Thursday, September 14, 2017

.random lessons.

When we look down, we know how big we are.
When we look up, we realize how small we are.
When we look in front, we see the obstacles and long road awaiting us.
When we look back, we notice the obstacles and hardships we've overcome.

Look up always and look down sometimes, not the other way around.
Look in front always and look back sometimes, not the other way around.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The most underrated luxury watch. The Omega Speedmaster.

When looking for a watch, I always look at their value, design, history, movement, & brand pedigree (in that particular order). One watch that I can say without a doubt is the most important watch in humankind would be the Omega Speedmaster, chosen by NASA to go on the moon. Worn by Buzz Aldrin when he walked on the moon. Utilized by Jack Swigert to time the 14 seconds boost during the Apollo 13 mission for re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. This is the most historically valuable watch.

This watch has history, and it has heaps of it. It is kind of a romantic story when you tell people about this watch. There's countless of stories to tell, from NASA's strict process to choose the watch till the impact it had on Apollo 13. Now tell me about the Daytona or the Zenith. The Daytona is a magnificent beast but it doesn't have a story that is half as interesting as the Speedmaster. The Zenith El-Primero, although technologically interesting and very important is also not as interesting as when you tell people about the moonwatch. Granted, there are the Monaco, the Submariner and also the Datejust, but seriously, how can it compare to the history of the Speedmaster.

The design of the Speedmaster has not changed much since 1957. It has been relatively similar except minor changes in size and crown guards as well as hands. The movement was upgraded once but the rest remain relatively the same. The color scheme, the dial symmetry and the functions all remain similar for 60 years. The movement which has been tried and tested especially the caliber 861/1861 is a modified or simplified version of the original cal 321. Although a lot of people prefer the beauty and complexity of the original caliber 321, you cannot deny that the new caliber 861/1861 is a much more robust and less complex caliber. Nothing else is compromised.

Omega as a brand is very well recognized. It is a very historically significant brand. Their trilogy, the Speedmaster, Seamaster and Railmaster was created as a very particular set of tools for very particular set of uses. Admittedly, it was by coincidence that the Speedmaster became the watch on the moon, but that doesn't mean the remaining Seamaster and Railmaster are the lesser watches. Their brand is very precise and well thought out. The evolution of the Constellation, Seamaster, Railmaster (back again) and even their DeVille lines are in sync with their design language. The Speedmaster is the only watch that remains largely unchanged since it was chosen as the watch to go into space. Kudos to that, I'll explain why that's important below.

You see, after 1965 with the straight hands, asymmetrical lugs and professional marking, most of it has remain unchanged. Why is that important?

Because the value of the Speedmaster due to this has become one of the most affordable luxury watch in the market. Omega could make incremental changes similar with the Rolex line and add in a ceramic bezel, have red markings, change it to a different handset or other minor cosmetic changes and increase it's price but Omega didn't. Instead, it left the changes for Special Editions. There's plenty of Special Editions in the market for the Omega Speedmaster and I'd be a fool to not say that it's kind of a norm by now. Once or twice every year is a very normal Special Edition occurrence for the Omega Speedmaster. Imagine if once every 5-10 years Omega decided to discontinue their previous edition and make minor incremental changes to their Speedmaster, that would undoubtedly increase the Speedmaster's collectability and value by spades. Just look at their CK2915/2998 or Caliber 321 versions. Their prices right now are astronomical. The reason the Omega Speedmaster remains the most important and affordable luxury watch in the market is because you can still buy the same watch they had in 1970s today. Except for the loss of tritium lume, everything else remains the same.

This is why in my opinion, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is the most romantic luxury watch that should be in every collector's box.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: The perfect everyday watch. The Rolex Datejust.

I've always wanted a Rolex. It wasn't the Submariner or Explorer that pulled me to Rolex. It is the datejust. For many people, Rolex is synonymous with Submariner or Explorer or even the Daytona but for me I was always pulled to the Datejust. Not the recent DJ41 but the old school American Psycho Datejust Two Tone. The ones worn by Tony Soprano or Fidel Castro.

