Friday, June 23, 2017

Testing The Water Resistance Of My Watch

Back after perhaps the best vacation I've ever had - a week at the beautiful island of Maui, Hawaii. All credit goes to my wonderful fiancé who made this happen, including a stay at the Four Seasons Resort (exceptional service received). 'But, what has this got to do with watches' is probably what you all must be thinking. Well it so happened that the trip to Maui had quite a bit of activities that involved water. This included swimming, snorkelling, getting knocked about by surprising powerful waves at the beach and jumping into the water from rocks about 20ft high. It's the last one that I was a bit worried about doing with a watch on.

In order to learn more about this, I went on to one of the watch forums and asked if it was ok to wear a watch and jump into the water from a height. I got the usual sarcastic comments about worrying unnecessarily when it comes to getting a watch wet, but that's not what I was looking for. I wanted specially to know if it's ok to jump from a height into the water. I did get some pretty good and reassuring responses as well, so I decided to go for it. If you're still thinking I'm worrying too much, it's because the watch in question was my Panerai PAM005, not what you would call a cheap watch.

Enjoying the view from the pool

I chose the PAM because it came with a rubber strap, and something I could wear at a nice place as well (like the Four Seasons). I didn't want to carry more than one watch on the trip. The other option I had was the Submariner, but I have worn that on quite a few trips and wanted to give the Panerai some wrist time.

So, how did it do? Well, it passed with flying colours! Absolutely no issues whatsoever. There was no condensation, no spring bar coming lose (which was my biggest concern) after multiple jumps including somersaults, and even on a cloudy day it was very easy to tell the time underwater. All I had to remember to do was to rinse the watch with freshwater after taking a swim in the sea, so as to the wash the salt off.

time check underwater while snorkelling


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Panerai PAM005 - one year on

It's almost a year since I bought the PAM005 and I think it's a good time for a proper review. I've been wearing it very often over the past year and under various conditions, so let's see how it's been doing so far.

Before I begin, here are some quick specs for people who are still new to this watch:

Case: Polished Steel
Caseback: Solid
Crystal: 3.5mm Sapphire
Diameter: 44mm
Lug Width: 24mm
Thickness: 14.5mm

The PAM005 is a Luminor Marina, which means it has the famous Panerai crown guard and the small seconds indicator. This watch also comes with the OP (Officine Panerai) logo on the dial, which is something I quite like personally, while some may tend to disagree.

What I've liked:

Build Quality - really nice and feels tough. The polished stainless still case has picked up minor scratches that can be expected from normal wear, but the sapphire crystal is still scratch-less.

The Crown Guard - What? The crown guard? Yes, the way it opens and locks is so nice that I find myself fidgeting with it all the time.

Looks - Although a 44mm would seem pretty big for some people, it actually sits really well on the wrist, thanks to it's curved lugs. It really hugs the wrist and makes it very comfortable to wear. I have a 7 inch wrist and it seems to fit perfectly on it. I have also received a lot of compliments for it, which is always nice, since people generally don't notice a watch.

Timekeeping - The PAM005's movement is COSC certified, which means it should ideally maintain an accuracy within -4/+6 seconds a day. From my personal tests, it has been been keeping time well within those specs.

Lume - Bright, very easy to read at night and just looks awesome!

Versatility with Straps - Well, if you read about Panerai, you will surely come across the obsessions of straps that people develop soon after buying one. I can personally tell you it's very true. In fact, in one of my earlier posts, I've even mentioned that this was the very reason I started making straps. The PAM005, like most other Panerai watches look great in a wide variety of straps. The watch even comes with a small screwdriver which makes changing straps really easy (different Panerai models may have a different technique to change straps).

What I didn't like: Honestly, I don't have anything bad to say about it, so I will have to nitpick here:

Polished Case - Looks great, but scratches quite easily.

Setting The Time - Not something that bothers me, but may bother others, so I am mentioning it. If you want to be accurate, you will have to wait for when the minutes is in multiples of five, like 5, 10, fifteen. This is because it has no individual minute markers. Also the movement doesn't allow for the seconds hand to be hacked (stopped) when you pull the crown out.

Also a tip when you set the time: I was a bit unsure as to how to push the crown back after setting the time. I constantly found myself accidentally rotating the crown a bit while pushing it in, which in turn would move the minute hand slightly and I would have to wait again for another 5 minutes to set the time (only if you are picky bout setting the time accurately). I then wondered if I could just use the crown guard to push the crown down while locking it. It worked great, but some fellow Panerai owners told me it could lead to unnecessary pressure on the crown. So I went straight to the source - I contacted Panerai regarding this. To my surprise, they actually got back to me within a day and told me the right way to do it - do not use the crown guard to push the crown back in. Instead use two fingers on either side of the crown guard to gently push the crown in. This takes a bit of practice but it works like a charm and the minute hand doesn't move when done correctly.

