Saturday, November 30, 2013

Titoni Cosmo Sixty Six: The Double Double.....

Is a double SIX: 六六大顺

I always love the number six on a dice. It is the biggest and when playing with board game, it usually means you have the bonus turn to toss the dice.
Titoni since it establishment has always playing with number in naming their watches. We have Airmaster 707, Airmaster 777, Airmaster 808, Cosmo 2000 and Cosmo 3000.... the list continued..... At one stage during the 1960's those in Titoni were frantic and superstitious with double double numbers; for example Cosmo 22, Cosmo33, Cosmo 88 and the one that I wrote about Cosmo 99 36,000bph

Here is a Titoni Cosmo 66. This is in a square mirror finishing stainless steel casing measuring 36mm x 38mm.

This Titoni has a lovely faceted crystal. The dial is silver colour with a blue chapter ring with silver hour markers highlighted in white colour. The red 5 pedals blossom flower and Titoni emblem just underneath the 12 o'clock position.

the word Cosmo and the 66 digit emblem are at the 9 o'clock position and the words Rotomatic and 25 jewels counter balance on the 3 o'clock position. This watch is with the day and date function and the day date window is strategically located at the 6 o'clock position. 

This watch uses the ETA 2789 25 Jewels automatic movement. The day date can be quickset using the crown. The ETA 2789 has a frequency of 21,600 bph and a power reserve of 45 hours. This watch has a slightly bold ruler or baton hands with a black insert in the middle. It also has a smooth sweeping silver second hand. 

This watch still with its original stainless steel with a signed clasp. 

With this range of watch, the screw in backcase is decorated beautifully with Titoni logo and Cosmo 66 wordings engraved on the center. 

Thirty three, Sixty six, Eighty eight and Ninety nine are all prosperous numbers..... Maybe wearing a watch like this daily will bring the very best of luck...... a massive fortune is coming MY WAY!!!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Don't think it will wake me up: Seiko Bellmatic 17 Jewels

A morning kiss will do a better job: Seiko Bellmatic 4006-6080

Back in the early 1990's, I was an Overseas student in Australia. I remembered I had this huge size electronic radio alarm clock to wake me up every morning. Well it was very very loud... "PA.... PA.... PA....PA...." for a good 5 Minutes before transmitting the morning news.... I guess it did a superb job as I was never late to class.... Either because I was staying up the whole night rushing for my assignment or I was woke up by the heavy pounding on my door by my annoyed neighbours. In reality, the radio alarm was not really that useful.... I was still in my dream and zzzzZZZZZZZZ with pillows soaked in my saliva.

This is a March 1976 Seiko Bell-Matic. Seiko Bell-Matic is the first automatic watch with alarm function. The Seiko Bell-Matic line was produced from late 1966 to 1978 in a variety of case and dial variations. There are 2 types of Bell-Matic, the one with 4006 and the one with 4005 movements. The 4006 automatic movements are with day and date function. 4006 calibres come in 17, 21 or 27 jewels variants. The 17 jewels being the most common, then the 27 and the 21 being the rarest of the three. And while most Bell-matic featured the day and date there were a few models that featured the date only. These were identified as a 4005 movement and were only manufactured before 1970. 

This 4060-6080  comes in gold dial and with a stainless steel case that measuring 36mm excluding the dial. These case styles are commonly know as "cushion" case and are a nice size to wear and have a good presence on the wrist. This watch used the acrylic crystal.  The gold dial worth a little bit of mentioning. It has a circular O ring where the hour markers were set in. The O ring is with micro-lines circular pattern. There is also an internal, rotating, gold chaptered ring marked with black characters. This bezel is used to set the required alarm time.

This watch has luminous gold hands and a blue-black coloured sweeping second hand. The 2 crowns are very eyes-catching. 

The most outstanding feature on these watches is the mechanical hand-wind alarm. The alarm is wound and set using the crown and engaged using the alarm button at 2 o'clock position. In addition to these functions the crown also serves to set the time and the alarm button can quick-set the date. There is no quick-set feature for the day. The day can be set by turning the crown from 10:30PM to 1AM, repeating this back-and-forth until the desired day is reached.

This watch still retain its original stainless steel bracelet with signed clasp. 

The backcase design is plain and with all the essential information only. For wearing, I still prefer the plain and flat backcase. This is still a Made in Japan Seiko. 

Seiko 4006 movement cannot be hand winded. It has a frequency of 19,800 A/h and a power reserve of 42 hours. The alarm worked by a mechanical hammer pounding on sounding spring and it is for a good 10 seconds only. If you are an antique watches lover, the ring tones give you the pleasure of nostalgia....

