tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — February selection, Pt. II

February keeps rolling along and we are fast approaching Valentine’s Day — and here’s a watch to make any guy’s heart go pitter patter: a late 1960s Omega Speedmaster Mark II with desirable and amazingly well preserved “Racing” dial.

I don’t throw out Mint very often but this dial is that — beautifully aged Tritium and its high impact gray, orange & burgundy exotic Racing layout still having an intensity to the colors that is seldom seen. Featuring a tonneau case with sweeping lines and a fixed Tachymeter scale integrated into the mineral crystal to prevent the dreaded bezel knock off, the Speedy Mark II was an innovative design that showcased Omega’s modernist commitment to diversify their chronograph line above and beyond the tried and true Moonwatch.

This Speedy Mark II is also powered by the famed Lemania-based manual wind caliber 861, the same robust chrono caliber that is found in the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch from 1969 on. And in fact the movement serial number dates the watch to precisely that year making it one of the earliest Mark IIs around.

Recently serviced and running like a top, with the case exhibiting extremely sharp chamfers and all the original factory finishes, this big chrono makes a pure vintage statement on the wrist while the exceptionally well preserved colors provide uncommon visual punch. Like the Moonwatch, the Speedy Pro Mark II is an iconic chronograph in its own rather daring, avant-garde way. Just strap it on and prepare to fall in love.

Check out the complete ad over at the always hopping Omega Forums’ Private Sales section — you’ll be glad you did.  ON HOLD

tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — February selection

And just like that it’s February! Where does the time go? I can’t tell you that but I can tell you how to track it — with this absolutely gorgeous early 1970s Omega Seamaster “TV Case” chronograph featuring the amazing Lemania-derived caliber 1040 and a stunning metallic blue dial.

This fantastic Omega automatic chrono not only tells the time but also has complications for quickest date, constant seconds, 24-hour indicator and full chronograph functions for recording seconds, minutes via the characteristic orange-tipped “jet” center-mounted minute counter and 12-hour totalizer at “6.” This sexy beast also features a sunken dial that has aged to delightful purple-blue surrounded by a fixed Tachymeter scale protected by a mineral crystal, all in a large faceted rectangular case with wonderful sweeping lines that retains its original factory finish.

The TV Case Seamaster chrono is one of the more striking and distinctive designs that Omega came up with in the 1970s following the successes of their tonneau-cased Mark II & Mark III Speedmasters. If you’re looking for retro funk and terrific functionality with a stunning blue dial, you’ve found your watch. And when you look at how the prices of vintage mechanical chronos have skyrocketed in the past few years, the Omega Seamaster TV Case model in steel is a premium piece that still represents excellent value for money. Better pounce before these finally have their day in the sun!

Check out the full ad with many more pictures and complete condition report over at the always hopping Omega Forums’ Private Sales section. You’ll be glad you did. ON HOLD

Earworm of the Day — Come Undone by Duran Duran

First things first, let me just say that I am not a very big Duran Duran fan. I always found their big hits “Hungry Like the Wolf,” “Girls on Film” and “Rio” sort of overly bombastic and crude with Simon Le Bon’s vocal stylings lacking in nuance and modulation, almost but not quite shout-singing. And the lyrics are, frankly, dumb. If their MTV-fueled success was groundbreaking for the music video era and helped usher in the New Romantic movement here in the States — they were nicknamed the “Fab Five” at one point, for gods’ sakes — well, I have to say I much prefer the music of non-New Romantics like the Cure, The Smiths, Big Country, Echo & The Bunnymen and New Order, to name but a few of their contemporaries. Also there’s just something so time-specific about Duran Duran, from their very pretty ur-80s fashion sense to the Patrick Nagel cover art, that you can practically smell the Drakkar Noir wafting off their videos.

That said you’ve got to give the devil his due. Duran Duran did make extremely catchy singles and once in a while they could come up with a real beauty. Such is the case with the stunning “Come Undone” from 1993, quite late in their heyday.

One of the standout tracks along with “Ordinary World” from the band’s major comeback effort, The Wedding Album, “Come Undone” features gorgeous production, sinuous hooks and sophisticatedly mysterious lyrics. Le Bon’s vocal effort is also much improved 10 years on as he embraces an appealing Bryan Ferry by way of Micheal Hutchence croon. In fact the whole song does resemble one of INXS’s moodier ballads with the angular edges sanded off. Add to that a bevy of typically seductive Duran Duran hooks like a desperately sexy, helium voiced female vocal (“Can’t ever keep from falling apart at the seams”) replying to Le Bon’s darkly charged overtures (“Blow me into cry” indeed) and a well done arty video in an aquarium with crossdressing appeal and you come up with a Duran Duran hit that even a hater like me can love. And play on repeat, for that matter.

