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About Always"watching"

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  • Birthday 01/01/1955

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  1. Lucky old you, dear Rog... I am caught with my pension being set to start at the age of 66. Hopefully your arthritis will keep quiet once you retire and can do things at your own pace.
  2. I haven't heard that name for a while and indeed, I was a bit of a Fila watch fan myself. I haven't kept up with their latest products and hopefully they are still producing smart decent quality watches.
  3. Nice one, Nev! Thanks so much for the mention; it's so nice to be appreciated.
  4. One of nature’s most amazing materials is spider silk, known for its strength, resilience, flexibility, and lightweight - ideal one would think for watch straps. It is therefore perhaps not as surprising in this technological age that a well-known watch company has launched a watch strap made partly from this form of textile. It has to be said that we have not yet reached the stage where we can farm spiders and obtain their silk directly on an industrial scale. However, with advances in genetic engineering and biofabrication, it has been possible to synthsize spider silk proteins in bacteria and from them obtain a 100% natural yarn which can be woven into a fabric. Thus it is that the German company AMSilk has developed a synthetic spider silk over the last decade, which it has branded as “Biosteel,” and in collaboration with Omega a new watch strap utilising biosteel has been launched - the first commercial product to contain AMSilk Biosteel fibres. The new Omega NATO watch strap containing Biosteel fibres (pic from libiotech.eu): The new watch strap, in NATO form and an updated entry to Omega’s range of striped NATO watch straps, is not wholly made from Biosteel but utilises a combination of this synthetic spider silk fabric and polyamide, a material already used by Omega to make high-performance NATO watch straps. Interestingly, Biosteel also has the properties of being anti-bacterial and more skin-friendly than conventional strap materials. AMSilk is currently developing the use of Biosteel for other products including biodegradable sneakers for Adidas and a lightweight material for Airbus planes. A number of other companies are also in the race to develop new biofabricated materials with some limited success, including US based Bolt Threads. Indeed, given the current heady pursuit for new materials by various high-end watch companies, we are already seeing more watches that incorporate new materials, and not just in straps; In the future, more of these materials will no doubt have been the result of biofabrication. The Omega/AMSilk watch strap is now available in Europe, and may now also be available in the US. The price is US$270 or £200 and the only colour option, at least for now, is beige with a single central white stripe. In terms of where the new Biosteel has been used in the strap, the edging, keepers and central stripe are in polyamide, with the rest of the strap fabric being Biosteel. A spool of AMSilk's Biosteel fibre (pic from omegawatches.com):
  5. Some details of the Japanese brand Hyakuichi can be found on the following thread: "What do you think of this? (Asking for a friend.)" This thread was posted in the Watch Discussion section of the Forum at 07:54 on 21 March 2019.
  6. Many thanks for that breakthrough in identifying the brand 101, @spinynorman. In fact, Hyakuichi, the word-name for the brand, actually means 101. The brand was launched in Kyoto, Japan in 2013 and according to the company, sold 10,000 units within the first three years even though the watches were then only available online. I have read that Seiko movements are used in at least some the watches, but obtaining firm review data on Hyakuichi is difficult although the firm itself is partial to badly translated hyperbole about its products and philosophy. I personally do not see any particularly "Japanese" quality or characteristics in the watches produced by Hyakuichi, and the firm seems to focus on recreating certain styles taken from other companies, including Hublot, in the manner of homages. Before I leave this subject, I must just quote the main heading of an advert on Global Rakuten for the Hyakuichi Submarine (priced on the ad for £67.30): "Boil 200m waterproofing diver's watch men watch watch men watch MEN's, and get out, and is; 101-HYAKUCHI-"
  7. I have tried looking up 101, LOL and IOI to see if such a brand is current online but to no avail. In fact, this watch reminds me of a rather similarly specced pre-owned watch I came across some time ago, and that was basically a no-namer as well; in fact the branding was "Ultimate Chrono," and the watch was also a bit of a mess design-wise. Strangely, I was tempted for a short while but then left the "Ultimate Chrono" well-alone, glad that I didn't succumb.
  8. I think that the pics and your captions pretty much say what needs to be said, dear Roy. That is rather a nice watch - eminently practical and wearable pretty-much anywhere with its brisk military styling - and I shall certainly participate in the giveaway.
  9. I must admit that I do echo the sentiments expressed in the three posts above this one. It strikes me that Rolex has somehow become a bit stodgy and stuck in a groove from which there is apparently no escape. This is only partly the fault of the company - success can sometimes really inhibit one's bravery to step out and do something different. Mind you, your mention of the Explorer II, Julian and Deano, sends shivers up my spine - that is a watch I would absolutely love to own - gorgeous.
