Tag Archives: hobbies

A True Classic – the Red Bezel Swiss Army

Welcome back to Wednesday Watch Day! Today I am going to share with you a true classic, but one that is more sentimental to me than practical. It’s my 1992-ish Swiss-Made Swiss Army field watch.

Say that three times fast! LOL

Second, But Better

Last week I told you about the watch I’ve had the longest, the Vostok Komanderskie (actually, this month makes 30 years!). But this week I am going to tell you about the second watch my wife ever purchased for me.

Back in 1992, not long after my wife and I were just dating, she wanted to buy me a new watch. Now, my memory isn’t the best, but I think she wanted to buy me a watch because she like me, or something like that.

Back in those days, back in Chattanooga, TN, there was a very respectable jewelry store called Rone Regency Jewelers. It was a locally-owned establishment with a stellar reputation for selling fine jewelry and watches, such as Rolex and Patek Phillipe. This is where my wife (girlfriend at the time) took me to shop.

Long story short, I found a watch that I considered to be a work of art and absolutely gorgeous, and it didn’t cost as much as a Rolex (which was only about $2,500 at that time). No, it was a beautiful Seiko Chronograph. It must have been a rare piece, because I’ve never since been able to find an example of it.

But the Seiko kept breaking! Literally, the second hand kept coming off inside the case! At one point they even accused me of doing something to it! That didn’t make me happy, of course. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to take a watch apart.

So, eventually, the remedy was to exchange the Seiko Chronograph for something else. What did I pick? The relatively new Swiss Army field watch with the white face and red bezel, and it was really a stunner.

We took it home for only – only – $110. That would be about the equivalent of $200, today. We saved money over the Seiko, that’s for sure.

Nearly 30 years later and it’s NEVER broken!

A Duh Moment

Now, I just said that this watch never broke on me. That’s not 100% correct. To begin with, the strap finally fell apart and I had to replace it. That’s not a big deal. But the real problem was that the hard resin case might have been tough, but years of wear caused a spring pin to wear out one of the retaining holes. Therefore, the watch band would keep coming off.

So, what did I do? I took it back to the store where I originally purchased it (except at there fancy new location). Could they fix it? No. All they could do was tell me they could send it back to the manufacturer and receive a NOS case . . . for $250!!

Nope. Not gonna.

I was pretty sad at that point. What was I to do? That’s when my wife suggested something that made me feel like an idiot. She asked, “Why not use a bigger pin for the strap?”

Duh! It worked. Go figure.

Not My Type?

Fast forward to today. My wife and I will have been married 27 years, and she’s still, if not more, my type. But not the Swiss Army watch.

The problem with the watch is the size. These days I prefer a casual watch to be in the 40mm range (the width of the case). The Swiss Army is smaller than that at only 38.5mm. It really looks small on my 7.5 inch wrist.

Or does it?

Just yesterday a brand new strap I ordered, one like the original, came in the mail. Just for this post I decided to put it on and see how it felt. Lo and behold, it’s not as small as I remember! Maybe it had something to do with the small NATO strap I had on it?

It actually looks pretty good! Maybe it’s time to show it some long-overdue love.

I mean, really, it was love that bought it, right? 🙂

John 3:16

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Wednesday Watch Day! Vintage Vostok

Vostok or Bostock?

Spellcheck is having a difficult time with this one. For some reason it thinks I want to talk about a fancy kind of French toast, not a Russian-made watch.

Then there’s all that Russian alphabet craziness that makes things even more confusing – the English transliteration is “Boctok.” It’s pronounced “Vostok,” even if you spell it as Vostoc or Vostock.

Anyhoo…

Welcome to the first weekly instalment I’m calling “Wednesday Watch Day!” where I will dedicate each post to a watch that is currently in my personal collection.

The Komandirskie

What was that? Oh, that’s another Russian word. It means “Commander.” And it’s my vintage Vostok Komandirskie that will be the focus of today’s post.

Why this watch? Well, this is not the oldest watch I own, but it is the watch which I’ve owned the longest (30 years!). It’s also the watch that I bought in the most unusual place.

Back in August of 1991, while on a mission trip to the newly-opened Romania, I spent a few days in Budapest, Hungary. Budapest is divided by the Danube River, and the beautiful Széchenyi Chain Bridge, which spans from Buda to Pest, is where I picked up this piece.

See the source image
If you look to the far end on the right, there is a lion, right above the bow of the riverboat. That’s where I bought my watch.

