2016-09-30

No 225 - Rolex Yacht-Master 16622

I used to think the Yacht-Master was one of the weirdest watches Rolex ever came up with. It was so shiny and so round. No edges. I really didn’t understand it. It was ugly. I felt it was only addressing old men.

But in May 2014 all that changed. I was about to turn thirty and was putting together a playlist for an upcoming party. During the spring I’d been listening to a lot of 80’s soft rock like Hall & Oates, Toto, Bryan Adams, the solo albums by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, Doobie Brothers and similar bands like that. When putting together that list I came across a playlist called “Yacht Rock” and all my favorite songs just happened to be on that list. I had never heard the term before but I instantly pictured myself sitting on a big yacht in Miami, sunglasses on, hearing Don singing in the background about the Boys of Summer, a cocktail in my hand and a Yacht-Master dangling on my wrist. It all felt so right.

"Excuse me! Please repeat that last part! A Yacht-Master? Seriously?" Yes ladies and gentlemen, a Yacht-Master was what I saw in my vision and right there and then my mind had gone from hating it to loving it and I just had to have one.

#225 - The Rolex Yacht-Master, ref. 16622.

I got a hold of a full set from 2005 in an excellent condition. It was delivered with its original platinum dial, but Rolex had just announced their new upgraded version, the 116622 which had an incredible blue dial, and I managed to get a hold of a new blue dial for my watch. With the blue dial installed it just became so damn good! I loved it. I practically felt like a yacht owner just by wearing it.



With the new dial just installed.



But I knew the love wasn’t going to last forever. I knew that toolwatches is what turns me on and what I like the most and to me the Yacht-Master was the complete opposite from being a toolwatch. Perhaps if I was a rich yacht owner it could serve as a perfect beater but unfortunately I’m not. Not yet. But then I'll probably go for a solid gold version with MOP-dial.

Out having lunch with my wife, June 2014.


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

2016-09-24

No 224 - TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500 quartz

It was early summer in 2014 and vacation was coming up. My wife was five months pregnant so we decided to do something easy and relaxing and ended up going to the Greek island Crete. My plan was to bring my new blue Squale along but it was so polished without any marks at all and since I didn’t wanted to risk scratching it I saw that as the perfect excuse to find myself an appropriate vacation watch; a classic sign of the watch junkie syndrome.

The range of suitable used tool divers was of course scarce just because I was in a hurry finding one. But then there was this watch that kept popping up every once in a while that I first had discarded as a candidate, but as we got closer and closer to departure it seemed like it was going to be my only option so I finally decided to get it.

The watch was a blue TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500 quartz. I had had the automatic version in the past which made an unexpectedly good impression on me. Being cheaper because of the quartz movement, and having the rubber strap instead of the bracelet were actually two things a saw as advantages and made me like this watch even more than the automatic version. Details like the tapestry dial and the rubber inlay in the bezel really made this watch stand out. The rubber was both comfortable and good looking and even if it would never work as my everyday office watch it really did a great job as a vacation/beach/pool/sports watch. Just perfect!

#224 - The TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500, ref. WAJ1112.

Resting on a can of Greek beer.

Resting on a bottle of Desperados. Flashbacks to my younger days!

Relaxing in the sun with some inspiring reading material.

Found this guy lurking down in some shallow waters.

The Aquaracer got to explore the Mediterranean Sea for a week and got to go on a diving trip checking out old planes from WWII lying on the ocean floor. But what it did best was acting as my beer buddy during the stay. It could handle its liquor pretty good and never lost track of time even if I did sometimes. The Aquaracer 500 once more proved it was a worthy watch that deserves better credit than they are sometimes given. 

Goodbye my summer love!



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

2016-09-22

No 223 - Squale 50atm Blue

It was love at first sight. It was spring back in 2014 and my feelings for Squale were at an all-time high. I think this blue version of the 50atm was released sometime in late 2013 in a collaboration together with Page & Cooper and I think it later became a permanent part of Squale’s official line-up due to its huge success. It was simply irresistible as Robert Palmer would have put it. The watch was already sold out when I found out about its existence and I was on a constant lookout for one during the first quarter of 2014. Then in April 2014 one suddenly popped up on eBay from a seller in the UK. I contacted the seller and he offered me a good deal outside of eBay and he had it sent to me with an overnight delivery. BOOM!

The watch was beautiful! The blue sunburst dial when hit by the sun was mesmerizing. Unfortunately this watch had a problem with the balance wheel when I received it. I contacted Page & Cooper who refused to help me just because I wasn’t the original owner, even though the watch was still under warranty, so I had to take it to a local watchmaker who helped me out.  Because this was a newer Squale it had that bloody engraving on the side of the case but I tried to put up with it because it was so great in general. OK, so that horrible milanese type mesh it came with was both ugly and uncomfortable and I had to wear it on a black Squale rubber, but aside from that it was great. This was supposed to be my watch for the summer but I ended up selling it after I got a hold of a blue Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500 (upcoming post).