  10. We all make mistakes when buying watches, and in the case of pre-owned items, it is all too easy to miss something that turns out to be rather important after the event. The particular mistake I refer to in this short topic concerns the question of bespoke original straps or bracelets on watches and just how the presence of an original (or at least a genuine factory replacement) strap can change the nature and appearance, as well as the value, of a watch bought pre-owned. Unfortunately, in so many cases where a proper replacement strap is still available, the cost of buying one is prohibitive in relation to the actual worth of the watch, unless sentimental attachment pushes one into obtaining a genuine replacement.. Thus it was that some time ago, I purchased a Nixon watch, known as “The Key” because the screw-down crown requires a special key (well, I say special but a suitable allen key or screwdriver with the correct attachment will do the job) in order to unscrew it and then adjust time and date on the watch. I rather liked this chunky stainless steel watch and its specialised crown which is set into the case at the ten o’clock position in such a way that when screwed down, it is invisible from above the watch. Water resistance is at a stated 200 metres, but I have noticed that even with its screw down crown and caseback, sellers have avoided calling the watch a diver. The Nixon "The Key" wristwatch in plain steel/black and grey polyurethane strap colourway (pic from Ashford.com, where the latest price is given as $100 although the item is now out of stock): My watch had no box, instructions or key, and I don’t know, I may have paid a bit too much - mind you, I have been wearing it quite a bit since I bought it. Anyway, when I handed over my money, the one thing I failed to check was just how close to the original the strap was. I knew that the strap that came with the watch was not original but it certainly seemed to look fine - thank goodness the dealer had at least made an effort to provide a decent strap. However, when I actually looked online to find this model, I realised that the original strap for this watch was such that it transformed the appearance of the watch. On the watch as bought new, the strap is pretty substantial and butts up against the case, fitting flush. That explained why the watch has tiny lugs. My own strap is a less thick, more conventional plastic item with a single metal pin buckle fastener, and it is only good fortune that the strap fits so well, with edge lines along its length that compliment the shape of the watch where they meet the case edge. A proper replacement rubber strap is still just about available at a cost of £25 or so, but I think that rather than chase up what seems to be turn out to be an expensive bit of polyurethane, I will chalk this one up to experience. The all-black colourway of the Nixon "The Key" watch (pic from images.evo.com): When buying second hand watches, there is frequently the situation where the strap is a replacement. Usually, this is fine because the design of the watch is such that a conventional strap or bracelet is perfectly appropriate as a replacement. The problem comes with watches where the strap is an essential element of the watch design, and in these cases one thanks one’s lucky stars if the original strap or bracelet is still present and in reasonable condition. In this regard, original stainless steel, titanium, and quality ceramic bracelets are far more likely to have survived than leather or the various types of plastic and rubber straps. For those of you who like the Nixon “The Key” watch, I can tell you that it seems to have now fallen out of their current range with the latest price, where still available, being about £100. Other specs for the model include a screw-down back and flat mineral glass crystal, Japanese quartz movement and 40mm case at its widest, and a date feature at four o'clock. I am a bit of a Nixon fan, and the brand is quite an interesting one although its history is quite short - being founded in 1997 (sometimes stated as 1998), in California, by Chad DiNenna and Andy Laats who had roots in surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding. The original inspiration behind Nixon to provide stylish and functional accessories, including watches, for active sports athletes; taking some influence from the outdoor California youth lifestyle of the late 1990s. The two men managed to obtain the necessary venture capital for a first catalogue launch in 1997, which contained just 7 watches. A bright and breezy colourway for the Nixon "The Key" watch (pics from content.propertyroom.com): The Nixon brand went from strength to strength in the next 8 years, with sales apparently growing at 55% per annum and with the firm eventually having a range of 90 watch models, and employing 60 people. Even a subsidiary was opened in France. By 2006, Nixon was attracting interest in the financial world and in that year, Billabong International offered to purchase the brand for an initial payment of US$55 million with a further deferred payment of US$76 million. DiNenna and Laats agreed to the deal and so lost control of Nixon, which became a Billabong brand. I am not in a position to judge any decline or otherwise in Nixon products during the Billabong years, but I can say that a sigh of relief is probably justified commemorating the return of Nixon in 2012 as an independent brand. The company is now divided into two equal shares of 48.5% between Billabong and Trilantic Capital Partners, with Laats and DiNenna together owning 3% of the company. Today, the estimated value of Nixon is about US$500 million. Owler.com provides some useful additional information