2015-01-23

No 13, 25, 40, 50 & 111 - Noname beaters

Noname beaters. What exactly is that? I’ve bunched up a couple of watches I’ve had where the dials have been sterile and no parts have been marked with any other logos; a beater without a name. Some of the watches have been put together from various parts and some are from an unknown origin.

The first one out is a regular Submariner clone. Mil-moded with a type 1 dial and sword hands. Bought it on eBay in October 2009. 100% piece of crap. Just like one of the Kronos divers I had the stem broke one day when I was going to set the time. I never opened it so I don’t know what kind of automatic movement that was inside. Sold it for parts.


#13 – A mil-moded sub clone.

The second one was also a sub clone but this one was a little more inspired by a Rolex 5517. It was assembled by my good friend Magnus. Buying this watch from him in January 2010 was actually the first contact we had and since then we stayed in touch and became good friends. The case came from an Alpha sub and he’d placed an automatic Miyota 8215 movement inside. The other parts such as dial, hands and insert were bought from different suppliers. Details like the Alpha-logo on the crown were removed. He sold it to me on a so called “real bond nato” and I remember I thought the combination was so awesome. I felt like James Bond in Dr. No when I put it on the wrist. It got to follow me on a trip to London when Daniel and I visited our BFF Martin. I later sold it because I got so annoyed by the second hand making a slight pause every time when I shock my arm; a well-known Miyota 8215 issue.

 

#25 - Miyota milsub. Picture by Magnus.
 

Daniel, Martin and I at Freud's bar in London in January 2010. The noname milsub on the wrist.

The third noname watch was a Deep-Sea clone and it was just exciting getting to feel the size of it. Since acquiring an actual Rolex Deep-Sea wasn’t an option at the time and I didn’t know anyone who owned one I felt it was worth giving it a try even if I could assume the quality was going to be poor. The quality was actually far better than the first Submariner clone I had but there was nothing that made me want to keep it. I had given it a try and noted it was just as big as I thought. The research was over. Quick sell.
 
#40 – Noname Deep-Sea clone in a PVD look.

One day over at Magnus’s in September 2010 he pulls up a big bad ass watch that looks like a tank and says “Hey! Look what I built”. I just answered “How much is it? I’ll take it!” I don’t remember where the case came from but he’d put a quartz movement and placed a marathon-like sterile dial with tritium tubes in it. The thing didn’t just look like a tank; it was also large like a tank and built like one. It was evenly brushed, had a deep knurled screw down crown and really sturdy bezel. I ordered a two-piece 24mm olive zulu for it which really gave it a true army look. I don’t remember how large it measured but it was at least 44mm without the crown. I think I sold it for $100 which is just ridiculous when I look back on it. This was actually a pretty cool and unique beater which should have been kept.

#50 – The brutal noname tritium army beater.




The fifth and last noname beater was a sub clone which was made from some good quality parts. I had the design in my head and Magnus executed the plan using whatever tools necessary to achieve my vision. Magnus gave the case lug-holes by drilling the lugs through. A type 2 dial that had been baked in the oven was fitted on a Selitta SW200 movement and was finished off by a pair of corroded mercedes hands for that dirty look. The glass we used was a superdomed plexi and the bezel was fitted with a bleached milsub-look insert. To make the watch look a little more vintage and worn we placed it inside a fistful of gravel and just squeezed it until it looked like it had been on a trip to hell and back. This one became a true favorite. It was only sold because an acquaintance of mine kept nagging me about selling it which I finally did. One week later he cracks the glass and asks me if I want to have it back only he’d had his watchmaker install an original Rolex plexi and wants an additional $300 for it. What the hell? No thank you.



#111 – The super vintage sub military beater.


 
 
© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted. 

2015-01-14

No 11, 37, 55, 60, 142 & 172 - Victorinox Dive Master 500

As I've written earlier, the Divemaster was the Victorinox watch that I really wanted. So of course I kept one eye open in case one would show up. When my wife and I went to New York in the beginning of September 2009 I found one at TJ Maxx of all places. It was the orange faced version on the steel bracelet. Heavy stuff! The Divemaster is about the same size as a Breitling Seawolf with a case that measure 44mm wide, 18mm thick and with a lug width of 22mm. It was first when I came home that I noticed that the dial just said “SWISS ARMY” instead of “Victorinox”. Some of the early models released in North America apparently had this design but I’m not sure of why. I remember I sold this one to a fire fighter. Of course it was to finance the PVD-version. The Black Ice.

#11 – The first  out of six Divemasters that I’ve owned.



