Friday, April 29, 2011

Sprout Dining

2 Honeysuckle Drive
Newcastle NSW 2300
02 4023 3565

Great weather in Newcastle

I have heard great things about the Newcastle food scene. There are great cafes, especially on Darby Street, and we can certainly vouch for that. Great atmosphere, great and friendly service, coupled with great weather, I could've hung out there all day, and just watch the nice cars, really really nice cars drive past. So you could say we had high hopes of the dinner scene, too.

Cafes on Darby

And perhaps there is a great dinner scene. Perhaps just not the night we went. To be fair, it certainly wasn't all bad. But I think that was mostly due to the company. Almost everything else left a sour after taste…

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Xia Fei Shanghainese Restaurant

Xia Fei
Shop 26-7, B2
K11 Mall
18 Hanoi Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Ph : +852 2801 6111

Before arriving in Hong Kong I'd gone trawling online for places to try. Xia Fei, a relatively new restaurant at the time, ended up on the list, but I can't seem to recall the whys and wheres of it. The name "Xia Fei" comes from the road of the same name back in the era of foreign concessions in old Shanghai - Avenue Joffre (now called Huai Hai Lu).

And so it was that I found myself at this restaurant, which is situated at the end of one of the myriad of corridors in the K11 mall.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A review of the iPod LunaTik

One of the coolest horological products to reach the market recently is the LunaTik, a conversion kit that turns the latest touch-screen Apple iPod Nano into a wrist watch. This is clearly not haute horlogerie, but nevertheless it is interesting, funky and great fun to wear.

Stop reading now if you think that any time-piece that isn’t mechanical is not worthy of consideration. My personal view is that anything that tells the time is grist to the horological mill and if it satisfies my sense of aesthetics then it matters little to me how the time-telling is achieved.

The design was a concept of Chicago-based MINIMAL design studio that was brought to fruition by the Kickstarter project.  Kickstarter asked people to become backers by pledging various amounts of money in return for some of the products should the funding goal of $15,000 be reached. This initiative was wildly successful, 13,512 backers pledged over $940,000 for the project.

The LunaTik consists of a two-piece case  forged from Aerospace Grade Aluminum and then machined via CNC (Computer Numerical Control) into its final form into which the Nano slides. The two pieces are held together with stainless steel bolts which are secured with a pair of Allen keys supplied with the kit. It measures 46x41mm without the lugs.

It is easy to put together and once assembled, it is secured to the wrist with a strap made from high grade silicone rubber. There are cut-outs along the length of the strap which enables adjustment of the small aluminium keeper which secures the strap end. It also has the added benefit of keeping your wrist cooler than it might be were it to be a normal strap.

The case has been designed so that the charging port, earphone port and the controls are readily accessible, so you could listen to music via earphones while it’s on (or off) your wrist. Bluetooth would be handy should Apple ever decide to incorporate it into a future version of the Nano, and this would then avoid the possibility of ripping the 'phones from your ears should you move your arm suddenly.

One the minus side, to see the time display you need to press a button on the side, and it does go to sleep after a short period, so that the time is not continuously displayed. It is not the only watch I have that requires this, so I don’t find this a difficulty, though it might be a problem for some and could take a little getting used to if unfamiliar.

I find the LunaTik, with its mostly-dark screen, mysterious and “phantom-like”. The dark screen stands out and is noticed and it reminds me somewhat of the appearance of the Bell & Ross Phantom.

It is not small, so may not be suitable if you have a small wrist. Though it is marginally smaller than the Bell & Ross BR-01 series of watches, it is of course much lighter, so its easy to wear, and the silicone rubber strap is extremely comfortable. You almost forget its presence, so easily does it cling to the wrist.

The aluminium used in the construction of the LunaTik, though of Aerospace Grade, is strong but relatively soft, and may need to be worn carefully to avoid being “dinged”. That’s not an aspect I intend to test!

