Friday, 24 March 2017

Friday 24/3/17 - RIP Chuck Berry, BaselWorld Watch Fair Begins & This Week's Wristwatches.

I didn't post last week because I had finally finished my long, long post about the first leg of our trip to Europe last year;

The Teeritz Clan's European Trip, Part 1 - Paris

And by the time I was done, even I didn't want to visit this blog for a while.

If there had never been Chuck Berry, there would never have been a Rolling Stones or Beatles. Pardon that shockingly constructed sentence, but I'm paraphrasing a comment that I read somewhere earlier this week after news of the passing of Mr Berry who, let's face it, was probably the father of
Rock & Roll. He made it to the age of ninety. Gotta hand it to him for that alone.

I can perhaps only name a handful of his songs if asked, but then, when you sit there and begin mentioning titles such as Memphis, Tennessee, Maybelline, No Particular Place To Go, Nadine, Little Queenie, and You Never Can Tell, just to name a few, I soon realise that I know more of his songs than I first thought. 
I always got the impression that he didn't take himself or the music industry too seriously, with that hopalong strut, Brylcreemed coiff, knowing smirk and a twinkle in his eye.
His shadow over the history of Rock & Roll is a long one, and his influence on those artists that followed is immeasurable. Teenage Mick Jagger and Keith Richard (before he added the 's' to his surname) would get together and play vinyl (that's pre-iTunes to those of you under thirty) singles (two songs, one on each side of the vinyl) of Berry's output, dreaming of forming their own band to bring this style of music to a wider audience in post-War England. I think they succeeded. 

Just found this great article on;

He began work last year on his first album in 38 years. It's gonna be called Chuck and it'll be released later this year. 
Hail, hail, Rock & Roll indeed. That's the title of a great 1986 documentary by Taylor Hackford, which followed Berry over two concerts. Worth checking out.

I wore the Oris Diver Sixty-Five last weekend;

For those times when you're not sure which photo you want to use. Use 'em all, I say!

The BaselWorld Wristwatch & Jewellery Fair began yesterday and, for those of us who are into watches, it's like Christmas. For quite some time, here has been some considerable buzz among Omega watch fans surrounding the possibility of a new Railmaster release this year, to mark the 60th anniversary since the original model was made. However, nobody was truly prepared for what Omega unveiled. Nineteen fifty-seven was a banner year for the Omega watchmaking house. That was the year that this brand created the Speedmaster chronograph, Seamaster 300 dive watch, and the Railmaster. 
To commemorate this extraordinary trio of watches from days gone by, Omega released a limited Edition 'Trilogy' in a boxed set;

picture courtesy of

This set, limited to 557 world-wide, comes with a set of straps in a leather carry-case and the entire package is housed in a beautiful timber box which features the classic Omega seahorse logo on the lid. I'm hearing that this Trilogy will set you back about $21,000USD. 
Scary money, without a doubt, but you would be getting perhaps one of the most faithful reproductions of a vintage watch design (or three!) that I have ever seen.

picture courtesy of

All three of these watches measure the same diameter as the originals on which they are based. As nice as the Seamaster and Speedmaster are, I have a soft-spot for the Railmaster model. At 38mm, it has the same diameter as the 1950s model.

My one major qualm (i.e.- deal-breaker) about this watch (and indeed the other two in this set) is the use of what's been dubbed 'faux patina' among watch nerds in recent years. 
Basically, rather than using white, the hour markers on the dials have been painted on with a darker shade of SuperLuminova, meant to mimic the way white lume degrades over time. Superluminova is the glow-in-the-dark compound which is used on watch dials so that you can read the time in the dark, and modern SuperLuminova will not change colour as time rolls on. 
The old Radium (VERY radioactive, discontinued in the '50s) and Tritium dials (that replaced Radium) would start off white and would slowly change colour to cream, then dark cream, then pale green, before darkening to a lightish brown just before the compound would get very brittle and begin flaking off the dial. 
Now, I don't particularly mind if this happens over the years to a watch, but I don't really go for this 'artificially aged' look. Same reason I don't buy pre-faded or distressed denim jeans. 
I'll do the damage myself, thank-you very much. 
Mind you, I don't hate faux patina if it's done sparingly. The Oris Diver Sixty-Five has artificially aged lume, but it's done ever-so-lightly. It's a soft shade of cream rather than white. Barely noticeable. 

Each of these three watches - notice how I never use the term 'timepieces'? It's too pretentious - are also available on their own, in limited numbers of 3,557. Price-wise, I think they'll be around seven grand ouch. I mean 'each'.
The Railmaster is a nice watch. I'm warming to it the more I see it, but that fake-lume dial is a turn off. Mind you, I never had plans to buy one anyway. After all, I have this...

...which I have been wearing all week. It's the first re-edition of the Railmaster, released sometime around 2004/2005. This model is 36.2mm in diameter, which suits my wrist just fine. 
Omega also unveiled a regular, non-limited edition model Railmaster in a (too large, in my view) 40mm case size. Although, to be honest, this is not what really bugs me about this watch, oh no. No. What really bugs me about this new version is the dial design. I don't know what they were thinking over at the design department that day, but I just find this new model lacking in so many ways;

It's too far removed from the model on which it's based. Again, they've gone for the faux patina, but it's the use of a very plain and too-damn-thin numeral font that distances this watch from the original (and even the Noughties re-edition) model.
Who knows? Maybe Omega will upgrade this design over the years so that it more resembles the 1950s original.

Still, this watch already has its fans and I think it'll do well enough. The lack of date window is always going to be a drawback to the man-in-the-street who's after an all-purpose wristwatch, but to those who just want something that tells the time, this watch may just fit the bill. It will be available in a black, blue or silver dial. With faux patina.

As I said, though, I don't plan on snagging a new Railmaster. I still have this on my wrist as I write this post;

So yes, it's all been terribly fun and exciting seeing what these watch brands have to offer this year. Some brands have really knocked it out of the park with some of their new wares. Longines and Tudor have released some nice models, for instance.

Sales of wristwatches have been down for over a year now. There was a steep down-turn in revenue last year as the Asian market slowed down on buying wristwatches and this has been felt by retailers world-wide.
Although, I think I did hear that Rolex didn't see a noticeable drop in sales. 
Ahh, yes, it's all fun and games in the wacky woild of wistwatches, as Elmer Fudd would say. 
If he wore a Rolex.

Okay, ten pm. Have a great weekend, all, and thanks for reading!


  1. Interesting about the watches. I probably have an old compass or two with the directions and North needle coated in radium. I wonder how long one needed to wear a radium watch until the radioactivity had any health affect. I have read of the workers getting cancer due to the higher exposure.

    One of my favorite Chuck Berry songs from 1972 was My Ding-A-Ling, a little fun song that could get all kind of innuendos when played at a dance back in my radio days. All the others were great songs that led the way for most of the Rock & Roll greats.

  2. Bill, I wouldn't put that compass in my jeans pockets, if you know what I mean. I think they switched over to Tritium sometime in the late 1940s, but don't quote me on that.
    And yep, Berry will be missed.