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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 300m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

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motegi

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ARMIDA A8 300m Brass Kit Review, Testing, and Photos


SPECS


  • Model: A8
    Case: Brass
    Diameter: 42mm case, 43mm bezel
    Movement: TMI NH35A
    Crystal: Sapphire w/ inner anti-reflective coating
    Lume: C3 Super Luminova
    Crown: Screw down signed brass
    Caseback: Screw down stainless steel
    Straps: CUDA black rubber w/ brass buckle, NATO style strap w/ brass buckles
    Strap Width: 22mm
    Water Resistance: 300 meters
    Weight: 144.2 grams on rubber strap
    Features: Extra bezel and click ring, strap changing tool included.
    Price: $349 shipped from Armidawatches.com





INTRO

In recent years the watch industry has been diversifying the materials used in case construction. Two of the more popular of these for the boutique dive watch industry have been the copper alloys of bronze and brass.

Bronze is a metal alloy composed primarily of copper and tin whereas brass is comprised of copper and zinc. Bronze is a hard but somewhat brittle metal with good corrosion resistance and has been popular for marine use and outdoor sculptures. Initially, bronze took the boutique watch scene by storm with its reddish yellow color and natural change to a grayish brown over time. Bronze enthusiasts were attracted to this patina formation that made each piece unique and individual. Bronze has a weight and a durability that continues to make it a very popular material and it commands a premium price over the same designs produced in steel.


(The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, bronze sculpture at Columbia University)

On the other hand, the pale yellow colored metal, brass, hit the boutique watch scene almost by accident. Initially some of the boutique brands experienced issues with their bronze suppliers that led to a few batches of watch cases that were supposed to be bronze actually being made of brass. Brass tends to be more malleable and has superior acoustic characteristics that led to its use in an entire category of musical instruments that bears its name, brass. After a considerable amount of controversy and stress a clear distinction was made between the two metals. Brass is easier to work with having a lower melting point and greater malleability and will develop some of the patina that made bronze so popular among collectors. The brands soon realized that they could make brass watches at a much lower cost than bronze and thus allow collectors to add a copper alloy watch to their collection at a more affordable price. Often the brass watches are priced much lower than their bronze counterparts and are therefore an excellent option for many collectors.


PRESENTATION

First of all let me say that from the time I ordered the watch online from Armida in Hong Kong to it's arrival at my door in Florida it took only 2 days. And best of all the shipping was included in the price of the watch. Armida ships the A8 in a pastel orange plastic cylinder with a gray foam insert. There is a large "A" sticker affixed to the outside to identify that it is an Armida product. Once the top is unscrewed the foam insert slides out and its two halves can be separated. There are grooves cut out in the foam where the watch and the various extras have been securely tucked in.





Considering the price point, the impressive list of extras that Armida includes are an all brass interchangeable bezel with a spare click ring, a black NATO style nylon strap with matching brass fittings, an extra pair of spring pins for strap changes, a good quality double sided strap changing tool.




CASE

As mentioned, the highlight of this watch is the brass case. The case shape is submariner-esque with curved crown protectors flanking an 8mm signed screw down brass crown and brushed finishing throughout. The top surfaces of the lugs are rounded off at the ends of the case and it feels very well machined and has a pleasing heaviness in the ha







One great touch is that the lugs are drilled all the way through to allow for easier strap changes using the included strap tool. Simply insert the tool into the lug hole to depress the spring bar and the strap can be released.



The watch comes with a coin edged brass unidirectional rotating bezel with a black metal insert with gold markings and arabic numerals. The bezel feels very sturdy with no play and 120 clicks per rotation. There is a luminous pip at the 12 o'clock position.



The extra bezel included in the kit is all brass with engraved markings and numerals. It also has a luminous pip at the 12 o'clock position. However there are no instructions or tools provided for exchanging between the two. First impression would be to try to pry the original bezel off of the case with your finger but again it is constructed to such tight tolerances that there is no play to be able to lift the bezel off. The next thought would be to use a pocket knife or watch case knife to pry off the bezel. However, I would caution strongly against this as brass is quite soft and can easily be dented or gouged by a steel instrument.

