Friday, 2 December 2016

Friday 2/12/16 - Short Post No. 4 - This Week's Wristwatch.


Geez, my handwriting's sloppy. Man, that notepad was pretty cheap and crappy paper...First World problems. 

Work is still busy in the lead-up to Christmas. But that's cool. This shall pass, and it feels good to be getting things done. The watchmaker and I have made some changes here and there to the admin side of things. Repair forms and paperwork are now more streamlined and clear, with no wasted space on the page. I had been itching to make some changes to this aspect of my job, but every suggestion was shot down by my supervisor. Upper management has given me a little more autonomy recently, and meanwhile, the watchmaker was implementing his own admin strategies similar to those he utilised in a previous workshop. So basically, we now have a set-up that runs a little smoother. Still a work in progress, and small changes have been made as  we've moved along. It still needs tweaking here and there, but so far, it's a vast improvement on the old system. 

Took the metal bracelet off the Oris Diver Sixty-Five and put a cheap leather strap on it. It cost me ten Euro at the famed Sunday markets in Trastevere in Rome when I was there a couple of months ago. I'm still working on my post about that trip to Europe. I've only written about day one in Paris. That's gonna be a long post, thrill-seekers. 
Anyway, over the years, I've accumulated various bits and pieces and, looking through my spare parts box, I noticed that I had an Oris buckle in stainless steel. Sure, it had a few scuffs on it and it was still attached to the worn and tattered half of an old leather strap. 
So, a few minutes with the tools and onto my watch it went.


A small cup (or two) of Turkish coffee and a slice (or three) of Christmas pandoro cake. 
Sometimes, that's all you need. 

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Friday 25/11/16 - Short Post No. 3 & This Week's Wristwatches.



Wore the Omega Seamaster 300 last weekend and on Monday. Found out, though, that the bracelet could probably use one more link in it because it was a pretty snug fit as the day warmed up and my wrist swelled up a little. The bracelet is from around the mid 1990s and has the reference 1498 engraved on the clasp bridge. I'm gonna have to do a little hunting to see if I can snag another link - or preferably, a half-link- because I don't think it'll get much wear over the Summer months with the way it fits right now. I could take it to Omega, but they'll just look at it and give me a slap on the wrist for putting a Speedmaster bracelet on a Seamaster wristwatch. 
Might try a few other avenues first. 

On Tuesday, I switched back to the Oris Diver Sixty-Five. Was messing with the Art filters on the Olympus EPL-5 for this next pic. Couldn't decide on which photo to include in this post, so I figured I'd put all three of them in;


This filter effect is 'Pop Art', which really brings out the colours. Gives it a bit of a '60s Kodak Ektachrome feel.




This next one is called 'Grainy Film', for obvious reasons. Gives off a cool 'surveillance photo' vibe.



And, another favourite of mine, good old 'Diorama', which nicely blurs portions of the frame. I never get sick of this one, but I must say that it's better used for landscape and location shots, especially when taken from above. I stood on an overpass above a nearby train station and this filter made it look like the set of Thomas The Tank Engine. 



Anyway, this week is done. I hope yours has been a good one. 
I still had the Oris on my wrist;

I have to say this is a great watch if you happen to like re-editions of vintage watches of the Sixties. This has been a trend over the last ten years or so.


 

From memory, it might have been Longines that kicked things off when it released the Legend Diver Heritage model in 2007. It became an instant best-seller, harkening back to the 1960 compressor model. The re-edition was first released without a date window and this feature (or lack of) made for a dial with wonderful symmetry. 
A couple of years later, Longines released a date version of this watch and then rumours began to circulate on wristwatch forums that the non-date model would be discontinued. I told the Longines Sales Representative in my city that the brand would be crazy to phase out the non-date model, since demand for it was quite strong. She told me that a lot of customers preferred to have a date window on their watches. In the end, there was a last-minute reprieve for the date model and production of it continues to this day. 

