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Always"watching"

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  1. I have been wearing a bright "Sunshine" orange and pure white plastic and silicon rubber ICE-Watch for a while now. I bought it for a tenner just before lockdown and it was in mint condition, though without its box. I don't really know what initially persuaded me to put it on my wrist as I generally would not "dare" to wear such a bright plastic watch. However, once on, I began to really like it and found the bright colourway gave me a lucky feeling in this dreary lockdown and awful pandemic. This model appears to be one of the more expensive plastic and silicon watches in the ICE-Watch range and there is a cheaper Ice-Watch variant available. However, the cheaper model has a more commonly found single-layer orange silicon strap, and probably no designer's name on the watch (which I unfortunately cannot decipher). Here is a pic of my ICE-Watch model; taken from Amazon, where the watch is still for sale at about £78:
  2. I realize that this article was already long when I posted it yesterday, and on a subject that many readers and members of a watch forum are probably not particularly interested in. However, I decided to improve the article and make it a more substantial piece of work, partly for my own satisfaction and partly because the article will be openly available to interested readers searching for the subject on Google. So here above is the revised and enlarged topic. I have re-titled the article and completely re-edited it in order to make it more authoritative; I have also added more illustrations. I do hope that at least some of our Forum members will enjoy the revamped article - writing it was a labour of love.
  3. “The amazing thing about Opel’s rocket run on the AVUS track in Berlin is not just the daring feat itself, but its aftermath: both the public and academics have finally seen the light and have begun to believe in the future of the rocket as an engine for new rapid transit devices.” From Otto Willi Gail, Illustrierte Zeitung, Leipzig 1928, writing about the RAK 2 run of 23 May 1928. Our story begins with Austrian freelance science writer Max Valier (1895-1930), an early enthusiast for rocketry and possible space-flight who, together with German engineer and pyrotechnician Friedrich Wilhelm Sander, collaborated with Fritz von Opel in the pursuit of rocket power, not only in the “here and now” but also with the ultimate aim of sending manned craft into space. This troika of men, and their rocket-powered experiments made possible by the financial clout of the Opel automobile company, are the subject of this Topic. Max Valier was interested in astronomy when young, enrolled to study physics at the University of Innsbruck in 1913, and was involved in aeronautics during the Great War. In the early 1920s, he was gripped by the ideas of Hermann Oberth, a pioneer of modern rocketry, and wrote a book (reprinted six times) with the assistance of Oberth entitled, “Der Vorstoß in den Weltenraum (The Advance into Space) explaining Oberth’s ideas in layman’s language. In 1927, Valier helped establish the “Verein für Raumschiffahrt” (VfR) (Space-flight Society), an amateur rocketry club which was to include as members a number of those who were to later make space-flight a reality, including Oberth himself and Wernher von Braun. Valier produced a four step plan for the advancement of rocketry, starting with test bed experiments, progressing to rocket propelled wheeled vehicles and aircraft, and finally, when aircraft performance made it possible, launching into space. Max Valier approached Fritz von Opel for help with his rocketry plan, no doubt aware that von Opel was already promoting his company’s image by means of motor racing and speed trials. The two men met in the autumn of 1927, and it is likely that von Opel was easy to persuade, given his daredevil predilection for motor racing, speed, and publicity. Max Valier at a test bench (pic from droopsnoot.co.uk): Fritz Adam Hermann von Opel (4 May 1899 - 8 April 1971) was the only son of Wilhelm von Opel and grandson of Adam Opel who founded the Opel company in 1862 (producing sewing machines at first before manufacturing bicycles in 1886 and automobiles from 1899). He was born in Rüsselsheim and only acquired the “von” in his name after the ennoblement of his father in 1917. He studied at the “Technische Universität Darmstadt” where he obtained a doctorate. On graduation, he was made director of testing at the Opel company and was also placed in charge of publicity. It was during his tenure at Opel that Fritz von Opel became involved with Max Valier and Friedrich Sander, forming the small group of three that carried out the experiments with rocket-powered vehicles discussed in this topic. At the time of these experiments, Opel had a 37.5% share of the German auto market and was a major exporter of vehicles, but was about to lose its independence when, in 1929, the American company General Motors acquired an 80% stake in the company, rising to 100% in 1931. Shortly after 1929 and the conclusion of his rocketeering, von Opel left both the family firm and Germany. During the War, on 25 April 1940, he was taken off the Italian liner “Conte di Savoia” by the British authorities in Gibraltar. He was detained in Gibraltar for 16 days, then allowed to proceed to the USA where he arrived in May on the Italian liner “Rex.” Ironically, he was subsequently arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in February 1942 as being a “potentially dangerous alien” but later released. Fritz von Opel married Emita Hérran Ológaza (1913-1967) and became the father of Formula One driver Frederick “Rikky” von Opel later in that same year. Opel died at Samedan in Switzerland in 1971. Fritz von Opel at the wheel of RAK 2 (pic from cdn.motor1.com), and below, portrait of Friedrich Sander wiring his rockets on the RAK 2 rocket car (pic from s019.radikal.ru): Fritz von Opel and Max Valier having discussed the rocket project in the autumn of 1927, Valier contacted Friedrich Wilhelm Sander on von Opel’s behalf in early 1928, proposing that Sander’s company should manufacture the rockets used to propel vehicles and aircraft as a means of promoting the Opel concern. Sander himself (1885-1938) was an expert in pyrotechnics as well a manufacturer of black powder rockets. In 1923, he had purchased the H. G. Cordes company in Bremerhaven, which had been making black powder charges for whaling harpoons since the mid-19th century, and was soon branching out to produce signal rockets. He was the “third man” in the Opel-centred rocket group along with von Opel and Valier. Events in Sander’s story after he had ended his rocket collaboration with von Opel would start in 1930, when he (and other pyrotechnics factories) began the secret production of rockets for military purposes, at the direction of Walter Dornberger. In 1936, Sander signed a contract to supply some of these weapons to the Italians but was denounced as a traitor by the Nazis and imprisoned; meanwhile, his company went bankrupt. Released later the same year, Sander founded Comet GmbH, with the assistance of some of his former suppliers, but in 1938, the firm was nationalised and Sander found himself once again imprisoned by the Nazis. He died while in custody. Loading the Sander rockets during the RAK rail