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Everything posted by Always"watching"

  1. Oh dear, @tick-tock-tittle-tattle, a sense of responsibility - I did buy the watch a while back, and relied on some advice that the firm was fine to deal with.
  2. I have found an interesting reference to a work by Georg Jacob GmbH (HG) on Abe Books. The book title is, "Ein Blick - Werk-Erkennung, IV, GTeil: Wecker", and it was published in 1943 by Eigenverlag, Leipzig, in 1943. The details provided (only in German, unfortunately) indicate that this document is some form of brochure or catalogue. I agree with @spinynorman that your watch does look as if it is a 1950s piece, almost certainly pre-1955, and it will be interesting to find out if Georg Jacob GmbH survived into that period.
  3. Don't beat yourself up over that Xeric watch, dear @bdalg1. I can understand why you went for a Xeric, and perhaps you were unfortunate with that particular model. In the case of your watch, the printed globe and markers on the crystal completely obscures the rather good dial arrangement beneath, and a decent watch is thus ruined. Having looked at a number of Xeric watches, I feel that the firm is always on the verge of producing something both interesting and pleasing, aesthetically, but always just fails to carry it off. At least the fundamental specifications of the watches are sound, though perhaps continuing with large watch sizes is a bit Passé. Xeric is probably a watch producer worth keeping an eye on, in case they suddenly come up with an absolute winner.
  4. I have noticed in reading posts on the Forum and elsewhere an increasing use of capitalized abbreviations, including some for various models of wristwatch. I do realise that as members of a watch forum, we are meant to be able to decipher watch-jargon, but some of us (well, me for one) sometimes have to spend a few minutes trying to work out exactly what an abbreviation stands for. I believe that there is a standard protocol when using abbreviations that is quite useful; the word or phrase is written once in full, followed by the abbreviated form in brackets, then subsequent to that in the text, the abbreviation can be used on its own.
  5. I do rather like the design of this watch; in particular the hands, the shape of the lugs, and the minimalist handling of the dial. I am not too sure about the aesthetics and long-term practicality of that 2-part case with "floating" lugs, however, and I do not like the odd rendering of the "neucarl" logo/name on the dial and movement- it looks as if the start and end of the name have been faultily erased. I am glad that the crown has been modified as it does look a bit problematic in the photos.
  6. That is one glorious hunk of metal, Davey. I especially like the simplicity and boldness of the dial. One more thumbs-up for Casio.
  7. Dear @grandaddy, you might like to know that I have written two Forum articles on Benrus, which you will find in my Topics section via the Forum search feature. They are as follows: "Benrus"; posted on 15 September 2014. "A Benrus Classic: The Dial-O-Rama Watches"; posted on 30 September 2019. Benrus is an interesting company and worth collecting, in my opinion. Balaton has already discussed the question of pricing when buying pre-owned Benrus watches and I would echo the sentiment that they were a mid-market company; also, not being very well known in the UK, you should be able to pick up reasonably priced examples among the more general run of models.
  8. I just thought that I ought to add this Body Glove dive watch to this thread... They must be having a laugh, surely. Still, if you feel you are underachieving in a certain department then this watch is still available on Amazon UK for £39.99. I notice that a number of other, less phallic, NOS Body Glove dive watches have turned up for sale on Amazon UK, and I quite like some of them, especially the all-stainless steel "Billy" model in different colourways priced at £49.99 except the red dial example which is £69.99. (Pic from images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com)
  9. (Pic from Indiegogo at c1.iggcdn.com) Aventi is a new horological venture, and the first watch to emerge from the brand seems (according to much of the media attention) to have as its raison d’être the production of a low cost/low price tourbillon wristwatch - a complication that tends to go hand-in-hand with high luxury horology. As a result of Aventi’s success in this ambition, there is a degree of triumphalism expressed, deriving from company publicity, in beating the Swiss at their own game by producing a luxury tourbillon watch that is considerably less expensive than Swiss examples, and on top of that, the production of a relatively inexpensive tourbillon model cased all in sapphire. Clearly, watch buyers and potential customers for these sorts of watches are appreciative of Aventi in its philosophy and success, as testified by the Indiegogo campaign for the Aventi A-10 being funded within just 8 minutes. The Aventi A-10 tourbillon wristwatch, designed by Hannu Siren, comes in two basic varieties or models. The first of these is cased in Grade 2 titanium, and both the case and sapphire crystal are of unique, roughly trapezoidal, shape inspired by the world of supercar design - most notably the more angular shapes of cars by Lamborghini and Pagani. This titanium model is available in a raw colourway that has a completely sandblasted finish, as well as in several different colourways whereby the case is finished with a coloured ceramic coating called Cerakote, which lends the watch scratch resistance and keeps its weight down. In addition to the case colour, the titanium model is edged with, and has highlights of, Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9 to provide a visual experience in the dark. The seven colourways (some of them quite vibrant) are Rosso Red, Nardo Gray, Riviera Blue, Pearl White, Modena Yellow, Nero Black, and Viola Purple. The titanium-cased G-10 comes with an NBR (rubber) strap having carbon fibre inlay on top with stitching, and water resistance is at 5 atm. (Pics from i.pinimg.com/originals and, bottom, ablogtowatch.com) The second variety of G-10 wristwatch is the all-sapphire model, following the same shape as the titanium variety and challenging once again the notion that only super-high luxury brands can produce such watches in all-sapphire form. The G-10 casing is completely transparent and is complemented by a translucent rubber strap. The “Pure Sapphire” model of the G-10 apparently has the most complex sapphire watch case ever assembled, with 68 individual facets and 144 edges, each hand-finished from a single solid block of pure sapphire crystal in a process lasting 100 hours. Each sapphire case is then treated with five layers of anti-reflective coating before being finally and thickly coated with transparent ceramic for enhanced appearance and toughness. (Pics, from top down: i.ytimg.com, ablogtowatch.com, and Indiegogo at c1.iggcdn.com) To enhance integration of the design, the Aventi G-10 in both titanium and all-sapphire forms has its crown at 12 o’clock rather than at the side of the case, and case size is a substantial 48.5 X 55.5 X13.5 mm. The watch has a fully skeletonized movement with bold bridges and featuring two hefty barrels which are visible and which