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About Always"watching"

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  • Birthday 01/01/1955

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  • Location
    Newhaven in Sussex
  • Interests
    I have many interests, but being disabled, I follow them from home or from not more than three or four miles away. I have many interests ranging from watches (of course) to many other forms of antique and art.

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  1. Always"watching"


    Language, Mach, language! Sometimes, one starts a job knowing it is risky, then wishes one had never taken the risk in the first place. I began to attempt a battery replacement in my beautiful Accurist Greenwich Complication watch but luckily stopped in time to draw breath and realise that a clumsy idiot like myself should not remove the back of such a watch. It is now in the hands of my trusty jeweller who knows what he is doing. And yes, dear Scott, you are so right about flooring in areas where tinkering takes place...
  2. Always"watching"

    New Arrival - Speedmaster Date - Minty

    With some watches, there is nothing to be said but to sigh in admiration of such a thing. Lovely!
  3. Always"watching"

    Which watch!

    I agree very much with dear Chromejob about this question. I sort of agree with Scott as well, and you are certainly on the right track with Rolex and Cartier. However, I wouldn't rule out other quality watch brands whose good name has been upheld, especially as you may be buying a gents watch due to the size/legibility question. I met a lady yesterday who loves Rado watches, and the example she was wearing was truly beautiful and clearly a gents model. I have to say that, in general, pre-owned gents' watches hold their value better than ladies'. I wish you good fortune in your search, and surely the key is to enjoy both the process of purchasing something you really like, and the wearing of it in the years to come.
  4. Always"watching"

    New arrival sneaking in.

    I like that watch too. A bold aesthetic but it works, especially in combination with that bracelet design.
  5. Always"watching"

    Ultimate Chrono: An Unknown Brand

    Yup, I tend to agree with you Seikotherapy. I certainly had no intention of purchasing the watch, just wondered if the brand was a genuine brand or something more generic and humdrum.
  6. Always"watching"

    Ultimate Chrono: An Unknown Brand

    I have now edited my thread-head to say that the bezel is a unidirectional rotating one, so I presume that is why the tachometer is upside down in the pics. And thanks Roger for that "like" on this post. It's so annoying when one doesn't quite get something right in a thread-head or post because there is always a member out there who has an eagle-eye - note that, Davey P.
  7. I had a look at a pre-owned quartz chronograph today, and it seemed to be a decent bit of kit in all stainless steel with a bespoke steel bracelet screwed in both sides to the central watch lug. The watch has a screw-down crown and caseback, unidirectional bezel, 40mm case, mineral glass crystal, Japanese movement and a stated WR of 200 metres. The brand, "Ultimate Chrono" is one I have not come across before, and I wondered if anyone on the Forum had any knowledge of it. I have found two models from this company online, one being the watch I saw today and the other a bigger chronograph aesthetically less pleasing than the watch I had a look at. This is the two-register (chrono seconds and minutes) "Ultimate Chrono" model I saw today (pics from assets.catawiki.nl):
  8. Not long ago, I mentioned on the Forum that my Grandfather, Thomas Huntleywood Burleigh, had been an ambulance man or stretcher bearer during World War One, and I was gratified and quite moved at the positive remarks from Forum members as to the courage of medical personnel during the Great War, even though they did not take up arms themselves. My granfather started and ended the War as a “Private,” being listed in May 1919 as, "458289 Pte. Burleigh, T. H. W., 44th Fd. Amb. (Kelso)" in the London Gazette. I have since discussed my grandfather with his younger daughter, my maternal aunt, and I have also re-read a manuscript he wrote many years ago giving a flavour of his experiences in that conflict. Indeed, when I Googled him, I discovered that his personal papers and memoirs are in the collections of the Imperial War Museum, and he was on active service not only at Gallipoli but also at the Battle of the Somme, and subsequently, on the Western front in France near St Quentin when the Germans broke through in March 1917. During his active service, my grandfather was either “working the line” or enduring long marches to the various battlefields in France. I wish I had been old enough to discuss the Great War with my grandfather before he died, but my aunt recalls that, like so many veterans of the First World War, he was reluctant to talk about this period in his life and his own personal bravery. It is worth just noting that he briefly, but tellingly, mentions that during the three months working the line over the Winter of 1916 in France, the medics/ambulance personnel lost 50% of their number from various causes. In tribute to him, here is an extract from his manuscript memoir on his experiences in the Army during World War One, here remembering his first engagement with the enemy – in this case Turkish forces: "Another day that will not fade away in time was our first contact with the enemy. First things seem to have a knack of making themselves remembered. For instance how well I recollect my first analysis of that much praised and much abused “Maconachie”, sitting outside my dugout flap -, in the darkening of an eastern night. It was but 6 o'clock on a summer's afternoon and already night had cast her clutching fingers on the day. What a fine meal it made with a few biscuits and a drink of chloride of lime – this drink is made by adding one scoop of chloride of lime to 1 pint of water – not, as in France, 1 scoop per water-cart (110 gallons) Yes we had occasion to remember our first day under the fire of “Asiatic Annie”. Most of us were suffering slightly from the opposite of acclimatisation on Imbros – haunt of all the diseases on earth. Everything was novel: night work, the British destroyers and the Turkish guns holding converse, the sound of their arguments booming up and down the valleys among the Anofarta ridges, the crack of the rifles and the illumination of star shells. There was no time steeling oneself against anything. We were “up against it” and we had to work. We unloaded the lighter by which we had come ashore and as quickly reloaded it for we were within the Turkish lines. The dawn of August 7th 1915 found us struggling – full pack and a stretcher per man – over the sands towards Suvla bay. There, as elsewhere, let us give credit to our enemy that they respected the Red Cross, the sign of our Corps, and that as soon as t was hoisted the shelling ceased. One Red Cross the Turks could understand, but when another 7th Ambulance pitched an Advanced Dressing Station 200 yards from us and hoisted its standard a bombardment commenced which forced the personnel to take shelter under our flag and later to retrieve its material and retreat behind of La Baba."
  9. Always"watching"

