Sunday, 28 April 2019

Sunday, April 28th, 2019 - Goodnight Bond Girls | Bondian Rhapsody & Recent Wristwatches

Hey all, I've been back from my recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City and I'm slowly working on a post about that. 
In the meantime, I've been busy back at work. Repairs kept coming in while I was away and then the watchmaker went on annual leave. 
I got back to a mountain of e-mails and completed repairs to send out and then, once the watchmaker got back from his trip, he hit the ground running and churned out more completed repairs. 
Needless to say, it's been hella busy at work for the past month. There were a few days when I felt absolutely swamped, but the only way out, is through, as they say, so I just buckled myself in to my office chair and plowed on. 
Still not out of the woods yet, but I have things back under some modicum of control. 

Recent weeks have seen the passing of two ladies who appeared in a couple of early Connery Bond films. 
Tania Mallet was an English model who starred as Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger in 1964. She first appears in the film behind the wheel of the newly-released Ford Mustang convertible, following Auric Goldfinger's Rolls-Royce Phantom III down a long and winding road through the Swiss Alps. Bond is also shadowing Goldfinger's car and Tilly is seen as a hindrance to his mission, as she has intentions of killing Goldfinger to avenge the death of her sister, Jill, who was memorably dispatched by henchman Oddjob early in the film. 
It's a short role that she has in the movie, but a memorable one. 
In 2009, Octane, a car magazine, decided to recreate this chase in the Swiss Alps, and staged a photo-shoot featuring the Bond Aston Martin DB5, the Mustang convertible and Rolls-Royce. For this endeavour, they enlisted the services of 67 year old Tania Mallet, reenacting some frames as they appeared in the original film. Pretty cool. 

Black & white photo above, courtesy of Vanity
Colour photo here, along with the rest of the shoot,  courtesy of | Octane magazine

A week after Mallet's passing, we learned of the death of another actress from Goldfinger, Nadja Regin, who appears in the classic pre-credits sequence as a night-club dancer attempting to distract Bond while a thug approaches them from behind. It's a slightly improbable scene, but it's a Bond film, after all. 

Regin also appeared in From Russia, With Love the year before, as the girlfriend of Bond's contact in Istanbul, Kerim Bey. 

Continuing with Bond news, we finally got an announcement this week about the next OO7 adventure, currently known only as 'Bond 25'. All we know of the plot is that Bond is enjoying a retirement in Jamaica - presumably with Madeleine Swann, his love interest from his last outing SPECTRE -  when he is contacted by his CIA buddy Felix Leiter and asked to assist in rescuing a kidnapped scientist. 
Meanwhile, the villain, to be played by Rami Malek, fresh from his Oscar-winning turn as Freddie Mercury in last year's Bohemian Rhapsody, has access to some terrifying new weapon. 

I got a little bit peeved when I read this. My own Bond script, that I've been working on sporadically for years now, has a similar story-line involving a scientist and a terrifying new weapon. 
Remember that post I wrote ages ago about the advice my old boss at the movie bookstore once gave me?; If you have an idea for a movie, start writing because there's somebody out there with the same idea and they're already sitting down at a computer and writing it." 
Ahh, well, let's wait and see. Not much to do until April 2020 when the movie is released. 
I hope it makes up for SPECTRE.

And one more bit of Bond news, I snagged a 1st edition hardback copy of Fleming's last OO7 novel, The Man With The Golden Gun. This is one of the titles that featured Richard Chopping's evocative artwork.
Published in 1965, this story sees our man Bond recovering from being brainwashed by the Russians and given a last chance by his boss M to redeem himself by going after Paco 'Pistols' Scaramanga, a master assassin.
Basically, it's nothing like the film, which I consider a low-point in the series.

I also have a reprint copy of From Russia, With Love incoming. I bought one some years ago and it turned out to have a facsimile of the original cover art.
The eBay Seller buried this information in the long-winded listing and I didn't see it before I tapped on "Buy It Now". Basically, the dust-jacket of that book was a 'high quality reproduction of the original'. Let's not beat around the bush here. It was a friggin' colour photocopy.
So, I think I'll be listing it on eBay soon, with a low 'Buy It Now' price, but I will clearly mention that the dust-jacket is not original.

On the wristwatch front, I took the Camy Club-Star hand-wound and the Oris Diver Sixty-Five on the trip to Vietnam. It was very hot in Ho Chi Minh City during our stay. I wore the Oris for the most part, but switched to the Camy for some of the evenings when my wife and I went out to grab a drink. 

On the third morning, though, I put the Camy on my wrist and went down to the buffet for breakfast. Afterwards, we headed out as the weather began to warm up. 
After about half an hour in the heat, I looked at the watch and noticed that the crystal (the glass) looked a little hazy. 
Sure enough, it appeared that some condensation had formed inside the watch. This can happen if you take a watch from a cool climate (the bed-side table in our hotel room) into a warm climate (outside in Saigon in March) in a short space of time. The watch heats up too quickly and condensation forms on the inside of the crystal. Mind you, this will usually happen to a watch that is not water-proof.
The haze faded as the morning wore on. Later in the day, I decided to switch to the Oris, for peace of mind. 

I didn't buy anything of note while away. I thought I'd perhaps get a new Hamilton Khaki Field watch if I saw a certain model that I'd been casually contemplating for over a year. I already have a Hamilton Khaki Officers Mechanical that I bought back in 2010;

But in recent years, as I've come to acknowledge that my wrists can only take watches up to a certain size, my tastes have shifted back towards smaller watches that are better suited to me. 

So, this Hamilton would be going and it would be replaced by a smaller version. Alas, I didn't find what I was looking for in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, so once we got back, I spent another week thinking it over before deciding on the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, in the 40mm size;

Sure, it still has a slight, over-sized feel to it, but it certainly sits better on my wrist than the 44mm model up above. 
Hamilton supplied watches to the US military in WWII right through to the Vietnam conflict, so this is a brand that has more military watch history and credibility than some others that make the claim. 
I opted for the model which has a beige/off-white lume on the hands and dial. This gives the watch a lived-in look. The suede strap is beige as well and while I'm not a huge fan of it, it actually suits the watch very well and I can easily replace it with an after-market one at some point. At the time of writing, the watch has had a few strap changes already in the two weeks since I got it and it's currently wearing a black, minimal-stitch leather band of questionable quality. 

I may leave it on this strap to really wear it in. This particular model houses the H10 Calibre movement. It's been used in a few other Swatch Group brands. Its main claim to fame is the power reserve. Fully wound, this watch is meant to last 80 hours. That's a whole weekend, folks, and then some!
To test it out, I gave it forty or fifty winds by hand on a Saturday morning and then I put the watch in my desk drawer.
On the Tuesday a few days later, I decided to wear the watch to work and sure enough, it was still running. That was already around 70 hours. 
Most automatic watches in this price range will have a power reserve of around 38 to 42 hours. 
As I say, 80 hours is a whole weekend, making this an ideal Mon-Fri wristwatch. Take it off on Friday night after work and it'll still be ticking on Monday morning. With a sapphire crystal and 100 metres water-resistance, it's a nice bang-for-buck watch. If it has any short-comings, it would be the lack of anti-reflective coating on the crystal (as evidenced in the photos) and the luminous compound on the dial and hands which doesn't last all night long.
But that's okay. In this price range, there's a lot to love about it.