provide the watch with a power reserve of 72 hours. The signature tourbillon sits in the 3 o’clock position on the dial and is nicely visible. The actual dial itself is a network of bridges connecting the movement to a multi-layer suspended ring containing the minutes track. These elements are in bare brilliant metal for the all-sapphire model of the G-10 and in a mix of black and the case colour for the titanium version. The two dauphine hands, for the minutes and the hours, are skeletonized and lumed at their tips; the G-10 is a “simple” two-hand timekeeper. The movement in the G-10 is a modified and skeletonized Caliber 3450 hand-wind tourbillon movement with 22 jewels, running at 28,800 bph, and is apparently carefully tested and examined for each watch to ensure utmost quality and accuracy combined with excellent value for money. As far as buying the AS-10 is concerned, the proposed prices for “early birds” in March of this year, just before the debut on Indiegogo, were $2,800 for the sapphire model and $999 for the titanium-cased colourways. Then, in an article dating to 24 April, the prices were apparently $1,099 (discounted from $2,000) for the titanium model and $3,300 (discounted from $5,000). Finally the Aventi website, with its fancy “concierge” booking system, states that prices are now from $1,999. (Pics, from top down: Indiegogo at c1.iggcdn.com, cdn.shopify.com, and ablogtowatch.com) My own reservations about the Aventi G-10 are primarily aesthetic rather than financial or technical; nevertheless, there is a smouldering question over whether in truth, you get what you pay for in terms of the watch and/or the movement. It is likely that in terms of pricing, Aventi have started well and they seem to have succeeded in their primary goal of undercutting similarly specified Swiss luxury watches in price; the firm should therefore be acquiring customers from a wide variety of financial backgrounds, including watch collectors, even though prices seem to already be rising sharply. I have to add a caveat here because I am not convinced that the Chinese-made tourbillon in the G-10 is of the same reliability/accuracy as those produced by luxury Swiss watch companies, and this quality difference could mean that the G-10 is not quite such a bargain after all. For me personally, the G-10 doesn’t hugely appeal, partly because of its clumsy size and shape and partly because of a certain ostentatiousness in its design; the G-10 is a watch and not a "supercar for the wrist"; it is meant to be worn on the wrist and not on the road, and it has none of the design flare seen in the finest supercars. I would have preferred it if Aventi had chosen to produce a more subtle, more beautiful, and more wearable, tourbillon wristwatch (including an all-sapphire version) while still keeping prices low - surely, superior aesthetics do not have to imply increased production costs. Having said that, I am aware that my own views will not be those of everyone, and the Aventi G-10 will surely appeal to many less pecunious luxury-hunters for whom this more affordable and strikingly bold tourbillon watch will be irresistible, especially perhaps when the watch is cased in pure sapphire crystal.
  10. Thanks guys. I have checked the heights of the two eyepieces as you suggest, Steve @WRENCH, and there is a distinct difference, with the focusing ring clearly having been over-tightened in one direction. I don't reckon this is going to be easy but after lockdown, I may be able to chase up a guy I met a while back who restores binoculars and other optics. This is a safer bet than trying to deal with the matter myself.
  11. Thanks for the suggestions so far. At Steve's suggestion and just in case readers might not have the complete picture of the problem, I show here below a picture of binoculars that are pretty much identical to my own: (Pic from bestofbinoculars.com) The offending component is the individual focusing ring for poor eyesight shown in the picture on the right-hand eyepiece. This focusing ring is jammed tight or seized and won't turn. There are three minute screws (as small as those in a watch movement) spaced at intervals on the knurled wheel of the focusing ring but I haven't dared try and remove them as yet. Any further recommendations gratefully received and I will try them one by one, starting at the easiest.
  12. (Above pics from hodinkee.imgix.net and, below i.dmarge.com) The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control collection goes back to 1992, and is named after the company’s 1000-Hours Control Certification, launched for the first time with the Master Control range and especially novel because it involved testing the cased-up completed watch rather than just the movement. The Master Control line has recently been revamped and at the top of the tree stands a chronograph calendar model that, within the confines of a classic vintage design for this type of complicated watch, sets a very high standard, both aesthetically and technically. If the style harks back to the middle of the 20th century, the movements have not remained static in technological modernity and have been upgraded across the Master Control range, with such features as silicon parts for the escapement and redesigned barrels in order to prolong power reserve. Given the long history of the company and its experience with horological complications, it may seem odd that the new Master Control Chronograph Calendar represents a first for Jaeger Le-Coultre in its triple calendar with moonphase combination of complications. And with this novel combination of displays, Jaeger-LeCoultre have logically provided a new movement for the watch, the caliber JLC 759. The JLC caliber 759 is not the most beautiful of chronograph movements in spite of its gold rotor bearing the JLC motif, Geneva waves, and blued screws; nevertheless, owners probably won’t feel too let down by the view of the movement through the sapphire display back. The new caliber 759 is based on the JLC caliber 751 movement and is a column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch. Caliber 759 runs with 41 jewels at a frequency of 28,800 bph and has a lengthy power reserve of 65 hours. (Above pics from hodinkee.imgix.net and, top, from static.watchtime.me) The Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control collection goes back to 1992, and is named after the company’s 1000-Hours Control Certification, launched for the first time with the Master Control range and especially novel because it involved testing the cased-up completed watch rather than just the movement. The Master Control line has recently been revamped and at the top of the tree stands a chronograph calendar model that, within the confines of a classic vintage design for this type of complicated watch, sets a very high standard, both aesthetically and technically. If the style harks back to the middle of the 20th century, the movements have not remained static in technological modernity and have been upgraded across the Master Control range, with such features as silicon parts for the escapement and redesigned barrels in order to prolong power reserve. Given the long history of the company and its experience with horological complications, it may seem odd that the new Master Control Chronograph Calendar represents a first for Jaeger Le-Coultre in its triple