Sunday, 12 January 2020

My Most-Worn Watches of 2019 - According to Instagram

As my blog posting regularity took a sharp nose-dive during 2019, I wasn't able to sift through posts to see which of my wristwatches got the most wear throughout the year. Reason being, the numbers were gonna be slightly skewed due to the fact that the blog didn't provide a true representation of the watches worn during the year.
Nevertheless, I posted often enough on Instagram (I'm @tinzer0 over there) and was therefore able to use those posts to compile the necessary stats. 

I've tallied up the numbers, based on which watches were worn for more than two or three days of any particular week. As such, it's never an exact figure, but it gives me a good idea of the watches that got the most wear. There were a few watches that got equal results and a few new pieces arrived throughout the year and these also got their (limited) time in the spotlight. 

I have to say that some of the results were surprising.

And so, here we go.

1) Rolex Submariner 5513 (1982 model) 

I took 66 photos of this one in an attempt to whittle down to two or three worth using. Not sure if I'm entirely happy with the ones I used.
And yes, I have multiple copies of each Fleming book. Bond fans are forever...

That OO7 double-bill that I saw in the Summer of '75 had a profound effect on me, as I've written here before. Roger Moore's first two outings as Bond were Live And Let Die (1973) and The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), both directed by Guy Hamilton, and we saw Bond sporting a Rolex Submariner 5513 in both these films. 
Production photos have surfaced in recent years which show Moore also wearing a Tissot PR516 dive watch in some scenes in Live And Let Die and it appears that this was his personal wristwatch. 
Continuity was a little lax back then.

Anyway, back to my Sub 5513. I wore it throughout 24 weeks of last year. This was a surprise to me, since I thought it had gotten considerably less wear. I knocked this watch against a door frame in August 2018 and the bezel and crystal came away from the case. The watchmaker that I work with replaced the crystal with a more correct one and then gave it a clean bill of health. 
Still, I remained a little cautious with the watch for the remainder of that year. 
It is a richer man's watch, as I've often said, and I've tended to baby it a little as a result. Getting these things repaired is not a cheap endeavour. 
In saying that, though, it is meant to be worn, after all, so I soon got over any fears and began wearing it a little more throughout 2019.
I'm just careful not to wear it on any occasions or instances where there's a possibility of damaging it.                                                                               

At some point this year, I considered selling it. Then I thought of how I'd wanted one since the Summer of '75. I finally got it in the Summer of 2015.
That alone makes for a compelling argument. 
My watch dealer buddy Mike has said I should keep this watch and sell everything else. Easier said than done.  Besides, this watch is probably not as water-resistant today as it was in 1982, so this would not be a practical watch for this reason alone.
It does need a little work done to it. The crown, when fully screwed down, does still stick out a tiny fraction more than I'd like it to, and I'd like to replace the bezel insert as well. The watchmaker colleague of mine is happy to do the work when he has the time, whenever that will be. 
For now, I'll just be content to wear it as is. 
Either way, I have my name down on a waiting list for a Tudor Black Bay 58;

This watch, based on an older Tudor design from the 1950s, measures a beautiful 39mm in diameter and it has enough design cues from its Submariner big brother to interest me.
There's a distinct possibility that, if I do wind up getting one, I may wear it enough to the point where I just might get rid of the Rolex.
Maybe. Just maybe. 
This Tudor presents enough old-school aesthetics while offering a modern sapphire crystal and 200m of water-resistance. The hands and markers are a soft creamy-white and the minute track and bezel numerals are done in gilt.
On top of that, the movement has a staggering 70-hour power reserve. Take it off on Friday night after work, pick it up on Monday morning and it'll still be running. 
There was a stampede towards Tudor dealers shortly after this watch was premiered at the BaselWorld Watch Fair in 2018, hence the waiting lists for this model. I visited three stores (two of which I used to work at) and put my name down for this watch. 
I'll write more about that one day.

2) Oris Divers SixtyFive (Movember Edition model, 2017)

This one was another surprise. I wore it in 22 weeks of the year. Produced in limited numbers (exact figure not known) to commemorate the Movember Foundation and its efforts to raise awareness of and funds for issues related to men's health, this watch measured the classic, vintage dive watch size of 40mm in diameter, but utilised the dial layout of the larger 42mm Divers SixtyFive model that was released the previous year.
Oris soon released other 40mm Divers SixtyFive models with a similar layout to this one and this range has been quite a success for the brand.

This is one of those watches that seems to work very well on just about any strap you put on it. The same can be said for the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Because of this, you can change up the look of this watch to your heart's content. I got it with the original minimal-stitch brown leather strap (which had the Movember moustache logo embossed on it), but soon purchased the corresponding metal bracelet for it. In these photos, it's one the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Tropic rubber strap. Tropic straps were first introduced in the early 1960s and could be found on a myriad number of dive watches back then, in the days when SCUBA diving started becoming a popular recreational pastime. These straps can be identified by their checkerboard pattern and diamond-punched holes. I've seen vintage NOS (New Old Stock- never used, but long since out of production) Tropic straps for sale on the web in recent years, commanding ridiculous prices upwards of three hundred dollars. Call me cynical, but a forty or fifty year-old piece of rubber won't be as strong now as it was when it was new. I base this on experience. Rubber hardens over the years, then it becomes brittle, and then it begins to split/crack.

I've bought silicone rubber Tropic straps in the past and, while they do look good and tend to last a while, they also do attract dust and lint like nobody's business. These Oris Tropic straps don't appear to attract dust or lint.
Being rubber, they make for a very comfy fit, which is ideal for the warmer months.

3) Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic 40mm (2019)

I bought a Hamilton Khaki Field Officer's Mechanical back in 2011. Wrote a review on it too;

Hamilton Khaki Mechanical 44mm Hand-wound | REVIEW

While I've always liked the watch, I found it just a little too large. With a diameter of forty-four millimetres, it absolutely dwarfed my 6.5 inch wrist.
Yes, I purposely went for a watch that would look like some wartime SOE agent's piece of kit (as far as my head was concerned), but I just found this watch too large. For sentimental reasons, I held onto it because it housed the Unitas 6498 hand-wound movement which was developed in the 1950s for use in pocket watches. This is a 16 ligne movement (meaning that it's pretty large) and therefore, most watches using this calibre will tend to be in the 44mm diameter range.
However, despite the fact that it contained this well-respected movement in it, I wasn't giving it enough wear, so I spent about six months mulling it over before deciding on moving this one along and replacing it with another Hamilton Khaki model in a slightly more apt size for my wrist.
The Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, in a more forgiving 40mm diameter;

This one sits better on my wrist, while still retaining the slightly oversized aesthetic of my earlier Khaki model. The tan coloured suede strap gives it a nice 'hunting-Rommel-in-North-Africa-circa-1942' vibe as well.

Wore it quite a bit over Winter and it clocked up 20 weeks on the wrist as a result. 
I considered going for the deep black dialed model with white hands and hour markers, but felt that it would too closely resemble my previous model. So, after looking at the complete (and varied) range of field watches in the Khaki series, I opted for the black dial with patinated hands and markers. These give the impression that the watch has aged. Personally, I normally don't go for this faux patina look, as it has come to be known, but I can forgive it on this Hamilton Khaki because it suits the overall look of the watch.

The main appeal of this watch was the movement. It's an ETA Calibre H-10, which provides a staggering 80-hour power reserve. Virtually any other watch in this price range* will run a maximum of 38 to 42 hours. Eighty hours means that you can take it off on a Friday night and it'll still be running on Monday morning.
I've treated this watch with respect since I got it, but I think it may look nice when it begins getting a few nicks and scratches over time.
To give it a world-weary, been there-done that kind of look.

*There are other, similarly-priced brands which house the H-10 calibre and, like Hamilton, they are owned by The Swatch Group.

4) Omega Railmaster Co-Axial, 36.2mm (2009 model)

Ian Fleming's fifth Bond novel has nothing to do with this Omega watch, except for the fact that the book was published in 1957, the same year that the original Railmaster model was released. It was a sparse, no-nonsense wristwatch, aimed at those who worked in proximity to machinery which emitted electrical currents and high magnetic interference. The original Railmasters were fitted with an iron case over the movement, which acted as a Faraday cage and helped prevent it from becoming magnetised, as this would affect the timekeeping of the watch. 
(Special thanks to for the information used in that last sentence). 
This modern Railmaster doesn't have an anti-magnetic protection, as it is fitted with a see-through case-back which showcases the movement of the watch.

There are times when all I want is a watch that tells the time clearly and without fuss. This Railmaster is perfect for that. It was worn through 13 weeks of the year. 
Released in 2003 in a 39.2mm and 42.2mm size, this 36.2mm model came out a couple of years later. This series was discontinued in 2011 or so. 
Sales of the Railmaster series were never high, based on what I saw during my decade working at a wristwatch boutique, as the majority of customers wanted a watch with a date window.
The shorter production run of the 36mm model, plus the fact that this was considered small back in the days of the BIG WATCH craze, means that there are seemingly fewer of these on the second-hand market these days. Good. 
If I had one quibble about this watch, it would probably be the clasp. It's based on an Omega design dating back to the early Nineties and I consider it to be a little flimsy. Aside from that, I can't fault this watch at all. 
A definite keeper. 
If you want to read my review from 2013;

Omega Railmaster Co-Axial Automatic (36.2mm) | REVIEW

It got a little out of hand, and I spent considerable time staging the photos, but it was fun.

4 - Equal Place) Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 42mm (2007 model)

When the Planet Ocean Co-Axial was first released back in 2005, it had a retail price of $3,650.ooAUD. If you want to purchase the current iteration of this watch, it'll cost you $9,250.ooAUD.
Granted, there are some considerable changes to the current model, most notably it now contains a fully in-house movement, better anti-magnetic properties, more high-tech materials, and longer service intervals.

In saying that, there's no way that I can justify this price to myself. Besides, they made some slight tweaks to the overall design over the years and I much prefer the look of my watch compared to the current model.
I wore this one through 13 weeks of the year, like the Railmaster. This is one of the heavier watches that I own. Measuring 42.5mm in diameter, it wears just slightly larger than I would prefer. If it were a 40 or 41mm case, it would be a perfect dive watch.

There have been times when I've wondered about the thickness of the case and whether or not it's due to the increased water-resistance of 600 metres that this watch is rated to. This level of w/r is a tad overkill, in my view, but I suppose that Omega wanted to create a heavy-duty diver's watch that would double the depth rating of its traditional rival Rolex. The Submariner has 300m water-resistance, although the Rolex brand also had the Sea Dweller model back then which was rated down to 1,220 metres.

As mentioned, it's one of my heavier watches, but that's part of its appeal for me. I like the reassuring weight of it. The sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating on it, making for a very legible dial, and the overall layout of it means that it can't be mistaken for a Rolex Submariner. This dial contains plenty of DNA from the classic Seamaster 300 dive watch of the 1960s, and this model was a nicely done update of that design.

5) Oris Diver SixtyFive, 40mm, Blue & Black dial, (2016)

Okay, so if you look at the above-list of watches so far, you'll notice 75% of them are dive watches. Yes, I have a penchant for dive watches. And yes, I mean 'no', I don't dive. I just like dive watches.
Maybe it's because I saw Bond wear one when I was a kid.
Maybe it's because they're water-resistance is more than I'll ever need.
Maybe it's because they're (generally) very legible.
Maybe it's because, aside from the Bond connection, they also conjure up images in my mind of undersea documentaries from the Sixties and Seventies (Inner Space), and behind-the-scenes photos of National Geographic photographers in far-flung corners of the globe, or journalists reporting from refugee camps in war-torn countries.
Whatever the reason, basically, I like dive watches. To me, they convey a sense of adventure in a modern world.

