I pointed out, everyone who says they aren't my style have offered to take them, so I take their words with a grain of salt. What do you, the readers think? 

Everyone universally thinks they look good on my son, so I factor that into the usability.

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Young Guy



Conclusions


I like these shades. And screw the haters--I'm keeping them. While this would probably be great for EDC for most younger guys, I think this one is going to see mostly off-the-clock duty for places such as the lake. My son swears he will wear them every day so I may cave in eventually. 

All style factors aside, they seem well made for a $20 pair of shades, and the fit and finish is definitely above average for that price point. They also seem to have an above average lens coating/filter as well. I have no idea where they were made and the packaging gives no indication, so I'm going to guess that they were made in China. Since the fit and finish are so good, I'm also going to guess that they are made in one of the larger, more established factories. 

So all things considered, this pair of sunglasses appears to be an excellent value, and you'll see me wearing these out at the lake. Or I'll order a pair of black ones and you'll see my son wearing these out at the lake.

Gallery


Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Gallery View 1

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Gallery View 2

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Gallery View 3

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: On Scale
Less than an ounce!

Nectar Cruze Sunglasses: Next To Ruler
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch

The Citizen Eco-Drive series has always appealed to me. One of the issues about having a lot of watches is that at any given time, one of my watches needs a new battery. The Eco-Drive doesn't have this problem, though it does actually contain a small battery to store up some of the juice from its built-in solar cell. I liked the large numbers on this model so I went ahead and ordered it from Amazon along with a Casio Edifice.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product Link
Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product Link


Product Description


The BM6400-00E is a typical Citizen budget Eco-Drive model analog watch with their typical Japanese quartz movement and riveted canvas band. Like other models in its class, you get a stainless steel case and mineral crystal. With slightly oversize numerals on the dial and the date at 3 o'clock, this is a very basic analog watch. There's not a lot of fluff in this model. It's not a chronograph and doesn't even have the day of the week. It's just an easy to read watch which will hopefully last a really long time without needing to replace a battery!

Official Specs (From Amazon)


Watch Information
Brand, Seller, or Collection NameCitizen
Model numberBM6400-00E
Part NumberBM6400-00E
Model Year2011
Item ShapeRound
Dial window material typeMineral
Display TypeAnalog
ClaspBuckle
Case materialStainless steel
Case diameter41 millimeters
Case Thickness11
Band MaterialCanvas
Band lengthmens
Band width21 millimeters
Band ColorBlack
Dial colorBlack
Bezel materialStainless steel
Bezel functionStationary
CalendarDate
Special featuressolar
Item weight16.01 Ounces
MovementJapanese quartz
Water resistant depth660 Feet
Warranty typeContact seller of record
From Top: Seiko SNK807 "Seiko 5", Citizen BM8180-03E, Citizen BM6400-00E, Casio MDV106-1A Diver's Watch
From Top: Seiko SNK807 "Seiko 5", Citizen BM8180-03E, Citizen BM6400-00E, Casio MDV106-1A Diver's Watch
Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 1



Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 3

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 4

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 5

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 6

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 7

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 8
Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 9

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 11

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Product View 12


Initial Impressions


The watch looks really clean out of the box. I wanted a plain watch but it's even a little plainer than in the photos. I opened this one along with the Casio Edifice in front of the wife and she looked at both watches and announced that she didn't like the Citizen because it was too plain, and that she much preferred the Edifice.

The case is nice and stout and so is the mineral crystal. The markings on the dial are nice and sharp. The canvas band is a little stiff out of the box, which is to be expected. Overall, this is a well built watch. At first glance it might not be obvious that the Citizen is worth four times as much as the Casio, but the closer I look at the BM6500-00E, the more I can see where that money went. Just out of the box, this watch looks like something I could strap to my wrist and not worry about for 15 or 20 years.

Fit and Finish


Overall, very good. The second hand does not strike the 12 o'clock arrow dead center. However, it hits every other marker dead center, so I can only conclude that the marker itself is off center, and it does look like it's a hair to far to the left.

The date marker is off a hair to the right. But that's OK because it's too small to see with my old eyes, even with my reading glasses.

Other than the couple minor annoyances and pet peeves listed above, the fit and finish of the rest of the watch is superb. The numbering is really crisp and pops out, and a few touches like the high end machining on the crown and the polished case back give this watch a definite upscale feel.

Accuracy


This watch seems to lose just over 2 minutes a month, putting it towards the bottom of my collection of Quartz movement watches and more into the terrain of a mechanical movement. Accuracy isn't really my pet peeve, and if it was, I would probably return this watch. Though sometimes it takes a watch a little while for its movement to settle in, so I'll be keeping an eye on it.

So for me it's about priorities. I'd rather be able to read the numbers in the dark than have it be accurate to the second. Though it would be nice to have both.

Case


The Japanese know steel. From the lowliest Casio up through the high end Seiko models, you will rarely see a Japanese watch with a crappy steel case. Crappy resin case, yes, but you will rarely see crappy steel from the Japanese.