project, Fritz von Opel is seen on the right with Friedrich Sander, wearing a cap, on the left (pic from upload.wikimedia.org): Returning to our main story, the introduction of Sander to the rocket programme added the icing on the cake. The project now had an industrialist of clout in von Opel, able to bring considerable finance to the project as well as organizing ability and an eye for detail. Valier himself added his own brand of visionary zeal and authority to the threesome, while Sander was the practical rocket expert and manufacturer of the rockets Opel and Valier needed for their experiments. The group, centring on the Opel company, didn’t waste much time and the first trials of a rocket-powered vehicle began in March 1928, using an Opel road car with just two rockets fitted. Initially von Opel wanted to drive the car himself but was persuaded not to, in case he had an accident. Instead, Kurt Volkhart, an Opel engineer and racing driver, took the wheel and managed to drive the car 500 feet at a mere 3 miles per hour; hardly impressive but sufficient to whet the three rocketeers’ appetite for more testing. After two further tests, they built a new vehicle from one of the Opel works race cars, removing the engine and gear box to reduce weight. A small wing stub was fitted behind each front wheel to generate downforce at high speed and the car was powered by twelve black powder rockets in two banks, ignited electrically by a switch fitted to the accelerator pedal. The first bank were fast burning in order to accelerate the vehicle while the second bank were slower burning and designed to keep the car moving. The car was named RAK 1; RAK being short for “rakete”, the German for “rocket”. Kurt Volkhart at the wheel of RAK 1, the world's first rocket car (pic from droopsnoot.co.uk), and below, the RAK 1 rocket car waiting on the track (pic from jalopyjournal.com): RAK 1, based on an Opel 4/12, first appeared at Opel’s test track at Rüsselsheim on 11 April 1928, in full view of the German press. Volkhart was driving the car, and pressed the rocket ignition switch once, and then again, but only seven of the rockets fired. Nevertheless, the vehicle accelerated to 62 mph in eight seconds, and pleased with the performance and the positive press publicity, the group decided to continue the project, making plans to design and build a purpose-built rocket car, RAK 2, with a chassis from an Opel 10/40 HP in a streamlined body that was to presage the shape of later racing cars. Rak 2 also had no engine or transmission. RAK 2, like its predecessor, utilised stub wings to increase downforce, but they were much larger this time and attached to a lever in the cockpit that enabled the driver to change the angle of attack. Power was also upped considerably; 24 ten-centimetre rocket tubes were fitted, each giving 55 lbs thrust and wired separately to enable the driver to fire them one by one. The vehicle, with a total of 6,000 kg thrust, contained 120 kg of dynamite prior to ignition giving it an explosive power enough to demolish a house; all that separated the driver or pilot from the explosives was a single steel armour plate. An all-over look at the RAK 2 rocket car, here shown at the Auto Show AutoRAI Amsterdam in 2015 (Video from youtu.be/mopZSAaq_Xk) The group took RAK 2 to the Avusring (also called just the AVUS/Avus) near Berlin on 23 May 1928 and this time, in front of 3000 invited spectators including the world’s press, politicians, celebrities from sports and science, and film-makers from Germany and abroad. Prophetic speeches were made by Prof. Johanne Schütte, chairman of the Scientific Society for Avation, and by Fritz von Opel himself before he took the wheel of Rak 2 took the wheel himself, starting the run at 10 am. Pressing the firing pedal eight times, von Opel accelerated RAK 2 to a record-breaking 148 mph in just over a mile. He was only limited by the fact that the car had become difficult to control at high speed, and when the front end began to lift dangerously he shut the car down; the run had lasted just over three minutes. He pulled up slowly to thunderous applause from the crowd and received a kiss from the actress Lillian Harvey. The event was on the front pages of the newspapers the next day and it had been a great success; the positive publicity for Opel repaid the money spent and the car’s performance boosted the then youthful science of rocketry. As for von Opel himself, he now received the nickname, “Rocket Fritz.” In writing of the experience of driving RAK 2, von Opel stated, “I step on the ignition pedal and the rockets roar behind me, throwing me forward. It’s liberating. I step on the pedal again, then again and - it grips me like a rage - a fourth time. To my sides everything disappears. … The acceleration gives me a rush. I stop thinking. I’m acting on instinct alone, with uncontrollable forces raging behind me.” Video of RAK 2 at the AVUS ring on 23 May 1928 (video youtu.be/Gs9u9nKaOPo): The RAK 2 rocket car at speed and, below, a triumphant von Opel greeted with applause and congratulations on the celebrated RAK 2 run - both pics taken on 23 May 1928 (pics from cdn.motor1.com): It should be noted at this stage in the proceedings that von Opel was not merely engaged in a quest for promotional gain for himself and for the Opel company, but genuinely believed that he and his two colleagues in the project were seeking the production in the long-term of manned rocket propelled space ships. He stated, more specifically, that he wanted to study the effects of acceleration on the human body; a scientific quest that has been pursued since as the human body has experienced increasingly dangerous speeds and acceleration. Fritz von Opel did not only experiment with four-wheeled rocket-powered vehicles, and it is perhaps less well known that just four days before the successful RAK 2 event of 23 May 1928, a two-wheeled rocket vehicle created by von Opel was viewed by a crowd of 7,000 spectators - a Neander-designed Opel MotoClub 500SS motorbike to which 12 rockets had been attached. The first test of this bike had used six solid-fuel rockets, activated by means of a foot pedal only after the normal engine had taken the bike to 75 mph. It was thought by von Opel that by this means, the motorcycle could reach 132 mph, just pipping the then current Motorcycle World Speed Record of 124.5 mph held by O. M. Baldwin on his 996 cc Zenith-JAP. In testing however, it was found that even a total of 66 lbs thrust was not sufficient, and von Opel therefore doubled the number of rocket tubes to 12. Fritz von Opel with the six-rocket-powered motorcycle, pictured in 1930, and below, the full Monty version of the bike with 12 rockets, in action at the Hamborner Radrennbahn on 19 May 1928 (pics from thevintagent.com) On 19 May 1928, the 12-rocket-boosted MotoClub bike (nicknamed the Monster for obvious reasons) was demonstrated in smoky glory at the Hamborner Radrennbahn. It seemed to von Opel that the absolute World Motorcycle Speed Record might be within his grasp, but there were inherent problems in attaching rockets to a motorbike; the boost could be unpredictable and scary and the chassis of even a Neander design was likely to cause stability issues at such high speeds. In the end, von Opel did not have to make the decision as to whether to attempt a record run; the German racing authorities, mindful of safety concerns, banned the use