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I spotted this watch in the Argos catalogue when I was looking for a metal bracelet watch to replace my smelly old 'leather' strap one. I was getting through a strap about every 3 months, because I wear the same watch day and night, including sports, unless I'm dressing up for a night out.
The first thing that drew me to this watch was the fact that it was a Sekonda at a price much lower than I would have expected for that make. In fact at £14.99 I couldn't actually believe it - I thought it was a misprint! The other things I liked were the look of the watch - subtle shade of pink face - and the strap/bracelet looked just what I was looking for. Decision made.
I think I really should have asked to look at it "in the flesh" before ordering, or at least should have voiced my immediate doubts when I was handed it upon going through the usual Argos process ... As soon as it was out of the box, I realised that actually, it wasn't entirely to my taste.
Firstly, it was a lot "chunkier" than it appears on the picture, the actual body of the watch is between 0.5 and 1cm, not by any means slim - although to be fair, nowhere in the description did it claim to be slim, that was just my impression. As a result, it was also heavier than I had anticipated. Again, in the picture, it looks quite dainty really, so I was expecting it to be quite light in weight. The other thing not visible in the picture was that over the date square on the face, there is a sort of magnifying raised area, slightly bigger than the date square - that too was quite unattractive. It's not only unsightly but I'm sure it actually makes the date more difficult to read, as you have to be looking at the watch face perfectly square-on, or it gets distorted. That's a strange element of the design I must say.
Writing this review down now, and reading it back it's actually quite amusing that I was too timid to say anything having just listed off three things which struck me the minute I saw the watch! Oh well, that's me I guess - and I'd like to think if it was a much more expensive watch, that would have made a difference.
Putting the watch on, it has a secure clasp, the watch strap does not come open as such, you just snap back the clasp and it opens the bracelet into a much bigger loop to get over your hand. There is also an extra little security clasp which doubly secures the fastening, although its a nice firm 'click' when you snap the fastening closed, you don't feel in any danger of losing it.
Wearing the watch - it did take a bit of getting used to in terms of it being much chunkier and heavier than the usual leather strap ones I was used to. It feels like a piece of serious "bling" on my wrist! Of course, the flip-side of it feeling chunky and being heavy is that it feels sturdy and robust, which is a positive thing as I'm wearing every single day. Apart from that, though, I think it does look quite nice on the wrist, the pink of the face has a gorgeous sheen to it, and the strap is a shiny silver in the centre with a brushed finish at the sides - I think that looks quite classy.
Other features of the watch include inserts in the hands and hour markers which I presume are meant to glow-in-the-dark. I've never noticed or needed this feature. It is also water resistant to 50 metres - ditto. I like a watch with a second hand, which this one does, and the seconds are marked in tiny figures around the face of the watch as well as around the outer casing.
In writing this review I now feel like I have pulled this watch apart! I didn't set out to do that at all. As I mentioned, I've had this watch 6 months + , and it's been reliable and kept excellent time, and I think looks good on my wrist. It looks smart at work with suit/blouse, and looks good with casual wear or for sports. All that for £14.99 for the Sekonda brand, in truth, there should be (and is) nothing to complain about! No-one forced me to take it from the shop after all. For all it sets out to do, it's a very good watch and after a long think, for look, reliability and value, my initial thought of 3 stars is too harsh, it's a 4 from me.
This Sekonda ladies watch is apparently on permanent, surprisingly greatly reduced special offer, selling in Argos for £15 marked down from a notional RRP of about £40-odd. For the past three years or more, it has regularly appeared in the Argos catalogue under this notation (which is odd, because I always thought that for a business to advertise a product as selling at a discount, it has to at some point actually try to sell it at the original price).
The Sekonda watch is nicely designed, with a moderately chunky, stainless-steel-link bracelet in a combination of 'brushed' as well as 'high-shine' metal. If you've ever worn one of those cheap stainless-steel-braceleted watches with metal edges so sharp you're in danger of cutting yourself on them, the links of which go together so tightly it'll pluck the little hairs from the skin your wrist, you'll be pleased to know that this watch does not have a bracelet like that. The links are relatively thick in cross section, and nicely finished so it's comfortable to wear. As a whole I've tended to notice the bracelet of the watch more than the rest of it - so much so that for a long while I didn't properly register that it has a pastel-coloured face. This was described as 'lilac' in the Argos catalogue when I bought mine in 2007; effectively the same watch that's currently on sale in the most recent Argos catalogue is advertised as having a pink face, but that said, it looks just the same to me.
Because of the rather chunky metal bracelet, and the presence of a 'rotating bezel' round the face of the watch, even the pastel colouring doesn't make it look overly 'girly'. The rotating bezel is marked up to 360 degrees; I don't know what the purpose of that function on a watch is, but as it rotates round it does give off a series of little clicks in a metallic, satisfying manner.
The watch tells the date under a little inset lens on the face, but as it's not a particularly sophisticated timepiece, this doesn't differentiate between months that have different numbers of days in them, so to keep it right you have to adjust the date manually yourself. This is done by rotating the little knob at the right side: you pull it out once to adjust the hour and minute hands, and click it out twice to change the date. In practice it's quite tricky to differentiate between the first and second pull-out positions.
I was very pleased with the watch but there were teething troubles to begin with, admittedly. The bracelet part was too big for me and needed to be adjusted by a professional, but I had to take it to two different Argoses before I could find someone able to shorten the length - as apparently, the links don't come apart in as easy a manner as they do on other watches with this type of linked bracelet.
I didn't find the watch particularly durable unfortunately, It's waterproof to 50 metres, but after a day out at the beach, somehow water got into the mechanism and condensation started appearing on the inside of the glass crystal over the face of the watch. With waterproof watches, I understand that once the 'seal' goes it's difficult to re-proof them, so I gave up wearing it. This was after I'd worn it for about two years however, and given that it only cost £15, I was very happy with it otherwise.
I would advise anyone buying this watch to try it on and have the size of the bracelet adjusted in the shop, to avoid a return visit to Argos.