Now that I think of it, Breitling was another brand that released a re-edition dive model in 2007. The SuperOcean Heritage 46 was based on a dive watch of theirs from 1957. Its one main draw-back, in my view, was the 46mm diameter of the case. However, this didn't seem to upset customers because, by 2007, we were well and truly in the era of the BIG wristwatch, which began sometime in 2003, from what I could see from my place in the wristwatch industry. In fact, it was probably Breitling, and definitely IWC, that spearheaded this trend towards larger and larger watches. 

Actually, thinking about it even more, and I begin to suspect that it may have been Doxa that started the trend even earlier, but I can't be sure. I only say this because I think this brand never stopped production of its classic Sub series, which was first released back in 1967. 
We have seen a slight downwards shift in wristwatch sizing over the last two years or so. I think if this big watch bubble bursts, it will happen very slowly. 
Back on topic, the re-introduction of dive watch designs of the past is something that many brands have attempted in recent years. The last five years alone have seen the release of Omega's Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, based on a model from 1957, and the Tudor Black Bay Heritage, the DNA of which comes from their classic dive pieces of the 1960s. Even much less expensive brands like Zodiac (under the Fossil umbrella nowadays) released reproductions of their Sea Wolf and Sea Dragon models of the '50s and '60s, and Japan's Seiko brand have just issued a new version of their classic, mid-70s 6306 model (affectionately referred to as 'the turtle'). 
This proliferation of vintage-inspired wristwatches was a smart move on the part of these watch brands. It allowed watch nerds to get their hands on vintage designs without the worries about fragility or parts replacement associated with the purchase of the actual vintage watch that the new model is based on. 
And it also makes for a nice diverse range of options. Bound to be something for everyone out there these days.

Man, so much for a short post. Hmm, ten pm. Dang!

Thanks for reading, have a good weekend, blah, blah, blah!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Friday 18/11/16 - Super Short Post & This Week's Wristwatch

Okay, gang, not much to say, especially after I re-read last week's post. Hell, did I really write about buying a new toaster? 
Super-busy at work as we barrel towards the Christmas/New Year period. So, this post will mainly be pictures. 

As for wristwatches, I wore my recent acquisition, the  Oris Diver Sixty-Five, all week. 
My wife has a small selection of vintage hardcover books that she picked up back in the early 1990s. 
I've always loved the handwriting in this book. Plus the fact that the inscription was written in 1903, and also that it still survives today, over a hundred years since it was written. 
Beautiful handwriting script. 

The other book with an inscription in it is even older than this one above. 





It probably would have been a darker ink when it was written, I'm guessing.






On Thursday, I felt like wearing a tie to work. I have about thirty of them, and I figured they should start seeing the light of day again.
The dress code at the office is neat casual, but I think I may just invert the whole notion of Casual Friday and start trying to dress a little sharper towards the end of the week. 
Even if only for my own amusement.

And today, I kept my tie loose. Been steadily plowing through my workload and I'm up to date, which is good, but the workflow can change quite easily. 
That's okay. I ain't going anywhere.

Well, that's another week down, y'all. Hope you have a relaxing/productive and/or amusing weekend. 
Thanks for reading!

Friday, 11 November 2016

Friday 11/11/16 - Short One This Week.

"At this stage it is in our interests that he surprises us. It is in everybody's interests to hope that he will be a better president than he was a candidate,"
                                                                                      -- Arianna Huffington 
And that's all I'll say about it, because I don't do politics.

Not much to report, gang. Work has been busy as I finally caught up on the work that had piled up while I was on leave. It only took me five weeks!

Wristwatch-wise, I got rid of my Oris Miles Tonneau, since I've found that it has barely been worn in all the years that I've had it. It was a large watch on my wrist. If it were just three or four millimetres smaller, I would have kept it. It's just that, at 38.3 mm across, and 49mm long, it looked like I had a box of matches across my 6.5 inch wrist. 
Besides, in the interests of keeping my collection at the same level, I figured one watch should go since the new Diver Sixty-Five arrived. And this is the watch that I have worn all week. 