The Nano, even though it is affixed to the LunaTik strap, still has full functionality for music, radio and photos, and can also of course work as a timer and stopwatch, as well as having a pedometer function.

If you want to use it only as a dedicated watch, the battery lasts at least a week before recharging.

The silver version is pictured here, but it is also available in black and anodised red. There is another simpler snap-in version called the TikTok, made of polycarbonate, which is available in black or white, and this is probably more suitable if you intend to use the full functionality of the Nano, though to my mind it doesn’t cut it the way the LunaTik does.

It has a minimalist look in tune with modern design aesthetics and though it won’t replace your Patek or Rolex, it is great to wear on appropriate occasions.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

An interview with Dirk Dornblüth

The origins of Dornblüth watches go back several decades, and start with a dream born of a special kinship with a pocket watch. In 1959, Dieter Dornblüth became rather attached to a sterling silver pocket watch that he’d been repairing. So attached, in fact, that when its owner picked it up, he decided to design a watch movement based on that of the pocket watch.

The design had just been finished, the movement itself barely started, when fate took a turn and he ended up in Kalbe, Saxony-Anhalt, to take over an abandoned watchmaker business, and the movement disappeared into the mists of time (no pun intended).

It wasn’t until his 60th birthday in 1999, when his son Dirk presented him with a self-made watch that the dream of 1959 was revived, and thus, Dornblüth & Sohn was born.

Recently, Dirk Dornblüth kindly found the time to answer a few questions.

1. D. Dornblüth & Sohn have been making watches since 1999. It is still very much a family business, with a limited number of watches made per year. How many are you now producing annually, and are you planning to increase these numbers?

The only change we have made during this time is the location. We are still a family business and will soon have 6 employees. Our oldest colleague Roswitha will retire in about 2 years, so we have been very lucky to find a young watchmaker to take over her tasks. He will start within the next weeks and learn from her until Roswitha leaves our team. The annual production has not increased, it is still 120 pieces. Output is limited by the traditional way of watchmaking which we utilise in our Manufacture every day.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

George Tyler 'clock watch' presented by Queen Anne to the Earl of Cromarty

I have already blogged about one interesting 'watch' that is up for auction at Heritage Auctions. Here is another item from the same collection. It could not be more different to the spy watch, but it is also historically interesting, albeit in a completely different (and definitely more horological) way.

The description of the lot is as follows :

"LOT 60222

George Tyler London Rare and Unique Gold Clock Watch Presented by Queen Anne to the Earl of Cromarty, circa 1702

Case: 58 mm, pierced 20k gold outer, inscribed on the back “The gift of Anne Stuart Queen of Great Britain and Ireland to the Earl of Cromarty,” outer case with makers mark of WI, five profile repoussé figures on the back, five raised cherubs around the bezel, five piece side box hinge, gilt inner case (tests low karat in content), inner steel bell, inner case pierced with star shapes, silent - strike lever positioned near ten o’clock, bulls eye glass crystal.

Dial: white enamel with Roman hour numerals, black minute track, outer five minute numerals, gold heart shaped hands.

Movement: fire gilt pinned full plate, verge escapement and fusee, one hour strike on steel bell, winged single footed pierced and masked cock, pierced Egyptian pillars, tapered cylindrical pillars near the clock strike train, silver disc regulator, engraved clock spring barrel, leaf engraving around the dial plate.

Signed: George Tyler London on the movement.

George Tyler is listed as having apprenticed in 1692, becoming a master in the Clockmaker Company from 1699 to 1723.

Anne was crowned Queen on April 23, 1702 after the death of William III. George Mackenzie was viscount, tarbat and the first Earl of Cromarty. He was born in 1624. He was clerk of the privy council and a senator in the college of justice. James II also made him a baron and viscount. Queen Anne appointed him as secretary of state and the Earl of Cromarty. He died in 1714 at the age of eighty-eight. He was a highly learned nobleman and the author of a “Vindication of Robert III, the King of Scotland from the charge of bastardy.” He also wrote the Synopsis Apocalyptica and an explication of the Revelations."

