Thursday, 23 February 2023

My Most-Worn Wristwatches of 2022

Well, last year had its fair share of ups and downs and I wore a watch throughout them all. Some watches saw more time on my wrist than others, and I was a little surprised by the results.
This yearly compilation has been a good exercise in helping me see which watches I wore the most, as this often allows me to determine just how attached (or not) I might be to a particular watch. A couple of watches here and there barely got a look-in. This is more to do with the watch requiring a service than anything else. For example, my Sinn 103 St Sa Chronograph began playing up back in April, so it hasn't been worn since then. Purchased in 2009, it is definitely overdue for some attention.

For this year's post, I think I'll list the watches in reverse order, just to mix it up a little. 
Also, I've included both the year of production, as well as the year in which I acquired each watch. If you just see just one year enclosed in brackets, that means I got the watch while it was still in production.
I took a bunch of photos, the majority of which I wasn't too thrilled with, but here they are anyway.

No. 10 - CASIO MRW-200-H 43mm (2022)

Picked this one up in April off eBay for $38.ooAUD. Brand new. Cheap and cheerful, with a lot going for it. 
Super-light all plastic 43mm case and strap construction with a non-ratcheted rotating bezel. Day and date function, flat mineral crystal, 100m water-resistance for a pleasant day at the beach or laps in a pool, luminous hour markers and hand-set, which doesn't last through the night, but this is okay for a watch costing less than fifty bucks. This would make a decent travel watch. If you lost it or it got stolen, you wouldn't worry too much. And for the price, you could buy two or three of them. Also available with a steel case on a metal bracelet, but I just wanted to try one out, so I opted for the most basic version. This is the watch that I took to hospital. The set-and-forget nature of battery-operated watches is a major plus. I wore this watch through 12 days in 2022. Doesn't sound like a lot, but it was enough to get into the Top Ten and the watch served me well. 
And, an added bonus;  There's an early scene in Bullet Train (Dir: David Leitch, 2022) where the assassin, Ladybug (Brad Pitt), goes to the train station locker to get his fake passport and other items he might require for this seemingly easy and straight-forward mission. He forgoes the pistol, having reached a point of enlightenment recently where he has sworn off carrying a gun and, in the locker next to the pistol, we see a Casio MRW-200H. Ladybug is already wearing a Breitling AVI 765 Re-Edition chronograph (Pitt is a Breitling ambassador), so he doesn't grab the Casio.

Also in the frame - 
A compilation (Volume 4) of Greg Rucka's excellent MI6 espionage graphic novels Queen & Country. This Casio watch feels like the kind a low-level field operative would wear in a safe-house, or maybe that's just my imagination at work. 
I had eight or ten of the single-issue Queen & Country comics at one stage before figuring that I should just get the collected editions. I have Volumes 1, 3 and two copies of Volume 4. Purchased the second copy, forgetting that I had already bought it. Volume 2 has been on its way from eBay since November 28th, but appears to have gone missing in transit. I contacted the seller and they said they'd send me another copy and they asked that I let them know if the first copy ever arrives. Will do. I'll also offer to send it back to them, on my dime.

No. 9 - SEIKO Seikomatic Weekdater 37mm Ref: 6218-8971 (December 1965. Purchased 2022)
I wore this one over 13 days of 2022, which was surprising. It's a great watch. The case is 37mm in diameter, which is a little large for the era in which it was made. Most watch case sizing - for your basic time-and-date piece - sat between 34mm and 36mm throughout the 1950s and '60s, with the odd 38mm 'jumbo' case appearing across a few brands. 
The Serial Number on the case-back starts with '5D', which corresponds to December 1965. Seiko had a simple serial number system up until a few years ago. 
The first digit of the serial number corresponds to the year of manufacture. The second digit corresponds to the month up to September (9). After that, Seiko switches to a lettering system for the last three months of the year, because they are double-digit months and this would get confusing. So, October would show as an upper-case 'O', not to be confused with a zero, November and December would be 'N' and 'D'.
Now, it helps if you have an idea of the decade in which your Seiko watch was made. This Weekdater model positively screams '1960s'.  These models were produced for about five years or so (don't quote me on that). Looking at another Seiko watch that I have, the Seiko 5 DX, the serial number shows as '8D1337', which would make it December 1968. 
Simple, yet effective. 

Anyway, back to this watch. It has a nice clean silver dial with applied hour markers. I'm usually a sucker for a dress watch dial that has applied rather than painted markers. It shows that some effort was made in its manufacture. This model has a nifty day window positioned at the six o'clock edge of the dial, which makes for a nice point of difference to the slew of watches which have day and date display sitting alongside each other. The dial and hands have no luminous material on them. In pitch black conditions, you won't see a thing. However, the hands are slightly faceted, so in low light, they will bounce off a bit of reflection, making it possible to read the time. 
The winding crown is recessed into the case at the 4 o'clock edge, something that Seiko has done with a tonne of their watches over the last fifty or sixty years. 
The case itself is quite slim, which is cool considering this is an automatic watch with a rotor under the bonnet. Usually, a slim watch like this will be manually wound, allowing the manufacturer to produce a thinner case than an auto. Kudos to Seiko. 
This watch appealed to me mainly due to the day/date configuration. The slightly larger case sizing also helped to set this watch apart from my Swiss-made vintage pieces. 

Also in the frame - 
A vintage National Panasonic transistor radio, a 1968 Nikon F photomic 35mm SLR, and a pair of folding sports glasses that were made in Japan. 
The radio doesn't pick up stations very well anymore. I think the tuning knob no longer works as smoothly as it used to. 
The camera really needs some use. I'll get around to it soon, once I've finished with a couple of other cameras that I have on the go at the moment. I love this Nikon. It weighs a tonne, but I recall it taking some nice shots the last time I ran some film through it. Might get a new strap for it as well. Actually, I may have one lying around somewhere.
The sports glasses are clever. The case is spring-loaded and folds up when the glasses are not in use. The lenses only magnify things to x2.5. I think these were meant for things like the opera or horse races. I might run some Vaseline along the tracks so that it opens and closes a little easier. 