calendar with moonphase combination of complications. And with this novel combination of displays, Jaeger-LeCoultre have logically provided a new movement for the watch, the caliber JLC 759. The JLC caliber 759 is not the most beautiful of chronograph movements in spite of its gold rotor bearing the JLC motif, Geneva waves, and blued screws; nevertheless, owners probably won’t feel too let down by the view of the movement through the sapphire display back. The new caliber 759 is based on the JLC caliber 751 movement and is a column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch. Caliber 759 runs with 41 jewels at a frequency of 28,800 bph and has a lengthy power reserve of 65 hours. (Above two pics from timeandtidewatches.com) Although the movement powering the new Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Chronograph Calendar is a fine piece of micro-engineering with excellent performance parameters, it is the silvered white sunray dial of the watch that is the real joy, beautifully proportioned and laid out in such a way that readability is excellent. Close attention has been paid to the size, shape and finish of centre and register hands used, in addition to the size and clarity of the registers, in order achieve elegance as well as ease of visibility. Around the edge of the dial, between the minute marks and the bezel, Jaeger-LeCoultre have included a pulsometric scale instead of the more usual telemeter; the pulsometer scale is used in conjunction with the chronograph (or even an accurate central sweep hand will do) to measure pulse/heart rate and is somewhat old-school these days on watches. Advice is available online on how to use this feature. The 40 mm case of the watch comes in either stainless steel or La Grande Rose gold, and the watch is 12.05 mm thick with a water resistance of 5 ATM; note the sporty-looking rectangular chronograph buttons. In terms of strap, Presto spring lugs offer a quick change between classical alligator or chocolate brown tanned calfskin Novanappa straps. The watch is guaranteed for 8 years and priced at $14,000 or £12,900 for the stainless steel version and $26,000 if you want to go for gold. In conclusion, I find this watch to be a very beautiful example of its style genre. Although it follows the best design practise of much earlier examples of this wristwatch genre, there is no hiding the fact that we are looking at a modern watch; it is all so well integrated that we feel no clash of conflict between old and new. Indeed, this watch gets pretty close to being “timeless.” (Above video from youtube.com) (Pic from swisswatches-magazine.com)
  13. I am currently restoring an old pair of Russian binoculars and have encountered a problem. The eyepiece diopter focus adjuster has become completely siezed in the completely down position, requiring it to be released and unscrewed in an anticlockwise direction. Because this fitting is for adjusting the diopter range in the eye, it would have been "damped" to give some resistance, like the central focusing wheel on the binoculars. I have tried using spray silicon lube to no effect and even considerable force won't shift the siezure. I would really appreciate any bright ideas on how to free the eyepiece focus adjuster so that I can get these rather nice old binos fully working again. I should say that these binoculars are a hefty metal item in true Soviet style, and probably date from the 1960s/70s.
  14. Many thanks for those responses. I was pleasantly surprised in the end when I contacted Microglobe to try and sort the matter of my ordered binoculars out and resolve the "pending" status issue. The admin staff member I reached on the phone actually suggested I telephone the boss of the company as he was working from home, and he gave me the name and mobile phone number. I rang Habib, the boss, and without any further ado he said he would resolve the matter straight away by sending me a link that afternoon whereby I could go through the Worldpay payment process again using my credit card, thus removing the pending status of the order. I received a confirmation notice that my payment had gone through, and if Habib has kept his promise of immediate despatch, my binoculars should be winging their way to my house. Given the above, I must thank Microglobe for excellent customer service and I am really looking forward to getting the binoculars.
  15. Welcome to the Forum, dear Yeti. I'm sure you will find many helpful suggestions and other information on the Forum to guide your watch collecting, and it is also to be hoped that you become an active poster on Forum threads.
  16. I have not seen that seemingly organic hazing of the crystal before but one type of hazing I have been banging on about, at least every now and then, is a sort of mist on the underside of the crystal as if fumes or vapour from inside the watch have been deposited on the crystal. This misting is especially noticeable with clack dial watches, and seems to occur only with quartz (battery) watches; the solution is to clean the mist away on the underside of the crystal, without any need for abrasives or powerful chemicals.
  17. I ordered a pair of binoculars from Microglobe earlier today using a credit card (Mastercard). I noticed that there were a number of optional methods of payment and after registering a new account with Microglobe, I went through the payment process, apparently paying via "WorldPay Junior". At the very end of the checkout process a message came up indicating that there was something wrong and that the payment couldn't be completed. When I looked at my Microglobe account (the order having disappeared from my basket) I noticed that the order was there, as if completed, but had been given the status "pending." I know I am a bit impatient and paranoid about problems with online orders, but I wonder if any money-savvy members could just explain whether I am meant to take any action, or will Microglobe automatically sort out the problem. I may be worrying unduly - not for the first time - but I am concerned that either the money will be charged to my credit card account without me receiving the binoculars or that there will be an undue delay in Microglobe sending me the item. What I don't understand is that if I made a mistake in filling in the relevant details, why didn't a simple error message come up with a simple way for me to correct any mistake? I would appreciate a bit of friendly advice about this, as I am generally only an Amazon online purchaser and have that well sorted.
  18. I so wanted to write an erudite response to this question and gave it considerable thought, with a look at the overall development of watches, and miniaturisation generally, leading to the present day position vis a vis mobile phones, smart watches and mechanical/quartz wristwatches. My thoughts ended in a blank, however, concluding that pocket watches of classic form will only come back in a big way if they are seen to be a necessity. Once the public feels that something is necessary and has willing producers able to supply the demand, then fashion and style start to enter the picture, providing variety and catering to different sections of the market. I cannot say if analogue pocket watches will ever gain ground again though I would hazard a guess that their days as a major timekeeping accessory are unlikely to return.
