Sunday, 17 April 2022

Busy Start to 2022 | Part 1 - January; Seriously, Boss? / Happy Birthday, Son!

I began this post at the beginning of the year, but things soon got very hectic. Subsequently, in an effort to put it all down, I thought I'd get it underway, but rather than one very long post, I'll see if I can break it up into a few parts. 
I handed in my resignation on December 30th. I'd had enough. I'd spent nearly six years working for a guy who behaved like a ramped-up version of David Brent (UK) or Michael Scott (US) from The Office, but without the laughs. Worst boss I've ever had. Can't say any more about it. 
So, I quit on the second-last day of 2021. Same day, one of my co-workers said he had a sore throat. He'd spent Christmas visiting his family interstate and claimed that he had the air-con on in his car for the entire five-hour drive back to Melbourne. Reckoned that he must've caught a chill. 
I gave four-week's notice - as per my contract - and was told that I could finish up on January 24th. Cool. I could tie up a few more loose ends, even though I was virtually up to date with everything. 
Next day, I was told that I could finish at end-of-day, since the office would be closing for the year and would re-open in the first week of January 2022. Okay, no problem. I could use a rest before I began my next job. 

Happy New Year!
                             Finally popped open that bottle of Piper-Heidsieck champagne that I bought in 2015. 
On Sunday January 2nd, I felt a raspiness in my throat. I figured I was coming down with a Summer cold, most likely brought on by the stressful and busy few weeks in the lead-up to Christmas and my resignation just before New Year's Eve. I must have gotten a little run-down. 
My son has had a persistent cough for over a month. He caught a cold from his sister. He usually takes a couple of puffs of Symbicort for his asthma each morning, but has run out of the inhaler and, like any young adult, has been a little bit lax with refilling his prescription. 
To play it safe, he and I decide to go get Covid tested next day. The testing station is banked-up with cars. I'm waived over to another lane with a few other cars. I sit behind the wheel for a few minutes and then I get out of my car, put on my mask, and approach the car in front of mine. I ask the driver if he knows why we were directed into this lane. He tells me that the testing station is full for today and he was told to try coming back tomorrow. Dammit!
My son and I head home and we try again the next day at around midday. A sign at the entrance states;
Covid Testing Closed due to High Demand.
We try again the day after that. Same thing. I hear one of the traffic wardens tell another driver to "Come back tomorrow at around six am."
By now, I've had a very sore throat, a runny nose, aching back, slight fever, and a cough for the past couple of days. Feels like a 'flu, but is most likely the Omicron variant of Covid-19. We are all double-vaxxed in my household, and my wife and I have also had the booster shots. 
As an asthmatic who smoked for 35 years, my main concern is if I develop a shortness of breath. This has not happened so far, but it's the one main symptom that I am closely monitoring for.
January 7th
                      My son and I get up at 6:30am and get to the testing station just before seven.
We get tested a few minutes before ten am and then head home. We're told that we should receive our results within the next 72 hours. 
Meanwhile, my wife and daughter go and get tested on Sunday the 9th. 
My son gets an SMS message on his phone a couple of days later. Result is Positive. My wife and daughter get their results next day. Positive. I'm yet to hear back, but obviously, if they've all tested positive, chances are virtually 100% that I'll test positive also. 
January 13th and I still haven't heard back. I'm pissed off with my co-worker for not going to get tested when he had a sore throat. I'm very pissed off with my boss for not sending the co-worker home to get tested. Very sloppy outcome. No duty of care on my employer's part, no logic or consideration on my co-worker's part. 
Like my wife has sometimes said; You wouldn't want to be on a lifeboat with these kinds of people.

Current guidelines for Covid testing - once you've gotten tested, you are to isolate for seven days. If you receive a negative result during that time, you're in the clear. If you receive a positive result in that time, you must continue to isolate until the seven days are up. By this stage, you are no longer contagious and can go out in public again. 
I get a text message on January 16th, stating that I had tested positive for Covid. Of course, by now, I no longer have symptoms. If that was Covid, then it was like a moderate bout of the 'flu. The sore throat was the worst part of it. 
Glad it's over, though. 
Get vaxxed, people.

I wore the Seiko SKX009K while I sat behind the wheel at the testing station for three hours. Just as well I brought a book;


I may have mentioned this before, but I have strong memories of my Dad wearing this watch. He used to work night-shift as a machinist at a textile mill. At around ten pm most nights, I'd glimpse him winding this watch while he waited for the coffee to boil. 
After downing the cup of coffee, he would walk two streets away to the bus stop to catch the 10:50pm bus to Brunswick (Melbourne, not New Jersey). He would arrive at the stop near the Brunswick Town Hall and then walk a few streets to where Peerless Mills was located and begin his shift at 11:30pm.
He wore this watch on an expanding bracelet, but by the time I took ownership of it, the bracelet had snapped and I figured it would look nice on a leather strap. 

January 18th
                     My son and I head into the city to go visit the TAG Heuer boutique. He turned 21 on Christmas Day and my wife and I figured it would be nice to get him a watch of his own, even though he'll inherit my collection one day.
Sort of*. 
But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Rewind to a couple of weeks earlier. I fish three or four watches from my collection. They are all basic time-and-date watches in different case diameters. I sticky-tape a ten cent coin onto the dials of each watch. My test is not about how the watch looks, but how it sits on the wrist. 
We sit down with our boy and I go through the basic idea of a classic Gent's Watch. Something in stainless-steel, that just tells time and date. A watch that won't date. A watch that works well whether you're 21 or 91. 
But first, let's look at sizing. He already has a Seiko dive watch that I got him when he turned sixteen. It's 42mm in diameter and is built to take a beating. However, a day-to-day watch should perhaps be a little more understated. A little more all-purpose. 
Firstly, the 34mm Tudor Ranger goes onto his wrist. 
Then, the 36mm Omega Railmaster.
Finally, the 38mm Seiko SARB033. 
All three of these are basic pieces.
He leans towards the size of the Seiko. That's cool. I've done my research and have looked into two brands that both offer something in 39mm. Sure, one millimetre larger than his preference, but I doubt he'll notice. 
I explain to him that I'm aiming for a watch that will do virtually everything. So, my criteria would be the following; 
- Time and date
- Mechanical (for longevity and heirloom aspect)
- Water-resistant, minimum 100 metres (I don't care what anybody says, that's the minimum for peace-of-mind days at the beach, jumping into a hotel pool, or snorkeling)
- Luminous dial markers and hands (for readability in the dark)
- Metal bracelet (you can always put a leather strap to it later if you want)

As I said, two brands came to mind; TAG Heuer and Tudor. And within those two brands, two different models;
One of them is a Tudor Style, in 34mm 38mm and 41mm;
It ticks a lot of the boxes. 38mm is the right size, 100m water-resistance, nice black dial, date window, steel bracelet. 

However, it lacks one crucial element, in my humble opinion. The hands have no lume in them. There's no glow-in-the-dark stuff in them. You're sitting in a cinema watching a boring movie, you won't be able to check the time to see how much longer you'll have to sit there. You wake up in the middle of the night and glance over at your watch on the nightstand and all you're gonna see is more darkness. 