No. 8 - TUDOR Ranger 34mm -  Ref: 9050/0 (1970. Purchased 2020)
I've had this watch for just over two years and it's a beauty. It belonged to a fellow who worked as a crane operator, ambulance driver, radio operator, among other ''Real Guy" occupations. This man didn't wear a white collar, that's for sure, and he certainly took away eight of this watch's nine lives.
The bracelet on this piece is an after-market one. The original Oyster bracelet was killed long ago, and this guy just put some no-name steel bracelet on it. I wound up getting a straight-edge Oyster-style bracelet for it, for $20 bucks off eBay, before spending a few dollars more on a Geckota Berwick Vintage bracelet. 
I'm hoping to get a Rolex Explorer some time this year and I'm not sure if I'll keep this watch if that happens. In saying that, though, this watch has some old-school charm to it and these Tudor Ranger models do tend to be a little thin on the ground. For now, I'll look at getting it serviced at some point and I'll see if I can find a genuine Tudor rotor for it. This watch was serviced ONCE(!) in its lifetime and the watchmaker replaced the Tudor-signed rotor with a ETA one. 
I wore this watch throughout 15 days of 2022.
Also in the frame- I was aiming for a 'Truck stop' vibe with this photo. The Marlboro Reds pack has been empty since the '90s, the Ronson Varaflame lighter is in great condition for its age. The Wilson bottle opener was from the Sunday Market in Trastevere in Rome. Cost me five Euros. 
The sunglasses were two bucks and they live on a bookshelf near the front door. 
For when I need to look a little cooler walking from the porch to the letterbox to check the mail on a sunny day.
No. 7 - HAMILTON Khaki Field Automatic 40mm - Ref: H70595593 (2018)
This watch got some use throughout the year. Wore on 17 days, when I either had some yard work or handyman duties to deal with, and also on some other days where I just felt like wearing this piece. Despite the fact that I wore it when I expected it to get knocked around a little, I've still yet to put any significant scratches or marks on it. This watch just may be tougher than I thought. 
Under the bonnet sits a ETA H-10 Calibre movement inside it which features a pleasant 80-hour power reserve. I'm beginning to like watches that have a three-day power reserve. It means you can take it off on a Friday evening and it'll still be purring along on a Monday morning. Or, you can wear it every few days without having to re-set the time and date. If you ever consider having a tight little collection of three or four watches, definitely have a think about a watch with a long power reserve. There are quite a few relatively inexpensive mechanical watches in the Swatch Group stable that contain these H-10 Calibres inside them. Tissot, Mido, and Certina would be three brands to look at besides Hamilton. Either way, across these four brands, you'd be bound to find something that you like, in either a sports or dress watch. 
Also in the frame - Aside from a small selection of tools that I've purchased over the years, that scratched up red oil can was from my Dad's tool cabinet. He wasn't too much of a handyman and didn't own a vast array of tools, but the items that he did own were well made.
No. 6 - ROLEX Submariner 40mm  - Ref: 5513/0 (1982. Purchased 2015)
This one was a surprise. As in, I thought I wore it more than the 19 days that I actually wore it. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I had wanted one of these watches ever since I was a kid back in the mid-Seventies, after seeing a James Bond double-bill at the cinemas with my Dad and brother. 
I finally got it in early 2015 and it has been a great watch. However, a couple of things happened over the years which may have cooled my enthusiasm for this watch a little. Firstly, I had a minor mishap with the watch where I knocked it against a door frame and the bezel and crystal dislodged from the case. This was an easy fix for the watchmaker that I was working with at the time, but it still made me question the resilience of this watch. 
And secondly, I bought a Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight in December 2020 and began to get a lot more wear out of that watch. For me, the Tudor BB58 represents everything that the Rolex 5513 does, but in a more modern, and therefore robust, package. The Tudor is the kind of watch that Rolex used to make.

Still, the absolute legendary status of the Submariner reaches far and wide. If nothing else, it is a very photogenic watch. It is also one of the cleanest watch designs ever made. Having graced the wrists of Steve McQueen, Jeff Bridges, Lee Marvin, four out of six 007s, Castro, probably half of Cousteau's crew aboard the Calypso, and countless foreign correspondents and National Geographic photographers over the past seven decades, it's reputation is assured.
Although, I appear to be approaching a crossroads with this watch. I'd like to keep it, but a part of me wants to move it along and replace it with a more modern version. Something from fifteen or twenty years ago, which may be more water-resistant and definitely a little hardier.
We'll see. For now, it's going nowhere.

No. 5 (equal place) - OMEGA Speedmaster Professional  42mm- Ref: 3570.50.00 (2007)

I wore two Omega watches throughout 21 days each last year. One of them was this classic chronograph. It fits me well enough when it's on its bracelet, but I switched it over to a leather strap and it sits on my wrist much better. Similar to the Rolex Submariner in that it has a lot of history and level of  mystique to it that only a small selection of watches can attest to. Its design and overall aesthetic has changed little since the mid-Sixties, which is merely further proof of the classic nature and staying power of this watch. Cynics would say that its moon-landing/NASA association is the only thing that's given this watch so much cred, but I couldn't care less about that. To me, it's simply a beautiful example of mid-Sixties chronograph design. 
I used to think about selling this watch, but I came to my senses. 
The Omega Speedmaster Professional may have gone to the moon, but this Omega Speedmaster Professional ain't going anywhere. 
Also in the frame - My keys, with a vintage brass French hotel room key number tag, a pair of cheap motorcycle goggles - which I used in my review of the Longines Heritage model years ago - and a couple of packets of (stale by now!) Big Red cinnamon flavoured chewing gum. All draped across a 2010 Melway street directory, which is what we used before satnavs and Google Maps.

No. 5 (equal place) - OMEGA Railmaster  36.2mm - Ref: 2504.52.00 (2009. Purchased 2012.)

With a diameter of 36.2mm, this watch suits my wrist perfectly. It was worn through 21 days of 2022 before I picked it up one day, set the time on it, wound it about a dozen times and... nothing happened. It wouldn't start. It was now well overdue for servicing. 
Back in 2009, during my watch selling days, I sold this watch to a fellow who took good care of it. Then, in 2012, he decided to sell a couple of watches and he offered me first dibs on this one. 
This watch has gotten a lot of wear and has appeared in every one of these 'Most Worn Watches' posts of mine over the years. It offers superb legibility and more than enough water-resistance for day-to-day activities. My one major gripe with this watch has to do with the design of the bracelet's clasp. It is perhaps the weakest part of the watch. As such, I have been passively searching for a clasp that will fit the existing bracelet, or a bracelet that will fit to the case without any issues. So far, no luck. 
Either way, sometime this year, I'll be sending it off to Omega for servicing. At the time of writing, they are taking between six to eight months to service a mechanical watch here in Australia. It is what it is. Most service centres are extremely busy these days. 
Here's the link to my review of this watch, from back in, my God, was it 2013?!
Also in the frame - The Fujifilm X30 digital camera that I got for my wife for her birthday one year. She hasn't used it all that much, to be honest. I thought she might find it handy for family/holiday snaps and what-not, but as I have always tended to bring a camera along on holidays, it has always felt a little redundant to have two cameras to worry about. Besides, once she got an iPhone a few years ago, she told me that that was enough camera for her. 
A Fisher AG-7 ballpoint pen. Writes nicely enough, but I've always felt that a pen is only as good as its refill. This one has some nice weight to it, though. 
Field Notes pocket notebook, because I always carry pen and paper. 

No. 4 - OMEGA Seamaster 300 42mm (WatchCo) - Ref: 165.0324 (Purchased 2009) 

Twenty-three days in 2022 saw this watch on my wrist. I've said this more than once. Omega should have kept this watch in uninterrupted production. It would have given the Rolex Submariner a run for its money. I got this watch serviced a couple of years ago and it's running just fine. I could probably wear it more often than I do, but I'd really hate to knock it around too much. I still baby this one a little. 
If I could change one thing about this watch, I'd make it a millimetre or two smaller in diameter, but its çurrent size is not a deal-breaker. Put on this period-correct mesh bracelet and the watch 'breathes' a little more on the wrist, making for a very comfy fit. 

