Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday 13/1/2017 - This Week's Wristwatch

I wore the Seiko 7002 last weekend for some handyman duties. 
Which took longer than I thought they would. Still not completed, either. Ahh, well. Tomorrow's another weekend. 

I'm liking the way this Tower Chieftain III writes. Very snappy.
Which is good because it means I can sell my Smith-Corona Skyriter. The one with the short carriage return lever.  That drives me nuts. 
I have a few typers that don't see much action, but I'm not sure if I want to move them along or not. 
Something to think about some other time. 

The Oris Diver Sixty-Five stayed on my wrist all week. Think I just might switch to something else for the weekend.

 Speaking of weekends, have yourselves a good one, and thanks for reading!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

My Most-Worn Wristwatches of 2016

Time for my third annual review of which wristwatches I wore the most throughout last year.
Looking back, it would appear that dive watches got the most wear. I can't say I was as adventurous throughout 2016 as I have been in past years. Having returned to work back in February, after a long hiatus, I think I found myself changing watches less and less as I spent my time getting back into a work routine and learning the ropes at the new job. There were days when changing my wristwatch felt like an unnecessary chore.
As for the overseas holiday back in September/October, I just took one watch with me, figuring that I would have plenty else to see and do during the trip, and sitting there deciding on what watch to wear was a minor headache that I didn't need. 
The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously, as General George S. Patton once said. Having only one wristwatch meant only one option. 

Once I tallied up the numbers, I was a little surprised by the results. I think 2016 flew by. Starting a new job and taking a major trip were the obvious main highlights of the year and I think my watches took somewhat of a back-seat to everything else that went on during the year. 
Still, they all performed as they should.
Anyway, here they are, in order of most-worn to least-worn. Please excuse the quality of the photos. It was an overcast day and the sunlight kept disappearing behind clouds.

 1- Omega Seamaster 300 - Model No 165.0024 
Calibre 552 from circa 1967 (WatchCo Build Edition)

I wore this classic Seamaster throughout 21 weeks of last year. I 'changed the shoes' on this watch a few times, alternating it between a black NATO strap, brown leather, and two different stainless steel bracelets. 
In the end, it stayed on a recently acquired Omega Speedmaster 1498 bracelet. On a very warm day recently, I noticed the fit of this bracelet was far tighter than I prefer. Your wrist can tend to swell up slightly in warmer climates. The trick is to find that half-way point between too loose and too tight. If Goldilocks wore a dive watch, it would drive her nuts. 
A couple of days ago, I sat down with the tools and had a shot at adding a half-link from another Omega bracelet, in an effort to get a looser fit. Half an hour of trial and error and it now has a more comfortable fit on the wrist.
 Here's how it looked on a ten Euro leather strap with minimal stitch. These types of straps have been very popular over the last few years. Plain leather, with waxed cotton threading on the spring-bar ends that attach to the watch. This strap has raw edges rather than burnished ones, which means that it will age beautifully as time rolls by. It suited this watch nicely, I must add. The Seamaster 300 is one of the very few designs (in my humble opinion) that can accommodate any kind of strap or bracelet and still look sharp. The same can be said of the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph.
And here it is on a $25 no-name bracelet with straight end-links, to give the watch a vintage look. I wore it on this bracelet until the Omega one came along.

 2- Sinn 103 St Sa Chronograph 
Calibre Valjoux 7750, 2009 model

This next watch was worn throughout sixteen weeks of the year and it's what I brought to Europe for the holiday last September. I thought I'd wear something that was highly legible, robust and water-resistant. And slightly bad-ass. 
The Sinn 103 served me well. Easy to read, accurate, and with a little bit of heft on the wrist. Although in retrospect, I think I should have worn a simpler watch. Just something that told the time, since I didn't really have a need for a chronograph. Looking at wristwatches on the streets of Paris and Rome, I noticed a predominance of colored plastic Casio digital watches on the younger men. Quite a few of them also wore Daniel Wellington watches on colorful NATO straps. Not a fan of this brand. I find their designs rather uninspired, being lifted from other, more established brands. The older men tended to wear Rolex Submariners and DateJusts mainly. Always good to see. Every other guy who didn't wear a watch seemed to have an iPhone firmly clutched in his hand, ready to check the time at a moment's notice. Not cool.