Since watching the mini-series of The Night Manager a few weeks ago, I've been passively searching for John Le Carre's book on which it was based. Looking at my bookshelf, I noticed that I have nine of his books. Although I do have his classic Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, I have yet to get copies of the other two tales which form the 'Karla Trilogy', those books being The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. 
A few months ago, I snagged a copy of his first George Smiley novel, A Murder of Quality, and I do love the way Le Carre writes, even though a watch forum friend of mine stated that this is Le Carre's least spy-like novel. 
Anyway, I began reading Brandenburg, a Cold War espionage story set in 1989, quite some time ago and then stopped for some reason. For some other reason, I then started reading The Bourne Legacy, a continuation novel about Robert Ludlum's most famous character. This book was written by Eric Van Lustbader, who has managed to churn out another ten Bourne books on top of this one. I have to say that I got about 68 pages into it and thought; That's it! Too much cliched and over-wrought dialogue." 
I couldn't take any more and I thought that, if I kept reading this book, it would ruin the memory of Ludlum's books for me. 
My wife will never read Harper Lee's sequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, the posthumously-published Go Set A Watchman. She said that she fears it might tarnish her opinion of Mockingbird, a book that she loves and has read countless times. 
Now, Ludlum was not exactly Shakespeare, let me say that right from the get-go. However, what he did, he did quite well, and I would hate to read of the further exploits of Jason Bourne, since I always got the impression that, by the time of Ludlum's third and final book in the series, The Bourne Ultimatum, Jason Bourne had finally come to terms with his past and was beginning to remember more tidbits of his real identity as David Webb. 
And so, I figured that I was not going to continue with Van Lustbader's Bourne book. 
Besides, life is too short to read bad fiction. I may take another crack at this book later on, but right now, I am enjoying Henry Porter's Brandenburg. This book is a slow burn, but it's considerably better written. 
In my hunt to find the elusive Le Carre book, I managed to find a couple of his other titles that sounded interesting. 
The hunt for The Night Manager continues...


I still had the Oris Diver Sixty-Five on my wrist as the week began. I do like the bracelet design, since it harks back to the rivetted Rolex Oyster bracelets of the '50s and '60s. 
The watch has felt a fraction snug on my wrist this week, so I think some minor adjustment to the clasp may be in order. All I need is a safety pin and 35 seconds. 

Thursday rolled around and, as I was buttoning up my last clean shirt, I decided that I would throw on a tie as well. My wife picked up a couple of cheap polyester knitted ties for me while we were in Italy a couple of months ago. She wasn't being cheap. It's just that I happened to like the designs of the two ties that I chose. They cost a whopping fifteen Euros each. 
Anyway, the large collars of my shirt probably (actually, definitely) aren't correct for the width of this tie, but I didn't care. It has been ages since I last wore some neck-wear. I have about thirty ties, left-over from my days of wearing a suit while selling wristwatches, and I hate to see them just sitting in their box. All rolled up with nowhere to go. So, I threw one on. Still had the Oris on my wrist;


My wife and I decided last weekend that we were sick of the iron that we had in the house. Same with the toaster. Both of these appliances had gotten long in the tooth and they weren't working the way they used to. It was time to replace them. Always bugs me how household appliances all decide to pack it in around the same time. 
However, we went to a nearby clearance centre and picked up a new toaster, iron and sandwich press for about $160 bucks. 
Where was I going with that? Oh yeah, last clean shirt. I got home from work Thursday, wearing my last clean shirt, and had a drink. At first, I felt like coffee, then I thought a Gin & Tonic might do the trick. In the end, though, I grabbed a small bottle of aranciata rossa out of the fridge. It's a soft drink. Kind'a like Fanta, except made with blood oranges. And probably a kilo less sugar.
That did the trick.


And that's it for another week, gang. I got a few more busy weeks leading up to Christmas, as everybody decides that they want their wristwatches repaired before the festive season (ain't gonna happen for everybody). Still, better to be busy than not.

Thanks for reading, and have a nice weekend, all!


Friday, 4 November 2016

Friday 4/11/2016 - Cup Day Bets, De-Cluttering & This Week's (New!) Wristwatch.