The Heritage catalogue notes that this watch was left un-numbered by the maker, since it was a specially commissioned piece by the Queen.

The Clockmakers’ Company is an active City of London craft guild, founded under a Royal Charter of King Charles I in 1631. Its original purpose was to regulate and encourage watch and clock making and its related skills such as engraving, sundial making and mathematical instrument making. The Company took particular interest in quality control, training (through apprenticeships) and the welfare of its members.

In theory at least, no-one could make, buy or sell clocks or watches or any part of them within the City unless they first became a freeman of the Company. This was achieved through apprenticeship to a free Clockmaker, through redemption (purchase) or patrimony (the right of a child to follow a parent into the Company).

Interestingly, whilst trying to find out more about Tyler I found this list of apprentices who were bound in the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers to George Tyler and his wife Lucy :

5 Jan 1714/15 Mary Darby
28 April 1716 Rebeckah Fisher
3 April 1718 Eleanor Mosely
5 Jan 1719/20 Catherine Jackson
5 June 1722 Hannah Campleshon
4 June 1725 Elizabeth Newton

Sources: London Guildhall (hereafter LG): The Company of Clockmakers' Register of Apprentices 1631-1931, compiled by C.E. Atkins, London, 1931, and LG: AHS Pam 51, Female Apprentices in the London Clockmakers' Company; LG: Ms 2711/5, Clockmakers' Company Rough Minute Book, 1719-31. 

Eleanor Moseley (sometimes appearing in records as “Elinor Mosely”) seems to have been significant enough to appear in a number of papers and specialist works relating to women watchmakers. The daughter of a prosperous York apothecary, she was seventeen years old when she was bound as an apprentice in London to George Tyler and his wife, Lucy, who was a milliner. Her indenture was registered with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, of which George was a freeman. 

In 1726, Eleanor took the freedom of the Clockmakers' Company and her first apprentice: her fifteen year old sister, Catherine Mosley. She took on a further apprentice, Mary Bate, the same year, followed by Katherine Capon in 1737, Mary Newton in 1732, and Elizabeth Askell in 1734.

Sixty seven women were listed as having been apprenticed in the clock making trade in the period of the mid seventeenth to late eighteenth century (p.81, All men and both sexes: gender, politics, and the false universal in England, 1640-1832 by Hilda L. Smith, Penn State Press, 2002) but there seems to be some confusion as to whether some of these women, like Moseley herself, were in fact  actually clockmakers or milliners. Louise Erickson states that in fact Moseley was the latter, and that she must have been in training with George’s wife Lucy.

I found it rather fascinating to learn that there were women watchmakers during that period, I had no idea, regardless of whether or not some of the recorded female watchmakers were in fact as such, or in fact milliners.

The estimate for this elegant 'piece unique' with its beautifully decorated caseback is: $30,000-$40,000, with a reserve price of $20,000. You can now bid online for it here as an absentee bid. Absentee Bidding Ends: May 2, 2011 at 10:00 PM CT (U.S.)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Special Watch Night

Arriving at a special edition of Thursday's weekly 'Tarts' in honour of the visiting AndrewD, Purists Mod, there were already quite a few watches on the table. But what immediately caught my eye is something that wasn't set out to be a watch in the first place...

It was the "Luna-tik" equipped iPod Nano!

My eyes lit up when I saw it. Certainly, the photos did it no justice as it is a stunner in real life!

And now a few words from your sponsor...well no, it's just me now (AP) rather than onomatopia. Heh.