  19. (Pic from autopuzzles.com) The story of the Simca Fulgur concept car does not begin with either a designer or an auto manufacturer. Instead, unusually, it begins with a popular weekly Franco-Belgian comics magazine, “Le Journal de Tintin” (Eng. “Tintin”, Dutch edition title. “Kuifje”) which included various series including the title series, “The adventures of Tintin.” Although primarily aimed at young readers, the magazine adopted the slogan, “The Magazine for the Youth from 7 to 77”. In 1958, Le Journal de Tintin invited car manufacturers to imagine a vehicle that could travel on the roads of the world in 1980. Unfortunately, this offer was not taken up, and SIMCA themselves were one such refusee, with its most important designers unwilling to take part in what they considered to be a wacky or crazy project, and with the company being taken up with more practical concerns. At the same time, a young designer at SIMCA, Robert Opron, mentioned the request by Le Journal de Tintin to a friend - astronomer and astrophysicist Pierre Guérin - who argued that Opron should try and convince his superiors of the importance of the project. He argued that Le Journal de Tintin was a very popular magazine read by many adults, and during their conversation, the two men wondered if 2000 would be a more relevant and interesting date for the concept car proposed by Le Journal de Tintin to aim for. The SIMCA concern was a product of the 1930s, originally a subsidiary of FIAT charged with manufacture of FIAT cars in France. The company grew in importance during the 1950s, becoming the second biggest automobile manufacturer in France and becoming more ambitious. In 1958, Chrysler Corporation acquired a 15% stake in SIMCA and became the North American distributor for the firm’s cars. Partly because of the company’s need for a reputation for innovation, and partly because of Robert Opron’s persuasive arguments, SIMCA accepted the challenge laid down by Le Journal de Tintin (the only company to do so), and tasked Opron with producing a proof of concept prototype of a year 2000 automobile. At this time, Opron was a junior designer at the firm, having joined SIMCA in 1957 where he was working (under a designer who had worked at Pininfarina) on minor projects only, such as logos and hubcaps. Now, together with the assistance of at least one other designer, Opron set to work on designing a concept car for the advent of the next millennium, to emerge as the 2-seat Fulgur prototype. As Opron himself has said (quoted in Chapman (2009)), “It was a fun job. It was the sort of job you gave to the office youngster - but when they [Simca] saw that it made quite an impact with the public, they started to make use of it.” SIMCA Fulgur proof of concept prototype seen here with Colette Duval in the driving seat (see text for details) and, below, the Fulgur layout from "Robert Opron, l'Automobile et l'Art" by Peter Pijlman (pics from spct2000.files.wordpress.com): The shape and (proposed specifications) of Opron’s Fulgur bore some connection with concurrent interest in flying saucers and spaceships, especially in the USA, yet the prototype also took account of current European tastes and financial restraints. Thus the vehicle was small in size and did not use any of the flashy chrome elements still popular on American cars. The Fulgur was immediately publicised in Le Journal de Tintin with an illustrated article on the vehicle published in the 11 December 1958 issue of the magazine. Furthermore, the magazine included a story, “L’affaire ‘Fulgur’” in one of its comic strips, “Les aventures de l’agent ‘P.60.’” for 13 issues between January and April 1959. In more official and “adult” venues, the Fulgur proof of concept prototype was an immediate sensation when displayed in Paris and at the Geneva Motor Show in 1959; the prototype was shown together with its amazing technical sheet detailing a host of innovations that the designers thought would be commonplace by 2000. It goes without saying that the exhibited prototype, with plastic-covered metal chassis, did not actually incorporate the futuristic innovations specified, although it could probably have travelled, albeit rather slowly, on the road and a witness is recorded as seeing the Fulgur being driven slowly in ordinary traffic during the time of the Chicago Motor Show of 1961, probably as a publicity trip/photo shoot. The spacious cabin of the proposed production Fulgur was to be both sound-proofed and air-conditioned; its plastic bubble was anti-reflective and offered excellent visibility to the driver. The super comfortable seats were influenced by the celebrated 1956 lounge chair design of Charles and Bernice “Ray” Eames, and they had variable flexibility, built-in headrests, and could rotate to facilitate access to the vehicle. Perhaps readers of this topic can make up their own caption to this dramatic Parisian street scene featuring the SIMCA Fulgur prototype (pic from Reddit at i.red.it): The Fulgur was intended to be controlled by an on-board computer or "electronic brain" that could respond to voice commands input by the driver. The car was also equipped with a dual radar that constantly monitored the road, and it could connect to a control tower while driving on the motorway. The computer could stop the vehicle independent of human intervention in the event of an obstruction being detected, and ultimately could transport the occupants from A to B without any human actions being necessary. The steering wheel of the Fulgur was very similar to that of an aircraft and the dashboard was a model of purity and ergonomics, being dominated by a radar screen. There appears to be some confusion as to whether the car on major roads was meant to actually be powered via electric cables integrated into the highway or whether electromagnetic guidance on the road only was performed via these cables. Whatever the case, the projected main source of power was electricity from six fuel cells (hydrogen batteries) which would provide sufficient charge for 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles), the two electric motors being in the rear wheels; the steering at lower speeds was executed through the front wheels. The Fulgur was to be provided with an adaptive electromagnetic suspension system with constant trim, providing unparalleled comfort - especially necessary given that projected top speed was almost 300 kph (185 mph) on a highway/motorway; headlight brightness also adjusted automatically with speed. Perhaps