3- Omega Speedmaster Professional - Model No. 3570.50.00 Calibre 1861, 2007 model

Fifteen weeks of the year saw me reach for this classic chronograph. The entire NASA/ moon landing/ astronaut association is so firmly and deeply woven into the history and mystique of this watch, but this has never been a draw-card for me. Nope, the Speedmaster Professional appeals to me simply because its just a beautiful example of mid-Sixties chronograph design. The kind that is no longer made.

TAG Heuer no longer makes the exquisite Carrera chronograph like this anymore. They have brought out a few re-editions in the last twenty years, and they were very close in look and dimensions to this 1960s Reference 2447 NT model here. Their current Carrera models, however, are Carreras in name only. This picture comes from the very well researched and beautifully photographed website; 

Universal Geneve made some incredible chronos back in the day, the Tri-Compax models being one of their most famous;

While you can see certain design similarities between this watch and the Omega Speedmaster, this UG chrono more than holds its own, and there are plenty of watch collectors out there to prove it, making these watches highly sought-after in recent years. 

More info can be seen on this You Tube video;

Rolex began production of their legendary Cosmograph models in around 1960. This particular Cosmograph Daytona on the left dates back to 1975.

Picture courtesy of;

A couple of years ago, I was given a similar model on loan for about a week. It was just a tad loose on my wrist, and I was nervous as hell when I wore it, but there was no way that I was going to mess with bracelet adjustment on this watch. Not at the prices that these things go for these days. 
It did have a certain something about it, though, and I could easily understand the mania that these older models create among Rolex aficionados. 
Here I am, being very, very careful with the 1970 Reference 6265/0;

Of course, Rolex still manufactures the Daytona chronograph these days, but in my view, it is far removed from the models on which it's based. It is also the most widely sought-after new watch on the luxury Swiss watch market. Somebody posted on a wristwatch forum recently that they were on a five year waiting list for a current model. 
Madness. Absolute madness.

 4- Rolex Submariner - Model No. 5513/0 
Calibre 1520, 1982 model
If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you may have read of my long, albeit passive, hunt for one of these watches;
The Rolex Submariner 5513 - A 40 Year Chase Comes To An End

The 1982 model 5513 was the last of the Submariners with plain white Tritium dots for the hour markers. Mine is very similar to the model that Roger Moore wore in his Bond debut, Live And Let Die in 1973.
Vintage Submariners will always be pricey, but this was perhaps the only watch that I've ever really wanted. It just took me four decades and numerous other watches (thus forming a collection) to get there. I only wore this watch throughout 11 weeks of the year, though. It is in dire need of servicing and I'm treating it with kid gloves until that happens.

I was swapping the bracelet over to a NATO strap on the watch one day when the crystal and bezel fell away from the case.
When I regained consciousness, I carefully put it all back together and put the watch back in my watch box. I've worn the watch gingerly at times, but only around the house. I would hate to wear this watch out and about and then glance at it only to find that the bezel or crystal have fallen off. I have already been to Rolex HQ to get a quote for a service. Obviously, the bezel insert and crystal will need to be replaced. The bezel itself is fine, but the aluminium insert - for the uninitiated, that's the black ring with the numbers on it- is an after-market part. Something that the seller didn't disclose to me prior to the sale. In fact, the photos that he sent me showed a genuine Rolex Submariner bezel on the watch. No matter. For what it's worth, I long ago sent him an e-mail outlining his underhandedness. I felt a little better afterwards. Besides, I'm too happy with the rest of the watch, anyway.

For me, the main criteria was that the hands and dial markers matched. Over time, the original white hue of the luminous Tritium compound on the hands and hour dot markers can fade to a shade of cream. If these are exposed to moisture, they take on a cheesy shade of pale yellow. 

