Tag Archives: watches

Wednesday Watch Day! The Next Best Thing

A Guy’s Gotta Dream

Welcome to another episode of Wednesday Watch Day. I hope you are enjoying these weekly trips into my personal horological world. However, my best assumption is that you’ve almost got to be a watch nerd to read past this sentence 😉

Anyway, are there things in your life that you wish you could have, but reality has whispered in your ear, “Get real”? I’m that way with a particular brand of watch – Tudor.

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Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41 (Retail: $3,050)

And when it comes to Tudor watches, there are three that I sometimes daydream about. One of those is the Heritage Black Bay 41 with a black dial (I’ll tell you about the other two, later).

Now, I don’t want to go on and on about the Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41, but some details may help lend perspective. This particular watch is 41mm in diameter, made of stainless steel, and has a scratchproof sapphire crystal. It also has a screw down crown at the 3 o’clock position, a screw down solid case back, and has a water resistant rating of 150 meters (500ft.).

Inside the Tudor is the caliber 2824 movement (based on the Swiss-made ETA 2824) which has 25 jewels and bits at 28,800 vph (vibrations per hour). Besides being very accurate for a mechanical watch, this smooth movement give Tudor an approximate 38-hour power reserve.

Reality Ain’t So Bad!

Here’s the reality: unless I become a famous painter, author, or pastor of a church with a big, golden globe rotating behind me when I preach, I’ll be saving a long, long time for a Tudor.

However, just because I can’t afford a Black Bay 41, that doesn’t meant I can’t have the next best thing, a Seiko SRPE55!

Seiko SRPE55 ($200 – $300)

Honestly, I love my Seiko and wear it more than any other watch in my collection. To be specific (because I have an app on my phone that track all this stuff), my SRPE55 has a wear rate of 12.5%, compared to the next-most-worn watch at only at 7.5%!

And why shouldn’t I love it? I mean, look, if you didn’t know anything about watches, a quick glance at both would make one question the huge price difference. They look very similar and the Seiko even has a day/date complication and a longer (41 hour) power reserve!

My watch on a page from a Tudor catalogue. Left-Right: Tudor Heritage Black Bay 41; Seiko SRPE55; Tudor Heritage Black Bay 36 (all to scale)

Look, there are real, honest-to-goodness reasons why Tudors cost 10 times the amount of a Seiko (although you can pay over $5 grand for some Seiko’s). The 4R36 movement in the SRPE55 has 24 jewels and operates at 21,600 beats an hour, but it’s not as smooth at the Tudor. Neither is the water resistance rating of 100 meters as good, partly due to the push/pull crown.

But that’s not all the differences; the Seiko only has a “Hardlex” crystal, not sapphire, which is more prone to scratches. But the real differences go much deeper than a casual glance can see, and these differences are what demands a much higher premium for one and not the other.

However, the Seiko DOES have a pretty open case back 🙂

True Beauty

You know the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

There’s another saying you may know. It goes like this: “True beauty is more than skin deep.”

But if true beauty is more than skin deep, and if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who can actually see the true beauty?

I know Who! He’s even the One who invented time!

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the LORD sees, for humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 CSB, God speaking to Samuel regarding Eliab, one of David’s brothers

Samuel listened to God and didn’t choose the “next best” option. Looks weren’t everything.

But I think the Lord would still prefer me stick with what I’ve got 😉

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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.

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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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Name That Watch #2

Last week I introduced you the first watch in my amateur collection and asked for name suggestions.

You rolled your eyes and refrained from participating.

But I’ve started something, so I must continue,

This week’s piece is a strange and quirky one from the ‘70s, a Swiss-made Lucerne jump hour that belonged to my grandfather.

It is a mechanical, hand-wind watch which I currently have attached to a black rubber strap off of an Orient Kamasu divers watch.

What would you name it?

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Name That Watch!

“I’m Not THAT Obsessive!”

Maybe about a week ago Timothy Daugherty, a friend, asked me on Facebook, “Do you name your watches?” My reply was, “No. I’m not THAT obsessive.”

He asked the question because I had recently posted some “glamor photos” of several of my watches. I was bored, and it was just something different and fun to do instead of going to sleep. I should have gone to sleep – I don’t get enough as it is.

But it did get me to thinking about what I would name my watches if I actually named my watches. Believe it or not, I found it easier to name our children.

BTW, I have a thing for watches.

A New Series!

So, last night, while I was once again fighting sleep, an idea flashed in my brain. Why not do a weekly blog post where readers on my blog and on Facebook decide what to name each of my watches?

