Thursday, 4 February 2016

Thur 4/2/2016 ('Cos I'm Gonna Be Too Busy Tomorrow) - Short Typecast & This Week's Wristwatches.



I wore the modded Seiko 7002 on the weekend while I worked on bookshelf number three. My son reminded me about the two bookshelves I'd built for his and his sister's rooms, so technically, this one is actually bookshelf number five. No wonder I'm tired. 

Spent quite some time this week sorting through old magazines that I've hung onto for years. I really can't keep them all. Sure, these old copies of Vanity Fair have some great articles on the Golden Age of Hollywood, but I. CANNOT. KEEP. THEM. ALL. 
Same goes for the GQ Magazines. I'll keep a few issues of each, if only for the reason that one day, paper magazines won't exist and it'll probably be easier to explain to my grand-children just what the hell they were if I have an actual example to show them. 
Also, these magazines have some of the best article writing I've ever come across. I was re-reading a wonderful piece by Tom Junod...


...and for a few seconds, I thought of keeping the issue. Of course, the beauty of the internet is that you can find almost every word ever written if you do a quick search. So, I figure I'll pin a link to this article in this post so that I can find it if I ever want to read it again. 
I also came across a copy of The Age newspaper from a couple of days after 9/11;


Again, I couldn't hold onto it. For a long time, I've held onto various newspapers and magazines, thinking that I was in some way keeping them for historical or archival purposes. But I think I have enough other things to do without worrying about various forms of print media in the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. 
One other interesting bit of paperwork was this from the Ronson Repair Centre in Glendale, California;


When I first received this repair invoice in the mail, I thought it cool that I had gotten a typewritten document from Glendale, California. I kept the 'express memo' (how could I not? It's super-cool!), but threw away the invoice. I'm sort'a kicking myself now. Here's a close-up of the typewriter font;


Actually, scratch that. I just found the invoice. Because it has my name and (old) address details on it, I had it sitting in a pile of paperwork due to be shredded this weekend. Okay, this invoice is gonna get some use as a bookmark from now on. 
And, I'm thinking this typewriter is a Royal, based on the number '5' font, but I could be way off. If any of you are ever passing through Glendale, maybe look up Mr. Perry Grover (a gent, based on my few minutes of conversation with him over the phone back in 2006) and ask him directly. 

Anyway, I wore the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph for most of the week (old picture);


And then switched over to the Omega Seamaster 300 just before I wrote the typecast up above;

Here's the Omega sitting next to the Groma Kolibri and my two pairs of aviator sunglasses. One pair is by Randolph Engineering and the other is by American Optical. The Randolphs are a little worse for wear because I wore them quite a bit over the last decade. I'm probably due for a replacement pair, no doubt, but since I have the other pair by AO, I don't seem to be in a great hurry to get another pair of Randolphs. Especially while the Australian Dollar is getting me around 72 US cents. Nope. I think I'll wait a little while. 

Anyway, gang, that's this week. It's now about 10:20pm on Thursday night. Tomorrow morning will be tranquil enough, but I think things will start getting hectic when I make my way across town to go to this job interview in the early afternoon. I may get a call from today's interviewer while I'm there. Ah well, if it does end up being a hectic day, then this is the right kind of hectic. 

We'll see what happens.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Friday 29/1/2016 - Mid-Century Cast-Offs, Vintage Lighter Repairs (What The Hell For, Teeritz?), Bookshelf Number 3 & This Week's Wristwatches.

I decided to try my hand at repairing a couple of old Ronson lighters that I have. I think I have six or seven of them and only two of them work. I figured that I don't need seven Ronson lighters and I'd like to whittle this number down to two or three of the nicer models. 
I have to say it was very messy work. And here's a tip for you if you ever decide to purchase an old lighter; you might find one in a thrift store and when you strike the flint wheel, there's no spark. There may be one of two reasons why this happens. Firstly, there's no flint in the lighter. That's an easy fix. You just go out and buy some flints for a couple of bucks.
Or secondly, there is a flint in the lighter, but it has fused itself to the metal of the recess in which it sits. This will require a little more work. And a very small drill-bit. 
Of course, whaddaya think happens when you apply steel spinning at high velocity to a flint? Yeah, that's right, sparks will fly, as Mick Jagger once sang.*

I managed to remove the flint before taking apart the top of the lighter to see if the valve could be removed and cleaned. This was a bigger job than I had the time, expertise or tools for. I think I'll need to Google this procedure before I make any attempts to fix it. Still, I did manage to get this thing working okay. One down, six more to go.
I was wearing the Omega Speedmaster Professional.