In other watch news, I've reached a point where I want to clear out watches that don't get much time on the wrist. The large Hamilton watch mentioned above is currently on eBay with a few hours left to go. By the time you read this, it will have sold to a happy new owner, since that watch is in very, very good condition.
I have a few other pieces that I'm gonna shift, and those listings should be well underway as you read this.

One of them is the Dan Henry Compressor 1970 that I bought on a whim in 2017. It's a very well-made watch, but I found that whenever I wore it, I'd be wishing that I'd worn something else.
As such, it spent more time in the watch box that it should have. I think I wore it five or six times at the most, and even then, it was safely tucked under a shirt cuff. As a result, it has not a mark on it and should make its new owner very happy. If it sells, that is.
Another one set to go is the Seiko 7002 that I bought some time ago and then had modified by a watchmaker.

This watch became the 'beater', the watch that I'd wear for handyman duties and gardening. It served me well, but since I already have another Seiko dive watch that could be used in its place, I see no point in holding on to this one.
I bought a couple of different dials for this watch and mixed & matched them over the years. I'll include those parts with the watch when I sell it. Somebody will get themselves a nice watch to wear or a special little project if they decide to modify the watch further.

That's the beauty of these Seiko dive watches. There are a few sellers that specialise in after-market parts for them, and you can customise these watches to your heart's content. The trap, of course, is that you can buy one of these watches reasonably cheaply and then spend a few hundred dollars on parts and watchmaker's labour to change them up to how you want. Still, some of the results can be pretty cool.

There are other watches that I'd like to shift, but this will require a little more thought.
I had a Seiko Samurai dive watch that I got about ten years ago for $450.oo. I sold it three years ago for $950.oo. Nice little profit, without a doubt. I see them now selling on eBay for close to two grand.
You just never quite know what's going to climb in value and what's not, when it comes to wristwatches. Taking aside your juggernaut brands like Rolex, it's hard to tell if demand for a particular model from a particular brand will increase as the years roll on. Still, I've learned not to look back. Once it's sold, it's sold.

I'll also be reviewing my cameras and fountain pens, and then later my typewriters. Now, I'm not going all Marie Kondo here. I'm not getting rid of this stuff because it doesn't 'spark joy'. I'm getting rid of it to free up space, in both my home and my mind.
There are some items in each of these collections that seldom see the light of day, and I'd rather end up with a tighter collection that gets regular use. A collection that bears the marks and wear of having been handled and used as intended.

Is it true that Albert Einstein had a closet full of brown plaid jackets because, as he put it, he didn't want to waste thinking time and energy on deciding what to wear each morning?
Makes perfect sense to me. 
Anyway, that's where I'm at for the moment. Hope you're all well, and thanks for reading!

Monday, 25 March 2019

Monday March 25th, 2019 - Negronis & Americanos | Counting Down the Days | Packing Bags | & Recent Wristwatches

I wore the Submariner earlier this month.

Hawkins took off his glasses and placed them next to his wristwatch. He rubbed his eyes briefly, then began to mix a fifth gin and tonic. As he slowly built the drink in the heavy crystal glass, he glanced over at Smiley. "The real problem with this vocation, George, is that it begins with a small lie, a slightly blurred version of oneself. And then, over time, the lies become greater and a larger version emerges."
He paused to cut a small lime. Holding the wedge over the glass, he gave it a gentle squeeze. Smiley watched as a few drops of juice bled into the glass. Hawkins was meticulous with his libations. A little too much so. 
Satisfied with the amount of citrus in the drink, he dropped the misshapen wedge into the glass and reached for the tonic. The bottle cap gave a half-hearted hiss as he twisted it open. He topped off the drink, raised it to his mouth and took a tentative sip.
Smiley lowered his glasses a little, closed his eyes and gave the bridge of his nose a slight pinch. Hawkins could be tiresome when lubricated. "Is there a point to this, Bill?", he asked with slight irritation.
My point is", continued Hawkins, "a larger version emerges, and the half truths, broken promises and blatant betrayals take their toll and slowly erode all thoughts of Queen and Country.
It becomes a game, and by the end of it, you can't recall where the truth ended and the lies began. By then, it's time to get out of the Circus. Of course, it's all too late by that stage, isn't it?"
Hawkins took a sip of the drink, looking at Smiley over the rim of the glass. 

Smiley looked back at him, his face giving nothing away.


Gave the Moonwatch a bit of a run. This watch poses a bit of a conundrum for Omega. As the brand continues to move further upmarket by releasing new models with improved and more advanced in-house movements, the Speedmaster Professional must remain unchanged, in order to hold onto its "Flight-qualified for all manned space missions" qualification. NASA still uses this watch in its current form, with a movement and technologies that have remained virtually unchanged since the early 1970s. 
In an era of scratch-resistant sapphire crystals and automatic calibres with silicon hairsprings, this watch is an anachronism. Certainly, it's proven itself over the decades and it has a legion of fans, but I'm sure Omega would love to make changes to this watch in some major ways, in order to bring it in line with the rest of its catalogue. 
However, those collectors who love this watch would like it to stay exactly as it is. 
I'm one of them. 
Despite its old-fashioned tech, it's got a coolness factor that's through the roof. And whereas its competitors from the 1960s were either phased out of production as years went by, or were modified and upgraded to the point where they now no longer resemble the models they were based on, the Speedmaster Professional looks very much today like it did in 1965 when this iteration was released. 
And it still does exactly what it's supposed to do.

I've always loved this photo of author Joan Didion, taken by Julian Wasser in 1970. It's so evocative of the era. Admittedly, I've never read any of her works, but had some idea of her place in literature through Vanity Fair magazine, where her husband John Gregory Dunne and brother-in-law Dominick Dunne featured regularly.

Friday, March 22nd

I've been nipping into some slightly more exotic drinks lately, to add a little variety to the standard gin & tonics that have been fueling me all Summer.
The Negroni is the drink-of-the-moment. I decided to find out what all the fuss was about. Sure, I've had them before and made my fair share of them back in my bar-tending days, but that was a long time ago.

I gathered the ingredients together and then busted out the old bakelite cocktail shaker that my wife got years ago from a thrift store. This was a drink that would require some shaking. And a lot of ice.

While I would love to say that I was working from memory, it's been so long since I mixed drinks that I had to consult my old cocktail recipe books.  

Although, the Negroni is a simple drink to prepare.

Once done, I took a tentative sip and wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Took another sip before taking it outside to sit on a bench in the shade.
It's a tad sweeter than I prefer a drink to be, but it wasn't bad. I could see why it was popular.

