Mercedes versus BMW Watches

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Mercedes versus BMW watches - Actros

Mercedes’ website calls this timepiece “Men’s watch, Trucks.” It’s based on the long haul  Actros Edition 2’s “interior details”. The truck’s all-singing, all-dancing electronic dash makes a lot more sense than the MWT’s dial. Anyway, we’ve done Ford vs. Ferrari Watches. Let’s set aside this odd opening salvo and get to the main event: Mercedes versus BMW watches (based on what’s available on their respective websites) . . .

BMW Motorsport Men’s Chronograph – $274

Mercedes versus BMW watches: BMW Motorsport Men's Chronograph

Here’s BMW’s most distinctive watch: the BMW Motorsport Men’s Chronograph. While the silicone wristband’s “tire profile look” leaves little doubt that its wearer is a car guy, the website’s failure to specify the case material or watch size tells us BMW’s marketing department aren’t watch guys.

At least they deign to inform us that the Chrono’s powered by a Miyota OS20 Japanese quartz movement. Miyota claims +/-20 seconds/month accuracy – hardly the kind of precision you’d expect from a M-branded timepiece. For good or ill, the need to re-calibrate the watch after a battery change takes us back to the days when you tuned your Beemer with a wrench.

More annoying: to get the price, the website instructs you to put the watch into the shopping cart first, which you can only do after choosing a local dealer. Data mine much? That’s unless you download the pdf (who knew?). Equally enervating, there’s only one image of the timepiece and it’s only waterproof to 5 bar. I assume the strap is an all-weather tire.

Automatic chronograph, men, Motorsports – $1589.70

Mercedes vs. BMW watches - Automatic chronograph, men, Motorsports

Mercedes versus BMW watches? Oh, it’s on!

Merc sees BMW’s quartz chrono and raises it an automatic (albeit at four times the price). “The automatic watch has been developed according to the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy.” I don’t know of any Mercedes that look like they’re leaning to the right, but I reckon the Sultans of Stuttgart’s 43mm chrono ties the legibility contest with its “optimally recognized” dial.

Merc’s timepiece’s powered by a Swiss ETA 7750 (base Valjoux 7733). They’re in good company; Breitling, TAG Heuer, Sinn and others depend on “the world’s greatest chronograph movement” to keep their chronographs chronographing. Unofficial estimates peg the engine’s accuracy at +5 or 6 seconds/day, but people who own 7750-motivated watches don’t seem to care.

Mercedes’ “Motorsports” Chronograph may lack suitable AMG-ness, but at least it’s water resistant to 10 ATM – enough for endless hand-washing and non-diving-allowed swimming pools. You don’t have to endure data capturing to know the watch is good value-for-money. If only they hadn’t let someone drive over the initial drawing.

BMW Three Hand Watch – $326

BMW Three Hand Watch

Triskaidekaphobes beware! BMW sells 13 watches!

For round two of our Mercedes versus BMW watches I’m indulging my love of minimalism. I really like the look of this one’s ORD (optimally recognized dial) and subtle evocation of the German automotive brand’s propeller logo. Props to Beemer for the full logo at the 12; I don’t know if it’s applied or printed, but they resisted the temptation to go big or go back to Munich.

The company’s terse description isn’t very user-friendly: “Three-hand watch with date display and polished dial in BMW logo design. Stainless steel.” Size? 43mm. Movement? Unidentified quartz, no doubt. Water resistance? Some? Luminosity? Dunno. What really puts me off: the price. It means that the steel bracelet is cheap AF. Lousy landing at a great airport.

Men’s watch, Mercedes-Benz Automatic – $977.13

Mercedes vs. BMW watches - Men's watch, Mercedes-Benz Automatic

Mercedes FTW, offering the same basic dial design as the BMW above blessed with a proper automatic movement. The indices are based on the air vents of the current model series, dontcha know.

There are two schools of thought on date window positioning. OMEGA recently moved the Aqua Terra’s date to the bottom of the dial, as it appears on the BMW three-hander. I prefer the window at the 3; Mercedes got the window’s size and placement right.

An “extra” $450 (over the Beemer version) gets you an arched sapphire crystal with two-sided anti-reflective coating and an ETA 2824 automatic movement. The ubiquitous temporal engine comes in three grades; Mercedes ain’t telling us which 2824 motivates this auto’s hands. So there’s no word on the watch’s accuracy.

As for bracelet quality, the prices assures the buyer a reasonable shot at reasonable quality. MB has a 14-day “right of withdrawal” (i.e., return policy) that doesn’t include shipping. At least you can try after you buy.

BMW Day Date Watch Men – $164

Mercedes vs BMW watches - BMW Day Date Watch Men

And so to the bottom of the barrel: Mercedes versus BMW watches at the lowest price point.

This is where BMW’s twin-turbos kick in. A BMW-logoed Ronda-quartz-powered non-perpetual bi-compax calendar with a satin-polished and brushed tachymeter ring in a brushed steel case for $164? Winner winner chicken dinner.

OK, no word on case size (if it’s not a 43mm I’ll eat my $18 BMW recycled brush twill cap). And sure, that 5, 6, 7 combo surfing on a tire tread is a bit funky. But the basic design and user-friendly pushers speak to me. Vroom!

Unisex watch smart, green – $157.76

Mercedes smart watch

Good Lord, what IS that? A misleading play on the word “smart.” Mercedes sells micro-cars under the Smart brand (no longer in the U.S., where they were used as SUV escape pods), but this watch is not what 99.9 percent of watch buyers would call a “smart watch.”

It’s a 42mm stainless steel timepiece with a Smart logo, black PVD coating, a questionable dial color scheme and three “dumb” hands. There’s a Miyota GL30 movement under all that (naked for $5). And no reason to buy it.

Mercedes versus BMW Watches – The Winner!

Mercedes was about to lap BMW – until the final furlong. BMW’s cleverly designed daily beater raced to the checkered flag well ahead of the MB’s “smart” watch (which should finish any day now). I’m awarding the top podium position to Mercedes for offering both a beauty challenged watch with the estimable ETA 7750 and a truly handsome minimalist auto.

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