Race Alert — The 2018 Rolex 24-Hours at Daytona is on!

The green flag has just dropped on the unofficial official start of every new year’s racing season, the legendary Rolex 24-hours at Daytona, the top multi-class sports car event in the USA. This year’s race features new IMSA entries from Penske running Acura power and featuring his veteran Indycar driver, Hello Castroneves, who retired from the open wheel series at the end of the 2017 season. Joining Castroneves at Acura Team Penke is series champ Ricky Taylor, who left his father’s team and his brother, Jordan, after their 2017 title campaign for the chance to drive for the Captain. Should be interesting to see Wayne Taylor’s Cadillac going to to toe with his talented son in the Acura and Penske’s second team car for this race features 2016’s Indycar Champ Simon Pagenaud and legendary hot shoe Juan Pablo Montoya. So it looks like Penske has come to Daytona Beach with the clear intent to take home the trophy and the watches one way or another.

Also spicing up this year’s contest is 2-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, who is competing in the top Prototype category for Untied Autosports. Alonso is also scheduled to run the Le Mans 24-Hours this summer so despite the massively different circuits the Spaniard should still gain valuable endurance experience on the high banks of Daytona during his several stints over the 24-hours. Frankly, the grid is stacked with great professional racing stars from many different disciplines even if they’re not all household names and the action at this deceptively complex road course is always hot and heavy and well worth checking out.

Here’s the complete broadcast schedule for watching this great race across the Fox networks for the next 24-hours:

Saturday January 27

Fox: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM (Green Flag will drop at 2:40 PM ET)

FS2: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

FSGO: 10:00 PM – 11:00 PM

FS1: 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM (Sunday)

Sunday January 28

FSGO: 1:00 AM – 8:00 AM

FS1: 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM

FSGO: 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM

FS1: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Enjoy the unpredictable multi-class action and let the 2018 racing season begin!

tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — January selection

A new year calls for a new watch, doesn’t it? Or in this case a new watch that looks remarkably like an iconic vintage watch: a beautiful Longines Legend Diver reissue. The great Swiss watch company paid perfect tribute to its 1960s-era ancestor, especially with this more coveted No Date version that I’m offering. It also boasts no depth rating on its dial, thereby making it a virtual doppelgänger to its legendary forebear.

A big steel bruiser at 42mm, this Longines diver has a heavy compressor-style screwed case like the original and a gorgeous glossy black dial with inner rotating elapsed time bezel that in this non-date iteration is pretty much a dead ringer for the vintage Legend.

Making this modern neo-vintage classic even more collectible, this example comes complete with its huge original box set with booklets, guarantee card and even the original hang tag. It also has its original signed strap and buckle. But I’ve personally fitted it with a robust Italian leather strap that I think matches the watch even better, the perfect strap mate if you will.

Any way you want to wear this legendary Longines diver — on land or on sea — you’re sure to make a lasting impression. Simply put, this watch is beautiful, functional and ultra-masculine. So strap it on and make your own legend in 2018!

Check out the complete ad with many more pictures and complete condition report over at the always hopping Omega Forums’ Private Sales section. SOLD

RIP Dan Gurney, 1931 – 2018

The great American race car driver and constructor Dan Gurney passed away at the age of 86 on January 14th.

A very good Autoweek obituary is here and a fine list of Gurney’s remarkable technical accomplishments has been published by Jalopnik.

A titan of motorsports and a tireless innovator for more over 60 years, Gurney survived the most dangerous era of Formula 1 in the 1950s and 60s and not only lived to tell the tale but thrived. Gurney participated in 86 Formula 1 Grand Prix and took victory four times, most significantly at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in 1967, where he drove a car of his own design and construction, the beautiful Eagle Weslake, to become the first and still only American to win as both constructor and driver in F1. If that wasn’t enough in that banner year for Gurney and the USA, he had only a week earlier triumphed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-driver A.J. Foyt in a Ford GT, again becoming the first all-American team to achieve that illustrious feat at the most famous 24-hour race in the world. It was on the Le Mans podium that a delighted Gurney first sprayed champagne on his teammates and the crowd after victory, something that instantly became a permanent tradition across all forms of motorsport.