I love the Hesalite crystal on the Speedmaster Pro, by the way. It gives the watch a warmer look. And, engraved in the centre of the crystal is the Omega symbol. You can see it just under the letter 'S' in 'PROFESSIONAL' printed on the dial.




Here's the chair that my wife got, seen here with the 1954 Olympia SM3 that I used for the typecast above. As I say, I'm surprised by what some people throw away. As the study begins to take shape, this chair will be put to good use at my desk. Or my wife's. 
The chair is a deep burgundy, almost matching the shade of the SM3. Comfy to sit on, too. 


I put on the Rolex Submariner on Wednesday night. As I've written before, this watch will need some service work performed on it someday when finances permit. The crystal and rotating bezel are not 100% securely attached, so I'm loathe to wear this watch outside the house these days until I get this issue sorted out. No rush. I and the watch aren't going anywhere. Plus, it'll feel like I'm getting this long sought-after wristwatch all over again when I get it back from repair. It's pictured here with a four dollar hardback copy of a James Hadley Chase thriller. I've never read any of his work, and his is a name that I used to see often in bookstores back in the '80s. 

I bought another length of timber and routed the correct-depth groves into it before screwing it into the bookshelf I'm currently working on. Next day, I gave it a first coat of varnish. It looks good. The weather has gotten colder and we've had a few days of rain this week, so this shelf is on hold for now. Which is fine, since it's given me a chance to rearrange the study somewhat. I was surprised and happy to notice that the study is actually a reasonably sized room once the desks are against the wall. Now I can't wait to finish these shelves so that these tubs of books can get emptied and we claw back a little space here and there. 
There's going to be some serious culling of stuff, I can tell you. Throughout my decade of selling wristwatches, I seem to have accumulated a staggering amount of catalogues. At one point, I had considered selling a few on eBay, but I've come to realise that people would rather Google the information than have an actual book in their hands. So, there's no point me holding onto all of these. I'll keep one of almost all of the better ones for my own collection, and I'll give some copies to a watch dealer friend of mine if he want them. The rest of them will go into the paper recycle bin. And that pains me a little, considering how nicely produced some of the catalogues are. 

For example, here are two IWC catalogues. They are A5 sized and contain over 280 pages, covering the company's history and watchmaking expertise, and they feature photos of every watch in their line-up for that year. The booklet on the right is even cloth-bound. If this were a book selling in a store, it would cost forty to sixty dollars. These books are beautifully put together.

Which is why I'll keep a copy. I may never purchase an IWC wristwatch (although I've deliberately opened this one up to show my favourite watch of theirs, the Portuguese Chronograph Reference 3714-45 (pic courtesy of www.iwc.com), but I felt it's a nice idea to hold onto these catalogues.

As much as I once thought I'd have some huge study with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves along the wall, filled with all of our books and all of my wristwatch catalogues, the reality is that I cannot keep them all. Truth be told, I have quite a few for brands that I don't much care for, so those will be easy to get rid of.

Then, I'll go through my book collection to see what titles I can offload to a thrift store. I think I have a few too many Lee Child and Robert Ludlum books. Yes, not exactly high-brow literature, but that's okay. I'm sure there are a few other authors whose work I probably won't read a second time. Can't think of their names right now, but I know I saw a few books a couple of days ago that made me wonder why I still had them.
Definitely some travel books will have to go. And we have a surprising number of English dictionaries in this house. One of them was my old copy of an Oxford Pocket edition that I used back in high school. That one will go for sure. Along with a couple of novels that were required reading back in 1996 when I first returned to study to do VCE English. I'm also pretty certain that I have a few double-ups of some crime and espionage thrillers too. You know how it is. You buy a book, put it on the shelf, and six months later, you see that title for sale for five bucks in a remainder bin and you buy it. When you get home, you go to the bookshelf and sure enough, there's the first copy that you bought a few years earlier, perched on the bookshelf, laughing at your absent-mindedness. This haas happened to me about five or six times.