Not so much if this watch was part of a collection, whether it be two other watches or 20. But as a watch to wear on any and all occasions,
So, that left us with TAG Heuer. 
But first, a digression.
Now, before I get into it, I just want to say that I have a lot of respect for the TAG Heuer brand. Back in my watch selling days, my store would get a lot of customers coming in for TAGs. Some of them would purchase the watch and would never be seen again, living happily ever after. 
Others would come back one, two, three or five years later, ready to purchase their next watch, be it another TAG Heuer or some other brand. 
Basically, TAG Heuer was the gateway brand for a lot of people. It got them interested in a well-made and dependable Swiss-made wristwatch and they would come back for more, regardless of brand. 
Aside from that, I bought myself a quartz TAG Heuer 1000 Series dive watch (left) back in 1987 and it served me very well.
I should have kept that watch, but I stupidly sold it back in the early days of my watch collecting life. Yes, yes, it was two-tone and strongly borrowed from Rolex design, and it was battery-powered. 
But it was the Eighties, after all. 

The brand used to be known as Heuer and it made some very respectable chronographs in the '60s and '70s before falling on hard times in the late l970s, along with a lot of other Swiss watch brands, thanks to the influx of inexpensive quartz-operated watches that had been coming out of Asia for almost a decade. 
Just as Heuer was going under, along came a company called Techniques d'Avant Garde. This company supplied equipment and resources to the motorsport industry, such as Formula One. A search through the internet can bring up many photos of F1 drivers from the 1970s wearing Heuer wristwatches. The brand, predominantly through the efforts of Jack Heuer, great-grandson of the brand's founder, saw its watches on the wrists of Formula One greats like Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni. If you ever want to read about this, visit a website called Calibre 11. It's perhaps the best site about Heuer. 
Here's a link;

Man, another long post! Okay, so where was I? Oh yeah, the Tudor didn't fit the bill, so we looked at TAG Heuer. Specifically, the Carrera Automatic. Heuer created a chronograph in the mid 1960s and named it the Carrera, after the legendary - and short-lived - Carrera Panamericana road race;

The Carrera Panamericana was a border-to-border sedan (stock and touring and sports car) rally racing event on open roads in Mexico similar to the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio in Italy. Running for five consecutive years from 1950 to 1954, it was widely held by contemporaries to be the most dangerous race of any type in the world.[1] It has since been resurrected along some of the original course as a classic speed rally.
                                                                   - wikipedia entry

A mid-Sixties Carrera Chronograph (Reference 2447SN), pic courtesy of the phenomenal Calibre 11 website. 

This watch is one of the most famous chronographs ever made, and in my humble opinion, it belongs in the same iconic realm as the Omega Speedmaster Professional, Rolex Cosmonaut, Zenith El Primero A386, and Universal Geneve Compax chronographs of the same era. 

TAG Heuer brought out a re-edition in the late 1990s, remaining pretty faithful to the original design. Shortly after that, the brand introduced a line of watches under the Carrera banner and these have been in production ever since. 

Within this range, there is a nice time-and-date model. Measuring 39mm in diameter, it is water-resistant to 100m and features a discreet date window down at the six o'clock edge of the dial. All stainless-steel case and bracelet, available in black, blue or silver dial, with steel hands and markers. And, one more model with a black dial and gilt hands and markers. 

I ran through the pros and cons of each colour. This was based on what I've learned over the years, but also on my own preferences and opinions. Now, I didn't want to sway his decision in any way. I just wanted him to make as informed a decision as he could. 

Silver dial - Perhaps the dressiest of the bunch. Although, from my experience, the hands can tend to 'blend in' a little against the dial when viewed in low light. 

Black dial - A sportier look overall. Best contrast between dial and hands. The main drawback, if you can call it that, is that just about every brand has a black-dialed dress watch as part of its line-up. 

Blue dial - A very nice shade of Cobalt blue. If blue is your favourite colour, then go for it. If you're gonna worry that a blue dialed watch won't go with certain outfits, then steer clear of this one. More importantly, worry less about the colour of your watch dial and whether or not it'll match your clothes.

Black dial with gilt markers and hands - If I had to choose, this would be the one. Still sporty, with its black dial, but the rose-gold plated hands and markers give the whole watch a nice lift. And in some lighting, the black dial appears to take on a pleasant 'coffee-bean-brown' shade. This is something that I pointed out to my son about this watch. I told him the choice was his. If liked the blue, go for it. If he liked the black, go for it. Etc, etc. 

He chose the black and gold. I had been saving my money over the last few years, in order to pay for a couple of titanium crowns to be  fitted by my dentist and, once I had enough for this procedure, I just kept on saving. 

I called a fellow I know who deals with TAG and managed to get a few bucks off the rrp of the watch. 
My wife and I were thinking that it would be an idea to get the case-back engraved, but the watch has a see-through case-back, with very little space left over to add any engraving. Still, I just may look into getting it done. 
I have to say that it does look good on his wrist, and I think he likes it, based on the fact that he doesn't normally wear a watch around the house and yet here he was, a week later, with the watch on his wrist while he tackled zombies on the Playstation 4. 
He's worn it to work a few times since he got it and the watch now has some scuffs and marks on it. 
It is now truly his.  

*...even though he'll inherit my collection one day. Sort of. 
I think I've said this here before; Giving my watch collection to my kids would be more a curse than a blessing. My daughter has said she has dibs on the Rolex Submariner, but I told her that that watch would be sold upon my demise - if I still have it when I kick the bucket - and the proceeds would be shared between her and her brother. 
I'd let them choose two or three watches each. The rest would/should be sold and the proceeds split between them.  I'd also reiterate to them that these watches require care and feeding. 
Anyway, hopefully, it's not something I'll have to deal with for quite some time yet. 

I hope you've all been well, and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

My Most-Worn Wristwatches of 2021

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022 - 1:57pm AEDT

                                                                         Okay, so 2021 is over, and it's time for my annual write-up on the wristwatches that spent the most time on my wrist throughout the year. Turns out that I wore a watch 368 times last year. Which means every day of the year plus a few swaps throughout the day on a few occasions. 

Rather than just another collection of photos of the Top Eight Watches of the year, I've also included some other items in each photo. Turns out I have a few other collections. 
My way of thinking is that if I have three or four of a particular thing, it's a collection. Socks  and underwear don't count.

Anyway, let's get started. In the Number One spot was a watch that I knew would gain the top spot, but I was staggered by how often I wore it last year.

No. 1 - Tudor Black Bay 58

I wore this watch on 115 days in 2021. A landslide. It's not a perfect fit on my wrist. The clasp bridge section is quite long and its curvature doesn't follow the curve of my 6.5 inch wrist, but this is a minor quibble. What this watch does right, it does very right. I'm tempted to put it on a leather strap over Summer, to give it a little more wear and tear, but for now, I'll leave it on its bracelet.                                  For me, this watch represents what the Rolex Submariner dive watch used to be, up until around 2010 when they made some major changes to the case design.

One of my Instagram followers, @libations_and_explorations, summed it up nicely;

In my opinion, the Tudor Black Bay is the real Rolex Submariner of today. It is high quality, expensive, useable, but not insultingly overpriced either.

