Getting smarter

With the prospect of the Huawei Android Watch coming soon, to my mind the Smart watch phenomenon is hotting up.  So much so that this is the very first model I’ve seen that makes even me slightly excited.

Huawei Smart watch with 40 different dials!

Huawei Smart watch with 40 different dials!

Not excessively excited you understand, but there is definitely a frisson of expectancy about this model and that’s a first time a “smart” watch has affected me at all.

It actually has a lot of potential in my opinion and for starters it is a sensible size – maybe that’s also a first – just 42 mm diameter x 11.3 mm depth – Now that IS a surprise!

Same watch - different clothes!

Same watch – different clothes!

It has a Sapphire crystal too and 40, yes 40 different optional virtual Watch dial layouts, which must suit just about anyone.  A superb AMOLED display means fabulous clarity and all within a Stainless Steel case in Gold or Silver or Black finishes.  A stainless steel mesh strap or leather strap choice.  Plus it’s got sensors such as Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Barometer, Vibration alert and even a Microphone.

It looks pretty Smart to me.

It looks pretty Smart to me. In fact it looks VERY good.

It has the Smart functions that all you aspiring “get fit” folks out there must have, such as Daily Health function, Single activity tracking, Heart Rate tracking, hookup to your phone for Instant Messaging and Call notifications and all that stuff, that’s basically beyond your average 70+ year old (I wonder who he’s talking about!).  So this is just what you want isn’t it?

Smart functions via Bluetooth - messaging, Texts etc.

Smart functions via Bluetooth – messaging, Texts etc.

But importantly for me (of a certain age) this seems to be, virtually at least, a watch first with good traditional design, sensible size plus a one button functionality, so no silly complications and with all these different optional watch faces, I could wear a different one every day of the week.  Just what a smart collector needs to reduce the collection!

And above all it looks like a watch, feels like a watch, acts like a watch and can do as much or as little “Smarts” as you want and if you want to know boring things like the Day of the Week, the Date and the Time, then this might just be for you.  The Smarter stuff you can gently ease yourself into, or maybe not in my case – but at least I’ll be right up there.

Goodness I might end up fashionable, trendy, technically savvy and SMART too.     Wow!

NoteUnsure as to battery life other than to say it 300mAh which I’m told is good and lasts probably longer than others.  And it comes with Charging Cradle, PC connections etc etc.  Price wise? Not announced just yet, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t $300 range?  But that’s just a guess (hope) maybe, but it’s looking good. . . . . .

Upright from Lanco

Last Post showed my Bulova Golden Clipper and this time features my latest Lanco 1970 vertical Day-Date model from the Langendorf Watch Co. of Switzerland.

Lanco vertical read Day/Date with quick set calendar

Lanco – Swiss vertical read Day/Date with quick set calendar

Note the cherry red dial background with white/chrome batons and a clear and contrasting Day/Date window indication @6, chromed hour and minute hands with a center sweep seconds hand. There are luminous dot markers and infill to the main hands, but no longer active today.  The surprisingly large and heavy solid Stainless Steel case is not perhaps the finest machining you’ll see, but the top surface is satin finished and the curved case sides are at least chamfered (the lower edges towards the integral solid steel bracelet are sharp edged).

Large 107gms Stainless Steel case with integral bracelet.  Lanco New old Stock

Large 107gms Stainless Steel case with integral bracelet. Lanco New old Stock

As said this case is large for the period at 42 mm x 36 mm x 12 mm and with the original integral stainless bracelet, which because of it’s fitting stands out a little proud from the case means the top to bottom dimension is more around 52 mm, so for the smaller wrist please note.

Marked Anton Schild (AS) 2066 automatic with 46 hrs power reserve.

Marked Anton Schild (AS) 2066 automatic with 46 hrs power reserve.

Complete with the excellent and clearly marked AS 2066 (Anton Schild) 25 jewel mechanical Automatic movement which features a Crown quick set calendar for both Day and Date and a 46 hr power reserve, so no slouch in the quality stakes.