What I found worked the best was a plastic non-marring scraper from Harbor Freight (http://www.harborfreight.com/4-piece-nonmarring-scraper-set-95832.html). The plastic prevents the tool from scuffing or denting the case and yet is still stiff enough to be able to pry off the bezel. I simply used the long edge of the tool along the bottom edge of the case. Then, using one of the strap lugs as a fulcrum, I carefully lifted the bezel edge upwards until it released from the watch case.




DIAL

The dial is a black enamel with simple clear painted markings. There are circular and stick markings for the hours and a triangle at the 12 position that are composed of a white lume paint center and a thin gold outline. There is an outer ring of gold markings for the individual seconds/minutes. My version does not include a day or date window on the dial. Personally I never use them so they weren't missed.



The brass hour and minute hands are sword shaped and filled with luminous paint. The brass second hand has a small lume circle toward its tip.



Again the overall design is uncluttered and maximizes legibility.



MOVEMENT & ACCURACY

Hidden behind the solid steel screw down case back, Armida has chosen to use the Time Module International (TMI) NH35A japanese automatic movement to power this watch. This choice allows them to maintain a lower price point than using a Swiss movement and still provides a reliable automatic timepiece. TMI is a subsidiary of Seiko Instruments and the NH35A is a 24 jewel movement that is both hacking and hand wind capable. The rotor is bidirectional and help the watch achieve a 40 hour power reserve. The movement beat frequency is 21,600 vibrations per hour which means that the seconds had sweep is slightly more coarse than the 28,800 vph movements such as the Miyota 9100, ETA 2824, and Sellita SW200.



After testing in the face up position on my TimeGrapher 1000 I was very impressed with the regulation of this watch. It showed a deviation of only +1 seconds per day and a low beat error of only 0.4 milliseconds.




STRAPS

The watch arrives on the thick black rubber "Isofrane-style" CUDA strap. This is the same style and brand as seen on some of the other boutique divers and has a faint vanilla scent. There are large rectangular perforations along its length that aid in ventilation and comfort. The strap is neither too stiff nor too soft and is quite comfortable on the wrist. The only issue that I have is that the strap's thickness is not ideal of desk use or typing because of the pressure on the underside of the wrist. The buckle is a nice Panerai Pre-V style constructed of brushed brass and engraved with "ARMIDA".



In addition Armida provides a black nylon NATO-style strap with brass fittings and a spare set of spring bars. This strap is very lightweight and comfortable and again is a great addition for such a well priced watch.




LUME

Green C3 Super Luminova is applied throughout all of the white painted markings. This provides a nice strong glow with a good duration after charging.




CONCLUSION

Overall, I think that the brass boutique dive watch options as a lower cost alternative to bronze are a fantastic choice for those interested in adding their first copper alloy watch. Brass, while being somewhat lighter in color than bronze, will develop a patina and darken over time. Each brass watch will therefore be a unique piece that will age differently based on the owner's use and environment. However, one drawback is that brass is a softer than bronze or steel and therefore is more susceptible to dents and scrapes during day to day use. Although perhaps this will also add to the "character" of the watch over time.

Personally, I find the Armida A8 to be an excellent value based on he extras that are included and the variety of combinations that can be achieved using the included straps and bezels. While I wish that they had included instructions or a tool for changing the bezel it can be done safely using the right tools and


PROS

  • Excellent entry price for collectors seeking to add a copper alloy watch to their collection
    Fast order processing with free shipping included
    Brass will change its color and appearance over time and add character to the watch
    C3 Superluminova throughout
    VERY well regulated TMI NH35A automatic movement w/ hacking and hand winding
    Sapphire crystal with inner antireflective coating
    Extra strap and bezel allow the owner to create a variety of different looks
    Drilled lugs and included strap tool for ease of strap changes


CONS

  • Brass, as a softer metal, may be more susceptible to wear and tear with use
    May be a little small at 42mm for some collectors
    Rubber strap may be a little too thick for desk/typing use
    NH35A movement frequency of 21,600 vph is lower than its competition









DIY PRODUCING BRASS PATINA THROUGH CHEMISTRY...
 
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daycoo2

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

[em][font face=times new roman color=#)979e6 size=5]Congratulations on adding this very striking piece to your collection Motegi. A stunning presence on the wrist. Outstanding review, and photos. Thanks for sharing your insight into this exceptional looking time piece. Enjoy! :)[/font][/em]
 

watchluv

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Great review pics, as always. Great looking piece as well.
 

DocDave

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

This is a really fantastic looking watch!! Again, the problem for me is the 42mm size is just too small.
 

johnwicz

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Nice review Mo mo.[br][br]Great looking watch![br][br]GTfan
 

ddavidsonmd

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Fantastic looking watch and great review as always. I am curious, why the fascination with Brass case? Is it just for the exotic nature?[br][br][br]Michael[br]Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

angel

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

An excellent photo show and review of the A8. Is it possible to post the step-by-step process of how you changed out the bezel in the DIY section of the forum? Pictures of the process will help many of us out. I have been eyeing the A7 brass for some time now.
 

motegi

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

[quote [email protected] source=/post/44))3/thread timestamp=)4)847435)]Fantastic looking watch and great review as always. I am curious, why the fascination with Brass case? Is it just for the exotic nature?[br][br][br]Michael[br]Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/quote][br][br][br]I think because it is different from the more typical stainless steel and titanium. Bronze is what really started it and brass came along (inadvertently at first as I mentioned in my review) and became the lower cost alternative. [br][br]Collectors like it because of how it darkens and changes over time.
 

surelyuknow

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Mo I really like this configuration the best. Congratulations, and as always a great review with pics.[br][br]
 
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motegi

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Thanks for the positive comments![br][br]I think it is somewhat interesting that essentially this brass watch is made from a base metal. A metal base upon which a plating was typically applied and in those cases thought of as low priced or budget offerings. But now, because of the bronze case craze, unplated brass is seeing its own renaissance in popularity. [br][br]By the way I've been wearing this watch for the past 3 days and am LOVING it! And I think it wears larger than its dimensions suggest.
 

DocDave

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

[strong]Great review my friend, thanks for the pics, and information.[/strong]
 

rustynail

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Beautiful piece, great review, and as always, killer pics, Mo. Always a pleasure reading about your new acquisitions. [br]Congrats, and enjoy that fine piece.
 

motegi

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

[quote source=/post/44)28/thread timestamp=)4)8475)65 [email protected]]An excellent photo show and review of the A8. Is it possible to post the step-by-step process of how you changed out the bezel in the DIY section of the forum? Pictures of the process will help many of us out. I have been eyeing the A7 brass for some time now.[/quote]I will try to make a video of the bezel change.
 

motegi

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

I saw that video. The only problem is he uses some random plastic container to do it. I tried a random plastic box from a camera lens filter but it didn't work. The edge of the box needs to be shaped just right to catch the lip of the bezel. I tried a different piece of plastic but the edge was too soft and just folded back.[br][br]I tried to come up with something that anyone could do. I think most people have access to a Harbor Freight or can order the tools online for a nominal cost.
 

frankd3

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Motegi,[br][br]Another great review and a fine looking watch !!!
 

camanogreg

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Motegi are you sure you don't work for a Watch Company,[br]and are a professional photo shoot guy on da side?! [br][br]The Nato belt really does your Armida brass piece justice![br][br]
 

takethe5th

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Excellent specimen. Great review. When you do a review, you really do a review. I really appreciate that kind of depth in a watch review. Thank you.
 

whorologist

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

Thanks very much for the outstanding review and AMAZING close up shots. Just gorgeous !
 

preseley

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

SHARP.
 

motegi

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REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

REVIEW: ARMIDA A8 3))m Brass Set - Photos & Testing

[br]
Sorry to hear about your damage but I have read a few others did it this way.[br][br]For those asking about the bezel switch:[br][br]). Tape off a section of the case to protect it (I taped off the top right lug area by ) o'clock). [br][br]2. Use a case opener or blade of a pen knife to get under the edge of the bezel. The bezel/case gap is very small so you will need a thin blade. It helps if you pull up on the bezel with your fingers a little to get a little clearance. The key here is to use a thin blade.[br][br]3. Once the blade edge is under the bezel rotate the blade edge up so the bezel pops off. It pops off easily once you have a little force from underneath.[br][br]4. Align the new bezel and snap down into place. [br][br]5. Remove protective tape.[br]... or simply use a plastic automotive bone tool and pop it off without masking. I do it all the time and it never damages any metal finish, even one with patina.
[br][br]TRUST ME.[br][br]Go with #5[br][br]Why risk damaging your new $3)) watch to save the $6 to get the plastic tool.
 
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