What else, what else, what else? Oh yeah, I briefly wore the Omega Seamaster 300 on Wednesday;



However, given that Tuesday was a public holiday here in Australia, I found myself forgetting what day it was. It was Wednesday, but it felt like a Monday. I hate it when that happens. Therefore, it was time to put on something with day and date. I needed all the help I could get.
So, I got up on Thursday morning and put on the Sinn 103 St Sa Chronograph;


And that's another week done. The kids started school for the year today, so it looks like it's back to business now that the holiday season is well and truly over.
I hope your year has gotten off to a good start, folks.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


* Sparks Will Fly was featured on The Rolling Stones' 1994 album Voodoo Lounge.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Friday 22/01/2016 - Vintage Razor Blades, Another Bookshelf Up, & This Week's Wristwatches.

No major highs or lows this week. The new job continues and seems to be going okay, but I'm still on the lookout for something else. 

My daughter presented me with this drawing last weekend.
'I used an eyeliner pen for the black lines and some silver nail varnish for his costume', she said.

'I think he would've liked that', I replied. 
And felt sad all over again.

I got a small package on Monday. It was a packet of vintage razor blades. A brand called Blu Strike, whose package artwork strongly resembles that of Lucky Strike cigarettes. I bought a pack of these blades from an antiques store back in the 1980s and experienced the closest damn shave I've ever had.
A casual stroll through eBay and I saw a packet of these blades for sale. I hit the 'Buy It Now' button pretty quick.



I haven't begun using any of them yet. They will require a steady hand, if memory serves me correctly. Can't wait.

Got the second bookshelf built, varnished, and loaded up. The study is looking quite a mess, to say the least, but it's good to have our books breathing again after almost a decade of being stored in plastic tubs. One more large shelf to build and then a smaller one to hold all of my Bond titles. Hopefully, that'll do the trick. I think it will. Another large shelf, measuring 2.4 metres tall and about one metre wide should be enough for the remaining books with room to spare. Then I can get rid of the two empty-ish shelves that you can see in the photo. Then the desks can be arranged along the opposite wall. It's gonna be a nice feeling when I don't have to look at these plastic tubs anymore. 

I wore the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean for most of the week;



And switched over to the Omega Speedmaster Professional on Thursday afternoon;

Seen here on my hardback copy of Trigger Mortis. This is a signed and numbered edition of the book, which probably isn't as exclusive as one would think. Author Anthony Horowitz joked on Twitter that an unsigned copy of this book is rarer than a signed one. No matter. I just thought it would be cool to have a signed copy. It was a great book. I think I'll probably give it another read in a month or two. 

Anyway, it's pouring rain here in Melbourne right now. Got a few tasks to be done, so I'll say 'bye for now. 

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Friday, 15 January 2016

16/1/2016 - RIP David Bowie (My God, It Hurts Writing That), New Job Continues & This Week's Wristwatches.

I spent most of last week learning the ropes at my new job. It's a steep learning curve, but I'm confident that I'll get the hang of it. The two main areas of learning have to do with the operating system used for optometry, and the overall pricing structure for the products themselves. I've gotten proficient at appointment setting and have a reasonable grasp of lens scripts, but still have some way to go. Both of the staff members who have been training me have said that repetition is the best way to learn. I have to agree. I'll get better at the job as I go along. 
The main down-side to this gig is that I've been hired as a casual employee rather than a part-time one. Something that I was not told about during my interviews. This means that I'm not entitled to sickness leave or holiday payments. To be honest, while I am a tad disappointed by this, I'm not overly fussed because this job was designed to get me back into the workforce and into a regular routine. I could be there three months, I could be there a year. Either way, I'm keeping my options open and will continue to look for work. Everybody always says it's easier to look for a job if you already have one. I'll put that theory to the test. 

"Wake up, you sleepy-head,
Put on some clothes, shake off your bed,
Put another log on the fire for me,
I've made some breakfast and coffee.
Look out my window,
And what do I see?
A crack in the sky and a hand
Reaching down to me,
All the nightmares came today,
And it looks as though they're here to stay."
         