    OCD.....or not ? Synching hands.

    It's funny but although I am a bit OCD and have needed to take my collecting/hoarding/cleaning/storing habit in hand, I have never gone so far as to synch the hands on a watch. Surely, no watch apart from some esoteric electronic or atomic models are so accurate that synching hands will remain accurate for very long.
  10. Always"watching"

    Red, Black, or Brown?

    That red fabric strap with the white edging is a bit special, dear Wrench, and with the right watch could be a winner. The middle strap you show with the two white stripes might be better for watch in question on this thread because the red colour seems to be a bit brighter, more in keeping with the bright red bezel.
  11. Always"watching"

    Swiss Movement mark

    Just done a search but still no joy. Frustrating.
  12. Always"watching"

    Green 5

    Interesting colour and a bit on the unusual side - thanks also for giving the date of the watch; I would have come to the same conclusion date wise and it always helps when people can give firm dates for older watches as it helps me to further build up my internal dating system for watches.
  13. Always"watching"

    Red, Black, or Brown?

    This is a difficult one but I have to say that I really don't like that ugly black strap - it cheapens the look of the watch and is too dominant. The red would be better but I would opt for a different red strap. In fact, I can see why Wrench has opted for leather, so how about a classy red leather strap?
  14. Always"watching"

    Reinvigorating a Collection

    For me, reinvigoration has to mean one thing - STOP BUYING!! I have to be totally honest and say that I have recently commenced battle with my collecting/hoarding habit and it is no easy task. Over the past year or so, Kristina and myself have sold or given to charity boxloads of stuff, mainly the result of my collecting. Things became so bad that I decided only a sudden virtual turning off of the tap would do, so I have been avoiding charity shops and my other usual haunts almost completely. It is fortunate that I have now joined two local writers' groups, one for poetry and the other for writing generally, because the commitment to these groups helps me divert my attention away from buying bits and pieces. The problem for me stems from having a previous career in antiques/collectibles and related research and writing. When that career fell to pieces due to ill-health, the collecting that accompanied it just went on, almost as a sort of "displacement activity." It is not easy to admit all this, but I feel sure that there will be mebers of the Forum who have suffered at least somewhat from the grip of collecting when it becomes overwhelming.
  15. A sterling silver hand-wind Zaria wristwatch with sterling silver bracelet, dated by the seller to the 1980s (pic from i.ebayimg.com): The other day, I bought a Sekonda mechanical 17 jewel ladies' watch in a charity shop for a few pounds. Normally, having seen (and sometimes purchased) so many mechanical Sekonda women's timepieces in the past, I would be immune to such a purchase, but this watch was a bit different. On the steel caseback, the words, “ZARIA WATCH FACTORY USSR,” have been stamped, and as I hadn't encountered this feature before, I bought the watch prior to researching the name, “Zaria.” When I got the watch home for closer examination, it struck me as unusual that while the gold plating on the crown and metal bracelet (not the original strap) has worn badly, the gold of the case is almost like new. I have not opened the watch up and there are no indications on the watch exterior or dial to indicate that the case might be gold. So I assume that it is gold plated to a decent thickness. In any event, it is in good working order and with a new strap would make a nice watch for a lady. A striking square-case 21J Zaria wristwatch with the origin designation, CCCP, and dating to about the early 1960s (pic from sandipointe.com) Anyway, to get back to Zaria, it turns out that the Zaria is more a brand name than a factory title, and as my own watch indicates, Zaria watches were and are Russian-made. They hail from the Penza Watch Factory, originally designated as the Third State Watch Factory of the Soviet Union, still in operation and with a history that starts with the founding of the factory in April 1935. Penza is a city 625 kilometres southeast of Moscow, and the Penza Watch Factory rose from the remnants of the Frunze Bicycle Plant using newly acquired tooling from the LIP watch concern. LIP not only supplied equipment but also engineers and technicians to supervise its installation and train Russian engineers.It is not exactly clear when production of watches actually started at Penza – my main textual source (Reference at the end of the topic) mentions an order on the formation of the Penza Third State Watch Factory published by the People's Commissariat of General Mechanical Engineering on 5 May 1940, and it would seem that the factory probably commenced operations at about this time, focusing on the manufacture of small-sized women's watch movements and equipment for the watchmaking industry. However, whatever the case, this early watch-related production was short-lived because the escalation of World war two forced the factory towards production of military equipment, including mine fuses, mortars, anti-aircraft control devices. During World War Two, the Penza works had been temporarily renamed, “Factory No. 807,” and in 1945, the Minister of Mechanical Engineering and Instrumentation ordered that the