Overall I'm really loving the watch. It pairs really well with whatever you may wear, especially with the ease of changing the strap. I have not got the chance to take it swimming yet, but I plan to do so very soon on an upcoming trip. I have got it wet in the rain though and of course it had no issues whatsoever. For those looking to buy the PAM005, it definitely gets a thumbs up from me, although since Panerai has discontinued this particular model, it may be a little hard to find.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A trip to the local watchmaker

Last year I was introduced to a local watchmaker by a fellow watch enthusiast when I was looking to get a couple of my watches serviced. Thankfully he is located about 10 mins walking from my office, so I decided to pay him a visit. I always thought I would write a post on him, but never got around to doing it, so finally here it goes...

Mr. Murali belongs to a generation of watchmakers and that is quite evident with some of the tools you can see that belonged to his father. The first time I spoke with him I knew he was very experienced and soon I was proved right. Turns out he has worked with a lot of watch companies including Omega.

The workspace itself is really tiny, somewhere around 6ft by 4ft (by my estimate) but don't let that deter you. He is experienced in servicing simple mechanical movements to minute repeaters - that's right, he even works on minute repeaters.

There is watch making stuff and spare parts everywhere! On the table, the shelves, the floor, needless to say, he makes the best possible use of the available space and it's amazing to see a mix of old and modern tools.

If you love talking about watches and different movements, you've come to the right place. On so many occasions I've dropped in to for something small, like a battery change, that would normally taken maybe 5 mins but ended up staying for 30 mins or more conversing about something interesting.

Some of his clients even sell their watches through him so it's always good to ask him. I've seen some really nice vintage and new watches for sale and it's really hard to control the temptation to buy something. Even if I don't buy, it's always fun to try them out.

busy workbench

cool vintage Seamaster

another beautiful vintage in for service - a Movado moonphase

Servicing costs are extremely reasonable, especially when compared with the authorised service centres. He also believes in using only original parts if something needs to be replaced during service. His years of working in this industry has resulted in him acquiring a lot of useful contacts who can help him procure these spare parts.

If you're looking for him, a quick google search for 'Murali Watch Centre' will give you his address and contact information.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Need To Get In Touch With Us? - Here Is How You Can Do That

Over the years, there have been quite a few visitors on this blog who've had questions regarding watches, servicing, custom duties, sales, etc, and try to get in touch trough the comments section. Although this seems OK, the only way Bio or I can respond is by replying to the question in the comment section and hope that person would visit again to see it.

I guess we can agree it's not too practical. So, from now on, if someone would like to get in touch with us, we suggest you to post a comment with your email and send it to us. We WON'T publish your comment and instead directly reply to you via email.

This way you can be sure to receive a reply (spam comments will obviously be ignored) and you don't have to worry about your email showing up for everyone to see.

It's always a pleasure hearing from you wonderful folks and thank you for visiting India Watch Blog :)

Monday, March 20, 2017

Watch Enthusiasts of India GTG - Pune

Back again from another GTG or get-together, and this time it was in the charming city of Pune. Like the previous GTGs, this was organised by the Watch Enthusiasts of India (WEI) and the date was set for the 18th of March 2017. The watches I chose to bring along for this GTG were:
  • Rolex Submariner 14060M
  • IWC Portugieser Chronograph IW3714-45
  • Panerai PAM005

Pune is about a 3-4 hour drive from Mumbai (sometimes more if the traffic is bad) and is connected by the lovely Mumbai-Pune Expressway which can get very scenic during the rainy season. I along with three other members, Aravind, Pattabhi and Santanu, set off at 11 AM. Here I would like to thank Aravind for driving us all in his car.

Pune, here we come

On reaching Pune we were warmly greeted by Manish and after quickly checking into our hotel, we were off for lunch. Before heading to the restaurant, we made a quick pitstop to meet and pickup Karan (founder, WEI).

Thankfully Manish had already chosen a nice place for lunch called East Street. Although the GTG was scheduled for the evening, the six of us were already talking and checking out each other's watches. After a few beers and some good food, I had to take leave and head back to my room as I had some work to do. Meanwhile the rest of the gang went to have a look at some watches.

Always great to start a GTG weekend with beer :)
Finally, it was time for the main event and once again, the very helpful members in Pune had selected a nice place called Carnival and reserved a few tables in one section of the venue that gave us some privacy. Apart from the six of us, we were joined by Nikhil, Pankaj, Reggie and Shashank. It was great to finally meet Nikhil and Pankaj in person and like I mentioned in the previous GTG post, it felt like we all already knew each other.

