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!


  1. Ah, the Furka Pass, still on my to do list. Will be in the Swiss Alps in a few weeks, but sadly the iconic Furka - thanks to Mr. Bond - is not on my route...

  2. Looking forward to your write up on Ho Chi Minh!
    (Sorry I have been quiet of late, but I have been reading)!

    1. Taking me a very long time to write that post, SK. Hope you and Miss J are well.