I reviewed this watch back in October 2018;

Oris Diver SixtyFive 40mm Automatic with Black & Blue Dial | REVIEW

This watch caught me by surprise. I'd already seen the black-dialed version on numerous occasions and, while I liked the look of it, I didn't want another black dialed dive watch. My stable of them is pretty full.
And then, Oris released this version, featuring a deep cobalt-blue outer ring dial with a black disc in the centre.  Added to this colour combo were four '60s sci-fi font numerals at the cardinal points and legible picket-fence hand-set, all coated in a pale cream luminova, and I knew then that I was a goner.
Hmm, that's a nice looking watch, AND it looks different enough to my other divers, I recall thinking at the time.
This watch is based on an Oris model from 1965, hence the name. More info in my review, which I won't re-hash here.
This is a nice, slim dive watch design. Rated down to 100 metres, your diving purists would argue that this does not make it a true dive watch, but I don't dive (remember?), so it's never going to be an issue for me. I just like it because of its points of difference to my other dive watches.

In low light, the dial can look entirely black. In bright sunlight, it'll look electric blue along the edge, with the black central disc remaining unchanged.
I wore it through 13 weeks of the year and, whereas I also have the Oris Movember Edition Diver SixtyFive - which has the same case, hand-set, and bracelet dimensions as this watch - the similarities between these two watches end there. I don't see a case of doubling-up in having both of these watches, since the dials are so different.
Having said that, if I had to get rid of one of them, the Movember model would probably be the one to go, as it has a more traditional dive watch design. This blue & black model looks like nothing else in my collection.

6) Omega Speedmaster Professional (2007 model)

Search the web and you'll find a zillion photos of this watch that are better than mine.
This one got ten weeks of wear last year, mostly over the Winter months, if I recall correctly.
Sure, there are a tonne of collectors out there who don't rate this watch at all. They say it's archaic in this modern age of automatic chronographs. They say it should have a sapphire crystal. They say it should have better water-resistance than 50 metres. They say it should have an applied Omega logo on the dial rather than a printed one. They say it's not really the moonwatch because it doesn't house the legendary Calibre 321 movement in it, which was in the watches that landed on the moon in 1969.
To them, I say BFD. I like this watch because it's virtually unchanged since the mid-Sixties. Moon-landing/NASA-qualified-equipment aside, it's just a very nice example of the kind of chronographs that were made 50 or 60 years ago.

7) Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Small Seconds (circa 1996)

Sometime in mid-2018, I bought one of these in the 33mm diameter, thinking that it just may be large enough to look okay on my wrist.

I was wrong. Despite my small 6.5 inch wrist size, this watch looked a little too petite for my liking. No huge drama. My daughter - she was sixteen at the time - said that she liked 'the aesthetic' of this watch. She's developed a liking for 1920s styling in recent years and this watch, although based on an Oris model from 1938, still has enough design cues from the decade previous.

I kept hunting for the larger-sized model, which measures 36mm, and spotted one on eBay a few months later. It arrived on a leather strap which suited it nicely, but I thought I'd see about getting the metal bracelet for it.
I got the bracelet eventually, but the end-links were a slightly different shape, as it turned out that this bracelet was for a different Oris model from the same era. This would require some 'persuasion' on my part, with the help of the filing blades of my Leatherman Wave and Swiss Army Swiss Champ. I spent a little time filing down to corners of these end-links, giving them a softer, curved point.
As I say, it looks nice on the strap, but A), I have numerous vintage watches fitted with leather straps, and B), I wanted to give this watch a more '1930s aristocrat's wristwatch' kind of vibe. I kept thinking of the classic thriller Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household.
Here's the premise of that novel, courtesy of wikipedia;

The protagonist, an unnamed British sportsman, sets out in the spring of 1938 to see if he can get an unnamed European dictator in the sights of his rifle. Supposedly interested only in the stalk for its own sake, he convinces himself that he does not intend to pull the trigger. Caught while taking aim by the dictator's secret service guards, he is tortured, thrown over a cliff and left for dead.

There's much more to the story than that.

Anyway, I liked the way the watch looked on the bracelet and it got worn throughout nine weeks of 2019. It's got a much lighter feel on the wrist than some other watches that I wore. This is a good thing. For me, anyway. I've met a lot of collectors over the years who have gotten used to a particular size of wristwatch and they would balk at wearing a 36mm watch, despite the fact that this was the yardstick size for a lot of watches throughout the 1960s through to the Eighties.

The dial of this watch is a thing of beauty. Close inspection shows four different textures going on. And then you have applied numerals on it as well. It would feel cluttered, but everything is easy to read on this watch. The date numerals go around the outer edge of the dial and a red crescent cups around the date numeral from a thin central stem. It's all very nicely done and Oris has wisely kept the Big Crown Pointer Date series in production for decades.

This was a nice watch to wear, as it provided a pleasant alternative to the dive watches throughout the year. I remember seeing this model in a Daimaru department store back around 1994. Never got around to buying it back then.
Once I got this one, I had the 33mm model serviced and gave it to my daughter for her seventeenth birthday a few months ago. She's all-set for the Roaring (20) Twenties.

And that's it for another year, as far as what I wore goes.

A few low-priced pieces came in. I used to have a Rado Purple Horse;

I kept this watch for a few years and then sold it. Should've kept it. It worked nicely enough and it would have made a nice daily wearer. But, I was aiming for loftier brands at the time so, I ended up moving this one along.

In recent months, I began looking at vintage watches from more affordable brands and spent a fair few nights scouring eBay for another Purple Horse. Gotta hand it to this brand. With model names like Purple Horse, Green Horse and Golden Gazelle, their watches are worth buying just for the names alone.
Needless to say that I didn't have any luck finding another Purple Horse for the same low price that I paid back in 2007.
But I did spot this one;

It was a circa 1957 Golden Horse. The date wheel shows some scratches across some of the numerals, but the rest of the dial and the hands are in very good condition, considering the age of the watch;

I'm sure that the movement in this watch requires servicing, but a flick of the wrist and you can hear the rotor spin like a fishing reel being cast.
This is one that I'll get serviced sometime soon. I managed to track down a date wheel for the movement and it should (hopefully) fit without any issues when the time comes.
I think I even have a crystal for it which has a small magnifying lens that sits over the date window, just like the 1957 originals.
If I can find it.

I saw this Seiko Skyliner going on eBay one night and pounced on it;

It's a hand-wound model dating back to around 1968. Makes me think of transistor radios, Godzilla, and Toyota Crown sedans.