As with every GTG, everyone is waiting for the watches to be laid on the table and it is always amusing to see reactions from other non-WIS people around when that happens. Time for the wrist shots:

Manish's Zenith

Nik's Speedmaster's box - the biggest watch box I've seen

wish every watch came with goodies like these

Can never go wrong with a Speedy in any collection

Manish's stunning Hamilton PanEurop

Karan's titanium Tudor Pelagos - didn't want to take this off my wrist

Never seen this lovely Orient before (Manish's)

Probably my favourite Longines at the moment

All in the family - from left to right: the Black Bay, Pelagos and Submariner

Checking out the lume on the Pelagos

Some Seiko action

Some more Seiko action. Notice despite the big dial size, these Seikos seemed fine on my wrist  :)

Nik's Omega Planet Ocean

I've said it before, my fav Tissot!

And the most unique dial of the GTG award goes to this Klokers KLOK-01
And this is when my phone ran low on power, so unfortunately couldn't take a lot of pictures.

There were easily over a 100 watches, 50 of which belonged to Pattabhi alone! A few people came over to our table and asked if we were selling them and left with confused looks when we told them we are just passionate about watches and like collecting them.

After some more beers and dinner, it was time to call it a night but some of us decided to meet for brunch the next day.

At noon, I checked out from my hotel and headed to Little Italy, which as the name suggests is an Italian restaurant. It was me, Karan, Manish, Shashank and Sameer - another member from Pune who was unable to make it for the GTG the previous night. Once again, there was a good mix of watches, beer and delicious food.

The PAM 005 on my handmade strap :)

Loved this vintage Seiko chronograph (Karan's)

Couldn't get over how stunning the dial looked on this Seiko (Sameer's)

A group shot of my collection at the GTG
After brunch, we bid farewell to each other and Manish and Shashank very generously offered to drive me to the bus station (Aravind had to leave early in the morning, so I decided to take a bus back to Mumbai). At this point I would normally say that I had a great GTG, the best so far and end this post, but little did I know there was more to come.

Onboard the bus, there was an elderly gentleman sitting next to me and I noticed a Baume & Mercier auto chronograph on his wrist. I didn't say anything at first because I wasn't sure of he was a watch enthusiast or not, but soon we got talking and he told me that he used to work for the German car brand BMW and just retired a few months ago. He also told me that he had noticed the watch I had on my wrist (Panerai 005) and as you've probably guessed by know, was indeed a watch enthusiast. He told me about his collection, which included brands like Rolex, Omega, Longines, Cartier, Chopard and even Vacheron Constantin and Patek Phillipe! The whole journey we spoke at length about cars and watches and before I knew it, I was back in Mumbai and at my stop. While departing we both shook hands and hope to meet again sometime in the future.

So yes, now I can say it, it was a fantastic GTG and wonderful weekend. A big thank you to Manish and all the Pune members for making this happen and planning the best GTG experience I've had.

To read about the previous GTGs, click on the links below:


Friday, March 10, 2017

Off Topic: How to claim your unclaimed RC (Vehicle Registration Certificate)

Congratulations on your new car! Everything went off smoothly and all the nights spent researching the right car for you has finally paid off. You arrive at the showroom, sign a few papers, have a small celebration and drive your car home. You’re also told that the RC will be sent to your address in a few days. It’s so simple. What could go wrong?

Well… as it turns out, the day the postman came to deliver the RC to your place, you happened to be out. You return home to find a small slip of paper on your door, informing you to collect the RC from the RTO (Regional Transport Office). Now, for most RTO related issues, you can always get hold of an agent who’ll do it for you. However, I BELIEVE in this case, the owners themselves are required to collect it in person. (Although, I'm not a 100% certain on this.)

How do you go about it? How do you claim your unclaimed RC? Read on to find out.

(Side note: This procedure is for a visit to the Andheri West RTO (Mumbai). However, the process should be similar to most RTOs in the country)

Step 1: PREP!
Before you visit the RTO, have the following with you. It’ll save you a lot of hassle and (additional) running around.
-Tax certificate and car invoice. I just carried my entire document folder to be safe.
-ID proof (PAN, Aadhar, Passport). Original + copy
-Address Proof copy (Aadhar, passport, phone bill, etc) This should have the same address as mentioned on your RC
- A Pen

Helpful Tip: Have a back up of all your important documents on you phone. In case you forget to carry your documents, you can always get them printed at the shop around the corner.

Step 2: Visit the RTO
IMPORTANT: When I called up the RTO, they told me that the RC collection can be done on Tuesdays or Fridays, between 10:30AM and 3PM. This is incorrect. The correct timings are 10:30AM to 2PM.