Thankfully, the dial and hands on my watch have only faded to cream, and they match each other nicely. Previous owners of these watches would opt to have new hands fitted during servicing, in the interests of night-time legibility, but luckily, this one was kept original. As a result, it is in very nice, original condition. 
Once I get it serviced, I'll feel more confident in wearing it a little more often. 
Can't wait. 

5- Omega Railmaster Co-Axial - Model No. 2504.52.00 
Calibre 2403, 2009 model

 Image result
I'm getting lazy here. This is a photo from back in June.
The 36.2mm Raily was worn through ten weeks of the year. This watch is a personal favourite of mine. Simple, clear layout, 150m water-resistance- which is more than most folks need- and a perfect size for my 6.5 inch wrist.
The first Railmaster model was introduced back in 1957. There are rumours (or hopes) that Omega will unveil a 60th anniversary model at this year's BaselWorld Watch Fair in March.
Personally, I hope not. I think they got it right when they made this model and something tells me that, if they produce a new version, they'll jazz it up too much. Whereas this mid-Noughties re-issue stuck fairly close to the look of the 1950s original...

The dial markers and numerals are coated with SuperLuminova compound. It's also used on the cut-out sections of the hands. In the dark, this thing glows nicely. 

...there is speculation that Omega will use a faux aged lume on a sandwich dial* (to give it a vintage look) and that they'll use applied steel numerals instead of luminous ones. Basically, it might look like the current Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial, minus the rotating dive bezel;

To be sure, this here is a nice watch. If I didn't already have a couple of Omega dive watches, I'd have seriously considered one of these.

<-----*Oh yeah, a sandwich dial-
            Just quickly, the hour markers are cut out of the metal disc used for the dial. Then, another disc, coated with faux-aged SuperLuminova, is placed underneath it, sandwich-style. It gives the entire dial a three dimensional look. The use of applied steel (or possibly white gold) numerals further adds to this look. It definitely makes for an intricately put-together watch dial, and no doubt drives up the price. As I said, a smart looking watch, but I don't want to see a new iteration of the Railmaster borrow too heavily from another design.
Anyway, no matter. I got my one and I'm very happy with it.

6- Omega Seamaster AquaTerra Co-Axial - Model No. 2504.50.00
Calibre 2500, 2005 model

Another recycled photo. Sorry, folks. 
I was surprised to find that this watch made it into this year's list. I suppose that it's such an understated design that even I forgot that I'd worn it so much. 
This is a smart watch. Like the Railmaster, this watch measures 36.2mm in diameter and has the same level of water-resistance. It could actually work extremely well if you're a one-watch-guy. Sadly, I'm not. However, whenever I wear this watch, I'm reminded of how sharp it looks. The hands only have a thin strip of Luminova in them, which can make it tricky to read in the dark, but the hands are faceted, which means they do tend to catch the light from virtually any angle. 

If anything, it is perhaps hard to read sometimes if viewed front-on. This depends on the ambient lighting, of course, but I have found that the hands will sometimes disappear against the glossy black dial. It can be easier to read if tilted at an angle. Especially when I'm driving and I give the watch a quick glance for the time. 
Its glossy black dial contrasts wonderfully with the steel hands and markers. It does, though, bear enough design similarities (same case, crown, crystal and bracelet) to the Railmaster to almost make it redundant in my collection. I say almost because I took the bracelet off it not long ago and put a cheap calf leather strap on it which had a lizard-skin print embossed on it. This changed the entire look of the watch. 

Not a great photo, since it doesn't show the strap in its true light, but a glossy black strap does dress this watch up quite a bit. So, I think I'll hit eBay for a 19mm black lizard-skin strap at some point. 

7- Oris Diver Sixty-Five, Model No. 733 7707 4035
Calibre SW200-1, 2016 model

I am already formulating ideas for a proper review of this watch, so I'll keep it short here. The Oris Diver Sixty-Five was released at the BaselWorld Watch Fair in 2015 and it was one of the surprise sleeper hits of the year. Borrowing heavily from its archive, Oris created a modern version of one of its distinctive designs of the mid-1960s, beefing the size up to 40mm from what I assume would have been 36mm back in the day. This 2015 release had a glossy black dial which contrasted nicely with the sci-fi font of the numerals. The hands were a sober picket-fence style, and they placed a date window at the six o'clock edge of the dial. 

