Monday, December 31, 2012

Selling watches (not mine)...

Was at Costco the other day and saw this.....

A sad way for watches to be sold, in blister packs and on crates.

At least they gave this watch some dignity......

I am sure It has to do with the price as well..... :)


Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year. May the new year be a blessed one for you. 

Thank you to all the readers, followers, contributors, friends and family members. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

OT but just a tad?

Was playing with Lego yesterday and ended up trying to build something to act as a prop for watch photography. Ended up with this.....

Still in the experimental stage....

Rudder..... :)

Finalised design. Added the gold anniversary brick....

34 cm in length...

The control panel.....

With some watches....

What do you think?

Sunday, December 16, 2012


Firstly, I would say a big thank you to everyone who has been supportive of this blog and me. I really appreciate it. 

Secondly I would like to apologise to everyone who has been supporting me and this blog as I have been neglecting this blog and have not been posting as much as I could or should. 

Thirdly, and most importantly, I would like to say that I have been thinking lots about the blog and the direction it is heading. I would like to implement some changes and would like to incorporate more reviews of watches and accessories like straps etc into the blog. I would also like to include more news and updates on the blog. I hope to bring these changes starting next year.

So, stay tuned.

An again, a big thank you to those who have been supporting this blog.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rolex Explorer II review ... well sort off.....

Again not really a review, but more of a small review or personal opinion.....

The Rolex Explorer II reference 16570T. This is the Z series watch, so it is from 2006. This is the third iteration of the Explorer II. 

The Explorer II was launched in 1971 and its target market were people who were exposed to long periods of darkness like spelunkers. These people can lose the track of time or day or night because they spend long period of time in the dark. That is why the watch does not come with a rotating bezel. I guess this watch would also work for people who work long hours in the day like in Alaska or at the poles?

In 1982, the reference 16550 replaced the original Explorer II (reference 1655) and the watch was offered with a choice of white dial or black dial. The original 1655 was only available with black dial. The white dial is more popularly known as the polar (due the whiteness of the dial) and the black? 

This reference 16570 was introduced in 1989. It was fitted with the new Rolex caliber 3185. This lasted to 2007 (2006?) when the improved caliber 3186 was used. The difference? Improved wheel train with tighter tolerances and the introduction of the Rolex in-house Parachrom Blu hairspring. 

Now the interesting bit. Is this watch fitted with the new 3186 or older 3185 movement (which to me are both great movement). I did not check (sadly), but there are a number of ways to check. I have seen later Z series watches with the 3186 movement and yet I have seen the later M series watches with the 3185 movement.

The best way will be to bring it to Rolex and have them open up the case back and check. The other two ways are:

1. The wiggle test. Pull the crown out one notch and rotate the crown forward and backwards. The 3186 with its better tolerances, you will not see the 'jiggle' of the red 24 hour hand. It will 'jiggle' on the 3185.

2. Pull the crown out one notch. Rotate the crown 1 rotation. Count the number of times the hour hand jump. If it jumps 5 times, it is the caliber 3185. If it jumps 8 times, it is the caliber 3186.

Anyway, on to the watch. The watch, as in all Rolex, features the Rolex 904L stainless steel case and bezel (and case back). The case is well made as is the bezel. Again it is a three piece case design. The case is polished at the sides and brushed at the top of the lugs. Fit and tolerances are just awesome. Finish is just as great. 

Measurements, bezel diameter is 39 mm, Bezel and crown is 42.5 mm while the case itself is 38 mm in diameter. Lug width is 20 mm and the lug to lug measurement is 51 mm. The watch is 13 mm thick at the cyclops and 12 mm without. A very comfortable watch and can be worn in most if not all occasions.

The bezel features a sunburst finish. The fonts are engraved/ etched and filled black. Reading it at a glance is easy.

The dial is white with blacken white gold surrounds at the hour markers as are the standard Mercedes hands. The hour marker at the 12 o'clock position is a triangle, which makes it easy to note the orientation of the watch when telling the time in the dark. The 24 hour hand is coloured red and has a triangle tip. Telling time is easy as the minute hand extends to the minute chapter.

The legends you find on the dial is standard Rolex, Crown, Rolex signature, Oyster Perpetual Date and model at the 12 o'clock position. The fact that the watch is COSC rated is proudly stated above the 6 o'clock hour marker. 

The date window is at the 3 o'clock position. The watch features a 'quick set' date mechanism. It is not as quick in standard Rolex watches as you need to adjust the hour hand two rotation (24 hours) for the date to change. Best part is you can adjust the date forwards or backwards dependent on which way you are traveling across the International Date Line. The other things is that when you are adjusting the time or date, time keeping is not impacted as the watch (or minute and seconds hand) is running.

The crown is easy to use. It has the standard shoulder protector featured in most of Rolex sports watches. The crown is 5.5 mm in diameter and is 2.5 mm thick. The crown has 3 positions. Unlock to wind the movement, pull out one notch to adjust the date and hour hands and a second notch to adjust the 24 hour hand.