It's a simple watch, all it does is tell the time. No date. The silver dial is in very good condition and the watch ticks along nicely. While it could be mistaken for any of my other Swiss-made vintage watches, this Skyliner measures a slightly larger 37mm in diameter. This range was introduced in the early 1960s as an affordable dress piece from the Seiko brand.

I don't know much about the Seiko, to be honest. They've always produced affordable watches in virtually every configuration, from dress watch to dive watch and quite a few of these have become well-respected classics among watch collectors.
Aside from that, their Grand Seiko range gives many high level Swiss brands a run for their money.
At either end of the spectrum, you find a level of attention to detail that the Japanese are known for and pride themselves on.

Looking at this model here from the Grand Seiko 'Four Seasons' Collection released earlier in 2019, you can see the level of detail that's gone into the 'Spring' model;

Yep, I have a lot of time (pardon the pun) for Seiko. Speaking of which, one more Seiko joined the stable in 2019. I already wrote about it two posts ago.
Looking to sell the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra that I have, due to the tricky-to-ready hands at certain angles, I felt that it may still be worth having a dress watch with a dark dial. So, I had my eye on the Seiko SARB033 for a while and kept putting off buying one. And then, to help me decide, Seiko discontinued the watch.
So, I figured I'd better snag one before they become harder to find. Not only that, but I noticed the price slowly start to climb as these models became more and more scarce.
Thirty-eight millimetres in diameter, 100m water-resistant, and a little more lume on the hands and dial. It came fitted on a steel bracelet, but I think I just may get a strap for this watch at some point to see how it looks.
Some Seiko fans have dubbed this watch the 'Baby' Grand Seiko due to its resemblance to its more expensive cousins.
There's still a high level of workmanship that goes into the lower-priced Seiko ranges. Even a $60.oo Seiko 5 model punches above its weight. You'd be much better off buying one of those rather than a fake Rolex DateJust on the streets of Phuket.

So that's 2019's wristwatch wearing done and dusted. I plan to get rid of a few watches in 2020. Yes, yes, I've been saying it for the past couple of years, I know. One has already gone, another two are on the chopping block. Then I'll sit down with the collection and really go through it.
I know myself well enough. I'm gonna dredge up all manner of reasons excuses for why I want to keep a particular watch.
One thing's for sure. Actually, two things; 1) I'm a Bond fan, and 2), I like dive watches. Could be tricky.
Still, almost all of the pricier models that I have are worth more today than when I got them, so from an 'investment' point of view, I'm still ahead of the game. Although, I should point out that I hate thinking of my watches from an 'investment' angle because they are meant to be worn, used, enjoyed, etc, without worrying too much about scratching/damaging them, and therefore, affecting their re-sale value.
I often read watch forum posts from people who ask "What's a good watch for investment purposes?"
Dammit, man, buy whatever watch you like and can afford, wear it because it becomes a part of you and your life experiences, and don't worry one bit about 'investment purposes'.
Seriously, you get yourself a nice watch and you wear it on your wedding day, or when your first kid is born, or when you land that big promotion, etc, etc, and can you really consider selling that watch after it's been on your wrist throughout the major events of your life?
Maybe you can.
I know I can't.

Thanks for reading!

And I hope 2020 treats you all kindly!

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Boxing Day 2019 - Work's Been Busy, Two(!) New Cameras, Another Bond Girl Gone & Recent Wristwatches.

Here's the Lanco that's currently under repair. I took a few 'before' pictures of the watch. Eleven years ago, I brought my Omega Planet Ocean to the Swatch Group for repairs under warranty. The watch was running 30 seconds fast per day, which was way out of specs for that model. Five weeks later, I got the watch back and was disgusted with the condition of the watch upon its return. Numerous scuffs on the end-links of the bracelet, and the case-back showed deep gouges where the case-back removal tool had slipped at some point. I'd been in the watch game long enough to recognise shoddy work. After that, I decided that I'd always take photos of my watches before taking them in for repairs. 
Hopefully, this watch comes back to me in the same cosmetic condition that I sent it in.

Speaking of  cosmetic condition, I came across this article on the Hodinkee watch website;

HODINKEE | Around Alone, 50 Years On: Sir Francis Chichester's Rolex Oyster Perpetual

It describes Chichester's 1966 attempt to sail 'The Clipper Route", which was once considered the fastest way to sail around the world prior to the creation of the Panama Canal. The article is interesting, but I was mesmerised by the picture of Chichester's Rolex watch;

This was the watch that he purchased prior to commencing his journey and I'm fairly certain that it's since been restored to within an inch of its life. No wristwatch travels around the world by sea and returns looking like that. 
And check out the engraving on the clasp. He didn't get that done at his local shopping mall. 
A very nice piece, and it's a testament to Rolex's reputation back then -as now- for making reliable and robust wristwatches that can handle a day at the office, a night at the opera, or a trip on the ocean. 

Speaking of watches, I wore these ones since my last post;
The Oris Big Crown Small Seconds Pointer Date from circa 1996. I got a bracelet for it, but it's designed for a different Oris model. The end-links (the piece that joins the bracelet to the case) were a slightly different shape, so they required some filing down in order to get them to fit. Swiss Army Knife time. I used the small file and reshaped the corners of the end-links, softening their pointy edges to a gentler curve. 
It wasn't a 100% perfect job, but it would do. The end-links slotted into place nicely and the watch was good to go. 
As we head into Summer here in Australia, I'll be wearing this watch a little less because it has a lower water-resistance to some other watches of mine. I may wear it it on cooler Summer days and then revert back to wearing it once we get into Autumn. 

The Seiko SARB033 got a little bit of wear, but, like the Oris watch above, I think I may just put this one to bed until the cooler months next year. Actually, scratch that. It's water-resistant to 100 metres, so I might actually have it on standby for any potentially dressy occasions that may come up over summer. Yes, that makes more sense.

I have to say that it's getting busy at work in these final couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. I've had to deal with a few very unreasonable customers over the phone.
Some folks trash their watch like nobody's business and then they're surprised when the watch stops working. "It's a dive watch, it's meant to take some knocks", they argue.
I explain to them that yes, modern shock protection systems are very robust in today's watches, but if a watch gets a knock at juuust the wrong angle, something will give inside the movement, causing issues with the running of the watch.
Usually, if you've knocked the watch hard enough to put a dent in the steel, chances are the movement has sustained some damage also.