The pressure was on to bring something interesting or at least worthy of being with Andrew's Journes, which he had brought up from Melbourne for the occasion. I shall let the photos speak for themselves. We had an eclectic range, but then again, if you'd seen photos of our watches on this blog, you know that we cover quite a broad range of tastes, not all of which appeared on this night.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Protana - the original ‘spy watch’

Who isn’t intrigued by even the mere mention of spy and espionage devices? Whether we’re talking about the over-the-top comedy of Maxwell Smart’s shoe phone, the reality of miniature cameras hidden in cigarette packets, or even the poison tipped umbrella used by the Bulgarian secret services, spy gadgetry and methodology is eternally fascinating. Last year’s publication of MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 by Prof. Keith Jeffery revealed that during the First World War (1915, to be exact) Walter Kirke, deputy head of military intelligence at GHQ France, wrote in his diary that Mansfield Cumming, the first chief (or "C") of the SIS was "making enquiries for invisible inks at the London University" and that,several months later, C notified Kirke that the best invisible ink is semen, as it did not react to the main methods of detection (especially iodine vapour) and would be easy to obtain.

But I digress.

A very desirable and rare Cold War spy artefact has come up for auction – a Protana Watch Spy Recording Device, which comes with the complete set of Minifon surveillance accessories that it came with when they were first sold in the 1950s for US$350.

The Minifon, developed in the 1950s by Monske GMBH, was an miniaturised battery operated magnetic recording device. It could not (initially at least) record a full range of sounds and was thus limited to voice recording, but it did offer a portability that had hitherto been unavailable.

Although not originally intended as such (it was meant to be a dictation machine), it became popular for surveillance work. It had a recording time of one hour, and weighed three pounds, costing US$289.50.

The one being auctioned is the Minifon Pocket Wire P-55 kit, a special wire recorder marketed directly to espionage and intelligence organisations, police departments and private detectives. 

This updated recorder was smaller than the other versions of the Minifon and designed for covert use. However, you could not play back anything that had been recorded. The kit consisted of the P-55 Pocket Wire Recorder, a regular Minifon for playback and several covert mics, one of which was made to look like a watch, although it did not function as one.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

La Grande Bouffe

La Grande Bouffe
Shops 1 - 2
758 Darling St
Rozelle NSW 2039
Ph : +6129818 4333

Open 7 days
Breakfast from 7.30am
Lunch from 12pm. 
Dinner Tuesday - Saturday from 6.30pm

The well-known 1973 film of the same name, directed by Marco Ferreri and most notably starring Marcello Mastroianni, tells the tale of four friends who gather for a weekend of eating themselves to death. Obviously, I did no such thing in the inner west environs of Rozelle, though in my younger days, I do recall eating one or two meals where I was left feeling somewhat less than inclined to eat for days aftewards. On one occasion, at the age of 15, I was only able to consume one bowl of soup for the following almost three days, and on another, consuming two massive dinners out in one night almost proved too much.

And so we come to a popular casual bistro in Rozelle, where good food is to be had, and eating more restrained.

As well as the a la carte menu, one of the options at La Grande Bouffe is the 'Menu Express', which consists of an entrée and the plat du jour for $35. This menu changes regularly.

Sautéed chicken liver with beetroot and wild roquette ($16)

Selected by a chicken liver loving diner, the liver was cooked perfectly, and still pink on the inside. The wild roquette was a good nutty counterpoint to the richness of the liver and the roasted beetroot gave it sweetness. Just a good well-rounded salad.

Pear, walnut and blue cheese salad ($14.50)

A classic combination that never fails to please the person who ordered this, and this portion was fresh, the pear firm and crunchy, and the serving generously sized. To my mind, salads like this should be generously sized, looking like a pile of freshness that you just want to launch into, not a lonely looking motley assortment of ingredients.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Margaret's Cafe e Nata

Gum Loi Building (Edificio Kam Loi)
Rua Almirante Costa Cabral (it's in a small square off Rua Comandante Mata e Oliveira)
Ph : +853 28710032
Open daily

Bakeries selling Portuguese egg tarts are a dime a dozen in Macau. Everything I'd read pointed to two bakeries as being 'the' ones to try, so I decided that I would try the one easiest to get to when one is time poor and trying to fit in as much as possible on a day trip from Hong Kong.