I then decided to sift through some of my old recipe books to get a couple of other classics, those drinks that I saw on menus of places where I worked back in the late '80s and early '90s. I didn't tend bar for too long, about a couple of years.
Back then, though, the cocktail was back in vogue, so I spent my time preparing exotic stuff like Fluffy Ducks, Banana Daiquiries, Flaming Lamborghinis (yes, you have to set it alight with a match) and Long Island Iced Teas.
Don't let that last one fool you. Despite its genteel-sounding name, it basically consists of equal measures of four white spirits, Vodka, Tequila, White Rum and Gin, with Triple Sec, lemon juice and, if you can fit it in the ice-filled highball glass with all that stuff, as much Coca-Cola as you can get in there.
I've had one in my lifetime. Back in '86. I can't remember what happened after I threw up later on.

Anyway, I looked through some books and decided to try an Americano, since this drink has some soda water in it.

The Americano cocktail packs less of a punch than a Negroni. This can be a good thing, making for a nice Summer drink. A couple of sips and this became a new favourite. The recipe on the flip-side basically doubles the amounts of the Campari and Vermouth. That recipe was out of The New International Bartender's Guide (Random House, 1984), so it pre-dates the resurgence in cocktail popularity by a few years.

Hell, I'm low on soda water. Better fix that.

Saturday, March 23rd

Finished up at work yesterday afternoon. Happy to report that I tied up as many loose ends as possible. It'll be interesting to see what awaits me upon my return. Although, no point thinking about work for the time being. I got bags to pack.

My wife and I will be jetting out on Tuesday for Ho Chi Minh City for five days of doing as little as possible. Sure, we'll soak up some of the sights, but we really plan on not straying too far from the hotel. It's been a very busy couple of years for us. We took that trip to Europe back in September 2016 and we figured we were due for a short break.

I might try posting some short despatches while I'm away, but I'm not sure. I may be too relaxed or having to much fun to do so.
If I do post, they will be very short, since I'll be using the iPod or iPad for them. Our man in Saigon, as it were. I'll be channeling a mix of 1950s William Holden, jaded ex-pat journalist, and Graham Greene minus the literary talent.

Holy Mackerel, I just did a Google search on 'How to Cross the Road in Ho Chi Minh City'. This is gonna be interesting.
Okay, I just got back from my phone service provider. I wanted to set up international roaming with my mobile phone while I'm away.
Once again, they were no help. I gotta change phone companies. But first, I think I'll have a drink.

Over and out, for now.

Sunday, March 24th
Spent the morning and early afternoon packing my bag for the trip. My wife and I are trying to avoid the usual mistake of packing more than we need. We'll be away for six days, not six months, after all.

I think that, rather than pack more clothing than I might actually use, I may pack a little less and make use of the hotel's laundry service. Might just have a couple of shirts and pants washed and pressed if I need to.
I guess I just haven't traveled enough to be seasoned at it.
I got some Australian Dollars converted over to Vietnamese Dong. Fifty bucks works out to seven hundred thousand Dong.
Mathematics was never my strong point, so my wife and I will work on a self-created exchange rate of one Australian Dollar equals 15,000 Dong.
A quick check of shows this;

As we've always done, we'll underestimate how far our dollar goes. Less of a shock on our return that way.
Okay, it's now 8:30pm Sunday night. That's all for now. I'll wrap this post up tomorrow.

Monday, March 25th

Okay, home stretch. Bags are packed, and everything else is in place. The bank knows that we'll be overseas, we've got various charging cords packed, our contact details are up to date, and our flight and hotel bookings are confirmed.

As far as watches are concerned, I'll be wearing the Oris Diver SixtyFive for the most part, since it's water-resistant and can handle some abuse, and I'll also take along something a little simpler and dressier, for the evenings - the Camy Club-Star on the steel Speidel Twis-O-Flex expanding bracelet.
Both watches feature the date, which is handy. Reason being, on our last trip - the one to Europe - I took photos on certain days and when we got back and began sorting them out, the time difference meant that the pics were out of sync with the days on which they were taken. According to the camera's date settings,  photos taken in Rome on Wednesday the 14th would be dated by the camera as having been  taken on Thursday the 15th because the camera was set to date and time in Melbourne, Australia back when I bought it and input the settings. Since we are ten hours ahead of Europe, this skewed the dates.
So, this time around, the first photo I take on each day of the trip will be of my wristwatch dial, showing the date. Vietnam is only four hours behind Australia, so it won't be a major issue, but I figure I might as well get into the habit.

And there we have it, gang. It's now six-thirty pm in my neck of the woods and dinner is in the oven. Chicken Kiev, in case you're wondering.We're at the tail-end of Summer here in Melbourne and it rained heavily overnight, followed by a sunny day with high winds. It's actually a little nippy outside right now. Good time to get away to somewhere warmer. Extend our Summer a little.

As mentioned, I may post up short posts during the trip. Although, since the aim of this holiday is to do as little as possible, I may not come anywhere near this blog. We'll see.
First of all, I gotta figure out how to get across a road in Ho Chi Minh City.

Thanks for reading, and take care, all!

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Sunday, March 3rd, 2019 - Busy Times | The Heat's Still On | Thanks For the Charade, Mr Donen & Recent Wristwatches

I wore the Omega  Seamaster Planet Ocean. It's been some time since I last wore this watch. I may have mentioned this already at some point in recent months, but I'll say it again for the sake of posterity. I've reached a point in my watch collecting life where I have a clearer understanding of the kind of wristwatches that I tend to favour. It would seem that I have a real soft spot for dive watches. 
Strange, considering that I don't dive. It's probably due to seeing my first Bond movie at an impressionable age - I've stated that before - , but I think I've found over the years that a good dive watch tends to be both robust and legible, and also has enough water-resistance for anything from a half-hour at the sink to a day at the beach. 
While most brands began increasing the size of their watches over the last fifteen years or so, I'm glad to see a gradual shift back towards smaller sizes closer to what was produced in days gone by. This opens up the choices for a guy like me, who has a six-point-five inch wrist. 
At any rate, this recent realisation for me will help towards thinning down the collection a little. That's the plan, anyway.

I switched over to the Rolex Submariner 5513 earlier this week, in the last few days of February. This Graham Greene biography arrived in the mail. I've been wanting to read it since the early 1990s. Written by Norman Sherry, the Professor of Literature at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, this is the first volume of a staggering work on the life of Greene.
Sherry met with Greene on numerous occasions and, throughout the writing of these volumes, he followed in Greene's footsteps, traveling to the same places throughout the world that Greene went to, in an effort to better understand the man, and to speak with those who had met him.
This book will take some commitment. Given its length, it only covers the first 35 years of Greene's life.

My views probably began to change in 2016, when we lost Prince, David Bowie, and George Michael all way too soon. As far as I'm concerned, they still had much to give.

So basically, if somebody in the public eye has lived a long and fruitful life and they check out at the age of, say, 85 or 90, I don't tend to mourn them too deeply.
I raise a glass to them, thank them for their efforts, and wish comfort for those they leave behind.

I wanted to reply to comments made about my previous post, but time got away from me. So...

  1. Steve K17 February 2019 at 04:00       Wonder if J.D. was ever a hand model. You upuld have that in common Tee.

                                                     I suppose that's something, yes. 

  2. Joe V17 February 2019 at 06:47    Another great article. I like how you often start out so humble, but before you know it there's some great content to read, along with pictures. Well done, keep at it.

