Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date Review


Armand Nicolet is a brand that I know in name, but not overly familiar with their watches. It is not one that I see the watch community post about on social media, such as Instagram or Facebook Watch groups often. After receiving this model for review, the Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date, I honestly had to wonder why this brand has not been getting the love it deserves currently. Now, keep in mind, I am saying that I have not personally seen a lot of mention of their watches, it does not mean you haven’t, they could have just not been on my radar for some reason. They definitely are now though. For those not familiar, the Armand Nicolet brand has been around since 1902 and was named after its founder. In 1988, the brand was sold by Willy Nicolet, the founder's son, and though not family owned anymore, they have continued making watches in Switzerland, with designs being done in Italy.


The Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date is an interesting watch, for many reasons. First, the size at 41mm, yet it has a 24mm lug width, something rarely seen on a watch this diameter. If you have a small wrist or like a smaller watch, this can be deceiving. It really wears like a round 43mm would wear. For myself, I love the size, it is in right in between that small and large. It would be a medium if we sized watches like we do shirts. On my 7 1/2 inch wrist it is damn near perfect, and I still have not decided if I like it better on the bracelet or the rubber strap, but more on that in a bit.

Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date Specifications:

Mechanical automatic movement with Day&Date functions.

Calibre AN2846-9. Guilloché dial with luminous indexes and hands. Case with anti-glare treated sapphire crystal on top and sapphire crystal in the see-through screwed back.

Stainless Steel 316L
Water Resistance:
5 ATM
Diameter: 41mm
Thickness: 12.5mm
Lug Width: 24mm
Lug to Lug: 50mm

The Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date is perfect for me in terms of date position. Theguilloché dial is something that I love in a watch such as this, it is that something extra that stands out on an otherwise basic dial. Even with the day and date, the dial is fairly clean, and applied markers keep it class.

One thing that has perplexed me with the Armand Nicolet J09, is that I do not know what category to lump it into. It is not a dive watch of course, nor a pilot or field watch. It is not a traditional dress watch, even though with either the bracelet or an alligator leather strap it can surely play the role. It is not your typical sports watch, even though the rubber strap does give it that sporty feel. I guess I would call it dress casual. The type of watch that can be dressed up for the office and dressed down for the weekend when going to your favorite pub. The very low water resistance prevents it from being an all around do everything type of watch, but if you are not regularly jumping into the pool or ocean mid day, you should be fine with this on the wrist.


The heart of the Armand Nicolet J09 is the Calibre AN2846-9, which is basically an ETA 2846 automatic movement that has been customised with a beautiful rotor. While this movement is not an in-house masterpiece, it is not a movement you see used all the time, and Armand Nicolet has dressed it up for sure. This is how I like a movement to look if it has an exhibition case back.

A bracelet has to be well made and very comfortable for me to want to wear these days. I almost always prefer a strap, as many readers might know. I have gone back and forth on this, and while the rubber strap has a very nice deployant clasp, I think the winner is the bracelet. It is very nicely brushed, has a beautiful buckle with a stamped logo and just flows with the watch head perfectly. One word of caution though, the Armand Nicolet J09 uses double headed screw bars, and they are very, very tiny screws. And you will need two screwdrivers to size as well. I would suggest sizing over a clean table and not in a room that has carpet, as you some in your household might think you have a case of turrets if one rolls off the table into the sea of fibres.


Of course, one of the biggest things when reviewing a watch is the price. At $2700, there is no denying that the price is up there and that a lot of other watches can be considered at this price point. The 15% discount does make it more appealing, and while the movement is not in house or anything, it is nicely decorated and is a solid Swiss ETA that should give no issues.

Overall: The styling of the Armand Nicolet J09 Day/Date is unique, and when looking at google images and bringing up past versions of this model, they have definitely upgraded it, in terms of dial and hands aesthetic. With a low water resistance and a non-screw down crown, it is not going to be that one watch for all occasions, but I think if someone wanted to put something dressy in their collection, but does not go for the standard dress style watch, this might be a good way to go.