Other customers will send in a watch which shows no visible cosmetic damage to the case. No dents, no nicks in the steel, nothing. The watch may be gaining or losing time, or it may have stopped ticking entirely.
I tend to give these customers the 'box of dinner plates' analogy;

"Okay, so let's say you're standing in your bedroom, you reach for your watch on the bedside table and, as you go to put it on your wrist, it slips out of your hands and falls onto the carpeted bedroom floor. 
You pick up the watch and there are no marks on it, because it landed on carpet. You look at the watch and it's still ticking, so you think nothing of it, put it on your wrist and marvel at how robust the watch is.
Over the next few days, you notice the watch is gaining/losing time (this will depend on the type of damage to the movement) or begins to stop and start. This may be because something inside the movement has shifted out of position due to the knock that the watch sustained, and this is now causing issues with the timekeeping.
It's like having a wooden box filled with dinner plates. The box might receive a knock which does no damage to it, but the contents inside may be broken due to the knock." 

And this can happen with a wristwatch. Also, a hard-enough jolt to the case can cause the dial to shift. If this happens with enough force, it can affect the centre pipe.
The centre pipe is a small thin tube that's attached to the movement and this pipe is what the hands are attached to. The centre pipe, as the name suggests, pokes out through the hole in the middle of the dial of a watch. Inside this pipe is a smaller one and inside that pipe is a thin stem. Each of these three pipes are designed to hold the hour, minute and seconds hands, respectively. Naturally, these pipes rotate when the watch is running, thus giving us the hours, minutes and seconds. The pipe for the hours does a full 360 degree turn every twelve hours, the minute pipe does so every 60 minutes, and the seconds stem rotates full-circle every minute.
And that, thrill-seekers, is THE TIME!

As you can see in this photo (left, courtesy of, the hour hand has a large hole on the end. The minute hand has a smaller hole, and the seconds hand's hole is smaller again.
Now, where was I? Right, if the watch gets a knock that's hard enough to shift the dial slightly, it can cause the centre pipe to rub against the edge of the hole in the dial. This causes a little friction and the hands move slower as the pipe struggles to turn correctly, resulting in time loss.

Does all this make sense? 'Cos it can be the hardest thing to explain to some customers.

Anyway, what else did I wear since my last post? The Omega Railmaster got some time on the wrist;

I plan to wear this one a little more over Summer, but I think I may have to add another half-link to the bracelet, as it feels a little snug on warm days.

I've had this watch for about seven years. I sold it to the original customer in 2009 when I worked at the watch store. A few years later, he'd decided to sell it and he gave me first dibs on it.
I didn't take too long to decide.

It gets semi-regular wear whenever I go through moods where I just want something basic, easy to read, that just tells the time. This one is the 36.2mm diameter model, a size that's not in fashion at the moment, but was the standard for watch sizes from the 1960s through to the turn of the (21st) century.
The pendulum is swinging back towards more sedate watch sizing, but I doubt it'll ever get back to thirty-six mil.
That's okay. Plenty of pre-owned watches still in existence to choose from.

I've written about this before. I bought a black-bodied Olympus OM2n 35mm SLR camera back in 1982. Used it regularly through the years. At some point in the late '80s, I purchased a Polaroid SX-70 Land camera. A few months later, the SX-70 broke down and needed repairing.
Stupidly, I sold the Olympus to a camera store to pay for the repair of the Polaroid that this same store was repairing for me.
Dumb move.
A friend of mine was working for a photographer back in the early 1990s and he sold me a late 1960s Nikon F for $500.oo. A few months later, he asked if he could borrow it for a photo assignment. Sure, no worries.
Took me just over six months to get the camera back off him. Needless to say, I didn't consider him much of a friend after that.
Since the advent of eBay, I've bought a few more film cameras over the years, to keep the Nikon F company;

- a Nikon EM - sold it a few years ago, bought another one this year.
- three Olympus Trip 35 rangefinders - gave one away to a young photographer who wanted to shoot film.
- a Nikon FM2
- a Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder
- a Voigtlander Vitomatic II rangefinder - ran one roll of film through it, didn't like it.
- and finally, another Olympus OM2n, to (at last!) replace the one that I had in the '80s.

Except, this model was in silver and black, rather than the all-black bodied model that I had in the past. Great camera, small in size, but heavy. 
I liked it so much that I bought another one, as a spare.

Again, this second one had a silver & black body. And then, what should happen? I started getting the urge to get one that was exactly like the camera I had back in '82.
So, the hunt began for an all-black OM2n.
I've noticed on eBay that black-bodied SLR cameras tend to be priced higher than their silver counterparts. Everybody wants a cool black camera.
Rangefinders, however, tend to be silver-bodied. This might explain part of the popularity of the FujiFilm X-100 digital cameras of the last ten years. These evoke the look of a 1950s Leica rangefinder.
Anyway, since I already had two of these OM2s, I was willing to be a little patient with hunting around for a black one. And, I'd decided to look at Japanese dealer sales as a first priority, since their stock tends to be in very good to excellent condition, if their eBay listings are to be believed.

And it wasn't long before one turned up. Body only, which was exactly what I was looking for, since I have a couple of OM-series lenses.

Besides, the idea is to get the two silver models checked out by a camera repairer and, whichever one is the better camera will stay with me and I'll sell the other one. Having run film through both of them over the last couple of years, they both work nicely.
This black one arrived about a month ago and it's in very good condition. I'll load some film into it soon and put it through its paces. If it works as it should, then I'll thin out the camera collection a little. One of the Trip 35s should go. Might even get rid of both of them, since I have the Yashica.
Maybe the Nikon FM2 might go as well, but I think I'll really have to use it a little more to really make up my mind. 