Later in 2015, Oris brought out another version with what they called a "Deauville Blue" dial (pic on left courtesy of Topper Jewellers). 
 It is of a lighter shade of blue than I am used to seeing on dive watches, with a soft, light grey disc at its centre. 

 Half-way through 2016 saw the release of another dial colour variation. This was done with not much fanfare from Oris. As soon as I saw this watch in the flesh (or 'in the metal', as watch collectors say), I was hooked. 

Glossy cyan blue outer edge, glossy black disc in the centre. Unlike any other dive watch I have. Forty millimetres in diameter (like my Submariner!), 100m of water-resistance, and a raised and curved sapphire crystal, which gives the watch even more of a vintage vibe. 
Truth be told, my tastes lean more towards vintage watches rather than modern. 
The bracelet design is borrowed/stolen from the riveted bracelet designs of 1950s Rolex models, and it perfectly suits this watch. I wore this Oris for seven straight weeks after I got it. Managed to prise it off my wrist on Christmas Day, to give some other watch a run. 
Oris is a tricky brand. Just when I think I've seen everything it has to offer, it surprises me with something like this watch.

And that's 2016's wristwatches. Others were worn to a lesser extent. My Seiko 7002 was my go-to watch whenever I picked up a screwdriver, paintbrush or mowed the lawns. 
The Longines Expeditions Polaires Francaises got a bit of wear too, once I swapped it over to a nicer strap. Again, this is a watch that would look great with lizard-skin. 
I sold off my Oris Miles Tonneau automatic to a very grateful buyer, so at least that will get some wear. I had originally intended to give it to my son when he's older, but he seems to prefer dive watches. Besides, there's no shortage of dress watches for him to choose from. 
This year will have more to do with maintenance of some pieces. My Seamaster 300m was purchased in 1999 and has never been serviced. That's well overdue.
Firstly, the Submariner. Once that one's done, I'll review what needs to be attended to next. Although, I can see that there may be one or two watches still to shift along, since they don't get worn much at all. 
I'm trying to distill the collection down a little wherever possible. 
Because, if they're not being worn, then they're just taking up space. 

Thanks for reading!


Friday, 6 January 2017

Friday 6/1/2017 - Oh, Summer, You Finally Got Here, Turning Fifty-One & This Week's Wristwatches.

Six fifty-five pm on Friday evening and it's currently 35 degrees (95 F). I got home from work earlier, and peeled off my sweat-stained shirt. There's no air-con in my car, which makes the 20 minute drive from the train station particularly arduous. I had a ribbon of perspiration diagonally down the front of my shirt, where my seat-belt crossed. I hate that. 
Changed into t-shirt and shorts, then downed one Peroni longneck and am considering another. maybe I'll wait a little while. 
Summer has dragged its feet this year, but I think it's finally arrived. We've had some sweltering temperatures over the last week or two, even though there have been a few overnight thunderstorms thrown in, just to keep things interesting, I suppose.
I started the week with the Omega Planet Ocean. Been quite some time since I wore this one. I've somehow managed to rack up a speeding and a parking fine in the past month. I paid the speeding fine a couple of days before it was due. I'm slipping. I normally pay them as soon as I get them, to get them out of the way. 
Anyway, The Planet Ocean is a great watch. Perhaps Omega's last best watch before the company's switch to in-house movements and the requisite hike in prices.

Not wanting to stray too far from the design aesthetic of the PO, I switched over to the Omega Seamaster 300 next day. I spent far too long messing with the bracelet on this thing. It has felt a tad too snug since the weather began warming up, so I added a half-link from another Omega bracelet to it and, surprisingly, it worked and I now have a slightly looser fit.

