Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021 - Trips to the Vet, Dental Procedures & Why, Oh Why Did I Do Dry July? + Recent Wristwatches.

June 7th

              Posting less frequently, folks. Spending all day in front of a computer screen makes me less inclined to get back in front of one for long periods after hours. 

Anyway, let's see how this post goes.  

At the time of writing, Victoria is currently in its fourth lock-down. After 84 Covid-free days, we had four new cases spring up. Then it rose to fifteen, then 25, then 34. So, on May 27th, we went into what our State Government called a 'circuit-breaker lock-down'. It was meant to be a seven-day lock-down. As this week-long period neared its end, a few more cases were still occurring, so the lock-down was extended for another week. We just heard the news about an hour ago that nine more cases have been confirmed. I suppose we'll find out on Wednesday or Thursday whether or not this lock-down will be extended further. 

In the meantime, it's been back to wearing masks in public, two hours of outdoor exercise, no travel further than a ten kilometre radius, and work from home if you can, or if you are not in an essential industry.

Anyways, here's the Rado Golden Horse, one of the watches that I wore since my last post;

I've had it one the Speidel Twist-O-Flex expanding bracelet for a while now, but I switched it over to a leather strap a couple of days ago, to change the look of it. While I like the look of it on the Speidel, the watch had felt a little loose on the wrist. This has more to do with my wrist having gotten smaller in recent years rather than the bracelet stretching over time.

Most likely, there'll be a photo of this watch on the leather strap before this post is over. 

July 2nd

         It's been a busy couple of months. I had my dental implant procedure booked-in for the 8th of this month, but I got a call from the dental practice yesterday morning asking if they could reschedule the procedure for the 22nd. Sure, I said. That would be fine. 

July 16th

              And here we are, in the 5th lock-down in Victoria. Four furniture removalists traveled into Melbourne from Sydney and delivered some furniture to an apartment block in an inner-city suburb. A couple of these guys were Covid-positive. Soon after, some residents tested positive also. It all escalated from there. Back up to 16 cases and the State Government announced another seven-day snap lock-down. 

This coincides with my week of annual leave, which begins on Monday the 19th. And, I have my dental implant procedure booked for Thursday the 22nd. If this lock-down is extended beyond Wednesday, this operation will have to be re-scheduled. Which would be a nuisance.
As it happens, I had a week off back in May. I accumulated a lot of annual leave last year and I was asked to take some of it, even though I had no obvious travel plans. Although, as 2020 and now 2021 have such strange times, I figured some semi-regular breaks from work might not be a bad idea, so I outlined four weeks off for the remainder of this year, to be taken as one-week breaks every eight weeks or so. This would chew up some of my annual leave time. 
So I had a week off back in May...and I promptly caught a nasty cold that took me a month to get over. It wasn't a 'flu, it certainly wasn't Covid - I got tested and came back negative - but I figured that I must have been so run down that I was susceptible to whatever was going around this year. Spent a week blowing my nose. Kleenex's share price must've risen slightly thanks to me. 
Anyway, I got over it eventually, but man, did it knock me around. And it was just a cold! We're now in the middle of Winter and as soon as the weather gets milder, as Spring kicks in, I'm gonna get fitter. That's it. No more mucking (playing) around. 

Okay, so I haven't posted since late March. Here's a quick list of some watches worn since then;

APRIL
          The Oris Divers SixtyFive. 40mm in diameter, with blue and black dial. That Martini book was written by a guy named Barnaby Conrad III. I had been after this book since it was first published. I think I even saw it at the Borders Bookstore that I worked at back in '98, and I'm not 100% certain, but I think I may have bought the book back then. 
About 12 years ago, our garage was broken into and somebody grabbed a few boxes of my books that I had stored in cardboard boxes. I left for work one morning and as I turned into a neighbouring street, I saw some of these boxes strewn along the gutter. I retrieved them and brought them back home, but every now and then, I'll remember a book that I used to have - such as Nabokov's Lolita - and my blood boils slightly because it appears that they did indeed take at least one box of my books. Bastards. 
Anyway, I decided to hunt around on eBay for this book and wound up finding it. That long-stemmed cocktail glass cost me a whole dollar from a thrift store. It's not as large as modern cocktail glasses, which suits me just fine. 

Started reading Thrilling Cities, a collection of travel articles that Ian Fleming was commissioned to write back in the early 1960s for the Sunday Times newspaper. 
He writes about a restaurant called Gaddi's, which was part of The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong. My wife came home one day a couple of years ago with a huge glass jar filled with book-matches from around the world. Inside this jar was a box of matches from Gaddi's. 
Well, I couldn't waste the photo op. 
The book isn't bad, but surely dated by now. Still, it shows further examples of Fleming's writing style, and it's interesting to read his non-fiction writing. He wrote one other work of non-fiction called The Diamond Smugglers, an account of the efforts of the International Diamond Security Organization to combat the multi-million dollar diamond smuggling industry in Africa in the 1950s. 
 
The Submariner 5513 got some wear since my last post.  I have to say though, and I had a feeling this might happen, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has been getting a lot of wear since I got it. 
This may put the future of the Sub 5513 in doubt. Anyway, I'll spend the next year or so thinking about it. I could still be in the honeymoon phase with the Black Bay 58 and this may be influencing my thinking. The Submariner 5513 is a very photogenic watch and whenever I wear it, I remember exactly why I got it to begin with.  

Work-wise, we will be moving offices into the city sometime in August or September. This will mean that, rather than a 40 to 50 minute drive in to work, I will have to drive to a nearby train station and catch the train into town. Last time I worked in the city, when I was still in retail, my train line was not exactly reliable. I used to get to the station early enough to allow for four different trains because there was almost always a delay or cancellation. It was damned annoying and nerve-wracking. Not a good way to start the day.   This new commute will add around 35 to 45 minutes to my morning travel time and it'll cost me ten bucks a day in train fares. 
Needless to say, I ain't thrilled about it, but I'm adopting a wait-and-see policy with it all. Might not be as big a problem as I think it will be. 

Speaking of the Black Bay 58, here's another shot of it. I was jotting down some notes about - Wait a sec, I'm getting ahead of myself. A little back-story first; my wife has been doing an online counselling course. Part-time, it's meant to take around two years to complete. She finished it in eight months. The last module consisted of 12 role-play videos that she had to complete. These role-plays consisted of various scenarios, such as a young man who's intensely shy and is nervous about asking a girl out, or a middle-aged housewife who works full-time and is studying to become a CPA and is finding it difficult to maintain home, work, and study commitments and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. 
I played this middle-aged housewife. I wanted to do it in drag because my daughter was itching to do my make-up, but my wife said she would not be able to keep a straight face. These role-plays were filmed and uploaded onto a dedicated YouTube channel once completed. As soon as she received a mark for them, they were deleted. Thank God.

July 19th
              The snap lock-down was due to end tomorrow night at midnight. Our Premier held a press conference this morning to announce that there were thirteen new Covid cases overnight and, therefore, the lock-down would be extended. 
I got a call a few hours later from my dentist. The implant surgery would still go ahead on Thursday morning, but I had to get a Covid test done in the meantime. Bloody hell! So, off I went to a nearby testing facility, which was located in the car-park of an X-Ray clinic. Stood out in the cold for about fifteen minutes before getting tested. I should have the results in the next 24 to 48 hours. 
I'm slightly dreading this dental procedure. They're gonna drill into my gums to fit a titanium screw which will form the base for a crown. Aside from that, they will go into the sinus cavity and perform a 'sinus lift' whereby some powdered substance will be mixed with water to create a bone-like foundation for the screw. As we get older, our gum-line and jawbone can thin out. My jawbone will need to be reinforced or thickened with this sinus lift procedure. 
Needless to say, I'm gonna lose my youthful beauty for a while. Probably gonna look like I went three rounds with Tyson by the end of it. 
The op should take around 60 to 90 minutes. As I mentioned, I have this week off and I've also arranged to have next Monday and Tuesday off as well, as I think I'll need a good five days to get over the swelling, etc. Last thing I need is to be at work answering phone calls. 

