Our second Skagen review today is of the 697XLMLMB. It’s a quartz men’s dress watch with a style a bit more daring than most of their line.
Specifications:

•35g in weight with strap.
•42.5mm across with crown, 40.2mm without, 49mm lug to lug.
•8.5mm thick.
•Black ion plated stainless steel case with polished snap-on caseback.
•Integral black calfskin leather strap with thorn buckle bearing Skagen logo.
•’Super hardened’ mineral crystal.
•Miyota quartz movement with ‘big date’ complication.
•Decorative dual-layer dial, with center metal section with etched indices and screws.
•Matching ion plated crown, non-screw-down type, with Skagen logo.
•30m (100ft) water resistant.
•Lumed hands and indices.
As with the Skagen 233XXLSLB, the 697 is clearly a Skagen in style, but look closely and the differences are pronounced.

 Skagen describes this dial as ‘layered charcoal’, which seems appropriate. The outside portion is glossy black, and the center section is sunburst-finished with a lovely dove grey color. The four screws are decorative but attractive, and the etched minute markers add function.

I quite like the ‘big date’ complication. Unlike normal dates, which are simply sequential numbers 1-31 on rotating disc, big date uses two overlapping discs, one for each digit. This yields a larger and more readable date, at the expense of having a seam down the middle and slight oddness of differing heights. I much prefer this to the glued-on-magnifier (aka cyclops), as seen on Rolexes.

This model is larger than most at 40m across, which goes well with the big date window. It’s contemporarily sized without being overly large, and in the brushed black finish still nicely understated. 

As with the 233XXLSLB, the strap is attached into a slot on the lugs and secured by two small screws on each side. It’s very comfortable and perfectly matched to the watch.

 The light weight and low profile make for an excellent dress watch; the tapers ensure an effortless match to any cuff style you prefer.

As with many men’s dress watches, the emphasis is on style over function. Most of the minute markers are missing to make room for other things, and the lume fades too rapidly to be super useful. It also takes some practice to read minutes precisely, or maybe I’m just too picky about that. Could be.

Overall, it’s an inexpensive watch without being cheap, with a dressy look enhanced by ion plating and unusual big-date complication. This one has a lot going for it.

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