Price Tag: $2700 USD
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Gavox Avidiver| Watch Review


I have had the opportunity to look over watches from Gavox in the past. I have admired each model and thought the company did a pretty good job overall with aviation themed watches. Solid looks and solid components were a given but I was wondering when the company would release an automatic watch and maybe a dive style watch. Well now I have the opportunity to examine just such a watch model from them with the Gavox Avidiver. The Gavox Avidiver doesn’t pose the problem that some micro-brand watch companies face, tired designs and in some cases poor quality. The Gavox Avidiver might just be one of my favorite dive style watches that I have reviewed of all time.  The watch model comes in two different case finishes and three dial colors so pretty much something to suit everyone. I was afforded the opportunity to look over all three versions with the standard stainless steel case. Each version has its own appeal but I will focus on the blue dial model as it caught my attention more so than the others.


Gavox Avidiver Specifications:

Surgical 316L stainless steel case 

Case diameter:  43mm

Case Length (Lug to Lug):  50.8mm

Case thickness: 12.8 mm

Between lug (Strap Size): 22mm

Crystal: Double domed Sapphire with bottom antireflection layer

Luminescent hands and dial

Gavox molded silicone strap

Water resistant: 20 ATM (600 feet)

Now as I mentioned at the beginning, Gavox is best known for producing aviation style watches and at first glance, one might expect the Avidiver to be another flashy colorful aviator watch. Guess what? The Gavox Avidiver is much more. I want to start off by focusing on one the most unique aspects of this watch, the bezel. While most would assume that one of the crowns would rotate an inner bezel, that is not the case exactly. Standard dive style watches are typically fitted with a unidirectional rotating bezel to track elapsed time for a dive. The Gavox Avidiver has a unique construction that allows for the orange triangle seen at the top of the dial to be rotated bidirectionally for setting a secondary time zone or to keep track of elapsed time for a dive. Only the orange triangle is rotatable by using the upper crown. The greatest advantage that I have discovered is most certainly dependability. What is one of the biggest problems with external bezels? Well, quite simply they can potentially be knocked out of place. Once the orange triangle is set and the crown locked down, failure of tracking elapsed time without error is significantly reduced. I am thoroughly impressed and sold on the rotating orange triangle! The Gavox Avidiver is so much more unique than the typical dive style watch with a world of aesthetic appeal.


So, what else do I like about the Avidiver? Just about everything. I said just about so it isn’t perfect but I will get to one little aggravating aspect later. The crystal and dial are outstanding. Sitting atop the case, regardless of the version, is a large 36mm double-domed sapphire crystal with an interior anti-reflective coating. I am very pleased with the excellent quality coating as the dial regardless of color is extremely vivid with minimal distortion. The dials are sandwich style with luminous surfaces beneath the primary markers and numerals. The lume on the black and blue models is BGW9 while the white dial version comes with C3 superluminova. While I’m not a huge lume guy, I love it when it is done right. The Avidiver lume is equal to or better than a lot of micro-brand dive watches on the market that I have had the opportunity to examine. No worries about these watches glowing for hours with an adequate charge. Overall I have to give the Gavox Avidiver a solid A on the lume.


Of course crystal, dial and luminous aspects are not going to seal the deal for many people because the case better be aesthetically appealing and comfortable. The Avidiver doesn’t have my favorite case design of all time but it is very simple, perfectly sized and comfortable on the wrist with the right strap. The dual crown setup is cool. Both crowns are screw down which unless a superior gasket system is installed, they better be. The crowns are solid and their operation has absolutely zero play or feel of flimsiness. I love the use of the orange triangle on the upper crown which corresponds perfectly with the interior orange rotating triangle. The triangle crown can be a bit tricky so just use caution when setting for elapsed time as the triangle can move ever so slightly when screwing the crown back down.


Powering the Gavox Avidiver is the Miyota 9015. Until now Gavox watches used only quartz movements I believe. So it was quite refreshing to see the company step out and use something different. The display case back shows off the movement which I have never found quite necessary with the 9015, however, at least the rotor has the Gavox aviation logo etched on it providing some appeal. Still, I would have been just as if not more so satisfied with some sort of highly stamped case back.