Wears quite big on the wrist, this Lanco, but looks great!

Wears quite big on the wrist, this Lanco, but looks great!

I also note the bracelet comes with a removable 20 mm extension to the deployment feature, of a style I’ve not seen before and simply fitted with a small spring bar.

So two vertical Day/Date features 1970’s brands and yet so different as models.  The Bulova from my last Post is a more refined watch overall with rounded elegant case fitting in comparison, though both look great on the wrist and of course both are starring in my new “odd features” box with the unusual vertical read Day and Date feature window @6, a style that can also be found in limited numbers from Rado, Hamilton, Enicar, Jules Jurgenson and even West End Watch Co.

As styles go this is a relatively rare find these days, especially in such good condition.  With different Brands it’s also fascinating to see which movements are used, especially with the use of vertical set Day/Date wheels.  Quite a number used quality AS movements and a nice compliment to what were often radically different 1970’s watch designs, and such a step change from the more traditional styles of the 1950/60’s.

In the case of this particular Lanco Brand, the Langendorf Company who started in 1880 and known at one time as the largest clock manufactury in the world, progressing, if that’s the right word to the abbreviated Lanco company name from 1960, which in 1970/1 merged with the Omega/Tissot Group as a quality equal, though that said watch production under the Lanco brand finally ended just a few years later in 1973.   So as an example of a Brand that won’t see the light of day again, perhaps ghosting through Omega/Tissot models today, may be one thing, but to have a Langendorf original does give me a little thrill.

The collecting game – could this be a new phase?

Isn’t it funny how your collection ideas can alter over the years.  There was that time when you thought that Swatch was the thing, then all the variants of Timex or Casio then the true vintage models of 1920 – 1949, then the rectangular models, Day and Date models, Radio Controlled ones and so on and on . . . basically morphing as it goes along.

And in my own case my stuff has always been a bit eclectic (even eccentric, some would say) and I tend to buy and collect mostly what I like, with little regard whether a “collectors” item or not – I basically don’t care about that aspect of watch collecting.  Though I have to say that as my “proper” vintage watches go I have to admit over recent years refining these to more “collectible” ones, that I like, that is . . .

Needless to say this has begun to match other collectors ideas of what collectibles are all about, though I hasten to add, quite a few of the so called favorites are not represented (Rolex for example) – simply as I don’t like them very much, so why would I buy one.   Odd that may be, but does show I’ve not completely joined the ranks of convention – well not quite yet.

However, recently I’ve shifted towards more retro and in particular the wonderful 1970’s period.   In this new collection my preference is for automatic mechanical models and often models that have a theme, such as dial shape or odd features.  You have to remember that the 1970s was a pretty amazing time and one that I lived through – and I mean lived . .  . so has a personal and evocative nostalgia.

I suppose much of my love of the 70’s kick started just a few months before – in Bethel, New York on the 15th to the 18th August 1969 when I was long haired (oldish) hippy style with harmonica and guitar – and gone in the cloud (yes we had them in those days) with that fantastic experience – Woodstock!  If you don’t know what that was, then look it up.  But you had to be there – oh yeah – man . . .

So in that crazy free and forward looking time, when lots of serious grown up problems were on us  – not that we understood them anyway, because we had a Microwave! and crazy piled up hair (and this is the men) Peace man and Ban the Bomb, the end of the Vietnam War and the discovery of “Black holes” and the new wave riot of color – everywhere, and Discos and bean bags, space hoppers, and all in the face of rampant 30% inflation, Star Wars and even the Hostess trolley (came with that Microwave!) and all that – what also appeared was a wave of new style avant-garde watches, where the Swiss plus some others burst on to the scene with wonderful new designs and shapes in amazing styles – indeed creations of form that vibrantly portrayed the people freedom of the 1970’s perfectly.
Squares, triangles, ovals, geometrics and goodness knows what, automatics, manual winds, Tuning Forks movements, new “jump” ideas and fantastic dial configurations, shapes, colors and so on – as I say a fascinating period.

