Friday, 10 November 2017

Six Weeks (Give or Take) Till Christmas & My Recent Wristwatches.

Oooh, boy, am I tired lately. Work's gonna continue to get busy between now and when Santa comes down our chimneys. 
I don't know how long or short these posts of mine will be as we head towards the end of the year.
Anyway...

Our old faithful Ascaso Dream  coffee machine was on the fritz again. Probably due for a service. My wife brought it to the repairers and they got back to us ten days later to say that the boiler had gone and would require replacing. That was gonna cost us about $250 bucks. 
Well, this machine has been good to us over the last eight years, but I didn't feel like shelling out that kind of dough to get it fixed. My wife and I
had a quick huddle (well, we texted each other about it) and we decided that we'd rather put $250.oo towards a new machine. Now, I was all for getting something semi-industrial, but A) that would have been a circa three thousand dollar machine, and B) there's just no spot in the kitchen where a machine of that size would work comfortably.

So, we did a quick search on the 'net and landed
on a Rancilio Silvia Model No. 5.
I had used Rancilio coffee machines during my time in hospitality. Now, I'm no expert on industrial coffee machines, but I've always been happy behind the wheel of a Rancilio or Faema machine.
Anyway, this one has full-sized group handles (the part that you put the ground coffee in) and a  250ml boiler. The steamer wand has plenty of pep and it'll froth up some milk for a couple of lattes in about ten or twelve seconds.It's definitely a step or two up from the Ascaso.
I've written about coffee before;

Whole Latte Love | My Life With Coffee

So I won't go into it all again now.

Okay, wristwatch-wise, here's what I've been up to;

The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean got a decent run early in the month. I've still got some black & white Ilford HP5 film loaded up into this FM2 that I need to finish up. Then, because this film requires a particular processing...uh...'process', I'll have to trek across town one Saturday morning to drop it off for developing. I have another roll of it somewhere and I can't remember what photos I actually took with this film. I hope they're worth it.

I've been slowly going through some older posts and replacing my Photobucket ransomed pictures with replacements from my hard drive. This. Is. Gonna. Take. Some. Time.

Switched over to the Enicar Ultrasonic last weekend before preparing an elaborate pasta sauce from a book about Lygon Street;

It's a great book, covering the history of the street, which was considered a dangerous slum fifty years ago before it became Melbourne's Little Italy. The chapters are interspersed with recipes from many of the restaurants that are still in business there today. 

The recipe I used was for a casalinga (home-style) sauce which consisted of broccoli, diced tomatoes, beans and various spices. I made too much of it and I later contemplated adding a little water and stock to it and turning it into a soup. 
Of course, this was last weekend and I'm now thinking that it may be a little too stale to try anything fancy with it. Perhaps next time. 

Wore the Longines Expeditions Polaires Francaises Paul-Emile Victor for most of the week;


I took it off its lizard-skin strap and put a cheap vinyl NATO strap on it. This made for a very comfy fit and feel, but I couldn't stand the fact that I was wearing something that felt so flimsy. This was not an expensive strap. I think I paid about ten bucks for it, so I imagine that I knew it wasn't gonna be real leather when I bought it. Still, it's good to try it out, so that I can later decide if I'd go for a genuine leather version of it. 

And today, I wore the circa 1962- don't know why I keep referring to it as 'circa' when I'm fairly certain that it is from 1962- Seamaster. I bought an after-market bead-of-rice bracelet for it and spent too much time adjusting and hacking away it it until I got it to fit my wrist. 

This shirt has been in its original packaging for the last five or six years and I finally decided to bust it open and wear it to work this morning. It's my correct size, but it has a generous fit. I've gotten used to a slimmer fitting shirt in recent years and really didn't like the way this shirt sat on me. Looks like I'll be washing and ironing it before I take it to a nearby Op Shop (thrift store). I'm hoping it'll get snapped up pretty quickly, because it's a nice cotton with a pleasant weave in an agreeable shade of lavender.
Oh well...


And that's it, gang. As I said at the beginning, work is getting busier, and my aim is to get as much done as possible before the holiday period in late December.
Anyway, it's now around 9:45pm and I'm retiring to the lounge room. 
Here's a close-up of today's watch. 


Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!
                                                                                                                              

Friday, 27 October 2017

Sunday 15/10/17 to Saturday 28/10/17- Another Typewriter Find, A Watchmaker Find, A Staggering Wristwatch Auction Result, & This Month's Wristwatches

I washed a pair of jeans recently. Hadn't worn them for a few months. Hung them out to dry and then gave them a light iron to get the main creases and wrinkles out of them before folding them up and putting them into the wardrobe.
Wore them to work the following day and noticed that they felt just a little tighter than they did the last time I tried them on. They must've shrunk a little in the wash.