So what was my one issue with the Gavox Avidiver? The strap just doesn’t quite measure up with the rest of the watch. The straps that come with the Avidiver match some aspect of the dials either orange, black or blue silicon. The strap is soft but extremely uncomfortable which can be somewhat attributed to the length. On my 7 ¾ inch wrist I have to use the next to the last sizing hole. I enjoy having a good amount of tail left on any strap for tucking under the keeper or keepers. If you have a wrist my size or slightly larger you will be looking at just barely getting the tail under the first keeper. Someone with a smaller wrist may very well enjoy these straps but as you will see in the video I have opted for an Isofrane style strap to really test out the watch. I have to say the orange strap with the white dial probably pops more than the others.

Overall: If you are looking for dive style watch that is a bit more unique than every other micro-brand diver on the market you really can’t go wrong with the Gavox Avidiver. The watch is quite simply aesthetically appealing from top to bottom for the most part. The case design, great looking dial, lume, Miyota 9015 movement, and sapphire crystal will be pleasing to anyone in my humble opinion.


Price Tag: $690 USD
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4 Reasons Why EA Sports UFC 3 Could Be The Best MMA Video Game Ever


I'm not going to lie to you: I really, really enjoyed EA Sports UFC 2. Sure, it lacked in career mode depth and gameplay accuracy, but the overall package was rather satisfying. Getting a takedown and knocking somebody had never felt that good. That's why I jumped out of my seat when I heard EA Canada is making a new UFC game, set to be released on February 2, 2018. Upon further research, my anticipation level has gotten much higher. Seriously, I believe EA Sports UFC 3 could be the best MMA game ever. Here are 5 reasons that back my statement up:

1. More Polished Experience


As I said, EA Sports UFC's biggest asset was the fact that the game played like a charm. Well, the folks at EA Canada have been working extra hard to improve the gameplay experience. A new physics-driven knockout system, an improved grappling game and a greater control over your fighter’s movement. Overall, the fights feel more fluid and realistic thanks to the 5,000+ new animations.

2. Amazing Graphics


The second reason why I think EA Sports UFC 3 will be a monumental MMA game is that it looks great! Fighters look like their real life counterparts, cuts and blood look fantastic. But the little things are the ones that truly impress me. The presentation looks exactly like the actual UFC events. The camera shots, the logos and on-air looks, the commentary, the octagon, the sponsors, the clothing. It all looks like the real thing, helping get immersed in the experience.


3. More Modes



That was the main problem I had with the last games. You could play exhibition matches, career mode and online. That was pretty much it. Thankfully, EA Canada has fixed the mistake. UFC 2 will launch with many modes, including a deeper career mode in which you must make choices to build fight hype, gain fans, earn more cash through big contracts, and capture the world's attention. We'll also see an improved Ultimate Team mode, a violent KO mode, a tournament mode, online matches and championships, and even a live event mode in which you get to predict upcoming UFC matchups.


4. Biggest Roster To Date



Building upon the considerable roster of fighters in EA Sports UFC, this time around there will be even more talent to choose from. From newcomers like CM Punk, to legends like Chuck Liddell and the current batch of UFC Superstars, you'll have more than 200 guys and gals at your disposal.


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Oxenfree Review - A Supernatural Thriller to Remember


2015 was characterized by the gaming industry suddenly embracing independent games. More so than any prior-year. Undertale, Her Story, Axiom Verge and other gems were received by the mainstream, generating critical acclaim and big revenue. What makes these indies special is their uniqueness, heart, and the passion every single pixel displays. After multiple playthroughts, I believe Oxenfree deserves to be in that list.


So...what is Oxenfree all about? Well, it's an adventure game developed by Night School. In it, you play as Alex. A teenage girl, you bring your new step-brother Jonas to an overnight party with a group of mostly friendly folks. Said festivities take place on a decommissioned military island;as you can imagine, things quickly go horribly wrong.


I instantly knew I was in for an engaging experience as soon as I saw the graphics. They instantly captured me. Performance is flawless, with steady framerate and no stuttering. But the real stars are the beautifully drawn environments. Everything is extremely charming. Forests, caves, skies, fire and lighting. It's like a painting in motion. I typically don't stop to admire the view when playing smaller games, but my laptop currently has a carpet with a couple of screenshot pulled straight from Edward Island. When it comes to character models, I was slightly worried. The screenshot showed lifeless, bland bodies. Superficially, it holds true. However, said bodies are turned into so much more as a result of the fantastic plot and dialog.


