Saturday 3 June 2023

June 2023 - Post-Op Recovery: Short Dispatch No. 7 - Taking a Little Longer Than I Thought (+ the Watches I Wore & the Books I Read)

Saturday June 3rd, 2023

                                       I actually started this post back in April, and then things got busy.

When last we spoke of this foot mishap, I was strapped into a moon-boot, which I would have to wear for approximately four to six weeks. 

See my post before-last...or if you're too lazy to scroll down, here's the link;

Feb 2023 | Post- Op Recovery: Short Despatch No. 6 - A Slight Hiccup. (And a Tetanus Shot!*)

Anyway, I wore the moon-boot for just on six weeks and then I had another round of x-rays and an Ultrasound. A couple of days after that, my podiatrist sent me a text message to say that the x-rays 'looked good' and I could take off the boot and get back into my normal shoes, but I was instructed to take it a little easy for a few weeks. 
The moon-boot came off on March 22nd and I went along my merry way, but my left foot was still hurting a little. To be expected, I thought, as I figured that it might still be a few weeks before it was fully recovered. 
Problem was, it was now a month later and I was still limping along. My foot was swollen on top near the toes and it still hurt throughout the day as I walked.

Book and Watch

I decided at the beginning of the year that I was going to make an effort to read more. And I also decided that the bulk of what I read should be espionage fiction, since A) I have quite a bit of it on my bookshelves, and B) it's a genre that I like to read.
So, I started off with Charles Cumming's The Trinity Six. It concerns an English Professor of Russian Politics, Sam Gaddis, whose latest book hasn't exactly set the best-seller list on fire. His ex-wife is pressing him for more financial support and his editor is asking about his next book, suggesting that he perhaps try his hand at less academic (and more sellable) literature. 
Meanwhile, a writer friend of his tells him about an elderly gentleman who claims to know the identity of the sixth member of the Cambridge spies who caused so much damage to British security during the war and in the Cold War years which followed. 
The Cambridge Five consisted of Harold 'Kim' Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Anthony Blunt, and John Cairncross. 
Run a Wikipedia search for 'Cambridge Five' to get a good synopsis of this famous episode in espionage history. Kim Philby is perhaps the one who has been written about the most, and a recent book by Ben Macintyre, entitled A Spy Among Friends, offers further insight into Philby's duplicity during his years in British Intelligence. 
The Trinity Six follows our hero, Sam Gaddis, as he conducts a series of clandestine interviews with this elderly gentleman in order to uncover the truth of his claims while the KGB road-blocks all avenues open to Gaddis because they don't want this sixth member of this group of double-agents uncovered. The characters are well-drawn and the book is nicely written. Author Charles Cumming takes a deserved place at the table occupied in the past by the likes of John le Carré. 
The watch in the photo is the early '90s Tudor Prince Oyster Date. It needs a service, and a new crystal (glass) because the existing one is a cheap after-market one and the date magnifier offers a distorted view of the date numeral. This is something that would not occur with a genuine Tudor crystal. 
The watch measures a wonderful 34mm in diameter, which is considered small by today's standards, but was a standard men's wristwatch size for over 40 years, and it suits my small wrists just fine. 
Tudor was created by Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of Rolex, as a less expensive alternative to Rolex, and aimed at the working man who wanted a dependable and well-made watch. 
All parts, except for the movement, were made by Rolex. 

Your wristwatch snobs will say that Tudor was invented for people who can't afford a Rolex. 
And your point is?
May 29th - OFF-TOPIC: Since there's some empty space here, I figured it's a good spot to apologise to my regular readers for the long gaps between posts. Life is a little hectic, work is hella busy and consists mainly of staring at a computer screen for most of the day. 
kiojuh - okay, my cat just walked across the keyboard and typed that word. Ha! These letters are all close to each other on your standard qwerty layout. I think I might as well leave it in.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, my workday consisting of  staring at a computer screen all day long. 
As such, by the time I find myself in the quieter moments of the evenings or weekends, getting back in front of a computer screen has less allure than it used to have. 
Still, I'll see if I can post a little more often. More importantly, I'll see if I can keep it interesting. 
Since I've started reading a little more this year, maybe I'll write  about the books I've gotten through. I'm no book critic, mind you.  I have some classic spy authors still to read and there are also some modern authors whom I've never read, but ought to. 
Oh, and on the wristwatch front, two watches have gone and two watches have come in, at the time of writing, but more about these in due course. 

Okay, so following on from the typecast above, I was about to make an appointment through Priority Care...

Okay, that typecast was a month ago. So, I had the x-rays taken, and went and saw my surgeon in the first week of May. I gave him the rundown on what had happened with my feet since I last spoke to him back in December last year.
He checked my feet and was happy with the range of motion in my big toes, although he did say that the operation will have staved off any joint fusion surgery for about five years. I do have osteoarthritis in my toe joints, after all. Hell, I was hoping to avoid that type of operation. 
Still, I felt much relieved to be speaking to him about all of this rather than having to go through it all again with some other surgeon. 
Anyway, he told me running is a no-no for the time being. That's okay. I don't run. And he said no push-ups, either. Now that's a shame, but I think I can work around it by resting the in-steps of my feet on a foam roller '. I tried it one day and felt my stomach muscles ache after a minute or so. Good. Might get a stronger core. 
And it looks like I'll begin leaning a little more heavily towards a Mediterranean diet, which relies more on white meats (especially fish which contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids) and legumes which have anti-inflammatory benefits.  