That’s correct. The Black Ice was the one I REALLY wanted and in April 2010 I went for it. No substitutes this time! It was just as cool as I expected it to be and I think this version really is the best one of the quartz Divemaster’s. But as usual I didn’t keep it for very long and this time it was since I had a good friend who really liked it and when he asked me how much I wanted for it, instead of questioning myself if I really wanted to sell it, I immediately started to make up new plans of what to buy next. He’d given me a chance of scoring something new so keeping it wasn’t an option when the opportunity to sell came up. That really is the true sign of a flip-o-holic. You just need a new fix badly and you seize every chance you get and usually you make poor deals because you don’t have time to wait. So, I sold the Black Ice. My good friend Oscar who bought it still wears it today in good health and I always appreciate to see it on his wrist.
 
#37 – The Black Ice with a little water on it.


Wristshot on a sunny day on the balcony.

The third one I bought was in October 2010. It was the regular steel version as the first I had but it had the black dial and came on the original rubber strap. The lack of lume in the bezel, which both the Black Ice and the titanium version have, made it boring. Quick sell.
 
#55 – Steel version on rubber.


In November 2010 it was time for the annual vacation in Florida and I wanted something to look forward to and I happened to find a cheap Divemaster in titanium on WUS and the seller agreed to ship it to my hotel. Sweet! The vacation watch was all set. I planned it carefully and it got delivered to the hotel the day after my arrival. For two weeks it got to explore a small part of the atlantic ocean but mostly it got to visit shopping malls and golf courses before I sold it when I came home. Since the Divemaster is quite a large watch it does really well in titanium. Smaller titan watches can sometime tend to feel like toys.


#60 – Titanium version. Lume in the bezel! Yeah!

An early morning at IHOP in Lauderdale by the Sea on US1. On our way to Miami.


In August 2012 I bought another black faced steel version just because I got a good deal. This time on a steel bracelet. Kept it as a beater for a couple of months and then sold it cheap again.


#142 – The fifth one. Steel version with steel bracelet and black dial.
 
The last one was another orange which I think I took as a part trade in June 2013 just to seal a deal. My plan was of course to sell it. By this time I’d realized the Divemaster was not for me. It only took four years and six tries but hey! Who’s counting?


#172 – The sixth and last one.


Taken with my Spiderman PJ's in the background.

I’m still a fan of Victorinox and the new limited edition automatic Divemaster chronograph looks really promising. I might just have to try that one but it’s quite expensive and it will have to be a killer deal to even consider it. Also the new Inox might be a potential candidate for a future purchase.

© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted. 

2015-01-12

No 10 & 56 - Oris TT1 Diver 300m

My first Oris TT Diver was a 300m version in titanium with a full lume dial. Up until then that watch was the most expensive one I had bought so far. Also it was used which of course worried me a little. "What was the condition going to be like?" I didn’t have many references and neither did the seller, I didn’t know many people on the watch forums and I wasn’t at all updated on what to look out for in a potential scam situation. My dad thought I was crazy sending $600 to a random guy. “How do you know the watch isn’t a fake?”, “How do you know he’s not ripping you off?”  Well, I didn’t know all that but we all have start somewhere and I have always trusted my gut feeling and all I got was good vibes from the seller. Anyhow, it arrived safe and all was good. Unfortunately I never took any pictures of it.
 
Product picture of the Oris TT1 Diver with lume dial.

#10 – My Oris TT1 Diver with lume dial bought in July 2009. (picture by previous owner)

Caseback. (picture by previous owner)
 
(picture by previous owner)

It looked cool and felt good on the wrist but it really didn’t leave me with any other impressions. I can’t say I liked it and I can’t say I didn’t like it. It left me no memories and I can’t remember a single occasion when I wore it. It was just bland. I knew Oris also had some 1000m divers and instead I started searching for one of those and sold the 300m.
The second one I landed was only because I found one to a crazy good price and I just pulled the trigger. This one was the ordinary steel version. I had already changed my mind regarding the purchase and arranged a sale before I'd even received it and I only had it at home for a couple of hours before I sent it away to its new owner. Just enough for an inspection and to take a couple of pictures.

#56 – Bought in October 2010.
 
One of my quickest flips.

I would definitely recommend Oris to anyone who are about to buy a more serious watch. They make good quality watches with their own design and that I do like. I’ve actually considered a 36mm Big Crown as a dress watch. They look nice and have an old-fashioned design that speaks to me.

 
© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted. 