MAY
           
Madame jumped up onto the kitchen bench-top and sat there, with her hind legs shaking slightly. 
Then she jumped down onto the floor and crouched before we saw a few drops of urine land on the floor. Very uncharacteristic of her. Something wasn't right. It was about 8:15pm on a Saturday night. I called the nearby animal hospital. 
Bring her in, they said. 
Fifteen minutes later and I sat in the waiting room and looked around. There were four other people sitting there. All glued to their phone screens. I brought in my car-copy of Octopussy & The Living Daylights because I didn't want to be yet another person sitting in a waiting room staring at their smartphone. 
It was past eleven-thirty by the time I got her home. Some painkillers and a muscle-relaxant was prescribed. It was not a cheap visit either, so I felt a little ticked-off at being given this band-aid solution. I took her to the vet a few days later and they said it was a urinary tract infection and we got a course of antibiotics. Man, these two cats have run up a crazy tab in vet bills over the last eighteen months. 
There was one visit to the vet last year where my wife and I sat there while the vet patted our cat and asked us a few questions. Afterwards, we got the the reception counter; That's eighty dollars for today, said the young lass at the desk.
I felt like saying; Eighty bucks?! What for? She sat there and stroked the cat for ten minutes. We should be charging her
Oh, the Tudor Black Bay 58 has been getting a lot of wear, as you can see in the shot above.
 
I do sometimes spend a little too much time and trouble staging a photo. This one here took me a little while, as the sun kept disappearing behind clouds on an increasingly overcast day. Once it peeked out again, I got the shadows of the slanted Venetian blind across the page. Not a moment to lose. Also, that espresso would soon lose that creamy schiuma (foam) off the surface, making it look like just a black coffee. 
The IMCO Triplex lighter has no fuel in it. The ashtray was from my parent's house and it advertises Centerba Toro, a liqueur from Abruzzo, the region in Italy where my folks were born. There was always a bottle of this stuff in the house. I never saw my parents drink it, but they would always offer a teaspoon of it to a cup of coffee whenever guests came around. It's made up of aromatic herbs and spices from the region and dates back to 1817. The green-glassed bottle is wrapped in straw, with a distinctive black and green label. 

Oh, one more thing; this stuff is 70% alcohol by volume. That makes it around 140 proof. 
Which is why I only ever saw a teaspoon added to short black coffees. 
I have two bottles of the stuff and I don't think I've ever properly drunk it.
The small bottle on the left was given to me by my aunt when I visited her in Pescara in 2016. I cracked it open and had a sip, but I don't recall the taste of it. I'm currently doing Dry July - whereby I'm not touching any alcohol. Seemed like a good idea at the time - so I won't taste it now, but I'll do it properly and add a dash to an espresso at some point and report back. I daresay it is probably something that's worth having on a cold winter's night. You could add it to a cup of strong tea to add a hefty kick to it. 

The large bottle was taken from my parent's house after my Mother died in 2012. While going through the kitchen pantries and throwing out various dry foods that would spoil, I found this bottle and thought it was a nice reminder of my folks and the house I grew up in. 
Just looking at this bottle conjured up memories of loud conversations emanating from the kitchen/dining area, ashtrays filled with the butts of Senior Service and Viscount cigarettes, drained beer glasses, the ornate wooden sugar dispenser, the steaming coffee poured from the Bialetti Moka Express percolator, and the liberal pour of a dash of Centerba from the strange bottle. 
This half-litre bottle still has the seal intact and it would  appear that there is less than 500ml inside it. I think this bottle may have been laid on its side at some point because the label around the screw-top looks stained. Did this liquor corrode the aluminium top? 
Dear God, what's in this stuff?!
Either way, this Centerba triggers a lot of memories.
I'll have a taste of it once Dry July is over. 
 
Speaking of which, what exactly possessed me to do Dry July? 
I tend to drink more consistently through the Summer months. Gin & Tonics, Americano cocktails (Campari, Sweet Vermouth, topped up with soda water over ice), the occasional beer. I noticed last month, though, that this Summer style of drinking kept right on going once Autumn (Fall) and Winter came along. In the colder months, it tends to be a glass of wine with dinner some nights or a shot of scotch or bourbon after dinner if the evening is particularly cold. 
So, I thought it might be a good idea to 're-set' things by avoiding alcohol for the month. I have to say that it was tricky for the first week or so. I had some busy days at work and a nice G&T would have taken the edge off and provided some closure to the workday. 
Same with the Friday Night Dry Martini, a crisp bookend to the working week. At any rate, I started, or rather, stopped drinking on July 4th and I'll stay that way until August 1st. 
After that, I'll ease my way back into it and keep it in check. 

21st July
                 So, I have the dental procedure booked-in for tomorrow morning. I got a text message regarding the Covid test that I got done a couple of days ago. Result is negative. 
My wife will drive me to the dentist by 8:00am and after I fill in some paperwork, the op should commence around 8:30. They'll be giving me a twilight anaesthetic, which means I'll be awake and semi-lucid during the procedure. Dental surgeon said I could bring an iPod if I want. I just might do that. 

One last shot, taken in early June. Did I mention that the cat doesn't like being given a tablet? 
But at least she didn't scratch the watch! 
The first round of tablets didn't work. It wasn't a long enough course, so the vet gave me 45 tablets and said he'd see me in August sometime. Half a tablet, twice a day, can be given with food. So, I've been using a pair of flat-nose pliers to crush the tablet into powder, then I add a dash of boiled water, which dissolves the tablet, then I add her food, which is a special formulation for her kidney condition and I mix it in with the water to create a paste-like consistency.
Her appetite's been back for a couple of weeks now, so I think this urinary tract thing is gone, but I'll continue with the tablets until they're finished. Tell ya what, between these two cats, we've spent a small fortune at the vets over the last year and a half. If it's not one, it's the other. I don't know how people with multiple pets do it. It's not the cost so much, it's the fact that you always have to keep an eye on them if they suddenly start showing behaviours that are out of character. And it always happens at eight or nine o'clock at night. 
Anyway, one thing at a time, as they say.

Think I'll wear the Oris Divers SixtyFive for the procedure. Although I doubt I'll be looking at my watch. 
Those Hot Wheels cars have been packed away in some box for about a dozen years. My son is twenty now and doesn't seem to have any special attachment to them, but I thought I'd go through them and keep a handful, for the sake of posterity. 

Anyway, there was more I was going to write, but I think I'll stop here and maybe start a fresh post that I can put up in a week or two. Either way, I think I may be too zonked out over the next few days. The Victorian lock-down has been extended until the 27th, but I'm off work until then anyway. 

I hope you're all staying safe. Some experts are saying that it will be a long time before we get back to anything resembling normal. Others say that we'll have to treat Covid like any other 'flu and take the necessary precautions. 
Whatever the case, we are living through history, and these times are designed to test us, as I keep telling my kids. 
Who are probably sick of hearing it. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Sunday, March 28th, 2021 - Dental Visits, Cat Health, Farewell Hoover 550M + Recent Wristwatches

Okay, so my last post ran the risk of becoming a very long one, so I stopped it and figured I'd just pick up from where it left off. 

The Tudor Black Bay 58 has still been getting a lot of wear, but I thought I should wean myself off it a little. I decided to replace the ribbon on my 1981 Olivetti Lettera 32. Man, it took me over half an hour! I've been out of practice. 
I wanted to keep the original spools of my machine, although one of them was lost a long time ago. 
Anyway, I thought I had the spools correctly loaded, only to find that one of them was positioned so that it would turn in the wrong direction.
Off they came and I tried again. And again. 
Purple fingers by the time I was done. 


Madame appeared on our doorstep (literally) back in March 2009. The vet that we took her to back then surmised that she was about a year old. Our current vet thinks that she may be older than what we thought. If she was born in 2008, she'd be thirteen now, but we're all thinking that maybe she's a year or so older than that. Either way, her health has declined somewhat over the last year. 