The most well known of the two is Lord Stow's Bakery. Located on the Southern tip of Macau on Coloane Island, Lord Stow’s Bakery was opened by Andrew Stow with his then wife, Margaret Wong in 1989. 

Post divorce, Margaret established her own Portuguese egg tart shop in the middle of the city. More easily accessible than Lord Stow's, it still required some assistance to find the exact location, as the descriptions of  "behind Hotel Sintra" were not, oddly, sufficiently descriptive.

This, I believe, is indicative of the normal state of affairs at Margaret's. They actually serve a lot more than the tarts, including sandwiches and biscuits, but the tarts dominate, and it's a tourist trap. They are very effficient and the queue moves quickly, but it also means that the pressure is on for people to eat and leave, so as to allow others to have the table. This is not the sort of location to linger for a leisurely afternoon tea.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Thalassa - no longer just blue

Some of you may have seen one or two photos from Baselworld of an unexpected iteration of Peter Speake-Marin's striking blue Marin 2 Thalassa, which contains the manual winding in-house calibre SM2.

Perhaps like me, you initially thought that one of them wasn't brown, but that it was just an odd effect of lighting on the blue colour. 

It turns out that in fact there are three new colours.The black and brown were at the request of Peter's clients, the white was an experiment with a new treatment which has been developed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ezard, Melbourne

187 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph : (03) 9639 6811
Open Weekdays 12pm-3pm, 6pm-10:30pm; Sat 6pm-10:30pm

I was fortunate enough to have spent a quick weekend in Melbourne recently with a friend to celebrate her birthday. Our only criteria was that the restaurant needed to be open on a Monday evening. After much searching, we were recommended Ezard. This Melbourne establishment has been around for the last decade, and we looked forward to trying the degustation that was created by Teage Ezard and the head chef, Sharn Greiner. Talking to the maître d', it seems Teage Ezard is more of a menu consultant than being on the ground, cooking.

The restaurant is partially hidden on Flinders Lane, with the entrance below ground level. Initially we walked passed it without realising, but soon enough we found the restaurant. Being such a well-known establishment, it doesn't need to "shout and draw attention" to itself for patrons. We were greeted warmly at the door and efficiently, we settled into our table. The surrounding was semi-dark, and romantically lit with table-top candles. The ambience is one of warmth and sophistication.

We chose the 8 course degustation and the sommelier was accommodating to customising matching wines to our specification.

The bread was an interesting experience. The bread is dipped into the garlic and parmesan infused olive oil and three different dipping salts, first the bonito and kombu, second the chilli and sugar, and third condiment being Szechuan spice. This was a taste sensation, I overloaded on the bread with all permutations of the olive oil and the condiments!

Our amuse bouche was Salmon sashimi with coriander and soy sauce. Taken in  a single mouthful, I was met with a mouthful of carefully balanced sweetness from the salmon and the coriander. This was indeed a delight.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Harley-Davidson and Bell & Ross one-off

Harley-Davidsons are known for being often modfiied or customised by their owners. Now, the company has teamed up with Bell & Ross to create a one-off motorcycle in conjunction with Shaw Harley-Davidson, based on the Harley-Davidson FXSTB Softail Nightrain.

Shaw Harley-Davidson, a U.K. dealership with a history of customising Harleys, approached Bell & Ross about this custom design project.

For this 'piece unique', the BR 01 Carbon was mounted in a handcrafted aluminium center console atop the fuel tank and the bike, redone from bottom-up, was given a custom paint job in a combination of anodised blue, carbon and matte black to match the timepiece.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Brother Baba Budan

359 Little Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000
PH : +613 9606 0449

Brother Baba Budan, or BBB, is a small cafe that came highly recommended to me by Tweeps @felixosaurus and @nickorloff.