The watch features the twin lock crown. This shows that the watch is rated to 10 ATM or 100 M. You know from the underline below the Rolex crown. This marking is however not standard across the Rolex model and is dependent on the material of the case. On gold models, it is 2 dots while on platinum watches, it is 1 dot. 

Standard unmarked Rolex case back. Brushed in the middle and polished at the sides. 

Rolex new solid end links. I personally like the drilled lugs but the new solid end links are an improvement over the older end links. The lugs, without the lug holes. 

The solid end links.

The links and bracelet are unmarked. It is marked on the inside of the end links. You have to remove the end links to check the bracelet reference. In this case, the watch is fitted with reference 78790A bracelet.

The simple yet reliable Rolex tuna can clasp. A thin stainless steel metal stamped Rolex. :)

The oyster clasp. It allows adjustment of length over 5 holes or 14 mm. Simple and easy. The clasp does not feature a diver extension as it is not a diver watch. 

The clasp itself is shorter compared to the Submariner clasp. The oyster bracelet features a brushed finish with polished sides.

The sapphire crystal measures 30 mm across and is great as there is a large expanse of the dial. There is a cyclops over the date window and it does help to magnify the date by a factor of 2.5 times. Good for old folks like me (although I don't really like the cyclops).

The watch features the engraved rehaut or rehaut branding. At the 12 o'clock position, you find the Rolex crown and 'ROLEX' engraved/ etched on both sides of the crown (5 on each side) and the serial number at the 6 o'clock position. The interesting thing is, the serial number is also engraved between the lugs. 

How to use the watch? Well most people I know use the red 24 hour hand to track GMT while some use it to track home time (in 24 hours so that they know if it night or day) and the normal hands to track local time (where ever they are). 

It is indeed a beautiful watch, well made, comfortable and easy to use and at current prices a bargain. Who knows, maybe one day I might get one myself....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

James May on watches

An interesting article on watches by one of the presenters of Top Gear. Top Gear being one of my all time favourite TV Show. It is cool to see and note that at least one of them is a WIS. But in saying that, Richard Hammond has been spotted wearing a number of watches from Omega to Rolex and even TAG Heuer. As for Jeremy Clarkson, he is an Omega man as I have only seen him spotting an Omega. As for James May, he has been spotted wearing Rado and even Omega. 

Anyway, here is the link to the article. 

Jeremy Clarkson spotting an Omega, PO perhaps?

 James May with an Omega Dynamic?

Richard Hammond spotting an Omega Speedy for the Bond Cars show.

Close up of the watch.

James May, now spotting a Rado.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Panerai New Website

Panerai has just update it website. The new website looks good and is easier to navigate. Nice....

Photograph: Panerai


Lume shot Rolex

This is the Explorer II Polar lume shot. Nice. I like it...

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Rolex Submariner 14060 review

This is not really a watch review per say, but a look at the Rolex Submariner reference 14060. I like the Submariner, but never got one. Instead I ended up with the Rolex SeaDweller 4000. Perhaps one day......

The watch we are looking at is not mine but belongs to a good friend, in fact there are two of them (both good friends). Both  watches are here with me because they just underwent a spa treatment at RSC Taiwan. 

The watches are both reference 14060, one from 1991 (X series) and the other from 1993 (S series).

The brothers together..... The S series on the metal bracelet while the X series on the NATO strap.

The 14060 was introduced in 1989 (some say 1998, give and take a year) and ended its run in 1999 (2001?). It was updated and the reference 14060M was introduced. Basically from my understanding, the movement was upgraded from the Caliber 3000 to 3130. So I guess the M in the reference refers to the movement upgrade? 

Changes between 3000 and 3130? A full balance bridge was introduced against the balance cock of the 3000, a larger balance wheel and Breguet overcoil against a flat overcoil of the caliber 3000. The number of jewels also went up from 27 to 31, but I understand these were 'non-working' as it is for the date wheel, which the 14060 does not have. 

The reference 14060, X series. It did not come with the metal bracelet, which is with the owner. :)


As with all watches in the (most) Rolex range, the case is made from 904L stainless steel. The case is well made and is of the 3-piece design, i.e. bezel, case and case back. Back in the day when I was much younger and dumber (not much smarter), I always thought the Rolex had a 2 piece case design and that to get to the movement, you had to get it from the top. Silly me....

The watch is errrr 39.5 mm in diameter, measured at the bezel while only 38 mm measured from the case. Case and crown is 43 mm while bezel and crown is a whopping 44 mm. Lug to lug is 47 mm. The watch is 12 mm thin. This makes it a rather slim watch and a very comfortable one at that. It is not heavy and yes, it is very comfortable fitted with a NATO strap.

Yes, the bezel is slightly larger compared to the case.

The case has the traditional Rolex trademark polished sides and brushed top. I like the older case design with the drill lugs that this watch has.