It was my birthday on Wednesday. They got me a cake at work. Some very rich and decadent thing with caramel sauce smothered over the top of it and multi-layered sponge filling. With a chocolate maccaroon delicately perched on top. 
Back on the home-front, my wife renewed my Movie Club Membership card for me. She also got me a couple of vintage envelopes from the 1980s because the addresses were typewritten and they were post-marked early '89, just before The Cold War started to thaw out and The Wall came down. I'll use them as bookmarks. Now there's a whole post subject right there. I NEVER dog-ear the pages of books when I read them. 

Thursday. Another hot day. Got home from work and reached for a beer. There was a small package waiting for me on the kitchen table. It contained a 50mm Nikkor F mount lens for the recently acquired Nikon FM2 that I got last month. I was using the lens from my Nikon F on this new camera and I didn't like the idea of sharing one lens between two cameras. This new lens' focus ring turns a little too freely, but this is no drama. The lens itself seems to be in pretty good condition. I loaded some film into the camera. We'll see what kind of results it yields.

Today, I switched to the Oris Diver Sixty-Five. Seen here with one of those envelopes my wife got me. 

It's now almost midnight. No, it didn't take me five hours to write this post. I took a break, had some dinner, then sat down to watch Django Unchained (Dir: Quentin Tarantino, 2012). With a running time of 160 minutes, I was a little worried that it would contain some long scenes, thus slowing down the pace of the film. I say this because I watched a little of Reservoir Dogs on TV recently and there was a long scene between Mr White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr Pink (Steve Buscemi) and I felt that some of the dialogue could have been snipped. I have the film on DVD, so I think I may have to sit down and watch it from start to finish. Haven't seen it since '92, after all. 
Must say I enjoyed Django Unchained. It moved at a good pace. A tad ultra-violent, but that's the point of this homage to spaghetti westerns of the '60's (with a dose of '70s blaxploitation films thrown in). Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx worked off each other nicely, and QT's writing has gotten sharper in the 20 years since Reservoir Dogs. 
Although, he's still excessive with the 'N' word and "MoFo". I ain't too PC, so it doesn't bug me, as long as it fits in the context of the story. But "MoFo" was bandied about a little too much. Besides, I'm not so sure this slang term even existed back in the 1860s in which the film is set. 
But hey, it's a Tarantino movie.

Okay, past midnight now. Still working on a couple of big posts. Might see if I can get a bit of them done over the weekend.
Thanks for reading and have a good weekend!

P.S.- What's the bet I re-read this post tomorrow morning and find all manner of spelling and grammatical errors?
Been happening to me a lot lately.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Best Laid Plans...

I dunno about you, but I always seem to decide to make changes (big and small) in the last few days of the year. Without calling them resolutions, that is exactly what they are. Who am I kidding, after all?
While it will be great if I adhere to every single one of these, I'm sure I'll be happy if I  manage to stick to half of them.

Hopefully, they'll be the more important ones.  

Thanks for reading, see you next year!


Friday, 30 December 2016

Friday 30/12/16 - The Year The Music Died (RIP George Michael), An Antidote to This Year's Misery, & This Weeks's Wristwatches.

What a friggin' year it's been. I can't think of any generation that hasn't been hit by the deaths of notable people this year. 
If you're into music, we started the year by losing Bowie back in January. Prince followed a few months later in April. If you limit this list just to musicians under the ago of 70, just about every musical genre lost a band member this year;
- Vanity (Denise Matthews) , a protege of Prince. 
- Joey Feek, country music singer.
- Phife Dawg, rapper. 
- Glenn Frey, co-founder of The Eagles.
- Greg Lake, guitarist of Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

If you add a few who were over the age of 70, then we lost Merle Haggard, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Leonard Cohen, as well as founding member of Earth, Wind and Fire, Maurice White. Not to mention Beatles Producer George Martin.
This past week saw the death of British singer/songwriter George Michael and Rick Parfitt, co-founder of British heavy rock group Status Quo
If you're into music in every way, shape or form, my condolences to you. 
You've had a very rough year, my friend. 