For lazy bone like me, I don't think this Seiko  Bellmatic 4006-6080 alarm function can do its job. Despite the fact, it rings and vibrate gently. A gentle kiss by a Japanese AV actress will be much more sufficient and a great way to kick start a fresh day.......

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Royal Oak: Bulova Octagon

Rare Bulova Royal Oak

This is how a Royak Oak tree looks like......

For watch enthusiasts, a lot of time Royal Oak means this.......

and this is what we are talking about today........

There is little information about this watch. I believe this is from the late 1970's or early 1980's. Regarding this watch, there are two sides of the story..... I called them the fairy tale and the ultimate cruel truth.....

Everybody like the good old fairy tales....... Found this picture of Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf.....

The story goes.... Legendary watch designer Mr Gerald Genta was working for Bulova when he designed the Royal Oak. Bulova was producing the Royal Oak before Audemars Piguet. So the Bulove Royal Oak is the ancestor of the design and is so rare..... When Gerald Genta joined Audemars Piguet, he took the design of Royal Oak over. In April 1972, at the Basel Watch Show, Audemars Piguet launched the Royal Oak which eventually become a huge international success. AP Royal Oaks become one of the most iconic watches ever. Like all fairy tales, you need to believe to live happily ever after.....

Now back to the real world scenario, this Bulova is a homage to AP's Royal Oak. The copycat, the look alike, the legitimate replica and so on..... But they served a very noble purpose. To let those who love the Royal Oak design, be able to wear one without having to pay the hefty price.

This is a exceptional piece of artwork. It is a luxurious looking steel watch with integrated bracelet characterized by a daring and revolutinary design. The watch case and the bracelet are all stainless steel. The watch is measuring 36mm excluding the crown. Bulova paid great attention to the details on this model.

Its Guillochie dial has aged to a beautiful champagne creamy colour. The dial is decorated with gold coloured batons served as hour markers, date aperture at three o'clock position. Bulova's gold tuning forks logo complement the classical dial perfectly. 

The satin finish stainless steel case fitted to a same finishing stainless steel link bracelet with folding clasp. The bracelet are screwed fitted at the lugs. All the bracelet links are screwed together. Ouch... I just notice a missing screw and a loose link....

The clasp is signed with a Bulova's tuning fork logo 

A disruptive and downright revolutionary timepiece, the Royal Oak is immediately recognizable thanks to its state-of-the-art engineered case, and octagonal bezel secured by eight hexagonal screws. This watch has a gold plated chamfered bezel. All the eight screws on the bezel are lined-up contiguously. The watch is fitted with a flat mineral crystal with scratch resistant. The original crown looked like those of AP's Royal Oak, mine is just a replacement that looks utmost awful......

The back of the case is sandblasted. The backcase is screw in type and at the center is a decorative engraving of a female ballet dancer.

This watch is dated back to the late 1970's or early 1980's. It uses the older Eta 2982 17 Jewels automatic movement with brass finishing. The rotor is marked with " BULOVA 1432.10 Seventeen 17 Jewels SWISS N9". ETA 2892 is consider a upscale ETA movement and has an amplitude of 28,800 bph and a power reserve of 42 hours. 

Apart from Royal Oak, Charles Gérald Genta (1931-2011) also created IWC's Ingenieur, Patek Philippe's Nautilus, Omega's Constellation, Cartier's Pasha de Cartier, just to name a few. But the Royal Oak was the true masterpiece of his career.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Possible Best Selling Seiko Diver ever: 6309-7049

Seiko Diver Turtle: 6309-7049

Back in April this year, I did a piece on Seiko diver 6309-7290 with the title: May I have a can of Pepsi please? Today I would present to you the earlier version of Seiko diver 6309, the much sought after classic diver. The 6309-7040 and 6309-7049 are housed in big symmetrical cushion cases that protrude from either side of the bezel.
6309-7040, 6309-7049 (both with black bezels) and 6309-704X (with blue-and-red bezels) are essentially the same watch. The 7040 designation denotes watches intended for the Japanese home market and the rest of the world, while the 7049 designation was assigned to those watches intended for export to North America. 6309-7040 and 7049 were produced from 1976 until 1988.

These earlier 6309 diver variant comes in a large and thick stainless steel turtle case measuring approximately 44mm in width (48mm including the crown); 14mm in thickness; and 22mm in lug width. The case has a machined/satin finish and is composed of a combination of softly curved surfaces. 