Regular readers may recall that she was diagnosed with kidney failure last year. She's on a special diet and seems to be doing well. However, she began coughing about seven weeks ago. We figured it was a fur-ball, although she's never coughed one up. Quick trip to a nearby pet store and the vet there suggested a very small dose of laxative, to help work the fur through her system. The vet suggested I got to the nearby pharmacy and buy a bottle of laxative. She told me to get a brand that comes in a green and orange bottle. The cat would require 0.5 of a ml. Well, I headed over to the pharmacy and asked for a laxative with the green and orange label. The pharmacist asked me who it was for. 

My cat, I replied. The vet suggested I give her half a mil over a couple of days, I added.
Well, the chemist was now reluctant to sell me this laxative. Oh, I don't think it's made for animals, she said. I informed her that the vet suggested it, saying that the pet store normally carries it, but they are out of stock. 

No dice. They wouldn't sell it to me. I thanked her and headed back to the pet store. 

I spoke to the vet again; They wouldn't sell it to me. I can get heroin easier!   

The vet kept a straight face on hearing that line. Oh dear, did she think I was serious? I wasn't born here.*

She reiterated that this laxative would be safe to use on pets, so I went back to the pharmacy, grabbed the bottle of laxative and headed to the cashier. Paid for it, and got the hell out of there. I gave the cat a couple of doses over the next few days. About four or five days later, she was still coughing. Okay, it wasn't a fur-ball. Time to go back to the vet.

They took a blood sample and ran some x-rays. She has asthma. Two options; a course of steroid tablets or an inhaler. We tried the first option to begin with, which I wasn't crazy about because these tablets have to be broken down by the liver, whereas an inhaler would go directly to the lungs. Half a tablet per day for the first week, then half a tablet every other day for the second week, then monitor the situation from there.The tablets appeared to work, but I didn't like the idea of their long-term use. So, I began getting her used to having a mask against her snout. I used a small plastic container and gently placed it over her nose and mouth. Of course, she resisted this. There's a YouTube video of a lady in Sweden or Denmark showing how she trained her cat to get used to the mask. It takes about a month, with lots of food rewards thrown in, because cats don't do anything for you unless there's something in it for them. 

Tudor Black Bay 58 continues to get a lot of wear, despite the not-100% perfect fit on my wrist. 

Anyway, back to the cat. I ended up purchasing the inhaler from my local pharmacy, since it's the same medicinal version as what we humans would use. Next, I needed a spacer. A number of years ago, it was found that using a spacer with an inhaler would provide a more effective dose. Being a mild asthmatic myself, I would use a Ventolin inhaler like anybody else. Give it a few shakes, put the mouthpiece in your mouth, press down in the inhaler tube and a dose of the medicine would be aerosol-sprayed into your mouth. You would take a deep breath as you press down on the inhaler. Nowadays, doctors and pharmacists highly recommend using a spacer. In layman's terms, let's say you have an aerosol can of, oh I dunno...fly spray, for the purposes of this explanation. Now, if you hold the can about six inches away from a wall and you spray it, you end up with a moist patch on the wall. If, however, you stand back and spray it from three or four feet away, you instead create a light mist on the wall. 

The spacer works along the same lines. Using the inhaler in your mouth, it's a very short distance from your lips to the back of your throat and this deposits much of the medicine onto the throat area. Apparently, you only get around 40% of the inhaled dose delivered into the lungs. Using a spacer, which is about the size of a soda can, but narrower, means that the spray is delivered inside the spacer canister as a mist, which you then inhale, thus providing a higher percentage of the dose. 

So, for cats and dogs, you use a spacer. The better one is called AeroKat. It has a tiny plastic flag inside it which dips down when the animal inhales. Because, a pet isn't gonna tell you that it breathed the dose in correctly. They're funny that way. This spacer comes with two different-sized masks. They're made of soft rubber and they resemble the mouthpiece off a trumpet. I used the smaller one, since cats have a very short space between their nose and mouth, and this one covers both. Madame doesn't inhale with her mouth open, so her nose would be doing all the work. 

First, I practiced with the mouthpiece over her face for a week or so. Followed by the signal word Prinzi , and a few dry treats as a reward. I used the word Prinzi (hopefully, it's a made-up word, but I'm sure it's probably a surname as well. Ha! I just Googled it. It's a suit hire place in Carlton. I've probably driven/walked past it a million times) because I didn't want to utter any actual word that she might here at any other time. Well, as long as she never has to hire a suit...

Anyway, I've been using the spacer with her for about a week. I weaned her off the tablets and introduced the inhaler. If she can get seven or eight inhalations out of it, that should do. Although, she does begin to turn her head to the side, and I'm reluctant to hold her down by force. And she'll also try to swat the mask away from her face with a paw. Her breaths are shallow. The little green plastic flag inside the spacer flutters rather than dips definitively, but it's a start. Anyway, all I can do is try. The rest of the family will also be getting familiar with doing this.  

After all, why should I have all the fun? 

I wore the Tudor Ranger towards the end of February. I got a straight-edged bracelet for it from Geckota, a website that sells various straps and bracelets. I must say it's a great quality bracelet. Very well made and quite sturdy. 

That pamphlet in the photo was given to me by the dentist who would be performing the 1st stage of a titanium implant procedure on two of my teeth.

March 18th.
                      I had the initial consultation with the dentist a few weeks ago and today was the day that a deteriorated root canal - done four years ago - would be extracted. I felt a little nervous in the car on the way to the surgery. 
While this type of operation has become routine in the last few decades, it would still be an intrusive surgery, drawn out over six to 12 months. My primary dentist discussed the two main options. I could have these two implants fitted, or I could get braces. At 55, I'm too old for braces. I pictured myself sitting in my manager's office at my next performance appraisal, negotiating a pay increase with a mouth full of steel. No thanks. 
My wife had braces fitted about ten years ago. She told me that if she could have had the choice all over again, she would have opted for removal of one or two teeth and crowns fitted. The process with braces involved routine adjustment and tightening of the wires over a two year period. This was after the removal of four teeth. The braces basically had to close up the gap left by the extraction of those teeth. 
So, I spent a week thinking about it and decided on the implant surgery instead. This in itself would involve a sinus lift on one section of my jawbone. I lost a tooth about ten years ago and the gum has receded a little, and the bone - which will provide the base for the titanium screw - has thinned out. 
Anyway, I found myself lying in the dentist's chair just over a week ago and this guy deftly removed the crown, after giving me two injections (the second one hurt!). It all went smoothly enough, although I did hear the sound of breaking porcelain as he extracted one of the roots. It was all done within around 25 minutes. He packed my mouth with gauze and gave me prescriptions for a couple of antibiotics and a painkiller. 
I paid for the consultation and tee'd up my next appointment for early June. The gum needs to heal. I bought the medications from my local pharmacy and went home. An hour later, I changed the gauze padding in my mouth and began to feel the slow creep of pain. I've been down this road before. When I had that other tooth removed ten years ago, I played tough guy when I got home and didn't take any paracetamol tablets. An hour later, my jaw felt like it was clamped in a vise. This time 'round, I popped two of the painkillers. 
Soup for dinner later that evening and then one more painkiller before going to bed. Didn't need any more of them after that. This was a very smooth dental procedure. 
That was nine days ago. The area still feels tender, but it's healing nicely, from what I can tell. Stage 2 of this entire procedure will be the big one. They're gonna drill into my gum-line and then put in two titanium screws. And the sinus lift. Apparently, you're not supposed to blow your nose for a couple of weeks after that. Man, if I catch a cold, I'll be in trouble. 

