Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Rado Diastar One: The very first of its kind!

The Great Ancestor of Rado Diastar Original

Bought this from Manila, Philippine. Never really know what I had before researching into the watch. I thought it is just another Rado Diastar Original. Initially I also suspected the case has something wrong because it was not shining or chrome. It was dulled in colour. How wrong was I?

After much research, this is actually a Rado Diastar1 from the mid 1960's era. This watch has a very distinctive design, with the faceted crystal and the oval case. This is the well known iconic , cult status Rado Diastar. Rado Diastar is first of its kind! Other manufacturers have since attempted to copy the Diastar, but none have came close in replicating the quality & reputation that Rado stands for!
With the Rado DiaStar 1 in 1962 Rado introduced the first scratch-resistant watch to the market. This is close to the original first launched model, which had the flat crystal. The most interesting part of the Diastar is the fact that the case is made of tungsten, a metal that is very hard to scratch.

The dial is intriguingly beautiful. Below is how the dial looks like (Courtesy of Watch Guy blog)... This is a silver dial with steel bar hour markers. The Rado rotating logo is so irresistible to look at. The date display window is framed in steel at 3 o'clock. The date is in red colour. It is non quickset. 

This watch has bold steel hour and minute hands. The black-coated steel second hand is very prominent sweeping on the silver dial. 

The Rado anchor signed crown.....

This watch comes with the fake Rado NSA bracelet. It is getting hard to differentiate now. They have done all the marking. Already asking my watchmaker friend to find me the genuine bracelet to replace it. Also this watch need some cleaning on the dial and hands......

The back case was over polished by the seller. The initial wording of Diastar 1 and its serial number have faded. 

By removing the screw in back case, you will see a beautiful gold plated 25 jewels AS 1858 automatic movement. The AS 1858 is slow beating 18,000 A/h and a power reserve of 44 hours. This super rare AS 1858 movement was used on the days Rado was still independent Rado Watch Co. before they join the Swatch Group.

 End this post with a vintage Rado advertisement from the late 1960's....

Monday, April 29, 2013

Pronto again and again

Being a Parent and plan for the child....

I am not going to say much about this one. I have done Pronto Tropic Master twice: here and here. Going to give this to my boy when he is old enough. This is a Swiss made Pronto Tropic Master boy size. The Tropic Master is with the Rolex oyster look and with jubilee bracelet. All parts are of stainless steel. The crown is signed Pronto as well as the back case. 

This watch is with the gold plated, highly reliable and durable ETA 2824-2 movement. This is the 25 jewels automatic with beat rate of 28,800 bph. Before pass it to my boy in a few years time, I would revamp this watch a little. First, I would replace the acrylic crystal with a sapphire glass which has a cyclops lens. Second would change the bracelet. Third would get my friend to polish the watch and service the movement....

I think a watch that can last for ages, is one of the greatest gift, a father can give to a child. It represents the bond between the two. Even after our departure from this life, the watch will still accompany our child and watch over them..... As parent, we tend to anticipate and plan for our children.... Most of the time, whatever we have in mind, may not be what they want.... So most probably this watch would sit inside closet forever and evermore.  

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Breaking the hundred: Westar Day Date Automatic

Something special for me on my first 100 posts...
Westar Automatic Day Date

Yes this is my 100 posts.... It took 4 years after the birth of  Watchopenia blog. A lot happened during this time and I have my up and down. Initially I started off as a fun, a way to pass my time.... Now I see it as a way of keeping records of the watches that I safe guard for the next generation. I have the obligation to transfer not only the watches, but also their history and their values to whoever inherits them in the future.....

Westar is an Indian watch company established since 1985. It mostly produces quartz dressing watches. In the middle of 1990's it came up with a batch of automatic watches using Swiss ETA movement. This batch is particularly rare and I have not found anything similar on the internet.

