Newly-serviced loveliness

A while ago, I listed my Glashutte Original Senator Perpetual Calendar for sale. It’s the previous to current model with the 40mm case and the 100 series movement, and I’ve had it for quite a few years now; the problem is that I was wearing it infrequently, so told myself it was probably time to move it on.

When I posted the sales listing on TZ-UK it was running a bit fast – somewhere between 15 and 20 seconds, from memory. I was surprised that it wasn’t snapped up but assumed that the need for a service was a contributory factor. With that in mind I dropped it off at Wempe and waited the couple of months for it to undergo a full service and be returned to the UK. Wempe were superb, as having mistakenly quoted £600 – the cost should have been £900 for this movement – they kindly stood by their original figure, so I managed to save £300 on what it should have cost me. More importantly, its now running at +2s on the wrist, so the service obviously did its job and it also looks brand new (although there was barely a mark on it to begin with).

I think I may keep hold of it now, as I have something of an attachment to it; it’s one of the cleanest executions of a PC out there (Moser probably hold that title, actually) and to my mind it’s far, far nicer than the current 42mm model with the Roman numerals. For now, here’s a couple of photos to relieve some of the CV-19 related boredom. It’s a lovely thing.

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4 months-worth of incomings in one fell swoop!

Well, having had a strange (for me) watch-related experience a couple of days ago, it occurred to me that I’ve had some incomings over the past 4 months or so that I’ve not posted about. I do enjoy shooting watches and don’t do it very often these days, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and post a quick write-up on the various arrivals.

First up is a 1979-issued CWC W10. I’m not particularly into issued/military watches but I’ve wanted one of these for ages; the fact that it was issued but is still in such superb condition swung it for me and I have to say that I absolutely love the little thing.

It was serviced by John Senior back in 2017, when along with the mechanical work it also got a new crystal and a light polish. It’s therefore in gorgeous nick and looks particularly good on this hand-made bund strap that was sourced from the Ukraine.

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The next one is a watch that I’ve been after for a good couple of years – a Zenith Rainbow Flyback from the original run (the current model is a little oversized for my taste) and with a tritium dial.

This one is from 1999 and is all original save for the lume in the chrono hand. It was serviced by an Italian watchmaker before reaching me, and having decided not to wear it on the bracelet (which I have) I bought something that I’ve not needed for a while now; a Di Modell Rallye strap with red stitching. These have to be the very best bang for buck straps on the market, and it suits the watch very well in addition to being supremely comfortable.

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Next up is another watch that I’ve been after for a long while, albeit in Pepsi guise. However, the BLNR is also a gorgeous watch, and given that I’m completely fed up with the whole Pepsi saga I’m going to accept that the future is actually blue and not red.

Now, it may surprise some on here to know that I traded a lovely 16710 for this watch. However (and regardless of conventional wisdom, which is neither here nor there so far as I’m concerned) I’ve never really fallen in love with the more modern 5-digit GMTs. I do love the 1675 and 16750 a lot, but for some reason if it’s not going to be one of them then I’ve always preferred the current ceramic crop. Call me a heathen…

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Finally, something completely unexpected. I was out with Bea for a valentine’s lunch yesterday, and we had an amble down Oxford Street before heading home again. Anyway, I was looking in the window of WoS when one of the sales assistants caught my eye and started beckoning me in whilst waving something shiny at me. It turned out to be one of two steel and gold Submariners that he was about to put in the window, and no sooner was I inside the door than I was sipping some cold Veuve Clicquot and pondering over blue or black dials. In the end, and after much deliberation, went for the 116613LN – the one with the black dial.

Now, I don’t have £11k knocking around for impulse purchases, but I’m about to move a watch on and I’m also going to sell my GO perpetual calendar when it’s back from service (it’s been in Glashutte for the past month); I don’t really wear it, and it’s too lovely to spend its life sitting on a winder. So, having decided that I really do like the black dial a lot I took the plunge. I’m very happy I did, too.

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To wrap up, just a word about the modern Rolex range… I’ve never had an issue with the cases, nor do I have any time for those who commonly (and rather stupidly) say that they wouldn’t wear one if it was given to them. They’re amazing watches with some great innovations in recent years. These two will sit very happily next to my 4 and 5-digit references, and I’ll enjoy wearing both very much indeed.

And the other one…

Okay, the other incoming then – the Grand Seiko SBGK005, a limited edition of 1500 watches and already one that’s looking quite hard to get hold of.

First of all, what does Grand Seiko have to say about it?

A new manual-winding calibre. A new slim profile. A blue dial. The Grand Seiko Elegance Collection sets a new course.

Calibre 9S63 is a significant addition to the ever growing Grand Seiko family of movements. It has been eight years since the last manual-winding mechanical calibre in Grand Seiko and it has been worth the wait. Calibre 9S63 offers a small seconds hand at the nine o’clock position and a power reserve indicator at three o’clock. Calibre 9S63 has a power reserve of 72 hours and delivers an accuracy rate of +5 to -3 seconds a day.