Wednesday, March 24th
                                       I had the day off, and it would be a busy one. Our washing machine finally died on us. It has had some issues in the past and we've had it repaired, but this time, the drum wouldn't spin. We considered getting it repaired, but felt that if it had anything to do with the motor, the logical step would be to replace it rather than repair it, as the price difference between these two options would be marginal. 
We bought this Hoover 550M back in 1999, just after we bought our first house. Needless to say, it has served us well over the two decades that we had it. My wife got online and did some price and feature comparisons. The new machine, a Fisher & Paykel, would be delivered today sometime between midday and 2:00pm. 
Meanwhile, the cat was due for her worming treatment, which I could have done myself, but I had some questions to ask the vet about the asthma treatment. So, an appointment was scheduled for 11:20am. The kids were home, so if I got stuck at the vet, they could deal with the washing machine delivery. 
And, our coffee machine had been playing up lately, which is an indication that it's due for servicing. 
So, I'd be taking that to the repairers as well. 

I had to remove the hoses from the old machine and then get it out into the driveway. The guys delivering the new machine would take away the old one. Time to put on the Hamilton Khaki Auto, which is the beater watch that I use for duties where there's a risk of scratching or scuffing the watch. In saying that, this watch still has no marks on it. I must be more careful than I realise. 
Once I removed the hoses, I tilted the machine at an angle to remove as much water from it as possible. I then wrestled the machine onto a flat trolley that I made ten years ago and wheeled it out to the carport. Took a photo of it, for posterity's sake, and headed back inside. 
Then it was time to coax Madame into her carry-cage for her trip to the vet.
I made the appointment with the same vet I spoke to the last time. The time before that, I dealt with another vet, but I didn't like his bedside manner. Anyway, this vet checked her breathing and heart-rate. She also did a blood-pressure test and took a blood sample. We discussed the management of Madame's asthma. Back to half a tablet every second day, for two weeks, in conjunction with using the inhaler. Drop the tablet dosage to half a tablet every three days for two weeks after that. Hopefully, the inhaler will have taken over after that four-week period on tablets and the condition will be under control. Fingers crossed. 
After the consultation, I stood at the reception counter and was presented with the bill for today's visit. I took a look at it;
I think there's been some mistake. I brought in a cat, not a cheetah, I wanted to say. 
I paid the bill and got the hell out of there. 

Got home, gave Madame some dry treats to take the edge off her ordeal and then decided to clean the coffee machine before I'd take it in for repair. Switched over to the Omega Planet Ocean;

This machine is a Rancilio Silvia V4. It's made for home use and is an absolute workhorse. Especially since my son began drinking coffee. I've told him that three cups a day is considered enough, but I think he's up around five. 
Around 1:00pm, the delivery guys showed up and dropped off the new washing machine. They took the old one away. Vale, Hoover 550M! Your services were greatly appreciated. 
Hooked up the new machine and then took the coffee machine off to get serviced. 
Back home by around three pm.

For the next week or so, it's back on to caffettiera coffee, which is fine. Certainly, it's weaker than an espresso machine's output, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. These Bialetti Mocha Express coffee percolators are permanently stamped into my memory, having seen and used them all my life. Originally designed in 1933, no Italian household was without one. My mother had a standard six-cup model, as well as the huge 12-cup version, which was used for larger gatherings like funeral wakes. Soon as one batch of coffee was made, it would get a quick rinse of hot water before being refilled with ground coffee and water. Then back onto the hotplate it would go. Six or so minutes later, the steam-release valve on the side would start to hiss while the machine itself would emit a sound like a distant steam train as the fresh brew bubbled out of the internal spout, filling the upper section of the pot with steaming hot coffee. The aroma of this coffee always takes me back through my life.
 
Okay, I think that's it for this post. The Tudor Black Bay 58 has gotten the lion's share of time on the wrist since my previous post. I managed to sell a couple of vintage watches that weren't getting any wear. Still a couple more to go. More about that in my next post, I suppose. 
I'm getting a clearer picture of the type of collections I'd like to have. Some items, be they watches, cameras or typewriters, are getting used more than others, so this helps me decide on what to keep. Typewriter-wise, I'm thinking of moving along the Olivetti Studio model. It looks sensational, but man, is it a loud typewriter!
Some more thinking to do on that one.
 
COVID restrictions have been greatly relaxed as of a couple of days ago, but I still take a mask with me when going into a crowded store. I hope you're all keeping safe. 

Continue doing so, and thanks for reading!


* My wife once told me that when the stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce told a joke on stage that didn't get a laugh, he'd remark; I wasn't born here, but I'm gonna die here, referring to the comedian lingo of 'dying on stage'.

So, whenever she or I make a crack that doesn't get a laugh (usually from our kids), we'll say; I wasn't born here...

Friday, 26 February 2021

Friday, February 26th, 2021- Wristwatch Honeymoons, Reading More, Medical Appointments, Another Lock-down & Recent Wristwatches

I've had to slightly rearrange my computer set-up at work, as I find my eyes getting tired throughout the day. My optometrist said I should blink more, but this appears to be easier said than done. The real trick was to find the correct distance from my eye level to the screen. Took me a few days to get into the habit. 

My wife gets a few people calling who are only interested in vouchers and monetary payments. Quite often, some of these people have already received their allocation for the week and they'll call up again asking for more money. My wife's job is to ascertain their requirements and then direct them to the appropriate department or social worker who will then continue dealing with them.























CURRENTLY READING

Published in 1977, this book concerns a guy named Al Rosen, who is currently living in Tel Aviv. He helps some elderly people escape a hotel fire and his picture winds up in the newspapers back in the States. 
There are some former associates of his back in Detroit who think that he has a tonne of money stashed away and they'd like to have it. So, they send some guys over to Tel Aviv to find Rosen, who is currently trying to locate a woman that he had a one-night stand with back in the hotel before the fire started. In the hurry to escape the burning building, he threw his jacket into her overnight bag. She has since traveled on to another part of Israel and his jacket is still in her luggage. 
With his passport in one of its pockets. 
The boys from Detroit have already made one attempt on his life. Rosen needs to find the lady who has his passport so that he can get the hell out of Dodge in one piece. 
Meanwhile, he's met a Marine who has a few weeks left in the Army before he gets out. The guy has no clear plans for his future and he decides to try helping Rosen out of his predicament.
It took me the first fifty or so pages to get into the rhythm of the book, but Elmore Leonard was such a master of dialogue that I soon started enjoying this read. I've read maybe four of his other books over the years. He wrote around fifty books, mainly crime and westerns and as you may know, quite a few of his books were filmed. I'm half-way through The Hunted and I'll be curious to see how it ends. 
 
I had just finished reading two John Le Carré books back to back. He was a very prolific writer, with his last book, Agent Running in The Field, having been published in late 2019. You would think that a writer of his generation would have used a typewriter or word processor, but no, he wrote his manuscripts by hand, with a fountain pen. Which is staggering in itself when you read any of his novels.
Le Carré's books are densely plotted, thoroughly researched and extend beyond the espionage genre to range from big pharma to third world exploitation to the industrial military complex. Many authors have stated that his work should be viewed as literature rather than just genre fiction. I agree. 
I tried reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy way back in 1981 and got as far as page 35 before giving up on it. I kept the book, as it was considered a big deal and, a year or so ago, I purchased a first edition hardcover version of it and took another crack at it. It is beautifully written. I'll have to re-read it at some point, as there's a lot in it that you can miss in the first reading.
 
Wristwatch-wise since my last post, I wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional;

Omega has just released a new version of this watch with the first major upgrades since 1996. The new one contains an in-house movement, and they have made some slight cosmetic changes to the dial to bring its overall look closer to that of the original models from the 1960s. 

The untrained observer may not see a difference between this new model and something like my one from 2007, but hardcore Omega and NASA fans rejoiced at some of the changes that were made to this watch. Naturally, it comes with a price tag to match. 

That's cool. I'm not in the market for a Speedmaster. 

I also wore the Omega Railmaster;

And the Oris 40mm Divers SixtyFive with blue and black dial;

Although, the watch that's been on my wrist since January 21st is the latest addition to the collection, the Tudor Black Bay 58;

As it's new, I'm currently still in the honeymoon phase of ownership. I'd originally purchased it on the leather strap (see previous post), but I placed an order for the metal bracelet. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I fitted it to the watch and then spent some time getting a fit that worked for my 6.5 inch wrist. 