2015-01-09

No 9 - Bernhardt Binnacle GMT

My first contact with microbuilders was when I discovered Bernhardt Watches. I don’t remember where I first saw the Binnacle but it must have been while browsing through WUS (Watchuseek) as I used to do for hours back in the days. I do remember though what it was that caught my attention. It was the dial. It had the resemblance of an Omega Railmaster but it also had certain similarities with the Rolex Explorer 1655 with its big GMT-hand and steel 24-h bezel. I’d recently discovered the Railmaster and thought it was the nicest watch I’d ever seen. It was way too expensive for me at the time so it was not an option but the Binnacle on the other hand was well in reach.


Product image of The Bernhardt Binnacle
(borrowed from
www.bernhardtwatch.com).

I then found a Binnacle on eBay and contacted the seller. The seller turned out to be no less than Fred B. Amos himself, the founder of Bernhardt Watches. The watch was $349 but Fred actually agreed to take my Zodiac V-Wolf with black bezel as a part trade and I only had to pay up $175. At the time I worked extra as a mailman during my studies in Uppsala and I got all excited every day when the fresh load of mail arrived. The days went on but my package didn’t turn up. I hadn’t put in to my calculations that the watch was going to be so expensive that it was going to get stuck in the Swedish customs which it of course did. If I remember correctly I think I had to pay almost a third of the watch’s full value to be able to cash it out. On top of that Fred kept writing me saying that the Zodiac never showed up and he seemed to be quite irritated and probably thought I tried to con him. It later turned out he had picked it up many days ago but forgot about it.


The Bernhardt Binnacle. In its box with certificate.


Only 50 pieces of the Binnacle were made in the first batch and I received number 43. I think Fred later built some more but I’m not sure of how many. I wore it for some time but then passed it on to my dad who liked it more than me and wanted a beater.

Exactly one year after my father got the watch from me the crown was worn out and didn’t lock anymore. The watch also had started to run fast with four minutes/day. I wrote Fred of course since the watch was still covered by the warranty but he never replied. I wrote him once again later in October 2010 and said I was coming to United States staying for two weeks and told him I could bring the watch and send it to him as soon as I arrived for him to service it. Fred answered and he also promised he would have it serviced and done in good time before I went home. Well, it didn’t really turn out like that. Instead of shipping it to my hotel as he’d agreed to do he shipped it back to Sweden instead! I didn’t believe it when he wrote me. I was furious but luckily this time the watch passed through customs without me having to pay for it to get it out. What a hassle! After that I decided not to make any more deals with Fred.


The black paint on the bezel was worn down quickly.

 




Overall the Binnacle was a decent watch with a nice size of 39mm. A little concerning that it needed service so fast. My dad most definitely didn’t give it the kind of action that would have caused it to behave like it started to do. After I gave my dad a Rolex Datejust he stopped wearing the Binnacle and I sold it. I did buy another Bernhardt watch after the Binnacle but not directly from Fred. It seems like Fred give out a couple of new models every now and then but nothing that interests me. Will I buy a Bernhardt again? No I won’t.


Me out on a walk with the Binnacle on the wrist. Everything in order. Or not.


© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.

2015-01-07

No 07, 12, 14 & 15 - Kronos SBS Diver

The most of us watch buyers have spent hours browsing through all what eBay has to offer and I think the majority of us has somehow ended up in the eBay store watchesu571 belonging to Ray Wong a.k.a.  Ray on the bay. I knew nothing about CWC at the time and didn’t do much research on the SBS Divers before ordering a bunch of watches from Ray. To me they just looked like cool army divers. The specifications do look good on paper but I would never bet that the watches actually do live up them. The first one I ordered came on an orange zulu strap and I ordered an extra 20mm rubber for it. The lume was almost none existent which made me a little disappointed.
 
#7. The first Kronos I bought from Ray in June 2009.


I didn’t like the no-date version so I quickly sold it and bought one with a date. Ordered an extra steel bracelet for it and was lucky that it actually fit quite well.


#12. The second one on a steel  type bracelet.
Caseback of the second one.

The second one broke. The stem just snapped one day when I pulled out the crown to set the date. I wrote Ray and said I wanted to return it and get my money back. Instead he offered me two new ones. “Why not?” I thought to myself. I didn’t get exactly the same version; the two new ones were without orange hour hands. Whatever. I sold one of them and kept the other one.
 
#14. One of the two I received as a compensation which I sold at once.

#15. In the studio rehearsing with Jaganata a late evening in November 2009.

