Monday, February 24, 2014

Mido Commander: Another watch.....

Mido Commander Day-Date 8228

I blogged about Mido and its summarised history HERE. Here is another Mido Commander that is not Chronometer Certified. This is more a homage playing tribute to Rolex Day-Date President. Despite being a Rolex looks alike, the quality of a Mido can never be questioned. 

What is unique with this Mido Commander is its monocoque stainless steel body. I.e. The case back and the case is a single piece. Therefore to open this watch, you need to remove the glass and the dial first. This Mido Commander is measuring 36mm in diameter excluding its crown. Like Rolex, it has fluted bezel.

Its acrylic crystal has a "Mido" engraved at the center and has a magnifying lens for the 3 o'clock date window. The dial is silver grey in colour and without any fancy wordings just silver colour emblems of Mido and Commander wordings. At the six o'clock hour baton is a proud statement of Swiss Made. 

The Mido signed crown of this watch is semi concealed inside the case. It only protruded slightly out from the case. 

Although this stainless steel bracelet looks like Rolex President bracelet, it is breathe with own characteristic. 

The bracelet is very comfortable to wear and is easily adjustable by a small screw driver. Mido used small  and short folding clasp rather than a hidden clasp. 

The clasp is signed with the word Mido and it is not by engraving but by a more tedious machined embossing process.

The backcase is somewhat simple. It is engraved with the model number and the serial number as well as Mido and stainless steel. 

I have not opened up this watch. Therefore I can only speculate that this watch must be using the ETA 2834-2 automatic movement beating at 28,800 bph. From my research by googling around.... yeap most stated 2834. Below is a photo shown the finishing of Mido signed ETA 2834-2:

I suspected this watch is from late 1980's or early 1990's. To my dismay, I can't recall when or where I picked this one up. Maybe is time to appreciate what I already have rather than what I want to pursue.............

Friday, February 21, 2014

A tale of a broken Seiko: 6309-8840

Broken Seiko 5 6309-8840

This is a Seiko 5, the entry level automatic Seiko that I picked up from a friend shop. It was broken and neglected at one very corner of his electrical and watch shop. I asked him whether is of any use to him, he shook his head . I offered him peanuts for it. 

Seiko Cal 6309 is a 17 jewels automatic workhorse. I ever heard my watchmaker friend said he managed to adjust this movement to + and - 1 sec per day in a single position. This Seiko 5 is from July 1983. It was in non-working condition. The dial, the hands and the crystal were all witness to its age and previous owner's usage. I love watches with black dial and gold indexes and wordings. It is a sin to see a good reliable watch dying in agony, abandoned by its owner. 

I took this to my watchmaker friend who has been struggling with his heavy workload. He has tons and tons of Rolex, Panerai, Tag Heuer, and all the premium brands queuing up and seeking his attention. I know too well that his hands are tied and I was a bit embarrassed to bother him with such a piece. So I asked him...."Got time to service my watch?" He paused for a while and asked me "If it is a 'GOOD' watch, I don't really mind!"..... I gave him a dirty look and went, "errerErrrrrrerrrrrrr...... If it is 'GOOD' I would not have asked you.." 

"If it is a 6309, at least I have a satisfaction working on it...." Did he just say a 6309??? Hahahahaaaaaaaa I was laughing hysterically like a hyena...... It would be a long long wait before this ever come back to me............ Just wait and see what the plastic surgeon and physician can do with this........

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seiko 6309-7290 diver again and forever....

Another day another diver: Seiko Diver 6309-7290

I always have a steadfast love for diver and adventurous watches. I like their rugged design, their handy functionality and unsurpassed reliability. These are really for wear and tear. A daily use outdoor watch.... a watch meant to be abused. 
I always love the 6309 diver for its robustness and simplicity in design. It is also cheap and can be used in all occasion. I don't think I would look ridicule if wearing this on my wrist with a tuxedo.  
I have blogged my slim cased 6309 diver HERE and HERE before, and this is my spare one. Initially I want to have this modified but it has been years and I have done nothing yet...... 

Identical twin photos 

Side by side: Slim cased 6309-7290 with Turtle cased 6309-7040

A list of my humble Seiko Divers collection and links 

Holy Grail of Seiko Divers

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Omega Constellation 1001: Against All Odds

Collecting the noncollectable: Omega Constellation Integral

"To be, or not to be...." that was precisely my feeling when deciding whether to grab this Omega. There are so many negative comments, reviews against this Omega movement cal. 1001. So many have classified it as a disaster or even a catastrophic movement.

"In 1968, the Omega 1000 series calibres came into this world with what are said to be significant birth defects..............The newly designed winding mechanism and the self-lubrication system created problems with reliability. Calibres 1000, 1001 and 1002 are best avoided, except by those who can repair and maintain them." wrote Desmond Guilfoyle. His full article can be read HERE!

Well there is always the other side of the coin. I have also heard the story about an Omega Cal. 1001 on someone's wrist for the last 25 years without servicing. Why I decided to have this one in my collection? This is because it was the Cal. 1001 that has launched Omega into the fast beat movements in 1969, eight years ahead of its rival, Rolex. Also the 1000 calibers were the last few Omega in-housed Constellation movement before Omega outsourced its manufacture of mechanical watch movements. Omega, for reasons of cutting costs and surviving the Japanese Quartz revolution, replaced the in-house Constellation movement in 1984 with the ETA 2892-2 and renamed it Calibre 1111.