Also in the frame - A pair of Randolph Aviator sunglasses that I bought about seventeen years ago.
A paperback copy of Forsyth's The Day of The Jackal. I had this version of the book already, but it was in slightly tatty condition. When I saw this very good copy at a thrift store, I snapped it up. 
I have two other copies of this book. One is a Franklin Mystery Press hardcover edition, which features a break-down drawing of The Jackal's custom-made rifle and a map of Paris outlining President De Gaulle's itinerary on a particular day.
The other is a small hardcover edition printed by Collector's Library, with gilt-edged pages. I bought it in Paris from Shakespeare & Co back in 2016. I was on holiday and we visited the store because I thought I'd try searching for Richard Polt's The Typewriter Revolution.  
Part of me thought it was a long-shot, but I had a niggling feeling that this famous bookstore was the kind of place that would stock this obscure book about typewriters and, sure enough, they had a copy on their shelves. I grabbed it. While doing some more browsing, I spotted this Forsyth novel, in its dainty little hardback form. I was in Paris, so I thought it made perfect sense to snag a famous thriller that's set in Paris from a famous bookstore in Paris!
The drink in the photo is a Cuba Libre;
               - Grab a highball glass.
               - Half-fill it with ice.
              - Add a measure of white rum. Maybe another half-measure for that extra kick. I used Havana Club, for that pre-Castro kind of vibe. 
                - Top it up with that nectar of capitalism, Coca-Cola.
                - Add a slice of lime. Maybe even squeeze the juice out of a small wedge of it too. 
- Give it a light and gentle stir.
 And Viva Fidel!

I was out of limes, so I opted for lemon. Turned out just as nice. Gotta get to Cuba one day.

No. 3 (Equal place) - OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean 42mm- Ref: 2201.50.00 (2007) 

This Omega dive watch shared equal billing with another watch in the collection. Worn through 25 days of last year, this piece certainly has some presence on the wrist. 
If you look at the photos of  the Railmaster and the Seamaster 300, you will see a blend of their DNA in this watch. 
The sapphire crystal has anti-reflective coating, which makes for a very clear view of the dial. The hands have some decent lume on them, so reading the time in the dark is a snap. The case has some weight to it, so you always know you've got it on. 
This was the watch that adorned Daniel Craig's wrist in his second Bond flick Quantum of Solace. It didn't get any close-ups, it wasn't mentioned by name, but Omega did run some print advertising showing DC wearing a dinner jacket with this watch on his wrist prior to the release of the film back in 2008. 

Also in the frame- The first of Royal Doulton's ceramic 'Jack' bulldogs, this one was released in conjunction with Skyfall in 2012, when London was hosting the Olympic Games and Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee. When we first see this figurine in the film, it is sitting on M's desk at the new, temporary MI6 headquarters. There are cracks across its face, implying that it has been glued back together at some point following the attack on MI6 headquarters at Vauxhall Cross. 

The photo of Daniel Craig is out of the hardcover book Bond On Set: Filming 'Quantum of Solace', which features photos taken by Greg Williams during production of the film. The sharp-eyed among you will notice he's wearing a Planet Ocean. I got this watch about a year before the film was released. Basically, Bond copied me! 
For once. 

No. 3 (Equal place) - ORIS Divers SixtyFive 40mm- Ref: 733 7707 4035 (2018) 
The other watch that was also worn throughout 25 days of last year was also a dive watch, but to a lesser extent than the Omega. 
I write a review of this watch in the year that I got it, as I was mighty impressed with this piece. 

This watch gave off a Cold War vibe to me. Whether it was real or imagined is another matter. 
My theory is that not every field operative in the 1960s would have or could have purchased a Rolex Submariner for themselves after seeing Connery up on the silver screen as OO7. So, for them, the next best thing would have been to purchase something along the same lines as Bond's watch, i.e., a dive watch of some kind, by a less expensive brand. I hate using the word 'cheap' when I'm talking about watches. 
This has been a favourite watch of mine. Different enough to my other dive watches, with its kooky numeral font, and its forty millimetre diameter sits nicely on my slender/girly 6.5 inch wrist. I don't get offended if somebody says I have a girl's wrists. It's what God gave me, and no amount of working out will make your actual wrist larger. Forearms, yes. Wrists, no. Simple as that. 
There are vastly more expensive watches on the market, which offer better timekeeping and deeper water-resistance, etc, etc, but you could score yourself an Oris Divers SixtyFive and it would serve you very well indeed. 
This dial configuration was discontinued a year or two ago, but the D-65 range continues to produce 40mm models. Something like my watch or the all-black dial version can still be found on the second-hand market. When this watch was first released in 2015, it was the belle of the ball at the BaselWorld Watch Fair in Switzerland, garnering a lot of positive buzz among watch nerds and watch blogs. 

FULL DISCLOSURE - I was the After-Sales Coordinator for Oris in Australia for almost six years. I can't say I was a fan of everything the brand produced, but 80 to 90% of the time, when they got it right, they got it very right.

Also in the frame - This is a busy photo! I was aiming for a stake-out-in-a-West-Berlin-safe-house kind of mood.
A pair of Japanese-made binoculars.
A cheap deck of playing cards, printed on cheap card-stock, made in the PRC.
A smoked-glass ashtray.
A virtually empty pack of Camel no-filters, with one very stale cigarette left in it. Probably from around 2005, if not 1995!
An IMCO lighter. 
A vintage pair of glasses, with lenses that give me a headache if I put them on. 
A 1st edition hardback copy of Ian Fleming's last two published Bond short stories.

No. 2 - SEIKO Ref: SKX009K 42mm (2019. Purchased 2021)

The equal third place Oris and Omega watches were both worn throughout 25 days of last year. This figure pales into insignificance compared to this classic Seiko, which I wore during 69 days of 2022!
This watch has no name. It is simply known by its Reference Number - SKX009. Its more famous sibling is the SKX007, which features a black dial and black bezel. I decided that I wanted a point of difference with this watch, so I opted for the blue-dialed 009 model with the blue and red bezel insert. 
I got this watch in September of 2021. It had been discontinued about 18 months earlier and, aside from price hikes on remaining models, they were also beginning to get quite scarce. This is one of those watches that had been around so long that I thought I had plenty of time to snag one. 
I used to have a pre-owned Seiko 7002 model from 1993 and I got rid of it a few years ago. Kicked myself slightly about a year after I sold it, because I've always thought there was something very cool about a Seiko dive watch. 
This was the kind of watch that I'd see on the wrists of guys who would come into some of the cafés that I worked in over the years back in my hospitality days. These men were usually a few years either side of 40, unmarried (sometimes divorced), with a middle-age spread and Jaggeresque hairstyle (sometimes a little sun-bleached from too much time on the beach or in the surf on their boards), and they sometimes drove a cool car that had seen better days. Like that one guy I knew who had a late Sixties Mustang with the faded and peeling canary yellow paint-job rusting along the lower sills and the rough idling when he was stopped at a red light. 
Beach bums one and all. But likeable nevertheless. 
Anyway, I wanted another Seiko dive watch and these SKX00 models were getting harder to find, so I snapped one up off eBay. My one has the 'K' designation to the model number, signifying that it was assembled at Seiko's Malaysian subsidiary. If you want one that's built in Japan, look for the 'J' designation on the model number. At a glance, another way to tell the difference is the dial. The Made In Japan models have the phrase '17 Jewels' printed underneath the 'DIVER'S 200m' lettering just above the six o'clock marker. And, of course, just below the six o'clock marker, in very small font, you'll find the words 'MADE IN JAPAN' printed on the outermost edge of the dial. 
I wore this one a lot throughout 2022. I liked the heft of it, I liked the easy legibility, I liked the day and date function, which came in handier than I thought, in a year that was a little topsy-turvy at times. 