The edge bevelling along the lugs are still visible.

Beautifully made and finished watch.

As with any Rolex, save a few, the case back is sterile. No marking at all. The case back has a brushed and polished finish and the traditional Rolex case back serrations for case back opening. Love the shoulder-less spring bars.

The crown has the Rolex crown (coronet). The crown measures 6.5 mm in diameter and is 4 mm thick. It is a nice size and using it is a breeze. Nice size crown for the watch. 

The crown is of the Trip-lock design (3 dots under the crown), which means the watch is water resistant to 30 ATM.

As with other Rolex, the model number and serial numbers are engraved between the lugs, which are 20 mm apart. The reference between the 12 o'clock lugs while the serial number  between the 6 o'clock lugs. Newer Rolex have the serial numbers on the rehaut. 

The bezel is easy to use. It is made easier by the fact that it extends slightly over the case. It is well made and the serrations are not hard on the fingers. Grip is good and you can even turn it on the fly. It is a unidirectional rotation bezel (required as it is a divers watch) and has 120 clicks. 

The bezel insert (aluminium?) has the traditional diver watch markings, with the minute markers extending to the fifteen minute marker. You can see some patina on the pip....


The watch has the 2 liner dial that is very popular among Sub collectors. It is a call back to the 2 line dial of its predecessor, the reference 5513. It is a simple and easy to read dial. I like the design of the dial.

At the 12 o’clock position we find the Rolex crown or coronet  and signature. Under it we find the legend ‘Oyster Perpetual’. Below the 6 o’clock hour marker we find the legend ‘Swiss - T < 25’ which tells us the watch is Swiss made and the luminous material used is Tritium. Above the 6 o'clock marker is the "Submariner' and its depth rating legends (the 2 lines....). 

The hour markers have the white gold surround. The 12 o'clock position is marked by a large triangle and this helps the diver to orientate the time when diving. The luminosity is long gone as the dial has tritium as the luminous material. A nice and slight patina has already developed on the markers.

The other thing I like about the watch is the lack of a date complication, hence the lack of cyclops on the crystal. Oh, BTW, there is no such thing as ND (No Date) Sub and Sub. There is Sub and Sub date.

The S series Sub. Got to love the dial....


The watch has the typical Mercedes hands Rolex is famous for. As with the dial, the hands are Tritium filled and the luminosity is also long gone. I could be wrong, but I believe the hands are white gold as well. The hands are well made and do not show any signs of Tritium corrosion common on Tritium filled hands. I am guessing that the use of white gold helps.

Both the minute and sweep seconds hand extends all the way to the minute markers. That makes telling the time easier.  


The watch is fitted with a sapphire crystal and does not have the Cyclops. The crystal itself is 29 mm in diameter. The crystal does extend beyond the bezel by about 1 mm but this is not an issue as the crystal is sapphire and is scratch resistant, but is prone to chipping. The crystal was replaced in the last service (X series). 


The watch has the older solid metal bracelet and the hollow end links. The bracelet, reference 93150 has a brushed finish and for a watch that is almost 20 years old does not show much stretch.

The end links, reference 501B also has the same brushed finish and is well made. It sits well between the lugs and has a ‘closed’ design, i.e. no gaps to facilitate the spring bars removal. Removal of the spring bars is via the drilled lugholes on the lugs.

The clasp. 

The clasp, reference 93150 is made of steel inox and is also well made. It is the traditional Tuna can clasp. A simple stamp pressed clasp. The Flip lock provides additional security from accidental unlocking. 

Adjustment is via adjustment holes on the folding buckle. There are 4 adjustment holes and allows the bracelet to be adjusted by 12 mm in length. If there is a need to adjust the bracelet longer or shorter, there is a need to physically alter the length of the bracelet by removing or adding links, which is an easy process as the links are held together by screws.

The folded part of the buckle is polished and is simply signed 'Rolex'. It is thin but does the job and does it well.

The bracelet and clasp has the diver extension, as all good diver watch should have. 

Now the interesting part of the 'review'. The difference between the the watches? Is there any? Yes there is. It is on the bezel. From my understanding, both bezel inserts are original to the watches and have not been replaced. 

Look at the photographs below. Can you spot the differences? Yes it is on the font used on the bezel insert. Look at the numbers....

I believe this is called the fat font bezel. 

This is the thin font bezel.

The number 20...

Interesting yes? Explanation? I have none....


It is a very comfortable watch, not heavy but with enough heft. When I was wearing it, I found the watch very comfortable and had no issues with the bracelet, which is a sore point with many collectors of Rolex. I do understand why it took Rolex a long time to change or improve on the bracelet and buckle design.

The watch is easy to read and tell time. It is not flashy and at  about 40 mm it does go against the current trend of large watches. But since it is all dial (almost), it does not look small at all on the wrist. 

The brothers in arms....

I do love the Submariner. Who knows, maybe one day.....