Now, I didn't know what to expect from Oxenfree. Would it be an adventure game? A Horror festival? An Exploration journey? In the end, it's a combination of the three. Gameplay wise, I would describe it as a 2.5D walking simulator. The storyline constantly takes you from point A to B. As you move from location to location, a dialog tree enables you to learn more about your friends and the island. The choices never seem to have critical consequences (like we see in Telltale franchises), but ultimately lead to different endings. A cool portable radio mechanic allows you to discover collectibles and deal with the monsters that hide within the shadows. This genre truly lets game makers dive in the story, and Night School takes advantage of the format.


I sincerely enjoyed the characters in here. The clique of teenagers is full of stereotypes. The quiet, reserved girl. The goofy, nerdy friend. The mean, sexy drama queen. Nevertheless, everyone has deeper layers as you converse with them. Oxenfree handles with a very important theme: death. The devastation of losing a loved one, and the difficulty of letting go. Said topics are covered both explicitly and implicitly, in rather riveting fashion. Later on, we're introduced to a supernatural element. I'm not spoiling it, but it's treated with an amount of care that makes it feel grounded. Also, it produces a couple of heart-shattering jump scares.


Lastly, the use of sound is fantastic. When the game wants you to relax and calm down, you'll hear soft flutes and piano melodies. Nonetheless, if it's time to scream, these intense, aggressive songs full of synthesizers will begin playing, slowly building tension up. As a whole, the music perfectly matches the pace and actions taking place.


As far as negatives, I only have two minor issues. The first one is the final resolution. Again, no spoilers. Like previously mentioned, the game offers multiple ending. Some of them are good, and some of them not so much. However, before the credits roll, you get a final plot twist that drastically changes everything (no matter what ending you get). So to an extent, you lose interest in replaying the tale because you know how it all ends. I respect the developers for sticking to their vision, but I wish there was an alternative conclusion.

Still, there are many incentives to give Oxenfree a second (and perhaps third) run. Different choices, short length (4-5 hours), finding letters and pictures that further add depth, etc. That's where my second problem comes from. There is a lot of backtracking to do, and the lack of a run button is highly noticeable. You're forced to walk at all times, and the long strolls can occupationally feel like a chore.

Verdict: Oxenfree presents a captivating location, spine-chilling narrative, and one versatile set of characters. Luckily it all comes together to deliver one of the most unique gaming experiences I've had this year.

The Good
- Charming Visuals
- Fascinating Story
- Well-Crafted Characters
- Unique Mechanics
- Replayability

The Bad
- Unsatisfying Ending
- Lack of a Run Button


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Jabra Move Wireless - Headphones Review


There's something about wireless headphones that I've always loved. Every time my normal headphones get pulled away from my ears because the cord got stuck in a drawer, I feel like blowing my brains out. That's why I was so excited to try the Jabra Move Wireless. And they did not disappoint: these headphones are some of the most versatile and enjoyable sets you'll find under $150.

Sound

This is the most important aspect. After all, I'd have no problem using the ugliest headphones as long as I was happy with the sound. And to be honest, these headphone are pretty good at handling sound. They're not out of this world , but they nicely get the job done. The first thing I notice is how clean the music sounded. Vocals, instruments and treble sound crisp. I do think bass could be handled better. It's not really bad, but I wish I had more bass when playing my rap songs. And if you're into podcasts, you won't be disappointed. Overall, the Move Wireless sound pretty good. Especially considering the price.


Design

The design in these headphones is definitely their biggest asset. Jabra did a great job creating a beautiful and versatile set. First off, they work great. Pairing my phone was quick and easy. And after the first time, they would automatically connect to each other if they were both available. It made me save time, and I appreciated it.

Battery is also pretty good. I got between 7-8 hours per use, which in my opinion, was more than enough. When I eventually was running out of juice, I was more than happy to know I could change them with any USB cable.

Also, these headphones are super comfortable. Just putting them on your ears feels natural nice. However, Jabra added a bunch of small details that make a big difference on the overall product. An adjustable headband, a cord in case you want to use your headphones on your computer, buttons to pause and control the volume without having to reach for your phone every time. All these small details really made me feel like a satisfied costumer. You can tell they care about the presentation.