I bought this watch in 1998 at a friend shop. That shop and my friend had since moved to a far away city. I was just started working in my home town and my salary during then was pathetic. Barely enough to feed myself. I used approximately half of my monthly salary on this one; paying RM490 for it. Was supposed to buy a Titoni Cosmo King which is another hundred ringgit more.... Due to budget constrain, I was happily settled for this one.

Here is something shocking.... I bought this, because my friend sacrificed in combining parts from 3 different Westar watches of same style to come up with this magnificent piece. OK the dial and the movement are from full gold colour Westar (Rolex president type with president type band), The case is from a duo tones with plain day date dial (without diamond  like indices)  and  duo tones president like band. Finally the duo tones jubilee bracelet is from another Westar date only watch. Basically, this is a customised watch, it would be hard to find an identical twin. 

I wore this watch almost daily while working in a local hospital. Was extremely busy rushing for time and gasping for air.... On numerous occasion, I dozed off staring at the second hand sweeping by smoothly in meetings and at conferences. This particular watch also witness one of my bitter relationship.....

Worth mentioning is, this watch is full stainless steel with sapphire glass on top and a mineral crystal at the case back. It has a screw in crown and screw in case back. The watch has a water resistant of 100 meters. It uses Swiss ETA 2834-2 25 jewels automatic movement with a beat rate of 28,800 bph. The movement is gold plated with Westar being engraved on the rotor.

The bracelet is Rolex's jubilee style. The construction and quality of this bracelet is considered superb.

The clasp is properly signed with Westar logo. 

I have made some modification for this watch. The gold plated signed crown has had its time and was replaced with an universal stainless steel crown, I wrote to Westar about replacement spare, but to my dismay, they never replied. I guess that set apart the reputable watch manufacturers and some Ali Baba's companies. 

Also I have changed the original very short and ugly second hand with a longer hand. 

Thinking of further modding this watch. May replace the crown with a gold colour aftermarket Rolex crown and also change the hour and minute hands too. Stay tune for future post on this watch.....

Revised March 2014

Further Touch up in August 2014:

Change the crown to a gold plated Rolex Replica crown and also changing the second hand to a black colour Titoni's second hand to give it a better contrast....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A hidden treasure: Seiko LordMatic

Seiko Lordmatic 5606-9000

Hidden treasure??? Is not about Indiana Jones... certainly not about Benjamin Franklin Gates or Lara Croft... is about this particular series of vintage Seiko called Lordmatic. Lord is referring to someone with authority, someone great.... Therefore this Lordmatic must be a great Seiko! 
Seiko positioned this watch to compete with Swiss watches for the middle incomes and the working class. Lordmatic was in production during the late 1960's till 1970's. Unlike Ford Model T where you can only have the black colour, Seiko basically offered huge selection of cases, dials, bracelets for most of their models. 
Why I classified Lordmatic as hidden treasure? See, Lordmatic has built quality that second to none. In my opinion, its case and dial have equivalent finishing of those vintage Grand Seiko, and King Seiko. Comparing its current market values, it is far cheaper than the vintage GS, KS and some Seiko divers like 6105, and 6306.  

This Seiko LM 5606-9000 has a very interesting case. The case is actually pentagon shaped and is with satin finishing. The case and the case back are a single entity. I.e. you can't open the case back. This in a sense increase the water-proofing of this watch. For maintenance of the watch, it is opened through and by removing the acrylic glass. The acrylic crystal is measuring 36mm in diameter. The crown of LM series is unsigned. 

The silver tone dial is very beautiful with Seiko and LM logo emblems. The day-date window is beveled with silver frame. The hour and minute hand, as well as the hour markers are silver colour with heavy black strip. This watch do not use any luminescent material. 

This is a photo I found on the internet showing the Japanese made automatic 5606 movement. This 23 jewels movement has a quickset day-date and can be hand-winded and is with hacking function. The day disc is in dual languages; English and Kanji. This is a pure 100% Japanese made Seiko,  

I think this 5606-9000 Lordmatic is well fall into the category of  Apart from Seiko GS and KS, a Seiko high grade fine timepiece.