    I wonder if your hot summer in December is a harbinger of our coming summer in the southwest US ? Probably no connection, climate-wise. Last summer we didn't get too many days above 100f here in Albuquerque, but being a mile in elevation it does cool down at nights, making for some nice summer evenings on the patio. Stay well.

                                                     Thanks, JVC. Whenever I begin these posts, I have to wonder if anything of any great import has occurred that week. Of course, I'm no longer posting on a weekly basis, which would mean that there's more to write about, but it seems life is less interesting than it used to be, perhaps? 
    This Summer here in Melbourne seems to have been a late one. We had some scorchers early on, that's for sure, but we've had a consistent run of hot days over the past month or so. Ahh well, it'll be over in about a month or so, so I may ass well enjoy it wherever I can.

  3. Bill M17 February 2019 at 09:00       Dead birds as rewards (I guess). I had a Rottie that used to like to bring me her dead triumphs as a gift or reward.

    If you want some cold. we've been braving -15F and similar for the past week or two. If the pattern from Oz and here reverses for our summer we will be in for some unusually hot weather.

    It's nice you got your glasses exchanged. I had a dreadful pair of multi-focal lenses one time. Most of the time though I do like them more than regular bifocals.

    Hope you have a great week and enjoy driving the newly repaired car.

                                                        Yeah, Bill, I once read that cats bringing in dead animals is their idea of a gift. I also read that it's their way of showing us how to hunt. 'Cos they think we're dummies.

    Not sure I could handle -15F. Lowest it ever gets here in Winter is maybe 2 degrees Celsius, and that's in the early hours of the morning.

    I never got used to the multi-focal lenses. On a small rectangular lens, it felt like there was too much going on, with different focal points. And yes, I'm glad I was able to get them changed over without any fuss. 

    And yep, it was good to get the car back. 

    Thank-you all for your comments!

    I'm still wearing the Omega Planet Ocean. Given the weather we've had, it seemed easier to just leave this watch on, since it can handle perspiration, water, kitchen-sink and gardening duties (not that I've gone anywhere near the garden this weekend).

    Le Carre once stated in an interview that the inner workings of MI5 were very similar to the way in which the hierarchy of a large business corporation operates. The same back-stabbing and skullduggery occurs, as department heads attempt to work their way up in the intelligence organisation, with little regard for colleagues.
    This may be why I found his books a little too heavy-going when I was a teenager reading Fleming's Bond books.

    Anyway, it's now 12:22pm on Sunday afternoon. Time to get a move-on with the rest of the day. My wife and I just need to plow on through the next few weeks and then we'll be off overseas for a week.
    More about that as it draws closer.

    Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead, folks!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday, February 17th, 2019 - Forgotten Posts / Record Heatwaves / Back to the Books / Man, What a Voice! & Recent Wristwatches

Hmm, it would appear that I started this typecast post in the last few days of December last year and then never got around to finishing or posting it up.
Ahh well, here it is. I wasn't going to bother, but since I spent the time and energy typing it out, I figured I'd better not waste it. 

I rearranged the shelves in the spare room. This room still has boxes filled with stuff that I haven't unpacked since we moved into this house in September 2015. 
I think I should do something about that. 
Looking at my typewriters, I notice a few that I could probably do without. I have thirteen of them and I think I'm gonna try getting them down to ten or so. 
To be honest, I'm finding it hard to get motivated to write the copy, take photos, etc, for the eBay listings, but in an effort to de-clutter, I'm just gonna have to sit down and get started. I've been saying it for too long - and this blog is littered with statements about de-cluttering- so I think I should just bite the bullet and get it done. 
There. I'll say no more about it. 
Till it's done. 

I wore these two watches for most of the week;

The Submariner was worn early on, but I soon created a list of chores for myself during my time off from work, so I switched over to the Omega Railmaster on a minimal-stitch leather strap.

I have to say that the leather is not very pliable on this strap, which made for a very uncomfortable fit and feel during the warmer days this week. 
I've since put the watch back onto its steel bracelet. I think steel is a better option for Summer, since water and perspiration over the warmer months can tend to wear down a leather strap faster than would happen at any other time of year.


Anyway, it's now Sunday, February 3rd and we've just experienced the hottest January temperatures on record. Yeah. On record.
It's currently 36 degrees C.
The temps have crept up to the high 30s on and off over the past few weeks and we had a four or five day spell where it got to between 38 and 42 degrees Celsius. A quick Fahrenheit conversion turns those numbers into 100.4 and 107.6. Yikes!
Okay, the wife and I just got back from a quick workout at the gym. Since writing the above paragraph about an hour ago, the temperature has climbed up a couple of notches to 38 degrees.
Tomorrow is shaping up to be another hot one.

Monday February 11th, 8:00pm
                                                    Where the hell is this post going!? Let me check the photos that I've taken over the past couple of weeks. That oughta' jog my memory.
Ahh, okay, I remember now.

I had multi-focal lenses fitted to these Tom Ford frames a couple of weeks ago.
I had been on the hunt for a set of frames which had clip-on sun-glass lenses attached. I was aiming for a mid-Century aesthetic along the lines of James Dean's glasses. These Tom Ford frames are a honey-blonde shade. I would have preferred a darker shade of tortoise-shell, but considering this particular style has been discontinued for some time, I figure I was lucky to find these.
In a moment of weakness, I let the girl at the optometrists up-sell me to multi-focal lenses when I had actually planned to just get bi-focals. I just wanted glasses for driving and reading. She convinced me to go for an all-purpose lens that would be better for driving, reading AND being able to see the dashboard clearly.
Stupidly, I let myself get talked into it.
Anyway, fast-forward ten days later and I picked up these specs and wore them over the following week.
I hated 'em. Too much distortion in the periphery of my vision when driving, making it difficult to negotiate my driving in traffic where split-second decisions were concerned. Lane-changing meant taking an extra second or two to judge how close that motorcycle was to my rear right and how close that cyclist was to my rear left. And they were no good for wearing while working at the computer at work, as I found myself tilting my head a little too high to see the screen, since these lenses had three different focal points ground into them.

I went back to the optometrist over this past weekend and asked if I could switch them to basic bi-focals like I had originally planned. I was fully expecting to be further out of pocket. These multi-focals were the priciest lenses I had ever bought. Anti-reflective coating, anti-glare coating, etc had driven the price up on these.
Surprisingly, I was told that there was a warranty on the lenses and they would change them over to bi-focals at no charge and I still had a coupla' hundred bucks credit left over. This meant that I could get another set of frames fitted with reading lenses, to replace my older pair that sit on my bedside table.
Cool. They should be ready sometime next week.

Thinking about it now, I'll probably read another Follett book or two at some point. The bastard. Still, probably a better way to pass the time than Patterson's works.

Okay, wristwatch-wise,  I wore the Omega Railmaster, seen here back on its bracelet. I briefly began reading Graham Greene's The Quiet American, but then decided to hold off a little longer with it. I'm not in the right frame of mind for it just yet. 
Soon though. 

Man, this has turned into a very literary post. Hope you don't mind.