This cushion case also served as a crown guard. These watches have integrated threaded crown tubes which are intended to accommodate a thick telescoping screw-down type crown. The stainless steel crown is horizontally toothed (for ease of finger-grip) and unsigned.

All 6309 divers have mildly angled, 60-click, bi-directional, non-locking bezels.  The bezel is with black-painted aluminum inserts, silver index markings and a recessed round lume dot. The bezel ring is bordered by two stacked rows of rectangular cut protrusions that aid with finger-grip during bezel turning. 

The crystal should be a Seiko Hardlex mineral crystal. The original crystal supposed to be flat, have a frosted beveled edge, and should only protrude a little but never beyond the outer edge of the bezel. 

The black matte dial is characterized by round hour markers at 1,2,4,5,7,8,10 & 11; Bell-shaped hour markers at 6 & 9; and a two-piece rounded triangular 12:00 marker that is divided by an inverted cross. At 3 O'clock position is the day and date function window. The day wheel is in dual language combinations, All hour markers are lumed.
The words SEIKO AUTOMATIC are written in whitish silver paint, directly below the 12:00 O'clock marker. The words WATER 150m RESIST. In early (1976 to approximately 1980) variants this text should be followed by the Suwa symbol, just above the 6:00 O'clock marker. This dial of mine is an aftermarket part. The original word’s WATER & RESIST were painted red, while the 150m was painted whitish silver paint. Between the 5 to 7 O'clock hour marker is tiny letters representing the dial codes secretly telling where the watch was made and cased. 

This watch has bold silver hands. The hour and minute hands are well lumed to have better visibility underneath water. The second hand only has a lume dot near its outer end. 

The stainless steel case-back is screw down type. Like all modern Seiko divers, it has a raised Seiko tsunami wave in the center. Deeply stamped at the caseback are the wordings: ST. STEEL 6309-7049, SEIKO, WATER RESIST, Japan A (indicating this is earlier batch between 1976 to 1980) followed by a Suwa logo. The six-digit serial number of this watch stated that this watch came out of its Japan factory on July 1977. 

The 6309 diver are all powered by the 17 Jewels automatic caliber. This movement cannot be handwound and is non-hacking. It runs at 21,600 bph and  has a quickset day/date calendar mechanism.

This watch of mine is using the Z22 strap from a more recent Seiko diver, the 7S26. Just for general information, the original silicone rubber strap should be marked "SEIKO GL-831 JAPAN". 

The 6309 divers are probably the most popular dive watches ever! Its reputation for ruggedness (robust construction and highly reliable movement) and affordable price made the 6309 a popular choice. After almost 30 years since its last production, these watches are still highly sought after in second hand market places. In fact a large aftermarket has developed to support the restoration and modification of these watches. Seiko purists might hesitate and object to aftermarket, but a nicely restored, serviced and accurately timed 6309 justify everything. 

Celebrities with a 6309 Turtle on hand..... 

Ed Harris wore a 6309-704x in the 1989 movie "The Abyss."

Mick Jagger is wearing a 6309-704x in this 1983 photo.

Monday, November 25, 2013

No risk no joy..... It's a Fortis!

Fortis Allrisks

When talk about Fortis... we are visualizing Cosmonauts or Fighter jet pilot that cruising at Mach 1.8..... wearing a somewhat sophisticated and technology advance time piece. Well this is certainly not the case..... as we need to wind back the time into a slower pace 1960's.......    

Kind of wondering whether this watch is from the family of Fortis Spacematic? The Spacematic Automatic, constructed for extreme conditions and temperature changes was tested by the seven members of an US space mission. 

This watch is measuring 34 mm excluding its crown. It has a matte finishing stainless steel case and with a convex acrylic crystal. The black dial has aged quite a bit but nevertheless it is still a beauty..... The bronze colour Fortis logo emblem as well as the words Fortis, Swiss marked the center stage, This watch has the brone colour markers and hands. An "ar" wording usually visible at 9 O'clock marker has faded with time and is no longer visible to naked eyes. Just above the 6 O'clock marker, it is written Automatic, 21 Jewels. At the bottom of the dial, a proud statement of this watch being a genuine Swiss Made. The crown of this particular watch is a replacement generic part...

At the back case it is marked as Fortis Allrisks model with reference no 6086. It is also stated as waterproof, but to what depth or atmospheric pressure???? The back case is screw in type. 

Fortis Allrisks utilised the Eta 2452 21 jewels automatic movement.  Eta 2452 has a frequency of 18,000 A/h and a power reserve of 42 hours. Like most of the calibers during the time, this has non quickset date.