I wore these jeans again a week later and paired them with a grey t-shirt and an indigo blue short-sleeved shirt. Then I looked down at my stomach to see a paunch that seemed to have materialised overnight. What the hell!!!???
Looking at my belt, I saw that I was wearing it two notches looser that I normally do. 
Okay, it appears that I've put on a little bit of middle-aged spread, I thought to myself.
Needless to say, I wasn't crazy about this. I have a thin build. Call me skinny. I'm around five-ten and weigh 162 pounds.
Until I jumped on the bathroom scale and saw that I was now hovering just under 167 pounds.
Oh my God!


My wife found this all quite amusing; "You're forgetting that you've had an office job, sitting at a desk for the last year and a half, after decades of jobs where you were constantly on your feet and moving around. Not only that, but your metabolism has probably slowed down in recent years", she reminded me.

Either way, I gotta lose this gut. While I never had a six-pack stomach, I did always have one that was flat.
Time to get it back. And then try for a six-pack.




It's got a fairly hefty look to it, and the carriage has some weight to it when you slide it across to the right, but aside from that, it works quite well. Not sure if I'll keep it. I'll have to load a fresher ribbon into it and see how I feel about it after that. 
I've reached a point where I have enough typewriters to choose from, and I find that I don't use them much at the moment. 
I have one or two that I plan to sell, but I just have to get around to tidying them up a little first.
This Everest has a nice cream-coloured paint-job. Might give the name-plate a going over with some gold paint.


I mainly wore the Oris Diver Sixty-Five over the last couple of weeks;



I've spent the last few months looking for a watchmaker who could do the servicing on my Submariner 5513. Here's a pic from about two years ago;

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Mtt357BhRo0/VimcqiN-ONI/AAAAAAAAHFs/H1LqfUWfqPg/s1600/Sub%2B20th.JPG

 For those of you who might be unaware of the saga, here's a quick re-cap;

* I've wanted a 5513 ever since I was a kid, when I saw a Bond double-bill back in the mid-Seventies. 

* Finally got one in January 2015.

* In October that year, I was swapping the bracelet over to a NATO strap and the bezel and crystal fell away from the case;

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-9kv9AmGmrK4/VjLlCfvvLLI/AAAAAAAAHGs/g8Pd9MQZGQQ/s1600/PA261148.JPG

 * Now, I already knew that the crystal and the bezel insert were after-market parts, so my intention was to take the watch to Rolex to get a quote for a service and replacement of these parts as well. 

* Their quote was a tad pricey at the time, so I put it all on the back-burner for the time being. 

* Fast forward to earlier this year and I took the watch back to Rolex to get an amended repair quote. They quoted pretty much the same as last time, but they also quoted for a set of replacement hands. This would be a deal-breaker for me. If they put new hands on the watch, they would not match the patina of the hour markers on the dial. 
The reason they wanted to change the hands was because, according to them, the luminous compound on them was beginning to crack. This can sometimes cause the broken particles to get into the movement.
I told them I would take my chances.
No dice.
I asked them if they could leave the hands alone, as a professional courtesy to somebody in the watch industry.
No dice.
They wouldn't budge. Fair enough, I thought. Wristwatch service centres are there to make your watch look and run like brand new, wherever possible. 
I declined the quote. Again. 

* Time for Plan B. I managed to find a new bezel insert, still sealed in its original packaging, from a dealer on eBay. I paid through the nose for it. I then bought a couple of after-market crystals from a watch parts supplier in the UK. These are German-made crystals and they're well regarded by collectors and watchmakers.
Next step would be to find a watchmaker who could do the work and, more importantly, save the lume on the hands. 
The luminous compound used on older watch dials and hands was Tritium. Prior to this, Radium -which is radioactive-  was used on pocket watches and wristwatches up until sometime in the 1950s. Tritium was a safer product. 
Over time, Tritium can become brittle and flaky, and can break off the dial and hands of a wristwatch. I had read of a technique where the weakened compound can be stabilised by painting the underside of the hands with nail lacquer or varnish. This acts as a glue and holds the lume in place. 
As far as I was concerned, it was worth a shot. 

* I began making a few enquiries among fellow watch nerds on the forums. I had heard good things about two watchmakers interstate. I was hoping to keep things local, though.

* Then I remembered a watchmaker I met once. He worked at a small suburban jewellery store before going off to work for the service centre of a Swiss watch brand. He did that for a few years and then bought the jewellery store he used to work for. I decide to give him a call. He was a nice guy. 

* I called his store and one of the ladies there told me that they were closing down in two weeks! I spoke to the watchmaker and told him I'd go around and visit him before he closed, if I got the chance.