Also in the frame - Bullet Train paperback by Kotaro Isaka. I saw the movie and liked it. I'm sure the book will be vastly different. The Hollywood spin tends to take some artistic licence with the source material. The book is told in present tense, which tends to bug me a little, but we'll see how it reads when the time comes. 
A little plastic resin box that my wife got many years ago, most likely before I even met her.
A monochrome bandanna that I got from some bar back in the late Eighties. They were doing a Midori liqueur promotion. 
An empty pack of Mild Seven. They were a nice cigarette. The box of matches was found in a box of assorted book-matches that my wife bought from a thrift store for five bucks. That was about seven years ago and we're still going through the matches. 

No. 1 - TUDOR Black Bay Fifty-Eight 39mm Ref: 79030N (2020)    

73 days of 2022 saw this watch on my wrist. This is a near-perfect* watch for me. I'll explain that asterisk a little later. 
To me, the Black Bay 58 represents everything that the Rolex Submariner  used to be. This Tudor is a very well-made wristwatch that is both accurate and robust. Yes, it is expensive, but it's expensive in the same way that a well-made pair of leather boots are expensive. A great amount of thought and care have been taken in their design and manufacture and this is what justifies the price. 
I wore this watch a lot. I wore the Rolex Submariner less. This is something that I suspected might happen when I first got the Tudor. Also, as I've stated more than once on various platforms on the web,  owning a vintage Rolex Submariner is like owning a vintage sports car. A little more care is required when using it, and a little more servicing and maintenance are required during ownership. 
Now, I'm careful enough with my watches, but I really don't want to wrap them up in cotton wool. Therefore, I find myself thinking more and more about upgrading the Submariner to a more modern version, say, something from around 2005 to 2010. This would be one of the last models produced before Rolex made some major changes to the Submariner's case design. The models from ten or fifteen years ago would have a sapphire crystal and better water-resistance. Reason enough to upgrade right there. 
For now, I'm still in the thinking stages, but it would seem that that's the direction I'm heading in.
The heart says keep the one I have. The head says replace it with a sturdier version. 
Let's see who wins.

*Now, about that asterisk; The bracelet, or rather, the clasp, may be this watch's one small flaw. For my wrist, that is. The length of the clasp bridge is quite long and it doesn't follow the curvature of my wrist. This leads to a slight gap between the inside of the bracelet and my wrist, and more importantly, doesn't provide me with a 100% perfect fit. Here's a picture that I prepped a couple of years ago for a previous post;

See that gap where the black arrow is pointing? Yeah, that's the problem that I have with this bracelet's clasp. 
Luckily, a few independent bracelet manufacturing companies have created a half-link for the bracelet of this watch. I will be investing in one of these links soon, to see if it will solve this issue. You never know, and for thirty USD, I'm willing to chance it. 
Aside from that, I can't fault this watch. It has modern technology and reliability, all packaged in a vintage aesthetic that harks back to mid-century sports wristwatch design. In a perfect 39mm case diameter, with a super legible dial. 

Also in the frame - My passport, which just might expire before I take another trip anywhere. 

A couple of travel guides that we bought before our big trip to Paris and Rome back in 2016. I wrote about the Paris leg of the trip here;

The Teeritz Agenda | The Teeritz Clan's European Trip, Part 1 - Paris: "Effing Hell, All The Cliches Are True!"  

I never did get around to writing about the Rome and Abruzzo parts of the trip. Maybe one day, but I'll have to check the notes that I wrote (not many) and more than likely, I'll have to ask my wife about some of the sites we saw and the things that we did because she has a cast-iron memory. Actually, I do remember most of the things that we did, but the days began to blur a little. Especially because we stayed in two fantastic European cities close to rivers, the Seine and the Tiber. 
Gotta get back to these cities one day. 
While in Paris, I snagged a pair of Persol 649S sunglasses. I was aiming for a '70s style Interpol agent vibe. Of course, they weren't using Euros in Paris back in the Seventies. 
And from the photo just above, the coin was a souvenir from the Notre Dame Cathedral. 
And there you have it. These yearly lists have been a good way for me to see which pieces get worn more than others, whether my tastes have changed, if I show a preference for one type of wristwatch over another. 

One thing, though. I think there's gonna be a little bit of a shake-up. Yes, yes, I've been saying that for years, I know. Although, the more time that passes, the more I begin to realise that I have done nothing about it. 
So, methinks 2023 will be the year. I spent last year dealing with health issues and job changes. I think this year will involve some tidying up and consolidating. Maybe I won't make any leaps and bounds, but I'll definitely aim for a little more streamlining of my collections.
Seriously, Ted. ;-)
At the time of writing (Feb 23rd), I have another watch that arrived a month or so ago, but more about that at a later stage. 
For now, it's about moving some things along, across all of my collections.
We shall see what happens.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Feb 2023 | Post- Op Recovery: Short Despatch No. 6 - A Slight Hiccup. (And a Tetanus Shot!*)

Wed, February 1st, 2023

So, here I am again. I thought my last post might have been the last one to cover the recuperation of my feet after the bunion surgery that I had back in mid-September, but it would seem that I have one more hurdle to jump. If I could jump, that is. 

I've been limping along for the last two weeks or so. Cant fully bend the toes of my left foot. Every step of my left foot hurts. 

I'm gonna try and keep this one short. We'll see.

Mon, Jan 9th - I was helping the watchmaker move his old work-bench and one of the bench's feet landed a little hard on top of my left foot. It hurt a little for a couple of hours, but faded after that. 

Tue, Jan 17th - One week later. My left foot had been feeling pretty good recently. It seemed like its post-op recovery was lagging a little compared to my right foot - which can bear my full weight - but it was feeling stronger in recent weeks. 
So, I woke up a little early one morning and tried a few push-ups. Did 12 of them, as a light test, to see how my left foot held up. 
No problem. Twelve push-ups were a walk in the park. 
Until late in the afternoon. I began to feel a tightness along the toes of my left foot and it began to hurt a little as I lifted the foot with each step. When I knocked off for the day, I slowly made my way to the train station, limping along.
Okay, this ain’t good, I thought to myself as I began to walk slower, being outpaced by men in their 60s and 70s. 
I got off at my station and took ten minutes to take the five minute walk to my car. Yeah, you read that right. Took me twice as long to get to my car. This was not good. 