Started the week by going in to work for a few hours. I had the option of taking the day off and, while I had taken this option, I later learned that there was a particular chore that none of the other staff could tackle, so I offered to go in and deal with it myself. While there, I figured I'd do a little catching up on the work that had piled up while I was on leave last month. 
I was still wearing the Omega Seamaster 300;

A fellow collector got in touch with me and offered me a 1990s Omega Speedmaster bracelet for a ridiculously low price. Brand new, these bracelets sell for around seven hundred dollars. I can get two nice vintage Longines watches for that kind of money. 
He was looking to offload it for $150. How could I say 'no'? I saw this bracelet on his own Omega Seamaster 300 and it looked outstanding. So, I transferred some dough over to his account. He told me he would get it in the mail to me asap. 

The first Tuesday in November is when The Melbourne Cup is held each year, a horse race which attracts people from around the world. I hadn't paid much attention to which horses were considered the favourites for this year's race, but then, that's never stopped me in the past. 

 (typecast on the circa 1954 Tower Chieftain III)


Of course, if I was gonna be a punter for the day, I had to dress the part. A change of wristwatch was needed. And a hat. I switched over to the Longines Expeditions Polaires. It's currently on a cheap and nasty faux lizard skin strap. I'll have to snag a proper one at some point because it smartens up the watch quite a bit.
  
I got home from work on Wednesday and saw a padded envelope on the dining table. Ripped it open to find the Omega bracelet. It looked better than I remembered. Spent the next five minutes or so getting my watch tools sorted and then fitted the bracelet to the Seamaster 300;


The bracelet fits the watch about 95% perfectly. Obviously, since it's made for a different model, it's not an exact fit in terms of height. It sits just a tad low compared to the thickness of the watch case. However, there's little or no 'play' in the end-links where they join up to the case and it all feels sturdy enough. I think this bracelet will stay on this watch for a while, despite the fact that the clasp has 'Speedmaster' engraved across it. I can live with that. 

Got some stuff currently selling on eBay and I've already had to contend with a few low-ball offers. No matter. I just have to keep my mind on the big picture, that being that I'm clearing things out in an effort to de-clutter a little. I have a trolley in the dining area crammed with wristwatch magazines that I've accumulated over the years. I'm gonna try putting a few on the 'bay to see if they'll sell. If so, great. If not, then I think I'll either take them to a thrift store or toss them in the paper recycling bin. 

Thursday, I picked up a new watch. I'd been squirreling the bucks away here and there for the past year or so and I didn't splurge on things during my recent trip. This watch had been released earlier in the year and I thought it looked intriguing when I first saw photos of it on the web. When I saw it in real life, though, it looked even better. 
The Oris Diver 65 was unveiled at the BaselWorld Watch Fair in March last year and it generated a lot of interest among watch fans and collectors. Based on a dive watch model of theirs from 1965, it was a faithful reproduction, with the main concession to modern tastes being a slightly larger (but still small by today's standards) 40mm case, as opposed to the 36mm diameter of the '60s original. 

The 36mm original seen here in the left of the frame, the new version on the right. This new model has sold very well since its release 18 months ago, and Oris has since brought out another re-edition based on an older model, although this new one is 42mm in diameter and has a more conservative dial design.

                                                                               (above pic taken from Time And Tide Watches: Hands-On: The Oris Divers Sixty-Five)
I briefly considered the black dialed model when it was first released, but when Oris quietly launched the two-tone blue and black dialed version this year, my mind was made up. 
Looking at my collection, I already have enough black-dial sports watches over 40mm in diameter. The blue & black dial model would offer some differentiation. And its 40 mil size would sit nicely on my wrist, which seems to have gotten thinner in recent months. Gotta get back to the gym!

Anyway, I bought it, got it home, sized the bracelet, and pow!


The bracelet has been knocked by detractors who have said that it 'borrows' a little too heavily from the Rolex Oyster bracelet design of the 1960s, but that's part of its charm to me.