Took a while and I finally got to around a 95% perfect fit. It's not the watch that's the issue, it's the curvature of my wrist. I don't have a perfectly circular wrist. It tends to be thinner on the inner edge than it is on the outer edge and, as such, the clasp doesn't sit as well or evenly as it could. Hard to explain, so if a picture tells a thousand words...
























The clasp bridge is long and is shaped in a way that doesn't fully follow the curve of my wrist. No huge drama. The watch sits well. I could do some wrist curls, but this most likely won't solve the issue because you just can't fatten up the wrist. Actually, you can. With fat, but not muscle, as the wrist area is all bones and tendons. 
Still, I think I'll do some wrist curls, because I do recall my wrists looking a little thicker back in my hospitality days. Of course, that was half a lifetime ago...
 
Friday, February 12th.
                                     The air-con broke down in the office on Monday. It's Summer here in Melbourne and, even though it's been a pretty crappy one so far (due to the La Niña weather pattern this year, which made for a humid and cloudy Summertime), we have had some hot and humid days this week and the air in the office is stifling. 
I've been getting home from work with a thin film of sweat on my face and my shirt stuck to my back.
It was announced earlier today that Victoria would go into lock-down again, as of midnight tonight, for the next five days. There were eight new cases of Covid-19 here last weekend. Then it jumped to eleven, and this morning it got to thirteen. There are major concerns that this new wave could be the UK variant of the virus, which is more contagious. 
Great. Twenty/twenty-one has gotten off to a fine start. I'm still looking on the bright side, but I'm also having a gripe about it all. 
 
Okay, to cheer myself up in a shallow manner, here's another pic of the Tudor Black Bay 58;
 
Anyway, I got a letter from the hospital a couple of days ago to inform me that I am now on the waiting list for the bunion operation. I'm classed as Level 3, which is considered non-urgent (that's cool), so that means that I could have the procedure done sometime over the next twelve months. 
It's a procedure with a non-threatening name. Scarf and Akin. The doctor that I had the meeting with two weeks ago explained the procedure with a sheet of paper and a ballpoint. I then got online a few days later and Googled it. Not that I'm squeamish, but since this operation is going to involve some surgical version of a reciprocating saw (yeah, you read it right!), I figured I would rather see animated video rather than an actual surgical procedure, complete with sound and blood. 
So, I'll be having the scarf and Akin procedure...on my right foot. My left foot will be getting the akin op as well as a Cheilectomy, whereby an arthritic spur of bone which has formed on top of the metatarsal (big toe joint) will be cut away. 
Just as well I'll be out cold during this. 
 
Here's a link to an animated video which explains it, minus my blood and screaming;
 
 
Yessiree, this will be an interesting year. 

Okay, because this post has taken me a couple of weeks to get this far;

CURRENTLY READING

I finished the Elmore Leonard book and quite liked it. It felt a little strange because there were a host of characters throughout the story and some played a bigger part than others. I'm not insinuating that this was a bad thing. Far from it. When I finished the book, I understood the arcs of these characters and felt that Leonard was a better writer than I first thought. He leads you one way and then takes you elsewhere, and you don't realise it until you near the end of the book. Very well done, and his characters and dialogue are first-rate.

Not certain of what to read next, I soon realised that I was still on an espionage novel kick, so I looked at my shelf and thought about starting the second book in le Carré's 'Karla Trilogy', The Honourable Schoolboy.
But something was holding me back. Not sure what, but I think I wanted to give that book the proper time and concentration required, maybe even re-read the first book of the trilogy, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy before starting this second book. In the end, I opted for one of his later books, A Delicate Truth, written in 2013.
It concerns a covert mission by British and American interests which takes place on the Rock of Gibraltar. The story then picks up three years later when a low-level assistant to a British minister uncovers some vague details about this mission and decides to dig deeper, despite the recommendations from his mentor to leave it all be. 
Le Carré is not an author that I read if I'm feeling a little tired or distracted. It took me a week to read the first fifty pages and when I stopped to think about it, I couldn't recall what had taken place. So, I sat down last Sunday afternoon with the book and a medium-strong latté and re-read those pages. Once I was up-to-speed, I continued on. I do love his dialogue and his characters. The plots are usually multi-layered, which is why I need to be reasonably alert when reading them. 
He wrote twenty-five novels over the course of his literary career. He worked briefly for both MI5 and MI6 in the late 1950s before publishing his first novel, Call for the Dead in 1961 while working for the British Embassy in Bonn. As Foreign Office personnel were not allowed to publish writings under their own names, David Cornwell chose the name John le Carré and it was his third book, The Spy Who Came In From the Cold which put him on the best-seller lists in 1963. He soon took up writing full-time, which was just as well, as his real name was passed along to the Soviets by a double-agent, effectively ending his career with British Intelligence. 
I'm now about seventy pages from the end of this book and I've no idea how it will end. Certainly getting my money's worth out of this one. 

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021
                                                We had an increase in Covid cases here last week, after a 28-day period of no new cases and our State Government has put this town into a five-day lock-down until midnight tomorrow. There's a slight chance that this lock-down may be extended, which throws a spanner into the workings of my office. 
I'm at home now, answering customer e-mails, hobbling along as best possible.  

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021
                                                    Looks like the lock-down will end tonight. Back to work tomorrow, which is just as well, as I have been dealing with a few very ticked-off customers via email this week. One customer's watch shows heavy impact damage to the case. There's a nice little dent in the steel, and this has had an effect on the movement of the watch, effectively shifting sections of it out of alignment. This is what is causing the erratic timekeeping of the watch. It will require a complete service, and the customer is not happy about it. 
However, there's nothing we can do about it. The watch has sustained accidental damage and this is just no covered under warranty. 

I wore the Omega Seamaster 300 recently;

I think I've said this before; for somebody who doesn't dive, I have quite a few dive watches. There's a lot about them that I find handy. Aside from the more-than-I'll-ever-need water resistance, the rotating bezels tend to come in useful for parking meters, lunch breaks, cooking times, etc. Just about everything except timing an actual dive.
 
The legibility is nice and clear, too. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can glance over at the watch on my bedside table and think to myself: Oh, man, it's friggin' four am!
And of course, there's something very Action Man! about their design, their heft, their size. 
 
Given the ongoing popularity of a dive watch, you can pretty much find them in sizes ranging from around 36mm, such as the Oris Divers SixtyFive and Rado Captain Cook, all the way up to 46mm for something like the Breitling SuperOcean Heritage 46. 
For me, the sweet spot tends to be 40mm, as this represents the classic dive watch case diameter. The Seamaster up above clocks in at 42mm, but I can forgive this because it's such a nice watch. 
As it's Summer here in Melbourne, I tend to wear my more water resistant watches on bracelets. This means less having to take the watch off when dealing with water. 

Feb 25th
               Okay, this post got long, so I'll stop it there. We're only two months into the year and I've been quite busy. 
Might have to start my next post sooner rather than later. 

I hope you're all coping with life the way it is right now. 

Stay safe, thanks for reading!

Monday, 11 January 2021

My Most-Worn Watches of 2020

It's been a busy couple of months since my last post, so I felt I'd better get back here and put something up. So, while I work on drafts of other posts, now's as good a time as any to tally up the watches that spent the most time on my wrist throughout the historic year that just ended.

The results surprised me. Watches that I thought I didn't wear very much were actually worn more often than I recalled. I had a few newcomers arrive in the collection, with one major arrival that was quite a surprise. I wasn't looking for it when it showed up, but it's such a rare piece that I thought I'd be a fool to knock it back. I'm also gearing up to get rid of a few that rarely get worn. The watch box is finally getting a bit of a shake-up.

Anyway, here are the ten most-worn pieces for 2020.