I agree. Don't let the word 'expensive' throw you off. In this instance, it's expensive because it's extremely well made, and you get what you pay for. 

Also in the frame;  

Camera - early '80s Olympus OM2n - I had one of these back in the early '80s and I stupidly sold it to fund the cost of repairing a Polaroid SX-70 Land camera. About five or six years ago, I got on eBay and bought this model. Then about a year later, I bought a spare because the price was dirt cheap.

Sunglasses - We were in Paris back in September 2016 and I wanted to buy something to commemorate the trip. These are Persol 649S (for small) Havana brown frames. 

Pen - a Parker Sonnet ballpoint. Got one off eBay and it began to fall apart about three months later. Took it to a pen store and they sent it off to Parker for repair under warranty. Turns out it was a fake! I was given the option to purchase a new one at a heavily discounted price, as a Goodwill gesture on their part. Suited me fine. Of course, they kept the fake. That was cool too.

Typewriter - my Olivetti Lettera 32 that I bought back in 1981. Hammered out a lot of book reports and assignments on this thing.

 No. 2 - ORIS Divers Sixty-Five

Worn 58 times last year, this one is a favourite. Slim case, perfect 40mm diameter, easy to read. And it's what watch collectors call a 'strap monster', which means that it tends to look good on just about any strap you put on it. This model, with the four sci-fi styled numerals on the dial, was discontinued a couple of years ago, which I think was a mistake. Sure, it's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's such a distinctive look. 

Link to my review from about three years ago;

Also in the frame; 

Camera - 1970s Yashica GSN Electro 35. I loved the retro look of this large rangefinder camera. I think I've only run one or two rolls of film through this thing and the results were nice. 

Sunglasses - The classic RayBan Clubmaster frames. These frames have quite a few screws holding them together, so it's wise to keep them in their case when they're not being worn. 

Pen - A Caran d'Ache 849 ballpoint. A gift from ORIS. A nice sturdy ballpoint pen with a one-piece barrel. You have to unscrew the push-button at the top in order to replace the refills. 

Typewriter - My son sent me a photo of this Blue Bird typewriter one afternoon after spotting it at a Thrift Store; "Forty-five dollars. Do you want it?'' 
''Sure!", I replied. 
It types nicely, although some of the keys are beginning to lift. Has a similar look to my Olympias.

 No. 3 - Seiko SKX009K

I got this one in late September and it clocked up 27 days on my wrist. This is one of Seiko's most well-known designs, having been in production from around 1996 until a couple of years ago. The black-dialed version is the SKX007, but I opted for the deep blue dialed model instead, with the blue and red bezel. I figured my collection had enough black dive watches in it. 
This is the 009K, which means that it was assembled at Seiko's plant in Malaysia rather than Japan. If you want the Japanese version, look for a 009J. These are still reasonably easy to get. The surest tell-tale difference is that the Japanese-assembled models will have ''21 Jewels'' printed on the dial. 
Mine came with a rubber strap, which I promptly removed and replaced with the metal bracelet that I got about ten years ago for another Seiko watch which I have since sold. 
This is one of those watches that I used to see back in the '90s on the wrists of middle-aged surfer dude types that would frequent a cafe/bistro that I used to work at.
Seiko models in this price range ($100 to $600AUD) are known for their 'leisurely' timekeeping, but I have to say that this one seems to be keeping pretty good time throughout the day. Another reason why I opted for one of these was because it features a day and date window. I dunno about you, but I get those days after a public holiday or long weekend  where I go in to work on a Tuesday and it feels like a Monday. Throws my whole week out of whack. By Friday, I don't know what day it is. 

Also in the frame;

Camera - Another Olympus OM2n, but this is the all-black bodied version, which is what I had back in the early '80s. 
Sunglasses - a pair of Persol 2679-S frames that I got about fifteen years ago. Beautifully made. Their design is not currently in fashion, but no big deal. Everything comes around again, and these are a classic narrow frame that look like they could have been made in 1962, 1992 or 2012. 
Pen - a Shaeffer ballpoint that I think I got as a swap with my boss at work. Can't remember what I gave him. 
Typewriter - Olympia SM9 from late 1966. This thing seems to have been barely used by its previous owner, or they really looked after it. Writes like a dream.

 No. 4 - Omega Planet Ocean 1st Generation

This one is a favourite, and it was worn over 21 separate days of 2021. As I have so many leather straps scattered around, I figured I may as well get some wear out of them. Ideally, though, I should probably wear leather straps through the Winter months when A) there's less chance of them getting wet, and B) less risk of them wearing out through exposure to perspiration. 
The Planet Ocean series has seen a few iterations since it was first released in 2005, but I think Omega got it right the first time. This 42mm version was sported by Daniel Craig in his second Bond outing Quantum of Solace in 2008. I got mine in 2006, as a gift from Omega for selling the highest number of their watches during a three-month sales period. Nice to know that, for once, Bond copied me!

Also in the frame;

Camera - a Nikon FE, produced during the brand's Golden Age, when they released one fantastic camera after another, throughout the 1970s. This one needs to be serviced, as the film advance lever doesn't lock when you wind on to the next frame. Aside from that, it works like a charm.

Sunglasses - Tom Ford 'Snowdon' frames. My wife got these for me about eight years ago off eBay for $20 bucks! Then, Daniel Craig wore the same frames in SPECTRE in 2015. Once again, OO7 took a leaf out of my book. These frames have a very '1960s' look to them. 

Pen - a Lamy Studio ballpoint. This has a twist action to expose the point of the refill, which is not my favourite type of pen. I prefer a push-button, as it can be used one-handed. Back in my two decades of working in restaurants, I got used to having a pen in one hand and a notebook in the other, which made for a smoother and quicker method for taking orders at table. 
Having said that, this is a nice pen to use, with a lovely weight to it. 

Typewriter - a circa 1956 Smith-Corona Silent Super. This brand made some great typewriters in the '40s and '50s, and this is one of their classics. Nice snappy action to the keys and type-slugs as they hit the page.

 No. 5 - Omega Seamaster 300 WatchCo Edition

Right behind the Planet Ocean was this watch, which I wore over 20 different days last year. Omega put its own spin on the dive watch back in the late 1950s and this iteration, which dates back to 1964 represents, for me anyway, the pinnacle of their dive watch design aesthetic. I've often said on watch forums that Omega should have kept this watch in uninterrupted production, with just some minor changes over the years, to allow for improvements in technologies and materials, etc. 
There's a reason why the Rolex Submariner dive watch has attained such a classic status over the years. Rolex are known to be slow in making changes and this resulted in a dive watch that stayed on the market virtually unchanged for decades, thus becoming an iconic wristwatch that is found in almost any Top Ten List of the best watches ever made. 
In my view, Omega could have achieved a similar result if they kept this watch going through the decades. 

Also in the frame;

Camera - the Nikon FM2, another classic of theirs. This one may need servicing also, but it seems to work okay, although I think the internal light metering seems a tad sensitive. 

Sunglasses - Randolph Engineering Aviator frames that I bought about fifteen years ago. These are a spare pair that I keep in my work bag.