My son showed me some YouTube videos this past weekend featuring an outfit called Postmodern Jukebox. The brainchild of a fella named Scott Bradlee, they basically take modern songs and give 'em an old time spin. I spent an hour or so sifting through them and every singer has an absolutely extraordinary voice. 

A highlight is this pocket Venus named Haley Reinhart, who belts out a fantastic version of Radiohead's early '90s hit Creep. This dame's got a set of pipes on her you wouldn't believe. She's got a great repertoire of chanteuse moves as well, as she flits and flutters her hands as she sings with a husky voice which is at times raspy and at times blows the roof off. And the band is tight! There ain't a bum note in this gig. 
Here's the clip. You be the judge. Then check out her rendition of Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun. And then look for Puddles Pity Party and his version of Lorde's Royal.

Warning- It could be addictive. See ya in a coupla' hours.


Postmodern Jukebox seems to have been kicking around for about three or four years, so I have to say I'm late to the party here. 
Either way, looks like I'm gonna be downloading off iTunes soon.

Here's the website, featuring the video clips, tour dates and downloads;

Scott Bradlee's PostModern Jukebox | Home 

I wore the Submariner at some point in the past few weeks;

And here comes another book. I picked up a First Edition Library version of Fleming's The Spy Who Loved Me. I had looked at pre-owned First Editions of this book, but their condition was less than stellar, unless I wanted to spend more than I was prepared to. The First Edition Library brought out the complete set of Bond novels in the early 1990s with reproductions of the original cover art. This one, along with From Russia, With Love, has perhaps the most evocative artwork of all the Bond novels which featured paintings by British artist Richard Chopping. 
First published in 1962, this was Fleming's attempt at writing a OO7 story from the Bond Girl's point of view. Hence, it is billed as 'written by Ian Fleming with Vivienne Michel'.

The story concerns a young woman with a past who checks in to a motor inn in Upper New York State. Unbeknownst to her, the place has been taken over by two thugs who are on the run and have holed up there.
That synopsis may be a little sketchy. I'm working off my memory of the book from when I read it back in '81. 
Figured I'd give wikipedia the night off.
It was a strange book in many ways. Fleming writing from a woman's perspective is bound to be skewed and full of his own wish-fulfillment and ideas about how a woman might think. In giving the co-writing credit to the protagonist, it attempts to give the impression that Bond is real. 
Aside from that, this book is 221 pages long and is split into three sections entitled Me, Them and Him. 
Bond himself doesn't appear until around page 135 as he pulls up at the hotel to get a room and soon realises that the two thugs aren't the proprietors of the place. 
Needless to say, it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the film of 1977. Fleming was disappointed with the sales of the book and stated that only the title could be used if it were ever to be filmed. 

Around 1990, I bought a copy of a 'lost' Dashiell Hammett novella called Woman In The Dark. This story centres on a woman who arrives at the home of a couple living in an isolated house in the country. She is being pursued by three or four (can't recall exactly) rich men that she was partying with earlier. While she is portrayed as being a little bit of a floozy, these men have misread her signals, thinking that she's more of a good-time gal than she really is. 
As the story progresses and she continues to try and escape and evade these men, she hooks up with an ex-con who's recently gotten out of jail. Together, they try to get away from these men, but they are hampered by the very real likelihood that the police won't believe her version of events compared to whatever the rich guys tell the cops. 
'The strumpet and the convict'  is how she describes herself and this man when he suggests they go to the cops to explain what's going on. He, of course, doesn't want to risk his parole, so it seems that the odds are stacked against them both.
Once again, I'm working off memory here. 

I remember reading this book and thinking of the similarities between this and the Bond novel. Or maybe I'm projecting a little more into it all than there actually was. 
At any rate, I'll need to re-read them both at some point to really be certain. 
Gee, that all went nowhere, didn't it? 

I wore the Sinn 103 St Sa chronograph on the 8th, when I cracked the seal on the 'emergency bottle' of Bombay Sapphire. I bought this 500ml bottle in Rome back in September 2016 for about ten or fifteen Euros, which was equivalent to about $21 AUD at the time. Back here in Oz, a 750ml bottle of this stuff was selling for about $40 bucks back then.
Do the math, to account for the 250ml difference and you still feel that we're getting stung here in Australia with liquor prices.  I also bought a bottle of Ballantine's Scotch Whisky for 12 Euro, which I recall worked out to eighteen bucks. Yet here in my burg, it would cost about thirty-five to thirty-eight dollars. 
It's enough to drive you to drink.

Anyway, I spent an hour or so ironing half a dozen shirts and two pairs of chinos last weekend while listening to some wristwatch-related podcasts. By the time I was done, it was well and truly time for a drink. I was wearing the Railmaster.
My kids have been using up the ice without refilling the trays. Drives me nuts. So, I grabbed a small ZipLoc bag, half-filled it with water and put it in the freezer. For emergencies.

My wife came home earlier that day with a little vintage Japanese figurine that she found in a thrift store. "Check it out. She's wearing silk." 
Decked out in geisha-style robes, she holds what looks to me like an olive branch. Her face is made of a tightly woven fabric, possibly mounted onto a hardened base and her expression is (probably) hand-painted. And it looks flawless. Even though there are signs of mold appearing in places.

My wife quickly dubbed her 'Miss Happiness' and I didn't argue. It seemed to fit. We lightly cleaned her, removing the accumulated dust from her hair and making a minor repair to the angled hat on her head before putting her on a cabinet in the lounge room.

Now, as long as the cats stay away from her, she should be fine. Dammit, that iron is in the bottom edge of the frame. I've lost count of how many pictures I've taken over the years where the ironing board is visible in the corner of the room.

I wore the Oris Diver SixtyFive blue/black earlier this week and switched to an old-school piece that I haven't worn for some time. The circa 1962 Omega Seamaster Automatic;

           Spent an hour or two rearranging the lounge room so that I could set up a new phone in a more easily accessible part of the room. Our current phone is plugged in to the modem and it's situated in the far corner of the lounge room behind the corner of the couch.
What this means is that when the phone rings, we have to sprint to the lounge and then navigate our way around the corner of the L-shaped couch. By this time, the answering machine has already kicked in with a pleasant American voice; Hello. No-one is available to take your call. Please leave a message after the tone. Followed by the beep.

I bought a new hands-free phone off eBay, something that still retained a semblance of the shape of an old rotary phone. Sort of.

My son and I then attached the RJ45 cables and worked them along the skirting in an effort to make them as inconspicuous as possible. This involved running some small brass hooks along the skirting and looping the cable through them, then zig-zagging the cable between the brickwork of one wall.

If I had my way, I'd just have an old-fashioned land-line telephone plugged in to the old phone socket. This would be independent of the modem and broadband service. Also, it wouldn't require power from the electrical system. As it stands, this whole analogue exchange is long gone (or well and truly on the way out) and this leaves us at the mercy of Australia's pitiful broadband network.
We were without internet and home telephone for five days last month. Our provider, aside from making it difficult and convoluted to speak to somebody about this and get a straight answer, sent us a portable 4G WiFi modem loaded with 50gb of pre-paid free data.
If it happens again, just plug this modem in to your existing one and you'll be right, they said.
Okay, that was of some consolation...until I read the fine print on the packaging; "50 GB. 28 day expiry. Activate by 31/3/19"
If our modem goes down again after March 31st, this thing will just be a paperweight.