The cafe is partially hidden away in Little Bourke St. If you are not actively looking for it, you could easily walk past it. But even with such a discreet 'shop front', the cafe is constantly busy, with many people sitting around the communal table or at the bench, and certainly many caffeine addicts awaiting their take-aways. The interior decor is quite creative, with funky chairs hanging off the ceiling.

The service is warm, friendly and very comforting without the pretension or attitude that has crept into some well-known cafes...The ambient noise level was medium-loud, making this cafe a great place to enjoy that coffee while quickly flicking through the newspaper..

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An unusual Sarpaneva

Following on from our recent post about Stepan Sarpaneva's new Moonshine and Northern Star models, we thought we'd share some photos of a Sarpaneva watch owned by one of us.

K2 in Osaka

K2 close up

Is that a standard K2 winding mass? :-O

Monday, April 4, 2011

Minute Repeaters

The January 2011 issue of International Watch had a feature article on repeater watches. They were, with one exception, mechanical watches, and of course as this is a serious complication, the entry level prices were considerable.

Most of the big names in horology were represented, and the prices ranged from $48,000 for a Perrelet 5-minute repeater to $639,000 for a Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2755 which also features a tourbillion, though some watches had no price or were POA.

My first choice would be the F.P.Journe Répétition Souveraine, a beautifully slim and elegant timepiece, unusually in stainless steel, as Journe believes stainless steel is the best conductor of sound and a natural choice when making a chiming watch. No price is mentioned for this masterpiece.

My second choice would be the Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Minute Repeater at $193,300. 

To come back down to earth for a moment, the only quartz watch in the article was the Campanola Minute Repeater made by Citizen as one of their high-end and affordable watches. At a retail price of $3,900 it was by far the cheapest of the watches mentioned. 

The Campanola is not available in Australia, though it can be purchased in the USA or of course in Japan.

Citizen does however, have another minute repeater watch which is available in Australia.

This is the Calibre 9000. It was and still is, available here, even though it has been discontinued by Citizen, who are no longer manufacturing it. It is available in several different variants at a price of around AUD$750, though it has been discounted at various times.

It is one of Citizen’s Eco-Drive watches, and so requires no battery. When fully charged by light falling on the dial, it has a power reserve of 270 days. Provided that you don’t shut it up in a box for a long time, it will keep going without any assistance, given occasional access to light.

The following shows the white dial version which comes with a black leather strap which looks like croco but is probably not at the price. It has a deployant clasp with a press button release. The case is 42mm in diameter and is 14mm thick.

Purchased new it has a 5 year warranty.

I should mention that it also a perpetual calendar with a dual time function and two alarms. There is also a date display.

The case is solid 316L stainless steel and the crystal is mineral with a very slight dome profile which is anti-glare treated.

The hands are a lozenge shape, solid black in outline and lume filled. They have excellent visibility at night but of course it’s hardly necessary, as it is a minute repeater and the time is chimed out by pressing the button at 2 o’clock, so even if you can’t see, it will tell you the time.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Alan "Hammer" Bloore at Berkeley Bionics

Our dear friend, legendary Paneristi and honorary Sydney Tart, Alan.

On November 16, 2006, Alan suffered a severe spinal cord injury in an accident.

On March 22, 2011, Hammer visited Berkeley Bionics in Berkeley, California.

Amazing and inspirational.

To read more about Alan and the eLEGS, click here

Vintage Jump Hours at Sotheby's

Those who know me well know of my fondness for alternative time displays, particularly direct read and jump hour watches. I don’t understand why they aren’t more popular, but a couple of interesting  jump hour pocket watches are coming up for auction at Sotheby's in the next two weeks, so I thought I’d share them and perhaps introduce non-watch folks to these time displays. Catalogue descriptions are taken directly from Sotheby's. My additional notes are in square brackets.

Important Watches
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (New Wing) 
7 Apr 2011, 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM | Sale HK0352

LOT 2174

CIRCA 1830.