It’s either a great idea, or it’s not. Either way, I’m going forward with it.

Name That Watch!

This is how it’s going to work… Each week I’m going to post a picture of one of my watches, along with each piece’s back story. Then, in the comment sections of both here and on Facebook, you can leave your suggestions.

For the next few days after each post, I will collect your suggestions and then compile the top 5 that I like. Then, probably on Facebook, I will create a survey/poll where you can vote on which one you like the most. The name with the most votes will win.

The person who first suggests the winning name will receive a prize! A prize? YES, a prize!

The winning name suggester will receive an autographed picture of the watch being named – if you want it, of course 😉

So, let’s get to it . . . time’s a ticking!

Watch #1: The Swiss Army Field Watch

This watch was purchased back in the mid-’90s from Rone Regency Jewelers in Chattanooga, TN. The way it came about is that my wife had bought me a beautiful, expensive, very complicated Seiko chronograph for a gift. Oh, it was a beautiful watch, but for some reason, the second hand kept messing up. At one point it fell off! After getting it fixed more than once, I was not the only one frustrated.

Instead of keeping the original watch, and instead of dealing with the mounting suspicions that I was doing something to the Seiko to make it break, the manager suggested I exchange the Seiko for another watch. He suggested something a little tougher (and not as expensive), then guided me to the watch you see here.

Watchu see is a classic Swiss-made Swiss Army watch sporting an aftermarket red-striped NATO strap. This watch is powered by a quartz movement (uses a battery) with a date complication. It also hacks (which means you can stop the second hand to set a more precise time).

The 38mm case is made of resin and has a stainless steel screw-down case back. The crystal seems to be mineral.

Unquestionably, the most outstanding aspect of this watch is the red-enameled stainless steel bezel.

So, can you think of a name?

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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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Terrible Endeavors Require Tangible Incentives

Allow me to begin with a quote:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

I have some goals… some very specific, personal goals. Should I achieve those goals, I will “get” – I will receive – some tangible rewards for my accomplishments. They will instinctivize me and motivate me in ways that verbal support cannot.

However, as Zig Ziglar pointed out, what I will achieve by meeting my goals will be far more important than the tokens of my success. I get that. That’s why I’m setting the goals in the first place.

But knowing myself and my history, without some kind of tangible reward on the other side of the tape, I will, as I have so often done before, quit the race before it’s over, before I reach my goals. I need more than the satisfaction of a race well-run to motivate me through the pain and sacrifice needed to be a winner…

I need a trophy

The HUGE Announcement

I mentioned on Facebook that I had a HUGE announcement. Actually, I didn’t say that I had a HUGE announcement as much as I said that I had made some goals.

I’m establishing a HUGE goal for myself. I need your support. For the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. Details coming soon. #leanandmean

Therefore, here are the details . . .

I am tired of my appearance. I am disgusted with my weight. I regularly look in the mirror and hate what I see. Yet, since I know myself better than anyone but God, I am not one who sticks with any weight-loss plan, diet, or workout schedule for very long. Just seeing the number on the scale reduce is not as comforting as buttered cornbread or BBQ pizza.

“Terrible endeavors require tangible incentives.” – A. Baker

 TI1 (Tangible Incentive #1)

So, what’s the deal with the watch? Well, I really, really like nice watches. I will never spend the money for a top-tier luxury watch (Omega, Rolex, etc.), but I do enjoy the look and feel of beautiful and functional timepieces with a little history.

What’s the story with the above watch? Well, first, it’s a Casio MDV106-1AV 200M Duro. What makes it special? Why is it an incentive? Simple: It only costs $45 and it’s worn by the 2nd richest man in the world, Bill Gates. Honestly, who would have thought, right?

Below are four other tangible incentives (TI’s).

TI2

TI3

TI4

TI5

Now comes the time to announce what these incentives are for. 

  1. Casio Duro: losing 10 pounds
  2. Seiko 5: losing 15 pounds
  3. Orient Bambino: losing 20 pounds
  4. Seiko SNN241: losing 30 pounds
  5. Orient “Mako II”: losing 40 pounds

My Goal: Lose 40 pounds and 9 inches! 

Are there other watches I would like to add to my collection? Sure. But these are not terribly expensive. And, as you can see, they are all beautiful watches with different purposes.

And for those of you who might question the cost, at least I don’t have a smartwatch!

Nothing else has worked. But if these watches can motivate me to lose 40 pounds, I will consider them well worth the money, especially considering the savings in long-term health costs

All that will be left is buying new clothes that fit 🙂 

Will you help hold me accountable?

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