of a rocket-cycle for record speed attempts. RAK 2 did not mark the end of rocket powered wheeled vehicles inspired by the trio. In June 1928, RAK 3, a Sander-Opel rail-mounted unmanned vehicle, designed by von Opel and powered by ten Sander rockets, set a new record for rail-mounted vehicles at 158 mph, watched by 20,000 spectators before being completely destroyed on its second run. On August 4, 1928, another attempt was made to further secure the record speed for a rail-mounted car in the form of RAK 4. This vehicle was powered by no less than 30 rockets, but the run proved to be disastrous when a rocket exploded on ignition, setting off the other rockets and making the car jump the rails. Still persistent in setting new speeds for rail-mounted vehicles, RAK 5 was in development but its launch was banned by the German railway authorities, alarmed by the evident hazards of these vehicles. However, by then von Opel and Sander had moved on to what was perhaps their most interesting and daring project when looking back with hindsight - rocket-powered aviation. A Sparkes 1/43 scale model in resin of the RAK 3 rail car (pic from diecast.org): The record-breaking RAK 3 rocket powered rail car, and below, the RAK 3 burn in June 1928 (pics from upload.wikimedia.org). Bottom pic shows the wreckage of RAK 3, destroyed on its second run (pic from The group had purchased a glider christened “Ente” (Duck) - a tailless canard design by Alexander Lippisch that enabled rockets to be fitted without fear of damage from the heat and flames they produce. The rear end of the glider was fitted with two 44 lb thrust rockets; attached to skids beneath the fuselage. These rockets were meant to burn one after the other, providing continuous thrust for 30 seconds each. One problem that had to be overcome was that as the rockets burned down the weight of these diminished, affecting the balance of the glider. The solution was a moveable lever-operated counterweight. On 11 June 1928, after one false start, test pilot Fritz Stamer took off in Ente using a rubber band catapult ramp and flew just under a mile looping around a mountain airstrip, under rocket power. Unfortunately, on its second flight (with the intention of igniting the rockets simultaneously this time) one of Ente’s rockets exploded on take-off, damaging the wing when the glider crash-landed and setting the glider alight. Fritz Stamer was not injured, however, nor was von Opel deterred from future flight attempts, and he now commissioned Julius Hatry, a well-known glider designer and builder, to build a bespoke rocket powered aircraft, the Opel-Sander RAK 1 - the world's first purpose-built rocket plane. The launch of the rocket powered glider "Ente" at Wasserkuppe on 11 June 1928 (pic from fly.historicwings.com): Signed portrait of Julius Hatry and his RAK 1 aircraft (pic from assets.catawiki.nl): A replica of the Opel-Sander(-Hatry) RAK 1 aircraft; note the high wing providing space directly behind the fuselage designed to give free flow for the heat and flames of the rockets powering the plane. (pic from berfalke2/wikimediacommons at thehindu.com): On 30 September 1929, spectators, reporters, and the first French newsreel truck, which had come all the way from Paris, gathered at Frankfurt-Rebstock airport to witness the public launch of the RAK 1 high-wing aircraft, piloted by Fritz von Opel himself. Underneath the craft were runners, and at the back of the pod-like fuselage slung beneath the wing was a case for the rockets. For launch, the plane was attached to a 20 metre long catapult rail or ramp and pulled back by eight men so that rubber bands, then rockets, would power the plane into flight, The first two attempts at flight, each using 16 rockets, backfired, and with only 11 rockets left, a third run was attempted. This time, two rockets were fired while still on the catapult, then one for the ascent, and the craft bounced along the ground, emitting falames and smoke as it accelerated, finally lifting off and hurtling through the air, trailing a white tail of smoke. Different sources give somewhat different statistics for the height, speed and duration of this flight, with OpelPOST stating that at a height of about 3.5 metres, the aircraft reached a speed of 100 kph, and flew two kilometres in around 45 seconds. Other sources give an average altitude of 50 feet, and a flight of two miles in 75 seconds, reaching a speed of 90 mph, with Historic Wings magazine staing that after liftoff, the plane flew under rocket power for 75 seconds covering a distance of just under 1 mile. Whatever the case, the flight was a triumph for von Opel, who emerged unscathed when the flight ended after all rockets were exhausted and the plane crash-landing sustaining modertate damage. This event marked the first public manned rocket-powered aircraft flight in history. The flight also marked the end of von Opel's rocket vehicles and the RAK programme - although he was to subsequently invest in another glider rocket plane, he never managed to make it a reality. The Opel-Sander RAK 1 aircraft takes off on 30 September 1929 (pic from fly.historicwings.com): The RAK 1 rocket plane in flight on 30 September 1929 (pic from cdn.motor1.com): Film of Fritz von Opel with the RAK 1 rocket aircraft. HD Stock Footage (youtu.be/mq5Yp6ePhYc): The troika or group comprising Max Valier, Fritz von Opel, and Friedrich Sander that had pioneered the use of rocket power broke up soon after the destruction of the RAK 1 rocket plane. By this time the world was facing the Great Depression and the Opel automobile concern was now turning its attention to the immediate future and the development of commercially viable road cars propelled by the internal combustion engine. Given his sense that the economic and political future was not looking rosy, and taking advantage of the publicity recently gained from the rocket project, von Opel sold the controlling interest in the Opel company later in 1929 to General Motors. I have already discussed above the lives of von Opel and Friedrich Sander after the rocket group disbanded, and it remains for me to look at Max Valier’s subsequent life. It seems that Max Valier had ended his direct role in the Opel-centred rocket group some time before, perhaps soon after the success of the RAK 2 rocket car, although his continuing and active interest in rocket power would have been an important influence keeping von Opel and Sander on board with rocket experimentation; he may well have kept in touch with von Opel and Sander, especially with regard to developments in rocket technology. In fact, Valier did not live for very long after the group split up. By the end of the 1920s, interest in the use of solid-fuel rockets was giving way to research into liquid-fuel rockets. The VfR first successfully fired a liquid-fuel rocket on 25 January 1930, and on 9 April 1930, Valier performed the first test drive in a car propelled by liquid fuel - the Valier-Heylandt RAK 7. Valier was tragically killed less than a month after this, on 17 May 1930, when an alcohol-fuelled rocket exploded on his test bench in Berlin. Max Valier test driving his liquid-fuel rocket car shortly before his death in May 1930 (pic from lh3.googleusercontent.com): The top speeds of the Opel RAK trials/experiments on the road, on rails, and in the air (pic from carrushome.com): An important article from a vintage pictorial magazine of 1930 by