Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Seiko Chronograph 6138-0011: UFO Again.... Second Sighting....

Seiko Vintage Chronograph Automatic


If one day, you see an UFO, how would you feel? I never think about this probably because I am never a sci-fi fan. 



This post I am going to show you my another piece of the same watch but with a different bracelet. 


I have seen same watch in a broken state selling for RM2000 back in 2010. So I believe there is a market for all these vintage Seiko chronograph.


I never view watches as an investment. I am not into watch trading either..... I only love to collect and sometimes wear them a bit or appreciate their beauty from time to time. 


Back in the old days,  Seiko did make some marvelous and affordable watches..... 



I doubt this is the original bracelet for 6138-0011. I think this bracelet I sourced it from Seiko 5 most probably during the 7S26 period.


It matched pretty well with the UFO thou....



I would not fascinate about whether there is Extra-Terrestrial being out there somewhere.............. But I always wonder, if there is an Alien or a more superior being.... Do they wear a watch or multiple watches???  




Saturday, April 14, 2018

IWC Portofino Automatic Ref 3533

The Portofino Automatic From IWC
Conspicuous by Its Inconspicuousness 

Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, a quiet little place that I enjoyed my first encounter with female species...... Not entirely true thou... I had a crush on my monitor in primary school, had an intense feeling for a sweet girl on the same school bus, had an infatuation for my secondary school teacher........ 



So I was living at Overell Street, and would always walk down to Sandy Bay for groceries. Holding hands, caressing sweet little talks, with my first official girlfriend, Miss Green Green...... As we walked by  this little white house on King Street, an old gentlemen inside would smile and wave at us. As usual he would have his magnifying loupe on his left eyes...... 


He was my watchmaker during my college years. He was the one that sparked my interest on IWC (International Watch Company).... He told me, Rolex is an overpriced commodity... I was a naive and ignorant young man who think Rolex is the best..... He educated me and told me IWC is a superb Swiss watchmaker with no nonsense attitude. Their production are always above pars........ I can still vividly hear him saying, "You have one IWC, that is enough"........ 


Many years later, when I wanted to buy my first luxurious watch, IWC became the only choice. April 2004, I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for my Master graduation...... I took the liberty of window shopping for IWC watches.... Boy, I was freaking nervous visiting watch boutiques as lacking of confidence.... hahahaaaaaaaaaa mostly I didn't have a deep pocket......

So we (me, my one year old son, and my wife.... no, no, NO.... no longer Green Green or Red Red) were at this KL's landmark, the twin towers shopping centre; Suria KLCC.....


I was randomly walking into watch galleries and boutiques.... before setting foot in the Sincere Fine Watches. I was greeted by a serious face, tall, slim gentleman with old fashioned, black framed glasses. His name is Henry. 



I was pretty bold..... I straightly asked him, "What is the cheapest price you can give me on IWC Portofino?" He puzzled a bit and started pressing his calculator. He showed me a number that was by far the friendliest in the market...... Ever since, he has been one of the few, I will consult before hunting for an exotic watch.




Being a poor man, this is the cheapest IWC around and the entry level that I can afford. This is my first brand new luxury watch; IWC Portofino Automatic Ref 3533. Consistently popular since its launch in the 1980's, the plain, simple Portofino line furnishes conclusive proof that the essence of being touch with the times is timelessness itself. 


The name Potofino also stands for hand-crafted perfection in an elegant guise. This 38mm diameter Portofino is a classic with a clean and simple line. The thickness of the stainless steel case is only 8.6mm. 


The watch has a convex sapphire glass and it is water resistant to 30 meters. The sapphire glass is anti-reflective coated. It is a dress and everyday office watch. 



Three hands and a discreet date display-the epitome of good taste, it needs no more. This watch is all about functionality; that is to tell time. Nothing complicated, everything just for you to know the time accurately. 


A portofino on your wrist gives you the reassuring feeling of having chosen a wristwatch that rises above all pretension. 


There is no locking mechanism on its crown. Is just the plain pull and adjust. The crown is signed with Probus, IWC, SCAFUSIA.... Probus from Probare; Scafusia is the Latin name for Schaffhausen. It means Good Thing from Schaffhausen. There is somewhat like a fish symbol in the middle encapsulating IWC wordings to signify that this watch is water resistance. 


This one I bought is with the Milanese mesh bracelet in stainless steel. It is made of a fine wire mesh weave and, as well as being extremely robust, fit snugly around the wrist. 


The fine stainless-steel Milanese bracelet gives this Portofino Automatic a very special appeal. Portofino Automatic does come in leather strap as well. 


The mesh bracelet is very well constructed and is very comfortable in wearing. It does not add too much weight on your wrist.......


The bracelet used hidden clasp that is signed. 


Inside the clasp, it is stated Stainless Steel and Swiss Made. 