Anyway, this new hands-free phone is up and running and the old hands-free is still in the awkward spot behind the couch for now. 
If I never see another RJ45 cable, it'll be too soon. I was wearing the Oris Diver SixtyFive;

And that's another few weeks done and dusted. Work has been very busy since we re-opened for the year. My wife and I have a short break planned for late next month and I'll say more about that as it draws closer.
All we have to do for now is plow on until then.

I hope you've all been well and that this year has begun nicely for you all.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

My Most-Worn Wristwatches of 2018 + What Came In & What's Going Out

Okay, first of all, Happy New Year! I hope 2019 has started off nicely for you. Now that we're in the year of Blade Runner, I'm keeping an eye out for replicants. It's as good a plan as any!

First post of 2019 sees me looking back once again at the watches I wore throughout the previous year. Two thousand and eighteen saw me posting less than previous years. In fact, I only wrote 19 posts, as work got very busy, and after entire days in front of a computer screen, I found myself less inclined to get back in front of one once I got home. 
As such, these results will be skewed, but they should still provide an overview of the watches that I wore the most throughout this year. Also, due to fewer posts throughout the year, this will probably be a shorter list, but I'd like to respond to a reader's comment from the last few weeks regarding the heirloom aspect of my watches. This is something that I've thought about often over the last year or so and I would imagine that any of you who have a collection of stuff have perhaps had similar thoughts with regard to leaving these items to your kids.

I'll list these watches in reverse order this time. Also, I'll mention the watches that came into my collection this year and the ones that will go out. 

Anyway, here I go.

In fifth spot, worn throughout three weeks of the year was the Omega Speedmaster Professional. For some reason, my more water-resistant watches spent more time on my wrist than this one. Although, whenever I did wear this classic, I was instantly reminded of why I like it so much. As I've said a million times before, it's such a classic example of mid-Sixties chronograph design. And if you wade past all of the NASA/ moon landing associations embedded in the history of this watch, you'll soon learn that it was originally created in 1957 for use as a racing chronograph, hence the reason why it was named the Speedmaster. The design you see here dates back to around 1965, where Omega replaced the earlier arrow-head hands for a simpler picket-fence style, which was common among watches of the era. 

Coming in fourth was another Omega, the Seamaster 300. As you may know, this was a WatchCo-built model and it was a Grail piece for me. Around 2005, I spent a lot of time on eBay looking at Vietnam-era fakes and heavily water-damaged versions of this watch. In the end, I called a contact that I knew and placed an order for one of these. Basically, WatchCo would take a correct movement from a heavily trashed Omega watch and they would place it into a Seamaster 300 case. 
Your purists will argue that this makes it a 'Frankenwatch', something that has been cobbled together from parts to create a watch that was never built in Omega's factory back in the 1960s. 
True, to an extent, but baloney just the same! Sure, this didn't come out of the brand's Geneva headquarters, but it is made up of period-correct Genuine Omega parts.
If I had bought one of those water-damaged ones off eBay and then sent it to Omega for restoration, they would have fully serviced the movement and then replaced dial, bezel and hands with all-new parts. Effectively, the watch would be pretty much like a WatchCo build. The ONLY main difference is that the serial number engraved on the movement of the WatchCo would correspond to the original 'donor' watch, whatever it would have been. Most likely a mid 1960s Geneve model or Seamaster dress watch. It would not be the serial number for a Seamaster 300, as what would be found on the movement of a factory-built Seamaster 300.
This caused collectors to worry about five or six years ago. Urban myths began to circulate in collector circles about Omega Service Centres confiscating these watches and destroying them, or at the very least (compared to that), refusing to perform any repair work on them. 

Anyway, some time passed and some folks on watch forums reported that, due to a slight difference in case numbers between the old, original models and these new WatchCo-built ones, Omega would now service the new watches when they came in. They added an extra zero to the new case numbers, in order to differentiate them from the vintage models. This was designed to prevent someone from trying to pass off a WatchCo modern build as a restored vintage piece. 
Either way, I'm not worried. When the time comes to get it serviced, I'll just take it to Omega and see what happens. 

My 3rd most-worn watch was yet another Omega. This 36.2mm Railmaster is a favourite. Understated, supremely legible, and enough water resistance to go from a bucket of water to an ocean. If I have one gripe about this watch, it would have to be the clasp. While it works just fine, I've always thought it was a flimsy arrangement, made up of a sliding section made from a very thin sliver of steel. I have been tempted to try fitting a sturdier clasp from a mid-sized Seamaster model of the same era, but this would be a pricey gamble, since I can't be certain that it would fit the bracelet of this watch. 
An easy solution would be to just put this watch on a leather strap, but this changes the entire look of the watch. Still, not the worst thing, as it does tend to look quite nice on the right kind of strap.

In the Number 2 spot was the 40mm Oris Diver SixtyFive with the blue and black dial.
Not much more I can say about this watch, as I wrote a review on it a few months ago;

Just in case you missed it. ;-)
I'm wearing it now as I write this post. It's become my go-to watch in a lot of ways. My wife and I are planning a trip away sometime in March and this just may be the watch that I take with me. 

And now the home stretch. I wound up wearing two particular watches over twelve weeks of 2018.
In equal Number 1 spot was a watch that I got back in February, one that I thought I had missed out on getting in late 2017 when it was first released - The Oris Movember Edition Diver Sixty-Five.

This watch came out of nowhere. News of its release was announced in October 2017, and it would hit the market the following month, as a special edition in conjunction with the Movember Foundation and its efforts to raise awareness of physical and mental health issues which affect men all over the world. Based on the 42mm Diver Sixty-Five models, this one was a 40mm model and it's overall design and look just positively screamed 'vintage dive watch'. I wore this one through 12 weeks of the year, alternating it between a minimal stitch leather strap and a black NATO strap. Recently, I picked up the metal bracelet, just in time for the Summer months.
While it shares the same case diameter, movement, and bracelet as the other Diver SixtyFive of mine, the dial layout is so vastly different that it becomes a completely different watch to that one.  I wore it a lot on various straps throughout the year and it was suited to each and every one of them. Once I put the bracelet on it, the whole watch's look changed yet again.

Finally, the other watch that got 12 weeks of wear throughout the year; The 1982 Rolex Submariner 5513. I've written exhaustively about this watch, so I'll try to keep it short.
I had a minor mishap with this one earlier in the year when I knocked it against a door frame and dislodged the bezel of the watch.
Luckily, as the After-Sales Coordinator of a wristwatch brand, I work with a watchmaker and I have to say that I'd been reluctant to let him near this watch. Not because I doubt his abilities. He's in his sixties and has worked on a myriad number of watch brands including Rolex, and the work that he does on a daily basis is stellar.
Nope. The reason I didn't want him to work on it was because...well, let me ask you, do you have any friends who are plumbers or electricians, etc?
I do and I would never ask them to do any work for me because, if they do a sub-par job, it would put a strain on the relationship.
With the watchmaker, my worry was that if he didn't do the work to my satisfaction, I would still have to work with him, and there would be some bad blood between us. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I thought I'd err on the side of caution.
When I first decided to have the Submariner serviced, he told me not to waste my money by taking it to somebody else. I told him that the beauty of dealing with strangers is that you are paying them for their efforts and if they do a bad job, you can blast them and demand a proper repair or a refund, if you don't end up taking them to Consumer Affairs first.