I had already spent half the day walking all over town, but then I came to the bridge. No more than 100 feet across I was stopped by a guy that reminded me of the men in movies with long trench coats. He asked, “Buy a watch?” Well, I think that’s what he asked. I mean, he offered me this cool-looking watch with a Russian star on it and seemed to want my money in exchange.

Honestly, by the time this moment had rolled around, I was looking for anything at all that I could take back as a souvenir. I had no idea if what I was buying was legit, overpriced, or a great deal. All I know was that I paid around 25 dollars for this watch, which was more than likely what they were going for new at the time, at least over there. But you can pick a new one up these days for literally less than $50.

Memories

I have a very eclectic collection of watches. None were purchased as investments, and only a few have any real resale value. The fact is that most all the watches in my collection hold sentimental value or are attached to some story in my life. That’s why this watch is one of the most important ones.

When I bought this watch back in 1991, I had just about concluded a month-long trip to eastern Europe during which I rode an overnight train through Transylvania, saw Roman ruins, gave out hundreds of Bibles to people who hadn’t seen one in 70 years, and led nearly 80 people to Christ! Every time I wear this watch I remember those days.

Specs

So, let’s finish up with a few important details. First off, Vostok is a Russian watchmaker that in 1965 was contracted by the Soviet government to create and supply watches to the military. The Kamandirskie was the first model developed and is still be manufactured with very little changes. It is a simple, manually wound tank of a watch that mirrors the non-complexity of the typical Russian weapon. It ain’t fancy, but it works – and will keep working.

  • Case diameter: 39.8mm
  • Thickness: 11.5mm
  • Lug width: 18mm
  • Lug-to-lug: 40.8mm
  • Screw down crown
  • Screw down case back
  • Stainless steel case
  • Omni-directional, friction based bezel
  • Plexiglass crystal
  • 17-jewel manually wound movement

So, that’s it for this week. Next week we will look at my next-oldest watch, one my wife bought for me 🙂

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Support Your Local Artists (and bloggers)

Things are slowly getting back to normal and I’m painting again.

If you would like to beautify your dreary environment or cover a hole in your wall, please consider my drawings, paintings, and photographs 🙂

Original works will vary in price, but the cost of prints will be pretty much the same across the board. ALL prices will INCLUDE the cost of shipping within the United States.

The highest quality prints are those that look and feel like the original watercolor painting. They also cost more to make. They are the “gicleé reproduction” prints.

Photographic prints are still high quality, but easier to produce. They will cost considerably less.

  • 9×12” gicleé reproduction prints are $30 (with free shipping in the U.S.
  • 5×7” gicleé prints are $16.50 (free shipping)
  • 9×12” photographic prints are $12 (free shipping)
  • 5×7” photographic prints are $10 (includes shipping)

Below are a few examples. More are coming in the weeks ahead.

https://checkout.square.site/buy/C76XODUV67SN773Q5RRUA42D
https://checkout.square.site/buy/ZYR62ONRAWYRCANCI2PI7YPS
https://checkout.square.site/buy/7I6EXF2MKHV7Q5MLI44V6AO5
https://checkout.square.site/buy/JPVT5LBXQJDSSH262VOCL3UA
https://checkout.square.site/buy/32LJBRYGO57CWDWGJWE3ZQGL

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Hobbies Funding Hobbies

It has been a great day. What you are looking at is the result of one hobby funding another hobby. That’s a great way to do things, right?

To begin, the watch on the right is a Russian-made 17-jewel manual wind Vostok I picked up in Hungary back in 1992 (paid $50, which was way too much back then). But ever since the band broke, I haven’t worn it in 25 years! You guys helped pick out the strap 🙂

On the left is a piece I’ve been planning at some point to purchase (when I lost 10 pounds). However, this Casio MDV106-1AV (Duro) was sitting in the case at Walmart with a “clearance” sticker on it. It normally goes from 50-70 dollars, but they were only asking $35 for it! For the uninitiated, this is a must-have basic dive watch (200 meter rating) that one of the the richest men in the world (Bill Gates) wears.

Long story concluded, I sold some art I did that paid for both the watch and the strap, with $6.80 left over!

After a beggar outside Walmart got the $.80 from me, I wound up making a couple of dollars and now have two more wearable watches in my amateur collection 🙂

I like having hobbies! 😁👏🏻 Now all I need to do is sell enough art to buy a Grand Seiko.

Yeah, maybe I ought to stick with little Seikos 😉

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