Fritz von Opel; the title of the magazine is unfortunately not stated but an advert for "Win Your Wings!" indicates that it is probably "Modern Mechanics" (pics from i.ebayimg.com): NOTE: This article has focussed on Fritz von Opel’s involvement with rocket power, and his love of speed in relation to the use of rocket propulsion. It should also be mentioned that von Opel was also engaged in speed on water, and the story of his racing boat, the Opel II, is worth mentioning here. For readers interested in reading more about this aspect of von Opel are referrred to the following article: “Fritz von Opel and the ‘Opel II’”, by Leif Rohwedder; OpelPOST (updated September 2017): opelpost.com/09/2017/fritz-von-opel-and-the-opel-ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS; SOURCES USED FOR THE TEXT OF THIS TOPIC: “90 Years ago: Opel Sounds in the Era of Rockets”, Opel Pressroom article, 22 May 2018: int-media.opel.com/90-years-ago-opel-sounds-era-rockets “RAK 2 - Opel’s contribution to the Space Race”, (undated and no author stated) Droop Snoot Group (DSG): droopsnoot.co.uk/rak2.htm "Fritz Opel’s Manned Rocket”, by Justin Hardy; History Net (undated): historynet.com/first-manned-rocket-htm “The First Launch”, no author stated but dated March 2014; OpelPOST: opelpost.com/03/2014/the-first-launch/ “Rocket Cycles, Part 1: Fritz von Opel”, by Paul D’Orléans, October 2019; The Vintagent: the vintagent.com/2019/10/10/rocket-cycles-part-1-fritz-von-opel/ “Opel racked up a first with RAK 1”, by A. S. Ganesh; The Hindu, September 2019: the hindu.com/children/opel-racked-up-a-first-with-rak-1/article29468534.ece Various articles from Wikipedia “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Automobiles”, by Giles Chapman, 2009; Dorling Kindersley for The Book People Ltd, St. Helen’s. "Opel Flies his Rocket Plane", by Thomas van Hare, 30 September 2012; Historic Wings online magazine: fly.historicwings.com/2012/09/opel-flies-his-rocket-plane/
  4. I have so far drawn a blank in trying to identify your watch. There is a modern company called "Circa Watches" based in the States and producing modern quartz "replicas" of vintage watches. The only reason that this "connection" might be of interest is that perhaps the original Circa watch brand was also American. Your watch is obviously a ladies' timepiece and I notice that the caseback is not gold but possibly stainless steel; a good way for the producer to save on precious metal. It would certainly be useful to see the movement, and also there might be additional gold marks inside the case or a name mark on the inside of the caseback. I reserve judgement on the exact date of the watch as it might shade back into the 1950s. If I might be so bold, I will call on my friend and colleague @spinynorman , by means of this "mention", to help identify your watch as he is an excellent watch detective... Hopefully we can find out more about Circa watches and your own example.
  5. Dear @JayK, I do apologise for not answering your posts given that I do have an Accurist Grand Complication, though not the exact model you yourself possess. I chickened out of trying to replace the battery myself as I believe it was designed to go back to Accurist for replacement. In my case, I had a friendly local jeweller to put a new battery in, and I am glad that I didn't tackle the job myself as I am just too clumsy. I do wish you success in getting the watch up and running with all functions working properly.
  6. I really like those watches, and also like the styling of the bespoke integral steel bracelets on them. This sort of bracelet style seems to have gone out of fashion, which is a pity. In fact, although I am wary of watches with integral bracelets generally, when they are in sturdy materials like stainless steel or titanium, that last for a long time, they can really enhance the look of a watch.
  7. Welcome to the Forum, Dell'' @Dell. As soon as I hear the term, "anniversary clock" or "torsion clock" my heart begins to fail, even though I did actually write a topic for this Forum a while back on these "wretched" devices which you may like to look up and read. Only joking! Well, half joking... I admire ANYONE who has the patience to repair, restore, and above all adjust this sort of clock to get it working perfectly and keeping good time.
  8. Dear Rog, thanks for that useful bit of info. I have, from time to time, looked at the Tauchmeister watches and thought how reasonably priced they are. However, I have always been a bit wary of buying one in case the purchase turns out to be a case of, "you get what you pay for, so serves you right". I do like that yellow dial version you show. Very nice...
  9. I reckon that you would be quite hard pressed to find an example of this model again, at least on any reasonable time scale. So enjoy it, and get it ticking again. I'm sure that Simon will do you proud if you can't get the watch repaired where you are.
  10. I rather like the Divex watches - a small range of reasonably priced, well-built, no-nonsense divers. I presume they are all quartz with Seiko/Hattori movements - a mechanical version would be nice as well .
  11. I also love hand-wind watches, old and not so old. I have no problem with having to wind a watch at a regular time interval, and I like the reassurance that once wound, you know that you have a specific known period during which the watch will be keeping time. When it comes to Chinese Cheapies, automatic movements are frequently execrable yet hand-wind movements at this low market level can keep pretty good time and be reliable. Of course, these are miles downhill from the likes of the Omega Speedmaster, but I thought I would mention them anyway.
  12. Dear @David Ellis, I'm so glad you have decided to repair your Roamer ladies' watch, and I do thank @JoT for his helpful post here above. Your Roamer is from the 1950s and, as John suggested, it would not have been a nurse's watch. These "brooch" or pin-on watches turn up quite frequently but are still relatively uncommon compared to the wrist and pendant varieties of ladies' watch. There are members of the Forum, including myself, who collect and treasure interesting ladies' watches, although the major area for watch collecting is in mens' watches. For me, it seems a travesty that so many women's watches are likely to end up in the bin or, if intrinsically precious, scrapped for cash, so good-on-you for resisting that path with your Roamer.
  13. Always"watching"

    Moles

    I thought this thread might receive a couple of sober and helpful posts. Hmmm, I should have known differently given the sort of humour we have come to expect from certain illustrious members. Oh, and I love your signature phrase with that clever little fish logo, Rog @Roger the Dodger.
  14. Always"watching"

    Moles

    I have a feeling that @Roger the Dodger will be able to answer this one. I just hope he doesn't mind me recommending him.
  15. Wow, that's some list, Rog. I won't be using many of those abbreviations though...
  16. Dear @GoronVor, I have now done some research into Grünn and like yourself, I have drawn a blank. I have looked at various sites including a leading German supplier of watchmakers' tools and a trade list of German tool brands. I think I would now be a bit suspicious of the origin of that case knife you link to; perhaps it comes from a lot further away than Germany in an easterly direction.