               -Oh, You Pretty Things
                 D. Bowie
Monday
               January 11th marked eleven years since my Dad died, so I planned to light a candle for him. My brother sent me a text message to remind me (I didn't need reminding) and then he added some comment along the lines of '...and David Bowie, too.'
"Oh no, oh no, oh no", I thought to myself as I grabbed the iPad and ran a quick search. 
And there it was. David Bowie had died after an eighteen-month battle with cancer. 
I felt a part of my life and my soul gently being wrenched out of me. 
I lit two candles that night.

I spent the next couple of hours reading reports and tributes on the internet. One or two of them were blog posts, thinly masquerading as news reportage, written by those who had neither a clue or an appreciation for Bowie's talent, output, or place in the world of popular music and culture.
I have nothing further to add to the multitude of well written articles that have appeared in recent days. Some of them were both touching and accurate. Here's a good one, which offers a decent biography of the man;


So instead, I'll just write about how David Bowie and his music affected me.
I was seventeen when I heard on the radio that he would tour Australia, in conjunction with the release of his album Let's Dance in 1983. I decided that this should be the first rock concert that I went to. Might as well start high, hey?
And it was a fantastic concert. I knew the songs of his latest album, and I knew of his more well-known hits of the past. The man had given us a prodigious and eclectic output over the years, and he had a knack for being ahead of his time. 
We were seated quite a distance away from the stage and I decided half-way through to try to get a little closer. I headed over to the far right of the crowd and managed to get a better view of him from about ten or fifteen rows from the front. He was wearing a buttery yellow suit which almost matched the colour of his hair. 
It wasn't long after this concert that I began to snag his other albums on vinyl. 
It was a great concert.

He returned to Australia in 1987 for his Glass Spider Tour. He played three outdoor dates in Melbourne and I went to them all. The first night, it rained, and the start time was delayed by about an hour as roadies hit the stage with mops in their hands while we stood in the crowd. The rain continued and I stood there, getting soaked with my friends.
Then, the crowd let out a roar as Bowie walked out on stage; "You people are incredible", he said. He was impressed with our resilience to the elements. 
"Sorry, but because the stage is still wet, we'll have to alter the performance tonight to avoid any injuries to our dancers. So, treat this as a dress rehearsal, if you will.", he added. 
The concert began shortly afterwards and sure, there was less choreography than originally intended, but then, we were there to see the man sing, after all.
Peter Frampton was part of his band for this tour and he did great backing vocals on Sons of The Silent Age. 

We went along to the next performance and it was spectacular. This time, the stage was dry and the dancers did their thing. It was great. 
The following night, my buddy John and I decided to go along to the final show, but we didn't have any tickets. No matter. We stood across the road from the venue and listened to his show. We scaled a seven-foot high brick wall and stood on its edge for two hours. 
'Cos that's what you do for rock & roll. 

I saw Bowie interviewed by Charles Wooley on 60 Minutes back in 2002. Wooley asked him what it was like to be a father again. Bowie's wife, Iman, had given birth to their daughter Alexandria Zhara in August 2000. Wooley then enquired; 'Can you count how many nappies (diapers) you've changed since she was born?'
Bowie let out a long laugh and then replied; 'Yes!'
I always found that to be a very funny response and in various interviews that I've seen and read over the years, he always came across as quite personable. He was able to give serious responses to serious questions about his music and he often peppered his interviews with a layer of humour as well. He just always came across as a likable guy.

Bowie studied mime under the legendary Lindsay Kemp back in the early 1970s. In the concert footage from his Diamond Dogs Tour of 1974, he is seen doing the moonwalk almost a decade before it was made famous by Michael Jackson. Bowie gives a flawless rendition of this dance/mime technique and to see him do it is a thing of beauty as the soles of his feet glide smoothly across the floor yet his body remains rooted on the spot. 

I will admit that I haven't kept abreast of Bowie's music over the last 25 years or so, but I've remained a fan of his ever since that November night in 1983. His mark on music and pop culture is deep. 







The classic cover photo from his 1973 album Aladdin Sane. 




Provided the inspiration for this image of Homer Simpson which was published in Rolling Stone Magazine in 2002.