Of course the podium celebration was not the brilliant Gurney’s only lasting contribution to racing. Blessed with not only movie star good looks but also an engineer’s keen mind, Gurney devised several technical improvements for racers and their cars that are still used today. Unusually tall for a driver at 6′ 4,” the big American became one of the first high level competitors on four wheels to adopt a full helmet and perspex face shield similar to that of those worn by dirt bike racers back in his Southern California home. He debuted the protective helmet designed by Bell at Indianapolis in 1968 and soon thereafter it became standard equipment for all drivers. In 1971 he came up with the now de rigueur Gurney Flap, a small right angle lip at the edge of the rear wing to increase rear downforce by creating vortices that enhance the airflow coming off the wing. In the early 1990s Gurney’s All American Racers team came up with a radical design for their IMSA Prototype entry that featured not only a small 2.1 liter 4-cylinder turbo engine by Toyota capable of producing a whopping 750 horsepower but also a monocoque chassis made entirely of carbon fiber, a radical proposition at the time, especially in sports cars. The AAR car also featured built-in aerodynamic assists from the front air intake holes and superior ground effects beneath. The result was the Eagle Mark III, a beast of a car that won the 1992 and 1993 IMSA  drivers’ and constructors’ championships going away, including a streak of 17 wins in a row.

To the very end Dan Gurney was still utilizing his prodigious gifts as a designer and innovator, playing a key part in the radical Delta Wing project and even helping design and fabricate the carbon fiber landing legs for the reusable Space X rocket. But he shone brightest as a driver. In his heyday he won races in Formula 1, Indycar, NASCAR and sports cars. Only the great Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya have posted such a display of victorious versatility in all four major automobile racing categories. He survived several crashes in the unsafe cars of the 1950s and 60s, the second in a BRM at the 1960 Dutch Grand Prix that killed a spectator. It was then that Gurney remarked to legendary journalist Robert Daly that racing “is a cruel sport.” And yet even with a young wife and growing family Gurney persisted. Even through the deaths of his rivals and friends on the track over his long career — Wolfgang von Trips, Swede Savage, the Rodriguez brothers, Jimmy Clark, Bruce McLaren and Jo Bonnier  — Gurney persisted and kept his foot down. He had full faith in his ability to delineate a necessary risk from a foolhardy one and when he started designing his own cars in the late 1960s he finally had full faith in his equipment, as well. A wonderful story teller, a survivor of a deadly golden era, a rarely matched driver and innovator and an all-around gentleman, Dan Gurney lived a true racer’s life from his teen years as a hot rodder in Riverside trying stay one step ahead of they cops to his discovery by Ferrari’s man in America, the brilliant Luigi Chinetti, to his remarkable, decades-long career full of victories to his final moments on the Earth just a few days ago. As the Spanish are fond of saying about a truly exceptional person — ¡Qué Hombre!

tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — December selection

Didn’t get what you wanted for the Holidays? Stiffed by Santa? I may be able to fix that for you. Because I’m just now making this stunning classic Jumbo Seamaster available. This beautiful Omega features an ultra-desirable oversized 36mm steel case and handsome original sub-seconds dial highlighted by gold Arabic numerals at “12,” “3,” “6” and “9.” You might even say I saved one of my best for the last of the year.

Powered by Omega’s great in-house caliber 342 Bumper Automatic movement this big beauty also bears a cool double reference — 2494-4/2657 — and dates from circa 1950. Which is only fitting since the dial is pure mid-century elegance and style. But what’s extra nice abut this particular vintage Seamaster is that its relatively larger size still registers as perfectly “modern.”

It definitely makes a bold statement on the wrist, with its a mega-charming classic 50s layout made all the more striking by the large face, not to mention those long lugs. So after you’ve gone and bought for everyone else this Holiday Season why not treat yourself to a little something special? Such as this classic and uncommon Omega Seamaster dress watch that you’ll absolutely love wearing but that won’t break the bank after a season of giving. Best of all, you’ll be 100% certain you’re getting exactly the gift you want for once!

Check out the full listing with many more pictures and complete condition report over at the redoubtable Omega Forums’ Private Sales section.  SOLD

2017 F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi — Results & aftermath

Bottas wins last race of season going away, Hamitlon P2; Vettel a distant P3

Mercedes #2 Valtteri Bottas finished out the season in style by winning the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi from the pole. His recently crowned 4-time World Champion teammate Lewis Hamilton came home a comfortable second and never seemed to push his Finnish wingman too hard for the victory, having secured the ultimate individual prize in Mexico some weeks back. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finished a distant P3, a fitting end to a fleetingly promising season for the fabled Scuderia from Maranello. Their once robust challenge to Mercedes supremacy all began to fall apart in the second half when a first lap shunt between teammates in Singapore started a death spiral of unreliability that ended any realistic chance of a genuine title run. Vettel’s stablemate Kimi Raikkonen finished P4 after a lackluster campaign, once again begging the question of just why Ferrari have re-signed the aging Iceman for next season when there is so much hot young talent out there.