That's just the music side of things. Add in Muhammad Ali, Harper Lee, John Glen, Fidel Castro and the deaths this week of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds the very next day, and you find that no corner of popular culture or world history was left untouched.
A quick stroll through the Wikipedia list of notable deaths of this year makes for sad reading. 
Quite a few names have resonated with me. I've already written about Bowie and Prince. The death of The Thin White Duke really knocked me for a loop. I still find it hard to believe, and it's almost been a year since Bowie died.
As I said last week, I can mourn the deaths of elders like George Martin and astronaut John Glenn, but I can also reason that both of them achieved a great deal in their time and both lived to a ripe old age.
With people like Bowie, Prince, and now George Michael, it is all the more wistful because you just know that they still had plenty of fuel left in the tank. They still had more to do.

I can't say I was ever a big George Michael fan, but I had the 12-inch vinyl of the Wham! single Young Guns and, whenever I think of my late teens to mid 20s, I can hear this song blaring from stereo speakers at every single party that I went to throughout most of the Eighties.
So, I tip my hat to George Michael. Another talent gone too soon.
There's one day left of this wretched 2016 and I fear that nobody's safe.

I was curious to see how Ryan Gosling would fare in a film like this. I have to admit that I do like him as an actor. And he's a sharp dresser too.
He's soon to be seen in the long-anticipated Blade Runner sequel, due out next year, and co-starring Harrison Ford, who reprises his role as replicant hunter Rick Deckard.
Gosling was great in La La Land. Mrs Teeritz informed me that he practiced piano for two hours a day, six days a week, in order to master the instrument for the required scenes. And it shows. I've always admired actors who immerse themselves in the Method to prepare for a role. Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis are renowned for going to great lengths with their characters before the cameras start rolling.

Emma Stone was astounding in this film. I'd like to think that she'll win the Best Actress Oscar in March, but she faces some heavy competition from three-time Oscar Winner Meryl Streep, and Natalie Portman, who appears as JFK's grieving widow in Jackie. I'd like to think that Stone will win, but I suspect that the Academy voters will consider a slice of 20th century history to be more significant than a musical. Still, with the kind of year 2016 has been, maybe some escapism is exactly what is needed.
Stone gives a great, multi-layered performance in this film. Something I noticed about her when I saw The Amazing Spider-Man (Dir: Marc Webb, 2012) -in one of her early scenes with Andrew Garfield, we get a close-up of her face and she appears to be 'lit from within'. This is a phrase I heard in some film documentary years ago. The narrator was talking about the stars of Old Hollywood. Emma Stone has this. The screen seems to light up whenever we get a close-up of her.
She has worked with Gosling in two previous films and they have a nice chemistry.

The cinematography was beautiful too, capturing the streets of Los Angeles in dusk-lit hues and its night-life in shadows and light.
It was a great film to see. Refreshing in many ways, and a reminder of why we should go to the movies more often in the first place. 

Another film I was looking forward to was the new Brad Pitt movie, Allied, directed by Robert Zemeckis. I have always found him to be a highly competent director and, while I haven't liked everything he's ever done (What Lies Beneath was a tad lacklustre), I can't fault the technical prowess of his films.

I was a little underwhelmed when I first read the premise of this movie- a Canadian intelligence agent begins to suspect that his wife may be a German spy- I began to think; 'Uh oh, Mr & Mrs Schmidt.
However, I was both surprised and entertained by this film. For the record, I happen to think that Mr & Mrs Smith (Dir: Doug Liman, 2005) is a great film. One of my favourites. I can't count how many times I've watched it, and I have two different DVD copies of it. It's one film that I'll write about at some point.