Okay, enough of the serious stuff. It gets dealt with on a daily basis already. It's called 'life'. 
This post has run out of puff, as far as I'm concerned, so I might just wrap it up and start on the next one. 
Although, I'll add a little here about a watch that I picked up back in early January. 
A little backstory first -  Back in early February last year, I worked briefly for Longines, as a Customer Service Officer, dealing with repair enquiries on a daily basis. Prior to starting in this role, I did a couple of weeks training at one of their boutiques. I already knew enough about the brand, having sold them for over ten years at a watch boutique back in the Noughties, but it was interesting to see what the current Longines watch line-up consisted of. 
The brand had released the Spirit range of Pilot's watches back in 2020 and it had done very nicely for them. As a refresher, a Pilot's watch tends to feature a dark dial with luminous numerals all the way around. Often, they will have a slightly larger or oversized crown, to make it easier to set and wind the watch while wearing flight gloves. 
This was, obviously, aimed more at the pilots of yesteryear, but this style of wristwatch has remained popular over the decades since they first gained prominence in the cockpit. 
Anyway, Longines released this new Spirit model in 2020;
picture courtesy of, from this write-up;
It was a great watch, but it didn't really grab me because I felt it might be a little too similar to my Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, seen below.
Both watches have numbers 1 to 12 on the dial, both have date windows, and both are 40mm in diameter. 

So, I didn't really give the Longines Spirit another thought. I thought it was a beautifully realised watch, but I didn't want a 40mm Pilot's watch. They had also released a 42mm version, and I was gonna well and truly stay away from that one.
And then, Longines released a 37mm version sometime in early/mid 2022, and I began to take notice, despite the fact that all of the marketing around this new smaller version was aimed at the ladies. 
Having been into watches for much of my life, and having worked in the watch industry for over 20 years, I have seen fads, designs and tastes come and go. Watches started getting larger 20 years ago, circa 2003, with the first two culprits being the 46mm IWC Big Pilot, and the 43mm Breitling Crosswind models. These two brands ushered in a mad wave of BIG watches across most of the major brands. 
Thankfully, I have seen a shift back towards more sedate sizing, albeit a slow shift back, but a shift nonetheless. I'm all for there being some choices when it comes to watch sizes, but personally, once you go beyond a certain diameter, it's no longer about watches. It's about flexing, showing off, a pissing contest. 
I too fell into the big watch craze about ten years ago when I bought a 44mm Hamilton Khaki Officers Mechanical. It was comically large for my wrist, but I was aiming for a watch that looked like a wartime spy's piece of kit. I reviewed that watch and had some fun doing so. The review is here on this blog for those of you who want to read it. I've been tempted to 'remake' that review with the newer Hamilton Khaki, but...
Anyway, Longines released the Spirit model in 37mm and I knew I was in trouble. 
The new models were available in black, champagne-silver or sunray blue dial. I opted for blue, in an effort to break up the 'black dial heavy' collection a little. 
This watch punches well above its weight. Here's a dial close-up;

The numerals are applied, which means they are attached to the dial with prongs that slot into holes drilled into the dial. Very nicely done, and they appear to 'float' on the surface of the dial.  The numerals are hollow and filled with Superluminova, the luminous compound that allows the numbers to glow in the dark.
The chapter ring, that outer edge of the dial with 5,10,15,20, etc, and the minute markers on it, has a little diamond-shaped cut-out at every hour marker. 
The red-painted seconds hand has a diamond-shaped tip which passes directly over these diamond cut-outs, obscuring them for a brief moment. 
The blue sunray/sunburst pattern on the dial reflects light at certain angles, and can look black in low light to a vibrant cobalt blue in bright sunshine.
The date window is down at six o'clock, making for better symmetry to the dial.

And that's just on the outside. Under the bonnet, this thing houses the Longines  proprietary Calibre L.888.4 movement, which offers a wonderful 72 hour power reserve AND is Chronometer Certified. The balance spring, which is most susceptible to magnetic interference in any watch and can cause excessive gains in timekeeping, is made of silicon, so that takes care of that possibility. 

There's a lot to like about this watch. The 37mm diameter sits nicely on my slender, school-girly wrist and the end-link on the bracelet has a small button on its underside which allows you to remove the bracelet from the watch without any tools. One added touch that I find cool is the LONGINES name engraved horizontally along the length of the clasp.

Man, did I say I was wrapping this post up? Sorry.

All in all, a very well-made and nicely understated watch, and  one that fills the Pilot's watch category very handsomely. This 37mm size gives off a wonderfully old-school vibe. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog would know that this is the kind of feel that I generally aim for when it comes to wristwatches. 


Okay, all for now. I'll get started on my next post soon. 

Thanks for reading!


  1. Sorry to hear your recovery has been slow - still, it's good to see you're getting the care you need. (:

  2. I always enjoy your posts! Wishing you a speedy recovery from surgery. Thank you for the tip on the Trinity Six book, looks intriguing.

  3. Thank-you both!
    @ Anon, yes the fractured metatarsal was a hiccup I didn't need, but it appears to be 90% under control.

    @ Joe V, I plan on writing up some more about the books I'm reading this year. So far, most of them have been novellas, but I'll try ramping things up as this year rolls on.