Simply irresistible! Product image borrowed from www.squale.ch

The watch somehow ended up in my possession again later the same year (probably taken as a part trade) but then I had good plan for it. A little face-lift. I ordered a real shark mesh for it from Strapcode, that had a polished butterfly clasp instead of the traditional belt buckle type, and it turned out frakking amazing! A match made in heaven. 

#223 - The blue Squale 50atm.

I suppose they thought that the engraving was going to look nice but god were they wrong.

On the new shark mesh together with the other two strap options it was delivered with.

Fantastic with the butterfly clasp!

I kept it for a while but it finally moved on to a new home in January 2015. I actually haven’t had any other Squale’s since then. Gnomon Watches have had a couple of limited editions that have looked interesting but not interesting enough. Recently though I was extremely close to purchase the limited edition 50atm Marina Militare that was a collaboration together with the Dutch company AWCO but I finally decided to pass on it. It looked really good but it was that damn engraving again that made me hesitate. Nowadays it seems like everyone who wants to make a limited edition Squale are allowed to do so. It’s quite boring when everyone who can pay up can put their brand on something, but looking back that’s exactly what Squale have been doing throughout their history so I guess that’s nothing new and nothing to be upset about. 

Look at that amazing blue tone!

 


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

2016-09-20

No 221 - Deep Blue Daynight T100 OPS

Received this one in a trade for the Certina DS Multi-8 back in April 2014. One PVD watch for another. Deep Blue has completely flooded the market with dive watches in different color combinations. They used to be known as a micro builder but from what I can tell they seem to be running a pretty much full scale manufacturing process nowadays so I think they’ve lost their status as a micro builder. If that’s a good or bad thing I don’t know. Probably a good thing for the company which I assume is making more money but boring for the customers who in return receive a product a little less special and unique than it perhaps used to be.

Anyhow, on to the watch! What can I say? We’re talking about a 44mm diver with a 22mm lug width. I fitted it with a Yobokies waffle rubber which I think suited it rather well. It housed a Miyota 8215 movement; not my favorite but I guessed it worked fine and got the job done.  The cool thing about this watch, the actual reason why I even considered taking it as a trade, was its flat tritium tubes. It lit up like crazy in the dark! The tube at twelve o’clock and the hands were yellow while the rest of the indexes where green. I had had flat tubes on my Ball Skindiver so I already knew they had a strong glow to them but it was just fun to try them out again. I ended up flipping the watch though not too long after I got it so the tubes can't have been that fun anymore.

#221 - The Deep Blue Daynight T100 OPS PVD version.



I really have a hard time wrapping my head around the Deep Blue brand. Looking at the watches they have produced over time it feels like they have tried to create something new by recycling different pre-manufactured parts that haphazardly have been mixed together. Lately I saw that they had ripped of the old classic Seiko SKX-diver which didn't impress me very much. For what good reason did they do that? Come up with something new instead! I think that was a cheap move trying to squeeze out a little extra profit. No more Deep Blue watches for me.



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

2016-09-15

No 220 - Certina DS Multi-8 Carbon

Multifunction watches, you got to love them! I just couldn’t resist this PVD Multi-8 when I found it to a good deal back in March 2014. I knew right away it was going to feel too big with its 42mm and lack of bezel ring so this was strictly a test run and it was quickly sold after a few days. My biggest problem though wasn’t the size but the awful looking carbon style strap. I just can’t stand the look of that pattern. My favorite feature was the rather unusual display of week; a phenomenon not commonly used by many others except for a few European and Asian countries. This great feature was also used by Sjöö Sandström in their Skydiver watch (which I have had of course!) which is an awesome multifunction watch but more about that one later.

#220 - The Certina DS Multi-8 Carbon, ref. C020.419.16.052.00.


Nice blue lume and backlight. And the display of week was incredibly convenient for a Swede like myself.


The Certina Multi-8 is a great watch feature-wise but I find its aesthetical appeal to be quite boring. One detail I found extra disappointing was the PVD-coating they used for this model. The watch I got a hold of was quite new but already had some scratches in the surface of the coating so I highly doubt the material they use is holding up to any Sinn standards.