* I saw him a week later and he explained that business had gotten tough while the rent had gotten higher in recent years. He had been offered a job back at the service centre where he'd worked previously. 
However, he gave me the name of a watchmaker who specialised in Rolex restoration work here in Melbourne. As it happened, the watchmaker he mentioned was a fellow I had heard of numerous times over the years. I should have gone to this guy to begin with. He told me that this watchmaker was currently overseas, but would be back in town first week of October. 

* I tried to call this watchmaker a few times earlier this month, but had no luck. He was either still overseas, or very busy. I sent him an e-mail and got a reply the next day. He said he was back in town. 
I replied to him, saying that I'd bring the watch to him sometime in the next couple of weeks. 

* And that's where it stands, thrill-seekers. My wife will take the kids in to Italian school next Saturday morning while I drive across town to this fellow's workshop, which happens to be a ten-minute drive from where I grew up.
Life can be funny sometimes. I'll be very interested to hear what he thinks of this watch and what it requires.

Friday the 13th rolled around and I decided to give the dive watches a break and switch to something vintage. I busted out the Camy Club-Star on the Speidel bracelet. 
I have to say it's been a very busy four or five months for me at work. The watch sales industry has gotten a little quiet this year, but it seems that the repair side of things has gotten busier. Makes sense. I noticed something similar about seven or so years ago when I sold watches at a boutique. Around the time of the GFC, when the US and Europe underwent financial hell, we saw a noticeable drop in retail sales of high-end wristwatches as Australia began to suspect that it was headed for a recession too, but there was a spike in our repair intake. People were getting their watches fixed rather than shelling out for new ones. 
I'm on top of my workload. I've implemented a routine whereby I slice up my workday so that I tackle different tasks throughout the day. If, say, eight new repairs come in, I allow two hours to book them in. If I only manage to book in six of them, I leave the remaining two for later in the day and move on to some other task. So far, so good. I'm finding that I end up with a spare half-hour later in the day and that's when I tackle the two remaining book-ins. It works well, and each day gives priority to different tasks. The wild cards, of course, are phone calls and/or e-mails  from clients wanting information on how the repair process works, or other technical questions. 
I have stipulated in my quotations that we do not provide individual updates during the repair time-frame, as there just isn't enough time throughout the day to respond to every enquiry, especially if a customer calls up in the early stages of a repair. I just have no new information to give them. It seems that nobody reads the important info in the quotes regarding turnaround times (six to ten weeks, depending on availability of parts) and possibilities of delays , etc. 
Still, I have to say that most customers are very understanding. 
But there are some folks...

I swung past a nearby Op Shop and snagged a used deck of Bicycle Playing Cards and a Book Club Edition of a Hemingway collection for the tidy sum of six bucks fifty.
I was wearing the Omega Railmaster. -->

Saturday 21st
                       I left the house early. It was gonna take me over an hour to get to this watchmaker's workshop. When I was about  five minutes away from his location, I reached an intersection that would only allow me to make a left-hand turn. This forced me to double-back and added a few more minutes to my trip time.
I got there shortly afterwards and parked in a side-street. His workshop was located at the quieter end of a small street filled with cafes and gift shops.
Moments later, I entered the workshop, introduced myself to the watchmaker, and gave him the run-down on my little First World saga.

We spoke about what the watch would require in order to get it looking and running as it should. I showed him the after-market crystals that I'd bought online.
"No, these are shit", was his response. He told me he uses genuine Rolex crystals.
"Ahh, good", I said.

I showed him the bezel insert that I picked up on eBay and he winced when I told him what I'd paid for it. This bezel was okay, but it was made for the later model Submariners.
He told me he'd put the correct one (for its era) on the watch. This one might just end up back on eBay at some point.
He had a closer look at the watch. I asked him if he thought it would present any problems. He said 'no'.
He then told me he'd get back to me with a quotation in about a week or so.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd tackle a little project that arrived a few days earlier. Omega watches of the late 1950s and early 1960s were available on leather straps as well as stainless steel bracelets. One classic bracelet design of theirs became known in modern times as the 'beads-of-rice' bracelet.
These bracelets were fairly readily available from Omega parts dealers on the web. I kept meaning to get myself one, but you know how it is- whenever you think something will always be around, and you can snag it anytime you want to, don't be surprised if that thing is suddenly no longer around when you're ready to buy it. I used to look at 1960s VW Beetles (the 1300 model) back in the 1980s, thinking to myself that I'd buy one someday. Nowadays, I just don't see them.
Well, Omega began gettin' all exclusive on our asses in recent years, pulling the brand from jewellery stores that had carried them for generations and setting up their own boutiques, shutting down parts accounts held by watchmakers for decades, thus making it so that you now have to go to Omega if you want your Omega watch serviced. Of course, this means that you also have to pay Omega pricing.
Those internet sellers who still had the last remaining assortment of Omega parts soon began jacking up their pricing to exorbitant levels, thus bringing out the Bogartesque cynic in me.
Whereas you could buy one of these bead-of-rice bracelets for about $150USD, nowadays they (and you, for that matter) can be had for anywhere between $400 to $700 bucks off eBay. Sure, there are a couple of sellers offering pre-owned examples for less, but they are few and far between. And the condition is difficult to gauge from photos.
So, I wanted brand new. I found a few on eBay selling for around a hundred bucks. For that price, I knew they weren't genuine Omega bracelets, but I was beyond caring by this point. They looked sharp enough for me. So I hit 'Buy It Now".