(1) Rolex Submariner 5513/0, 40mm (1982 model)

Spending 47 different days on my wrist throughout the year, the Sub 5513 is the winner by one. I was surprised to learn that this was my most-worn watch of 2020, considering that I do still tend to baby it a little. Whenever I was about to wash dishes, I'd take the watch off and put it on the window-sill. If I was about to do something requiring tools, the watch would come off, to be replaced by the Hamilton Khaki Automatic. 
Regardless of all that, it reached the top spot in this list. From memory, I think it got the most wear throughout the winter months, when it was covered by shirt and jacket sleeves. 
Then, at the end of October, we got the news of the death of Sean Connery and I removed the bracelet from the watch and fitted a brown leather strap to it.
 
This was done to mimic the strap worn by Connery in Dr No. Bond's Rolex in that film was a Submariner Reference No. 6538, on loan to the production by one of the crew, who was ex-Royal Navy. 
As part of my week of mourning the death of the first cinematic James Bond, I had this watch on the strap and it looked fantastic. Hard to tell from the movie if his strap was black or brown. No matter. I had a brown leather strap with a crocodile pattern embossed on it. The Rolex three-link Oyster bracelet is as classic as the watch itself. It's been much-copied over the last four or five decades. As such, it is as much a part of the Submariner's DNA as the dial and hands and, whenever I remove the bracelet and put the watch on a strap, it doesn't tend to last very long, as I find myself reverting the watch back to its bracelet. 
I've had this watch now for just about six years, after wanting one since around 1974. Its allure is strong, but I'm not entirely certain if I'll keep it forever. 
I'll explain my reasons for this way of thinking later.  

(2) Oris Divers SixtyFive- 40mm, Blue & Black dial (2017 model)  

Another surprise. I hadn't noticed that this watch got so much wear throughout the year. It was worn one day less than the Submariner. I'm currently wearing it as I write this (Jan 3rd, 2021) and it's a watch that I never get sick of. Oris released the black-dialed version of this watch in 2015 at the annual BaselWorld Watch and Jewellery Fair in Switzerland and it was a hit. It was a bold move on their part. The return to a 40mm diameter was not yet widespread among watch brands (who were still producing dive watches in 42mm to 44mm sizing) and the 1960s-styled numeral font was a make-or-break choice, despite the fact that it was used on Oris' original model from the mid-Sixties. 
This was the kind of watch that I could just put on the wrist without worrying about bumps and knocks, water, legibility, or anything else. 
 
The majority of dive watches in my collection have black dials. When I first saw this watch in 2016, I was immediately drawn to the mixture of blue and black used on the dial. The numerals didn't thrill me, but once I remembered that they were part of the 1960s original design, I warmed to them pretty quickly. This watch looked like nothing else I had. The more I wore it, the more I liked it. Similar to the Submariner, I remove the bracelet from time to time, but it always finds its way back to the bracelet, even though it does look good on a NATO strap. 
Oh, I re-read Casino Royale, for the first time since the early 1980s. Have to say that it still holds up.

(3) Oris Divers SixtyFive- 40mm, Movember 2018 Special Edition)  


Worn throughout 40 days of 2020 was the Oris Movember Edition Divers SixtyFive. Exact same dimensions as the above-listed D-65, this one got a lot of wear during the year. A no-nonsense, easy-to-read dial made this a grab-and-go watch. Alas, I'll have to see how much wear it gets over the coming year, as I've very recently snagged a watch that is very similar in look to this one, and I feel that I'd like to avoid any doubling-up if at all possible. I already have two Omega dive watches that look similar to each other and I don't want to fill the collection with look-alikes if I can help it.

(4) Hamilton Khaki Officers Automatic, 40mm (2018 model) 

Thirty days of last year saw me wearing this watch. Whenever I had some tasks to do where there was risk of damaging my watch, this is the one I would wear.Needless to say, though, this watch is still in excellent condition. I must have been more careful with it than I thought. There's barely a mark on it. If you ever want to get yourself one automatic watch, you could do far, far worse than a Hamilton such as this. Legible dial, 100 metres of water resistance, and an 80-hour power reserve, which means you can take it off your wrist on Friday night and it'll still be running Monday morning.
 
(5) Omega Railmaster Co-Axial, 36mm (2009 model) 
 
There were days where all I wanted to know was the time. That's where this watch would fit the bill. There's a perfect simplicity and symmetry to the dial of any watch that just has four numerals at the cardinal points of the dial and no date window to break up the overall aesthetic. The hands and markers are luminous, offering clear readability at four am or in a darkened theatre (not that anybody got to the movies much in 2020, dammit!) and the 150 metre water-resistance means that you need not have to take the watch off for days at the beach or fifteen minutes at the kitchen sink. 
 

This type of watch design is still popular. At the pricier end of the spectrum, Rolex still makes the Explorer model, and Omega have an updated Railmaster in their current range which doesn't really thrill me, as I don't see any resemblance between the new model and my watch.  If I were going for something like my watch, micro-brand Nodus has just released their Sector Sport models which seem to represent a good value at just over $400 USD. 
I can't fault this watch at all, although I wish the clasp on the bracelet were a different design. I've always felt that this older clasp, a throwback to Omega models of the mid-Nineties, was just a tad flimsy in its construction. Easy to bend out of shape if one's not careful with it, as I saw with one or two customers who brought there Omega watches in for repair, back when I used to sell watches. However, there are sites that sell bracelets that just might fit this watch. I'll have to conduct a little more research before I make a move. 
 
(6) Seiko SARB033, 37mm (2019 model)

This Seiko got its fair share of time on the wrist. Recently discontinued, this is a well-made daily wearer with some design cues that can be found in the higher-priced Grand Seiko range. It's a beautifully executed watch which doesn't reveal much at first glance, but the more you look at it, the more you begin to see. The lugs have an extra step to them, the hour markers show a little more intricacy to their design, and the raised 'SEIKO' logo on the dial is the kind of thing that you find on more expensive Swiss watches.

This watch was worn over 26 days of the year and I can distinctly recall wearing it during those interminable daily Zoom meetings during our recent state-wide lock-down, of which some were an absolute waste of time. I found myself glancing at this watch frequently, and getting distracted by it. It's a slightly deceptive watch, in that it has a deep charcoal-coloured dial which can look black in low lighting, but takes on a metallic dark grey hue in bright sunlight. 
Well, looks like I've just chosen tomorrow's watch!

(7a) Sinn 103 St Sa Chronograph, 41mm (2009 model)

Twenty-twenty being the year that it was, there were countless occasions where I just didn't know what day it was. During the first lock-down of the pandemic, my work week was busted down to three days. The second lock-down had me working from home four days a week, but I still checked my e-mails on the days when I wasn't meant to. As such, there were times when a Monday would feel like a Wednesday or a Friday would feel like a Sunday, and on and on. 

To the rescue came the Sinn 103 St Sa, clocking in at 25 days throughout the year. The day/date function was a Godsend, even though the days were printed in German on the day wheel. That's how I ordered it back in 2009. 
Monday - Montag
Tuesday - Dienstag
Wednesday - Mittwoch
Thursday -  Donnerstag
Friday - Freitag
Saturday - Samstag 
Sunday - Sonntag

I figured why not get a daily language lesson whenever I glance at my wristwatch? In truth, I wanted the watch to have a 1970s/'80s GSG-9 anti-terrorist vibe. Real or imagined.
Either way, it came in very handy on those days when I didn't know what day it was. As this watch is now over ten years old, I think I should get 'round to having it serviced sometime this year. 

(7b) Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, 42mm (2008 model)

In equal place with the Sinn 103, the Omega Planet Ocean was worn on 25 days of 2020. 

Like the Sinn, this watch has a reassuring heft to it when it's on the wrist. Like the Seiko SARB033, this is a set-and-forget watch where I don't have to worry about babying it. And, it was worn by Daniel Craig in his second Bond outing, Quantum of Solace (Dir: Marc Forster, 2008).
Not only that, but the serial numbers difference between Craig's watch and mine is just over 24,240. That may sound like a lot, but it could be that our watches were built in the same year. Maybe. Maybe not. 