Allied is a sumptuous film to look at. Zemeckis is known for his use of CGI and in this film, he and his team perfectly recreate wartime Morocco and England, but with a certain sheen added to every frame. The night skies of London are dotted with barrage balloons and criss-crossed by searchlight beams as German bomber planes try to avoid being peppered by tracer rounds from the ground. 
The first hour of the film takes place in French Morocco where Canadian Max Vatan (Pitt) partners up with Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), a former French Resistance fighter. They masquerade as a married couple prior to undertaking a mission to kill the German Ambassador stationed in Casablanca. 
By the end of this first part of the film, they have fallen in love, gotten married, and had a baby daughter.
The second half of the film deals with Vatan's suspicions that his wife may not be who she says she is. There are some very tense moments, as we watch as Vatan tries to get at the truth. 
Composer Alan Silvestri's score perfectly suits this film, often adding to the tension, and the cinematography by Don Burgess is sharp as a tack. 
Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are great together in this. Sure, the filmmakers may have been aiming for a Bogart/Bergman vibe (it's no coincidence that the first act takes place in Casablanca), and comparisons will no doubt be made by reviewers and film historians in future, but if you put Casablanca/Bogart/Bergman out of your mind, this film is very entertaining. Besides, the allusions to the Bogart/Bergman film are ever so slight anyway. 

It was my son's birthday this week. Time to get him a wristwatch of his own. Here's a rare shot of his hands keeping still while holding a PS4 controller;

Oh, my wristwatch for this week was the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. I finally managed to take the Oris Diver Sixty-Five off my wrist long enough to put something else on;

I was happy with how some of the photos taken with the FM2 turned out. I've switched over to the Olympus OM2n for the next roll of film. 

And, a final shot for the year, with the watch on my wrist;

So here I am. It's eight-thirty pm on Friday night. Thirtieth of December, twenty-sixteen. Twenty-seven and a half hours left of this year. 
It has been a good year in lots of ways. I finally got back to work, in a job that I'm enjoying very much. We took a family trip to Europe in September (still working on that post), and everybody under this roof has their health. And that's the most important thing, after all. 

Anyway, I want to wish you all a safe and Happy New Year. I hope that 2017 treats you kindly, and gives you more of what you truly want and what truly matters. 
I'll leave you with a snap-shot from an Esquire Magazine interview with Woody Allen, who's been using the same typewriter since he first started writing when he was sixteen;

It certainly is. I used a similar- if not the same- model, a 1951 SM2 to write the short type-cast above. 
Works like a new machine.

Thanks for reading, gang, and have a wonderful New Year!

Friday, 23 December 2016

Christmas Eve, 2016 - This Week's Wristwatch.

And here's the tiramisu dessert that I made last weekend, in honor of the recently departed A.A Gill. 
I cut out some card-stock to make the lettering.  Then I laid it on top of the dessert and gave it all a liberal sprinkling of cocoa powder before putting it in the fridge for a few hours. 
Later, I used tweezers to carefully peel off the letters. It almost worked out perfectly.
Yes, I have too much time on my hands.
I'm currently reading his memoir, Pour Me: A Life, and enjoying it. It is in this book that he writes about his missing brother, as mentioned in my post last week. 

Once again, my desk was in need of a Spring clean. Took me less time than I thought it would. Still too much crap here and there, but it's a lot better than it was. 
Now, let's see if I can keep it that way. I want to get some writing done while I have some time off from work.

The circa 1967/68 Nikon F Fotomic SLR that I've been using has produced some nice photos, but really, how many photos can I have of a sleeping cat? 
I've loaded up the recently acquired FM2 with some film. I'll put this camera through its paces and see what kind of results it yields. 
Then, I'll go through some of my other cameras and see if there are any that I can move along. I have three Olympus Trip 35 rangefinders, for example. I'm sure I can sell one of them without missing it. 
I've now been wearing the Oris Diver Sixty-Five almost exclusively since I got it. Might be time to give some other watch a bit of a run. Not sure which, though.

Here's the Tower Chieftain III. Works like a charm. I'm a little tempted to maybe give it a paint-job, but I'm not sure. Probably best if I just leave it as is.

Well, that's another week down. The sun is out and it's a little muggy outside. Think I'll stay indoors and just chill. 

I hope you all have a pleasant and very Merry Festive Season, dear readers, no matter what you celebrate at this time of year. 
Stay safe and thanks for reading!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Friday 16/12/16 - RIP Mr Gill, Will 2016 Kindly F*ck Off, Please?, & This Week's Wristwatches.