And Drew Barrymore is seen in a similar make-up during the flashback sequence in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Dir: Joseph McGinty Nichol, 2003);


David Bowie's influence was both far and wide. He invented the idea of re-invention, never remaining the same character for more than a few years at a time. Madonna took note of this.
When I first played his soundtrack album to his 1973 concert Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, I was amazed by the crowd's reaction when he announced at the end; "Not only...not only is this the last show of the tour, but it's also the last show we'll ever do."
The crowd let out a collective scream. You'd have though he had just murdered somebody up on stage which, in a way, he had. It was the end of his Ziggy Stardust persona.

His music changed too over the years. From his Glam Rock days as Ziggy Stardust to his synth-heavy mid to late '70s German period, featuring a great version of Bertolt Brecht's Alabama Song and his classic, classic, classic song Heroes, to his poppy Let's Dance album and Absolute Beginners single, to his turn as lead singer of a band called The Tin Machine in the late 1980s/early '90s, Bowie was constantly in motion, carving out new personas and music. 
After undergoing heart surgery in 2004, Bowie retired from touring not long afterwards, but he kept writing and releasing more albums over the years.


I stepped out to my local supermarket on Tuesday night to get some supplies. As I reached for a carton of milk, I heard the unmistakable opening riff from Rebel, Rebel. And almost burst into tears.

Thursday afternoon, my wife and I dropped some items off at a local thrift store. Two minutes after I walked in, Ashes to Ashes started playing over the sound system and my mood plummeted again.


Oh, about the eyes. The misconception was that he had one blue eye and one green eye. The truth is that he received a punch in his left eye when he was a teen (it was a fight over a girl, the only fights that matter) and this caused his pupil to dilate. It remained that way, further adding to his mystique over the years.

 
David Bowie turned 69 on January 8th. My birthday was four days earlier, so I suppose I've always felt a certain, albeit tenuous, kinship with him being a fellow thin white Capricorn. Similarities end there. That date also saw the release of his latest album. It was his birthday, but we got the gift. The album has no official title, but features a black star on its white cover. Hence, it has been referred to as Blackstar. 

Here's a couple of the final pictures of Bowie, taken by Jimmy King just a few weeks ago. The sharpest looking retiree on the planet;



A great part of me would like to hope that Mr Bowie still had much to be happy about, despite his condition. Long-time friend, collaborator and record producer Tony Visconti stated this week that Bowie was looking forward to getting started on his next album.

In the information overload age of the Internet, I admire the fact that his ill health was kept private from the outside world and I absolutely respect the man for keeping this to himself and those close to him. It showed a certain stoicism that we don't often see anymore.
Of course, the news of his passing came as a greater shock as a result of the world not knowing of his state of health. David Bowie wasn't meant to die at the age of 69. He was meant to live to 200. 

It's now just gone ten o'clock on Friday night. My daughter has a couple of friends here for a sleep-over. Gonna be a long friggin' night.
I had to take the cat to the animal hospital last night after a sudden health scare. Which wasn't as scary as the bill they presented me with for the consultation. They offered to take x-rays and perform a blood test, but I didn't have the EIGHT hundred dollars that would have been required. Took her to the vet this morning and they kept her there for most of the day. Turns out she had constipation. That would explain the howling over the last few days. Madame is resting comfortably, in case you're wondering.

I read the news today, oh boy. Another talented Englishman, actor Alan Rickman, taken away by cancer at the age of 69. It's been an awful week. Nobody's safe. Rickman first came to our attention for his cold, charming and witty performance as Hans Gruber, the main villain in Die Hard (Dir: John McTiernan, 1988). He went on to star in numerous other films in Hollywood and the UK and gained further acclaim and attention for his role as Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. He had a rich voice and delivered subtle and nuanced performances in everything he did. He certainly made Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Dir: Kevin Reynolds, 1991) a better film with his wickedly funny portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham. He was a gifted stage actor and director as well.
So yeah, gang, it hasn't really been a week for talking about wristwatches, but for those of you who wanna know, I wore the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra Co-Axial all week. Changing wristwatches seemed to be the last thing on my mind;


And finally, one last picture of the visionary singer/songwriter (among a host of other talents) whom we lost this week. I'm still in shock over his passing.


David Bowie was always a snappy dresser, but The Thin White Duke was particularly sharp.

