Saturday 7 July 2018

Sunday July 8th, 2018 - The Daily Grind is Too Weak, Overspending, Bigger Dates + Recent Wristwatches.

I made too many errors in the next paragraph,  hence the sharp crop in the photo above. Anyway...

I bought some Teriyaki chicken California rolls from a Japanese restaurant on a lunch break two weeks ago. The next day, my stomach really let me know that it was a bad decision. So I decided not to eat cold chicken take-away food ever again. Lucky for them, they make a very nice Miso soup. So I'll be back for that some day. 
Anyway, in an effort to avoid eating too much pre-prepared fast food, I got back into the swing of making my own lunch. Doesn't have to be fancy, just as long as the bread is fresh. Otherwise, left-overs end up in a micro-wave container and I take that to work.

I bought a 2006 model Mazda 3 hatchback in July last year and spent the next eleven months paying our joint account back. T'was a good feeling when I transferred the final installment into the account a couple of weeks ago. 

And last week, I finally got around to getting a 'proper' car key cut. I cannot stand modern car keys. You know, those big rectangular plastic things with a flip-out key and buttons for remote locking of the doors. Feels like I'm carrying a bar of soap in my pocket. Hate 'em! 
About six months ago, I stopped using the remote locking buttons and got back into the habit of unlocking the driver's door by hand. I did this because I wanted to have a normal car key cut at some point. I couldn't do away with the old key completely because the transponder for the engine immobiliser is built into it. The key-cutting guy I went to told me that he could cut a smaller car key and fit the transponder into it. Good. Ten minutes and a hundred bucks later, it was done. 
The 21st Century keeps imposing itself on me, but I'm gonna go down fighting.

Our coffee grinder was producing a very coarse grind lately, no matter how low the setting was. I checked the blades and they still seemed sharp enough, but what do I know? This Sunbeam grinder, based on a Braun model in Europe, uses a conical burr, which is basically two rotating sets of blades. 

I decided to call Sunbeam on my lunch break one day last week. I dialled the 1300 number and then spent 25 minutes on hold. While I was waiting, I surfed the web to see if I could find these blades for sale. I managed to find an electrical appliance repair centre that happened to sell the blades. 
Once I got off hold, I explained what I needed to the lady on the phone. She asked for my postcode. I told her and then there were a few moments of silence before she came back on the line to tell me the name of a place where I could purchase new blades. 
It was the same place that I found on the web while I was on hold. 
"You're kidding. I found this place on the 'net while I was on hold. I've just blown my lunch break on the phone. I thought you sold replacement blades there. That's why I called you guys in the first place", was my reply.
"Oh no, this is the office, we don't keep spare parts here", she replied.
"Well, nothing against you, *******, but it's disappointing to be given information that I could find on my own."

A disappointing experience. Having worked for so long in the customer service industry, I'll be first to admit that I wasn't perfect, but I did ALWAYS offer an apology to people that I couldn't help.

So, I wound up going to this repair centre and bought a new set of blades for the grinder. The guy behind the counter told me to check the small plastic brackets on my existing blades. If they were bent or broken, this could be the reason for the coarse grind.
I checked the blades when I got home and, sure enough, one of the brackets was broken. I installed the new blade set and set the grinder to 5, which would produce a fine grind. When I tested it with some Columbia beans, I got a powdery fine grind. Looking good.
I filled the group handle of the coffee machine, loaded it up and flicked it on. A few seconds later, a dark syrupy nectar began to drip into the cup. A few seconds more and it turned to a steady trickle. Success!
I was wearing the Rolex Submariner 5513;

I bought my wife a Sinn 656 about four years ago. Seen here on the right (picture courtesy of - Modell 656), this watch has served her well. It's an ETA powered automatic watch in a 38.5mm stainless steel case. Water resistant to 200m and with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, it's a very practical wristwatch. The hands and markers are coated with SuperLuminova, making it nice and easy to read in low light conditions. She has worn it everywhere. In recent months, however, she has found it harder to read the date on this watch. You'll notice that the date window is located at the 4:30 position of the dial. Very unobtrusive. And, as one's eyesight gets older, a little tricky to read. Truth be told, this watch has a date window that is smaller than what you would normally find on a watch of this kind.
I had toyed with the idea of getting a date magnifying lens and gluing it onto the crystal, but this would upset the entire symmetry of the dial.
And so, I thought it might be a better idea to just get her a new watch. I asked her what kind of watch she wanted, but I already knew the answer;
"Don't get anything with a rotating bezel, I have no need for it. Just something with numbers on the dial and a bigger date", was her brief.
I considered something in the Hamilton Khaki range, but none of them thrilled her. Then she threw me a curve ball- "Maybe something with a blue dial, for a change."