This watch now jostles for position with a few others that I wear regularly. It's one downside is the 42mm diameter of the case. If it were forty mil, it would be a near-perfect watch. It could end up being sold one day, but for now and the foreseeable future, it's staying right here. 
It is a Bond watch, after all.

 
(8) Omega Speedmaster Professional, 42mm (2007 model)

Not really much else to say about this one. Its reputation is assured, though many argue that it's an outdated watch in so many ways; 
- Hesalite crystal which can scratch fairly easily and wouldn't take much to break. 
- Fifty-metre water-resistance, which makes it just a little beyond splash-proof, although a lot of folks do wear this watch in water without fear. 
- Hand-wound movement, which many modern watch collectors consider a little too old-fashioned these days. 
I don't consider these as flaws by any means. Hesalite can be polished with a ten-dollar tube of PolyWatch, and replacing a cracked Hesalite crystal is a damn sight cheaper than replacing a cracked sapphire crystal. 
Fifty metres of water resistance is sufficient for day-to-day activities where the watch may get splashed with water. If I wanna swim with my watch on, I'll wear something with 100 metres water-resistance. 
Hand-wound movement suits me just fine. A little bit of interaction with the watch and, more importantly, a pause in the day where you can tell everybody to back off for 20 or 30 seconds while you wind your watch. 
The beauty of this watch - for me, anyway - is that it's virtually unchanged since its design from the mid 1960s. The old advertisement in the photo is from 1969 and you can see the similarities.  
A classic chronograph design. This watch is going nowhere. 

(9) Omega Seamaster 300, 42mm (Movement dates to circa 1967, 2009 purchase) 
 
Twenty-three times on my wrist in 2020, this one shows the original DNA that went towards the Planet Ocean model released in 2005. 

This one was being serviced for most of 2019. It required a click-spring for the seconds hand and it took me some time to find one on eBay. Originally serviced in 2018 by a watchmaker who did good work, but couldn't access parts for the movement, this watch lay dormant for quite some time, so when I finally got it back, it got some TLC and time on the wrist. 
To give it a point of difference from my other dive watches, I put it back onto the mesh bracelet, to Burt Reynolds it up a little. Granted, he never wore this watch, but it looks like the kind of watch he should have worn in Deliverance (Dir: John Boorman, 1972).  
 
 (10) Citizen Eco-Drive Nighthawk, 42mm (circa 2012, 2020 purchase) 

A surprise purchase, I saw this at a local pawnbrokers and the price was right - just under $200, but I bargained them down a little. A few scuffs and scratches here and there, but that's okay. This would make a good watch for travel. Despite how busy the dial looks, it's a supremely legible watch, given that the hour markers are quite prominent and the sword-shaped hands stand out boldly against the slate grey dial. There's a scale along the left side of the dial that can be set for a second time-zone. The red airplane-shaped pointer reads off the red numerals for daytime and the white pointer opposite rolls around in due course to show the time for evening. Once you use it a few times, it gets easy. 
The inner rotating bezel is a slide rule, used by pilots to calculate fuel over distance, etc. Basically, I'll never use it. Two hundred metre water-resistance means it'll handle a dip in a hotel pool in some far away exotic land, whenever that day comes around again. The dial of the watch is a solar panel, which stores energy in the watch's battery. This thing will run non-stop for six months if left in a drawer. If it stops, you just leave it under light for a few hours and it powers up again. Battery changes are done every ten years or so, and some sources state that after 20 years, the battery retains 80% of its original power. Now that's pretty cool. I got quite some wear out of this watch. It totaled up thirteen days, which isn't bad considering that I tend to steer clear of quartz watches. Even though I think every collection should have one, since they can come in handy.
 
And that sums up the ten watches that I wore most throughout this dog's breakfast of a year. I had a few incomings too. One was a complete and utter surprise, but when it was offered to me, I knew I'd be a fool to say no. It was one of those watches that I've read about over the years. It has the dubious reputation of being one of the most-faked watches on the market. 
 
Tudor Ranger 9050/0, circa 1970 
 
If somebody ever offers you a watch like this one, run like hell. 
The Ranger was Tudor's version of the classic Rolex Explorer 1016 model. Tudor used almost all parts manufactured by Rolex- their parent company - and the brand was marketed as the less expensive alternative for the working man. Dials, hands, cases and crowns were all made by Rolex. The main difference was the movement inside the watch. Whereas Rolex used in-house calibres, Tudor movements were outsourced from ETA, one of the largest watch movement manufacturers in Switzerland. Very similar to the 1016, with the exception of the hands, these Ranger models don't come up very often, and when they do, they ain't exactly cheap.
Now, this one here may well be a genuine Tudor wristwatch of some kind, but it's not a Ranger or, if it is, it's been poorly refinished. 
There has never been a Ranger made with the name "RANGER" in red. Also, the minute hand flares out from the middle towards the outer length. This is another giveaway that there's something fishy going on.
 
For the sake of comparison, here's the Rolex Explorer 1016. Picture courtesy of HQ Milton;
 
Any Bond fan worth his salt will know that Ian Fleming wore an Explorer, or a model very much like it, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the watch that he put onto Bond's wrist in his second book, Live And Let Die (Jonathan Cape, 1954). 
Fleming wrote of OO7's Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch having "large phosphorous numerals and an expanding bracelet". Back then, this was the only Rolex model with large numbers on the dial. 
I've gotten into heated discussions from time to time with other collectors on wristwatch forums who claim that Bond wore a Submariner dive watch in the books, but my argument has always been that, Fleming being such a stickler for detail, he would have mentioned a Submariner's rotating bezel for diving purposes, etc. So, as far as I'm concerned, literary Bond wore an Explorer or a precursor of that model.

Anyway, I met an older gent who was looking to get his watch fixed. He said he had an old Tudor watch that he didn't wear anymore. I asked him what model it was. He said it was a Ranger that he bought in 1980, when his mother-in-law worked at a jewellery store that stocked the brand. 
He went on to tell me that the dial had gone yellow and that the watch had gotten caught in the door of his Land Rover a couple of decades ago when he had the watch in the pocket of a jacket draped across the passenger seat and his friend kept trying to close the passenger door with no success. Reason being that the jacket had somehow gotten caught between the car seat and the passenger side's door frame. His friend couldn't get the door closed because the jacket was half hanging out of the car. With the watch in its pocket. Getting repeatedly slammed by the car door!
The gent had worked as a paramedic, crane driver and radio operator during the time that he had this watch. He told me it had been serviced once since he bought it. 
 
A week or so later, I called him and asked if he could send me a few photos of the watch. He and I had both done our homework and he knew what these were selling for. However, we were getting along nicely, so I offered him a price based on sight-unseen, on the proviso that if the watch was in okay condition, I would pay the price I'd offered. Since he said that the dial had gone yellow, I had to assume that it had sustained water-damage at some point. If the condition of the dial and hands were bad, this would be a deal-breaker for me. 
I asked him if he still had the original bracelet, but he said it fell apart years ago, most likely from being caught in the door of a Land Rover, no doubt. 
He sent a few photos via SMS. Yes, the numerals and hands had suffered water-entry damage. The dial was still black, but the luminous Tritium compound on the dial and hands had turned a dirty cream colour. Okay, not as bad as I thought, and at least it shows that the dial has not been tampered with. The case had a few scratches on it and the case-back showed two small light dents. This watch had been worn as it should and showed all the signs of an honest life. 
The dial itself showed a tool-mark at certain angles. Barely visible, but it was a sign of a clumsy watchmaker. My only real concern was the hour hand. It is shaped like an arrow head and there's a lot of lume in it. On this watch, the lume showed a crack through the middle of it. Not a major disaster if my watchmaker can stabilise the lume on this hand the way he did with my Submariner a few years ago. 
Basically, you apply some varnish on the underside of the hand. This acts as an adhesive and holds the lume in place, reducing the risk of it breaking off. 
Here's the watch. He put a cheap, no-name bracelet on it. 

