Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Incoming: Old school Casio

OK, so it doesn't really scream exciting, but it's one of those watches that you just need to have in your collection. I saw it on the shortlist of 10 Ultimate wristwatches and I instantly knew I had to have it!
I dunno what it is about these retro watches, but lately, I've just been really drawn towards them. Anyway, without further adieu, I present to you the Casio A164WA-1

Un boxing:

The watch:

Interestingly, its made in Thailand, and not Japan, as I had thought.

Obligatory wrist shot

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the purchase and even though this watch may or may not get much wrist time in the future, it's gonna be a keeper! Besides, for around Rs 1500 ($33) shipped, you can't really complain!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

No watch tools? A Swiss Army Knife might help.

DISCLAIMER: Do this at your own risk. If you scratch/destroy your watches, don't blame me!

Lets face it - we love our watches, but not all of us are experts in fixing/servicing them. We ordered the tools online, but how much do we really use them? Most of us really use them for the following purposes:
1. Changing straps
2. Resizing bracelets
3. Opening case backs to take pics of the movement (we wouldn't dare touch the movement).

So out of all the tools out there, we would use the following:
Mallet, case back opener, springbar remover tool, pin punch, screw driver and a link remover.

Now I didnt have any of them untill I finally ordered a 16 pieces tool kit from eBay for $10, but I was still able to do most of the stuff without one. How do you ask? I did it all with a Swiss Army knife (SAK), a free strap changing tool that I got with a watch strap and an ordinary paper clip.

Let me elaborate:

1. Changing straps: Ok, here, I admit I was using a spring bar remover which I received for free with a strap I ordered and then got one in the tool kit. So really its the same. For screw bars, we can use this nail filer -

Screw driver from the took kit

SAK nail filer
See how thin it is? Perfect for changing strap on a Panerai or in my case, a PAM homage.

2.) Resizing bracelets: Not all of us buy watches directly from an AD and therefore at times we have to resize the bracelet ourselves. For that we require these tools:
a) A link pin remover

b) A mallet

c) A pin punch (seen at the other end of the springbar remover tool)

Now how can the Swiss Army knife help here?
a) Use your fingers to grip the watch and you a paper clip to push the pin out(link pin remover)

b) A mallet - see how we can improvise and use the SAK here as a mallet?

c) A paper clip can be used for a pin punch.

3. Opening Casebacks: Here is one of the the case back remover tool from the tool kit (for non screw down casebacks). The SAK too has a thin and sharp knife that can be used to open casebacks.

Who knew a SAK could be so useful for us WISes ;) ?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lume comparison test

I've been wanting to do this for a while now and since there wasn't much to do yesterday, I decided to conduct a lume comparison test using 3 of the most 'lumed up' watches I have. I was quite surprised how it turned out. Read on to know how it went down:
The Competitors:
1) Pyrolume 43mm Prototype Watch #12

2) Seiko Orange Monster

3) Omega Seamaster GMT

4) Mossy Oak (MO.370.1.50.401)
Though the Mossy Oak has tritium tubes instead of lume on its hands and markers, I decided to add this to compare the efficiency of tritium vs lume paint.

I left the Pyrolume, Seiko and Omega lying on a desk, in a room with the lights on, for about a couple of hours. I left the Mossy Oak lying in the watch box since it doesn't contain any lume paint that requires charging.
The test was conducted over a period of 3 hours. Photos were taken after 60 and 180 minutes.
The photographs were taken using the 'bulb mode' on my camera and keeping the shutter open for 5 seconds.
To compare the result, I checked the luminosity in photoshop. Luminosity of 100 = pure white, where as 0 = black. This isn't necessarily the most accurate method, but it gives a pretty good idea nonetheless :)

Test: (Click on the image to enlarge them)
Here are the watches, just before the lights went out:

With the lights off:

Pyrolume : 83
Seiko OM : 89
Omega GMT: 81
Mossy Oak: 73

After 1hr:

Pyrolume : 17
Seiko OM : 17
Omega GMT: 18
Mossy Oak: 64

After 3hrs:

Pyrolume : 03
Seiko OM : 05
Omega GMT: 15
Mossy Oak: 67

Overall result:
The tritium, as expected stayed pretty much at the same level throughout the test. As for the other 3, I was expecting it to be a close call between the Seiko and the Pyrolume to take the top prize. Though the level of luminosity was similar in both the watches throughout, the Omega Seamaster was the most readable after 3 hours, thus making it the overall winner! :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

A trip to the HMT showroom and some interesting piece of information

So finally Bio and I took out some time to visit one of the two HMT showrooms in the city. We've been in quest for the ever-popular HMT Pilot and after a lot of searching, managed to locate a dealer who had three of them in stock!

After an hour long journey and some near misses on the highway (seriously, it was crazy out there on the roads today), we managed to locate the showroom. Now this place was really small, smaller than our living room (and no our living room isn't that big). Its the one marked in read (the board was really dusty).

On entering this place we immediately inquired if they still had the Pilot... they did! :)
Now I know this may sound a lil silly, but my heart actually did beat a lil faster when the lady behind the counter was about to show us the watch. I had heard so much about how rare it was to find and all the hype, that I just couldn't wait to see what it was all about. And then it appeared, something so simple like the manufacturer itself, nothing glamorous, but there was something about it that made it so beautiful and special that I felt as if I have discovered something amazing. I looked at Bio and could see that he too felt the same way.

We also picked up a Sona and a Kohinoor

Now we come to the interesting part. When we were having a look at the Pilot, I casually asked if they had a white one in stock because I had heard its very rare to find one and guess what the lady there told us? HMT NEVER manufactured a white Pilot!! So, apparently all the white Pilots are fake!