Pen - Mont Blanc MeisterStuck 146 ballpoint. This is a reconditioned pen that I got a couple of years ago. As with any ballpoint pen, they are only as good as the refill inside them, in my humble opinion, and this pen does write very nicely. 

Typewriter - the late 1950s Tower Chieftain III, which is a Smith-Corona Skyriter rebranded for Sears Department Stores back in the day. A nice machine to use, and very compact too.

No. 6 - Tudor Ranger

This one was worn 19 times last year. It came out of nowhere late in 2020. It was offered to me at a good price and I found it difficult to say no. The previous owner told me that he had it serviced once during the time that he owned it. I had it checked out after I got it and the original rotor was replaced with a generic ETA rotor. No biggie. 
This watch was based on the Rolex Explorer model. Tudor watches were made by Rolex and they used ETA movements in them instead of in-house Rolex movements. As such, they were lower-priced and aimed at a wider customer demographic. The cases, winding crowns and bracelets were made by Rolex, but the movements were outsourced. This watch measures 34mm in diameter, which is as small as I tend to go with watches. This one has certainly led a life, as can be seen by the condition of the dial and hands. It's had some water-entry at some stage and I'm sure that it's due for another service. Something that I'll get around to at some point. 

Also in the frame;

Camera - Nikon EM from late '70s/early '80s. I had one a few years ago, then sold it. This one was about $40 bucks on eBay. Body only. The lens was another $70. 

Pen - Fisher AG-7 Space Pen. I love the look and feel of this pen. It's very solidly built. I just wish the refills provided a smoother writing experience. Although, maybe that's the compromise for having a pen that writes at any angle. 

Sunglasses - Five bucks from a Thrift Store. There's something very "1970s helicopter pilot" about these frames. 

Typewriter - Circa 1958 Groma Kolibri. The smallest one I have. Just slightly taller than a box of matches. Writes nicely, if a little loud.

No. 7 (equal place) - Rolex Submariner 5513

A Bond watch. I wore it through 17 days last year. The Tudor Black Bay took some of the limelight away from this watch and I did give some serious consideration to selling this one. I spoke to the watchmaker I work with. He said hold on to it. I spoke to a watch dealer that I know. He said hold on to it. Even my wife said hold on to it. She added that I had wanted this watch for so long that it would be a shame to get rid of it. Then I put it on one morning and decided that I was foolish to even think of getting rid of it. I'll look at getting it serviced sometime in 2022, as I think it may be due for some attention. 

Also in the frame; 

Camera - a circa 1968 Nikon F Photomic. This thing weighs a tonne. I really should load it up with some film and give it a bash. 

Sunglasses - Moscot Lemtosh, in tortoiseshell. I got these in Bangkok in 2014. Great lenses, and they have a nice ''Sean Connery in From Russia With Love" vibe. 

Pen - a Parker 75 ballpoint in gold-plate. Nice pen to write with, but the clip is so flimsy. If you have it clipped inside a shirt pocket and you bend down to pick something up off the floor, the pen will slip out of your pocket. 

Typewriter - a circa 1947 Royal Quiet De Luxe. Sometimes, if you type too fast, it will join two words together, which can be annoying. It's an idiosyncrasy of this model. Well, it is a 70+ year-old machine. This is the model made prior to the Henry Dreyfuss revamped design of 1948.
Bond author Ian Fleming purchased a gold-plated version of the Dreyfus model to write his first book, Casino Royale.

No. 7 (equal place) - Seiko SARB033

In equal 7th place, with 17 days on the wrist is this clean and clear dress piece. This one works nicely on its bracelet and it looks equally smart on a plain black leather strap. This would make a good all-purpose wristwatch. 100m water-resistance, a nice and neutral 38mm diameter, which would suit a wide variety of wrist sizes, this is a watch that punches well above its weight. This watch was discontinued a few years ago and has become quite sought-after since. 
Also in the frame; 
Camera - Olympus Pen F digital. This is a micro 4/3rds camera . I did a bit of research prior to buying it. In the end, the range of functions and its retro design won me over. It's been a great camera. 
Pen - a Lamy Logo ballpoint. Nice design, if a little flimsy. The clip came off once and an internal spring fell out. Took me a few minutes to put it all back together. A good pen, though. 
Typewriter -  a circa 1951 Olympia SM2. Writes like a dream. I think Olympia are my favourites. They are such rock-solid typewriters. 

No. 8 (equal place) - Omega Railmaster 36.2mm
I wore this one 15 days last year. It's a favourite. My one issue with it is the clasp. It's a design that dates back to the early 1990s and I'm not a fan of it. I've been thinking about maybe swapping it out with an Omega clasp from another model, but this will require some fine measuring and some possible filing down of components to ensure that they fit. Might be a bigger job than I can handle. At the moment, the watch is on a Forstner flat-link bracelet, which suits it nicely, but it's a lightweight bracelet compared to the Omega original. 
And, if you want to read the review I wrote of this watch eight years ago;

Also in the frame;

Sunglasses - RayBan Wayfarers in tortoiseshell. I bought them in 1986, at the height of the Wayfarer craze, thanks to Tom Cruise popularising them in Risky Business in 1983. He wore the black frames, and everyone I knew was buying them. I opted for tortoiseshell. I have another pair of them somewhere, as well as a pair with prescription lenses in my car. 

Pen - Aurora 98 ballpoint pen. This was sent to me by relatives in Italy back in the mid-Seventies and it stayed in its box for almost forty years before I started using it. 

Typewriter - a circa 1953 Olivetti Studio. I love the entire look of this machine, but man, is it loud! This one will probably go at some point.

No. 8 (equal place) - Omega Speedmaster Professional 
As with the Railmaster, this watch was also worn on fifteen days in 2021. A classic 1960s chronograph design, which has been virtually unchanged for over 60 years, this watch deserves its place in wristwatch history, irrespective of the fact that it was also the Moonwatch, wore by the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission in 1969. 
These days, it has its detractors, who lament the lack of sapphire crystal, the 50m water-resistance, and the fact that it houses a hand-wound movement, but for me, this is all part of its charm. 

Also in the frame; 

Camera - a plain and simple Olympus Trip 35 rangefinder. In production from 1967 till 1984, probably a few of these were used by spectators during the Apollo 11 astronaut's ticker-tape parade upon their return from their historic moon landing. Simple to use, just point and shoot, and it produces a very atmospheric photo. 

Sunglasses - the other pilot's-style frame, similar to the Randolph Engineering model, these ones are made by American Optical. Slightly larger than the Randolph's, and the main difference is that these have plastic lenses rather than glass. 

Typewriter - a 1960s Olivetti Lettera 22, which I bought recently. Not sure why, to be honest, as I'm in the mind-set of trying to thin out my typewriters rather than adding to them.

And that's it. The ten watches that got the most wear throughout the year. This is a good exercise, no matter what collection you might have, because it provides a broad view of what gets used the most, which may in turn help one to determine one's preferences. 

I've come to realise that I like the all-round dependability and practicality of a dive watch. Aside from dive watches, I tend to like the simplicity of a Field or Expedition watch. Basically, a black dial with a few numerals on it, with bold hands to contrast against it. 