The deep metallic blue outer dial tends to light up in natural light and the black inner dial disc provides a nice yet subtle contrast. In artificial lighting, the dial tends to look black. The domed sapphire crystal distorts the funky, Lost-In-Spacey/Thunderbirds numerals a little, giving the impression that its a vintage mineral crystal on this watch. Admittedly, the numeral font was a bit of a deal-breaker for me until I accepted the fact that they add to the overall vintage look of the watch. Once I got that through my head, I began to appreciate the dial and numeral layout more. 
For me, the beauty of this watch lies in the fact that it's such a close reproduction of the original design. This is something that Oris tends to do when it produces a re-edition. This watch company sticks very close to the original. 

Anyway, gang, that's another week down. I think his cold of mine has finally gone...to be replaced by hayfever now that Spring is here. 
Not the worst thing that could happen. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Friday 28/10/16 & Saturday 29/10/2016 - Work's Busy, "The Night Manager" is Awesome, So Is My Tower Chieftain III & This Week's Wristwatches.

-Friday night-

I've been flat-out at work since I got back from my holiday almost a month ago. I think it'll take me another week or so to get back up to speed. 
Been slowly working through a post about the first leg of the trip, and sorting through the photos is a bigger job than I thought it would be. 
So many photos to choose from. Here's a sample;


Hopefully, this post will be done in a week or two. 

Preparing to thin out some of the stuff I've accumulated over the years. eBay, here I come. 
I currently have a Tower Chieftain II being repaired by Tom The Legend. He called me on Wednesday to say it was ready for collection. Once I get it home, I'll put it through its paces and if I'm happy with it, I will get rid of my Smith-Corona Skyriter. Time to get the typewriter collection down to a manageable amount. 
Same with the wristwatches. I have a few that rarely get worn, and I have my eye on another one, so it's time to move some along. My Tissot Visodate was on the chopping block for a while, but lucky for it, I can't find its box. Besides, this watch is a bit of a sentimental favourite because of the ridiculous page-view count of the review that I wrote six years ago. 
So, I think I'll put it aside to give to my son when he turns eighteen in a (wow!) couple of years. He's currently wearing one of my Seiko dive watches. I will get him his own Seiko for Christmas (his birthday!). 
He started shaving recently. I showed him the ropes and I think I might supervise him a few more times until he gets the hang of it. He's using a cheap razor that I got for him off the 'bay. Reason being that I still have about 140 Schick Super II blades that my Dad purchased back in the early '80s before he switched over to a Phillishave electric. One hundred and forty razor blades should last my son until he's thirty. Well, not quite, but it is a tonne of blades.

Wristwatch-wise, I began the week with the Omega Seamaster Chronometer from 1969, seen here with the last Lucky Strike from that pack.
Cigarettes are too damn cheap in France. Don't go there if you're trying to quit.
Now there's a travel tip you won't find in a Lonely Planet Guide.
Unless it's written by Mickey Rourke.