So it’s this era that’s got me not only interested (the phrase “light my fire” comes to mind) but actually excited once again and the great thing about 1968 – 1979 is that these great gone for ever models are still affordable.  In twenty years these could be the true vintage models and my present vintage collection will be antique, or certainly more specialist perhaps and maybe, just maybe, dare I say – rather dull . . . .

So this year it looks like I’m into the 70’s and already off to a flying start, such is the excitement of my collecting once again.  In fact quite a few of my eclectic “modern” and vintage models might have to go to make room for my new ideas collection.

The upright Golden Clipper

When collecting watches it’s often the case that one particular brand is not too well represented and sometimes just for the fact that you never got round to it.  And in the case of Bulova that’s probably right in my case, though that said I did have a Bulova Accutron 218 many years ago which I sold on at the time as payment for another model.

Great wrist fit - 37.5 mm x 39 mm lug to lug plus original Kreisler Stelux bracelet

Great wrist fit – 37.5 mm x 39 mm lug to lug plus original Stainless Kreisler Stelux bracelet

However recently I bought an earlier Bulova from 1970 and for no other reason than I particularly liked the rather unusual case and dial layout.  Note the luminous infill hour and minute hands, the red seconds sweep hand and the luminous dot markers at each applied minute marker, gives a clearly defined dial (note the luminous material no longer active).  I particularly like the different background shades for the Day and the Date wheels, which aids clarity.  And of course how could you miss the vertical Day and Date @6 which sets it apart from most watches and if honest the main reason for my purchase.  The case is in polished Stainless Steel and oval in shape and whilst I’ve heard it called the UFO case, though maybe a personal observation by an owner and certainly not official, it is in fact quite a rare shape for a Gents model and a very decent size at approximately 37.5 mm wide and 39 mm lug to lug, and as a result it sits well on the wrist.
It also has the Bulova Automatic Swiss 17 jewel movement so is well specified, though from the dial you wouldn’t know it was automatic, as it’s not printed on the dial, the only dial text being the “T -SWISS-T” mark and the large text Bulova name @12.  For me however it’s just the combination of all of these factors that I find uniquely interesting.

Golden Clipper model 11616 - 1970 Automatic

Golden Clipper model 11616 – 1970 “J” model Automatic in original box

Bulova produced a large number of watches over the years and amazingly eclectic variations were available in the 1970’s but actually only a few models that featurde a vertical Day and Date display.  Other were a 1972 Caravelle AK model and a 1973 Jet Star model 11634 with squared case and I’m delighted to say that my watch can be confirmed as the Golden Clipper model 11616 from 1970 (and the most expensive of the 4) and I attach an image from the 1970 McLeans Magazine advert running the Golden Clipper series and with the Stainless Steel 11616 model shown on the right.  I note the advert text is sometimes difficult to read and has I think been misread in the web site, but this clearer image shows it’s definitely 11616.  The 2nd marketing image is a newspaper clipping, which also shows this model as part of another Golden Clipper advert.

However it’s always nice to have your watch model validated and with Bulova it’s actually easier being a USA Brand when compared to most Swiss made watches, as the (USA) records are usually much better.  But for the most comprehensive data I’ve seen, a visit to the web site and forum is very worth while being a mecca for Bulova owners, as it’s a terrific source of information.

As to my new acquisition, I’m particularly pleased as it included the original Bulova watch box which is in very good condition.  The watch itself was sold and described as 8/10 condition, though personally I might up that grading myself.  Especially after checking out the movement which is in about as good a condition I’ve seen.  Note the large italic B for Bulova cut out on the rotor which is a nice validation.

Bulova Automatic 11ANACB with the B signed rotor in pristine condition.

Bulova Automatic 11ANACB with the B signed rotor in pristine condition.