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I popped into a nearby Thrift store and they had a Nikon FE in a glass cabinet. I asked to have a look at it. It was being sold with a no-name flash and a no-name 85mm-210mm 1:3.8 zoom lens with macro capabilities. All for $120 bucks.
I got my phone out of my pocket and quickly Googled reviews of the FE. It's a well-respected camera, from Nikon's golden age. The FE was produced between 1977 and 1983.
Then I checked eBay listings and saw that these things were starting at around $250.oo.
My wife then fished a 20% Off voucher out of her bag.
That brought the price down to $96 bucks.
No brainer.

The camera came with a fourteen-day return policy. I put some film into it and went through the first sixteen frames. That would be enough to give me an indication of how good or bad this camera was.
I used some Kodak 400 colour film and the results were okay. If anything, they showed the short-comings of my photographic skills more than anything else.
There's a photo studio across town that runs film photography workshops a few times a year. I'm tempted, but I don't relish going across town. Still, might be worth it. First though, I think I'll run through some of my photography books and the instruction manuals that I've downloaded off the web. May try using some ASA200 speed film instead of 400. See what results I get.
Those of you who are better shutterbugs than I, feel free to throw some advice my way.

I moved the Camy Club-Star along. I mentioned in a recent post that I knew a guy at a jewellery store who likes vintage watches. I wasn't wearing this watch much in recent years, so I figured I'd send it along to him.
It was given to me by a watch repairer who knew I liked vintage. He said "It's yours, no charge, but if you ever decide to get rid of it, I'd prefer that you just give it away rather than sell it."
Fair enough, I thought.

The Longines Heritage Expeditions Polaires Fraincaises Missions Paul-Emile Victor also got some wear. Every so often, I think about selling this watch. Then, I put it on for a day and I always decide to keep it after that.
It's such a clean and simple look, and the lighter-coloured dial offers a pleasant point of difference against the majority of my modern watches.
So yeah, I think this is worth holding on to.
Spent a little too long one morning arranging this photo, but I had gotten on top of my work that morning, so I figured I could spend ten or fifteen minutes putting this pic together.
I was my coffee break, after all.

Here are a few shots taken with the newly-purchased Nikon FE;

They turned out nicely enough, but I think I'm gonna have to get to know these cameras a little more. Can't help thinking that the lighting or exposure could have been better.

Yes, I know that actors from the 1960s are all getting older, but it still bugs me when they go. 
And 78 seems a little on the young side of elderly, if you ask me.

The Sixties Bond Girls had something about them.

Whoa! I started this post in the second week of October. It's now Boxing Day. My regular readers may have noticed far fewer posts this year compared to previous years. I think that staring at a computer all day at work has definitely dissuaded me from getting on a computer once I get home. 
However, I'll see if I can make an effort to post a little more often next year. Even if they're short ones. 
Assuming, of course, that anything remotely interesting happens.
My next post will more than likely be the annual "Most-Worn Wristwatches" one, similar to those that I've done for the past few years. Since I haven't posted much on this blog throughout 2019, I'll be relying on pictures that I uploaded in Instagram throughout the year, which may actually give a more true indication of what watches I wore the most.

Anyway, I hope you all had a nice Festive Season. Ours was a nice cruisy Christmas Day.
Wishing you all a safe and Happy New Year!
See you in 2020. 

Oh, I've been wearing the Oris Movember Edition Diver SixtyFive for the past few days (older pic);

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 21 October 2019

Monday October 21st, 2019 - Bench-warming (with a grinder), Channeling Charlize, Head to Toe Aches, & Recent Wristwatches

The last Saturday in September was also the day of the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final. I could care less. Which pretty much amounts to treason in this country.
I headed to the hardware store to get some supplies. I have an old bench that my wife wanted to throw out, but that I wanted to resurrect. It has seen better days.

I started on it and it became a bigger job than I had planned. The old nuts and bolts had been painted over and the metal frame showed heavy rust. This would take a while. Most of the wooden bench slats seemed to be in okay condition, but once I got started, I realised that water had done its work over the years and softened the timber. I'd already bought four new slats made of Tasmanian Oak. Looks like I'll be buying some more of them.

Once I got started with the socket wrenches, the true extent of its condition revealed itself. Lord knows how many coats of paint had been used on these bolts, and I think that the rust had gone to work on them at some point between coats of paint. They weren't gonna budge any time soon.
Time for Plan B. Time for the angle grinder.
Always have a back-up plan, kids.
I started off with grinding away the hex nuts, often getting them to a red-hot glow. Once they fell away, a little bit of tapping on the exposed bolts and they worked their way out of the frame and slats.

Rust never sleeps. Some parts of this frame have taken a beating. I'll remove as much surface rust as I can before I flood it with KillRust prior to painting.
I may even have a clue about what I'm doing!
I'm sure the KillRust won't help much. I'm hoping that it will merely slow down the rust process. 

Anyway, at the time of writing, I've ground back half of the frame parts back to as close to bare metal as I can. That should do, I hope. And it would appear that I may be able to only save a couple of the old wooden slats. Yes, I could replace them all with new ones, but I like the idea of leaving some of the original timber intact, as a link to the original bench itself.  The two arm-rests seem okay. Maybe I'll just salvage those. Either way, I'll finish the steel sanding preparations sometime over this weekend (12th-13th) and perhaps start painting the frame once that's done.

Watch-wise, I've worn the circa 1968 Seiko Skyliner this month. I'm not sure if I've said this here before, but there's a certain cachet to the phrase Made in Japan. Those of you old enough to remember will perhaps recall seeing those words printed or engraved on the underside of various electrical goods back in the '60s and '70s. The Japanese, from my understanding, take a certain high level of pride in the manufacture of their goods, and every curve or line in the design of a product is often imbued with design elements of other products.

If you look closely at this Grand Seiko 'Snowflake';
 Pic courtesy of | Grand Seiko Spring Drive - SGBA211

You will notice that the dial, as the name suggests, resembles a bank of snow. The hands look like blades and the overall design of the case has a beautiful symmetry and balance to it.
My wife has suggested that my daughter and I take a trip to Tokyo sometime in the next year or so. That would be cool, but I'm sure I'd have to increase my credit card limit because I know 100% that I'm gonna see vintage cameras and watches and my resistance will be tested. From what I gather, Japanese collectors look after their items and when they get rid of them, they are usually in very good condition. This is often reflected in the pricing, too.
And then there are the glasses. Spectacle makers in Japan are artisans, and the frames are often cut and finished by hand, resulting in almost one-of-a-kind glasses. 
Yep, I'd need deep pockets for a trip to Japan.