I made a doctors appointment. I already had one scheduled for the following week. Wanted to get my 2nd booster shot for Covid and I was also due for a tetanus shot. However, this foot was giving me some noticeable pain AND concern so I tee’d up a consult with a different doctor. She had a look at the foot and gave me a referral for X-rays. 
Fri, January 20th -  Had the appointment with the doctor. Not the usual physician that I see, but this doctor was very helpful nonetheless. My foot was looking quite puffy near the toes. She wrote me out a referral for x-rays.
Sat, January 21st - Next morning, I headed out to the Radiology clinic and had my feet x-rayed. Meanwhile, I continued to limp along.  My foot would be quite swollen by end-of-day. Every step I took would hurt. 

Diary entry, Tuesday January 24th; 

Got a bit done today. 
Foot is killing me. 
Wed, January 25th - Doctors appointment that I had scheduled  before this new drama with my foot. He read the x-ray report. No sign of fracture. 
My Doc suggested that I put Voltaren on the swollen foot for a week or two. Voltaren is an anti-inflammatory gel used for arthritic pain. 
I asked about getting a second Covid booster shot, but he told me that, since I'd had a bout of Covid about a month or so earlier, I was immune for another six or eight weeks. 

*Got my tetanus shot, though. Why the asterisk in the title of this post? Well, back in 2011, I wrote this quick post;

Over the years, whenever I thought about when I'd be due for a tetanus booster shot, I would do a Google search for 'teeritz rusty nail' and this post would come up. 
So, I knew when I would be due for my next shot.  
Now, with this post, I'll hopefully know when I need to get a tetanus booster in ten years or so. 
My diary entry that day; Not sure I'm happy with XXXXX's diagnosis. Maybe get a 2nd opinion. 
Tue, January 31st - Had an appointment with a local podiatrist. She was an amiable lady who was quite thorough. She decided to conduct an ultrasound on my foot. I sat up on the examination table while she slid the sensor wand across the top of my left foot over the metatarsal area. 
I was tempted to ask; Is it a boy or a girl?!
About a minute into the procedure, she said; I'm not 100%, but I think there's a fracture visible. 
She tilted the screen towards me, but to be honest, I didn't know what I was looking for.  
As a precautionary measure, to arrive at a definitive answer, she booked me a referral for another set of x-rays, from a different radiology clinic, as well as another ultrasound procedure.
As an added gesture, she gave me the name of the sonographer that she trusts would do an accurate ultrasound and she also added the phrase 'bulk bill' on the x-ray referral paper. That way, I wouldn't have to pay for the procedure, unlike the first round of x-rays that I had done ten days earlier. 

Mon, February 6th - Got the x-rays and ultrasound done at this different clinic. Everyone was very pleasant. 

Tue, February 7th - Podiatrist called me to say that she had gotten the x-ray and ultrasound results and yep, there was a fracture in one of the metatarsals of my left foot. I made an appointment to see her at the end of the day. Sure enough, I had a look at the films on her computer and there was a tiny sliver of bone sticking out very slightly from one of the metatarsal bones of my foot. Podiatrist surmised that perhaps it didn't show up in the first x-rays due to the angle of my foot.
Thankfully, it would just require my wearing a moon-boot for the next 4 weeks or so. This was gonna be a little bit of a hassle, but I was thankful to find out the cause of this pain and swelling. 
This boot is heavy, and it carries the risk of causing hip pain and alignment issues. To counteract this, I got a rubberised sole to go under my other shoe, in order to provide the required height to keep both feet in line with each other.
I also booked a couple of laser therapy sessions over the next week or so, to help speed up the recovery process. 
Photobiomodulation, commonly referred to as Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), involves near infra-red light which is designed to work at the cellular level. We'll see how that goes.
For me, the jury's still out on how this might have happened to begin with. I'm leaning more towards the push-ups being the cause, since the swelling and pain kicked in about eight hours later. 
I'm a little ticked-off with myself for letting this happen, but how could I have known it would have resulted in this? 
I made the decision to start exercising a little more seriously once this boot comes off. I'll also look into maybe getting a bone density test done, as suggested by the podiatrist. 
Anyway, this was a headache I didn't need, but I'm glad that it's being taken care of and that I exercised a little initiative rather than just accept my doctor's assessment. 
Bit of luck, I'm on the road to recovery already.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 14 January 2023

Nov-Dec, 2022/Jan 2023 | Post-Op Recovery: Short Despatch No. 5 - Walk, Don't Run...Away From 2022.

December 27th, 2022            
                                 Here we are, four days left in the year. This one has had its fair share of ups and downs. I'm currently dealing with a persistent cough that seems to peak overnight, resulting in my having to get up in the wee small hours to give myself an inhalation with-...but I'm jumping ahead a little here. I'll get back to that.


I went back to work on the 14th and, sure enough, there were a few minor headaches to deal with. I have to say, though, that the staff who filled in for me while I was away did a stellar job. I only had to deal with spot-fires rather than major blazes. 
One of these blazes was a customer who used his watch incorrectly and managed to 'lock' the crown so that the watch had to be sent off to be re-set. This was a quartz watch that has a bunch of functions to it which are all controlled with the crown. The dial has two hands (hour and minutes) as well as two digital screens which offer other functions such as alarm, stopwatch, count-down timer, etc. Well, the watch had to be sent back to the manufacturer's service centre. When I contacted the customer, I informed him that this repair would take four weeks. 
Five days later, he called to enquire as to the state of the repair. We had no new information to give him. The watch was undergoing repair. We don't actually give customers a blow-by-blow update on their repairs. If I tell a customer their repair will take, say, six weeks, there's no point in them calling me a month later to ask how it's going.  It's currently under repair is my standard response. 
I've tried to explain this to the store staff who get enquiries from customers regarding their repairs, using the Pasta Analogy;
                                          I'm gonna cook you a bowl of pasta. 
The pasta takes twelve minutes to cook in boiling water. 
So, don't ask me in five minutes; How's the pasta going? because my reply will be; It's cooking.
Anyway, back to this customer with the locked-up watch. I didn't speak to him when he called on the fifth day. He ended up talking with one of the reception staff. The staff member spent about fifteen minutes on the phone with this customer, who ended up saying that he was going to call the police to tell them that the brand's service centre has stolen his watch. 
Yes, that's right. This billion-dollar multi-national Swiss watch brand has stolen your five thousand dollar watch, sir. 
I spent the first week back just getting up to speed and taking it a little easier as far as walking around was  concerned. I used the cane that you see in the photo up above and I wore the Tudor Black Bay 58.

A few days later, I visited a nearby jewellery store where I worked very briefly ten years ago. Worst company I ever worked for, but that's another story. This store is a Longines stockist. I've had my eye on a particular watch for most of this year and I thought I'd go try it on, to either get it out of my system, or put a deposit on it. 
They had it in stock. I tried it on. The sales gal and I got to talking and she told me that they'd be having their Black Friday sale a week later. She suggested I come back then and place a deposit on it and she'd lock it in at the sale pricing. I had a feeling it would be somewhere between 20 and 26 percent off the retail pricing. 
So, I went back the following week and put some money down on it. I'll say more about it in future posts. 

