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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
The weather may have finally turned truly chilly but that only prompts thoughts of heading to a beach somewhere to enjoy some sun, sand and surf while everyone back at home freezes their you know whats off. And on offer this month is the perfect watch to accompany you on any Caribbean or South Seas getaway you may have planned — a late 1990s IWC Aquatimer 2000 GST ref. 3536.
This example of long discontinued and long admired professional grade dive watch has the more uncommon stainless steel case (most were made in titanium) with matching fantastically designed integrated bracelet. Better yet, this true tool watch from the great Schaffhausen marque comes complete with inner and outer boxes, manuals & IWC guarantee card (in Japanese), bracelet tools and a couple of extra links.
This example of 3536 features a rare mixed-media partially Tritium dial and hands. IWC did a very interesting and peculiar thing on the earlier examples of this model where they used Trit luminous for the “12” marking and for the hands (as well as the bezel pip) but Luminova luminous for the other dial markers. Odd & eccentric but kind of cool and sort of unique to IWC as far as I can tell. This version of Aquatimer dial has a real form follows function look to it and I greatly prefer the all-business, almost military style of this 3536 dial, especially with the Trit elements, to those models in the line that came after it.
Running like a top and ready for action this big steel IWC Aquatimer 2000 GST is ready for any aquatic adventure you’re likely to dream up. And if you find yourself stuck here in wintertime at least you can console yourself with a stylish, tough and rapidly-becoming-vintage classic on your wrist that can stand up to digging your car out of a snow drift and still help you cut a fine figure when you finally make it your office or evening’s engagement.
The untimely death of the great Tom Petty a few weeks ago forces us to look back in wonder at his amazing career and his frankly unbelievable trove of fantastic songs. There are very few American artists in any popular song-making genre who were able to sustain such a prodigiously satisfying output while also experimenting within what was ultimately a singularly unique personal style. Dylan, of course, and probably Springsteen and Paul Simon. But after that I’m at a loss.
Love Is A Long Road
“Love Is A Long Road” is a sterling example of Petty remaining true to his earliest rock instincts even while pursuing new artistic directions. Off of his first solo album, 1989’s Full Moon Fever, and relased at the height of his collaboration with his Traveling Willbury’s bandmate, Jeff Lynne, the song is a standout among such blockbuster hits as “Free Fallin’,”“Running Down A Dream” and “I Won’t Back Down” precisely because it doesn’t resemble them. Rather, it’s classic Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, less slick and more emotional than those other chart toppers. You can draw a straight line from earlier dark horse standouts like “A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)” and “Straight Into Darkness” right to “Long Road” and clearly see its intense similarity by way of raw emotion and well-constructed gritty rock dynamics. It’s also a wonderful showcase for Petty’s uniquely evocative voice and it’s no wonder it remained an Easter Egg-like staple in his live arsenal even though the song never charted.
The weather is finally cooling down and there is a definite chill in the air as we hit mid-October. At long last it’s now the season for dressing up in handsome sweaters and vests, sports jackets & suits. And that makes my latest offering just about as fitting for these finer sartorial months as a Savile Row suit. It’s a very uncommon and drop dead gorgeous men’s Cartier Tank Obus in solid 18k Yellow Gold featuring a stunning silver guilloché Roman numeral dial and high-grade manual wind movement.
What makes this model so special is that it is part of the now discontinued and dearly loved Collection Privée Cartier Paris (CPCP), which was produced in limited numbers from the late 1990s until the early 2000s, and marked the return of Cartier utilizing truly high quality movements again after many years in the ETA and quartz wilderness. Not to be confused with the common plain quartz versions strewn across the internet, this scarce CPCP Obus (reference W1527551, I believe) features Cartier’s caliber 430 MC, a highly decorated version of Piaget’s fine ultra-slim cal. 430P.
The elite CPCP collection also mined Cartier’s storied past for the special models created. In this case, the Tank Obus was originally designed in the late 1920s and furthered Louis Cartier’s fascination with modern weaponry as design inspiration with it’s stylized bullet-shaped lugs (“obus” means shell in French, as in artillery). This classic mid-size men’s dress watch is in really excellent pre-owned condition and with its unique, well-engineered screwed case and gorgeous “Lotus” pattern dial is absolutely stunning on the wrist.
For the man who prefers the understated elegance of a smaller watch combined with the timeless avant-garde design that is Cartier’s hallmark this fantastic Obus is guaranteed to fit the bill. Strap it on and see it enhance your entire style game just like that!
We here at Man’s Fine Life are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty at the age of 66 after a cardiac arrest at his LA home on October 2. The Rolling Stone obituary is here.