Verdict: The Jabra Move are simply the best pair of wireless headphones you'll find under $150. Even if I think sound could be a bit better, the presentation, ease of use and comfort make these bad boys a must buy.

The Good
- Beautiful, Versatile Design
- No Cords
- Good Battery Life
- Clean Sound

The Bad
- Bass Could Be Better
Score: 4.25/5

Want to buy a pair? Go get them from Amazon!
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PES 2018: The Good, The Bad, The Hopes


In the everlasting soccer video game war, I've always stood by FIFA's side. Going back to the turn of the twentieth-first century, I would exclusively go to EA when it came to my association football needs. More importantly, FIFA's competitor never appealed to me. Without ever playing one of their titles, my circle of friends would say the Pro Evolution Soccer games were too arcade-y or worthless because of their lack of licenses. Having said that, I eventually started to understand that the most important aspect in gaming is gameplay. All hell broke lose as soon as PES 2017 was released. Unanimously dubbed as the 'sports game of the year', they finally returned into the conversation. 12 months later, Konami is ready to steal the crown. Based on what I've played of PES 2018, I think they have a solid chance. Of course, the game is coming out in September 12, 2017 so there's still a lot to be announced but these are my first impressions:


The Good


  • Improved Presentation: To get things started, PES 2018 looks great! In a collaboration with FC Barcelona, the developers have scanned their full roster & stadium (Nou Camp) and the results definitely show. Before matches, we get an unprecedented look inside the stadium. While players from other teams also look surprisingly real (thanks to the Fox Engine), it's the Barca athletes that showcase it best. The attention to detail is shocking. From Messi's tattoos to Mascherano's scars, it's jaw-dropping. Alongside that, exchanges between boots and the ball are realistic, the net is beautiful, and the grass looks like its real life counterpart. Also, in-game presentation has also improved, with stats popping up mid-game (distance covered, passes completed, etc.)
  • Strategic Approach: If you ask the hardcore video game soccer fans, they will tell you that PES has had the greater gameplay for the past couple of years. First off, players actually have a specific feel. The stars of the sport move and operate differently; they'll always hold an advantage over weaker opposition. The same philosophy can be applied to the clubs, and that's where the strategy element kicks in. Your formation and strategies are crucial to your success. A late substitution could drastically change the outcome of the match. While teams such as Barca can build plays from the bottom line using the famous 'Tiki-taka', your best chance at coming out on top with Boca Juniors is to get the ball to Benedetto and let him do work. The clash of styles and tactics is fascinating, and it makes up for a thrilling experience.
  • Animations: Lastly, PES 2018 has a ton of new, gorgeous animations. They make everything from passes, shots, and crosses feel colorful and alive. Goalkeepers have also been improved. Nevertheless, my favorite ones are the animations that occur after exchanges between players. After a strong tackle, the victim will immediately begin to signal for a foul and card. On the other side, the culprits will attempt to justify themselves or tell the referee to keep his eyes open, as he missed a previous foul. Once again, gives authenticity to the entire experience and it brings it to life.


The Bad


  • Celebrations: So far, this is the only issue I've encountered. Visually, celebrations look stunning. But performance suffers when they occur. Framerate can take a drop, and the grass textures had some pop-in. This should be fixed by the time the final version comes out, but it's important to point out.


Hopes

  • License As Many Teams As Possible: Indeed, this is where PES suffers every year. Once released, a download can bring you the full squads. Nevertheless, many players don't want to take that extra step. Therefore, they don't give the game a chance. We already know teams like Barca, Inter, Liverpool, Boca Juniors and a couple other will be fully functional, but I hope they get access to many more squads. The more clubs, the bigger the interest will be.
  • Update Rosters: While PES 2016 was excellent, Konami failed to regularly update clubs with transfers, hair styles and such. Last year's game did a much better job updating users with free, new content. Hopefully, the trend will continue in this year's game. 
  • Improve Master League: Last year's game disappointed in its marquee Master League mode. Transfers were non-sensical, and the interface was pretty boring. I'm hoping for an update in this mode since I spend most of my time in it.


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