I later sold the forth one as well. It didn’t do it for me. A CWC doesn’t cost that much more than these Kronos that Ray sells and the quality difference is huge. A CWC is worth every penny. So do yourself a favor and go for the real deal at once. You won’t regret it. Also stay away from a brand called MWC. I haven’t bought anything from them but from what I’ve read and heard they manufacture really cheap copies of the CWC SBS Diver and other brands.


 © All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.
 

2015-01-04

No 6 - Marina Militare

To know what crap is and what’s not you have to try everything. Marina Militare was obviously crap. I was still a newbie and was only looking at watches in an affordable price range when I came across this piece on eBay. I didn’t have a clue what it was. It was no Panerai, that much I could figure out myself. I’d seen Panerai’s in Watchtime magazines and found them to be really cool so why not give this one a go, just to get the feel of it? I had never seen a Panerai in real life before so I didn’t know at all what I was in for. This one turned out to be 47mm. The auction said nothing about measurements. And it was manual. "What the hell? How do I work this?". I didn’t ever use it and it didn’t got to stay many days before I put it up on eBay again.

The Marina Militare fake Panerai. Bought in May 2009.

See through caseback with an Asian manual Unitas clone.

A couple of years later, sometime in 2012 I think, I got to borrow a PAM000 from a friend who was going to sell his. I was seriously considering to buy it but after wearing it for a week I changed my mind. Even 44mm felt too big for me. It worked well with casual sweaters but I couldn't pull it off at work wearing dress shirts. Also I’m not a big fan of manual watches.

The PAM000 borrowed from my dear friend Sebbe.

Since I still like the look I don't want to erase Panerai from my watches-to-buy-list totally. I have considered the 40mm automatic version as a final alternative and I'd really like to try one in the future. But no more Marina Militare that's for sure. Take my advice and stay away from those cheap knock offs.


 
© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.

2015-01-01

No 5, 8, 203 & 204 – Zodiac V-Wolf

I’m a big fan of Formula 1 and I’ve watched almost all the races since the late 90’s. Sometime in 2009 waiting for a race to start I found a bunch of old Formula 1 magazines at my friend Gomez’s house and on the back cover of one of them there was an advertisement for Zodiac watches. It showed a woman from neck down standing in front of a pool wearing nothing more than a badingsuit and a big diver’s watch that was hanging loose and low on her wrist. It had a square case and a green bezel and it really got my attention. I went home after the race was finished to go online and find one. This was my first real taste off “the hunt”. It turned out that the model was called V-Wolf. To my luck I immediately found a used one in good condition but with a black bezel instead of green. I really wanted that green one, that’s what had turned me on, but the one I found was cheap and looked awesome so I went along and bought it anyway. The V-Wolf measures 44mm excluding crown, has a screw down crown, quartz movement and is water resistant to 300m.
 
Product image of the Zodiac V-wolf with black bezel, ref Z02300.


#5. Solving cross word puzzles in the studio in May 2009 during the making of my band Jaganata’s one and only full length album.


On a roof top restaurant in May 2009 on my 25th birthday.

I hadn’t realized how big it actually was until I received it. It was huge! And it was heavy with its solid bracelet. It felt that it could take a serious beating with that thick steel square case. Anyhow, I couldn’t stop thinking about the green bezel version and decided to get rid of the one I had. I actually put down the black one as part payment for watch no 9. The hunt could begin again. It didn’t take long before I had a green one hooked but to my disappointment it turned out it didn’t made me any happier than the black one had. The V-Wolf's turned out to be cool watches but too big and heavy for me to wear.

 Product image of the Zodiac V-wolf with green bezel, ref Z02310.

#8. The green bezel version bought in early June 2009. Horrible Picture.


For some reason though, and I’m not sure why, I find myself buying yet another green one in late December 2013. Four years was obviously enough time to totally make me forget why I didn’t like it. And on top of that I find a light blue version located in Greece that I also bought before I even have received the green one. Obviously I quickly came to my senses when I picked them both up at the same time at the post office and ripped the packages open in early January 2014. “Why did I do this? I am not going to use these”. I put them up for sale at once. Anyhow, the light blue version actually looked very nice. That color combination takes away that Submariner feeling it otherwise gets from the black or green bezel.
 
#203. Another green one was bought in December 2013.

#204. My fourth and definitely last V-Wolf. Found from a seller in Greece. Ref Z02301.

Zodiac really has some cool watches, especially the old ones, but I haven’t tried any other models than the V-Wolf. Except for the V-Wolf I honestly think that the newer ones look ridiculous. Anyhow, it’s a brand that does have their own designs and doesn’t go around manufacturing look-a-likes like many others and for that I will give them credit.


© All pictures by a Watch Flipper's Diary unless noted.