 
Okay, time to get down to brass tacks. I factored in what it would cost me to service this watch sometime down the track. I called him a day after he sent the photos and offered him fifty bucks less than my original offer. I didn't want to insult him by going too low, but I didn't want to be stuck with a watch that would become a major headache for me either. 
He was happy with my price. As I mentioned, he didn't wear this watch anymore ever since he bought himself a new watch twelve years ago. This Tudor has been in a drawer since then. Definitely will require a service. 
Worst-case scenario; the lume breaks off the hands at some point in future. I can either A) search, and search, and search for a set of replacement hands - which won't match the colour of the dial numerals and markers, or B) consider having the dial and hands re-lumed by an outfit in Singapore that does stellar work. This second option will probably shave something off the value of the watch. 
However, the eternal question - do you buy a watch for any potential investment/increased value purposes, or do you buy a watch to wear, enjoy, take through your life's adventures, etc?
Back in my watch selling days, I'd get customers coming in looking for a watch or brand that was 'a good investment'. 
My answer was always the same; buy it for investment and you'll constantly fret about it getting scuffed, let alone scratched. You won't enjoy the watch because you'll be too worried about it all the time. 
Anyway, if the lume falls off, I would more than likely have it re-lumed. Why would you do that, teeritz, when you know it'll damage any potential re-sale value? 
Why? Because I'm sure that in a world with 7 billion people in it, there has to be at least ONE other person out there who doesn't care about re-sale because they're gonna buy a watch to wear it, and they may also like the watch to look as perfect as possible.  If I get rid of it, I'll be transparent about it and list all defects and work that was carried out on it. 
Either way, I wired him the money, while he sent me the watch. It all operated on trust. Soon as I got it, I removed the no-name bracelet and put a leather strap on it. I may get a bracelet for it, but I don't plan on going for genuine Tudor. I'm aiming for a different look. More about that when I get around to snagging a bracelet.
The case measures 34mm in diameter which, even for my 6.5 inch wrist, is about as small as I'd go. The various scuffs and scratches on the case can easily be buffed out if I choose. The crown feels a little tough to wind, but I'd say the oils in the movement are near dried out. The watch keeps pretty good time regardless, but I'll look at having it serviced in a few months. 
I currently have a couple of watches being serviced. Once they're done, off they go to eBay. Wherever possible, I'm trying to stick to a one-in, one-out game plan.  Better still would be a one-in, two or three out. 
We'll see. 
 
 Tudor Black Bay 58
 
As you may know, I've had my name on a waiting list at a store for a Black Bay 58 since August 2019. That store has yet to call me to say that one has arrived. So, About six months ago, I thought I'd cast my net out wider and go see some other Tudor stockists to see if I could get on their waiting lists. 
Yes, I would be the first to say that it's a little ridiculous to put your name down for a wristwatch, but some watches are in such high demand that there's no other way to have a chance at securing one. 
The main culprit is Rolex. Stockists have display stands in their windows with one or two dress models on show. The sought-after sports models, such as the Submariner, GMT Master, or Daytona Chronograph are nowhere to be seen. In steel, that is. If you want one in white gold, you could probably get one pretty easily...if you have the tens of thousands of dollars for it, that is. Apparently, the wait-list for a stainless-steel Daytona is around five years. And there are plenty of people out there who are happy to wait. 
No store could tell me how long it would take to get a Black Bay 58. Some stores received one or two models every month or so, and these were reserved for customers who were ahead of me. No matter. I was in no real hurry. I just wanted to make sure that I could get one at some point. In the meantime, I kept slowly saving my bickies (Australian slang for 'biscuits' = bucks). 
 
Anyway, the sales rep that I work with has a brother who is the Area Manager for a jewellery chain that stocks Tudor watches, among other brands. This brother knew that I was in the market for a BB58 and I was happy to have my interest in the watch registered at one of his stores. I'd rather give my business to somebody I know, if at all possible. 
 
Two days before Christmas, the rep shows me a photo on his iPhone;
 
REP
Just arrived yesterday. Yours if you 
want it, but he can only hold it for 
a day. Only thing is that it's on a 
leather strap and you want it on a 
bracelet.
 
ME
Shut up and take my money!
 
 
I called his brother and placed a deposit for the watch later that day. The day after Boxing Day, I went in and picked it up.  
Yes, it was on a brown suede leather strap with a folding steel clasp. Looked great, but I wanted a steel bracelet. No matter. It was as good as sold. I'd order the steel bracelet for it in a month or two. Meantime, I'd see about selling the strap and clasp, to help fund the cost of the bracelet. 
 
I got the watch home and spent a slow ten minutes removing the strap and fitting a black NATO strap to the watch;
 
The suede strap does look nice, but suede, as you may know, looks good when it's new, but is tricky to keep clean and free from scratches and scuffs. I put this strap back in its box. It has a slight curve to it, mainly from the watch being clamped to the pillow inside the box. 
The NATO strap didn't last very long. I wore the watch around the house for a couple of hours before removing this strap and fitting the watch to a plain black leather one.
I don't plan on wearing it much until I get the bracelet. Experience has taught me that no matter how careful you are, a watch will still scuff up without you even noticing. I'd like the wear and tear on the case and bracelet to match and the only way to do that it to have the watch on bracelet. 
When my wife saw photos of the watch online, she thought it looked 'underwhelming'. When she saw the watch in person, she liked the overall 'warm' look of the dial and hands. It's a black and gilt dial, with cream-coloured lume on the hour markers and hand-set. The markers and hands are rose gold-plated. It's a rich and classic combination. 
This watch harks back to a mix of the original Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner models of the 1950s and '60s. These watches were based on their Big Brother Rolex Submariner and used almost all parts made by Rolex, with the exception of the movements under the bonnet. As such, they were lower-priced. 
The BB58 is 39mm in diameter, again this is a nod to older models of the past, and this size sits nicely on my 6.5 inch school-girly wrist. 
 
It will be an interesting year ahead. I will keep note of how often this watch gets worn, because I'm curious to see if it will knock some favourites off the top spot or punch a hole in the rotation of my other pieces. 
Some watches I have are sentimental favourites. My Father's Wyler Incaflex measures 33mm in diameter and I find it too small for my wrist.  I used to wonder how my Dad managed to put up with it for all those years - since his wrists were larger than mine - but then I figured that he was of a generation where a wristwatch was considered a tool for telling the time, not a fashion statement or an item to be collected. 
Despite the fact that I never wear this watch, it isn't going anywhere. 
I have the Omega Seamaster 300M,  the watch that I wore when my children were born. I do still wear it from time to time, even though it's worn a lot less than when I first got it in November 1999. 
However, I have been down that road where I've gotten rid of watches that weren't worn much once my collection began to grow and I have regretted those decisions in later years. I no longer have the quartz-powered TAG Heuer 1000 Series dive watch that I had on my wrist on my wedding day. Purchased on lay-by (lay-away) in 1987 for around $750.oo, I sold it to a watch dealer in 1999 for $180.oo. Should have kept that one. 
My first boss gave me an early 1970s Seiko Automatic, sometime in the early 1980s. This watch never worked properly. I gave it to a watchmaker free, when really what I should have done was had it serviced. 
I had a couple of Tudor Prince models that I should have kept. The list goes on and on. The perils of collecting, I suppose.  
These days, I spend quite a bit of time deciding on what comes in and what goes out. As such, I have two watches on the chopping block, with two more soon to join them, once they come back from being serviced. Also, there are two more watches that will go at some point, either in 2021 or 2022.
I figure it's time to whittle the collection down to a stable of watches that see more time on the wrist. Otherwise, if they're not being enjoyed, they're just taking up space. 

Anyway, that's the rundown of the watches that saw the most action this year. Five out of the ten were dive pieces. I have a soft-spot for dive watches. Their legibility, water-resistance, and robustness tend to cover much of what I like in a wristwatch. And a rotating bezel comes in mighty handy at times.

I hope you've all been well, and that your end-of-year celebrations (if you celebrate) were a happy and relaxed affair. 
Here's hoping for a better year ahead, for all of us. 
Stay safe in the meantime. 
 
Thanks for reading!