I'm glad and grateful that he existed, and for what he gave to the world of music, and I hope that those close to him find some comfort in the outpouring of grief and appreciation that many of us have displayed over his untimely death. He will never be replaced.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Friday 8/1/2016 - More Bookshelf Building, Half Centuries, New Jobs, & This Week's Wristwatches

I think life's gonna get busy again. Not sure how regular these weekly wristwatch posts will be, or how detailed, but I'll try and post something each week, wherever possible.

Last Weekend
                     Woke up on New Year's day and decided to have breakfast. I was wearing the Omega Planet Ocean and, although champagne for breakfast sounded good in theory...


 ...I decided I'd play it safer and have scrambled eggs with mushrooms...and a Bloody Mary. I was aiming for a 1950s Hollywood Producer's breakfast. I should have left my bathrobe on to really give it the Palm Springs vibe, but I got dressed instead and slapped on my sunglasses and hat. 

45ml of Finlandia Vodka
4 dashes of Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce
6 (or 7) dashes of McIllhenny Co. Tabasco Sauce
3 twists of pepper
1 squeeze of lemon juice
Topped up in a tall, ice-filled glass with supermarket home-brand tomato juice (it was the smallest can they had. I didn't wanna buy 2 litres of the stuff).

I don't think I've had a Bloody Mary since the '80s! This is not the kind of drink you order in a bar. Unless you have a hangover, which I didn't. I paced my drinking the night before, since I knew I'd be doing it alone. My wife isn't a big drinker and my son is fifteen. But my thirteen year-old daughter wanted to try some champagne. 
Anyway, I made myself a Gimlet just after dinner, comprising of 30ml of Bombay Sapphire gin and 60ml of Lime Juice Cordial. In a glass with ice and just a dash of water. It was a pretty warm night in Melbourne town and this drink did its job.

Then it got to midnight (Happy New Year, everybody!!!) and I popped open the bottle of sparkling wine that somebody had given us a few months ago. I poured myself a glass and poured a mouthful into another champagne flute for my daughter. 
A few seconds later; "Oh my God, how can you drink this stuff!!!???"

Which was exactly the reaction I was hoping for. I'd like to think that, when my kids reach the legal drinking age of eighteen, they won't be drinking everything that isn't nailed down. I don't expect that they'll be teetotalers (well, you never know), but I'd like to hope that they'll drink in a responsible manner.
As for not drinking in a responsible manner, I had three glasses of 'this stuff ' before that numb-face feeling began to kick in. I think I may have had a Gin & Tonic somewhere in between.  
Time please, gentlemen.

That was it for my New Year drinking. I put the bottle in the fridge, complete with the Italian method for keeping it fresh. This is surely an old wive's tale, but whenever there was a bottle of champagne- or more likely in our house, Asti Spumante- left unfinished, my Mum or Dad would place a teaspoon handle into the bottleneck. They said this would keep it bubbly, since you cannot jam a champagne cork back into the bottle. 
There's absolutely no science behind this method, as far as I know, but it's funny how this little trick has such a strong tie to my childhood for me.


Sunday
Bought some more timber to get started on bookshelf number two. I don't want to slow down the momentum of this project, since I think that there will still be two more to build after this one and I don't want to take ages with them. The first one has been up for about a week. Still standing, so that's a good sign. 
Once I was done with this shelf for the day, I got out the leftover New Year champagne from the fridge and had a glass. I wore my Sinn 103 chronograph and a t-shirt that my wife bought me when we were in Thailand in 2011;

Monday
              It was my birthday. I turned fifty (my God!). Really, there's not much else to say. It's been a tricky few years in the lead-up to this milestone and I have made a few errors of judgement along the way, but here I am. I have my health (reasonably) and a wonderful family. All is good. Gotta look at the half-full glass, gang.
I had to drive about 35 minutes to take a roll of black & white film to get developed. I wore the circa 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer;

None of the film labs closer to home could process this roll of film, which I bought at a thrift store for 50 cents. Instead of Process C-41, this roll requires B-90.
Never again. Not worth the hassle, considering I'm really only taking 35mm SLR photos of the family, and colour film is the better option for that.
In future, I'll check the packet carefully before buying. Man, I hope this roll turns out okay.