Anyway, it arrived last week and I got to work. I knew I'd have to pull a bunch of links out of it to fit my wrist. That was the easy part. I basically ended up removing every single removable link. I adjusted the spring-bar in the clasp to a tighter setting, but I didn't like how the clasp now sat against the outer edge of my wrist. This has always been the bane of my wristwatch life, and it is a problem that I'm having with the Oyster bracelet on my Submariner.
However, there was a way around this problem. Yes, it would be a little trickier, and if I messed it up, I'd be a hundred bucks in the hole. It was worth a shot, though.
I gripped one of the unremovable links between two sets of pliers and began to gently twist back and forth. I think it took about ten seconds for the link to come apart. Cool.

The next part was trickier still, because it involved some 'gentle persuasion' with the pliers on one of the clasp sections, followed by some vigorous filing down of some steel in order to fit those four protruding link sections to the clasp.
I got there in the end, but it was slightly maddening at times. I thought the whole process would take me less than half an hour.
Two hours later, I was done.




         
So anyway, this picture showing a page from a 1962 Omega watch catalogue shows the look I was going for. Picture is courtesy of a fantastic website called;

Old Omegas.com

I don't visit this site unless I have quite a bit of time up my sleeve. (that's a shocking pun, teeritz)

I tidied up my makeshift workbench, and peeled the protective blue plastic off the clasp of the bracelet. Yep, it's not a genuine Omega bracelet, but the quality is decent, with a build quality that's pretty much the way these bracelets were made back in the day.
This is how it all turned out when all is said and done;



Yep, I was happy with it. So much so that I snapped up another one from another eBay seller later that day. For about forty bucks less.






Monday 23rd
                      Work continued getting busy. I sent out a short e-mail to all of our retail partners informing them that they all had a greater chance of seeing one of Santa's reindeer than seeing one of their repairs that arrive this week being completed before Christmas.
Sometimes, you just have to spell it out for everybody.

Man, this is a long post! Serves me right for taking three weeks since the last one. Might have to keep these shorter.

Huge wristwatch news this week as the legendary Rolex Daytona Chronograph (Reference 6239), that was a gift from Joanne Woodward to her husband Paul Newman in the late 1960s, went under the hammer on Thursday.

The watch itself developed a cult following among watch collectors and became known as the 'Paul Newman Daytona' sometime in the 1990s, as there was a vast array of photos of Newman over the years which showed this watch strapped to his wrist. Inscribed on the case-back were the words; "Drive carefully. Me", a warning/recommendation from Woodward when Newman began taking a serious interest in motor racing.

Wristwatch blogs gave this story some major coverage in the lead-up to the auction. There was speculation that this watch would go for as much as five or six million dollars. Some had said it would reach eight million.
Yes, that's some serious coin indeed.
There are numerous reasons as to why they felt it would reach such a premium.
- For one thing, the Reference 6239 was not a big seller when it was first released, with around 2,000 being produced. That's a fairly low number of examples.
- Secondly, and I would say more importantly, it was owned by Paul Newman. This particular white dial configuration, with the blocky indices on the black sub-dials, became synonymous with Newman throughout the 1970s as we saw various pictures of him out and about with wife Joanne Woodward, or climbing behind the wheel of a race car at Le Mans, for example. It became synonymous with a very respected and talented actor,  a man who stayed married to the same woman for fifty years (until his death in 2008), which is a virtual impossibility in Hollywood, and it became synonymous with a man whose philanthropic efforts through his Newman's Own brand has generated almost half a billion dollars in donations to various charities since 1983.
And also, he was just so damn cool.

Here's a link to a Hodinkee article, written after the auction. I've edited the title of the article, so as not to give away too much about the final price. I highly recommend that you watch the seven-minute long video of the auction itself first. It's interspersed with info about the watch, its provenance, and how & why it's ended up at auction;

HODINKEE.com | In-Depth: The Sale of Paul Newman's Daytona

Amazing stuff. Not a watch that I'd go for, but an extraordinary result.