the most dubious innovation postulated for the Fulgur was the retraction of the two front (steering) wheels when the vehicle reached a speed of 150 kph (95 mph) while two gyroscopes were brought into action to keep the vehicle balanced on its rear wheels. In this mode, the V tail and its rudders stabilized and directed the vehicle. It has been suggested that the V tail of the Fulgur was inspired by the Air Fouga/Potez Air Fouga C.M.170 Magista jet trainer, tested in 1952 and a successful French aircraft in the 1950s and 1960s. Concept meets reality at the turn of the milennium; The Peugot 307 versus the SIMCA Fulgur concept car (note the mirror images of Colette Duval in both vehicles) - pic from spct2000.files.wordpress.com, and below, the Dinky SIMCA Fulgur with box - pic from worthpoint.com: Press kit from the New York International Auto Show (pic from upload.wikimedia.org): In addition to the positive reactions garnered at Paris and Geneva in 1959, the Fulgur was also a hit with the public at various shows in the United States between 1959 and 1961, and it was still a crowd-puller in the latter year at the Chicago Motor Show. The French vehicle even participated in a spring festival organised in Montreal, Canada, in March 1960 organised by Chrysler, and it is rumoured that the car also featured at a motor show in Tokyo. Anxious to make the most of all the publicity in Europe and elsewhere, SIMCA called on the services of a well-known and attractive French couple, parachutist and model, Colette Duval, and automobile stuntman Gil Delamare. After Colette’s early career as a skydiver from about 1951-56 had encountered mixed fortunes, she then founded a fashion boutique, then a nightclub. Between 1958 and 1986 she also played in 10 films. She died in 1988, aged just 57. Colette Duval can be seen in various contemporary photographs of the SIMCA Fulgur. It is with some sadness that I have to conclude this topic by saying that the Fulgur prototype, which had been so prescient in some of its ideas for the future of road vehicles, was to end its life unceremoniously on the scrap heap. Rear view of the SIMCA Fulgur prototype at the Chicago Auto Show of 1961 (pic from chicagoautoshow.com), and below, the Fulgur protoype at the Geneva Motor Show in 1959 (pic from autopuzzles.com): FURTHER NOTES ABOUT ROBERT OPRON Some information on this designer in the context of the Fulgur appears in the main text but it is worth making some additional notes about him. Robert Opron, automobile and aviation enthusiast, was born in France in 1932, obtaining his first job as a designer in 1952 for a factory that processed sugar beet. In 1954, he joined the staff of the Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiqus du Nord (SNCAN), where he contributed to the development of the cockpit of the Nord 2051 Noratlas. He was also engaged in flying and aerobatics from the 1950s. A friend of Opron’s who knew the head of personnel at SIMCA managed to get him a job at SIMCA in 1957, and it was during this period at SIMCA that Opron worked on the Fulgur concept. Ironically, given his work on the Fulgur project, SIMCA abandoned its style department in 1960-61 and Opron lost his job. The management offered him 2 years severance pay which included a non competition clause whereby for a limited period, Opron could not work for another automobile manufacturer. He therefore transferred his styling skills to fridges and cookers while working for a firm that designed/manufactured home appliances and bathroom equipment - a job that did not suit his main interests. In 1961-62, Opron spotted an advertisement published in a major Parisian daily in which a major unidentified carmaker was seeking a designer. The company was in fact the Citroen concern, which on recognising Opron’s design credentials and potential, hired him. On joining Citroen, Opron worked under Flaminio Bertone, himself one of the most important twentieth century automobile designers, and Opron himself was to be responsible for the acclaimed shapes of the Citroen SM and the Renault Fuego. Indeed, Robert Opron was to be known for cars he designed in France and Italy from the 1960s to the 1980s, and he was one of the 25 nominees for a 1999 competition in America to choose the “Car Designer of the Century”. REFERENCE Chapman, Giles (2009), “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Vehicles”. Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, for The Book People Ltd, St. Helens. TEXT ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Particular acknowledgement is due to the article by Rénald Fortier, Ingenium, entitled “It was fulgur, fulgur, fulgur, fulgurable”, 11 March 2019. Ingeniumchannel, Ingenium Museums. Online address: (ingeniumcanada.ord,channel/articles/it-was-fulgur-fulgur-fulgur-fulgurable)
  20. There is plenty of information online about the "safety barrel" itself, which was used quite a lot by Waltham. I cannot unfortunately identify your own watch but perhaps someone will at least be able to tell you caliber details of the movement.
  21. I was a collector of Limit watches for some time and have always retained an affection for the company which is part of Time Products Ltd. - currently comprising a group of watch brands, viz. Accurist, Sekonda and Limit. I believe that I wrote an article on Limit watches some time ago; they have always been at the budget end of the market and both mechanical and quartz examples exist from the long history of the company. I have not come across your particular Limit model, and one needs pictures in order to date it with any exactitude.
  22. Dear @GoronVor, I believe that you will find the pictures and my captions here below interesting and helpful in dating and identifying your own Tell wristwatch. So without further ado, here they are: An important Tell watch with the same branding and monogram logo of your example, Goron, but with the name "FLEURIER" added on the dial. This watch dates to the end of the 1960s and into the 1970s and was made during the period when "Fleurier Watch Company SA" was part of SGT Neuchatel SA, a grouping of 9 Swiss watch companies that lasted from 1968-1981. (Pic from i.etsystatic.com) Three views of a very similar 1970s Tell watch to your own, Goron; this example is NOS and the yellow label on the back bears numbers that just might help date it more accurately and throw additional light on the Tell branded watches produced by Fleurier under SGT (pics from Galéria Saleria at images1-hu-secure.gs-static.com).