  17. (Pic from img.timezone.com) In 1988, the Louis Vuitton company had the bright idea of complementing their status as a pedigree luxury luggage producer with a watch designed specifically with world travellers in mind. For this venture, Louis Vuitton co-operated with the International Watch Company (IWC) based at Schaffhausen, Switzerland, which famous and historically notable watch company was to develop and manufacture the timepiece. Unusually, for the time, the chosen designer for the project was a woman - the Italian architect and designer Gae Aulenti - the Louis Vuitton company recognizing the variety of fields in which Aulenti had exercised her talents. The watch was to incorporate ten different functions including local time, date, month, and lunar cycle as well as the current time in a series of major cities and time zones around the world. (Above two pics from (NAWCC) National Watch & Clock Museum at s3.amazonaws.com/pastperfectonline) Gaetana “Gae” Aulenti (1927-2012), who completed the design of the LV-I travellers’ watch was a world-renowned architect, urban planner, and designer of theatre scenery and various consumer products including furniture and lighting; indeed the breadth of her prolific work is considerable, and garnered various international honours and awards. With the Louis Vuitton LV-I, Aulenti managed to include a huge amount of information on the dial(in effect, a round white metal dial surrounded by six independent white dials) without it feeling confused or overwhelming. In fact, never before had seven (of the ten) watch functions been organized around a single central axis. For readers who are interested in Gae Aulenti, Wikipedia does a pretty good job of introducing her to a wider public. In writing about the LV-I, my most difficult task is to describe the various functions in terms of how they appear and are enacted on the watch. For this task, I have used the catalogue description of an LV-I from the (NAWCC) National Watch & Clock Museum to make my life easier. Here then is a diagram of the watch with its various components numbered, followed by a list relating to that diagram and other details of the functions of the LV-I: (Pic from img.timezone.com) ________________________________________ "Let's glance at the many functions as illustrated in the diagram. A. Watchcase in 18 kt. gold B. Multifunction crown for: "setting the red hour and minute hands "adjusting the lunar phases "setting the time zone band (cities) "stopping the second hand C. Universal time corrector key D. Date corrector 1. Red hour hand of principal time 1a. Circle of principal hours (12 hours) 2. Red minute hand for principal time, for the second time zone and the universal time (24 hours) 2a. Minutes and second scale 3. Second hand 4. Date hand 4a. Date scale 5. Lunar phase indicator 6. Golden hour hand of second time zone 6a. Red index identifying the second time zone 7. 24-hour disk, with indication of the hours of the day and of the night, on a transparent sapphire disk (universal time) 8. Band with 24 time zones identified by city names and adjustable by crown B 8a. Zero meridian indicator, Greenwich time zone (GMT) 9. Dateline indicator 9a. Auxiliary indicator on the 24-hour disk (7) to determine the date The crown B allows the setting of the following functions: Crown pressed in: This is the normal position when the watch is worn. The crown should be placed in this position after each setting. Crown partially extended: By turning the crown in the desired direction, the time zone band (8) is moved as is, in a synchronized manner, the golden hand of the second time zone (6) and the 24-hour disk (7). Crown completely extended: The second hand (3) and the watch are stopped. By turning the crown, the two hour hands (1) and (6), the minute hand (2), and the 24-hour disk (7) move in a coordinated fashion. This is the way the principal time is set. The lunar indicator (5) is set by an alternate back-and-forth movement of the red hour hand (1) between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. The initial use of this universal time travel watch requires one to make settings in the following order: adjustment of lunar phase, adjustment of principal time (red hands), adjustment of dates, adjustment of universal time. Once adjusted, the lunar phase indicator does not need to be adjusted for three years; the precision mechanism driving the indicator will show itself, at the end of this period, to have a maximum difference of one day with the real position of the moon. This timepiece has another unique and interesting feature. If you are temporarily not interested in the indication of a second time zone, you can simply make the golden hour hand (6) disappear under the red hour hand. To do this, use crown B to rotate the city ring (8) until the city corresponding to your principal time is located under the index (6a) and the watch will have one less hand. Further setting instructions for use are well described in a 4½-inch square hard cover leather bound (what else from Louis Vuitton?) users' manual printed in many languages." The Louis Vuitton LV-I was not only unusual in its rather special 24J quartz IWC movement made under exclusive contract and in the fact that seven of the ten functions were organised around the central pivot in the (mobile) dial. Other aspects of the watch are also worthy of note including the watch case, fashioned from a solid block of 18 carat gold and hand-polished, and having the crown at 12 o’clock and a special backing to the to protect the watch from magnetic fields. The strap leather received a special tanning process to increase its resistance to moisture and mode of strap attachment was also unusual, with the watch having no lugs or pins at all; the strap glides over the bottom of the case through an aperture until anchored by a small indentation, and correct seating of the watch case is ensured by an interior cushion in the strap itself. Generously perhaps, the watch came supplied with a selection of different straps - in four different colourways and three types of leather, buffalo, calf and snakeskin. The price for the LV-I was $11,500 according to Louis Vuitton New York, and the watch was apparently available until about 1995 when it was discontinued. (above three pics from (NAWCC) National Watch & Clock Museum at s3.amazonaws.com/pastperfectonline) The Louis Vuitton LV-I World Timer was a triumph of collaboration between two famous and historical companies involved in catering to different aspects of travelling. The watch is certainly a thing of beauty and carries with it echoes of earlier watch designs while being technically advanced for its time and functional in the modern world of mass air travel all over the globe. I don’t know how long it would take me to get my head around the different functions and adjustments in the LV-I but should I be given an LV-I, I wouldn’t be complaining. Yes, it is a quartz watch rather than a mechanical piece, which to some may be anathema, but there are times when a quartz movement still manages to engender the sense of magic we see in fine mechanical watches, and in this case, IWC and Louis Vuitton pulled off that feat, and produced a watch that in the late 1980s when it was launched, was the best of "magic thinking". And that quality still pertains today in the LV-I travel watch. NOTES: 1. I must apologise for the quality of the pictures that accompany the text of this topic. The number of available pictures of the Louis Vuitton LV-I is very limited and I used what I could get. 2. Gae Aulenti also designed a smaller and simpler quartz watch for Louis Vuitton, again manufactured by IWC. This watch - the LV-II travel watch - features an alarm function, and has a case made from zirconium oxide, a hard ceramic material impervious to water and tarnishing, almost scratch-proof, and non-magnetic. The case came in green or black and had a sapphire crystal. 3. In looking at the “LV” designation for the LV-I and LV-II, I have noticed that Newsom (2015) gives the numbering in Arabic, ie. LV-1. Please also note that I have not included certain specifications that would normally accompany a topic about a model of watch; this is because the sources I used did not state these specs, such as case width or water resistance. References: “Fifty Watches that Changed the World”, Alex Newsom; Conran Octopus, Octopus Publishing, London, 2015 “Travelling Time Instruments from Louis Vuitton”, TimeZone (2002): timezone.com/2002/10/7/traveling-time-instruments-from-louis-vuitton NAWCC catalogue entry for the Louis Vuitton LV-I World Timer wristwatch (cat. No.: 2001.21.1): nawcc.pastperfectonline.com,webobject/711339B5-F28B-4AD6-B9EC-879144240010