Anyway, this week's watches, 'cos this post has gone on long enough;

The Oris Diver Sixty-Five. I'm working on a review of this watch. Still figuring out the hook of the narrative that will be interspersed throughout the review.
The 40mm Dan Henry 1970 Compressor. This is a great watch. Lotta bang-for-buck with this one.
The Longines Expeditions Polaires Francaises Heritage model.

And one that I haven't worn since last Summer, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. This one will get a lot more wear as the warmer months roll 'round, since it's robust enough to handle a few knocks here and there.

And that's another post done and dusted, gang. My windows of free time for blog posting are smaller these days, but I'll see how I go over the next few months. Could be that I just post every two weeks or so. I'll see how I go. 
Okay, I think I'll dust off the bike and go for a ride. See if I can convince my son to come along. Mind you, he doesn't have the beginnings of a muffin-top around his waist, so there's less incentive for him to come along.
Anyway, for now, thanks for reading, all! 


                     

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Sunday 30/9/2017 - My Eyes!, My Back!, and My Recent Wristwatches.


Well, gang, here we are, last day of the month, and it seems that life has gotten too busy for me to do weekly posts. Try as I might, I just don't seem to have the energy or time to sit down on a Friday evening to hammer out one of these posts.
I might try creating a new post on the Monday night and leaving it as a draft that I can add to each night for fifteen minutes or so. Maybe this way, I'll have something worth posting on the Friday or Saturday.
Anyway, Spring has slowly begun to blossom here in Melbourne and we've had a few sunny days here and there. I decided to wear the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, since it has been some time since I last wore it. I immediately noticed that it looked a little larger on my wrist than it did the last time I wore it. I'm pretty certain that I've lost a little weight or muscle (such as I have) since the beginning of this year. 
Most of my wristwatches tend to feel just a tad looser on the wrist than they did a year ago. Now, you may know that you can't beef up your wrists by exercising or weight training, but you can thicken the forearms a little. 

I briefly wore the Omega Seamaster 300 on a TrueBond NATO strap. I've managed to accumulate quite a number of NATO straps over the years and they're all in unworn condition. Might be time to leave one on a watch and really put it through its paces. Thin out the collection a little. 
A lot of watch collectors don't like NATO straps. Their argument being that why would you put a cheap, ten dollar strap on an expensive wristwatch? My answer is that a cheap, ten dollar strap takes away some of the pretentiousness associated with an expensive wristwatch. Not only that, but these cheap nylon straps are also one of the most secure methods for keeping the watch on your wrist if one of the spring-bars come off.

As the weather slowly begins to warm up now that spring is here in Melbourne, I begin thinking about gin and tonics. The cupboard was a little bare, that half-bottle of Bombay Sapphire that I bought in Rome a year ago is empty and now sits on the bookshelf in front of a stack of Jim Thompson noir fiction paperbacks. 
I hit one of the larger liquor chains and got a bottle of Tanqueray and some tonic water. I wore the Seiko SKX031. I bought this one back in 2002 for around a hundred bucks. I wore it from time to time for garden work, workouts at the gym, and other handyman jobs around the house. This would explain why it's still in pretty good condition. The bezel has seized up a little and is very hard to turn, but maybe all it needs is a rinse under some warm water. 

In health news, I took delivery of a pair of multi-focals a couple of weeks ago. At the tender age of 51, I have now reached the point where I need glasses to see the computer screen clearly at work. I've been in this job for the last 18 months and it's the first job I've had where I stare at a computer screen for such a large part of the day. 
The optometrist told me to start off by wearing them for about two hours of the day, but the job is just too busy. Should take a couple more weeks to settle in, I suppose. 

Started going to a physiotherapist too. I've been feeling some sharp pains in my right shoulder blade. Felt like an arrow was stuck in it. 
He told me that my spine is a mess and gave me a series of exercises that didn't involve Pilates. Good! That was week one. 
The second week involved something called dry needling. This treatment uses an acupuncture needle, but rather than being left in, it is pushed in and out for a few seconds, causing the muscle around it to spasm slightly. It's a very strange sensation as you feel a dull ache for a few moments as the muscle contracts reflexively. 
The physio told me that I might have a good sleep that night as a result of this treatment. He wasn't wrong. 
I'm not sure how long this treatment will take, but I'm looking forward to getting a better range of movement. It was getting to the point where I couldn't turn my head to check for traffic while driving, without wincing in pain. Reversing out of the driveway every morning was becoming excruciating. Something had to be done.