Anyway, after I'd knocked the bezel off the watch, he told me to bring it in and he'd take a look at it.
So I did. I have to say that he has some tricks up his sleeve that I never knew about. 
He changed the crystal, and refitted the bezel, making sure that it was more securely fastened.
In the end, I was very happy with his work.

Frank (Schrijfmachine), one of my regular readers, responded to something that I wrote in my last post regarding the heirloom aspect (or not) of this particular watch.
Here's what I wrote about this Rolex in that post;

I switched over to the Rolex Submariner the next day. This watch is one that I tend to wear a little sparingly, depending on what I'm doing for the day.
Reason being, owning one of these is like having a vintage car. Parts can be expensive and tricky to find. This is actually a richer man's wristwatch, made for someone who can easily afford to get it fixed if something goes wrong.

My daughter wants it when I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I've told her 'no'. My son won't get it either. She decided to plead her case; 

"Oh, but you wanted it for the longest time, and it means the most to you."
"No, it actually doesn't"
I countered. "Despite the fact that I chased it for so long, I'm not going to burden you or your brother with this watch. Parts are expensive, servicing it is expensive, and if you damage it, you'll kick yourself. If you really want one, save your money and get one. That way, you'll know what it takes to get ahold of one of these. And this one doesn't mean the most to me. I have other watches that I wore during significant times of my life. My Railmaster has more resonance with me, even the Sinn Chronograph, that I wore on the trip, and the watch that I wore when you and your brother were born. Those ones mean more to me. The Rolex will get sold when I'm gone. That way, the money that it gets will be of more use to you and him. And, the Rolex comes with a lot of baggage because it's become the watch that guys will buy to show the world that they've made it. They buy it for all the wrong reasons, which is why I wanted vintage rather than new, which would have cost me less. Besides, you'd be better off with something like the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Looks a lot like the Rolex, but it can take more abuse, 'cos it's a modern watch." 

The part about you telling your daughter the Rolex will not be her in the future (and why) is spot on. Very refreshing to read. I am used to reading guys on the watch forums saying they plan to buy a Rolex from the year their son/daughter is born, in order to give it to them when they reach 18, or 40, or...

I read these plans so often I almost started thinking this is actually a good idea. But than I read your text and I agree with you. It might be nice to buy it with the thought to give it away sometime, but it might not be so nice to get something expensive from your father, having to take care of it (and be sad when it breaks down). Thanks a lot, great lines.

Happy 2019! Frank (Schrijfmachine)

I wanted to add further reasons as to why I wouldn't leave this watch to my kids. Basically, with a wristwatch, you're not just giving them the watch. You're also giving them the box, the spare links, and all of the paperwork that's associated with it because, should they decide one day that they do want to sell it, they'll get more for it if they have all this stuff to go with it. Collectors want as much 'provenance' with the watch as they can get, and I have it in spades with my watches. 
Hell, this blog alone has tonnes of info about how and where I've worn my watches.
And all those boxes and papers require storage and looking after. You have to put the box and papers somewhere where they won't get damaged. Someplace where they can sit for years and years if necessary. And you have to remember to take it all with you when you move.
Basically, it's all just one more thing to take care of as they go through their lives. And like I said, if the watch gets damaged or when it requires routine servicing, it won't be cheap and I don't want to burden them with it. 
And let's say I did give the Rolex to my daughter one day. She wears it for a few years and one day, it gets knocked hard against a brick wall and needs a new crystal, bezel, dial and hands, as well as a service to the movement.  That will be an expensive repair. Will she have the money in the bank to get it fixed? Will she feel an obligation to have it fixed, since it was my watch? Will she feel that she may in some way be betraying me or my memory if she decides not to get it fixed? 

If you're a collector, be it watches, cameras, typewriters or anything else of a mechanical nature, you need to look after these things. And if you want to hand them down to your kids, you don't want it to become a curse. You want to be sure that your kids are into these things almost as much as you are. That way, these items may stand a better chance of being looked after once you're gone.

Besides, there's no shortage of watches for my kids when the time comes. My plan is to leave them three or four watches each, and even then, that sounds like too many. I will, of course, once again run them through the cost involved in maintaining a mechanical Swiss watch.

And yes, Frank, back in my watch selling days, I dealt with many customers who wanted to buy a watch when their first kid was born and then put it away for twenty years until they were ready to be given it. 
Whether a watch is running or not, it will still need to be serviced after five years or so. 

The better plan would be to buy yourself a nice watch, wear it, live your life, travel with it on your wrist and then give it to your kid when the time is right. The watch will have a beautiful history by then. 
Of course, you'll still need a watch for yourself, so you may be smart to buy a couple of watches as the years roll by. Actually, get three. Make sure one of them is a dive watch or something water resistant. That way, your child will have something for the beach and something for the nine-to-five. 
Personally, I think a pre-owned Rolex DateJust (34mm, 36mm or 39mm) or Omega AquaTerra (38mm) would be a good choice. Both of these watches would work nicely on a son's or daughter's wrist once they have come of age.


So anyway, I plan on clearing out some of my things this year. I have a few too many watches, typewriters, fountain pens and cameras and I've reached a point where I know what I like and what I prefer to use on a regular basis. The watches will be a little tricky, I'm sure, because some of them have a great sentimental value to me. 
We'll see how strong and/or logical I am. 

To start with, I gave the Tissot Visodate to my son earlier this week. He already has a Seiko dive watch that I bought for his sixteenth birthday a couple of years ago, so that takes care of the sporty watch category for the time being. 
However, he turned 18 on Christmas Day and I wanted to give him something a little more mature. 
I had contemplated selling this watch, but the review I wrote on it back in 2010 has clocked up over 550,000 page-views on a watch forum (521,440 views) and this blog (29,916 views), so I'm a little reluctant to get rid if it solely for this reason. 
To be sure, it's a great watch. It came along at just the right time, back in 2010 when Mad Men was in full swing and the mid-Century aesthetic of this watch went a long way towards generating interest and sales of this piece. At 40mm in diameter, I did always feel that it was just a tad too large for my wrist for this style of watch, but I didn't let it bother me too much. In recent years, though, my tastes have shifted back towards wearing watches that are better suited to my 6.5 inch wrist, so I decided not to wear it and then decided to hand it down. If it were just two or three millimetres smaller, I'd be all over it. 

Next on the chopping block is the Dan Henry Compressor 1970.