A new slim design with blue Mt. Iwate pattern dial. The stainless steel cases are polished by a special Zaratsu method created to accentuate the beauty of the curved surfaces. The dials and the sapphire crystals are also curved to give the watches a classic look.

Blue accents for the movement and the case back. The blue lion mark and tempered screws can be seen through the sapphire case back.

A bit more about the movement, and the specification in general:

Type: Manual winding mechanical 9S63
Accuracy: +5 to -3 seconds per day
Power reserve: Approximately 72 hours
Vibrations: 28,800 vibrations per hour (8 beats per second)
Jewels: 33 jewels
Characteristics: Power reserve indicator, small seconds hand
Crystal: Domed sapphire
Strap: Crocodile with single-fold deployant clasp
Water resistance: 3 bar
Case: stainless steel with Zaratsu finish
Dimensions: 39mm diameter, 11.6mm thickness, 19mm lug width

The SBGK005 is part of a new line of Grand Seiko “Elegance” models (these tend to be dressier and more classic than the other GS collections which, to my mind, can come across as a little too austere and clinical at times). Most of the case is mirror (Zaratsu) polished, with only the central facet of the midcase brushed. Transitions between components are delineated either by razor sharp edges (for instance, where the bezel meets the case) or radiused curves (in the case of the lug shape), with the reflections emphasising the changes in geometry.

The 9S63 movement is Grand Seiko’s first new manual-winding calibre in eight years, but it actually builds on the well-established architecture of the tried and tested 9S64. It features a small seconds complication at 9 o’clock and a power reserve indicator at 3; the movement boasts 72 hours of power reserve on a full wind, and the accuracy is rated to +5/-3 seconds a day. It has 33 jewels and a beat rate of 28,800 bph.

However, whilst both the case and the movement are impressive this watch is really all about the dial. Whilst it isn’t lacquered like some of the other variants in the new line-up, it shares their finish in boasting a surface that’s intended to symbolise the texture of Japan’s Mt. Iwate. Whilst it’s quite hard to photograph (because of the domed crystal rather than the dial itself) it really is nothing short of spectacular in the metal.

So, on that note to the photographs… with apologies for not really producing the quality of image that I was looking for. It transpired that the crystal – when under my lights – presented a challenge that I didn’t quite have the time yesterday evening to overcome but perhaps I’ll have another shot at it at some point soon.

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A rather special incoming

Well, I’ve had a couple of incomings over the past month or so, but given that I spend my weekdays up in Newcastle right now I’ve not really had a chance to take any photographs of them until this weekend. in fact, I hadn’t unpacked my lights for the best part of a year as it’s such a palaver, but I decided it was worth the effort. So, to the first of them…

A Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down Special Edition

A Lange & Söhne was originally founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in Glashutte, Germany in 1845. However, the original ALS (along with the other Glashutte-based watch houses) was nationalised and ceased to exist in 1948, following the occupation by the Soviet Union after World War II. In fact, it wasn’t until 1990 that the current A. Lange & Söhne trademark was re-registered, when Lange Uhren GmbH was founded by Walter Lange, the great-grandson of Ferdinand Adolph Lange.

The number 1815 is a significant date in the history of ALS, as its the year Ferdinand was born in Dresden; now, the number represents a family of watches that pays a tribute to that legacy. The range consists of models with complications such as the chronograph, annual calendar, tourbillon, and perpetual calendar. However, the 1815’s all take their DNA from pocket watches (for which ALS was known prior to its nationalisation) by using traditional elements like railway minute track, Arabic numerals and club-shaped markers on the 15-minute intervals. The company has always had a history of innovation, and in fact a particular Patent – no. 9349 – was granted to ALS on 18 May 1879. The subject was a “device in pocket watches for recognising whether the watch is wound or unwound and for indicating how much time remains before it reaches the totally unwound state.” This was, in fact, the official moment that ALS’s characteristic UP/DOWN power-reserve indicator was born.

Looking at this watch (and in addition to the UP/DOWN power-reserve indicator) the blued hands, the recessed central segment, the Arabic numerals and the railway-track minute scale were all inspired by historic pocket watches. A top-mounted wheel train on the caseback side of the Calibre L051.2 movement and two additional screwed gold chatons are manifestations of the mainspring barrel that was enlarged with the 1815 and delivers power for three days. Also, because this is ALS, who have an obsessive attention to detail, the movement features a stop mechanism, which means that when the watch does eventually lose all of its stored energy, the seconds counter stops precisely at zero.

One thing that I didn’t know is that every ALS watch is effectively unique, because each movement that comes out of the manufacture with one component which is hand engraved; so, apart from the famous three quarter plates, gold chatons, and 245 individual parts, this one also features ALS’s individually hand-engraved balance cock. This tradition of engraving the balance-cock goes way back to the pocket watches. When ALS relaunched in the 90s they continued with this tradition, and because the engravings are done by half a dozen different craftsmen at the manufacture, each one looks different.