Switched over to the recently-arrived Seiko SARB033.

This watch was purchased as a replacement for my Omega Seamaster AquaTerra. I still have the Omega, but I'll be selling it soon. My main reason for getting rid of it is due to the lack of legibility of the dial in certain lighting conditions. I've found myself glancing at the watch while driving and, due to the glossy black dial, the hands can seem to disappear. This never bothered me too much in the past, but as I've gotten older, a couple of things have happened. Firstly, my eyesight has deteriorated in recent years, to the point where I now need glasses to see my watch clearly. Either that, or I need arms that are three feet long.
And secondly, my collection has grown a little, to the point where the Omega just wasn't getting much time on the wrist. So, I decided to move the AquaTerra along.
Once I'd made that decision, I felt that I'd still like to have a black-dialed dress watch and, Seiko being Seiko, there was no shortage of black-dialed dress watches to choose from in their repertoire. I saw this model during my trawls through eBay and filed it away for future reference.
And then, two things happened. One, this model became discontinued and prices on eBay began to slowly creep up.
And two, I re-watched Atomic Blonde (Dir: David Leitch, 2017) one night...

...and noticed something. The film, set in Berlin during the last days of the Cold War, gives us Charlize Theron as MI6 operative Lorraine Broughton, as she attempts to ferret out a mole in East Berlin. It's a great action film, featuring a stunningly choreographed fight scene in an apartment stairwell that's wonderfully shot on Steadicam.

What I noticed was her wristwatch. Something round, with a black dial, on a leather strap. It looked cool. Or maybe it looked cool because it was on ice-blonde Charlize Theron's wrist.

Whatever the reason, I thought it looked good paired with a crisp white shirt and waistcoat. I have a crisp white shirt and waistcoat, even though I don't have a mane of ice-blonde hair.
Her wristwatch, after a little digging, was a Carl F. Bucherer Manero ladies model. It's a nice, clean automatic watch with date.
Carl F. Bucherer is a brand that's been making recent in-roads into supplying watches for movies. Hamilton is another brand that has been doing so for years. You will find Hamilton on the wrists of a tonne of movie characters of the last two decades, from Will Smith in Men In Black in 1997, to Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar in 2014.
Bucherer, however, scored a big coup by fitting their watches to Keanu Reeves' wrist for the John Wick films in recent years.
This little battle will be interesting to see.

Anyway, I thought it was a nice looking watch, but I didn't want to shell out for a Bucherer, even though I have to say they make some beautiful watches, without a doubt.

So, I gave it all a little more thought before I snagged the Seiko off eBay.
As you may tell from this photo, the hands on the Omega (left) aren't as easy to see as those on the Seiko, on the right.
Both watches have faceted hands, but the Omega has a thin strip of SuperLuminova on the hour hand and just an arrow-tip of lume on the minute hand. The Seiko, however, has thin wedges of lume on both hands, thus making it easier for me to read the time at most angles and levels of lighting.
As much as I like the Omega, having gotten it while I was working at a watch dealer in 2006, if I can't read the time on it easily, then it has to go.
My one main cardinal rule about wristwatches- they must tell the time above all else.

For now, I can always change the Seiko's bracelet over to a black leather strap if I want it looking more like Charlize Theron's watch from the movie. Although, with Summer only a couple of months away, I think it wiser to leave it on its bracelet until the cooler months next year.

I've had bunions on both feet now for over ten years. This is where the big toe begins to tilt inwards towards the other toes, as the first knuckle of the big toe begins to swell. As some of you may recall me telling, I began working as a waiter at a pizza restaurant when I was a young teen back in 1979. Worked in hospitality for 22 years before moving in to retail for fifteen years. My current role in After-Sales for a wristwatch company is the first job I've had where I get to sit down as well as move around.
So, I think the time has well and truly come to get this bunion issue sorted out. I used to think that I developed these due to standing up for long periods in every job I've had, but it turns out that bunions are hereditary. My feet have been aching most nights now for over a decade, but I never got around to organising the operation to have the bunions worked on. One reason or another. The recovery time is around five weeks. I have enough leave time accrued and I have to get this done, regardless of the fact that once I return to work, there will be an absolute mountain of stuff to take care of.
My doctor wrote me a referral for x-rays last December and I'll finally go get them done this week. Then, I'll have a consultation with the podiatrist to ask questions about it all and after that, I'll go onto the public waiting list for the actual procedure. I may be waiting three months, I may be waiting a year. It will require a general anaesthetic and while I'm under, they'll break the big toe and then shave away some bone.
Yeah, I'll have to be under anaesthetic for all that. Maybe I should even get drunk beforehand. Sounds awful.
Anyway, over at the other end of my body, a root canal that I had done three years ago has been aching in recent weeks. Looks like I'll be visiting the endodontist soon. I'd better bring a wad of cash. To be honest, I'm seriously thinking of 'medical tourism', whereby I could go to Thailand or someplace and get my teeth worked on for a few grand, whereas it would cost me an arm and a leg to get it done here. I'm going to look into it at some point.

Anyway, enough about that. I'll get the ball rolling with it all by the time you read this.
We now return you to our regular feature.

I wore the Omega Railmaster at some point in late September;

My wrists are at that stupid mid-point between a watch feeling too tight or too loose. I'm pretty sure that I've 'lost condition' since I stopped going to the gym regularly a few years ago. Truth be told, though, my build was never anything to write home about. Time to get back into it so that I can achieve that 'Goldilocks effect' with some of my watches. The Railmaster wears a tad loose at the moment. If I remove even a half-link from the bracelet, it begins to feel a little too snug as the day wears on. Yes, it's a First World problem.

Had the foot X-rays done earlier this week. Spent longer in the waiting room than I did in the Radiology room. Next day, I tee'd up an appointment with my doctor to discuss the next step.