The case back is plain and simple with 4 tiny screws. It has a serial number at one end. I have not wore this watch much, so you can still see the original IWC sticker there. 


Individuals who choose to wear a Portofino do so in the knowledge that its discreetly simple exterior contains a mechanical, automatic movement in which they can have complete confidence at all times.


The IWC Portofino Automatic is powered by Calibre 30110. This 23 jewels movement is based on ETA 2892-A2 and enhanced by IWC. Back then, IWC bought only the best breed of ETA 2892; the so-called Chronometer grade. IWC only bought the incomplete movements and assembled it in house with better and more expensive components.


Nearly all critical components along the path from the escapement to the mainspring are replaced with corresponding components from IWC own manufacture. These included the mainspring, the barrel, the escape wheel, the pallet fork and the complete balance including the balance spring. It is a total revision of the movement. The movement is also nickle plated.
Calibre 30110 besides being used in Portofino, it is also used in Ingenieur, Pilot watch like Marks and Aquatimer. Calibre 30110 has a power reserve of 42 hours and beating at a frequency of 28,800 bph. 

After early 2000's IWC started using ETA 2892 that is made to IWC specs; i.e. they no longer modified in-house. Lately, the ETA 2892 is replaced with the generic Sellita SW-300. 



IWC Portofino Automatic Ref 3533 is a very fine watch. What's more, the clear, simple lines of the case conceal a mechanical, self-winding movement in which you can have implicit trust. I guess my Hobart's senior watchmaker (who had retired in 1996) is right.... IWC is a good watch... and now I set eyes for the more refined IWC watches with its in-housed movements....




Monday, March 12, 2018

Swiss is the magic word.... Blansacar Swiss???

五星上将手表
Blansacar CEO Series



This watch belongs to my brother-in-laws. It just happenstance that I helped him to get the watch repaired and serviced. He had sent the watch to numerous shops for repairs..... but after a few day it would stop running. So over a conversation during Chinese New Year, I offered him to send it for an overhauling services. 


It is a Blansacar CEO Series that he bought many years ago. It is a homage to the Rolex President. Knowing that this watch is running on a super reliable work horse of ETA 2834-2, I really cannot foresee any major issue with the watch apart from needing some cleaning and re-oiling and possible some worn parts changing.....


I started researching into the brand Blansacar many years ago as its dial stated Chronometer. From my old research through internet search and conversation with watch retailers and salespersons, I found that this brand originally is based in Batu Caves area, Malaysia. But the brand has always emphasized on its Swiss DNA. Lately, I have seen the newer batch of Blansacar stated Swiss Made on its dial.  


You need to comply with stringent requirements before being able to proclaim yourself "Swiss Made". These include the movement needs to be Swiss, the watch is cased in Switzerland and the manufacturer carries out final inspection in Switzerland. However, "Swiss Made" is often improperly used by foreign manufacturers to merely indicate that the movement is of Swiss origin.


Here is the Blansacar's fairy tales from its website.....Blansacar was founded in 1991 in the "watch making metropolis" of La Chaux-de-Fonds, by Mr. Michaël Vrolixs. Mr Vrolixs is the fourth generation of watchmakers family.


Blansacar claims to be an independent Swiss watch manufacturer. From what I see, its main market is in South East Asia, Asia and China. It uses the 5 Stars logo that shaped a Pentagon in the middle. Its Chinese name is "5 Stars General" or 五星上将, which sounded super elegant......


This watch has a 36mm diameter and with a thickness of 13mm. The case is said to make of 316L Stainless steel and is coated with white gold. It has a synthetic diamonds rim and sapphire crystal.


Its white dial is decorated with synthetic diamond hour markers. Below the Blansacar logo and wording, the word "SWISS" is in huge fonts. What is interesting is the wording above the 6 o'clock marker..... it is stated "Professional Chronometer", followed by another line "25 Jewels Automatic". Is it a real chronometer, fully certified???


 Like Rolex, the crown is a screw in and locked type. The crown is signed with the 5 Stars logo.


The watch is accompanied by the President style bracelet. It is of solid link and is made of stainless steel.


The Clasp is signed also with the 5 Stars logo. 


At the inner clasp Blansacar is also signed.


Another nice feature of this watch is the see-through case back with crystal glass.


For those that love to gamble, there are two groups of number, you can put bet on. 2834 and 8231. I believe the 8231 is the model number for this watch. 2834 stands for the ETA movement it used.


Blansacar has been proud of ETA movement it used. The rotor of the movement is signed Blansacar. and the movement used is plated in gold colour. 



Swiss has been associated with fine watches and precision movement for centuries. So when it stated Swiss, the watch is viewed as of higher grade and can fetch a higher selling price............. I won't be surprise if Asian businessmen start setting up manufacturing plants in Switzerland........ With globalization, contract manufacturing and migration of workers..... I start wonder how many percent are truly Swiss????????