  23. It is an extraordinary fact that right up until almost the last days of the Second World War, German aircraft companies were coming up with cutting-edge designs for military aircraft and beginning to put these ideas into practice. Had the Western Allies and the Soviet Union not already been within sight of absolute victory over the Third Reich, these (or at least more highly developed versions of these) aircraft could have inflicted major damage and hindered or delayed the final defeat of Hitler and the Nazi regime. I have already written an article on the Forum about the Messerschmitt 163 Komet rocket interceptor, and the Germans were also pioneering combat use of a jet engined aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 262, towards the end of the War. This topic is about yet another radical aircraft contending on Hitler’s side in his last ditch attempts to prevent the Allies from winning the War - the piston-engined Dornier Do 335 Pfeil (Eng. Arrow). When it comes to aircraft performance, designers are always trying to maximise engine power and minimise drag, and a twin-engined layout with wing-mounted engines will only increase power over a single-engined design at the expense of reduced manoeuvrability and increased drag. An alternative arrangement that at least partially solves this problem is to place the engines in tandem, front and rear, along the aircraft centre-line, producing power in what is known as “centre-line thrust” The benefits of this engine arrangement include reduced frontal area, an aerodynamically clean wing, and the elimination of dangerous asymmetry in the event of one engine failing. Centre-line thrust was to be the raison d’être of the Dornier Do 335, featuring a conventional nose mounted engine with tractor airscrew together with a second engine located in the rear fuselage, driving a pusher propeller situated aft of the tail unit. An instructive diecast model by Oxford of the only surviving Dornier Do 335 (see text for full details) - pics from rafmuseumshop.com: The origins of the centre-thrust layout implemented in the Dornier Do 335 actually go back to the First World War, when Dr/Prof Claude (Claudius) Dornier (1884-1969) designed a number of flying boats which typically featured a tandem engine arrangement; the engines were mounted back-to-back in pairs, with the forward unit powering a tractor airscrew and the rear-facing unit driving a pusher propeller. This arrangement was used in the successful Dornier Do Wal (Eng. Whale) flying boat of 1922. There was also inspiration from the Siemens-Schuckert Dr I triplane fighter of 1917 which utilised a “primitive” twin-engined centre-thrust design. In 1935, Dornier produced the Do 18, with a much improved version of the tandem engine system. In order to enable the pusher propeller to clear the trailing edge of the broad chord wing of the aircraft, an extension drive shaft from the rear engine was introduced. It wasn’t a difficult transition from this improvement to the idea of placing the pilot between the two engines in such an arrangement, and indeed, on 3 August 1937, Claude Dornier filed a patent (No. 728044) for an aircraft of just such a configuration, and it was on the basis of this patent that the Do 335 came into being. During 1939, Dornier was working on the P 59 high speed bomber project, which incorporated the tandem engine layout patented in 1937. However, the P 59 project was shelved by Reichsmarschall Goering in early 1940 on the over-optimistic assumption that the War would be over soon and thus all work that would not bear fruit within the next year or so should be cancelled. This blow did not end Dornier’s interest in his tandem-engine proposition, and he was soon working on another unarmed high speed bomber project - the P 231 - incorporating an internal bomb load of 2,200 lb and a similar configuration to that of the P 59. In May 1942, Dornier submitted a refined version of the P 231 design in response to a Technische Amt (Technical Department/Office) requirement for a single-seat high speed bomber. The Dornier proposal was selected as the winner after facing competition from rival designs by Arado and Junkers, and despite official resistance to the unconventional layout, a development contract was awarded under the RLM (German Aviation Ministry) designation Do 335. The only surviving Dornier Do 335 (see text for full details) - pic from indianamilitary.org - and, below, cutaway drawing of a typical (unspecified) Dornier Do 335 (pic from airpages.ru): The way was still not smooth in bringing the Do 335 concept to fruition. In the Autumn of 1942, with detailed designs progressing, the RLM informed Dornier that the advent of massive Allied bombing raids meant that the Do 335 as currently presented was no longer required. Instead, the aircraft would need to be rethought as a multi-role fighter of similar performance and capable of acting as a single-seat fighter-bomber, reconnaissance aircraft, heavy fighter, and two-seat night and all-weather interceptor. The redesign now went ahead but the Technische Amt delayed the issue of a formal contract such that Dornier eventually sought the intervention of Generalfeldmarschall Milch, the Inspector-General of the Luftwaffe. By the end of 1942, with the necessary redesign completed, the first metal cut had been made on the prototypes at Oberpfaffenhofen. On 7 June 1943, with the growing seriousness of the war situation, Hitler himself intervened to expedite the Do 335 and the Me 262 programmes; prototypes of the Dornier plane were already in process of construction. However, Messerschmitt succeeded in persuading Hitler that their Me 262 would make a better high speed bomber than either the Arado Ar 234 or the Dornier Do 335, and on 7 September 1943, Hitler insisted that the Me 262 should receive sole priority. Milch’s advocacy of the two other types had been brushed aside, in spite of the fact that the Do 335 could carry twice the bomb load as the Me 262. Youtube video of the Dornier Do Pfeil (Arrow) from youtube.com: The initial prototype of the Dornier plane, designated Do 335 V1 (CP+UA), first flew on 26 October 1943 from Mengen, Württemberg, piloted by Flugkapitan Hans Dieterle and powered by Daimler-Benz DB603A-2 engines delivering 1750 hp at take-off. Handling trials at Oberpfaffenhofen were followed by official evaluation of the aircraft at the Rechlin Erprobungstelle. At high speeds, although some snaking and porpoising was found, the aircraft was generally well-recieved by the Rechlin test pilots. Favourable comments were made about the handling behaviour, manoeuvrability, acceleration and turning circle of the plane. Criticism was levied however at the poor rearward vision and fragile undercarriage. During the Winter and Spring of 1943-44, the V1 prototype was joined by additional development aircraft. Prototypes Do 335 V2 and Do 335 V3 incorporated several minor changes; the oil cooler tank under the nose was shifted into an enlarged annular engine cowling, blisters were added to the cockpit canopy to house small rearview mirrors, and the main undercarriage doors were redesigned. These two protoypes were kept at