The movement is the 17 jewel 11ANACB automatic.  Exterior wise after some careful and superficial cleaning with a small brush and cloth (no solvents used) the watch looks virtually as new.   The stainless steel Kreisler Stelux bracelet signed Bulova is the original and in excellent condition and easily fit my wrist (the bracelet will fit up to approx 190 mm).  For what is a relatively rare 45 years old vertical Day and Date @6 display Bulova Golden Clipper, the condition is pretty exceptional and has to be one of my best buys for a considerable time and I’m delighted.

An interesting fact about the 1970 Golden Clipper series is that Bulova ran a promotional campaign, where they commissioned Wilkinson Sword Company of London to produce a limited run of 100 presentation swords, one of which would be offered each of the first 100 customers buying this model.  With an etched blade inscribed-  “Bulova Golden Clipper – Presentation Award 1970″ on one side and the Wilkinson Sword mark on the other.  A promotional gift they may be, but they are full size, beautifully made and uniquely Wilkinson and actually pretty rare today!

In fact I could get one, but here in the UK importing such a sword might cause all sorts of problems, what with our Draconian blade laws.  So whilst it would be nice to have the completeness of the collection (perhaps all 4 watch models plus the sword), I can probably do without the hassle.

Condition wise this watch is really very good considering it’s age and it’s managed to pick up only two small dings (one on the case back and the other on the lower front of the case), but these are hardly noticeable, which is why I would grade it as good as I do.

Setting the Day and Date on some of these old Bulova models can be tricky and time consuming, as there is no “quick set” Date here.  Basically it’s by means of hands movement, backwards and forwards, then over the am/pm, back and forth etc. to get the Day, Date and Time as you would like.  But that’s the way it is and I’m OK with that.  On the plus side however, once set, the watch keeps excellent time and runs as smooth as silk.

Note the model number is 11616 as shown in this 1970 advertisement.

Note the model number is 11616 as shown in this 1970 MacLeans Magazine (ref)

Another 1970's advertisement from a newspaper of the period.

Another 1970’s advertisement from a newspaper of the period.

Note – The price of this watch today, if using the selling price in 1970 as a guide, would be somewhere in the region of $700 – accounting for inflation of course (around 500%).

So good value today, though I hasten to add I didn’t pay that!

So that’s my latest vintage purchase and it’s noticeable that I’m tending to buy models that are not as old as I usually get.  It might be that although there are plenty old ones still around, it’s definitely becoming much more expensive, especially if you are looking for good condition models.

There are many, many models around which are frankly, in poor condition and in Auction Sales for example, the Seller seems to expect the same prices I used to pay for good condition models.  Part of the reason of course is that Sellers have to pay sellers fees, so in their eyes losing their item’s value to them – so they expect more to compensate.  However being a Buyer I’m also being hit considerably harder with what I now consider excessive Buyers fees, plus Vat and so on and I end up with an item which costs sometimes far more that its true value and that’s not really acceptable either.
In the case of really good condition vintage models of the 1920-1945, the prices now can be really high and I’m not too sure if I’m happy paying those prices, though there’s always the exception.

However in the case of the Bulova Golden Clipper here, I got this via Ebay from a bona fide Watchmaker/Dealer and in the end I was happy with my purchase as was the Seller.  Now that’s surely a better deal all round.

Sky Hawk – upgrade?

Not so long ago I invested in a replacement for my old Navitimer (which I sold on in a fit of insanity!) with a Sky Hawk JYooo5-50E, and I have to say I’m really pleased with it.  But as these things do, the latest incarnation (Japanese Domestic market) is the new Citizen Promaster PMV65-2272

Is it me?  Or have the internal bezels ruined that Classic look?

Is it me? Or have the internal bezels ruined that Classic look?

and for me at least the jury is out as to whether this is an improvement or not.

This is the latest one and you can spot the difference immediately.  The outer slide-rule bezel has disappeared to materialize inside the watch and adjusted by the use of a turn screw crown on the outside of the case.  The case is black colored Titanium, which I do like, but the rest of the dial set up is more or less the same as it’s always been – and for that I am truly happy – why change a design classic?
The functions are more or less the same I understand, Chronograph, Radio Control, Eco-Drive etc etc.  The lighting is as was, so is about as good as it gets and that appears to be it.