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

2016-09-12

No 218 - Mido Commander

This watch had never been something I’d been searching for. Hell, I didn't even know it existed before I found it for sale. It obviously wasn’t a dive watch but the monocoque case design has always fascinated me so I decided to take a closer look. OK, so the size was also pretty interesting; 39mm instead of the regular 36mm dress size. Then it had this integrated bracelet which also looked neat and well designed and it even housed an ETA 2836-2 movement. When all those features combined were taken into consideration together with the price of $200 I could only come up with one conclusion; it had to be tested! It was impossible it was going to be a crappy watch.

#218 - The Mido Commander, ref. M8425.4.18.1.



And it for sure wasn’t bad. No it was really cool. A perfect office beater I would say for the ones who don’t want to go with a classic Rolex Datejust or the ultra-boring Omega SMP. I was really glad I gave this one a chance. It definitely brought something new to the table and I loved its dark gray sunburst dial. I’ve seen Mido has come up with a few real dive watches, like their 42mm All Dial 200m Diver with the inner rotating bezel, and after trying the Commander I wouldn’t hesitate to give Mido another go. Also their new Baroncelli dress watch has a really interesting dial structure that looks promising. 


The Commander turned out to be impossible to sell within Sweden. I don’t think Mido has big fan base here. It finally had to cross the Baltic Sea over to Finland to find a new home.



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

2016-09-06

No 217 & 251 - Adanac Navigator

Adanac Navigator was the predecessor of the more well-known Marathon Navigator that was issued to the soldiers of operation Desert Storm in the early 90’s. The Wein Brothers (who later were to become Marathon Watches) contracted the historic watchmaker Gallet & Co to manufacture the watches. Whilst the Marathon version of the Navigator was equipped with tritium tubes, the Adanac had regular painted tritium markings. The Navigator that Marathon have for sale today is made of a composite material with a push pull crown and is water resistant to 60m but the old steel cased watches made by Gallet & Co had a screw down crown which gave them higher grade of water resistance. I’ve read they were tested to 660ft (200m) but on the case back from my second Navigator it has “10 ATM” engraved so I’m not so sure about the 200m rating.

The first Navigators were manufactured and issued during 1986. My first one was from the second batch of watches manufactured in 1988. The tritium wasn’t quite as yellow as I’ve seen on many others. For starters it has one of my favorite case designs of all time and with the added features of fixed spring bars and screw down crown in combination with a quartz movement makes it a really great beater. A true warrior! The only downside is the non-screw down case back. Otherwise this watch would have been irresistible to me.

#217 - The Adanac Navigator.


From April 1988.



My second one was not from any of the issued batches. The case back didn't say Gallet & Co like my first one did and I have no clue if the hand set were original or if they had been changed during the years. I just bought it because I got it cheap and thought I might have the hands exchanged to the ladder type like on the original. The watch somehow ended up lying in the bottom of my drawer and I totally forgot about. I sold it when I found it because I was no longer in the mood to have it modified. I've seen Navigator's with Marathon dials that were manufactured in 1989 so I'm not entirely sure when this one could have been made.

#251 - My second Adanac. Non-issued.



I truly love the issued Navigator’s no matter whether it’s Adanac or Marathon. I think they are super interesting. It feels like they have so much history. Who knows what they have witnessed during their years of service?



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

2016-09-02

No 216 - Armida A8

Bronze and brass watches. Yeah, the hype has been crazy. Almost every micro builder has come up with at least one bronze/brass watch in their line-up the last couple of years. The alloys are quite similar in appearance where bronze is the more expensive of the two due to its higher content of copper. I can’t say I’m a big fan of the bronze look but when I found this Armida A8 (made out of brass) it felt like a good watch to give a try just to get a feel of what this material was all about.

The previous owner had apparently kept the watch in a bag of hardboiled eggs, which rapidly had got the whole aging process going, and I remember unscrewing the lid of the tube, which the watch was delivered in, and how the strong smell hit me. What. The. Fuck?

#216 - The Armida A8.


Was it the zinc in the brass that caused this? It might be me who had an extreme sensitive sense of smell but I just couldn’t stand it while others, who I asked to smell the watch, told me they could smell it but not that strong and it didn’t bother them in any way. I almost felt sick because of it. So even though the watch was quite cool and had a really spectacular patina it had to go. 

During the day I wore it worked great. The NH35A movement (manufactured by Seiko) worked fine and the overall build quality felt very high in comparison to the low price. The look-a-like Isofrane rubber it came with was of a good quality and looked really good on the watch. OK, so it’s an obvious Submariner homage but the brass added another dimension to it which toned down that whole rip off feeling quite a lot. It measured 42mm excl. crown and had 22mm lug width. Water resistant to 300m. The crown for some reason wasn't made out of brass which I think looked odd.


Looking at the rest of the watches in the Armida line-up didn’t excite me very much and I’m pretty sure that this was my only one from the brand unless they come up with something a little more creative.



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