Tuesday
             Started my new job! Still wore the Omega Seamaster;

It's a part-time position at a small optometry practice and I'll eventually be there about three to four days a week. I have to say there's a steep learning curve with this job. The operating system for appointment setting, customer details, orders and repairs, etc will take me quite some time to master. Luckily, the person training me is proceeding at a slow and steady pace and I've gotten the hang of a few of the processes in the past few days.
All in all, it should be interesting and it will be good to get a few more skills added to my resume. It all helps.

When I got home, there was a small padded envelope waiting for me. Great! Inside it was a stainless steel Speidel Twist-O-Flex watchband, similar to what my Dad had on his watch when I was a kid. I grabbed the Camy Club-Star hand-wound and my bracelet tools. This band was a little loose on me, so I removed three links. Now it feels just a tad snug, but it looks so 1963!


These are a comfortable band to wear on a watch. The only real downside to them is that the section that sits against the watch case's lugs can tend to rub against the steel over time, to the point where it will erode the ends of the lugs. Once this happens, there's not much you can do.
Therefore, I didn't want to try putting this bracelet on any of my more expensive vintage pieces, and I think I'll alternate between this band and a leather strap in order to preserve the lugs on the watch. Now all I have to do is get a gold-toned one to put onto my Dad's Wyler.

Today
          My wife and kids are taking me out for an early dinner to celebrate my birthday. We're going to try out a well-regarded Turkish restaurant. Nice. I'm about to have a very light lunch to ensure that I'm hungry later on.
Time to change wristwatch. To provide some separation between work and leisure. I think I'll only wear two or three different watches to this job. Simpler that way.
For now, though, on goes the Omega Planet Ocean, because there's some cleaning to be done around here.


Hmm, seventeen bucks to my name. I've had less.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

Monday, 4 January 2016

My Most-Worn Watches of 2015.


                                                              
1-  Rolex Submariner (Ref. 5513), 1982

After wanting a Rolex Submariner 5513 ever since I was a kid in the mid '70s, I finally managed to snag one in January 2015. Needless to say, this watch got the most wear, clocking up 27 weeks out of the year until it had a slight mishap in October where the crystal and bezel fell away from the case while I was changing the strap. I don't need to remind y'all that I sold watches at a boutique for over ten years and that I've been collecting vintage watches for fifteen years. I know how to handle a vintage watch with kid gloves. After a few back-and-forth e-mails with the seller of this watch, I arrived at the conclusion that I'd always suspected- the crystal is not a genuine Rolex part, but an after-market 'I don't currently have one of these in stock and could easily sell it.', thus further reminding me that he was really only looking out for himself. Sorry, but there's more to customer service than just offering a refund.
one. This is why it came away from the case so easily. A quick (and pricey) repair quote from Rolex confirmed my suspicions. The watch is currently boxed away until I can get the funds together to get it serviced. This doesn't really tick me off. I had always planned to get this watch serviced sooner or later. What does bug me about this is the fact that the seller never, at any point, offered any apology or remorse over the fact that this had happened. Granted, he did offer me a refund, but then he soured this offer when he added;

2- Omega Seamaster 300 (WatchCo/ Ref 166.024), 2009

This watch was worn through 19 weeks of the year. This, along with the Submariner up above, was a Grail watch of mine. One that I had wanted for six or seven years before I got it. I've stated this before- the beauty of this watch is that it cannot be mistaken for a Rolex Submariner. The hands, markers, and bezel insert are all different. Perhaps the only things this watch has in common with a Submariner is a black dial and a rotating bezel. I've often thought that if Omega had kept up uninterrupted production of  this watch, it would have had its own equivalent to the Rolex Sub.
                                                                     
3- Omega Seamaster Railmaster (Ref. 2504.52.00), 2009

An absolute favourite of mine, this watch was on my wrist 13 weeks of the year. Clean, sparse dial, classic 36mm diameter, it became a go-to watch when I couldn't decide on what watch to wear on some days. The lack of date window meant that I could just pick it up, give it a dozen winds or so, and then put it on my wrist. And its sharply legible dial made it ideal in all lighting conditions. There has been some speculation that Omega may release a new version of this watch sometime this year. While this sounds interesting, I have such a strong affinity for this watch that I can't see myself replacing it with a newer model. 