Slide rule inside not outside.  So it looks slightly different and funnily enough I’m the kind of guy that’s never been overly fond of multi-data bezels, so I should like it.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E - Looks sleek and Classic!

Skyhawk JY0005-50E – Looks sleek and Classic!

But NOT SO – as in the case of the older Citizen Navitimer and Sky Hawk models – these bezels have always just been SO good and so much part of the design concept – I love them.

So unfortunately the outside to inside bezel change just doesn’t do it for me – and is it me or has the new version suddenly become a little lumpier exterior wise?  And not nearly as sleek with that extra (and large) crown on the left side and the existing ones looking larger and more aggressive?

Now OK I accept that the Slide-rule element bezels are now closer together so should work better together as a slide-rule and that’s as may be – BUT –

Conclusion – Can’t see any reason for this so called upgrade, as my older model is still available and at a much cheaper price and looks better in my opinion.

What can I say?

Chips with everything?

Smart News –

The latest news that every watch site is reporting is in a way confirmation of what I said in a recent Post, the idea that traditional Watch manufacturers are looking at incorporating Chips in their watches, has finally had the seal of approval from one of the masters of pilot watches – Breitling.  The Breitling B55 (connected) is on it’s way and to be in the marketplace later this year.

The Breitling B55 connected.

The Breitling B55 connected.  Note the Bluetooth icon will NOT be on the production models.

Yes this model connects to a Breitling Mobile App you can get for your iPhone (and I expect Android to follow) so that it can wirelessly communicate to your phone via Bluetooth – and the App looks set to be a winner too as it’s not just another “message notification one”.

This particular App allows you to change Time Zones, change the watch display, set alarms, show watch operated results and other watch data, just like the watch dial itself, though in a larger format – plus of course that phone data etc.

It also is noted that the battery life (chargeable) is considerably longer than the Apple Smart watch variety, but importantly you still have the very well specified watch functions whether charged or not – it is still an independent fully functioning Chronograph and all the rest of it.

The Breitling App - almost a monitor for the watch dial.

The Breitling App – virtually a control monitor for the watch dial.

I particularly like the comment made by Breitling with this slightly barbed reference:

“For Breitling, there was no question of turning a watch into an extension dependent on a phone and less high-performance than the latter.”

My sentiments exactly.

No doubt in my mind that this is the preferred way to go for the so called Smart WATCH – and perhaps not so much “look out Swiss Watch Industry, Apple’s on it’s way” – but “Look out Apple, the Swiss have woken up – again!”

Still whichever way it goes, now at least we have some serious competition from folks who know about watches – and you never know, maybe the big three quartz majors will get off their collective too – as there’s not a lot they don’t know about watches AND electronics – now that would be something!


Something different (3)

Well the Xeric Xeriscope is certainly different and on first impressions I like it.  Here you have a visible and unusual “Orbital” watch movement, which is available in various styles and has everything you need to see on the dial.

The Automatic Xeric Xericscope - dual time from Watchismo Brothers

The Automatic Xeric Xericscope – dual time from Watchismo Brothers

Reading this watch is easy, the main and orbiting Automatic movement has an Hour pointer attached, which precesses slowly around the Hour index at the edge of the viewing aperture and completing the full orbit every 12 hours,

The minute sub-dial is @12 and I find it rather unique as it uses a double ended pointer/hand of two different lengths, and as you follow the minutes round, the appropriate pointer indicates each minute on the segmented Minute index, which is really quite clever.

Whilst the dial shows the time easily it is clearly a different style display that manages to be simple and efficient with little dial clutter.  A Power Reserve indication is @10 and the Automatic movement gives around 50 hours when fully wound.  Being Automatic and mechanical it is powered by the wearer’s wrist movement using a conventional Automatic Rotor system.