I have to say that my vintage pieces barely got a look-in this year. Some of them require servicing, so that might explain it to an extent. I think, though, I was still in a long honeymoon phase with the Tudor Black Bay. 

Anyway, that's how it all stands. I've been wearing the Seiko SKX009 since New Year's Eve. As it has a day and date function, it's been handy. You know how the days blur a little in the first week or two of January? Or maybe that's just me. 

Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

Friday, 31 December 2021

XXXXday, November XXth, 2021 - Back on Tracks, Bond Off/Bond On, Covid Headaches & Recent Wristwatches | P.S.- This is an older post that I should have put up a month or so ago.

Saturday January 1st, 2022 - 5:28pm AEDT. 


Dammit, I never got around to putting up this post back in November. Life has been very busy in recent months and it just slipped my mind. 

Anyway, since I started it, I figured i'd better post it, even if just to show that I'm still alive and kicking. 

November 7th

Quick re-cap from my previous post - My wife was under 14-day home isolation last month after a few of her co-workers tested positive for Covid. We all got the requisite tests done during the first week of her quarantine period and all tests came back negative. 

On day thirteen of her quarantine period, she went to get tested. Next day, she got a  negative result. SO that's that all sorted. Personally, we were 100% certain that she would be okay, but we had to cross our t's and dot our i's. 

I went back to work after a week of annual leave - plus an extra couple of days of staying home after Covid tests - and found a mountain of work waiting for me. Always happens. Took me two weeks to get it all under control. We moved offices. For the last five years, our office was about ten kilometres out of the city centre. Late September, we began the move into the CBD. So, I'm back to catching trains in to work, and I have to say that not much about this commute has changed since I last took trains back in 2011. 

I'm none too thrilled about having to leave home at least 40 minutes earlier in the morning, plus the added expense of a daily train fare. Although, I plan to reach a point where I get to the station well before 8:00am so that I can get to work by 8:30am. 

The recently-purchased Seiko SKX009K has gotten a lot of wear since it arrived. Great legibility, comfortable on the wrist, and its day and date capability has been very handy. 

Back around August of 2019, the Melbourne State Orchestra announced a special screening of the Bond film Skyfall, with the orchestra playing a live rendition of the movie's score while the film played on the screen. As soon as tickets went on sale, I snapped up four of them. It would take place in April 2020 at Hamer Hall, a theatre that usually hosts MSO performances. 

Well, Covid lock-downs soon delayed this performance, as virtually all theatre, concert and cinema venues closed throughout the pandemic. Skyfall in Concert, as it was known, was postponed three times. And then in September this year, I received an email stating that I would be refunded the ticket price and would be invited to re-purchase them once a new venue was confirmed. Well, the new venue and performance date was confirmed in the first weeks of October. The concert would now take place on December 8th at the Myer Music Bowl and I would receive an email soon to allow me to purchase early-bird tickets. 

Hmm, the Myer Music Bowl is an outdoor venue. I wasn't crazy about that idea. Anyway, I received the invite via email and hit the link which re-directed me to the ticket buying page. Whereas the original tickets that I purchased cost me $90.oo each, these new tickets would be anywhere between $74.oo and $149.oo AND I couldn't see a tab or section on the webpage that would allow me to choose my preferred seating. I was now ticked off. 

I understand the change of venue. These theatres book events often many months in advance, and I get that Hamer Hall (the original venue) was probably scheduled to have other performances booked throughout the remainder of this year. So, if it was now to be held at an outdoor venue, I could probably cope with that, assuming the weather held out on the night. 

However, no clear indication of seating preference, coupled with a possibly steep hike in pricing was a deal-breaker for me. After stewing for about half an hour, I didn't bother purchasing tickets for this event. My family provided further logic to my own view. If the weather's no good, it won't be any fun, if the prices are $150 bucks, then that's way too much, etc. 

I soon felt better about it all. In the meantime, my family snagged tickets to a Gold Class session of No Time To Die on opening day. Gold Class tickets are $38.oo each and you get to sit in an reclining armchair in a theatre with 20 seats. You can order food and drinks beforehand and they'll bring them in to you at pre-arranged times throughout the screening. So, there's that to look forward to. Finally, after so many delays, the new Bond flick opens here in Australia on November 11th. 

I'm hoping it's a good film. Reviews - which I haven't read - have been positive for the most part. There have been a few spoilers online, in the most unlikely places. One Instagrammer whom I followed put up a photo from the film with a three-word caption which, for me, turned out to be a major spoiler. I promptly hit the 'Unfollow' tab.

Been waiting years for this film, what with all the added Covid-related delays,  and some knob throws a major spanner in the works with three little words.  And that, hepcats, is just another problem with social media. I'll be closing my Twitter account at some point. I set it up nine years ago as part of my Social Media module when I was doing Library Studies and have no real use for it. For me, it's just one more bit of mind clutter, and another thing that I have to tend to. 

Anyway, I hope this new Bond film makes up for the last one. 



Some of the watches I wore since my last post. 

The Tudor Ranger. I had the case-back opened up to get a look at the movement. It appears that the original rotor was replaced with a generic one. I was slightly ticked off at first, but as I plan on keeping this watch, it's no big deal. Also, I can get an after-market rotor off eBay, which is something that I should have done when I saw them for sale a few weeks ago. Otherwise, if I ever do sell this watch, I'll just be transparent regarding the rotor. 

Also in the frame is this Montecristo ashtray. I don't smoke cigars, but I've always liked the Art Deco-fonted Montecristo logo and colourway. It's such a pleasant shade of yellow.

Continuing to get regular wear is the Tudor Black Bay 58. I write down in my diary each day the watch that I've worn, so that I can write up a Most-Worn Watch tally post early in the new year. I thin the Black Bay will be in the Number 1 spot this year. 
I took this photo with my iPhone and then ran it through the Mosaic filter in the Prisma editing app to produce this effect. I like the fact that, even through this filter effect, the watch is clearly legible. For me, that's the main criteria for any wristwatch, especially as I get older. Since I now pretty much have to put on glasses to read anything from a novel to a list of ingredients on a biscuit packet, I like my watches to be easy to read.


The Rado Golden Horse was perfect for those days when a simple time-and-date watch was required. To give myself a break from sports watches. I'm somewhat tempted to get another watch in a similar style, but I'm not really sure why. About a year ago, I started writing myself a document outlining each watch in the collection and why I have it. This was done as an exercise to help me determine what kind of watches I like, which ones in the collection will stay (most of them) and which ones will most likely be moved on. Needless to say, this document is a work in progress and I'm not even sure if it will ever be finished, as my tastes tend to change a little over time. However, it has been good to get it all down on paper, so to speak, as I've found that my tastes have changed over the years and I now seem to have a better understanding of the kinds of watches that I like.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic spent some time on the wrist. As mentioned, since it's a beater, it gets worn for yard work and handyman duties around the house, but I've yet to really put any marks on it. Which is probably a good thing, even though I think it'll look good with a few scars on it. I seem to have accumulated a vast array of leather straps over the years, so I thought I'd put this one on this watch. My idea is to leave a strap on a watch long enough to actually see the strap deteriorate over time. Worn daily, a leather strap will last anywhere between 1 and a half to 2 and a half years, depending on exposure to water, perspiration, or any other fluids, be they chemical or organic. Moisture can weaken the adhesives and stitching used in the manufacture of the straps. This is normal wear-and-tear, and it's sometimes the hardest thing to explain to customers who contact me to complain that their leather strap only lasted them three years. That's a pretty decent run, if you ask me. Having been in the industry for so long, three years is at the upper end of a leather strap's life-span if the watch has seen regular wear. Oh, and of course, plain old exposure to air and sunlight will weaken the leather too. Leather dries out, boys and girls. And speaking to the girls out there, ladies, a little bit of perfume or fragrance applied to the wrist will have an acidic reaction on the stitches of your leather strap. 