This Omega Constellation is the same watch that is on display in the Omega museum and is labelled as the Constellation "integral line". The integral line watches were the first in the world to have the bracelet integrated into the case design. 1960's-1970's Constellations were manufactured at a time when mechanical watchmaking technology had reached a high point. The Constellation was one of the finest and most accurate watches available at the time and catered to different budgets and tastes with a choice of stainless steel to a solid 18K gold cases.

This is the most basic 1970's Omega Constellation with date function. It is a square shaped stainless steel case with integrated stainless steel bracelet. Its case measures 36mm x 40.9mm. The crown is signed with Omega logo or the horse shoe logo. This watch is with acrylic crystal and has a tiny little Omega logo engraved at the center of the crystal. The silver dial with baton indexes has had its glory day. 

The factory stainless steel bracelet is still intact and in good condition. The folding clasp is proudly signed with a huge Omega logo. 

The inner clasp is also signed as well with a reference number of 1155/148. 

The screw-down backcase of the Constellations is nicely decorated with a space observatory station with 8 stars in the sky. 

The 1000 series was one of the best-selling of all Omega self-winding calibres. More than 1.5 million were used not only as certified chronometers in Constellations, but also the uncertified movements in Seamasters, Geneve and Speedmasters.

The certified chronometer calibre 1001 was the first of the series to power Constellations. Cal.1001 is a 20 Jewels automatic movement adjusted to 5 positions and temperature. It has a power reserve of 42 hours. Designed by Kurt Vogt under Alfred Rihs, it was an impressive 4.25mm thick. Apart from its high frequency (28,800bph), it incorporated a number of technologies, such as a hacking feature to allow more accurate time setting, instantaneous date and a thinner rotor to slow down and create less stress and wear on the winding mechanism. 

Despite its shortcomings, Cal. 1001 is of significant in Omega's horological history. The Omega Constellation Integral line does have its place in Omega's hall of fame and some may say hall of shame as well. 

(Acknowledgement: A good portion of this post is based on Desmond Guilfoyle's and works.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Seiko diver 6217-8001: For the first time...

The very First Diver: Seiko 6217-8001

There is always a first time for everything..... first time I dated a girl; first time I kissed..... The thing is, first time is always memorable, either in a cherish manner or horrific circumstance.... It is still the first time. I won't be posting a Dolphin photo or an under the sea scene for this very first Seiko diver, as I already done it HERE and HERE! Let me share with you a more innocent type of mood photo to stimulate your first love...... Perhaps I should have posted this in Valentine day. 

In 1965, Seiko had built Japan's first diver's watch, which was water resistant to an impressive 150 meters. Seiko´s first diver, the (62MAS) was retailing for 13,000 Yen back then. That is equivalent to a Japanese university graduate's half month wages. In other words, it wasn't cheap 50 years ago and it is certainly not cheap now. A good condition used 62MAS can easily set you back USD 1000 to 1500 or even more. 

Comparing to other subsequent Seiko divers, this iconic vintage diver is relative small in size. It is measuring 37mm in diameter, with a thickness of 13.5mm. The distance between its lugs is 19mm. The case is with brushed finishing on the top. The 62MAS is the first Seiko featuring the external rotating bezel. The bi- directional rotating bezel with non clicking sound has a black background with white markings.

Like most 1960's watches, this Seiko diver has the classic domed acrylic crystal. This watch also has an unconventional oversized crown for the 1960's. Contradict with later diver, the crown is pull and wind type. It is non screw down and non locking crown. It is signed with raised Seiko wording. The 62MAS does not have crown guards.

Another distinctive feature of this watch is the four holes at its lugs. 

This watch has a metallic black dial with rectangle shaped baton hour markers that were heavily lumed. The hour and minute hands are also baton shaped and heavily lumed. The minute and hour hands are simple, bevelled and lumed baton hands, The elongated seconds hand has a lumed box tip.

There is a date window highlighted with silver colour frame at 3 o'clock position. The date can be quickset. There are two types of caseback for 62MAS: The Dolphin logo or the Seiko wording type. My 62MAS is of Seiko wording and the caseback is screw down. From the serial number this diver is dated to April 1967. 

Below is a caseback I saw while google for the 62MAS caseback..... Hmmmmm it makes me wonder whether that is a dolphin or a whale? Looks more like a whale to me.

The 62MAS is powered by the same 6217A that was used in Seiko Worldtime. Below is a beautiful 6217A movement picture that I copied from 

6217A is a 17 Jewels date-only automatic movement, beating at a slow pace of 18000bph. This movement is non-hacking and cannot handwind. The robustness of a Seiko movement is never in doubt. 

In order to prove its reliability and ruggedness, the 62MAS was successfully used by the 8th Japanese Antarctic Wintering Team in 1966. 

62MAS is consider rare as it was only produced from 1965 until 1968. Seiko Diver 6105 replaced 62MAS in 1968. No matter what, 62MAS marked a new milestone in watches production and signaled a great beginning for Japanese driving watches.