Step 3:
Head to the second floor and ask for the server room (I’m going to abbreviate this to SR). As soon as you're there, you'll realise that there is no concept of a que. So you will be required to wrestle your way to the window (it helps if you're tall) and let them know that you have an unclaimed RC. They’ll check the status and give you the date on which it was sent out from the RTO (or returned to the RTO - I’m not quite sure). Make a note of this date as this is important.

Step 4:
Head to ‘Window No. 7’ (I’m going to abbreviate this to W7) and tell them that you have an unclaimed RC. You’ll get a form, which you need to fill out. Of course, to make things cumbersome, the form is in Marathi. Fortunately, you can ask what's needed to be filled in. Information required is your name, license plate number and the date on which your RC was sent to your place. This is where you enter the date given to you at the SR. Submit that, along with an id proof copy. The person behind the counter will have a look and then ask you to check the status of the RC back at the SR.

Step 5:
Go back to the SR and check the status of the RC. Mine was “unclaimed RC”, which basically means that you missed out on collecting your RC when it was delivered to your address.

Step 6:
Armed with this information, head back to W7 and let the person behind the counter know. If you visit the RTO early, It should be possible to collect your RC on the same day. Unfortunately for me, I reached 5 minutes before it was shutting (I was misinformed about the timings on the phone) hence, I was asked to collect it the following Tuesday.

Step 7:
Go back to W7, submit the form (which they gave back to you), and someone will fetch the RC from a pile of unclaimed RCs on the desk behind them. Submit a copy of you ID and address proof (can be the same if you have something like a passport). They’ll sign it, attach a few more papers and ask you to deposit the fee.

Step 8:
Head to Window No. 17 (cashier) and deposit the fee. In this case it was Rs. 50. You’ll be handed a receipt that you need to submit at Window No. 8.

Step 9:
Hand over the entire lot of papers to the person at Window No. 8, sign against your name in the register and you will FINALLY be handed over your RC.

Step 10:
Keep that thing safe! And next time you buy a car, try and be home when the RC is delivered.

Now I am aware this is technically a watch blog, but I just wanted to share this with anyone who’s in a similar situation and is not being able to find a solution to their problem.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Watch Enthusiasts of India GTG - Mumbai

A watch GTG is always great - like minded people meet up and talk about stuff that most people normally react to as "why do you need more than one watch?" Oh and there was booze and good food, so that's as good an excuse to attend.

Some of you may have read my earlier post on an earlier GTG for us watch enthusiasts in India, if not, you can check it out here.

This time we are in Mumbai, the financial capital of India and also the city I reside in :)

December is a great time to visit Mumbai as the weather tends to get pretty pleasant (at least when compared to the summers here).The date was 17th December, and after a lot of searching around we managed to find a restaurant that was willing to give us a private dining area big enough for 15-20 people. We were 15 of us in total, so this worked out great. While most of the WISes that attended this event were from Mumbai, we did have a few who could join us from other cities as well.

The official time for the GTG was set at 7pm, but that didn't stop some of us from starting quite a bit early. A few of the attendees planned a tour of different watch shops and ADs all over the city. I unfortunately had a few chores to take care of, so I couldn't join them.

At around 5:30pm I met up with a fellow watch enthusiast from Delhi for a couple of beers. He was wearing a very cool Speedy that I had seen pics of earlier and couldn't wait to try on.

The traffic in this city can get quite bad, especially on a Saturday evening, so we called for a cab and headed to the venue. Coincidently, we all reached at the same time which meant no waiting around, the GTG was ON!

Before I start, a quick disclaimer: there wasn't too much light in the private dining room at the venue. We asked the manager if he could arrange for some more lights but were told that there was another event happening and they were using up all the spotlights . So the pics aren't the best, but thankfully this time I had a better phone camera.

One by one the watch boxes were set on the table and soon we had more watches in the room than comments on a Rolex vs Omega thread (it's funny if you are on a watch forum)!

We had, Seiko, Rolex, Omega, Grand Seiko, Universal Geneve, IWC, Panerai, Longines, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Orient, H2O, Laco, HMT, Casio, many more interesting brands....oh and an Apple Watch.

OK, enough talk, time for some pics...

A pleasant surprise, a fellow WUS member put his gorgeous vintage Longines on a strap made by me.

It looked great! Yay!
moving on..

This G-Shock was my fav watch from the GTG:

Someone brought along a small UV light and we all went crazy trying to charge the lume on our watches. And because of the dim light, the lume really showed.

As you can probably tell, I did not get the time to try on all the watches :(

Some of the guys brought along some stuff to giveaway (SWAG time), these included watch straps, books and even some awesome personalised mugs (courtesy Reggie - WUS member RejiTJoseph).

Seriously, so awesome!

A big thanks to Karan and Abhishek (WUS members phoenix844884 and Sunn27 respectively) for taking the initiative to make this GTG happen. We all had a fantastic time! Until next time, this is Crazyfingers signing out.