So a neat and modern complication watch, but with the addition of a unique Orbiting mechanical movement, which if I understand it correctly, moves basically as the Hour hand would do in a conventional watch, but in a sort of Tourbillon-esque manner.  In the case of the Tourbillon however, the movement revolves 360º in 60 seconds as it precesses, and provides a fascinating “mobile” experience.
But I like the conceptual look of the Xeric and coupled with the tricky minute hand/indication, is rather different and refreshing.

The watch dimensions are 45 mm diameter x 13 mm height, a smooth edge top bezel and case in Stainless Steel.  There is a porthole case-back with a mineral crystal so the movement and rotor can be seen from the rear.  The crown is a large Onion style and is used to set both the main time and the dual time, the latter being set to whatever second time (hour) appropriate for your needs.

The watch has a Water Resistance of 5 ATM or 50 m and has a lug width of 22 mm for the leather strap.

Produced by Watchismo and sold direct by them on their web site – HERE.   The model comes in various colors and styles, though for me and as regards clarity I prefer the one I’ve featured here, but of course is personal choice.

Certainly a “something different” I would say and nice to see. . . .


Timex race colors

I’ve always had concerns about the Intelligent Quartz series from Timex owing to the general lack of dial clarity.  Silvered hands, reflective indices and so on just adds to what for me personally is often a cluttered and confusing mass of data.

The Timex Intelligent Yacht Racer - a color triumph!

The Timex Intelligent Yacht Racer – a color triumph!

However with the latest Intelligent Quartz Yacht Racer, Timex seem to have addressed that issue in spades.

At last the use of color and decent sized hands plus a bit of imagination regarding placement of everything and it looks like a winner – IF you’re into yachting of course, otherwise the delay chronograph starts of 1, 3 and 5 minutes doesn’t make much sense.

But the title of course does spell it out – and this is definitely what this model is all about.

There are quite a few hands to look at, so instructions are at first a must, though for the core purpose of Yacht racing it’s actually relatively simple.  This digital movement model also has a Perpetual “Perfect” Calendar Date function that needn’t be adjusted until 2060 – it’s always correct and indicated by the push of a button, then the big yellow hand indicates the Date as printed on the outer case bezel.  After a few seconds it returns to the 12 position.

The yacht racing bit is where the chronograph starts after a set countdown period, either 1, 3 or 5 minutes, by counting down to zero and then it starts the main chronograph function.  The 3 countdown time sectors can be seen on the sub-dial @3, where you have the different countdown time indications.

It’s certainly a big step up from the previous models, basically as I said, owing to the previous clarity issues and this looks on the face of it (sorry!) to be much improved.  However I would really have to see it in reality in my hand before being absolutely sure it’s as good as it looks, but I’m certainly very encouraged so far.

It is quite a large watch at 47 mm diameter x 14 mm thick and it has a Water Resistance of 100m, which is good.  As it’s so colorful it should I’m sure get a few admiring looks from those who don’t have one.  It’s also an interesting “on demand” Date concept, getting rid of the often overly small date window buried in amongst the hands and so on – and to just push a button, then indicate the Date clearly on the large bezel seems very sensible – and I like that.

So looking good and definitely worth a look – in person . . . . .

Here’s some Yacht race instructions – to get you in the mood.Ashampoo_Snap_2015.03.27_11h31m14s_002_



Ashampoo_Snap_2015.03.27_11h32m11s_005_Timex on the odd occasion do get things right and this may be one of those times.  The above instructions are part of the .pdf file available for the Intelligent Series and can be downloaded in their entirety from HERE.

Optimum Time Series 3 Jumbo Sailing Watch

Optimum Time Series 3 Jumbo Sailing Watch

Of course if you’re really into Yacht racing then maybe you prefer this bespoke Yacht Timer.  It’s big at 67 mm and it’s digital display which in this instance may be very clear and it has audible this and that, but for all that it looks just a little – boring?

And which do I prefer? – well it’s obvious – the Timex of course, just because of their effort and design – for me they’ve nailed it.