Tom Petty was one of the best of the straight-ahead American rock ‘n rollers to come out of the 1970s, arguably forming a triumvirate with Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger that spearheaded a rebirth of singer-songwriter rock with a gritty edge characterized by narrative lyrics about the common man and impeccably crafted tunes played by top notch bands. It’s easy to forget just what that meant at a time when it looked like conventional blues-based rock was on the wane due to the onslaught of Disco, Heavy Metal, Wus Rock (Firefall, Dan Fogelberg, Bread, et al) and Punk. But like Springsteen and the E Street Band and Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recaptured traditional fans of rock and made legions of new ones with whole albums full of catchy singles suffused with the passion of the true believer in the redemptive power of Rock.
Petty and the Heartbreakers started off with a bang way back in 1976 when they had Top 40 hit with the sinuously assertive “Breakdown” and a very influential non-hit with the Byrds-inflected “American Girl” on their eponymous debut album (legend has it that people were calling up Roger McGuinn to see if it was his new single). With Petty’s oddly effecting trademark nasal delivery and 12-string Rickenbacker, Mike Campbell’s stinging lead guitar, Benmont Tench’s pivotal swirling organ adding uncommon depth and the rock solid rhythm section of the late Howie Epstein on bass and Stan Lynch on drums, the original lineup seemed to emerge as a finely tuned outfit from day one and never took their foot off the gas for the next few years. Their consistently excellent efforts culminated in one of the decade’s best albums, Damn the Torpedoes, in 1979. With such all-time classic as “Refugee,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Here Comes My Girl” and “Breakdown,” Torpedoes was an artistic and commercial smash, going 3-times platinum with over three million in sales.
The band entered the 80s with two more fine releases — Hard Promises (1981) and Long AfterDark (1982)– that, while not as successful as Torpedoes, still solidified their rep as major hit makers and one of the most important acts around. Then came Southern Accents in 1983. A beautiful album with a very troubled recording process — Petty broke his hand badly punching a wall in frustration during the mix of the lead single “Rebels” — Southern Accents was originally conceived as something of a concept album by way of an exploration Petty’s “red neck” Florida roots. Other than a general thematic similarity the songs on Accents do not quite add up to a concept album, perhaps because it was trimmed down from a double LP. But it is beautifully produced, significant for its lyrical ambitions and ultimately lovely and artistically satisfying. It hit platinum and so was also successful commercially. But Petty considered it a noble failure and for him the album never quite lived up to the magnum opus that he had in his head when he conceived it.
Southern Accents and the strains of making it marked a true turning point and after that Petty and the band changed subtly but significantly, as if the reach for something grander and more profound had led instead to a sort of artistic burnout. After Petty’s rehab and recuperation from his self-inflicted wound, as well as drug issues which would continue to plague him in the years to come, the music became much simpler and more stripped down if no less radio friendly. On the full band’s Let Me UP (I’ve Had Enough) (1987) and Into the Great Wide Open(1991), as well as Petty’s smash solo album Full Moon Fever (1989), the narratives became more detached, the characters observed from a distance for the most part rather than from within their skins as had been the case on the band’s earlier material. The songs seem more programmatic, more LA and less Gainesville, and frankly, from an artistic standpoint, less interesting. There’s a less nuanced, less bluesy feel overall that sacrificed some complexity for a more universal “rock” sound, which ironically hasn’t aged as well as the earlier hits. If it marked a return to the basic pleasures of the straight-ahead 3-minute single the updated style clearly seemed to abandon much of the passionate involvement of the earlier 1970s music.
His work with the enjoyably light supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, where he teamed up with other legends like Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison and ELO mastermind and super producer Jeff Lynne, to create one of the surprise hit albums of the late 1980s seemed to confirm that Petty was done taking things too seriously and suffering for his art. From here on out it would be all rock, no angst, jamming with friends, playing the hits live and just generally enjoying being one of the world’s most successful rock musicians. Petty evolved into a wryly funny wise old hand with hooded eyes and his trademark deadpan drawl, almost a different person from the strangely sharp featured, almost androgynous angry young rocker of the early days.
And who could blame him for that transition from hot blooded rebelliousness to satisfied professionalism? Taken in its entirety the music is still good and highly enjoyable in the later 80s and 90s. But that earlier stuff is where the magic still shines and resonates in a timeless way. Those first 9 years were a remarkable run and stand up with the creative output of pretty much any Rock artist of any era over that kind of sustained period of time. Of course there are probably fans who fall into the other camp and prefer the later, lighter stuff. But for me I’ll take the music up to and including Southern Accents as peak Petty. It’s the music I grew up with and the music I still reach for and play with pleasure.
Personal preferences aside, one thing’s for sure — Tom Petty was a great rocker and well deserving of his Hall of Fame status. He was a music giant who will be sorely missed and the world is poorer for his passing. But the gift of his music lives on as one of the real high water marks in Rock & Roll because Petty was one of the genuine originals in a genre where that’s about as rare as hen’s teeth. Godspeed, Tom, and thanks for the terrific tunes.