Gilt movement with cylinder escapement, flat three-armed balance. Silvered engine-turned dial, aperture at 12 o'clock for jump hour display, subsidiary seconds. Yellow gold case, front and reverse decorated with black and white enamel foliate motif, with aperture for jump hour display at 12 o'clock on front case. Cuvette signed, case and cuvette numbered. Diameter 48 mm.

ESTIMATE 55,000 - 70,000 HKD

[Vacheron Constantin have a long history with this form of time telling, as this history of them by Alex Ghotbi shows]

LOT 38

CIRCA 1840.

Cylinder movement, gold cuvette enhanced by flowering vines in gold and opaque powder blue enamel, against a guilloche ground with translucent peach enamel. White enamel dial with Turkish numerals, aperture for jumping hours, eccentric chapter ring, subsidiary seconds. Case with apertures displaying hours and seconds, each framed in lobed cartouches depicting bursts of spring flowers, the background with opaque blue enamel and flowering vines, the reverse with polychrome enamel painting of ships within a seascape in scalloped frame. Case and cuvette numbered. Diameter 48 mm.

ESTIMATE 8,000 - 12,000 USD

Important Watches and Clocks
New York | 13 Apr 2011, 10:00 AM | Sale N08739

LOT 55

CIRCA 1920.

Movement marked Extra, 19 jewels, silvered dial, Arabic minutes tracking, aperture for jump hour, subsidiary seconds, coin-edge band and pendant, monogram to case back. Case, dial and movement signed. Diameter 41 mm.

ESTIMATE 4,000 - 6,000 USD

[Touchon & Co. was established around 1907 and ceased in 1921 as an independent entity before being incorporated into Wittnauer. According to this site, Touchon mainly supplied watches (complete or otherwise) to other companies such as Tiffany & Co (their major client) or various American jewellers. As such, much of their work was unsigned]

LOT 60

CIRCA 1920.

19 jewels, ssilvered guilloché dial, Arabic minute tracking, aperture for jump hour. Monogram to case back. Case with handstamped Cartier reference numbers, dial signed Cartier, movement signed European Watch & Clock Co., Inc. Diameter 45 mm

ESTIMATE 5,000 - 7,000 USD

If nothing takes your fancy amongst these, you can check out the rest of the items (including other vintage pocket watches) at both of these auctions via their online catalogues here and here.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Chee Kei Wonton Noodle

Chee Kei Wonton Noodle 
84 Percival St
Causeway Bay
Hong Kong
Ph : +852 2890 8616
Open : 11am - 1130pm daily

Other Locations:
Shop 10, Level 4, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok
G/F No.37 Lock Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Maritime Square, 33 Tsing King Road, Tsing Yi
Shop No.F27, Telford Plaza, 33 Wai Yip Street, Kowloon Bay
52 Russell St., Causeway Bay
70 Stone Nullah Lane, Wan Chai

As you can tell from the sheer number of branches listed above, this is a popular chain of  purveyors of noodles, wonton and the like. Clean and modern, but with old-fashioned traditional decor, they are seen as providing good quality and well-priced noodles and wonton in particular, though their crab congee is also well-known. I didn't realise it at the time, but it appears that they are also in Michelin's list of recommended Hong Kong eateries.

If the two branches I visited are anything to go by, they are very busy. So busy in fact, that queueing is mandatory at peak periods, though turnover is rapid, so you will never have to wait for too long. They are crowded, but not uncomfortably so, and be prepared to share tables if necessary. Pleasant though they are, they are not to places where you sit, eat and enjoy tea for a few hours.

Whilst everything is in Chinese, an English menu is available upon request. Ordering is a very efficient process, with the bill being placed under the plate of glass that covers the table as soon as you place your order.

My first visit here was on a family recommendation which, funily enough, turned out coincidentally to also be the recommendation of @ljLoch, who had told me that I must try the crab congee.

So I did.

Crab Congee ($60). Special deal with Gai Lan (total $75)