Monday, June 28, 2021

Titoni Cosmo King: The Spirit of Rocky Balboa

Initially going to name this post "Kiss Me Under the Thousand Stars", but after watching Rocky Balboa on the satellite TV, I decided to name it "The Spirit of Rocky Balboa".

This watch was in very bad shaped. Kind of getting conned by eBay Hong Kong seller. The case and the bezel were broken. The crown was aftermarket.... So practically only the movement, the dial and the bracelet can be salvaged. This watch has suffered one hell of a beating. Read Here!

You see I refused to let this watch goes. I depleted every mean to restore it. Failed miserably several times and wasted couples of hard earned Benjamin. With the undying spirit of Rocky Balboa, finally it is presentable again. 

Have to give thanks to TaoBao. I managed to get an aftermarket Titoni case and rim from TaoBao. You can source virtually anything from the internet if you know what you are looking for, where you are looking for and some sheer lucks as well.......

Well surfing at TaoBao, you see replacement cases for basically all the famous brands..... Audemars Piguet, Patek Philipe, Rolex, Tudor, Panerai etc etc... The sky, the limit.... Not a bad place for those who loves to modifying their watches or just simply starting a project watch. 

Photos speak a thousand words. Just a footnote, the bracelet is original Titoni. Please don't expect the replacement case to be anywhere near the original but it is a good bargain.......

Friday, April 2, 2021

China Airforce: Seagull 1963 Chronograph

Take me to the Sky...... Vintage Chronograph reissued

This is the second watch I bought in 2020. During the MCO period, nothing much could be done but stayed at home and surfed. Covid-19 caused an exponential increase in internet sales. While those physical shops suffered, virtual market places like ebay, Lazada, TaoBao, Shoppee etc blossomed. I also saw a lot of entrepreneurs and celebrities wanna-be broadcasting themselves in facebook..... Well is a weird weird world after all......

I bought this watch through Shopee. After inflicting an injury of RM699, the watch finally arrived after a week. I had been surveying about this watch for a year or so....

The watch comes in a rectangle shaped navy blue paper box. A red communist star and the word Mechanical are embossed on the box.

Upon opening the box, you will see two cards. The white card stated China Air Force Chronograph Reissued (1963). It is basically a warranty card that provided 12 months guarantee of reliability and any manufacturing defects from the date of purchase. 

The second brown colour card is actually a simplified product instruction manual. Most watch enthusiasts really play little attention to this...... You may also notice that this watch comes with a spare brown genuine leather strap. 

By the modern standard, this is a relatively small watch. Its diameter is 38mm with lug size of 18mm. Being a military issued watch, it is all about functionality. No fancy design or whatsoever, it just simple and practical. 

Several versions of this watch are available on internet.... Some with 19 Zuan (Jewels) but I opted for this 21 Zuan (Jewels); the more jewels the merrier. There is also those equipped with sapphire glass, but wanting it to stay as original as those wore by the Chinese Air Force fighters.... I decided to go for one with dome shaped acrylic crystal. 

The dial is milky green in colour, decorated with golden triangular indexes at odd numbers. Arabic numeric filled the even gaps. Underneath the 12, there is a golden framed red star symbolized the Communist party. Don't get me wrong, I am not stereotyping against Communism..... I am here only appreciating the watch; nothing more, nothing less.

The blue stick shaped hour and minute hands served the purpose of a military watch. I like the red chronograph second counter, very striking and aggressive looking. Above the six o'clock, it stated China and Tianjin Watch Factory. 

There is also a Star at the crown. The chronograph push buttons are plain and simple. The green Nato strap really brings out the character of a military watch. 

This watch comes with a see through case back. A modern twist for the 1963 reissued chronograph. 

From the case back, one can appreciate the mechanical marvel of this 21 Jewels ST19 movement. ST19 is a movement developed in 1961 by Tianjin Watch Factory under the instruction of Chinese government under the project 304. 

Project 304 was to develop a Chinese built chronograph watch for the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Tianjin Watch Factory bought the pattern for the 17 jewels Calibre 175 from Venus Watch of Switzerland. They improved and upgraded it to 19 Jewels. 

So is a pretty modest price to pay for a reputable Military grade chronograph watch. Just that this watch is pretty small for my wrist. Guess no fighter pilot is so well build like I do....... I can never squeeze myself into a fighter jet cockpit.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Resurrection of The King: Race King

What COVID-19 does?

For years, medical experts has warned of the coming of a pandemic. Something that has the scale of the 14th Century's Black Plague or the more recent Spanish Flu. We has been anticipating it from Ebola, SARS, MERS.... but it took COVID-19 to shatter the daily life that we were so comfortable with. 

Malaysia is not spared from the Pandemic. Government has no choice but to announce curfews in the form of MCO (Movement Control Order 2020) or PKP in Malay language (Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan) on 18th March 2020. Well, is basically a locked down. All industries and activities ceased apart from those daily necessities. The operating time for Groceries shops, Pharmacies, Clinics were restricted from 7 am-7 pm. After 7 pm, all should remain at home. Ya, basically a house arrest. Flights in and out were restricted as well. What was once a busy airport becomes somewhat deserted. Everything standstill.... pretty much like those zombie and apocalypse movies. 

One of the main road in my town... usually jam, and yet here I am the only vehicle on the road.

First night of MCO at my neighbourhood eatery.... Usually crowded with people.....

The ever busy airport..... Ghostly......

During the MCO period, my watchmaker friend finally had time to repair my watches. This Race King has been on his work bench since the day dinosaurs ruled the Earth. 

Can't blame him for his laziness. Is a big and massive surgery after-all. Apart from the internal transplant, he had to do plastic surgery to this legendary watch. One of the biggest obstacle was to customise chronograph pusher buttons. This watch came as an in-completed parts from eBay India.

We have tried to rebuild this watch to as original as possible. However parts are scarce..... Here is the outcome..... I believe a picture tells a thousand words......

What made Race King so very famous is the fact that it used the same mechanism as The Legendary Rolex Daytona Paul Newman...... 
Below is the pictures that I found on ebay of a prime Race King for sale.... 

It has been a crazy year.... somewhat depressing...... I forever thankful for my watchmaker friend to somewhat give me that extra positive energy to carry on and to survive...... Let's all survive 2020 and beyond and to Fight and Win over this COVID-19......