Thursday 26 December 2019

Boxing Day 2019 - Work's Been Busy, Two(!) New Cameras, Another Bond Girl Gone & Recent Wristwatches.

Here's the Lanco that's currently under repair. I took a few 'before' pictures of the watch. Eleven years ago, I brought my Omega Planet Ocean to the Swatch Group for repairs under warranty. The watch was running 30 seconds fast per day, which was way out of specs for that model. Five weeks later, I got the watch back and was disgusted with the condition of the watch upon its return. Numerous scuffs on the end-links of the bracelet, and the case-back showed deep gouges where the case-back removal tool had slipped at some point. I'd been in the watch game long enough to recognise shoddy work. After that, I decided that I'd always take photos of my watches before taking them in for repairs. 
Hopefully, this watch comes back to me in the same cosmetic condition that I sent it in.

Speaking of  cosmetic condition, I came across this article on the Hodinkee watch website;

HODINKEE | Around Alone, 50 Years On: Sir Francis Chichester's Rolex Oyster Perpetual

It describes Chichester's 1966 attempt to sail 'The Clipper Route", which was once considered the fastest way to sail around the world prior to the creation of the Panama Canal. The article is interesting, but I was mesmerised by the picture of Chichester's Rolex watch;

This was the watch that he purchased prior to commencing his journey and I'm fairly certain that it's since been restored to within an inch of its life. No wristwatch travels around the world by sea and returns looking like that. 
And check out the engraving on the clasp. He didn't get that done at his local shopping mall. 
A very nice piece, and it's a testament to Rolex's reputation back then -as now- for making reliable and robust wristwatches that can handle a day at the office, a night at the opera, or a trip on the ocean. 

Speaking of watches, I wore these ones since my last post;
The Oris Big Crown Small Seconds Pointer Date from circa 1996. I got a bracelet for it, but it's designed for a different Oris model. The end-links (the piece that joins the bracelet to the case) were a slightly different shape, so they required some filing down in order to get them to fit. Swiss Army Knife time. I used the small file and reshaped the corners of the end-links, softening their pointy edges to a gentler curve. 
It wasn't a 100% perfect job, but it would do. The end-links slotted into place nicely and the watch was good to go. 
As we head into Summer here in Australia, I'll be wearing this watch a little less because it has a lower water-resistance to some other watches of mine. I may wear it it on cooler Summer days and then revert back to wearing it once we get into Autumn. 

The Seiko SARB033 got a little bit of wear, but, like the Oris watch above, I think I may just put this one to bed until the cooler months next year. Actually, scratch that. It's water-resistant to 100 metres, so I might actually have it on standby for any potentially dressy occasions that may come up over summer. Yes, that makes more sense.

I have to say that it's getting busy at work in these final couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. I've had to deal with a few very unreasonable customers over the phone.
Some folks trash their watch like nobody's business and then they're surprised when the watch stops working. "It's a dive watch, it's meant to take some knocks", they argue.
I explain to them that yes, modern shock protection systems are very robust in today's watches, but if a watch gets a knock at juuust the wrong angle, something will give inside the movement, causing issues with the running of the watch.
Usually, if you've knocked the watch hard enough to put a dent in the steel, chances are the movement has sustained some damage also.

Other customers will send in a watch which shows no visible cosmetic damage to the case. No dents, no nicks in the steel, nothing. The watch may be gaining or losing time, or it may have stopped ticking entirely.
I tend to give these customers the 'box of dinner plates' analogy;

"Okay, so let's say you're standing in your bedroom, you reach for your watch on the bedside table and, as you go to put it on your wrist, it slips out of your hands and falls onto the carpeted bedroom floor. 
You pick up the watch and there are no marks on it, because it landed on carpet. You look at the watch and it's still ticking, so you think nothing of it, put it on your wrist and marvel at how robust the watch is.
Over the next few days, you notice the watch is gaining/losing time (this will depend on the type of damage to the movement) or begins to stop and start. This may be because something inside the movement has shifted out of position due to the knock that the watch sustained, and this is now causing issues with the timekeeping.
It's like having a wooden box filled with dinner plates. The box might receive a knock which does no damage to it, but the contents inside may be broken due to the knock." 