A week later, I had an x-ray appointment scheduled. This would be followed by a meeting with the surgeon who performed the operation on my feet back in September. 
Got the x-rays done and then had the appointment with the surgeon two days later. He had a look at the scars and said they appeared to be healing nicely. He suggested I break up the scar tissue by massaging the area daily. I had a few questions to ask him, mainly regarding long-term recovery and the possibility of further surgery. He allayed my concerns and said that any further surgery looked unlikely. 
We talked briefly about orthotic shoes and then he asked me about what I did for a living. I told him I was the Service Manager for a wristwatch retailer and the conversation soon turned to the watch industry and the scarcity of Rolex watches and the prices on the pre-owned market, etc. 
We ended up talking more about my job than my feet. I wore the Submariner 5513 for this appointment. And, man, how many of those orange VISITOR stickers have I accumulated over the last few months!? They date-stamp them when you arrive at the hospital's main entrance. Then, they ask you a few Covid-related questions before asking you to remove your mask so that they can give you one of their own tight-fitting, multi-elastic masks.
He seemed happy with the way my feet were healing and told me there would be a follow-up appointment in six months. 

Fast Forward...
                           Happy New Year! I was happy to see the end of 2022. My wife and I have noticed that every seven years or so we tend to have a crappy year, peppered with a few more lows than highs. 
Still, we got through the year relatively unscathed.
On Friday December 9th, though, I felt a little raspy in the throat and decided to take a RATS test and, sure enough, it showed positive. 
I had Covid-19. Again. I had been careful for months. I wore a mask during my commutes to and from work. I tried to sit away from people who weren't wearing masks whenever possible. No luck. So, I quarantined for the next seven days or so. This bout was rougher than the one I had at the start of 2022. This one came with a very runny nose and a very persistent cough that would flare up in the middle of the night. I slept on the couch for about a week, because I didn't want to keep my wife up.

And I also worked from home for the following week. Turned one end of the kitchen/dining table into my workstation. 
On Sunday the 18th, I did another RATS test and it showed as Negative. Cool. I could return to work next day, but I'd wear a mask in the office as a precaution, and I'd also keep my distance from a colleague whose immune system is slightly compromised. I wore my Seiko SKX009K. Later that evening (Monday), I had an appointment at a nearby respiratory clinic. A few of these clinics have been established in the last couple of years to take the pressure off hospitals.
I was now Covid-negative, but I was still coughing and going through Kleenex tissues like crazy. The doctor explained that it looked like I now had a secondary infection. He prescribed me a course of antibiotics and sent me on my way. 
I still felt crappy over Christmas, but by New Year's Eve, I was back to my old self. 
I decided that a doctor's appointment would be a wise idea for sometime in January. 

January 14th, 2023
                                Last year was a very hectic and eventful year;
- Quit the job that I was at for just under six years, on the last day of 2021.
- Started 2022 with a bout of Covid-19.
- Started a new job in late January and stayed there for around six weeks.
- Got a new job in March.
- Had my tooth implants and crowns fitted in April.
- Came down with a flu in mid-June. Had it until the third week of August. 
- Got my feet operated on in September.
- Finished the year with another dose of Covid-19.
I have around 30 hours of Annual Leave accrued. That won't get me very far. 
As for Personal (Sick)/Carer's Leave, I'm at minus 11.4 hours. Basically, I owe them! So, it's at least six months before I could take a week off. Ahh, least I have my health, so to speak. 
Managed to spend about thirty minutes in the sun on Christmas Day and ended up getting sun-burnt. That hasn't happened to me since the Summer of 1990/91.

The feet are still a little fragile. I wake up in the morning and they feel quite tight all along the entire soles. This fades as I begin walking. My left foot hurts at times when I take a step. I've been going to the beach and taking walks along the sand in the early evening, just after dinner and before sunset. I think I need to toughen them up a little. 
I've also put on a little bit of a paunch in recent years and I think I may have gained a little more weight around the middle in the last few months. 
Gotta do something about that. Exercise won't really do it. It's got more to do with eating a little less. Smaller meals. Portion control, I believe is what the kids are calling it these days. 
While I'm at it, since I work on the third floor of an office building, I'm gonna do like Cary Grant used to. I'm going to start taking the stairs a little more.

The Omega Speedmaster Professional got some time on the wrist this month. I do find, however, that I tend to wear my more water-resistant watches during the Summer months, because I know that the watch will be subjected to sweat and water more often. This strap that you see on the Speedy is one that I've had for over ten years. I thought it was time to put it onto a watch a leave it one the watch so that it would wear out over a few years. I have a few too many watch straps and it's time to start cycling through them.
And that's it. This is the last post in this Post-Op Recovery series. I hope you've enjoyed reading it. The operation was such a long time coming that I began to build it up in my head into something more worrying than it needed to be. Looking back, it was a text-book procedure and it seemed to go well according to plan. The surgeon who performed the op was quite personable and I look forward to speaking to him again in a few months. Hopefully, the niggling pains that my feet are giving me will subside over time. I have to remind myself that full recovery can take a  year or so. The operation was September 14th. Four months ago. Still early days.
One last x-ray shot of my right foot. You can see the three screws clearly enough. The metatarsal bone where the two screws are located was the segment that was cut through along its length. The two separate sections were then spaced wider apart before the screws were inserted. 
Ouch! In saying that, though, I can put my full weight on my right foot without any pain. 
But like I say, still early days. I won't be doing any pirouettes on this foot just yet.
I hope 2023 has started nicely for you all, and I hope that this year treats you all kindly, and may the low points be minor ones. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 13 November 2022

October-November, 2022 | Post-Op Recovery: Short Dispatch No. 4 - Home. Stretch.

Title is misleading, dammit. This dispatch ain't short.
October 20th, 2022.
                                So, I've been home as the recovery continues. I've been sitting at the kitchen table during the week, with my feet propped up on two chairs tucked in under the table as I go through repair quotations and send them out to customers. This resulted in some back-ache after a couple of hours of being seated, but was alleviated considerably when my son gave me a cushion to put behind my back. 
WHY didn't I think of that?
This has been my desk set-up while working from home. Laptop computer to my right, notepad to my left, keeping track of what I've done for the day and how long it took me. With the odd coffee break here and there. On this particular day (18th), I wore the RADO Golden Horse while I prepared repair quotations to send out to customers. 
Some watch brands are incredibly busy at the moment and their repair turnaround times are anywhere between fifteen to twenty weeks. That's just how it is. No way around it. Mind you, the customers are informed of this when they receive their quotations, but it is buried in amongst all the other information.
So, to make it clearer, I have been outlining the repair time-frame in a box located a third of the way down on the first page. 
Despite that, I still get customers emailing me for repair updates six or eight weeks after they've given the go ahead on a repair which will take say, twelve to fourteen weeks to complete. There's no real update that I can give to these customers. The repair is underway and going along according to schedule. Once it's completed, AND subject to it successfully passing final testing, the customer will be notified to come and collect their repaired wristwatch.  