Anyway, the specification of the Calibre L051.2 movement…

Number of movement parts: 245
Number of rubies: 29
Number of screwed gold chatons: 7
Power reserve: 72 hours when fully wound
Oscillation frequency: 21600 bph
Beat-adjustment system: Screw balance
Movement measures: diameter 30.6 mm; height 4.6 mm

Finally, then, to this particular special edition, limited to just 25 numbered watches in rose gold and another 25 in white gold. It marks 25 years since the reborn manufacture released the first of it’s watches back in 1994 and also celebrates the association with Wempe (another brand that was nationalised back in the day), who were tasked with selling them all through their own dealerships. As special/limited editions go… well, it really is special, and it really is limited!

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A long-overdue update

A while ago, I decided that a consolidation of my collection was somewhat overdue. My target was to go from 16 to 10 in total, and having mulled over what to retain and what to let go a few very nice watches were moved on. Out went my Aquanaut (it funded my motorcycling adventure, and frankly the value of it as a wrist trinket was getting silly); my Royal Oak Diver (a bloody gorgeous watch, but just a little too hefty for my wrist); and both my Parmigiani and Zenith chronographs.

What I didn’t count on was any new arrivals, but – true to form – I seem to have struggled in achieving my objectives in respect of any meaningful reduction. As there are some nice new trinkets now fighting for wrist time, though, I thought I’d pop up a quick incoming post with an image or two to liven it up 🙂

Rolex (Zenith) Daytona 16523

I only recently moved a steel Zenith Daytona on, but when I saw this beauty from 1996 listed for sale I felt a strange compulsion to nab it. The seller was happy to take my Parmigiani in part trade, and given that I was thinking of moving it on anyway a deal saw very swiftly concluded.

I must admit that I was in two minds when it arrived. It was clearly a lovely thing, but I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt about wearing a steel and gold watch. A couple of days in, though, and I was absolutely loving it. Maybe it’s because I’m in my late fifties now, but in any event it makes a lovely change, and it’s surprisingly adaptable. My task now is to keep it away from Bea, who has an uncanny knack of nabbing the watches she takes a fancy to.

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Grand Seiko SBGE245G

This one was a real surprise, as – whilst I’d admired them from photos on the web I’d never considered buying one. However, when a trade deal materialised and I tried it on, it became a bit of a no-brainer.

It’s a Spring Drive GMT, and is a limited edition of 600 available from Seiko flagship salons, Seiko Premium Boutiques, and Seiko Premium Watch Salons across Japan (to quote Seiko, that is – they’re about to start appearing here in the UK, though, and this one seems to have been one of the very first received by authorised dealers here). Its water resistant to 200m, and offers three time zones using both the GMT hand and the 24 hour bezel. Unlike most GS Spring Drives, it also has torch-like lume.

Aside from the stunning sapphire bezel it has a mahogany-red dial with a very subtle sunburst finish, there’s a power reserve on the dial (which I think looks fantastic, and contrasts beautifully with the dial itself). It measures 44mm and is about as big as I’d want to go with it, but it wears nicely and (being a Spring Drive) features that mesmerising sweep of the second hand. I love it.

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Seiko SLA025J1

This is another watch (limited this tie to 1500 pieces) that came in a trade, but – given how much I liked the original vintage 6159-7001 when I owned it – it’s probably less of a surprising choice.

Anyone who knows the 6159 will see immediately that this is a very faithful homage in terms of both design and specification. It measures a fairly hefty 44.8mm in diameter, and features a monobloc case and coin-edge bezel; like the 6159, the lugs are long and angular. Inside is Seiko’s calibre 8L55, a hi-beat (36,000 bph) movement that’s essentially a less decorated version of the Grand Seiko calibre 9S85. What remains is a high-end movement with a 55-hour power reserve, 37 jewels and very decent accuracy.

The case is also finished in the same way as a Grand Seiko. This means that the polished surfaces are finished by hand using the traditional Zaratsu method, with sharp angles and perfectly flat surfaces.

The black aluminium insert has a golden track and numerals, designed just like the 1968 version. Seiko again harks back to the original with a matte black “gilt” dial, and having now owned both I would say that they’ve come up with a fantastic tribute to a real horological icon from the 1960’s. They even provide it on a classic waffle strap that – again – mirrors what one would have worn the 6159 on all those years ago.

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So, that’s about it in terms of changes. Oh, save for the fact that – a few months ago now – I sold the Fifty Fathoms Mil-Spec on the sailcloth strap, and snagged the bracelet version instead (along with a sailcloth strap as well, so the best of both worlds). I’m not sure that I’ve ever posted a photo of the watch on the bracelet, but I finally managed to take one this evening.

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For what it’s worth, I have no worries whatsoever in having sold a few “high end” watches, and frankly no longer enjoyed wearing wrist jewellery worth in excess of £20-30k. In any event, they helped fund some work on the house and my newfound motorbike madness, which to my mind is money well spent.