  18. Very nice... My only lingering niggle is that for me, I'm just not sure how much I like the translucent dial.
  19. I do rather like that watch, dear Biker, partly - it has to be said - because of the price. I have never heard of "Drop" but they are obviously a retail site worth checking out. I am always a bit nervous about moving away from the Amazon/Argos bandwidth but as I recently had such good service from Microglobe, who were also new to me, a bit of exploring might not go amiss in future.
  20. For those of you who are interested in the history of Patria watches, you might like to read my Forum article on the brand. It is in my Forum Topics section, posted 6 March this year, and titled, "Patria, An Erstwhile Brother of Omega". In my topic on Patria, I did mention the Brigadier wristwatch and the new reborn Patria watch brand. However, I did not discuss this recent development in any detail partly because there is no genuine link between the original Patria concern and the new Patria brand. I am aware that using a distinguished name from the past in order to achieve a certain status in the present is a frequent marketing tool but I am not very keen on this method of launching a new watch company. The Brigadier is a nice looking watch and no doubt one of quality but it feels like taking a backward step into a previous era rather than being any sort of real "next step" in watchmaking history.
  21. Nash Motors Company was an American car company based at Kenosha, Wisconsin, from 1916-1937. In January 1937, Nash Motors became the automotive division of the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation, with George Mason of Kelvinator taking over from Charles Nash (who retained a controlling share in Kelvinator) as head of the now combined firm. In 1954, Nash and the Hudson Motor Car Company merged to form the American Motors Corporation with George Mason as CEO, although Nash-branded vehicles continued to be made after that date, coming to an end in 1957. In the case of the Nash Metropolitan, we go back to the Nash Motors Company as it was in 1949 at which time the firm was examining the market potential for an economical alternative car, contrary to the then current automobile trend for larger vehicles. In the process of working out the nature of this proposal, the Nash Experimental International (NXI) concept car was built and largely designed by Detroit-based independent designer William J. Flajole for Nash Motors’ parent company, Nash-Kelvinator. The design was intended as the second car in a two car family - for shopping, the school run, or as a ride and park commuter car. The NXI design resembled the larger Nash vehicles but on a small scale and incorporating some innovative features such as interchangeable front and rear components (which barely survived into eventual production) and Nash’s advanced single-unit body construction. In order to gauge public opinion as to the likely success of such a vehicle, Nash displayed the car at a number of “surviews” (surveys/previews) starting on 4 January 1950 at the Astoria Hotel in New York, the result of which indicated that was a market for this type of car. These “surviews” also suggested certain improvements, many of which were incorporated in subsequent prototypes, such as roll-up glass side windows, a more powerful engine, and a column-mounted gear shift with bench seat (rather than the bucket-type sets and floor-mounted transmission shift featured in the concept car). A 1954 Nash Metropolitan Hardtop (pics from conceptcarz.com) Nash now named the new model - which featured revised styling incorporating a hood blister and rear wheel cutouts - the Nash-Kelvinator International (NKI). The car was aimed at the emerging post-War market for small personal-use vehicles as a second car for women or a means of economical commuting. In addition, it was hoped that the car would return Nash to overseas markets. At this stage, however, management at Nash Motors and Nash-Kelvinator calculated that it would not be economically viable to produce such a car from scratch in the US because the tooling costs would have been prohibitive. The only solution, it was decided, would be to build the car overseas using existing mechanical components (engine, transmission, rear end, suspension, brakes, and electrics) while US manufacture would take on only the tooling cost for body panels and other unique components. In view of this decision, Nash Motors negotiated with several different European companies, and on 5 October 1952, they announced that two English firms based in the Birmingham region had been selected for the project. The Austin Motor Company (then part of BMC) would deal with the mechanicals and final assembly while Fisher & Ludlow (part of BMC from September 1953 and later operating as Pressed Steel Fisher) would produce the bodywork. By this token, the venture was to be the first time an American-designed car for sole marketing in the US, sold and serviced by Nash, had been entirely built in Europe. It is believed that Austin Motors completed the first pre-production prototype on 2 December 1952, followed by four other pre-production prototypes, all of which were tested prior to production. Tooling costs for the new car, dubbed the NKI Custom until just two months before its public launch, were far lower than would have been the case if the car had been an all-American-made product. Interestingly, although the styling of Nash vehicles was an amalgam of Pinin Farina and in-house Nash designs, with the firm claiming Pinin Farina design for their larger cars, Farina refused to allow his name to be associated with the Metropolitan on the grounds that this would damage his reputation with other car companies to be linked with such a small automobile. Production of the Metropolitan (nicknamed the “baby Nash”) at Austin’s Longbridge factory started in October 1953. The car was tiny, with an 85 in (215.9 cm) wheelbase. Overall length was 149.5 in (379.7 cm) and gross weight was only 1,785 lb (810 kg) for the Convertible and 18 kg more for the Hardtop; the wheelbase and general size were smaller than a Volkswagen Beetle. The two models - Convertible and Hardtop - were both powered by the OHV 1,200 cc straight-4 Austin ‘A40’ series engine driving the rear wheels through a three-speed manual transmission. The initial order was for 10,000 units, with an option to increase the order if justified by sales. An initial hitch concerned the badging of the car due to the late-in-the-day decision to rename the vehicle; new “Metropolitan” nameplates had to be made to fit where the previous “NKI Custom” script badging would have gone, and some factory manuals had already gone out bearing the car name as NKI Custom. Anyway, the first examples of the Nash Metropolitan went on sale on 19 March 1954 in the US and Canada, with an apparently low production rate of 400 cars a week. Prices in 1954 were $1,469 for the convertible model 541 and $1,445 for model 542, the hardtop, both of them two-door but only the hardtop having two-tone paintwork as standard. A very early Nash Metropolitan Convertible, delivered to the USA in March 1954 and completely restored in 2007; the original 1200 cc engine has been replaced by a 1500 Austin A55 example (pictured) (pics from barrettjacksoncdn.azureedge.net): The Nash Metropolitan in both convertible and hardtop body forms came with several features as standard that were generally available only as optional extras. These factory-installed features included a map light, electric windshield wipers, cigar lighter, directional indicators, and a “continental-type” rear-mounted spare