Started watching the brilliant six-part mini-series The Night Manager, which is based on a John Le Carre novel. It concerns an ex-military man, played by Tom Hiddleston who offers himself as a recruit to a small branch of British Intelligence to infiltrate the inner sanctum of a billionaire industrialist, beautifully played by Hugh Laurie, whom they suspect of supplying arms to Middle Eastern terror networks. 
This series is impressive, to say the least. Director Susan Bier honours Le Carre's world of shady dealings, duplicitous intelligence chiefs, and multi-layered storylines as we watch Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) go from hotel manager to man of vengeance as he plays a long game to try and bring Richard Roper (Laurie) and his empire down. 
After the first episode, I thought to myself; There's the next Bond film director. In a perfect world, that is. I would love to see a OO7 adventure given a woman's touch.  And speaking of OO7, Hiddleston has made no secret of the fact that he'd love to play Bond. When I first heard this a few months ago, I thought that he'd make a pretty good Bond, despite some fans that I know saying otherwise. By the end of the second episode, I wasn't so sure he'd be right for the role. I changed my mind slightly by the time I'd gotten through episode four. Sure, he lacks Daniel Craig's brutish menace, but he appears to be the right fit for a Bond at this point in time. He is the Bond for the Millennials, the hipster crowd, the iGeneration. The Bond films, if nothing else, have always reflected the zeitgeist. The campy 1970s gave us Roger Moore's Carry-On Bond, the '90s delivered Pierce Brosnan's supermodel glamour-boy OO7, and the serious, post 9/11 Noughties brought along Daniel Craig's gritty, back-to-his-roots Bond. We are now heading towards the cusp of a new Bond, even though Craig may do one or two more, and I seem to think that Hiddleston might just be good for the job. 
As for Hugh Laurie, if you've only ever seen him in the eight-season TV series House, then his performance in this show will surprise you. He comes across as charming and sincere in his early scenes before we begin to get a fuller picture of his true nature. 
The rest of the supporting cast is wonderful, with special mention going to Olivia Colman as Angela Burr, the head of the small intelligence unit running Pine, who has a particular jones for wanting to bring Roper down, and Tom Hollander as 'Corky' Corcoran, Roper's right-hand man, whose every gay double-entendre is laced with menace.
But let's face it, there's no such thing as a bad English actor. You put any Brit who has done Shakespeare on stage into a film and you can't go wrong. Alan Rickman in Die Hard is one example. Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation is another.
Kudos, too, to Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki as Jed Marshall, Roper's girlfriend. Debicki more than holds her own alongside this fine cast. She was extremely watchable in Baz Lurhmann's version of The Great Gatsby a few years ago. She may just go very far indeed.
The cinematography is divine, too. Especially the scenes set at Roper's villa in Majorca. I can pretty much not find anything bad to say about this series so far. I have one episode left to go, and yet I'm here writing this blog post.
What the hell??!!! 'Scuse me.

-Saturday afternoon-

The Night Manager was awesome! The final two episodes gave me a slight Hitchcock's Notorious vibe, but this is a minor quibble. There were some tense moments throughout. Well worth catching it if you get the chance.

Swung by Tom the Typewriter Guy's workshop this morning to pick up my latest repair;



The Sears Tower Chieftain III has a nicer action than my Skyriter. Probably due to it being a slightly newer machine, perhaps. My main grip with the Skyriter that I have is that it's the first generation model, which has the metal case cover and therefore has the short carriage return lever. Aside from that, it's an okay machine, but this Tower has the edge over it.

Mid-week, I removed the Omega Semaster Chronometer...




















...and switched over to the Seamaster 300, seen here on a ten Euro leather strap that I picked up at the Porto Portese Sunday market in Trastevere, Rome;

I bought a couple of battery adapters off eBay so that I could use regular LR44 batteries in my circa 1968 Nikon F. Since the demise of 1.55volt mercury battery production, alkaline batteries have been used in the built-in light meters of old 35mm SLR cameras, but this has meant that the light meters give off a slightly different reading due to the difference in voltage of Alkaline batteries. This can result in photos turning out under or over-exposed. These adapters are meant to mimic the design of the old mercury batteries and can be used with normal 1.5v Eveready or Duracell batteries, which can now sit properly in the battery bay of these older cameras. My explanation isn't quite right, and correct photographic technique will require you to set your f-stop higher or lower depending on lighting conditions. Man, I'm rusty on my photographic knowledge. It was never stellar to begin with. 
Anyway, I'm looking forward to running some film through this classic camera and seeing the results. 
David Bowie died in January this year and it still hurts. I set this photo up on a recent issue of Uncut magazine, which contained an article on an unreleased Bowie album which may never see the light of day. 
I did fish out the Rolex Submariner and considered wearing it for a few days.      Although, I'm a little reluctant to wear this watch out of the house until I get it serviced. It needs some attention. Something that I'll tackle sometime in the next few months. In the meantime, I've been quietly squirreling away my loose change and the odd five or ten dollar note here and there for quite some time and I'm now close to snagging another wristwatch. Firstly, though, I'll take another long, hard look at what I have, in order to determine what gets worn and what I may do without. I'm not anticipating a huge cull by any means, but I just might thin things down a little more. Besides, whatever I sell will go towards topping up my "Money Box" bank account which is designed for frivolous purchases.

And that's another week down. This cold that I picked up in Italy is receding slowly. My wife still has it, but she too seems to be on the mend. Maybe a few more days and we'll both be back to normal. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend!