Monthly Archives: July 2014

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tomvox1’s Watches for Sale — July selection, Pt. III

As July winds down to a close it’s my great pleasure to offer one last watch. And it happens to be one of the all time vintage Rolex icons: An early 1960s GMT-Master with gilt/gloss minute track dial, mini 24-hour hand, pointed crown guards case and beautifully faded “Pepsi” bezel insert, with the excellent caliber 1560 GMT chronometer movement under the hood still sporting its original Butterfly rotor.

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I’m selling this one on behalf of a friend and I’m excited to be able to do so, as this classic two time zone watch is such an unmolested, honest example and with just enough WABI to show that it has lived a wonderfully full life. Among the 1960s steel Sports models, this early reference 1675 is right up there with the pointed crown guards 5512 chronometer Submariner as the most desirable and beautiful on the wrist. Simply put, if you want pure Vintage Rolex style of extremely high original quality, this is your watch. It’s not cheap, but then the best things in life never are.

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Check out the complete ad with many more pictures and full description over at the Vintage Rolex Forum’s Market. SOLD

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What we’re wearing – Sunglasses by Persol & Randolph Engineering

Summer’s here and the sky is bright, so you really need some good shades. That being the case, I thought I’d share my two favourites with you – Persol’s model 649 and the Aviators made by Randolph Engineering. The two sets of glasses are very different but equally cool, and both will protect your eyes from the ravages of sun damage whilst making women want you and men want to be you!

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Persol Model 649

Persol 649‘s probably need no introduction. The frames, made famous by the likes of Marcelllo Mastroianni and Steve McQueen on screen and in real life, epitomized the insouciant cool of the 60’s and early 70’s film culture. Mastroianni’s image was that of the dapper rake, McQueen’s the rough and tumble man’s man. Either way the 649 oozed cool. And they’ve still got it. The 649 is a bit sturdier than Persol’s 714 model, an essentially identical twin but for the fact that the 714’s fold up. McQueen was often photographed wearing 714’s as well, but in my experience the 649’s hold up a lot better to wear and tear as there are less fragile parts involved. Available in a number of sizes and colour combinations to suit every face, you can’t go wrong with a pair of 649’s.

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Marcello Mastroianni wearing his iconic 649’s in “Divorce, Italian Style”

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Mr. McQueen smiling away behind his 649’s

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McQueen sporting his 714’s, foldable sibling to the 649

There is however, one pair of glasses that would make me switch out my beloved Persol 649’s, and that’s the Aviators from the guys over at Randolph Engineering.

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Robert Deniro’s Travis Bickle wearing Randolph Engineering Aviators in “Taxi Driver”

Since the late 70’s Randolph Engineering have been supplying the US Armed Forces with Aviator glasses, and like most mil spec items, they’re tough as hell and look really cool. Easily recognizable as the glasses of choice for military pilots, they look great on us civilians as well. They’re much better built than the more commonly seen Ray Ban Aviators, and they also come with a lifetime warranty on all the solder joints (which are the parts that usually fail on these glasses). Randolph Engineering also offers a variety of sizes and lens colours to get the right fit and sun protection, respectively. In fact, on the company’s website you can essentially create your own custom combination to suit your needs perfectly. Also, because they were designed for pilots, most of their glasses can be ordered with bayonet style temples, that hug the side of your head instead of hooking over your ears. If you’re a motorcycle guy, or an ATV or dirt bike enthusiast this might be the way to go since you can easily whip them on and off without removing your helmet. Randolph Engineering Aviators beat all others in my opinion because they really adhere to the “devil in the details” philosophy from design stage straight through production. If well built is your thing, go with Randolph Engineering. Oh yeah, Don Draper wears them. And Travis Bickle. And Johnny Depp. And Robert Redford. And Brad Pitt, and…oh you get the idea.

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Randolph Engineering Aviators with bayonet style temples

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Robert Deniro and Jodie Foster strutting the Mean Streets in “Taxi Driver”

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Mr. Depp in a pair of blue lens Aviators by Randolph Engineering

So there you go. Go forth and protect those optic nerves! You can find Persol and Randolph Engineering on Amazon. However, with Randolph Engineering I recommend buying directly from the company. They’re easy to deal with and have good customer service (they even answer the phone!), and doing it this way ensures you’ll get the pair that’s perfect for you.

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

Here’s an unusual one: A highly sought after 1960s “Jumbo” Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox alarm watch that features a very rare World Time center turntable disc with selected city’s of the world printed to represent the different time zones. As I say in my ad, I can’t say for sure that this disc is correct for this watch — JLC themselves do not have the records to verify that. And some experts maintain that the printing on a World Time disc shouldn’t encroach on the edge of the inner dial one iota. But certainly watch companies back in the day did some very non-standard things when they wanted to sell watches and this disc and the dial as a whole are definitely 100% factory original printing. One thing’s for sure: at a big 37mm and with those exotic cities filling out what would normally be empty space, this is one very cool and classy looking and Memovox.

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Check out the full ad for this Memovox with World Time disc featuring many more pictures and complete description over at Timezone.com’s Sales Corner.  SOLD

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tomvox1’s Watches for Sale, July selection

Here’s a cool vintage diver that you won’t see very often, especially not in this kind of condition: a late 1960s/early 70s Nivada Grenchen Depthmaster 1000, also known as the “Baby Panerai”. Why is it called that you might ask? Well, at a nicely proportioned but hardly huge 38mm wide this Depthmaster shares the Oyster-style cushion shape of the Rolex-supplied Panerai cases of Italian naval fame at about 3/4 scale.

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It even has screwed spring bars like many PAMs do. Nivada added a nice chunky elapsed time rotating bezel and the Depthmaster 1000 also features a very heavy screwed steel case and very retro semi-Arabics dial with fantastic patina to the thick Tritium figures, plus there’s that cool splash of red to the 1000. And who doesn’t like red on a dial? With its thick, straight lugs and strong but not overpowering wrist presence, the off-brand Nivada Grenchen went and produced something of a design classic with this watch. Perhaps it started as something of an homage but at this late date it has achieved its own cult status. And unlike a Panerai from the 40s or 50s, you don’t have to break the bank to put this icon of vintage style on your wrist.

Check out the complete ad for this killer Depthmaster featuring many more pics and complete description over at Timezone.com’s Sales Corner. SOLD

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Gorgeous Lady of the Week — Zoe Saldana

Born in New Jersey and raised in Queens and the Dominican Republic, the lithe and lovely Zoe Saldana has emerged as a talented and strong leading lady in big budget epics. Overcoming childhood tragedy when her father was killed in an auto accident to find her love of performance through dance in the DR, the part Dominican, part Puerto Rican, all-lovely Ms. Saldana started out doing youth theater in Brooklyn in the mid-90s. But it wasn’t long before professional work came calling with a role on a Law & Order episode in 1999 and the melodramatic youth ballet feature, Center Stage in 2000.

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From such promising beginnings, she soon caught the eye of Gore Verbinski to play one of the many pirate types seeking revenge on Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow in 2003’s mega-hit Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Steven Spielberg also saw that special something in her, presciently casting her as a Star Trek-loving customs agent sympathetic to Tom Hanks’ stranded immigrant in 2004’s The Terminal.

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After more blockbuster supporting work in the Roshomon-like political thriller Vantage Point (2008), 2009 saw Zoe have the breakout year that most actresses can only dream of: First, her dancer’s training and ultra-sophisticated motion capture brought to virtual life Neytiri the blue Na’vi princess and the main female character in James Cameron’s monster hit, Avatar As if that wasn’t enough of an achievement, she also stepped even further into Sci-Fi immortality by assuming the pioneering role of Lieutenant Uhura in JJ Abrams’ rebooted Star Trek. That is what’s called a banner year, folks.

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Not only has the 36-year-old already appeared in 2013’s hit sequel Star Trek: Into Darkness, where her fiery portrayal of Uhura assumed even more prominence among the crew of the Enterprise, but she is currently shooting a whopping 3 sequels to Avatar in New Zealand. Continuing with her Sci-Fi/crazy costume bent, Zoe is currently starring as the very green Gamora in the Marvel comic book adaptation, Guardians of the Galaxy, alongside newly minted leading man Chris Pratt. And after playing the title role in NBC’s miniseries remake of Rosemary’s Baby it’s somewhat heartening to know that Ms. Saldana will be starring in the soon-to-be-released and decidedly non-occult Nina Simone biopic, Nina. Bewitching as she is in tight latex costumes and weird skin colors, we’re looking forward to this lovely and intelligent lady playing that real live woman of great soul and complexity, thereby showing us even more of her inner beauty and acting chops. Then we sincerely hope Zoe gets a vacation because the girl is seriously working overtime!

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Watch Collector’s Notebook — Rolex Milgauss GV

90% if the time I am a 100% vintage watch guy. They have the vibe and design qualities of days gone by that usually make them much more appealing than their shiny modern counterparts. But once in a while I give in to that new watch temptation and fall for something the manufacturers are offering today. The Rolex Milgauss GV is definitely one of those that turned my head and won my ardent affection.

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Like a lot of marques in recent years, Rolex has very cleverly paid homage to designs from their storied past while giving them a modern interpretation, as well as all the technological upgrades available in this era. One of the most successful of these “heritage” pieces is the newest iteration of their famous Milgauss line. Dating back to the mid-1950s, the golden age of Tool Watch innovation, the Milgauss was originally designed to stand up to the large magnetic fields being generated by nuclear and other emerging technologies in the Post War era. This specially designed anti-magnetic timepiece could stand highly magnetic environments of up to 1000 gauss, hence the name, and it was marketed to scientists and technicians whose watches would normally be severely disrupted by such high levels of magnetism. Apparently this watch-buying segment was perceived as significant enough to lead to a plethora of anti-magnetic watches being created, as not just the Milgauss but also IWC’s Ingenieur and Omega’s original Railmaster made their debuts around this time.

Original 1956 ref. 6541 Milguass

Original 1956 ref. 6541 Milguass (Image from Antiquorum)

Despite or perhaps because of the emergence of those competitors, the market was never very strong for the original lightning-hand Milgauss. But Rolex kept with it and redesigned the watch in the middle to late 1960s. With a cleaner, more conventional design, the new 1019 Milgauss seemed a more versatile wristwatch for the professional man of science, while still retaining it’s antimagnetic powers through the continued use of the Faraday cage design. Again, though, the Milgauss line was a poor seller in the overall Rolex catalogue, probably due to its rather specific purpose and slightly premium price over a standard dress model, as well as its then-large 38mm size and thick case. With demand for mechanical watches lagging overall, Rolex discontinued the Milgauss by the early 1980s.

Ref. 1019 with rare double-signed Tiffany Dial (Image from AQ)

Ref. 1019 with rare double-signed Tiffany Dial (Image from AQ)

However, as with so many of the “unpopular” Rolex of their time — such as the original Explorer II, the Tru-Beat, even the Cosmograph Daytona — their very lack of success and smaller production redounded to their later success once they had been removed from the catalog. Continue reading