The trains have been relatively quiet during this (hopefully) last lock-down that we had in Victoria. It was lifted in late October, but it seems that not everybody has returned to their original workplaces. Here's my train carriage at around 5:45pm on a Wednesday afternoon in late October;

Of course, since then, there are more people traveling by rail as life enters 'Covid normal'. Masks are no longer required outdoors, but I still tend to wear mine on cold days, moreso to keep my face warm than anything else. I'm seeing a lot of people who are not scanning the barcodes outside of various establishments before going in. This is still a contact tracing requirement in the event of another major outbreak. 
Service Victoria has created an app that you download onto your smartphone and after you scan the barcode outside a store, it registers that you've visited this location, along with a link to your vaccination certificate if you've had both Covid vaccines. Most places now won't let you in unless you are double-vaxxed. There's still a large segment of anti-vaxxers in our country who think that the vaccines are injecting some form of population control technology into our bloodstreams, etc. Seriously? 
I ain't gonna get into it. We had a couple of staff at work who had no plans to get vaccinated. Until management told them that it was a requirement of the job under current State regulations. One of them said to me; But you don't have to worry. You're double-vaxxed. 
I'm also a mild asthmatic who smoked for 35 years, so my respiratory system is already compromised and I don't need to risk it, I replied. 
His wife is a nurse, so he gets a lot of anecdotal info regarding Covid cases at the hospital where she works. He says most of the Covid fatalities are due to patients already having some pre-existing health issues that already compromise their immune systems, etc. 
I understand that, but I don't plan on chancing it if I can. Just as well he got vaccinated, because if he didn't, I'd be recommending to management that he posed a potential risk to the rest of us in the workplace. 



The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. 

Published in 2006, it's set in the mythical city of Camorr, a blend of medieval Venice and 18th Century London, and centres around a young orphaned street urchin named Locke Lamora, who is sold by The ThiefMaker to The Eyeless Priest. The ThiefMaker is glad to be rid of this child, who has caused him nothing but grief. 
And the kid is only seven years old. 
The Eyeless Priest sits outside his temple, blind and blind-folded, and chained to the building by his wrists. He is the Priest of The Crooked Warden, the patron saint of thieves, and is the caretaker of a bunch of other orphaned boys that make up The Gentlemen Bastards, a group of sneak-thieves, pick-pockets and con artists, all well under the age of eighteen when the story begins. The Eyeless Priest, or Father Chains, as he goes by, teaches them the skills of thievery and the art of the con. 
This first book is part of an initial trilogy, and Lynch has just completed Book 4, due for release soon. It's the kind of book that my son likes to read and he offered it to me as a way for me to take a break from my usual literary diet of thrillers. 
I have to say this book is fantastic. And that's not just coming from somebody who doesn't usually read fantasy. This book is beautifully written. Lynch has a wonderful way with words and turns of phrase. Beyond that, he's vividly created this world that exists in a realm made up of glass skyscrapers, dark alchemy, and a vocabulary and terminology which appears confusing at first, but is soon understood once you get into the story. I was hooked about a dozen pages in. And then there's the plot. Think of Oliver Twist crossed with The Sting. Locke Lamora is slightly-built, not good at fighting or handy with a sword, but he makes up for it with his conniving. He and his gang are soon in the midst of a long con involving a shipment of rare wine and a rich Count that they plan to swindle. 
And that's just the start of the story. The city of Camorr is overseen by the Duke Nicovante at the upper reaches, and Capa Barsavi at the criminal end. Crime in the city is tolerated by the upper classes as long as certain conditions are not breached, and Capa Barsavi is there to ensure that nobody, including Locke and his gang, upsets the status quo. Barsavi also collects a commission from the proceeds of all crime in Camorr.
A lot more happens, but I'm only about three hundred pages in, just over half-way. The characters are foul-mouthed at times, richly detailed and layered, and the story flashes back and forth between Locke's apprenticeship under Father Chains, and ten years later as Locke and his gang get their con underway. Meanwhile, to complicate matters, along comes The Grey King, who is systematically killing Barsavi's most trusted underlings and associates, threatening a major battle in the underworld. 
The chapters are broken down into smaller sub-chapters, but this book rewards being read in big chunks, as so much occurs in the story. 
I've been very impressed by the book's 'English' feel, in both the language and the sentence construction, considering that Lynch is American born and bred.
He's captured the nuances of British English very well.
As I  mentioned, this isn't the kind of tale that I'd normally read. I prefer stories set in places with cars on roads and elevators in buildings, but this book is so well written and plotted that I was drawn into it very easily. 
So far, short of it all falling to pieces in the next 200 pages, I highly recommend this book. 

The Omega Planet Ocean got some wear since my last post. There's been so much coverage of the new James Bond Omega watch from No Time To Die in recent months in the lead-up to the movie's release date. Aside from write-ups on various fashion blogs that have dissected Bond's wardrobe and accessories in this film, wristwatch forums are abuzz with chatter about this watch.
Personally, I'm not a fan of it. 
I think there are too many elements in its design which have dated since the original design from 1993. Of course, it's been a strong seller since its release, so what do I know? Either way, I have three watches as worn by Bond in the movies, so my OO7 wristwatch stable is pretty well stocked.  
The Omega Railmaster also got some time on the wrist. Here it is on a Forstner flat-link bracelet. It's not a bad bracelet, but I don't think it suits the watch 100%, or maybe I've just gotten to used to the original bracelet, which will go back onto the watch at some point.

January 1st, 2022
                            Anyway, I'll stop it here. I hope you all had a pleasant festive season (for those who celebrate it) and here wishing you all a good year ahead. 
I hope 2022 treats you all kindly.

Keep safe, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Wednesday October 6th, 2021 - RIP Charlie Watts, Post-Op Mishaps, Covid Jabs, Covid Tests + Recent Wristwatches

Wednesday 25th, August, 2021
                                                   I had just parked my car in an all-day parking space, which meant that I wouldn't have to step out of the office to move my car every two hours. As I approached the entrance to my office, my phone rang. 
                                           It was my wife; T, I just read the news that Charlie Watts died. 