I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional at some point since my last post. This is an old photo, but I like the lighting in it, and the timber bench-top has aged nicely, with the help of some varnish streaks. 
Photo taken in subdued lighting in the afternoon. What professional photographers call 'Golden Hour'. 
Not a perfect photo, I'm sure. The silver sections of the bracelet and clasp look a little washed out, but it's perhaps better than most of my efforts. 
Which is why I tend to adopt the view these days that 'lighting is everything' when it comes to taking a decent picture.

I read about this watch here on the right a few weeks ago. Its design is based on the compressor-style dive watches of the 1960s and '70s. These watches featured an internal rotating bezel which was operated by a second crown, usually positioned at the 2 o'clock edge of the dial.
The brand is called Dan Henry. Mr Henry himself is a watch collector with a phenomenal collection of pieces which date back to 1900. He has them listed on this website;

TIMELINE | Vintage Watch Collection

Dan Henry decided to make his own small collection of watches based on classic designs of the past and this is his latest model, known as the 1970, for the year of the design on which it's based. There was a 44mm model released some time ago, but Dan Henry had always felt that it was too large. So, he's released a newer version in a sober 40mm diameter, which is fine by me. 
As soon as I read that it was forty mil, this brand had my attention. Under the bonnet beats an automatic Seiko NH35 movement inside a 200m water-resistant case with a sapphire crystal. 
And the price was another deciding factor; $250USD, with free shipping to Australia. Sold!
It arrived four days ago and I've been wearing it since. It's a great size on my wrist. 

Well, another week down. I got a dinner date with my wife next week, to celebrate our 21st Wedding Anniversary. 
Should be a very pleasant evening. 

Okay, so the weekend's half over where I am. I hope you've had a good one so far, folks. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sunday 10/9/17 - Recent Wristwatches




I've bought up a few different Rolling Stones bumper stickers from various eBay sellers lately. The first seller was selling reproductions that he had printed himself. I say this because the shade of red seen in the Stones tongue logo was a little too pale compared to the real thing. And the sticker arrived in a plain white envelope. I was going to leave negative feedback, but decided not to leave feedback at all. 
The next seller covered up the fact that he was selling 'removable' stickers. He didn't mention this in his listing, and when I messaged him about this, he told me that "all stickers are removable sooner or later". I left him neutral feedback. He messaged me and sarcastically thanked me for doing so. I explained that I though it odd that he covered up the 'removable stickers' text on the packaging in his listing, and I told him that if he'd like me to retract my neutral feedback, he needs to go through eBay channels and make a request. I will be happy to alter or remove my feedback. 
The third seller stated in his listing that payment via PayPal was accepted and then he sent me a message after I had won the auction to say that he preferred Bank Deposit and he no longer had a PayPal account. 
By now, I was beginning to lament these purchases. They weren't expensive, five or ten bucks for each transaction, but I couldn't help thinking what a struggle and drama it had all become. 
I just wanted a friggin' Stones sticker to put on my car's rear windshield. 
With so many Mazda 3 hatchbacks out there, I want to put a few stickers on the car so that I can distinguish it from other similar cars when I've, for example, parked it at one of those confusing car-parks - like IKEA's- where all exits and entrances look alike. 
Anyway...
- Watches that I've been wearing lately -

The Camy Club-Star, on a Speidel Twist-O-Flex expanding bracelet. This look always gives off an Uncle-in-the-1970s vibe to me. I recall seeing more than a few friends of the family or relatives at weddings who wore this kind of set-up. 
An expanding watch bracelet belongs to a particular era, one where the bathroom cabinet contained a jar of Brylcreem and an ashtray sat on the bedside table. A time when car windows had to be cranked open by hand and the gear stick jutted out of the steering column. 


I wore the Oris Diver SixtyFive for a couple of weeks. This one is such a well-made watch. I've been so impressed with it since I got it last November and I'll have to start writing a review of this piece soon.
Been some time since I wrote a review, but I'm just waiting for the 'hook' for the review to show itself. 
I have one idea kicking around at the moment and I may go with it.




A few months ago, I was considering selling this watch because I wasn't getting much wear out of it. However, I wonder now if perhaps putting it on a leather strap might change it up enough to the point where I might wear it a little more. 
It's certainly a nice watch. Although, it can be difficult to read the time on it in real life. The steel hands can tend to get lost against the glossy black dial. This photo was taken at a slight angle, with a sheet of white paper held over the watch to create a reflection off the steel hands and markers. Believe me, if it were this easy to see all of the time, I'd be wearing it more often. 
Still a nice watch, though.


And that's this installment done and dusted, folks. I'm hoping for some sunnier days coming up over the next few weeks because I have a few items that I'd like to put on eBay and I need to take some sharp photos in good lighting. Spring has begun and my wife and I aim to get this house ship-shape, and that means some serious de-cluttering coming up. And the kids will be helping out a little more this time. 
"There are no passengers on board, only crew", my wife has told them in the past. This time around, we're going to make them believe it. 