Anyway, I've tried to move my toes a little more this week, to see if there's been any pain and yes, there has been some pain. I've got an X-ray appointment on the 25th, and then a follow-up consultation with the surgeon a couple of days after that. 
I downloaded the paperwork related to this whole adventure and saved it to my hard drive. The surgeon's Orthopaedic Letter to my GP contained this information, that I had forgotten about, since it dates back to January last year (2021);

                                                      He will require a day in the hospital and will need to strictly elevate for two weeks. He will be in orthopaedic shoes weight-bearing as tolerated for six weeks at which stage he should be getting back into his own shoes. It would take a year to get the full result from the surgery. He is aware as he has some arthritis of the toes there is a risk this may progress to more severe arthritis requiring a fusion of the first MTPJ in the future. 
I did some reading up on MTPJ (metatarsophalangeal joint) fusion.

From what I gather so far, this fusion will restrict the bending of the toe, as a metal plate will be screwed in across the top of the first joint. This transfers the weight of each step up towards the top of the foot and the ankle, which can lead to other issues later on. 
Having said that, though, there's some conflicting information to be found on this topic, depending on what sites you land on.
Either way, my aim is to avoid this kind of surgery for as long as I can. First step is a slight modification of diet here and there. My wife has ensured that we all eat healthy. Although, I still falter when it comes to things like white bread and sugar. The idea is to eradicate as many processed foods from my diet as possible, as these have an inflammatory effect, thus adding to the causes of arthritis. 
So, for starters, less sugar wherever possible. But, the damn stuff is in just about everything. Like peanut butter, for instance. 
Still, I dropped my sugar-in-coffee intake down to half-a-teaspoon about four of five months ago, and at work, I go to a coffee place that makes such a good cup of coffee that I don't bother adding any sugar to it. So that's a start. 

Tuesday the 25th

A 4:30pm appointment to have some x-rays taken.  I got there way early, expecting to sit in the waiting room and read a book until I was called, but things actually happened pretty quickly. I only had to wait about ten minutes before I was led into the Radiology Room (I forget the number) where I hopped up onto the table and had four x-rays done. I asked if it was possible to have copies emailed to me. I was told that I could ask at the reception desk for a DVD copy of them. 

The young lady at the desk told me that it would take about ten or fifteen minutes to organise the disc. That's cool, I could wait. I had been home all day, plowing through emails and repair quotes. I wore the 1969 Seiko Skyliner. Just nice and simple. Time only. The DVD disc was ready and the receptionist came over and handed it to me. I thanked her and headed for the exit where I called for a cab. Got home in time to beat the rush-hour traffic. 

Here's my right foot, showing the three titanium screws that were fitted. I don't know what to look for. Let's just hope that these screws are where they ought to be. 
Two days later, it was time for my follow-up appointment with one of the doctors. I got to the main entrance of the hospital and then detoured towards the path where the Outpatient Consulting Clinic was located. It had been raining all morning, but had now stopped. I hobbled along on my crutches, with a satchel slung over my shoulder containing a black Clairefontaine notebook with some questions in it. 
I got to the desk and gave my details, after answering the array of Covid-related questions from an orderly at the door. Fifteen minutes in the waiting room before I was called in by the doctor who had re-dressed my wounds a couple of weeks ago (see Post-Op Recovery: Short Dispatch No. 2 for details of that little episode).
He directed me to the examination table and I hopped up onto it and removed my Cam-shoes. Meanwhile, he looked at my x-rays on his computer screen and was happy with what he saw. He put on blue rubber surgical gloves and checked my feet, gently pressing and prodding them in places and seemed satisfied with how they were healing.
Any questions?, he asked. 
Actually, about five or six, I replied, as I reached for my satchel and retrieved my notebook.  
I also asked about the possibility later on of the above-mentioned MTP Joint fusion. 
I always get the impression that no doctor wants to commit to a definitive answer to some questions. And that's cool.  I can't blame them, to be honest. He said it's hard to tell. 
I already know that once osteoarthritis begins, it can't be stopped. Although, it can be slowed down, through exercise and diet. 
Now, we eat pretty healthily in our household, thanks to Lady Teeritz. Oh, wait a sec. I've already mentioned this, haven't I? 
So, aside from the questions here on the left, an obvious one was; Is there anything I should be eating more of?
 Turmeric, was his answer.
Well, we already use a fair bit of it in some meals, I replied.  
Should I start sprinkling it on my feet?, I added.
We began using it less in our cooking when the kids complained about it. 
Mind you, they put chicken salt on almost everything. Chicken. Salt.

Turmeric is a spice that is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties. An anti-inflammatory diet is beneficial in keeping your joints healthy and delaying  osteoarthritis, which is what caused my bunions to begin with. I did a little reading up on it and found that it's also available in a concentrated liquid form that can be added to a glass of juice or water and the body absorbs it more thoroughly. So, I'll do a little more research on that. 
Once I had finished with my questions, he arranged one more follow-up appointment in five weeks with the surgeon who performed the operation. 
I was now free to go. I thanked him and he left to go attend to his next patient while I put my shoes and socks back on.
I then made my way to reception. It had been pouring with heavy rain all morning. I stood at the desk, supported by the crutches that I'd been using since September 15th, with my feet in the cam-shoes that distributed my weight towards the heels rather than the toes. The receptionist looked out at the rain and then turned to me and said; Oh, it's awful out there. Have you got a car?
I replied. In my driveway at home.
After she gave me a copy of my next appointment details, I made for the door. A nurse told me how to get to the main entrance without walking through the rain.
I ended up slowly making my way to the main entrance, using covered pathways that led to a staff entrance where a lovely nurse, who was a few paces ahead of me, used her key-card to buzz me in. I thanked her and shuffled over to the main desk, where I handed in the crutches.
I then called a cab (I don't do Uber) from the foyer and waited. 