tyre with cover. A rather nice feature was the use of “Bedford Cord” upholstery trimmed with leather, in keeping with larger Nash vehicles. All the cars that left the Austin factory included a heater and a radio; nevertheless for the US market, an AM radio, “WeatherEye” heater, and whitewall tyres were actually offered only as extras. It is notable that the Metropolitan was the first post-War American car to be marketed specifically to women. Miss America 1954 (Evelyn Ay Sempier) was the first spokesperson for the car, and it was prominently advertised in “Women’s Wear Daily”. When Nash-Kelvinator merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company on 1 May 1954, the Metropolitan was also branded for Hudson although most sales were under the Nash banner. It has to be said that the American public’s affirmation of a desire for an economy car like the Metropolitan, was not reflected in subsequent sales, and relatively small numbers of the car were sold. Nevertheless, 7,072 Metropolitans had been sold by the end of six months and a further order was placed with Austin. YouTube video uploaded by Cardiff333UK at youtu.be) After the first 10,000 cars had been sold, a number of modifications were made to improve the Metropolitan. The engine was changed to a B-series, but still of 1,200 cc, as used in the Austin A40 Cambridge, and the car was given a new gearbox together with hydraulic actuation for the clutch instead of a mechanical linkage. This added 50 lb (23 kg) to the weight of the vehicle, which was now referred to as the Series II or NK2, commencing on 19 August 1954. Early reviews of the Metropolitan were mixed although an owners’ consensus was that the car was a good thing in a small package. Floyd Clymer, an industry veteran and publisher of automotive books, put a Metropolitan through more than its fair share of testing and was surprised at how well the car performed and how safe he felt when driving it, concluding that, “it may well be that Nash has started a new trend in American motoring. Perhaps the public is now getting ready for a small car.” In December 1953, George Mason took two Metropolitans to Raleigh Speedway in North Carolina for some tests. The first Metropolitan did a 24-hour endurance run, achieving a distance of 1,469.7 miles (2,365 km) without a tune-up. The second Metropolitan underwent an economy 24-hour run and averaged 41.7 US mpg (5.64 L per 100 km; 50.1 Imp. mpg). Mechanix Illustrated editor, Tom McCahill, reported in 1954 that the Metropolitan, “is not a sports car by the weirdest torturing of the imagination but it is a fleet, sporty little bucket which should prove just what the doctor ordered for a second car, to be used either for a trip to the movies or for a fast run to a penicillin festival.” He was impressed with the handling and control exhibited by the Metropolitan, and its “poke” in spite of having such a small engine. He also liked the nice finish but bemoaned the difficult access to the boot which required the back of the rear seat to be pulled down (the Metropolitan was more realistically a two-seater although it did have a rear seat). McCahill’s test car accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 19.3 seconds and was able to exceed 70 mph (110 km/h). It has to be said that the car did come in for criticism in certain reviews, most notably concerning its high degree of roll and wallow in corners and the time it took for the car to get its rear end back in line. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Metropolitan was an effective and economical vehicle to run, easy to service and able to take considerable punishment. The extraordinary 1956 Astra-Gnome concept car built around a Nash Metropolitan (see text) (Pics from oldconceptcars.com and, below, i.kinja-img.com): In late November 1955, the Metropolitan Series III (NK3) came on stream, and this was more of a redesign than Series II had been. The Metropolitan’s B-series engine was now increased in capacity to 1,498 cc (91.4 cu in) as used in the Austin A50 Cambridge. Polished stainless steel sweep spears on the body sides enabled the use of a new two-tone finish (with a few additional colours in the range) that effectively gave the impression of a longer, lower and slimmer vehicle. The grille was also redesigned and the previously non-functional hood scoop was removed. As for the interior, the seats were upholstered in a houndstooth check pattern with white vinyl trim, and the dashboard was painted black instead of being in the body colour as was the case for Series I and II Metropolitans. American Motors now designated the car as the “Metropolitan 1500” and prices were $1,527 (Hardtop) and $1,551 (Convertible). Changes and additions were made to the available exterior colours in April 1957, and in September 1957 American Motors (AMC) announced that it was dropping the Nash and Hudson brand names in favour of subsequently marketing the car under the “Metropolitan” name only; the Nash and Hudson grille badges had seemingly been discontinued in October the previous year in favour of an “M” style grille medallion. Also in October 1956, Austin Motor Company obtained permission from AMC to sell Metropolitans in areas where the American company did not have a presence, including the British Isles, and this necessitated the production of right-hand drive (RHD) cars in addition to the usual left-hand drive (LHD) vehicles so far manufactured. In fact, in early brochures for the Austin Metropolitan, Austin were forced to use a reversed photograph of a car parked in Chipping Camden because no RHD vehicles were yet available. A 1958 Austin Metropolitan 1500 Series III Hardtop - note the single-piece rear window used from Jan. 1958 (Pics from simonscars.co.uk): The production of Austin Metropolitans began in December 1956 and the UK list prices for a Series III Metropolitan were £713 17s 0d for the HE6 Hardtop and £725 2s 0d for the HD6 Convertible. From 2 April 1957 over the next four years, approximately 9,400 additional units were sold in overseas markets, with the UK taking an estimated 1,200 [or perhaps as many as about 5,000 according to one source] of these in four years. UK Series III sales ran from April 1957 to February 1959, by which latter date production of Series IV cars had commenced. From February 1959, the Metropolitan was not available for UK sale, until September 1960, because all production was for US and Canadian sales during that period. When the “famine” ended, the cars, now Metropolitan Series IV, were sold through Austin dealers; with the price for the A-HJ7 Convertible having risen slightly over the Series III cars while the A-HP7 Hardtop had fallen slightly in price. Also, the Austin badging and branding had disappeared (apart from the Austin chassis numbers) in favour of just the “Metropolitan” name. In May 1960, Car Mart Ltd. (a large London Austin dealership) presented Princess Margaret with a special Metropolitan finished in black with gold trim and gold leather interior as a wedding present; in February 1961 the car was stolen. The Series IV Metropolitan came into production in January 1959 and represented a major redesign. An external decklid was added to provide easy access to the boot, as well as vent windows. Also, since October 1957, the engine had been upgraded by increasing the compression ratio from 7.2:1 to 8.3:1, providing an output of 55 bhp (as used in the A55 Cambridge). The Series IV Metropolitan featured a diamond pattern for the seats, with white vinyl trim. 1959 proved to be the Metropolitan’s best-selling year with 22,209 units sold; the MRSP for Series IV models at this time was $1,672 (Hardtop) and $1,696 (Convertible). In 1961, “The Autocar” magazine tested a 1959 Metropolitan that had all ready wracked up 27,124 miles (43,652 km) and recorded a “reasonable cruising speed of 60 mph, “fairly high” oil consumption of 125 miles per pint, “adequately good” roadholding, and “pronounced understeer” in corners. Other comments from this test included “good directional stability”, “decidedly vague steering”, a turning circle that was “stately for such a small car”, “effective” brakes and a steering wheel that was positioned so high that it interfered with the driver’s view of the rod. The test car accelerated from 0-60 mph in 22.4 seconds, and did a standing-start quarter-mile in 21.9 seconds. A 1959 Austin Metropolitan 1500 Series IV Convertible (Pics from simoncars.co.uk): Production of the Metropolitan ceased in April 1961 (final VIN - E95981, built April 19, 1961) at which time a total of 104,377 units had been made at Longbridge, with nearly 95,000 of these being exported to the USA; sales of the existing inventory continued until March 1962. As for the Austin Metropolitan subgroup, production for foreign markets including the UK had ceased in February 1961 due to poor sales, with two “one-offs” being produced in March and April. Total Austin Metropolitan production has been estimated as being between 9,384 and 9,391 cars. The Metropolitan concept had by then spawned compact cars from a number of major competitors, and AMC’s own Rambler series also competed against it in the USA. As far as British and Continental consumers were concerned, the barrier to major sales of the Metropolitan had been essentially one of style from both the exterior of the vehicle and from the quality of the ride. The fact that the Metropolitan was aesthetically redolent of typical American cars of the period put many European and British customers off and raised an opinion that the car represented the worst of all things American. As for driving the Metropolitan, the car also followed the precedent of larger American cars of the period and also did not really suit European taste; it had a very soft ride, and steering was hampered by the enclosure of the front wheels, a very wide turning circle, and a big steering wheel with slack response. oYouTube video uploaded by Cardiff333UK at youtu.be) Looking at the American reaction to the Metropolitan, it is interesting to report that although the car was never a major “hit”, it managed to garner considerable loyalty from those who bought and used it. Almost as soon as sales began, American Motors received many complimentary owners’ letters (and photographs) concerning the Metropolitan, and some of the comments made were later featured in Metropolitan brochures. In January 1957, James W. Watson (AMC’s Sales manager for the Metropolitan) decided to initiate a “Metropolitan Club” as a means of channelling this response and increasing sales. Membership freebies included a metal car badge and “The Met Letter” magazine (produced between May 1957 and January 1962); a special gold anodized car badge was awarded to members who recruited additional Metropolitan buyers. The Club was finally wound up around May 1962, with Floyd Clymer, a journalist and supporter of the Metropolitan attempting to keep the club going for a short while after this time. It is difficult to say whether the Metropolitan can be said to be truly ahead of its time, and my feeling is that this accolade is perhaps somewhat misplaced when considering the car, in spite of its notably small size and economy. That does not mean to say that the Metropolitan does not have a special place in motoring history. The Metropolitan is a dainty morsel - a comforting design, a cute miniature of a whole genre of glamorous large American cars, and almost the perfect small 1950s drive-around car to capture large scale car style on a small footprint. The car today also captures perfectly the desire for retro 1950s industrial/product design that is currently so popular. Indeed, the Metropolitan has become a collectible vehicle with prices having recently escalated. As a final note, especially for readers who have read my recent Forum topic on the SIMCA Fulgur concept car, the Metropolitan was the base vehicle used by industrial designer, Richard Arbib, to show his vision of what the automobile would look like in the year 2000. Arbib’s Astra-Gnome “Time and Space Car” was a modified 1955 Nash Metropolitan, with advanced features such as a “celestial time-zone clock permitting actual flight-type navigation”. The car was shown on the front cover of “Newsweek” magazine (3 September 1956) and exhibited at the 1956 New York International Auto Show; it survives and is in a California museum. The Hot Wheels Metrorail Nash Metropolitan from 2000, available in a number of amazing different colourways (Pics from hwcollectorsnews.com): Note: The Hardtop model of the Metropolitan is sometimes labelled the "Coupe". The two terms are interchangeable, describing the same vehicle. Particular acknowledgements are due to the following three sources in the preparation of the topic text, in decreasing order of importance: "Nash Metropolitan", Wikipedia (last edited 19 March 2020). "Nash Metropolitan", John Baker; online article and detailed chronology chart/table - www.austinmemories.com/styled-31/index.html "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Vehicles", Giles Chapman; Dorling Kindersley for The Book People Ltd., St Helens, 2009.
  22. Dear James, As a (new?) member of the Forum, you are privileged to be able to access the advice of the Forum's own watch repair'restoration expert, Simon. Just go to his Forum section and post a query; I'm sure he will have good ideas and advice about balance wheel issues in old pocket watches. I am also sure that there are other Forum members out there who will post advice on this thread, although I am aware that your question is somewhat general rather than about a specific watch - answers may therefore begin with the words, "it depends ...".
  23. I can totally agree with you, dear @WRENCH and @Biker now that I have sorted out the eyepiece and cleaned the lenses. Amazingly, there isn't a scratch or mark on any of the external lenses and the coatings are in tip-top condition. I have tested the binos in the field, and they appear to be optically rather good. As with your own Soviet binos, Steve, mine are also 7 X 50 and therefore have a good light uptake; they also come in a nice leather case and, like yours, Biker, they have additional filters in pockets inside the case. If I didn't have arthritis in my neck, I would use these binoculars while walking, but they are just too heavy and will be used for static bird spotting where I can use them through the car windows or resting on a fence/ledge.
  24. My dear Norman @spinynorman, I realized after writing my post that I had seemed to contradict what you said with regard to mass-production/rarity of mechanical chronographs. Please understand that we are essentially in agreement, and I just wanted the OP to be comforted in the fact that vintage mechanical chronographs do not constitute the main fruit on the tree, so to speak, and are a little bit special in themselves.
  25. Well, there isn't anything wrong with that watch as my colleagues have already indicated. As to its rarity, I would say that for those of us who are looking at (and into the history of) watches your chronograph may not seem to be a rarity or anything special but in the real world, vintage mechanical chronograph wristwatches are not the common run of watches we see every day.
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