Oberpfaffenhofen for further test flights. Do 335 V4 was intended as a prototype for the two-seat night and all-weather interceptor but it was cancelled while still under construction in the autumn of 1944. The Do 335 V1 prototype with chin oil cooler and circular mainwheel doors, and the later V3 prototype with revised nose shape and mainwheel doors (photos from Dornier) - pics from aeroflight.co.uk: In spite of the lateness in the day, if the Do 335 was ever to see combat, the prototypes kept on coming. Do 335 V5 (CP+UE) was the armament test prototype, fitted with an engine-mounted 30mm cannon and two 15 mm cannon mounted in the upper nose. Do 335 V6 (CP+UF) and Do 335 V7 (CP+UG) were retained at Oberpfaffenhofen for equipment trials, with V7 later being transferred to Junkers for ground tests using Jumo 213 engines. Do 335 V8 (CP+UH) was used as an engine test bed by Daimler-Benz. With mainstream construction of the new type now planned and intended to take place at Menzel, it was a harsh blow when a bombing rain in March 1944 destroyed much of the production tooling and forced Dornier to set up a new line at Oberpfaffenhofen. The prototypes were still being constructed and tested - a situation that was to continue with various prototype variants until the end of hostilities - and the Do 335 V9 (CP+UI) was the prototype for the Do 335A-0 pre-production model. Fitted with a strengthened undercarriage, full armament, and DB603A-2 engines, it was delivered in May 1944 to the Rechlin Erprobungstelle for further official trials. Hitler, at this point, facing the likelihood of an Allied invasion of France at any moment, decided to give maximum priority to the production of the Do 335. It was also decided to cancel the Heinkel He 219 and use its production facilities to build Do 335s but Ernst Heinkel resisted this move and managed to delay, and eventually ignore, its implementation. The two-seater Do 335A-12 - picture from a kit model and photograph of the actual variant (pics from i.ytimg.com and, below, i.pinimg.com/originals): Do 335 V9 was quickly followed on the Oberpfaffenhofen production line by the first Do 335A-0 (VG+PG) fighter-bomber. In all, ten of these aircraft were produced, several being used by Erprobungskommando 335 (EK335), formed in September 1944 for the service evaluation and development of operational tactics for this new type. These were part of an order by the RLM which also included 14 prototypes, eleven production A-1 single-seaters and three A-10 and A-12 two-seat training aircraft. Finally, in late 1944, the Do 335A-1 superseded A-0 on the production line, becoming the first combat-ready production model of the aircraft. It was similar to the Do 335A-0 but with the uprated DB603E-1 engines and two underwing hard points for additional bombs or drop tanks. Delivery of the Do 335A-1 commenced in January 1945, and immediately impressed. Capable of a maximum speed of 474 mph at 21,325 ft with MW boost, or 426 mph without boost, and able to climb to 26,250 ft in only 14.5 minutes, the Do 335A-1 could easily outpace any Allied fighters in the vicinity; it could also carry a bomb load of 1,100 lb for 900 miles. The aircraft was nicknamed “Pfeil” or “arrow” by Dornier test pilots on account of its speed, but service pilots were less fulsome and called it “Ameisenbär” (Eng. Anteater) because of its long nose. The Do 335A-1 was armed with one 30 mm Mk103 cannon (with 70 rounds) firing through the nose of the propeller hub, and two 15 mm MG-151/15 cannon (with 200 rounds per gun) firing from the top cowling of the forward engine. An internal bomb load of 500 kg (1,100 lb) could also be carried. Interesting Youtube video showing original footage of the Do 335 in flight (from youtube.com): The Do 335 was an advanced machine in a number of ways and not only in its engine configuration. Pilot safety in an emergency was given some priority, with the result that a pneumatic ejector seat was incorporated which when fired, pushed the pilot away from the aircraft with a force of about 20 G. In addition, the chances of a pilot safely escaping the aircraft were enhanced by the use of exploding bolts that when detonated would jettison the pusher three-blade propeller and dorsal fin. Another innovative design feature was the tricycle landing gear. It has to be said, however, that the Do 335 was not without its faults. Weak landing gear that was prone to failure has already been mentioned, but there was also a tendency for the rear engine to overheat. The D0 335A-1 was also very large for a fighter, with a length of 13.85 m (about 45 ft 6 in), and wing span of 13.8 m (about 45 ft 3 in). It was heavy when loaded, at 9,600 kg (21,000 lb) and stood so high (at 5 m or about 16ft 5 in) that an adult of average height could walk beneath it. Nevertheless, its performance characteristics were such that there might have been mileage in both using the Dornier Do 335 in certain fighter operations and continuing to develop the centre-line thrust concept further. Unfortunately (or fortunately for us), time ran out for the Wartime Luftwaffe. The Do335A-2 and A-3 were proposed developments with improved canon armament but were never built. One Do 335A-0 became the prototype for the Do 335A-4, an unarmed long-range reconnaissance model with two Rb50/30 cameras in the weapons bay and DB603G engines. Ten A-4s were ordered for production but none were completed. The same fate was to befall the Do 335A-6 radar-equipped two-seat night-fighter variant, prototyped by the Do 335 V10 (CP+UK). In this variant, a second cockpit for the radar operator was positioned above and behind the normal cockpit, and the weapons bay replaced by a redesigned fuel tank. Radar antennae were attached to the wing leading edges and flame dampers fitted to the exhausts. The prototype V10 was never actually fitted with the FuG217 radar and although production of the A-6 was transferred to Heinkel in Vienna, none were assembled. A number of dual-control control trainers were produced interspersed with production of the A-1; these were variants Do 335A-10 and Do 335A-12 which had their respective prototypes. The instructor occupied the second cockpit (though without an ejector seat due to shortages). A Dornier Do 335A-1, work number 107, at the factory in Oberpfaffenhofen. This example was taken over by American troops and examined by US intelligence (pic from airpages.ru): Original Dornier handbook pages for the Do 335A-1 (pic from airpages.ru): As the war situation further deteriorated, development efforts switched from the A-series fighter-bomber to the more heavily armed B-series heavy fighter. Time was running out for Hitler, however, and the B-series aircraft were to be represented only by two single prototype machines - a Do 335 V13 (RP+UA) for the Do 335B-1 and a Do 335 V14 (RP+UB) for the B-4. The V13 featured a revised nose undercarriage arrangement, a V-shaped armoured windscreen, DB603E engines, an additional fuel tank in the weapons bay, and the replacement of the two 15 mm MG151 cannon in the nose by 20mm MG151s. The B-4 prototype had this armament supplemented by two 30 mm Mk103 cannon mounted on the inner wing leading