So this year, I finally decided that I was going to pull the plug and get a DJ. I was looking either at a birthyear Datejust or 1601 for the value and piepan dial. I know they'll be easier to find and cheaper than getting one new. The large stick markers on the current DJs are also putting me off. I went into the AD once and put on the DJ and truthfully, I couldn't love it. I was mesmerized by the Explorer and Presidential DD 40 though... but that's another story for another day.
 Anyway, it was hard to find a birthyear watch in good condition so when a Linen Dial 1601 popped up at a great price, I was smitten and decided to pull the trigger. The watch is beaten up and the owner was selling it as it is. As soon I got it, I knew it needed some work. Thankfully, everything is just superficial, a light wipe on the bezel rubbed off the discoloration and some crystal polishing made the glass look new again. The bracelet was a replacement bracelet so I might need to source a new one.

The watch is now on custom endlinks and a leather cordovan strap. I think this look is my favourite bar the bracelet. Without endlinks, I feel that something is missing.

Anyway, the watch although 36mm wears nicely and feels beefier due to the larger lug to lug / oyster case. My example has the hacking feature but no quickset date thus changing dates will be a hassle. I don't mind it as much though.

The watch is a vintage means more care is needed. I can't really test the full capability of the 100m water resistance without further bar and pressure testing but as a dress watch I'm not bothered much by it. Truthfully, this is more of a dress piece than an all rounder for me as I have other watches in rotation for sportier events.

The Sigma Linen Tritium Dial makes this example harder to find and more special. I am enamored with the datejust and it makes me appreciate Rolex more every time I look at it. Now I understand why WIS still think Rolex is King even with all the negative stigma attached to it.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review: Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Yamaotoko.

First of all, let me start by saying that I'm new to watches and watch collecting. I googled so many different watches in the affordable range before deciding on this one. It was more of an impulsive decision but one that I have not regretted since.

I was looking at the SARB range and reading/watching youtube reviews. At the end of the day, I was undecided between the SARB033, SARB065 and SARB017. However, something about the sunburst dial green and many instagram pictures that capture the beauty of this watch made me take the jump.

I have had this watch for almost half a year and it started as a surprise to now, something that I cannot imagine being without. I have other watches in rotation but so far, this one gets the most time.

The Seiko Alpinist line was introduced in 1961 for mountain climbers. I think it is similar in concept to the Rolex Explorer in this case and in many other cases I will explain later especially this latest version. Dubbed the Yamaotoko or simply mountain men, it has a mountain engraving on the caseback of all Alpinist watches. I am also in love with the SARB015, black dial triangular indices alpinist. However, after being discontinued it's price has skyrocketed to something I'm not willing to pay for.

The SARB017 is stated as 38mm but realistically is closer to 39. However, it wears smaller due to the rotating inner bezel. It runs on a 6R15 movement that is rated at +-12-25s if I'm not mistaken but can be regulated to perform better. Out of the box, it is really dependent on luck how accurate it performs. Mine is well within +-10s. With a power reserve of 50 hours, I am able to rotate my watches easily without leaving this on a winder.

Truthfully, the watch doesn't work with a plethora of straps. I find the colors that are good on it is usually, black, brown and green. But on a bracelet, it takes a whole different beauty of its own.

Unfortunately the stock bracelet for the SARB017 costs around RM450-RM500 and I am very unwilling to pay 1/3 of the price of the watch for a bracelet. Luckily, I managed to find a watchmaker near my area who is able to custom make the bracelet out of an omega speedmaster lookalike bracelet. As soon as it is on a bracelet, it rarely leaves my hand. I no longer have to worry about moisture or sweat and treat it like a real TOOL watch.

Overall, this is definitely a piece I would not leave or sell. In fact, if Seiko announces that they will discontinue this model, I would most probably buy another one just as a backup.

Aesthetically, except for the black dial and inner rotating bezel which shows the North (there are tips online on how to use this function but please be careful as the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere has different methods of calculation), the watch is quite similar to the explorer.

I wouldn't use an Explorer as a toolwatch because I'm not THAT rich yet. But the SARB with it's sunburst green dial is very distinctly Seiko and truthfully, I much prefer the design of the Seiko. Obviously it lacks the ability to dress up due to the green dial unlike the Explorer but one can't hope for perfection in this range.

Oh, and if anyone sees a SSAF limited edition QUARTZ Alpinist at a good price, do tell me. :)

.random lessons.

When we look down, we know how big we are. When we look up, we realize how small we are. When we look in front, we see the obstacles and l...