factory should be known as the “Penza Watch Factory,” and from that date, only civilian goods – i.e. timepieces – should be produced. Not only was the production of Zvezda branded watches now to resume, but a new wristwatch movement for men's watches was also now produced at Penza, named, Pobeda, and also based on purchased LIP designs. A Zaria (gents?) hand-wind 17J wristwatch with 32mm gold plated case, probably from about 1960 (pics from img.etsystatic.com): In 1949, Penza Watch Factory was ordered to discontinue manufacture of men's calibers and concentrate exclusively on women's watches. The Pobeda production equipment was therefore transferred to other Soviet watch factories, and the designers at Penza now began work on a new ladies' caliber that would measure only about half the size of the Zvezda,and this new movement was to subsequently be used in watches branded, Zaria, the word meaning “dawn” in English. In 1950, the Penza Watch Factory produced something like one million watch movements, with just over half of these being put into watches. The 1950s was an important decade for the Penza Watch Factory, and not only through its own success and growth. Penza also assisted in the development of other watch factories – namely, Uglich Watch Factory (1950-51) and Minsk Watch Factory (1954-55). Experts at Penza trained personnel at other factories, and Penza produced the equipment and tools necessary for wristwatch manufacture. For example, the caliber 1801 ebauche, produced at Minsk until the present day, is a modified caliber 1800, first developed by designers at Penza Watch Factory. A gold plated hand-wind Zaria ladies' watch with 36mm case and small 21J caliber Zaria 2009B movement, probably dating to the early 1980s (pics from s41.radikal.ru and ssli.ebayimg.com): Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, a number of different watch brands were produced at Penza Watch Factory including Aurora, Junost, Kometa, Lux, Lyra, Mechta, Sura, Vesna and Zvezda. However, in 1964, a consolidation took place that reduced these brands to a single name, Zaria. Thus, from 1964/65, all watches produced at Penza featured the Zaria brand name and accompanying movement logo. By this time, the export market was booming and by 1968, one third of Penza Watch factory's output was exported to any of 52 countries worldwide. In mid-1968, the Penza factory branched out and started the production of mechanical pedometers, which were produced in both analogue and digital formats. By the 1980s, one hundred million watches had been produced at the Penza Watch Factory, and exports reached 50 million units. The Penza Watch Factory is still in operation, and serves both domestic and export markets. In 2010, it was part of the MakTime Group, and average annual production today is around 500,00 units. A gold-plated ladies' Zaria wristwatch with 17J hand-wind movement, difficult to date but probably early 1980s (pic from img.etsystatic.com): A modern Zaria 3105.01 moonphase automatic with the term, "water protected" in Cyrillic on the back (pic from Vremax at 3.bp.blogspot.com): Zaria watches are evidently not a rarity in themselves, as even a brief look on the internet will reveal, and there must be a great many Penza-made watches in existence (especially women's watches) under the various brand-names used by the factory. Clearly, my own Sekonda/Zaria watch and other Sekonda watches I have now read about are evidence that Sekonda used movements and complete watches from Penza Watch Factory to make up its watch ranges, and other watch companies outside Russia may well have done the same. I would say that for those who are interested in collecting pre-owned ladies' mechanical watches, Zaria would be a good brand to start with. A modern Zaria gold-plated 21J handwind pendant watch being offered new today but in a style that could be from the late 1960s onwards (pics from i0.wp.com and i2.wp.com): I have to say that dating Zaria watches accurately can be a tricky business: many are in simple styles that were carried on over many years, while others are more redolent of their period but in styles that may have commenced and ended later than here in Western Europe, sometimes with a quirky Russian twist. Also, strangely, quite a few Soviet-period Zaria watches, made after the company was restricted to producing watches for women, could be, and have been, assumed to be gents' or unisex models, based on their size and style (apologies that for some of my pics here, I was unable to find size details). I was tempted at first to try and give a list of some of the movements used at the Penza Watch factory, partly to assist in efforts to date Zaria watches, but decided to leave that for interested members to explore and draw up for themselves based on the limited information available. And as a final note to this topic, it should be said that although “Zaria” is perhaps the "best" spelling in English (used in the document referenced below), other translations include Zarja, Zarya, and Sarja, and the name also appears in four-character Cyrillic. A hefty gold plated Zaria mechanical digital display jump hour wristwatch from the mid-1970s in original box (pic from photos.smugmug.com): A chunky ladies' Zaria wristwatch with original papers that allow us to date the watch to 1982 (pics from img.etsystatic.com): REFERENCE: Particular thanks go to the following online source of information about Zaria and Penza Watch Factory – mroatman.wixsite.com/watches-of-the-ussr/zaria; a section in, “Watches of the USSR.”

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