And this can happen with a wristwatch. Also, a hard-enough jolt to the case can cause the dial to shift. If this happens with enough force, it can affect the centre pipe.
The centre pipe is a small thin tube that's attached to the movement and this pipe is what the hands are attached to. The centre pipe, as the name suggests, pokes out through the hole in the middle of the dial of a watch. Inside this pipe is a smaller one and inside that pipe is a thin stem. Each of these three pipes are designed to hold the hour, minute and seconds hands, respectively. Naturally, these pipes rotate when the watch is running, thus giving us the hours, minutes and seconds. The pipe for the hours does a full 360 degree turn every twelve hours, the minute pipe does so every 60 minutes, and the seconds stem rotates full-circle every minute.
And that, thrill-seekers, is THE TIME!

As you can see in this photo (left, courtesy of, the hour hand has a large hole on the end. The minute hand has a smaller hole, and the seconds hand's hole is smaller again.
Now, where was I? Right, if the watch gets a knock that's hard enough to shift the dial slightly, it can cause the centre pipe to rub against the edge of the hole in the dial. This causes a little friction and the hands move slower as the pipe struggles to turn correctly, resulting in time loss.

Does all this make sense? 'Cos it can be the hardest thing to explain to some customers.

Anyway, what else did I wear since my last post? The Omega Railmaster got some time on the wrist;

I plan to wear this one a little more over Summer, but I think I may have to add another half-link to the bracelet, as it feels a little snug on warm days.

I've had this watch for about seven years. I sold it to the original customer in 2009 when I worked at the watch store. A few years later, he'd decided to sell it and he gave me first dibs on it.
I didn't take too long to decide.

It gets semi-regular wear whenever I go through moods where I just want something basic, easy to read, that just tells the time. This one is the 36.2mm diameter model, a size that's not in fashion at the moment, but was the standard for watch sizes from the 1960s through to the turn of the (21st) century.
The pendulum is swinging back towards more sedate watch sizing, but I doubt it'll ever get back to thirty-six mil.
That's okay. Plenty of pre-owned watches still in existence to choose from.

I've written about this before. I bought a black-bodied Olympus OM2n 35mm SLR camera back in 1982. Used it regularly through the years. At some point in the late '80s, I purchased a Polaroid SX-70 Land camera. A few months later, the SX-70 broke down and needed repairing.
Stupidly, I sold the Olympus to a camera store to pay for the repair of the Polaroid that this same store was repairing for me.
Dumb move.
A friend of mine was working for a photographer back in the early 1990s and he sold me a late 1960s Nikon F for $500.oo. A few months later, he asked if he could borrow it for a photo assignment. Sure, no worries.
Took me just over six months to get the camera back off him. Needless to say, I didn't consider him much of a friend after that.
Since the advent of eBay, I've bought a few more film cameras over the years, to keep the Nikon F company;

- a Nikon EM - sold it a few years ago, bought another one this year.
- three Olympus Trip 35 rangefinders - gave one away to a young photographer who wanted to shoot film.
- a Nikon FM2
- a Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder
- a Voigtlander Vitomatic II rangefinder - ran one roll of film through it, didn't like it.
- and finally, another Olympus OM2n, to (at last!) replace the one that I had in the '80s.

Except, this model was in silver and black, rather than the all-black bodied model that I had in the past. Great camera, small in size, but heavy. 
I liked it so much that I bought another one, as a spare.

Again, this second one had a silver & black body. And then, what should happen? I started getting the urge to get one that was exactly like the camera I had back in '82.
So, the hunt began for an all-black OM2n.
I've noticed on eBay that black-bodied SLR cameras tend to be priced higher than their silver counterparts. Everybody wants a cool black camera.
Rangefinders, however, tend to be silver-bodied. This might explain part of the popularity of the FujiFilm X-100 digital cameras of the last ten years. These evoke the look of a 1950s Leica rangefinder.
Anyway, since I already had two of these OM2s, I was willing to be a little patient with hunting around for a black one. And, I'd decided to look at Japanese dealer sales as a first priority, since their stock tends to be in very good to excellent condition, if their eBay listings are to be believed.

And it wasn't long before one turned up. Body only, which was exactly what I was looking for, since I have a couple of OM-series lenses.