Another gentleman behind the counter then told us about how the company was not doing so well with their mechanical watches and therefore is concentrating on increasing production of their quartz watches. It wasn't hard to see that he was a lil upset with this state of the company and wish people could appreciate mechanical watches more. He also mentioned that most of the mechanical watches are bought either by watch lovers or foreigners at which point he asked wondered where we were from. I then looked at all the other watches still there in the display case and a part of me wished that I could buy them all.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Rs. 28000 ($610 USD) to service a Rolex Sub (no date)!!!

When I bought my Rolex Sub (no date) in Singapore, I had the option of getting it serviced there for around $400 SGD (Rs. 13000), which included a crown replacement. I declined as I had to leave the next day and also because I always thought it would be cheaper in India. Off late, there has been a lot of talk on some forums about the increase in servicing cost by Rolex and I thought I should get mine serviced before its too late. So I called up the RSC (Rolex Service Center) here (Mumbai) and asked them for a quote for just the basic service for my Sub - keep in mind its without the date complication. To my horror, they quoted Rs.28000 ($610 USD)!! Foolishly I had hoped that the charges would be a lil low here as labour is cheap in India. Boy! Was I so wrong. I still regret not getting it serviced when I had the chance in Singapore. Its about the same there now.
(RSC Orchard Road, Singapore)
My only options are to save up for it or just get it serviced from an independent watch guy. I mean what bugs me is that its a simple watch without any complications. 28k is a lil too much honetsly. Omega is much cheaper as fa as I know. Now that I think of it, people with Pateks and VCs must be paying like crazy for their watches.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Avoiding temtation

After I bought my Sub, I thought I could finally relax and not think about buying a new watch for a long time. I was lucky to win a beautiful Tourby Open Heart just a month later and that helped me avoid the 'new watch itch' for another two months, but its back and its bad!

The watch I wanna get next is one of my grail watches and a very special one for me. This is the first watch that I truly fell in love with and promised myself that I will get one someday. Its the beautiful TAG Heuer Carrera Chrono.

With my salary, its gonna be a while before I can get my hands on one and I would be totally OK with the wait, but its not so easy...

There are four watches on my mind that I am really tempted to get as soon as I have the money for them - A Mondaine Official Swiss Railway watch, a Panerai Luminor (PAM111), a Breitling Superocean Heritage and a Dievas Vortex
(pics taken from the net)

Now the Breitling and the PAM are my other grail watches and would still require some serious cash but the other two are cheaper and might make me pull the trigger before I can save enough to get the TAG. So how do I avoid temptation? One method is to put a pic of the Carrera as my desktop wallpaper so I can stay focused on it. This actually worked quite well for me when I was looking to get the Sub, but I really doubt its gonna work this time. I guess I will just have to wait and see. Any suggestions?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A day at the Races

So, Sunday finally arrived, and Crazyfingers and I set off for the race course to attend the 'Poonawala Breeders Million'. Our parents were also present, and since my Dad was at the wheel, it gave me the opportunity to snap some pics along the way. Being a little past noon by the time we left, we encountered a lot of traffic on the way to the highway.

Thankfully, once we hit the highway, it was smooth sailing. It's very rare to get such clear roads in Mumbai, and for once I actually enjoyed the drive to town.

Once we got there, we went up to the members area and with the help of a friendly usher, found some seats. To be honest, I was expecting a much more lavish arrangement, but from what I saw, the place probably hadn't changed much from the time it was built. I'm sure it's great to watch the races in the winters, when the weather is nice and cool, but it was REALLY hot on Sunday and it did take a while before it cooled down.
I'm sure by now, most of you would be wondering when the part of the watches come in. Truth is, even though CF and I spotted lots of tank styled, an Omega and even a Rolex (and a couple of fake Tags), it was a really difficult to try and snap some pics. Moreover, most people there had worn shirts and had their watches hidden under their sleeves. We also noticed that most of the older guys still preferred to wear smaller sized watches (35-36mm) Was nice to see some vintage watches. I wish we could have had a closer look...I'm sure a few of the people there could even have been wearing Pateks.
Anyway, after a couple of races, we all decided to try our hand at betting. None of us had any idea how to go about it, since it was our first time. Thankfully, an elderly gentleman (on the right, in the pic below) gave us a few pointers.

There were two ways to place a bet. You could either go to any of the 'Sell/Pay' windows and place a bet there, or you could catch hold of the guys in the yellow jacket, as in the pic above, and place the bet with them. This was the more convenient choice, since we didn't need to leave our seats for this :)

Here's what a ticket looks like.

As you can see, it's a bet to place..ie you win some cash if the horse finishes in the top 3 (or 2...depending on the number of horses running). The "2" next to "PLA" indicates the number of the horse you've bet on. You can alternatively bet on a horse to win, which gives you a better payout, but a smaller chance of winning any money. Being amateurs, we bet Rs 500 ($12) on our very first bet. Usually, if it's your first time betting, it's better start off with a small amount. You can bet as little as Rs 10 ($0.22)!
Unfortunately, my horse didn't come anywhere close to winning...so that was a quick 500 bucks down the drain :(

A couple of quick wrist shots, and CF and I were back on track!

For our next bet, we bet just Rs 100 ($2.20) each on three horses.

That's my horse in the front!
The pic below was taken just after my horse (No. 4) had crossed the finish.

Since I had placed a bet on 'place' and not on 'win', I only won around 40 bucks ($0.85), but it was still pretty exciting! It's a real adrenaline rush when your horse is going for the win.

Here's a building overlooking the race course that was in construction. It has no relevance whatsoever, but I liked the pic :)

Overall, it was a great experience. I'm definitely going to go whenever I get a chance next. There's a lot of excitement whenever a race in progress and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't been to one before!