Thanks for reading, all, and have a good week!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Friday 11/8/2017 to Sunday 20/8/2017 - A Pocket Full of Rye, Dusting Off a Typewriter & This Week's Wristwatches

As life gets busier, the windows of free time get a little smaller, and a little more planning is required in an effort to post each week.
Something tells me that it may not go that way, so these weekly posts may become monthly or bi-monthly.
Anyway...





Well, I never quite got there, did I? 
Okay, what else, what else?

Oh, okay, I got a copy of Casino Royale from The Folio Society. They specialise in hard-cover reprints of classic literature. I like them because of their attention to detail, quality of the paper,  and the fact that they commission some beautiful artwork by well-known artists to include in the books. I was wearing the Omega AquaTerra on the day this book arrived in the post. It seemed fitting. Old-school wristwatch sitting next to a hard-back spy novel in a cardboard slip-case.                                                                              The copy of Live And Let Die  was one that I scored a few years ago off eBay. I got The Leopard from a nearby thrift store for 3 bucks. The cover artwork is great. The James Joyce book came as a freebie with the Fleming, so I might give it a read some day, but I'm not sure if I fancy my chances with it. Same thing goes for The Leopard.  As I get older, I become all too aware that there are still a tonne of classics that I haven't read. The time shortens, the list lengthens. Therefore, I get more selective with my choices. Ideally, I should devote a greater amount of reading time to these books instead of wasting time watch late-night crap on TV or getting side-tracked by useless web links. 
And I suppose when I'm not reading, I should be writing. Give those screenplay ideas a good run for their money. Maybe tackle those little Bond fan fiction snippets and see if I can churn them into a few short stories or a novella. Simply for the sake of seeing if I can produce a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The blog writing is all well and good, but I feel like it doesn't really lead me anywhere, since I don't think it's the best of what I could do. As I've said before, gang, these blog posts are a first draft, so what you're reading is pretty much what spills out of my head and onto the keyboard, without any editing or re-working.
In all its glory. 
Sorry.

Switched over to the  Omega Seamaster 300. The clasp on the bracelet is a little fragile at the moment. There's a small steel rod in the hinge that is close to wearing out. If I'm careful, though, it should last me a little while longer before I need to worry about how to repair it.

Been playing a little more of The Stones lately. This happens every year as the weather gets a little sunnier. Thinking about it now, it must have been the Summer of 1986 when I bought Rolled Gold, a double-album compilation of Stones tracks from their beginnings in 1962 through to 1969. I must have worn out a stylus playing those records again and again. 
Although, the reason I'm playing more Rolling Stones is because I picked up a copy of Exile on Main St (that makes three copies on CD now) which had a bonus disc with ten unreleased songs on it. One track is instrumental and not very good, and the other is a Keith Richards version of Soul Survivor with heavily reworked lyrics and Keef on vocals, not trying very hard to sing the song and seemingly making up the lyrics as he goes along;

"I may be a fool,
Hey yeah, you've got my tool"

At least they're funny. And luckily, the remaining eight tracks on this bonus disc are wonderful. Some of them are very bluesy, with Mick Jagger blasting away on a harmonica (Blues harp, to those of you in the know) in fine form.  

One day I'll have to do a post on this band and why they mean so much to me.
Switched over to the Oris Diver Sixty Five and wore it for the last ten days. Of course, I finished playing Exile and then sifted through my other CDs to find some of their other albums. Sticky Fingers is another great one. 
I've got a theory too about this band. Even their most lacklustre albums will guarantee one classic song. This was the case, as far as I'm concerned, until around 1983. 
I'll go into a little more detail if/when I write that post about the band. 


Always been a fan of Rye Whiskey. Used to drink Canadian Club and Coke back in my younger days before I discovered Beam's Rye. I still have an unopened bottle sitting in my liquor cabinet. Not sure if you can still get it here in Australia.
Damn! A quick visit to the Jim Beam website shows that the classic yellow labelled Rye is no longer produced. Damn! Now I'm too reluctant to open this bottle, which is silly, after all. It's a liquor cabinet, Teeritz, not a museum.


I Googled this new Rye and landed on a Whiskey blog which outlines the differences between the yellow labelled Rye and the new Pre-Prohibition green labelled one that I purchased a few weeks ago. It would appear that the old yellow label recipe was a little 'mild' for some tastes. This new recipe adds a few more percentage points to the alcohol content of this nectar. I tend to mix my dark spirits with Coke, so I can't really taste a stronger kick with this new blend, to be honest. Still, I am liking the taste of this new green label Whiskey, and the 'Pre-Prohibition' moniker on the label evokes a nice, pleasant 'Hammettesque' vibe too. 
I may not have to break the seal on the yellow label after all. And yep, Jim Beam Distilleries no longer produce the yellow label version. 
Dang it. 