edges. Further developments were still under construction, including some with two-stage supercharger DB603LA engines capable of 2,100 hp. Two of the sources used for this topic are pretty clear that no pilots flew Do 335s in combat, at least not serving with a fully operational unit. However, this may be an over-simplication of the exact situation, and here I quote from the Aeroflight (2016) article: “Plagued by mechanical unreliability and lack of aviation fuel, the operational career of the Do 335 is rather obscure. Do335A-0 and A-1 aircraft are thought to have flown a number of operational missions with EK335. Some were also used by III/KG2 in the Spring of 1945. French fighter ace Pierre Clostermann’s book ‘The Big Show’ mentions an encounter with a Do 335 in April 1945, during which the German aircraft easily outpaced the pursuing Hawker Tempests and escaped. Such events were very rare, so it seems likely that most operations were high speed interdiction missions - many taking place at night.” When the US Army overran the Oberpfaffenhofen factory in late April 1945, only 11 Do 335A-1 single-seat fighter-bombers had been completed as well as two Do 335 A-12 conversion trainers. There were another nine A-1s, four A-4s and two A-12s in final assembly, with components and assemblies ready for 70 more aircraft. Heinkel at Vienna had not been able to build any Do 335A-6 night-fighters. At the end of the War, it transpired that a number of planned developments of the Do 335 were in progress on the drawing board, including several big-winged high altitude fighters, the Do 535 with a rear jet engine, the Do 635 (later Ju 635) long-range reconnaissance aircraft with twin fuselages joined by a common wing centre section, and the P 256 jet fighter. Two prototypes including the V13 prototype for the B-1 series designed for heavy day-fighter roles (pic from airpages.ru) In terms of examples that survived the immediate aftermath of war, two A-0 single-seaters were shipped back to the USA on the British carrier HMS Reaper for evaluation by the US Navy and Air Force. An airworthy A-12 two-seater was flown to the UK and flight tested at the Royal Aircraft establishment (RAE) Farnborough, but an A-1 also destined for Britain force-landed at Merville in France en route and was abandoned. A further incomplete B-series Do 335 airframe also made it to Britain. The A-12 was test flown only three times before crashing and killing the test pilot in January 1946. Some interesting observations have been made by Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown who undertook initial flight testing of the Do 335 A-12, including a tendency for the brakes to overheat and even catch fire; a problem suffered generally by Luftwaffe aircraft. Fortunately, this was partly compensated for by the reversible-pitch tractor propeller which could reduce landing distance by 183 metres (600 ft). Brown says that once the aircraft had reached high speeds, the controls were responsive and well-harmonised, and he praised the powered ailerons and stability of the plane. Brown concluded that although later Allied fighters would have been able to match it when out in the open, as an all-weather and night-fighter, the Do 335 would have been a formidable opponent. He draws specific attention to the speed of the Do 335 and the fact that the Mustang or Spitfire would have had a job nailing it. The original Do 335A-12 taken to Britain and tested at RAE Farnborough - see text for details and, below, front view of a Dornier 335 V3 prototype showing the wide track of the main wheels. A third picture, bottom, of a Dornier 335 shows the characteristic cruciform tail of the type (pics from airpages.ru): There is now only a single surviving Dornier Do 335, which is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport, Virginia, USA). This aircraft, the second Do 335A-0 built and originally designated VP+GH and A-02 (Wk No. 240102), had been evaluated at the US Navy’s Patuxant River Test Center from 1945-48. Subsequent to testing, the plane was left in open storage for no less than 27 years, in the grounds of Naval Air Station (NAS) Norfolk before being transferred to the storage facility of the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) in 1961. Finally, the decaying airframe was flown back to Munich, in 1974, for restoration and preservation by the Dornier company the following year, at Oberpfaffenhofen (then in the process of building Alpha Jets). During the restoration process, crafts-people from the Dornier company, of whom many had worked for the firm since World War Two, were surprised to find still attached to the aircraft the explosive bolts designed to blow off the tail fin and the rear propeller. Dornier displayed the preserved plane at the May 1976 Hannover Airshow before moving it to the Deutsches Museum in Munich. Then, in 1986, it was returned to the Paul E. Garber Facility for storage. It is currently on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar (NASM) at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, USA (Inventory Number A19610129000). Depiction of a Dornier Do 335 Pfeil in flight (pic from img1.goodfon.com): Among the sources used in the research and writing of this topic, the following are to be particularly acknowledged; in descending order of importance: “Dornier Do 335 Aircraft Profile” Article last updated 26 June 2016 by admin; Aeroflight:the Website for Aviation Enthusiasts (aeroflight.co.uk/aircraft/types/type-details/dornier-do-335/htm “Flying the Arrow”, by Guiseppe Picarella/London, 21 December 2004; article for Flight Global (flightglobal.com/flying-the-arrow/58253.article) “Dornier Do 335 A-0 Pfeil (Arrow)”; Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, undated topic incl. display details (airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/dornier-do-335-A-0-pfeil-arrow/nasm_A19610129000) “The World’s Strangest Aircraft” by Michael Taylor: published in 1996 by Grange Books, London.
  24. Really just as an aside rather than making a particular judgement on CWC, I find the question of what constitutes good value for money is not always straightforward or amenable to reason. On the face of it, certain models, or even the whole output from a single company, can seem to be overpriced when compared with other similarly specced watches/companies. However, logically, in a competitive market place, one would expect a constant shift towards a mean in terms of prices at different market and specification levels. It is clear that there are many factors other than pure economics that permit some watches/watch companies to survive in the market in spite of their apparent overpricing, and whether one should actually harshly judge or attribute blame for this form of overpricing is a moot point. I suppose that when all is said and done, we buy what we really like within the framework of our available income, and unfortunately, what we really like sometimes has an unforeseen premium in terms of price. Compromise is often the only way forward but at times only what one really wants is good enough, overpriced or not.
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