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Discussion Starter #61
And now the Russians...


The first one is dear to my heart, 'cos it's a ca. 1962 vintage Strela 3017. And when researching "which Strela to buy" I read a bit too much history, and what I read struck a chord.

Whatever Omega might have to say on the matter, *this* was the first chronograph in space. And it was on the wrist of a personal hero of mine, Vladimir Komarov, when he boarded Soyuz One knowing well it was a death trap. *His* death trap. And why did he do that? Because if he hadn't he knew fine well Yuri Gagarin would have taken his place, and he couldn't be having *his* hero die on that trip. Ironically, Gagarin died less than a year later in a training jet accident.

This example is looking a bit faded after sitting for god know's how many decades in someone's bedroom drawer, but at least it's all original; a hell of a lot of 3017s that come up for sale are woefully unoriginal, so beware if you ever delve into those waters.







Vostok Amfibia 1967 (special edition), bought after contemplating a more modest Scuba Dude. But the simplicity of the dial and the 1960s vibe of the bracelet called out to me. The watch is built like a tank, and very well built too. The usual Vostok fare is, erm, built down to a price. But it seems that Vostok wanted to show the world what it could do at a higher price point.

But one or two of the Vostok hallmarks remain, such as the wobbly crown and the workhorse 2416 movement.







And the other Russians? Well, I struggled with the Sturmanskie Sputnik for months before giving up on its bulk. And the Raketa 24hrs were so flimsy that I didn't dare wear them on rainy or snowy or dusty days. Or sunny. Or during daylight hours. And I might knock 'em against something at night.

For now, the Russian watch book is closed.

Ric
 

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Discussion Starter #62
The Germans...


Stowa Flieger Auto COSC, my wife bought this for me back in 2009 as a birthday present, but not before I'd spent plenty of internet hours deciding which "flieger-style" watch I wanted, having discounted the IWC Pilot Mark XVI due to its ridiculous cost.

This acquisition was the opposite of out of the frying pan and into the fire as I now believe the Stowa to be far more authentic to its Beobachter Uhr heritage than the IWC. I asked for the COSC version naively thinking (those were my pre-WIS days) that I'd notice a difference in accuracy. Yeah, right.

Anyways, this watch is a sterile, functional, no-nonsense time keeping instrument that does it's job day or night due to the clarity of the dial and hands and the powerful lume at night. It's... cool.





Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope, bought from a dealer in Ulm, Germany. Which is apt as Ulm is the city where Max Bill set up his Bauhaus design school.

What can I say? This is easily my most photogenic watch. All the pickies below were taken the day after I bought it using my iPhone 4S, and the bloody watch is so very pretty that I've never seen the need to refresh the photos (using Frau Capucho's Leica C, which has a dynamite macro function) as I like to do from time to time. Look at the font used for the numbers; as designed by Max Bill himself. Now look at the date window. See? It's the same font. Such attention to detail...

Why the Chronoscope? Well, the 38mm Max Bill Auto would have been more authentic, I know. But by the time I bought this I knew that duplicated watches don't get worn. So while there maybe a black dialled Max Bill Automatic in the future, this one will have to do for now. I'll suffer...











Stowa Landeron 248, bought off Ebay last year on a drunken whim. Why? 'Cos it's a Stowa and a Chronograph and vintage, and I already had a modern era Stowa, so why not. Hic.

The Ebay photos were terrible, so I had little idea what I'd bought until it arrived. And wow, what *had* I bought? The goldplating was tarnished, but polished up nicely, and 30 minutes with Polywatch (watching Top Gear, I remember) cleaned up the domed acrylic crystal, and that's when I properly saw the dial and hands for the first time. Either tortoise shell, or tortoise shell-effect, I think.

Draw your own conclusions, but I thought it was stunning. Still do.





That's it for Germany, but there'll be more to come as money becomes available (and the years pass). Nomos? Glashütte Original? There're "Watches of Germany" type stores in Frankfurt and Munich airports that keep me occupied during transfers. Plenty to drool about.

Ric
 

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Discussion Starter #63 (Edited)
The Brits are coming!


1959 vintage Smiths De Luxe. Bought cheaply on a whim because I liked the dial on the Ebay auction. The watch is in *great* physical condition, but turned out to be running ten minutes fast per day... so off it went to my tame watchmender... and it's been there for months, so should do something about asking for a progress report.



1953 vintage Smiths De Luxe. A nice little thing, a more importantly still a De Luxe, as it was a Smiths De Luxe that Edmund Hillary wore on his wrist when he ascended Mount Everest that year. And a Rolex Explorer on his other wrist. And maybe yer another brand on his ankle, I don't know.







1977 vintage Timex GB Sprite. The original was lost in a sandpit or whatever decades ago, but this is the same model as my dear old mum bought me for a childhood birthday. A tiny lickle 30mm thing, it is, but big enough for a junior's wrist. The date complication is a horror as there's no shortcut... yer just have to wind wind wind it forward until the right date appears. Lord help yer if you wind it a day too far, because it'll then need another trip around the block.



There were a couple more Timex Sprites bought while trying to pin down exactly *which* version was my childhood watch (sniff, sob). I gave one to my middle son, who promptly lost it at school. And t'other is lost somewhere in my oldest boy's bedroom.

Ric
 

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Discussion Starter #64
The Americans...


I watched Chris Vail mobilise his Lew & Huey watch brand dream from the sidelines, and even put myself down for his Riccardo, but when I saw the renders and then the prototype for the Acionna I switched in a heartbeat. I pestered Chris to sell me the prototype of the white dial, and a while later got the black dial.

I live these watches, love how they wear, love how they look, and love how strong they are. Vintage diver looks without the vintage diver fragility.

Highly recommended.





Ric
 

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Discussion Starter #65
And finally, we have the Swiss...


Ca. 1969-70 vintage Omega Seamaster 120 (model reference 166.088), my most recent acquisition and according to Frau Capucho, "my most recent acquisition" for the foreseeable future.

The watch is a beauty, its looks hailing back from the heyday of 1960s design that established their reputation that fuels today's zillion dollar Swiss mechanical watch industry. This example was bought off a Geneva dealer, and is in remarkable shape. Not NOS, but definitely unworn for decades.

The watch dazzles me (yeah, I'm a lost cause) with its combination of ministry case, full-sized bezel, the deep dial, and of course that little blue second hand. I *love* this watch. The downsides are few and easily ignored: the bezel is bidirectional, so inappropriate for diving, and the screwdown crown unscrews alright, but it's a bit of a fiddle to click it between its date and time setting positions. Other than that, it's good to go.









I sold on the Baume et Mercier 18k because I hadn't worn it since the Stowa Flieger arrived in 2009 aand watches are to be *worn*. Right?

And that's it for the Swiss. For now. Because I really do believe that Swiss design had something very special going for it during its 1960-70s golden age, and the likes of Rolex, Omega and Heuer (there are many more) created iconic designs that remain in production (or replicated in the designs of their modern models) to this day. But why should I pay $5,000+ for a modern Swiss watch of an "iconic design" when I can spend more or less the same money on the original icon itself? So expect to see me acquire a number of 1960-70s vintage Swiss icons as time, opportunity and *funds* allow (Frau Capucho says they won't allow).

Ric
 
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