That was Thursday the 27th. I wore socks and slippers for the next couple of days. Then, on Saturday (29th), one of my toes had a blister on it and a reddish rash was forming on top of the left foot. Allergic reaction to something? I popped an antihistamine, usually used for hayfever. Visited a chemist later in the day and asked a pharmacy assistant for some over-the-counter Ibuprofen after explaining my symptoms. 
Man, these feet are going through the wars. 
I wore the Tudor Ranger on the last day of October.
November - A Brief Rundown, Interspersed With Some of the Watches I've Worn Over the Past Eight Weeks
1 -  I called my Manager and told him I'd be back at work mid-month. So, I had about two weeks to get some shoes, tie up some loose ends, and get prepped to return to work. 
Over the past couple of months, I would open up the car and start her up every day, to keep the engine ticking over. Well, I didn't start it for about five days. So, on day six, I got behind the wheel and turned the ignition and rrr, rrr, rrr, click, click, click. No luck. Battery was out. 
Later in the day, I hooked up the jumper cables to my wife's car and we gave it a crack. No go. My car still wouldn't turn over. 
Spoke to the watchmaker that I work with. He's into restoring cars, so I figured he'd know what to do. He said if both cars are 4-cylinder (they are), then the donor car needs to rev its engine in order to provide some grunt for the dead-battery-car. 
We tried that about a week later and bingo! I took it for a 15-minute spin around the neighbourhood. 
Early October - The Seiko SKX009K got a bit of time on the wrist. Day and date function came in very handy, as the days began to blur into one.
2 - During my last medical follow-up, I was told by the doctor that I could get back into my own shoes, but they were making my feet ache. There was a store a few suburbs away that specialised in semi-orthotic shoes. Basically, they sold a few brands that made extra-wide running shoes. 
So, I headed down there. It was quiet on that Saturday morning, so the young sales dude had time to give me the full consult. I stood on this platform, which gave him a readout of which parts of my feet were making the most contact with the floor. The results were quite varied. The heel of my right foot covered more area than that of my left. The ball of my left foot was greater than my right, etc. 
Another machine took a 3D scan of my feet and offered up the numbers regarding arch height, heel to toe length, heel width, etc, etc of each foot. Well, my left foot is a size 10.0D and my right is a 11.0C (US sizing).
I tried on a few different pairs of shoes and ended up buying two pairs. I'd be wearing them for the next few months at least. 
Mid-October. Aside from taking a daily calcium supplement with Vitamin D, I was also trying to get some sun on my feet, to help boost recovery. On this particular day, the early '90s Tudor Prince OysterDate was the watch of choice. 
3 - I have my mobile (cell) phone and our home internet plan bundled with Optus, one of the telcos here in Australia. Well, they suffered a huge data breach last month and the personal details of millions of their current and former customers were compromised. This included email addresses, phone numbers and, of greater concern, drivers licence numbers, for fuck's sake! 
About a week after this breach appeared on the news, I received an email saying that my licence details were part of the breach. I was directed to the VicRoads website which had set up a special page explaining their reaction to this issue. VicRoads is our state's version of your DMV and DVLA. It would seem that they were doing more about this problem than friggin' Optus. 
I've always had a bug-bear with this telco. They make it almost impossible to contact them online. So, for me, this is the last straw. 
I'm switching my phone to another company when I get a chance, and I'll start shopping around for another Internet provider who also has land-line options, so that I can make and receive calls from relatives overseas.
I can't begin to tell you how ticked off I am about this fiasco. Optus has not exactly been bleeding apologies over this. Assholes.
Late October. The Oris Divers SixtyFive on an adjustable NATO strap. Being adjustable means that it's not a true NATO strap. It has an overly-complicated (IMHO) buckle on it that requires some fiddling around in order to shorten the strap for your wrist if desired. Annoying. 
4 - The bathroom renovation saga ended last month* and it was time for the big cleanup. I organised a skip (dumpster) to be delivered to our driveway, so that we could throw in everything that came out of the old bathroom, such as the bathtub and all the wall tiles and sheets of plaster that were removed. Man, so much timber! I spent an hour in the sun carefully loading stuff into this skip. I took my time with it. Last thing I wanted to do was drop something heavy on a foot. 
* The  final stage of this bathroom renovation was the frameless shower cubicle. Two sheets of glass with a door hinged on one of them. I did some price comparisons. First place quoted me $2,400.oo supplied and fitted, without even coming 'round to my house to measure. It was all done via text messaging, which I thought was sloppy. 

Second mob quoted me $3,600.oo. Were they fucken' insane?!
Third place quoted me $750.oo for the shower and the glazier who would be doing the installation - referred to me by them -  quoted me $450.oo to put the whole thing together. 
Well, I didn't take too long to make a decision. 

5 - We paid the builder and saw our savings account take a sharp drop, and we're now waiting for the plumber and electrician to send us their bills. All good. The bathroom looks great and the wife and I will slowly start socking money back into the account. That's what it's there for, after all. 
It would be nice to take a holiday somewhere, but I have no leave time left over, thanks to this medical leave. That's cool. Head down, tail up for six or eight months and she and I may start thinking of a trip then.
6 - Sean Connery died on October 31st two years ago, so I wore my Bond watch for a week. Actually, I wore two. The Rolex Submariner on a single-pass Regimental strap from CNS watch and the Tudor Black Bay 58 on a brown alligator strap. These two combos were similar to what Connery wore in his first four Bond films. These Regimental straps are very comfy. I have three more on their way to me. 

I've spent the last six weeks checking  emails, writing quotes, and calling customers and repair centres, all from the end of the kitchen table, with my feet propped up on two chairs underneath. My boss (the watchmaker) and the Girl Friday (who's actually in on Mondays and Tuesdays) have held the fort while I've been away. The Service Centre has hobbled along, like myself. 

November - Back to the Seiko SKX009K, but I've put this NATO strap onto it and my plan is to leave it on the watch until the end of Summer. I'd like to put it through its paces.

I'm going back to work on Monday the 14th and there will definitely be some spot-fires to put out, such is the nature of this industry.  As the Christmas and New Year period approaches, things will slow down a little more and I'm expecting that I'll be dealing with a few irate customers. However, since I usually cross my t's and dot my i's, any complaints regarding repair time-frames will be dealt with by reminding the customer that it was all outlined in the quotation that was sent to them, to which they agreed.
It's gonna be a busy time and I'll be in no mood for any shenanigans. 

November 12th.
                          I have another x-ray appointment scheduled for later this month (man, I bet my feet will glow in the dark soon) and then a follow-up with the surgeon. I'll need to sit down and see if I have any questions or concerns before I see him.
The big toes are still slightly numb and still slightly swollen, which is normal. Might be another couple of months before they return to how they looked. Left foot hurts a little with each step. 
I bought a walking stick from a thrift store a couple of weeks ago. Figured I'd use it for the walk from the train station to my office when I go back to work. My wife warned me not to let the cane overcompensate for my foot. I reckon I'll use it for the first week or two back at work, to ease my way back into walking a little further than around the block of my neighbourhood. I think I just may be doing a little more walking on a daily basis than I have for a while.
Some other dull aches here and there. The arches feel tight, my Achilles heels ache when I get up in the morning and, throughout the day, my feet feel like I have duct tape stuck underneath them, stretching from my toe to the heel. Feels weird. 
Everything from the ankles down needs a good stretch here and there. There's a podiatrist nearby and I just might schedule an appointment to see if there are any exercises I can do to help the recovery process along. 

One more watch photo. This was the Tudor Black Bay 58 on a brown alligator strap. Similar to the set-up of Connery's Rolex Submariner in Dr No. Also in the frame is the circa 1946 Smith-Corona Sterling, a pair of Moscot Lemtosh sunglasses, and a 1965 Minox B camera. Oh, and the Folio Society copy of Fleming's From Russia With Love.

Sunday, November 13th. 
Okay, time to wrap things up here.  My wife told me that I handled this whole recovery pretty well, given that I can be prone to complaining about the slightest thing at times. 
I AM my mother's son, after all.
I told her that I wanted to show a little stoicism throughout this process. No point grumbling about things that can't be helped. You just have to put your game-face on and get on with it. That's my dad's side in me. He seemed the more pragmatic parent. 
Nice to know that I inherited some of the good traits along with some of the crummy ones. 
I hope you've all been well over the past couple of months, and I hope these posts haven't been too cumbersome for you. 

Take care, and thanks for reading!