on the current state of Nixon Inc., which it classes as a private limited company in the retail distribution sector. Rear and front view of a Nixon "The Key" wristwatch (pic from thumbs.worthpoint.com): According to Owler, Scott Kerslake is the CEO of Nixon, running the Encitas based concern with an annual sales turnover of about US$75 million. Although Owler states that Nixon “manufactures and sells” watches, bags, audio products and accessories, I am not sure exactly how involved the Nixon company is in actual manufacture and assembly work, and it is likely that the watches are a Nixon team effort in terms of design, with control over production carried out by third parties. As far as the Nixon brand name is concerned, I have read that the Nixon company was involved in the design and production of some watches for Adidas, and Nixon is perhaps involved in producing some watches branded for other companies as well, rather like the Fossil Group. Nixon produces a wide range of Nixon branded watches with prices also ranging widely. The watches as a coherent collection have been likened to those from the Fossil Group, and Nixon clearly uses manufacturing centres in Switzerland and the Far East in the creation of its watches and the movements they use. Interestingly, Owler.com gives Maurice Lacroix as Nixon’s nearest competitor - though I can’t really see it myself. Apologies for the slight blurring here but this is the best image I could find showing the key and packaging for the Nixon "The Key" wristwatch (picfrom thumbs.worthpoint.com):
  11. Luv it John, and it seems we now have a troika of mad Fat Face watch fans here on the Forum. I almost feel guilty that I haven't got a single Fat Face watch in my collection.
  12. Always"watching"

    Why ?

    That video of the self-driving bike is really surreal; thanks for showing it Rog. As for the autonomous bus, I can see where Stagecoach is going with this and I don't like it. I use the buses regularly and the thought of one day being inside a crowded bus on the road with no driver does not appeal to me; I have encountered too many difficult and even dangerous episodes while on buses, and there will always be a need for at least someone with formal authority to be present. I fear that this will inevitably be more about saving money than anything else.
  13. Very nice indeed. For me personally though, I long to elongate those lovely hands just a shade to add to the elegance of the timepiece.
  14. Already some goodies on here. I'll just add my latest pre-owned watch; this Timex Expedition Alarm model, bought for a fiver and unfortunately in need of a new strap. I shall probably hang on to the badly worn original strap and I am looking forward to having a go at getting the alarm(s) working. It has two alarm settings - for an alarm over 60 minutes and for an alarm under 60 minutes - and an Indigo lit dial for dark occasions. I think that the battery is running low because the Indiglo light is not working: Timex T433914E Expedition Easy Set Alarm wristwatch (pics from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com and,bottom, thumbs.worthpoint.com):
  15. It’s one thing to “keep the faith” and buy to wear a luxury hand-wind mechanical watch with a perpetual calendar, but it is another to make sure that you never let it run down to the extent that you find yourself having to reset various indications on the watch to return the perpetual calendar feature to rectitude. One way of at least partially overcoming this knotty problem is pretty obvious - increase the power reserve such that the watch continues to function for longer than a normal mechanical watch would usually do. There are two obvious ways of doing this, but both have their problems. The first method is to use a larger mainspring in the watch. This solution tends to make the modified watch larger than might be desirable, and can provide only a certain increase in power reserve, with the law of diminishing returns coming into play. The other simple solution might be to reduce the oscillation frequency of the watch movement, but again there are problems because this leaves the accuracy of the watch vulnerable to external knocks and disturbances. What is needed is a complete rethink and some sophisticated micro-engineering to radically expand the time that a watch continues to operate without the need to reset what might be a complicated set of time and calendar complications. Such a rethink and redesign has been carried out by Vacheron Constantin and the result is a technological and aesthetic wonder - the new Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar wristwatch. Put in straightforward terms, the new Vacheron Constantin (VC) watch utilises the reduction in oscillation frequency, as mentioned above, in order to extend the power reserve of the watch, but cleverly provides this slower oscillation mode for when the watch is not being worn. After any period at rest, during which the watch is oscillating at the lower frequency, the watch can be switched to the higher oscillation frequency, appropriate for when the watch is being worn. Front, side, and rear views of the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar wristwatch (pic from hodinkee.imgix.net): The watch therefore comes with two modes - a high beat (5 Hertz frequency) Active Mode for when the watch is being worn, giving a power reserve of four days, and a slow beat (1.2 Hertz) Standby Mode for when the watch is stored unworn for a period of time, with a power reserve of a whopping 65 days. This means that the watch can be left unattended for a significant length of time without the owner needing to reset any of the perpetual calendar indications, with the caveat that