4- Seiko Diver (Ref. 7002), 1993

When I looked over last year's weekly wristwatch posts and saw that I had worn this watch over ten weeks of the year, I was quite surprised. Then I stopped and thought about all the extra little handyman jobs that I had done during the year. We gave our old house a coat of paint, we packed up all of our stuff and moved it into our new house. Also, since moving in, I've spent quite some time building and varnishing some bookshelves. All of this activity required a watch that I could wear without worrying about scratches, dents or paint spills. That's where this Seiko came in. Although, subconsciously, I must have still been careful with this watch. Probably the worst thing that happened to this watch was a fine coating of sawdust. 

5- Omega Planet Ocean (Ref. 2201.50.00), 2008

In equal place with the Seiko above is the Omega Planet Ocean. Worn ten weeks of last year, I had it on my wrist when we ushered in the New Year. This is the 42mm model. I love the reassuring weight of this watch and its sharp dial. This model's time-keeping is just slightly out of Chronometer specifications, but it's not bad enough to bother me at the moment. When the time comes to get it serviced, I'll be expecting it to run flawlessly after that. 

6- Omega Seamaster AquaTerra (Ref. 2504.50.00), 2007

Nine weeks of 2015 saw me wearing this 36mm Omega. With all of the house-related admin tasks to be done, along with various job interviews that I had, this was the watch that I wore on those occasions. Understated, classic, and just plain cool, it was worn for those times when I needed a watch that wouldn't be a distraction to me, but would operate clearly and dependably. Although, I still found myself getting a little distracted by its rich, deep, glossy black dial. 

7- Sinn 103 St Sa (Ref. 103), 2009

Along with the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster 300, this Sinn chronograph was another watch that I had spent a number of years yearning for. It has numerous features that make it an excellent value when compared to similar watches in other brands that sell for twice the price. A very robust watch, with more water-resistance (200m) than I'll ever need, it was worn over seven weeks of the year. I recall wearing it quite a bit over Summer, since I didn't have to worry about this watch with regard to sweat, grime, sea-water, etc. 

8- Omega Speedmaster Professional (Ref. 3570.50.00), 2007

The other chronograph in my collection, this one graced my wrist on four weeks of the year. I'm surprised that I wore it so infrequently, but I think it has to do with requiring something with a stronger crystal for all the DIY projects around the house. From memory, I think I wore it for a full week at some point. Maybe I overdid it? Either way, it's a classic watch that really needs no introduction. I can see myself getting more wear out of it later this year through the Winter months. 


9- Omega Seamaster Automatic, circa 1962

For those times when I had meetings with my solicitor and/or real estate agent, I wore something a little more old-school. This early '60s Omega purrs along beautifully. It's one of the first vintage pieces that I bought, way back around 2000/2001. This watch is over fifty years old, but I don't think it's reached middle age yet. Plenty of life left in this one. 

10- Omega Seamaster Chronometer, circa 1969

Another vintage piece which, like the Omega above, was worn over two weeks of the year. Again, I wore this one when I had meetings to attend, and this is the watch I had on when I handed over the cheque to pay for our new house. I needed a little extra precision that day. This watch only loses about three seconds per day. Well within chronometer specifications. The dial has a slight blemish on one side, and I'm tempted to try cleaning it, but I could make a complete mess of things. I think I'll wait until I decide to get it serviced. Whenever that will be.

And there you have it. A varied group of watches. Again, this has been a good exercise in helping me determine which pieces in my collection to get rid of. I already have one watch ready to move. It's the blue-dialled Tudor Prince OysterDate, with its numerous flaws which I will outline in the listing. I'm thinking that I'll wait until late January when everybody's back in gear before I put it on eBay. 
Other than that obvious choice, I think I'll have to take a closer look at the collection to see what else I can shift.
I'm sure there are a few others that I wouldn't miss. I just have to convince myself. I've had a couple of instances of seller's regret in the past.
However, the aim would be to end up with a collection of pieces that actually get worn. Sure, some would get worn more often than others, and some would only get worn for specific purposes like woodworking projects or gardening.
The idea, though, is to whittle the collection down to a group of watches that are there to be worn. Otherwise, I'm basically the caretaker of a private wristwatch museum.
And that's just stupid.

Thanks for reading!