Many watch owners take pride in owning a watch with the heft and solidity of a solid block of steel. Such watches are made to take the abuse and pressure of deep sea diving and other rigorous professions. But, not everyone can afford a limited edition diver-style watch and such watches can be a little over-engineered for everyday use around town. However, on a recent trip to Kmart, I found a men’s digital watch that has the look of a solid steel professional watch for less than $25.
I’m not usually into digital watches. But, this Sharp Digital watch definitely delivers in the looks department with a brushed metal finish, stainless steel caseback, stainless steel bracelet, and diver-style markings on a non-rotating bezel. The four-button digital watch has a conventional LCD display and gives the impression of being all stainless steel despite having a base metal case. While it is no diver’s watch, it is water resistant to 100 feet which makes it perfect for hand-washing, showers, and possibly swimming. The impression of heft is reinforced by a 46 millimeter diameter case that is about 13 millimeters thick. Made by MZ Berger and Company, this Sharp Digital Watch certainly looks like a high end watch to me.
Unfortunately, from a functional perspective, I was less impressed by this Sharp-branded Digital Watch. Like most digital watches, this Sharp digital watch has a stopwatch and an alarm built in. It also has a digital chime. For the first several days of ownership, the watch beeped every hour due to a digital chime being set. I tried to set it using the instructions, but I never got positive feedback on the screen. However, I was actually able to stop the chime. The watch also provided the time in terms of both a 24-hour, military, clock and a more typical 12-hour clock that most of us use. It took me a while to figure out how to get the 12-hour clock consistently. While the watch comes with instructions, it can be difficult to interpret the fairly poor translations from Chinese. The watch bracelet and body were pretty smooth and the watch felt good on, but it was sometimes difficult to close the clasp properly. You definitely have to depress the buttons on the clasp so that it will latch properly. I found this a little disconcerting and sometimes had to try a few times to get the latch closed.
I really liked my Sharp Turbine-style Men’s Analog Watch and I was prepared to really love this digital. Unfortunately, for the first few days of ownership, I was stymied by the poor documentation and unresponsive controls of this digital watch. While the looks are completely awesome, I don’t like hourly chimes that are difficult to turn off. This affliction seems to be common among many low cost generic digital watches. Name brand digital watches from brands like Timex and Armitron usually have better documentation, a better digital watch module, and provide a little more of a visible cue when alarms and chimes are on or off.
I had packed this watch up and was ready to return it to the store. But, now that the chime is off, the alarm is off, and the watch is set to a 12-hour clock, I think I’m ready to move forward in my relationship with the Sharp Digital Watch. Overall, if you can figure out how to turn off the digital chime and get this watch to display 12-hour time, the watch looks and feels great and is a good value for $25 or less.
Other articles by this contributor:
Wristwatch Review: Thre3 by US Polo Association Men’s Ana-Digital Watch
Wristwatch Review: LCD Digital Scrolling Marquis Watch from Geneva Watch Group
Five $15 Watches that Don’t Suck