in order to get the maximum Standby duration of power reserve, the watch must be kept stationary and flat. In order to achieve this two-beat functioning, and contain it within a reasonable 42mm case, VC have utilised a single power source but with two gear trains and oscillators, one each for the two frequency modes. Incredibly, the new single barrel hand-wind movement, designated as caliber 3610 QP, is only 32mm across and 6mm thick: the barrel itself is quite thick and it should be noted that it contains not one but two mainsprings, superimposed and on the same axis, to provide substantial power to the watch. The two oscillators are bi-stable, which means that only one gear train at anytime is active. Thus, when you switch between modes, one gear train only, or actually one balance, will be stopped while the other will be released to start running again. The new twin beat caliber 3610 QP contains no less than 480 components and using 64 jewels. The single mainspring barrel, two gear trains and the two balance wheels of the Twin Beat - the 5Hz, 36,000vph balance is on the right, with the slower Standby balance on the left (pic from hodinkee.imgix.net): VC encountered various technical problems along the way, and in this introduction to the Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar watch, I cannot go into all the engineering details of its design. Fortunately, the watch has raised considerable interest in the world of luxury watches and anyone wishing to pursue the finer technical details for the watch movement will readily find relevant material in online reviews. Front (shown on the right) and rear views of the Twin Beat movement - caliber 3610 QP (pic from deployant.com): Having outlined the basics of the movement, what about the finished article? Well, to start with, the watch has a surprisingly elegant and comfortable 42mm diameter X 12.3mm thick case in 950 grade platinum, with longish lugs giving the watch a relatively large footprint on the wrist. A pusher at the 8 o’clock position on the case is used to switch between the two frequency modes, and an arrow indicator on the dial opposite the button shows which mode is currently in operation. With regard to power reserve indication, the register in the upper portion of the part-skeletonised dial shows the power remaining in the two modes - in black for the Active Mode and in red for the Standby Mode. The perpetual calendar feature provides its indications in the lower half of the dial by means of two registers; for the date and the month. Note that in designing the mechanism for the perpetual calendar functions in this watch, a new energy efficient and instantaneous jump system has been used, whereby the registers instantly turn over at midnight with no time lag. Leap year indication is shown in a small register between the date and day registers. It is evident that VC have not neglected the aesthetics of the new Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar, and some details on the more decorative elements of the watch will not go amiss. The dial is actually a piece of sapphire with a semi-circular cut-out on the top half to accommodate the slate-coloured solid gold guilloche dial plate. The radial guilloche engraving on the dial plate is done the old-fashioned way using a rose engine and takes five hours. The rest of the dial is clear sapphire with engraved markings filled with lacquer. Close up of the lower portion of the Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar dial showing the calendar registers (pic from hodinkee.imgix.net): The indices and beautiful dauphine hands on the watch are in 18 carat gold, and the baton markers had to be attached differently according to whether they were attached to the sapphire surface or the guilloche plate, and yet look absolutely even all round the dial. The back of the watch has also been nicely finished with a full rear-view of the movement through the wide sapphire crystal window. The movement back has plates and bridges nicely decorated with “cotes de Genèves” (circumflex on 'o') stripes and then given a dark and durable NAC coating. The watch is supplied with a grey Mississippi alligator strap - to match the slate-coloured tones on the dial - that closes with a platinum Maltese cross-shaped pin buckle. Another nice view of the VC Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar wristwatch (pic from hodinkee.imgix.net) I have indicated my own feelings that is watch is an object of beauty and technical excellence, and because I could never afford to own one, whether or not I love it is almost immaterial. There are times when developing and then pricing a wristwatch in the watch market stratosphere, where only the wealthy will be able to participate in its acquisition, feels justifiable, and with this twin beat masterpiece which has already received considerable watch media attention, there will hopefully some influence on design further down the market chain as well as more power to those of us who love and cherish the incredible skills of watchmakers, micro-engineers, and decorators that might disappear for ever if we are not careful. And now, finally, to the bottom line. The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar will soon be available to purchase at a price of US$199,000. Currently, it seems that only two of these watches exist, for demonstration purposes, but VC is not proposing to designate the new watch as a limited edition. Mind you, they hardly need to since the price will ensure that this watch will always be sold in small numbers. Wrist shot of the new VC Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar (pic from deployant.com):
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