Friday, May 07, 2010

Adieu for now

After five years a lot of things have changed in the blogosphere. There are now a lot of us and most doing a much better job than me. It has been a long journey and it seems as you may have guessed by the posting rate that it has to end as my life has steadily taken new turns.

I've learned a lot driving the blog, one thing of interest is how google prioritises 'newness' over 'fact' – a very worrying find now that so much of our lives is driven by what google delivers forth on search or request.

Along the way, we've investigated the watch market, the grey market, shilling, how to get a deal, predicted a few pieces, dissected some designs, caught out IWC and JLC on their movements, seen appalling disloyalty, been plagiarised without credit and had also quite unbelievable, disgusting and threatening behaviour beyond belief from some senior watch executives. All because of my skaiwy lickle bwog? Oh and I like to think I had a bit of a hand in the rebirth of Polaris. ;-)

Yet, I've also learned many things from many patient and generous people - particularly former members of Watchrap such as SuitbertW and of course Dr Thomas M. Thanks also to supporters Dario, Chuck, Chris, A Fan, and others along the way. I have also been in receipt of quite astonishing graciousness and generosity from both JLC and AP. I thank you both.

Over the next few weeks I will cut down the content to the important minimum, so save what you will otherwise! I intend to keep things like comparison of JLC 1000 hours versus COSC test data, but anecdotal and diaryesque entries will disappear. Here's to you subscribers and your patience, I hope you appreciated that I deleted the ad feed to you. So for now adieu and A toute a l'heure.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Explorer II: Childhood Sweetheart Rediscovered

There’s been a lot of controversy over the direction Rolex have taken chubbing up their new case. It’ll suit some and change always taps up new markets (cf. JLC Compressor success). I recently had a chance to size up the now old-news new GMT IIc and was less struck by the podgy case so much as the awful pumped up maxi dial and hands. If Rolex wanted their new face to resemble a Prospex diver, well, then they succeeded. In doing so I think they lost their audience of fans of versatility. I don’t believe these developments allow the new versions to subtly slide under a suit cuff or dinner jacket physically or aesthetically like their forebears.

This year they have pursued the relentless rollout further by going all Kate Winslett on the Submariner in steel. Time is running out; the last of one of the great original tool watches will surely be gone soon. Long missing from the website, or e-brochure, the completely McQuool no date variant is still around co-selling alongside the inexplicably different date version. In a world of reissues at every turn, with the old school bracelet rattle and embarrassingly ill fitting quirky bent steel vintage end pieces, it’s actually pretty much the original Sub' still on sale; like finding a NOS piece in a closeout jeweller.

The only other example like this I can think of is the ‘proper’ Speedmaster Professional but even that has a modern bracelet now. Anyhow, what struck me when I was in the shop was the subtle aesthetic still afforded by my childhood sweetheart - the current Explorer 2*. The combination of the thinner bezel sunk below the crystal in side view and making it brushed silver achieves a more complex 3d effect while keeping the subdued versatility of restrained hour markers and slim case. SEL bracelet, bang up to date Parachrom movement and subtle Rolex rehaut engraving complete the perfect sleeper in the range. Perfect old case, latest internals and the best looking 40mm sports watch Rolex still makes.

*a leaked video has already shown a new orange hand version with maxi dial and hands that was ready for 2010 but delayed coming 2011 to coincide with its 40th anniversary.