A few weeks ago, my wife brought home a copy of the September issue of US Esquire Magazine. Clint Eastwood and his son Scott graced the cover of this issue and there was a great joint interview in it. 
Further along in this issue was an article by A.A. Gill, titled The Missing Ingredient. 
The first two paragraphs are all about food. Exotic ingredients used in the preparation of some elaborate and debauched meal. Gill writes, by way of painting a picture;
I woke up, my head on the sticky table, the radio chuntering, a streak of congealed, thick blood smeared in front of me as if a desperate, gory hand had gone to grab something- a knife perhaps- in self-defense or fury. And there was the knife. My own large French iron cooking knife, heavy as a rabbit.

He goes on to write about the meticulous preparation of this banquet. He was cooking a grouse. He then adds that he actually prepared this entire meal twice. There were two dead birds in evidence on the table. Feathers everywhere. Blood sprayed along a wall. Various condiments and sauces created for this repast. And yet, he didn't turn on the oven. Also, this meal had been prepared for no list of guests. Guess who's coming to dinner? Nobody, that's who.
You see, A.A. Gill created this feast while in a drunken stupor, at the height of his years as an alcoholic. 

Okay, quick break. Last weekend, I briefly wore the Rolex Submariner;

Really need to get this watch serviced sometime in the next few months. 

Back to Mr Gill. The article was all about his brother Nick, an up-and-coming talented chef who was beginning to make a name for himself in France and who one day just disappeared off the grid. He told A. A. that he was leaving Britain "and not coming back", and then he vanished.
A.A. has spent almost two decades wondering what might have become of his brother. 
It is a heart-felt piece of writing. You can feel the despair and anguish that A.A. feels in not knowing what had become of his brother. They shared a closeness growing up;

My father would leave twenty pounds on the kitchen table every Friday night and disappear, and I would shop- I was a frugal quartermaster, shaving enough for beer and fags- and Nick would cook. He must have been thirteen.

It is a beautifully written article. Wistful, funny, eloquent and, having seen how the author's own life story has ended, just plain sad. 
The article is excerpted from Gill's recent biography, Pour Me: A Life, which chronicles his lost years at the bottom of a glass. I'm glad he managed to crawl up and over the rim. 

I can't say I've read much of A.A. Gill's writings. He specialised in food and travel writing, two subjects that I tend to gloss over when I come across them in a magazine. 
Although, I do remember reading a few pieces that he wrote for British GQ over the years and I recall thinking that he had a wonderful turn of phrase. And a razor-sharp wit.
Adrian Anthony Gill was diagnosed with "an embarrassment of cancer, the full English" (his own words) a few months ago and succumbed to it on December 10th. 
My wife told me of his death on Monday. "Oh no! Oh, man!", was my response. 
I'd raise a glass to you, Mr Gill, but I don't think that would be appropriate,sir. Instead, I'll make a tiramisu  this weekend. And save you a slice. 
Thanks for the wonderful words and wit. That was as sharp as your French iron cooking knife. The one that was as heavy as a rabbit. 

This has been a particularly nasty year with regard to those whom we have lost. Twenty-sixteen has taken too many angels before their time. Sure, I'm sounding flowery (or worse, pretentious), but while we can mourn the deaths of notable people who lived well into their late eighties and nineties, it has felt especially heartbreaking to endure the loss of talents such as Gill, Bowie and Prince because we are all too aware that they still had much to give. 
So, I personally can't wait for this year to end. It's been a real dog in some ways. But until January 1st, 2017, I don't think anybody's safe. Here's hoping for a happy new year indeed. 

Back to the wristwatches, I wore the Oris Diver Sixty-Five all week. Switched it from the steel bracelet to a black NATO strap;

Too much froth on that caffe latte. Good thing I wasn't paying for it. 
It's a pet-hate of mine when I pay for a take-away coffee and feel a half-empty cup. 
I hate paying for a cup of air. 
Probably one of the main reasons why we bought our own coffee machine years ago.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend, all!

***I've tried like hell to find these photos of A.A. Gill on the web again, in order to add the proper attribution to the photographer, but I've had no luck this evening. I'll keep trying.

EDIT 17/1/2017 - The photographer was Tom Craig! He worked with Gill for the last ten years.