The news didn't hit me at first, but as the morning progressed, I found myself getting more upset. A hackneyed phrase, but it's the end of an era. Watts was 80 and had recently undergone a procedure for an undisclosed ailment. On doctor's orders, he was to miss the North American leg of The Rolling Stones' current tour in order to recuperate. 
He died on Tuesday and tributes soon began appearing on Twitter and Instagram. 
For me, The Stones are now permanently chipped. Watts was always low-key and unassuming. Reading a few articles on music sites, I soon realised the degree of his input in every song. I don't know much about music with regard to terminology, how its written, the difference between E-flat and D-sharp, major or minor chords. So, it's been interesting reading of how he managed to keep Mick Jagger and Keith Richards under control for almost 60 years. Whenever Richards would start speeding through a song onstage, Watts would reign him back in. 
There's the oft-told story of how Jagger was drunk in a hotel room and referred to Watts as ''my little drummer''. 
Watts left the room, went to his own room, changed into a sharp suit and then returned to Jagger's suite and punched him in the face, then added; "I'm not your little drummer. You're my fucking little singer!"
Watts provided the necessary calm amidst the storm that was Jagger and Richards. The neatly pressed collar as a counterpoint to his little singer's puffy shirt sleeves. If you logged on to The Stones website in the weeks following his death, this picture (left) is what you would see.

It has since been updated with information regarding the band's upcoming North American tour, but it was nice to see this image.

I have to hand it to Watts. It is well-known that he didn't enjoy touring, as it took him away from home for long spells. You could cynically argue that he made good money as a result, but he could have called it quits twenty or thirty years ago and gone on to other pursuits. I just think that he felt an obligation to the band and that's why he toured. 

He leaves behind his wife Shirley, whom he married in 1964, and a daughter named Seraphina, along with a legion of fans around the world.

Following directly from my previous post, here's my cat-inflicted wound, healing nicely, three days after the previous photo. Also in the frame is the Rado Golden Horse. This watch was first produced in 1957 and it appeared again over the years. I doubt it was in constant production, but a modern version was released a year or two ago.

I do like vintage Rados. They have cool names like Green Horse, Purple Horse, Golden Gazelle and they were decent sellers back in the day. Very popular throughout the Asian countries, as these watches were inexpensive and dependable. 

So, I got the titanium implant procedure done in late July. Two titanium screws fitted to my gum-line. Puffier in the cheeks for the first week and all I ate was soup, to play it safe. About ten days after the procedure, I was using a mouthwash and felt one of the screws swishing around in my mouth. It had come off! Luckily, I didn't swallow it and it didn't end up down the bathroom basin's sink. 

A quick email to the dental surgeon (it was around ten pm) and a couple of frantic phone calls the next morning. Another dentist could re-attach the screw. Took him less than a minute. I later thought about it a surmised that it may have been the two sticks of Big Red that I chewed on the day before that might have undone the screw. Needless to say, I haven't chewed gum since and no screws have loosened. My next appointment is in late November, to check how the implant screws have settled in. Then it's an appointment with my regular dentist to get porcelain crowns fitted to the screws. 

The day after this incident, I had my first Pfizer jab. Got my second one a couple of weeks ago. Two staff at work have stated that they have no intention of getting vaccinated, which ticks me off, but what can you do? 

Okay, some watches that I've worn since my last post.

The Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk. This is the watch that I'll probably take with me when I travel, whenever that'll be again. Battery-powered, 200m water-resistant, and it has a second timezone scale on the main dial. And the hands and hour markers glow like mad in the dark!

Obviously, I can't travel at the moment and, even if I could, my wife and I haven't exactly made plans for our next trip. If anything, there are some house-related refurbishments that require attention before another trip. And something tells me that airfares will be quite pricey once this whole Covid mess calms down a little. 

The Seiko SARB033 has gotten some wear. This watch works nicely on its steel bracelet or a leather strap. It would look good on a brown strap, just as a point of difference.

The Omega Seamaster 300 WatchCo. I had it serviced a couple of years ago and it's running nicely. It would be impossible to replace this watch for the price that I paid for it back in 2009, so that's just another reason why it's a keeper. Back in 2006 or so, I spent a long time trawling through eBay for one of these in original condition. I saw a lot of fakes, as this watch was heavily counterfeited during the Vietnam War and sold to unsuspecting GIs, and I saw a lot of badly water-damaged originals. The models that I did see in good condition were quite pricey and out of my price range.
In the end, I contacted a former colleague who worked for a company that built these watches up, using genuine Omega replacement parts and old movements from vintage Omega watches. A lot of collectors don't rate these, calling them 'Frankenwatches', as they did not originate from Omega in Switzerland, but I don't care. All parts are genuine, and this watch would be no different to a water damaged watch that required a new dial, hands, full movement overhaul, etc. Sure, the serial number on the movement would correspond to a vintage dress model Omega from the 1960s, but big deal.

The Rolex Submariner 5513 got some time on the wrist as well, but it was usurped by the Tudor Black Bay 58 most days. 
I think this one may be due for a service soon. 
And, at the time of writing this portion (Oct 6th), No Time To Die has premiered in the UK to a majority of positive reviews. Our state-wide lock-down is meant to end on October 23rd, and this film is due for release in Australia on November 11th. Hopefully, I'll get to see this film around that time. 
Covid case numbers were 1,746 as of two days ago. A week prior to that (27/9), they were 1,008. Now, however, the tactic here in Victoria has changed. Whereas our State Government was hoping for case numbers to drop, they have now suggested that the state will re-open gradually as more people get vaccinated. We have reached an 80% of the population having had the first vaccine, but the idea is to get to both vaccinations for 70 to 80% of the population Australia-wide. 
Couple of staff at my office have no intention of getting vaccinated. We'll see if that changes sometime soon. 
Bit of a mess, ain't it?

And, as I stated, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has spent much time on my wrist. I'm fairly certain that it will take top spot as my most-worn wristwatch of 2021.
My Rolex Sub has considerable clout, history and street cred, and it's beautiful to look at, but this Tudor does things that the Sub no longer can. You may recall that I knocked the crystal off the Sub a couple of years ago when I bumped the watch against a door frame. I was a little surprised to see the crystal and bezel come off the watch so easily. Maybe it was one of those wrong-angle freak accidents, but I began to wonder if I could afford to maintain this watch in the long run. Knock on wood, there have been no other knocks since then, but I have been a little more careful with this watch since. 
I have often stated that owning one of these older Rolex dive watches is akin to owning a vintage sports car. A little more care and feeding is required in order to maintain them.

My wife hasn't worn her Sinn 556A for the last couple of years. She got some good wear out of it, but always found the date a little hard to read. So did I. 
I did my research before buying her this watch back in 2014. She wanted something large, not a dainty watch. Check, this watch measures 38.5mm in diameter. 
She wanted something with large numbers on the dial. Check. The numerals and hour markers are coated in SuperLuminova and glow nicely in the dark. 
She wanted something automatic, and it had to be water-resistant, as she tends to wear her watch all the time. Check. This watch is an auto and it has a more-than-she-needs 200m water-resistance. 
And it had to have a date window. Check. This watch has a discreet date window at the 4:30 position on the dial. A little too discreet it seems, because the date window is quite small. I suppose this was done so as to not to interrupt the symmetry of the dial layout. The date is there when you need to refer to it. It's just a tad small for our eyesight these days. 
The Sinn 556A served her well over the years. It took a beating and kept on going, and it has a few scars to show for it. 
Although, in the interests of her having a watch with a date that she could see, I began looking at alternatives. The Tudor North Flag was my first stop;

A bold 40mm case, black dial with at-a-glance readability, 100m water-resistance, a power reserve indicator - which lets you know how fully wound the watch is at any time - AND a date window that is easy to see. 
As an added bonus, it also had a 70 hour power reserve in its in-house movement. Take this watch off on a Friday night after wearing it all week and it'll still be running on Monday morning. This is no mean feat, as most watches (in lower price brackets, it has to be said) have a power reserve of around 40 hours. Still, 70 hours is a big deal. One thing about this Tudor, though; it was twice the price of what I was looking to spend, which is okay considering it is a Tudor with an in-house movement, but I don't think my wife would want me to spend that kind of money on a watch for her. 