This one caught my eye one day and I snapped it up because I liked the look of it and I don't have a Compressor-style dive watch. Basically, it has an extra crown on the 2:00 o'clock edge of the case and this is used to turn the internal bezel for dive times. 
This 40mm model was produced in a limited run of 1,970 pieces and it nicely captures the look of this type of watch that was produced in the mid '60s to the early '70s. 
The luminous compound on the dial and hands isn't very strong, but this is a minor gripe for me, since I have other watches if I want to read the time in the dark. 
Under the hood beats a Seiko NH35 automatic calibre which is quite accurate. It is a nice watch, but I bought it on a whim and rarely wore it. I think I've worn it three times since I got it in September 2107.
So it's gonna go soon. No point holding on to it it it doesn't get worn. There are no passengers, only crew, as my wife says to the kids when they're given a (short) list of chores to do around the house.
Which they avoid like crazy.

This next watch is one that I haven't worn much in recent years. It's the 44mm Hamilton Khaki Officer's Mechanical.

As you can see in this pic, it positively dwarfs my 6.5 inch wrist. I bought it back in 2009, when the big watch craze was well and truly in full swing.
Two reasons why I opted for this particular model; firstly, I got suckered by the big watch craze and decided I wanted something big and cartoony. Something that also looked (in my mind) like a WWII SOE agent's piece of kit.
Secondly, this watch houses the venerable Unitas 6498 hand-wound calibre, a mechanical movement that was first introduced in pocket watches of the 1950s. It winds as smooth as butter.
Alas, it's just too damn big for my wrist. If it were two millimetres smaller, I'd keep it, but this 44mm case diameter is just too big, so this watch will have to go.
However, since Hamilton was a military supplier to the GIs of the Second World War, I still feel I should have one in my collection. Therefore, I may just snap up a smaller-sized model at some point. The beauty of this brand is that it is inexpensive when compared to similar watches of other brands, and Hamilton now falls under the Swatch Group umbrella, so you have the peace of mind of knowing that it'll be around for a long time.

One more watch that I will be shifting is the Omega Seamaster AquaTerra Co-Axial;

Judging by the photo above, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is a nice clear watch for reading the time. However, I've found that in a lot of lighting conditions, the hands can tend to disappear against the glossy black dial. Of course, I don't have any photos of the watch where this occurs because when taking photos, I try to ensure that the dial is legible. Otherwise, it kind'a defeats the purpose of what a wristwatch is meant to do;

This picture here may give you an indication of how the hands can 'blend in' with the dial.
I got this watch in 2006 when I had a younger man's eyes. These days, I don't want to squint too much in order to read the time. It's a great watch, without a doubt. The glossy black dial looks like it's made from Oklahoma crude. It looks like a fresh paint-job on a 1970s Maserati.
I just can't read the time on it as easily as I used to.
Given that this watch has the same case and diameter as the Railmaster, which has gotten a lot more wear in recent years, this one will go.
Remember, if it ain't being used, it's just taking up space.

There's another watch that I'm looking to move along, but I'll get to it a little later, once I've covered...


I had a couple of unplanned purchases during the year. Both of them were watches that I missed out on buying years ago, so when the opportunities to take another shot at them presented themselves, I didn't think twice.

The first one was a watch that I saw back in the late 1990s. It's the Oris Big Crown Small Seconds;

The Big Crown model was first released by Oris back in 1938 and the brand has had some version of this watch in regular production ever since. 
It was named the Big Crown because, you guessed it, the winding crown was slightly oversized, to make it easier to wind the watch and set the time while wearing gloves. 
This was, after all, a watch specifically designed for pilots. 
I first saw this watch at the jewellery section of the Daimaru department store and a few years later, I saw it again in a 1996 Oris catalogue that I'd picked up someplace. 
It was such a pleasant looking watch, with its snake's-head shaped hour hand, syringe-shaped minute hand, crescent-shaped date pointer, and multi-layered dial with applied numerals. Everything about it screamed '1930s', and this was at a time when I was fully immersed in my mania for Old Hollywood glamour and Art Deco design, and my interest in wristwatches was well underway, but it was hampered by poverty. 

Look at that dial, will ya? Four different textures going on - a plain, flat section where the date numerals are printed on the outer edge, a mottled, fresh cement-style pattern underneath the beautiful hour numerals (check out number '4'!), a Deco sunburst pattern in the central section of the dial, followed by a sub-seconds dial with concentric circles. There's a lot going on, but the time is clear to see. This is the kind of attention to detail that was prevalent even throughout the smaller watchmaking houses of Switzerland.

I actually bought two of these. The first one was 33mm in diameter and I thought I could carry it off. Although, once it arrived, I tried it on and it just felt too small on my wrist, even though this size was probably a lot closer to the original models of the Thirties.
Anyway, my daughter saw it a she liked 'the aesthetic' of it, so I'll get it serviced (it arrived without the genuine Big Crown, which I knew when I bought it, and this would explain the low price that I paid for it) and then hand it over to her. 
The model in these photos was the larger 36mm model, which I managed to find about two months later. This is a nicer size for my wrist.

Another watch caught me at a weak moment in 2018. Again, it was an Oris watch, and again, it was a model that I missed out on the first time it was on the market. This here is the Oris Artelier Hand-Wound;

Housing the well-regarded Peseux 7001 hand-wound calibre, this is a very thin wristwatch. Diameter-wise, it's 40mm, which would normally be too large for this type of watch, as far as I'm concerned, but whereas I got rid of the Tissot Visodate for being the same diameter as this watch, I find that I get a nicer fit out of this Oris. As a watch collector, I'm a mass of contradictions. 
This one is a two-tone model, featuring a steel case with a gold-plated bezel. The dial is silver, with a sub-seconds dial at the six o'clock end and three applied gold-plated numerals at the remaining cardinal points. No date, which makes this a nice watch to wear out of an evening, even though the hands have no luminous compound in them, but instead have a wide slit cut through their length. 
You know that watch I mentioned earlier? At the beginning of this section? The one I plan to sell? It's this one;

A Lanco hand-wound, dating back to somewhere between 1955 and 1963. Yes, it's a nice watch, but it bears a similar enough appearance to this newly-arrived Oris, so I think this one will go. It currently requires a new mainspring. Once I get that done, I'll move it along. 
I have to say that I do love the look of this watch. It's 38mm in diameter, considered a jumbo size for its era and the dial is sublime, with barely a blemish on it. Somebody looked after this watch. Damn, now that I look at it, I can feel my resolve weaken. 
Well, I'll get rid of the others first and then see how I feel about this one. 
The fact that I have to get it fixed first means that it gets a reprieve for a while. 

And that's where things stand. I have a Seiko that I use as a beater, for handyman duties and other activities where a watch runs the risk of getting damaged. I've been thinking of getting rid of that one, but I'm not sure. It seems to serve a purpose. For now.

I've reached the stage of collecting where I really want to keep things that will actually get used. Oh, wait, I said that already. I must really mean it. 
Another thing, if I get something new, I should get rid of two that I already have. In the interests of keeping these collections manageable.

I'll soon be going through my typewriters and fountain pens to see if there are any (I'm sure there will be) that don't get much use and should therefore go. 
I'd like my collections to be a little leaner.
If that's possible.

Thanks for reading!