So it's no surprise that the case on this model looks really sharp, and they didn't skimp on the steel either. And the mirror-polished case back looks fantastic. This watch may look a little plain, but it also looks sharp.

The screw-down crown gives this model its 200 M water resistance. It's a little on the beefy side and appears to be well machined. The stainless steel bezel ring on top is stationary and polished like the case. There are no markings or anything on the bezel, which probably adds to its plain-ness but I like it.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Case View 1

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Case View 2

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Case View 3

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Case Back View 1
The finish on the case back and crown are exceptional for a watch in this price range



Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Case Back View 2
With the mirror finish, the camera can see itself!

Dial


The dial on this model has oversized markers, which I really like. It's a nice, crisp, easy-to-read layout that really stood out in the photos on Amazon. The effect is even more striking in person. It does look a little plain, but its one of the easiest watches to read that I own.

There is one design element of this watch that confuses me. Someone like me without the best eyesight would be drawn to a watch with such large, high contrast markers. Wouldn't that same person also want to read the date? The date window at 3 o'clock is undersized if anything. I have to squint with my reading glasses to see it. They should have made it bigger or just left it out.

Minute markers line the raised bezel on the dial of this model. They are a little hard to read as well, and my vote would be to take them out. Although the extra markings go against the plain-ness of the dial and help give the watch a more aggressive look, so I don't have strong feelings about them one way or another.

All things considered, the simple dial on this watch is what drew me to it, and what sets it apart from all my other watches.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Closeup Of DialBand


The BM6400-00E comes with a riveted canvas band, just like my BM8180-03E model I reviewed previously. As readers of the previous review pointed out, this type of band gets more comfortable once it wears in after maybe 30 to 50 days on your arm. Since it's organic, this type of band does not take kindly to being ridden hard and put up wet as they say. It can absorb odors and other yucky stuff, so I don't personally wear watches with these bands around water.

This band has a metal ring to hold the band down, unlike the other canvas-strap Citizen which uses two nylon rings. The metal ring looked really sharp until it started getting scratched up. It still looks nice, but it wears a little faster than I would like.

These riveted canvas bands look sharp, and they are even halfway comfortable after the break-in period, but I still think that I will someday get around to buying a few simple black nylon NATO straps if it's all the same. One thing I've always like about Citizen is that their models are flexible about taking aftermarket bands. Not like some other manufacturers who try to lock you into their own "app store" of accessories for their watches.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Closeup Of Band 1

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Closeup Of Band 2

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Closeup Of Band 3

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Closeup Of Band 4
Here you can see all the little scratches on that steel ring.
Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Closeup Of Band 5


Water Resistance


I don't like getting these canvas bands wet because when they retain water, they retain odors and such. So other than a couple test showers I just did the glass of water test, where it sits in a glass of water for a couple hours. Since this model has a screw-down crown and is rated for 200 meters, I figured I should at least test it a little.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch In Glass Of Water
Sitting in a glass of water for a couple hours


Glow-In-The-Dark


Unlike lower tier manufacturers, Citizen uses much higher quality GITD material than most lower end and even mid end watches. A trick I use with the cheaper watches is charging the watch before bedtime by shining a bright LED flashlight on it for half a minute or so. Charging this model before bedtime makes it almost too bright, though I suppose it could be useful for something. I have found that just naturally wearing it charges the material enough to see the watch throughout the night.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch Glow In The Dark


Usability


Day to day, I like wearing this watch. The canvas band gets more comfortable with more use, though this one is a good candidate for a nylon NATO type strap. Day or night, the oversized markers are easy to read at a glance, with or without glasses for my old eyes. The date ... not so much. But I usually know the date or have easy access to it, so the date being hard to read isn't a deal breaker for me.

Just like my other Citizen with the canvas band, I take this one off for showers so the band doesn't absorb odors and other guck. The only types of bands I usually wear in the water are resin and stainless steel bands, which always dry clean.

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch On My Arm


Conclusions


This is a clean looking, well made watch, and it ticks most of the boxes of what I'm looking for with this type of watch: no battery to replace, stylish, light weight and easy to read. While my wife isn't a big fan of how this watch looks, I didn't buy it for her. When we go out to dinner, I usually wear the Tag Heuer she bought for my 40th birthday. The case is just a smidgen too big for what I like day to day, but I still wear this one a couple days a week. The trend is toward bigger cases, so some folks might even find the case on this model to be too small.

All things considered, this is a nice watch that gets worn. I'm not a stickler for accuracy, and I don't expect this medium-low end watch to have the fit and finish that rivals a high end Swiss made watch. It's well made and solar powered, so it's never going to be sitting dead waiting for a battery.


Gallery



Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Box 1

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Box 2

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Box 3



Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Box 4
Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: On Scale

Citizen Men's BM6400-00E Eco-Drive Watch: Next To Ruler