So, I kept looking and landed on the ORIS Pro Pilot Date model. Yes, this would work. It's known as the Big Date model and its date window is of a slightly larger dimension than most watches of this size. This watch is 40mm in diameter, with a dark blue dial with sunburst pattern. The hands and dial numerals are filled in with SuperLuminova, so it'll glow nicely in the dark, and the case is rated to 100m water resistant. Perfect. It would do nicely. So I got it for her, and in the two years that she's had it, she's put it through its paces and it has performed admirably.

September 30th
                          Somebody at my wife's workplace tested positive for Covid-19, so her office has closed for the time being and she's working from home. She and I went to get Covid tests done, as she was initially classified as a Primary contact. She works with one other staff member in an office that's just over four metres long. They both wear masks in the office and they don't have direct contact as such. Well, this co-worker of hers tested positive and is awaiting news as to whether or not she'll have to go into 14-day hotel quarantine. To play it safe, we went to get tested and got a Negative result the next day. My wife stayed in isolation at home since then, as a further precaution and has gone and had another test today (October 6th). The nurse who administered the test said that it's more than likely that it'll return a negative result, based on the info regarding her work area, as the distance between my wife and her colleague, plus the mask wearing and regular sanitising of their shared work spaces, have greatly minimised any risk. Also, as it's now been five days since my wife had her first Covid test, the incubation period for the Delta strain of Covid has passed. Basically, if my wife had Covid, we'd all know it by now. 
The Delta strain has a slightly longer incubation period than previous Covid-19 strains. Three to five days. Isolation and quarantine periods are listed as 14 days, in an effort to be completely certain as, on rare occasions, some people have not shown symptoms until ten days or more after exposure to the virus. 

However, an extra test doesn't hurt. I took my son to get tested last Sunday (negative) and my daughter on Monday, and since I was there, the nurse suggested I may as well get tested, despite having had one a few days earlier on the Friday. Our tests both returned negative results. Amidst all of this, I was keeping my boss informed via phone calls, since I didn't go back in to work this week, as a precautionary measure. I had last week off as annual leave and was due to go in on Monday (4th). 
Needless to say, it's been a slightly nerve-wracking week here at chez Teeritz. We spent over four hours on hold trying to get through to the Contact Tracing Department of the Covid-19 hotline. My wife emailed them outlining her situation and three days later, we have yet to hear back, but from all advice from the Covid hotline and the Covid testing nurses, it all seems fine. Once my wife gets the results of this morning's Covid test, we'll know 100% for sure. Personally, I think she's fine. 

Oh, and today (October 6th) is our 25th Wedding Anniversary! Happy Anniversary, baby! Here's to another 25 years! We'll be spending it at home, under lock-down. I told my wife I'd bring the dining table out into the middle of the room, with a few candles, and we'll order fish & chips and have a pleasant meal with the kids.
And they say romance is dead.
Maybe we'll have a drink or two. My wife doesn't drink, but I might convince her to have a Pavan liqueur with a dash of mineral water on ice.That would be mild enough, I'm sure.
Okay, time for a watch-related typecast, hammered out on the circa 1966 Olympia SM9;
Hmm, a couple of typos here and there.

This here is the Seiko 5 DX model. A nice watch. The Seiko 5 series was first produced in the mid-1960s and has always offered an inexpensive range of watches across a wide array of designs, from dress pieces to dive watches. 
The movements inside these watches are true workhorses. They just run and run and run. 
Dammit, the more I look at this watch, the more I want to keep it. We'll see how it goes. If I find that it doesn't get much wear, it'll have to go. 
It's a nice day-to-day dress watch, and its overall design, with its sharp angles to the wide tonneau-shaped case, is very of its era. The dial, though, is a sunburst silver and I have found that the hands 'blend in' from certain angles and can become hard to read, as the dial throws back some reflection when glanced at quickly. Something that I always used to tell my customers back in my watch selling days; A watch has to tell the time above all else first. If it's not easy to read, it fails its primary purpose. 

And this here is the SKX009K that just arrived a week ago. This is one of Seiko's classic dive watch designs, one that can't be mistaken for iconic Swiss dive watches from the like of Rolex or Omega, to name a few. There are two different variants of this model. The SKX009J is assembled in Japan and it has a slightly different shade of dark blue to the dial. This model, with the 'K' designation in the model number, is assembled under licence in Malaysia. The main at-a-glance difference between the two models is that the Japanese-built version will have ''21 Jewels'' printed on the dial underneath the ''DIVER'S 200m" wording. And, of course, it will state ''Made in Japan'' in small lettering at the six o'clock edge of the dial, as well as "JAPAN'' engraved on the case-back. 
If you're a purist, go for the Japanese-made model, which is about a hundred bucks pricier. Both watches house the rock-solid in-house Calibre 7S26, which is virtually bullet-proof. You can't wind this watch by hand, it needs to be given a few gentle shakes to get it started, and you can't hack the seconds hand. With the great majority of mechanical watches, when you pull the winding crown out to its furthest setting to set the time, the seconds hand stops ticking. This is so that you can line up the seconds hand to twelve, position the minute hand exactly on a minute marker on the dial and set the time on the watch right down to the second. You know, synchronise your watches, gentlemen and all that. 
Well, you can't hack the seconds hand on this watch. No big deal. What you get with the Calibre 7S26 is a dependable movement that will run for a decade or two before it needs any major servicing, if anecdotal evidence amongst watch collectors is to be believed. 
I've spoken to a few people over the years who swear by this watch.
The SKX007 (black dial and bezel) and the SKX009 (blue dial with blue and red bezel, like mine) were discontinued just over a year ago, but they can still be found with a little searching online. 
I opted for the blue and red as a way to break up my dive watch collection a little and introduce some other colours. It arrived on the standard Seiko rubber dive strap which I promptly removed and fitted a bracelet that I kept from another Seiko watch that I sold last year. It looks better on a bracelet, but it works very well on a nylon NATO strap, which I may use on it in Summer.
The case diameter is 42mm, but it wears very well on my 6.5 inch wrist. 
The winding crown is positioned at the 4 o'clock edge of the case, as a further detail which separates it a little more from my other divers. Further difference is the red 3rd of the bezel, from zero to 20. The unidirectional bezel turns nice and smooth, with 120 clicks around the dial. Definitely better than the bezels of past Seiko dive models that I've owned. 

Anyway, that's another post down. Been a while between drinks. Busy times for all, no doubt. I hope you've all been keeping safe and that you continue to do so. 
Thanks for reading!