Pics courtesy GrandPrix247.com

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen came home a decent P5, flying the flag for the team after Daniel Ricciardo suffered hydraulic failure on Lap 21. It was an unfortunate bookend to the affable Aussie’s season — he also DNF’d in the first race of the year way back in March at his home Grand Prix in Melbourne — and it seeded fourth in the Drivers’ points to Raikkonen. With better reliability Red Bull really would have challenged Ferrari for second overall and they’ll be hoping for just that next season, Further back in the pack Nico Hulkenberg overcame a 5-second time penalty for cutting a corner while passing his old Force India sparring partner Sergio Perez early in the race to take P6 for Renault. The result was doubly excellent for the veteran German in his first year with the squad, as it netted enough points to lift the factory Renault team into 6th in the Constructors’ standings ahead of struggling Toro Rosso. It was a very lucrative last race promotion that also bodes well for the French automotive giant’s chances next year.

Perez, whose incessant complaining about Hulkenberg’s unfair pass guaranteed the penalty from the stewards, could nevertheless not capitalize and finished P7. His Force India teammate Esteban Ocon was right behind in P8, wrapping up another excellent points haul for the little team from Silverstone and proving with that season-long consistency that their fourth place in the Constructors’ was no fluke. Two veterans rounded out the Top 10. Fernando Alonso took P9 for McLaren and will be looking forward to next year not only for a new Renault power unit but also for his double duty in sports cars at The Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona and in the WEC Championship for Toyota. And Felipe Massa finished up his 269th and final F1 race in the points in P10, capping a sterling 15-year career with crowd pleasing burnouts alongside the top two Mercedes as a massive fireworks display exploded around the dazzling Yas Marina circuit. It was a memorable and fittingly celebratory end to the little Brazilian’s outstanding Formula 1 career.

Top 10 finishers of the Abu Dhabi GP:

POS NO DRIVER CAR LAPS TIME/RETIRED PTS
1 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 55 1:34:14.062 25
2 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 55 +3.899s 18
3 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 55 +19.330s 15
4 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 55 +45.386s 12
5 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 55 +46.269s 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 55 +85.713s 8
7 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 55 +92.062s 6
8 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 55 +98.911s 4
9 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN HONDA 54 +1 lap 2
10 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 54 +1 lap 1

Complete race results available via Formula1.com.

Final 2017 Drivers Standings are here.

Final 2017 Constructors Standings are here.

2017 F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi — Qualifying results

Bottas grabs pole at Yas Marina, Hamilton takes P2 for Mercedes front row lockout; Vettel third fastest for Ferrari

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas made it two poles in a row to close out the season in good form, laying down a record fastest time at the beautiful day-into-night Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Bottas bested his recently-crowned World Champion teammate Lewis Hamilton by .17 seconds to take the top starting spot for tomorrow’s Grand Prix, the finale of the exciting 2017 F1 campaign. Hamilton tried hard, his Silver Arrow squirming into the final turn at the very edge of adhesion as the checkered flag flew in Q3. But he couldn’t quite overcome his Finnish wingman’s earlier fastest lap and will line up in the #2 spot. Sebastian Vettel put in a typically sterling effort to elevate his Ferrari to P3 on the grid even if his Prancing Horse could never really match the pace of the Mercs at this flat, billiard table smooth and very speedy purpose-built track.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo split the Ferraris and also bested his teammate with a superlative final lap good enough for the 4th fastest time. That relegated Vettel’s teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, to the third row and P5 on the grid and Ricciardo’s stablemate, Max Verstappen, back to P6. Rounding out the Top 10, Nico Hulkenberg qualified P7 for Renault, Force India’s Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were back-to-back in P8 and P9 respectively and Felipe Massa will start from 10th in what will be his 269th and last Formula 1 race after a distinguished 15-year career.

Top 10 qualifiers for the Abu Dhabi GP:

POS NO DRIVER CAR Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 1:37.356 1:36.822 1:36.231 18
2 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:37.391 1:36.742 1:36.403 19
3 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 1:37.817 1:37.023 1:36.777 18
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:38.016 1:37.583 1:36.959 16
5 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 1:37.453 1:37.302 1:36.985 17
6 33 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING TAG HEUER 1:38.021 1:37.777 1:37.328 19
7 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 1:38.781 1:38.138 1:38.282 14
8 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:38.601 1:38.359 1:38.374 17
9 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 1:38.896 1:38.392 1:38.397 17
10 19 Felipe Massa WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:38.629 1:38.565 1:38.550 18

Complete qualifying results available via Formula1.com.

Tomorrow’s race airs live starting at 8:00 AM Eastern here in the States on NBC Sports. It is not only the last contest of the year but also NBC’s final broadcast with next year’s F1 rights going over to ABC/ESPN. So join Steve Matchett, David Hobbs & Leigh Diffy one final time to farewell not only Fomula 1 for the year but also a really excellent broadcast team who helped make F1 racing more approachable and enjoyable for the North American fans. Hope to see you then to see how the season ends!