I took a little time on Saturday writing up a timetable for my Monday workday. The plan is to do this for each day of the week so that I have a clearer idea of the ebbs and flows of my working week. This will be a little futile because the wild card in any of this will always be e-mails and phone calls, which can chew up quite a bit of time without my realising it. 


I spent over an hour on the phone to two separate customers one day, explaining the reasons in great detail (again and again!) as to why we had quoted for their watch repairs. Customer service is one thing, and I'm good at it after 22 years in hospitality and another sixteen in retail, but there is a limit to how much time you can spend going around in circles with customers who refuse to accept that their wristwatch requires repairs due to their own mishandling or abuse of the watch. The warranty card can only get them so far and sometimes, some folks have unrealistic expectations as to what a warranty will cover.
Basically, folks, if you drop a wristwatch and it stops working, that's accidental impact and the warranty does not apply. That's the super-short version.

Okay, it's now almost three pm on Sunday afternoon and there are still a few major tasks to deal with. I've switched watches for the day, opting for the circa 1969 Omega Seamaster Chronometer;


* Wash the car - CHECK
* Washing off the line - NOPE
* Fresh washing on the line - NOPE
* Ironing - NOPE
* Bread for lunches - NOPE
* Bathroom (clean) - NOPE

Yessiree, I got my work cut out for me, don't I? 
The weekends just aren't long enough. 
Right, 3:04pm. Gotta bounce.

Have a good week, all, and thanks for reading!


 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Friday 4/8/2017 - This Week's Wristwatches.


Short post this week, gang. And here on the left is the result of the Photoshop Express app on the iPad. 
The Internet - A Whole New Way To Waste Time!
I rarely check my Twitter account these days. I set it up about three years ago when I was studying, as I was informed that I would have to create a social media account as a prerequisite of one subject, on something widely used, such as Facebook. I had no plans in hell to set up a Facebook account. Twitter seemed harmless enough. Although, I'm now at a point in life where I'd like to pare away some of the internet residue in my life and scale back on spending so much time online. 



Anyway, onto the watches. I started with the Sinn 103 chrono last weekend;


Switched over to the Oris Diver Sixty Five early in the week;


I've been preparing that Olympus Trip 35 with a view to selling it. I have two other models of this classic rangefinder camera and figured I didn't need another. This one works just fine, but it has a problem with the red flag function. Basically, if you try taking a picture in low light, a small red cellophane disc pops up in the viewfinder. Now, if you know your way around a camera and basic photography, this isn't an issue, since you'll have a good idea of suitable lighting conditions. I took a screwdriver to this camera and removed the top plate and had a look at the red flag section. Gave it a light sprinkle of graphite powder -courtesy of the tip of one of those little IKEA pencils- which didn't seem to make a difference.
Next option would be to remove the lens and  aperture blades and give them a coating of graphite. I was gonna have to buy some actual graphite this time around.
So, I may spend an hour or three taking this camera apart and giving it the once-over. Hope it works.

This little guy continues to turn the house upside-down. Madame (our other cat) hasn't accepted him yet and I'm beginning to suspect that she may never.
Every time he gets near her, she flattens her ears and hisses at him. He doesn't seem terribly fazed, and I have to hand it to him for his perseverance. And don't let his cutesy looks fool you. Leave some food unattended for a second and it's as good as gone. Anything from chicken to buttered bread, it's all fair game as far as this guy is concerned.

I wore the Longines Expeditions Heritage on a lizard strap sometime this week;


As I've mentioned in recent months, work has gotten very busy since I went full-time and I find I have less time to devote to long posts on this blog. I was thinking that I should just write a little each night throughout the week, say maybe 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, I have ideas for other posts and I could perhaps take longer to write those.
There's always something one could write about.

For example, we got word recently that the next Bond film is due to be released. In November 2019! Daniel Craig will be 51 by the time this next one is released and I, for one, will have to wait over two years to see if or how they'll eradicate the memory of SPECTRE. No mean feat.

And now here I am, 9:50pm Friday night, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Dir: David Fincher, 2008) is on TV, but I already have it on DVD and really should sit down to watch it one night soon. Without the incessant commercial breaks.

We may try to catch Dunkirk sometime this weekend. It's gotten stellar reviews. Man, it would be very, very interesting to see Christopher Nolan direct a Bond movie. A fan's gotta dream.

Finished my working week with the Omega Seamaster 300;


Another week done and dusted. So much for a short post. I hope your lives are ticking along smoothly.

Thanks for reading, have a good weekend!