Besides, the idea is to get the two silver models checked out by a camera repairer and, whichever one is the better camera will stay with me and I'll sell the other one. Having run film through both of them over the last couple of years, they both work nicely.
This black one arrived about a month ago and it's in very good condition. I'll load some film into it soon and put it through its paces. If it works as it should, then I'll thin out the camera collection a little. One of the Trip 35s should go. Might even get rid of both of them, since I have the Yashica.
Maybe the Nikon FM2 might go as well, but I think I'll really have to use it a little more to really make up my mind. 

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I popped into a nearby Thrift store and they had a Nikon FE in a glass cabinet. I asked to have a look at it. It was being sold with a no-name flash and a no-name 85mm-210mm 1:3.8 zoom lens with macro capabilities. All for $120 bucks.
I got my phone out of my pocket and quickly Googled reviews of the FE. It's a well-respected camera, from Nikon's golden age. The FE was produced between 1977 and 1983.
Then I checked eBay listings and saw that these things were starting at around $250.oo.
My wife then fished a 20% Off voucher out of her bag.
That brought the price down to $96 bucks.
No brainer.

The camera came with a fourteen-day return policy. I put some film into it and went through the first sixteen frames. That would be enough to give me an indication of how good or bad this camera was.
I used some Kodak 400 colour film and the results were okay. If anything, they showed the short-comings of my photographic skills more than anything else.
There's a photo studio across town that runs film photography workshops a few times a year. I'm tempted, but I don't relish going across town. Still, might be worth it. First though, I think I'll run through some of my photography books and the instruction manuals that I've downloaded off the web. May try using some ASA200 speed film instead of 400. See what results I get.
Those of you who are better shutterbugs than I, feel free to throw some advice my way.

I moved the Camy Club-Star along. I mentioned in a recent post that I knew a guy at a jewellery store who likes vintage watches. I wasn't wearing this watch much in recent years, so I figured I'd send it along to him.
It was given to me by a watch repairer who knew I liked vintage. He said "It's yours, no charge, but if you ever decide to get rid of it, I'd prefer that you just give it away rather than sell it."
Fair enough, I thought.

The Longines Heritage Expeditions Polaires Fraincaises Missions Paul-Emile Victor also got some wear. Every so often, I think about selling this watch. Then, I put it on for a day and I always decide to keep it after that.
It's such a clean and simple look, and the lighter-coloured dial offers a pleasant point of difference against the majority of my modern watches.
So yeah, I think this is worth holding on to.
Spent a little too long one morning arranging this photo, but I had gotten on top of my work that morning, so I figured I could spend ten or fifteen minutes putting this pic together.
I was my coffee break, after all.

Here are a few shots taken with the newly-purchased Nikon FE;

They turned out nicely enough, but I think I'm gonna have to get to know these cameras a little more. Can't help thinking that the lighting or exposure could have been better.

Yes, I know that actors from the 1960s are all getting older, but it still bugs me when they go. 
And 78 seems a little on the young side of elderly, if you ask me.

The Sixties Bond Girls had something about them.

Whoa! I started this post in the second week of October. It's now Boxing Day. My regular readers may have noticed far fewer posts this year compared to previous years. I think that staring at a computer all day at work has definitely dissuaded me from getting on a computer once I get home. 
However, I'll see if I can make an effort to post a little more often next year. Even if they're short ones. 
Assuming, of course, that anything remotely interesting happens.
My next post will more than likely be the annual "Most-Worn Wristwatches" one, similar to those that I've done for the past few years. Since I haven't posted much on this blog throughout 2019, I'll be relying on pictures that I uploaded in Instagram throughout the year, which may actually give a more true indication of what watches I wore the most.

Anyway, I hope you all had a nice Festive Season. Ours was a nice cruisy Christmas Day.
Wishing you all a safe and Happy New Year!
See you in 2020. 

Oh, I've been wearing the Oris Movember Edition Diver SixtyFive for the past few days (older pic);

Thanks for reading!


  1. As usual, you're generous with both text and images. I like your "collage" photos. Happy new year!

    1. Thanks, RP! Hope you and yours have been well, and wishing you a Happy New Year as well!

    2. Great to read the new post. Much appreciated! Have a great New Year