The Sinn 656 is a great watch, without a doubt. I may put a leather strap on it and wear it for a while myself. However, you can see how the date window can make it difficult to see the actual date itself. The date wheel is slightly recessed beneath the dial as well, creating shadows when viewed from certain angles. Pictured in the background is the Oris TT1 that I bought for her in 2002. That watch has been a workhorse, although its silver dial and silvered hands don't make for the best legibility when one gets older. Still, it's a great watch.

Okay, back to the current dilemma. I looked at affordable military and/or pilot's style watches from reputable brands. I knew of one watch that would fit the bill, but it wouldn't be on the market for another couple of months. That's okay. I could do a little more research. Size-wise, the case would be 41mm, which is a little larger than the Sinn, but not overly so. Besides, a large watch on a woman's wrist becomes a fashion statement, whereas on a guy, a too-large watch just ends up looking like a too-large watch.
Okay, a 41mm case. No problem. One hundred metre water-resistance? Good for days at the beach. Sapphire crystal? Yep, she can be hard on her watches. Larger date window than the Sinn? Definitely. In fact, the date window would be a tad larger than most watches, so this was a plus.
Blue coloured dial? Yep, but would it be a shade of blue that she would like?
I looked at the Monta Triumph;

Link:  Monta Watch | Triumph

Certainly a nice looking watch. Ticked almost all of the boxes, but I wasn't sure if she'd go for the vibrant electric blue dial. And she may not go for a new brand that hasn't been proven yet and has no history.
I myself am always wary of a new watch brand.
Here's why - You buy yourself a nice wristwatch. You wear it day-in, day-out. It accompanies you through life, throughout all of your travels, adventures, etc. And it becomes a part of who you are.
Then one day, five, ten, fifteen years later, it gets damaged and requires a new dial or set of hands. You contact the company and they tell you that they no longer produce those parts for your watch. Or worse, the company went bust in this very competitive industry and no longer exists.
Now, I'm not saying that this will be the case with a brand like Monta. I wish them the very best of luck for a long and fruitful existence. But this is, as I say, a very competitive industry and bringing out a new brand is always a hard slog. The Monta Triumph is a handsome looking watch, but at $1,550.oo USD, way more than I was looking to spend.
So, I went back to my original idea. The watch that wouldn't be available for a few more months. Of course, by now, that watch was soon to be released, so I placed an order for one.
When it finally arrived, I took a closer look at it and thought it would do just nicely. The Oris ProPilot Big Date;

My only worry was the colour of the dial. In low light, it's a muted shade of blue. In bright sunlight, you can see a metallic sunburst pattern on it and it looks great. Like having two watches in one. 
I needn't have worried. She loved it.
"I can see the date nice and clear."

It met all of her criteria. The Oris ProPilot range has been on the market for a few years now and they've done very well. The first model had a deep matte black dial. This model was soon followed by one with a slate grey dial, and this new blue version is the latest model. The 41mm diameter case means that it will cover the entire top of her slender wrist, but that's okay. That's the look she was going for. Something slightly flamboyant.

This is a watch that she'll wear to work every day. To the gym. While gardening. At the beach. It will be put through the ringer, to be sure. Which is fine, as I'm sure it will handle whatever she throws at it.
The stainless steel case and bracelet will accumulate scuffs and scratches over time. And that's cool. After all, it's those little scuffs and scratches that will make this watch truly her own.
Mission accomplished.

Okay, time to wind this post up. I got the photos that I took with the Yashica Electro 35 GSN developed. They turned out nicely, I have to say.

I did ask the photo lab to print the pics on matte paper (rather than glossy) and to put white borders around them. Looks like an oversight on their part. Dammit.
Still, the camera works as it should. I kept getting reminders from eBay to leave feedback for the seller of this camera, but I obviously wanted to see the results before I left one word. As soon as I checked the photos, I got on eBay and left the seller a glowing review.
Now, All I have to do is finish a roll of film in my Olympus OM2n and then I think I'll load up the Yashica again.
I wore the Oris Movember Edition  Diver Sixty-Five, The Omega Speedmaster Professional, and the Longines Heritage Paul-Emile Victor Expeditions model.

And a few others that I wore over the last few weeks. I'm definitely at a point where I'd like to thin down the collection. I just have to figure out the best avenues for this. Jennifer Lawrence kicks ass, by the way!

Here's a better close-up of the old Oris Big Crown Pointer Date model from the mid-Nineties.

Anyway, it's now just passed one o'clock Sunday afternoon on this winter's day in Melbourne. I've been wearing the Omega Planet Ocean all weekend.
And, here comes the rain. Time for lunch. 

Feels a little large on my wrist these days. I gotta build up my forearms a little, methinks. My wrists won't get bigger, but the watch may look better proportioned. Like it used to.

And one last shot of my wife's new Oris;

Yep. The date is easier to read.

Have a good upcoming week, and thanks for reading!