Wore the Omega Speedmaster earlier this month. This watch gets worn a little less as the warmer months approach because I find my watches get exposed to water more often.
The Speedmaster Professional is rated down to 50m, which basically means it's splash-proof. I know other owners of this model who will happily wear it in a pool, but I'd rather err on the side of caution, since I've had this watch for twelve years now and have yet to have it serviced. I daresay it's well overdue for some attention.
I'm tempted to take it to a watchmaker that I've heard about over the years. He happens to be a 25 minute drive from my house. Back in the days when I worked at the watch store, I used to send this watchmaker a lot of business whenever somebody would bring in a vintage watch, as I had heard from other watch collectors that he was pretty good. Might be time to find out for myself if that's true.

I recently had the Omega Seamaster 300 serviced. The watchmaker that I work with said a fellow that he trained was looking to make some extra money on the side and he'd be happy to service my watch at home.
The watch ran okay, but the seals around the crown made it very difficult to wind and set the watch. My main concern with this is that applying undue pressure on the crown will place undue pressure on the stem which attaches it to the movement. Over time, this may cause the stem to snap. You don't want that.
Anyway, this guy did the service and the crown is much, much smoother now. My watchmaker colleague checked the work afterwards and said the guy did a good job, but there was a part in the movement that looked worn out and should be replaced. He said he'd check through his bank of spare parts to see if he had it.
This was a few months ago now, and I basically began getting tired of waiting. I have an old Tudor Oyster Prince currently in pieces on his workbench. It's been like that for just over two years. Reason being, he's actually there to service the watches that come in on a daily basis, so any extra work for staff watches tend to take a long back-seat to the paid work.
Fair enough, that's what he and I are there for.

Although, I didn't relish the thought of this Omega sitting in pieces under a glass dome for extended periods of time, so I got onto eBay and cast out a lure, so to speak.
About a week later, I found a seller who had a slew of NOS (new old stock) parts for a range of vintage Omega calibres. A quick search through his inventory showed that he had what I needed. And he wasn't shy about charging. Between cost of part and postage, I shelled out around forty bucks. This price was actually around the same as what a parts website was selling it for, so in the end, I didn't feel that I got overly ripped off.

This friction spring helps the seconds hand move smoothly around the dial. It's a very, very small piece and I almost didn't want to take it out of the packaging to take this photo. If this thing fell onto the floor, I'd have a hard time finding it. I tip my hat to watchmakers. Sure, they use a magnifying loupe and have strong lighting, but they must have a level of patience that's beyond me.
So, I'll take this in to work some day soon and see if he has the time to fit it to the movement. Thing is, though, as we're now only about ten weeks away from Christmas, it's getting busy at work and I don't know if he'll have the time to do it.
Plan B is to take the watch to a nearby jeweller that I used to recommend to customers back in my watch selling days. Some collectors told me that he was very good.

I wore the Hamilton Khaki Automatic throughout the month.
I finally finished Graham Greene's classic, The Quiet American. I started reading it in early March. Then I went to Vietnam. Walked the same streets of Saigon that were mentioned in the book. Even had a drink (or two) at the Hotel Continental where Greene wrote much of the book in Room 214 in the early to mid 1950s.

I'll admit that I found the first 70 or 80 pages a little slow. After that, I finally got into the rhythm of the story and began to enjoy it.  The book was made into an okay movie back in 2004 by Phillip Noyce, starring Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser.
The story concerns jaded middle-aged British journalist Thomas Fowler, who is stationed in Saigon reporting for his newspaper back in England on the collapse of French colonialism in the country, and young, naïve American aide worker Alden Pyle, who is most likely CIA. Between the two of them lies Phuong, a young Vietnamese woman who is Fowler's lover. Pyle, being young and naïve, is totally smitten by her upon first meeting and he soon tells Fowler that he's in love with her and would like to take her back to America and be married.
Fowler doesn't perceive Pyle to be a threat. Of course, things change as the novel progresses, and Fowler begins to see Pyle as more than just a pain in the ass that his name would suggest.
The book has some nicely written passages and phrases. I'd forgotten how good a writer Greene was, and I've come to respect him more as I've gotten older. Truth be told, I've only read four other books of his, even though I have another dozen of them on my bookshelves.

The first one I read intrigued me when I first heard about it in the late '80s.
It was called The Tenth Man. Green wrote it as a film treatment/manuscript while under contract with MGM Studios in 1944. It was unearthed from their archives around 1983 and published in novel, or rather, novella form soon afterwards. I recall reading a review of the book which gave a brief synopsis. The story is set in a prison in Occupied France during the War. Two of the men in one cell block both own pocket watches and each of them is adamant that their watch shows the correct time. Two other prisoners owned wristwatches, but one day, they were led out of their respective cells and were never seen again. A short time later, some of the remaining prisoners notice that a couple of the guards are wearing the wristwatches.
But this is not what the overall story is about.
The book is short, numbering 112 pages, but John Carey, writing in the Sunday Times back then, had this to say about it;
"A masterpiece - tapped out in the lean, sharp-eyed prose that film work taught Greene to perfect." 

I read it back when I was 21 and it was a beautifully paced book. The main character is a former lawyer who is now languishing in this prison. I don't know much about Greene beyond the fact that he was a heavy drinker, had worked in British Intelligence during the War (Kim Philby was his supervisor), reviewed films back in the 1930s, and was an atheist, despite becoming a Catholic in the 1920s.
The late biographer Norman Sherry wrote a staggering three-volume biography of Greene over the course of a decade, traveling to countries circled in red on a map given to him by the author, with instructions to visit those places and talk to (and not to talk to) certain people.
I have the first volume. It's over 800 pages.
That's gonna take me a while.

Okay, that was longer than I'd planned it to be. Time to wrap things up.
I also wore the Oris Diver Sixty-Five this month;

Man, I gotta get back into exercising. I've got forearms like Bart Simpson's. And my waistline is straining. I have to work towards a body like one that author Phillip Kerr described in his book, The Five Year Plan. The guy has just gotten out of jail and had the kind of build where "his jackets were now too tight and his pants were too loose."

Yeah. That would be cool.

Right. 10:28pm. All for now, and thanks for reading!