Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ippudo Ramen Sydney Westfield

Ever since finding out that Ippudo was going to open up here in Sydney I was quite excited, since my experience at their Kyoto restaurant was really good. Of course, knowing that they're opening inside Westfield would mean elevated prices I was still hopeful. Thinking that if it's anything like their Kyoto counterpart it'll be worth it. 

So today I decided to visit them during my lunch break after hearing they were finally open. I had in my mind a price of $12 thinking that would be about reasonable. But er, I was close. Basic ramen (either white or red) sets you back $13. However if you want egg it'll cost you $15 and 4 slices of roast pork brings the damage up to $17. This was the one I went for. Again, still hopeful that it'll be just like the kyoto one. And these prices are the 'take away' prices. IE, you get your ramen in a bow, on a tray and you need to fend for yourself during the lunchtime rush at the Westfield food court.

Well, the taste was pretty close. You do get a delightful broth that's thick but not too thick. The flavour is just right and you get the thin, hard ramen that's perfect for the style. They're hard, but quite chewy. But the portion? Let's just say that your average Aussie would call that portion what entrees have for entree. Really? You want $17 for this? All I can say is that it was probably a bad idea to open up inside Westfield. I mean decor wise they've done a good job but it's not really a premium ramen place. I think they deserve to succeed, and I want them to succeed but they've definitely chose the wrong place to do it. Westfield- your excessive rent charges are ruining things for people...

Having said all that, the ramen is pretty darn good. I'd say go have a look see and taste if you have a company credit card for lunch. Take your clients. There are worse places to go.

As a comparison, one portion of the ramen in Kyoto is 850 yen, and if you add both egg and pork, that brings the total to 1150 yen. (These prices are for the 'red' ramen). You might say, well, that's pretty close to AUD ain't it? What's your beef? Well, count the number of slices of pork you get in Japan, plus the portion itself is twice the size of the one you get in Sydney. Plus some things ARE more expensive in Japan... Below images are from the Ippudo ramen in Kyoto

For my own hard earned money I still can't go past Gumshara - a Tarts favourite. They're still the best ramen deal in town.  So good we've done 4 posts on them...

And if you're not in the CBD, I'd try Zenya in Eastwood.

Ippudō on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Top 10 Swiss/German Watches Under $500

Having just done a top 10 watches under $1000 led me to think that there are a lot other nice watches that can be had for much less, yet are still Swiss/German made. I'm of course referring to quartz watches and although a lot of watch aficionados won't touch quartz with a ten foot pole... like a close friend, I'm also not a quartz Nazi "NO QUARTZ FOR YOU!!" so if there is a nice quartz watch I'd wear it.

Generally speaking a quartz watch can be had for a lot less than their mechanical counterpart, so I've placed a ceiling of $500. And if you would just like a nice watch, don't really care about what makes it tick, but you don't really want just another 'fashion' brand, you've come to the right place. May I present to you my top ten choice for quartz watches. (AUD500, USD500, EUR400, GBP320)

Again, as before, the criteria for this selection of watches are:

Swiss/German made
Quartz movement
Available in reasonable quantities
And - quite important - that these are all watches I would personally buy/wear.

I've also tried to avoid fashion branded watches and big companies, focusing on more interesting deisgns/executions or watches that simply looks much more expensive than they are. The idea is to show that there are some amazing quartz watches out there that may not be well know, but well deserving of your wrist time.

I'm not including the Seikos, Citizens, Casios, as they all make great quartz watches and can be had for very little cash outlay. The idea of this post is to offer perhaps little known alternatives, or ones that one may not think of straight off the bat, or perhaps even thought they were priced higher when they're not.

**I have not provided links to some of the pieces mentioned here because they don't sell direct from a website, but they can easily be found for sale**

Bruno Sohnle Atrium - $455 AUD

Never heard of this brand until it was recently brought to my attention by a friend who was looking for a watch for a friend who wanted to avoid the usual Seiko/Citizen route. Read the post here You could say this post was partly inspired by that scenario. Although little known to me, the brand comes from that great watchmaking cluster in Germany called "Glashutte" and has all the markings of the great watchmaking tradition. Except that they make quartz watches, which brings the prices down significantly, without sacrificing quality... You can get them here in Oz now from Define Watches

Defakto Detail - 280 Euro

The Defakto brand also made the previous list for watches under $1000. But if we're talking about one-handed watches it's not as much of a consequence if the watch is battery powered right? It's not like you'll miss the sweeping seconds hand. The Detail is one fine looking watch. Thin and elegant, I wouldn't mind at all if my one-handed watch is a quartz, since you can't really tell the difference, and.. well.. just look at it!! At that price you can't go wrong. And no, I don't make appointment times like 3:12. a five-minute indication is really good enough. (Unless you only have 2 minutes to catch the train. In which case... you should've left earlier.)

Defakto Detail

Mondaine - From $345 AUD

This has to be on the list. It's a classic, Swiss railway watch. This has the history, the design, the story, and a distinctively pretty face. And you don't have to pay through the nose for it (unless you're Apple. Ahem.) It also comes in a huge variety of options and sizes so you could possibly get one for each of the family members.

Check them out at Brisbane Vintage Watches or Sydney Vintage Watches

Botta Mondo - 348 Euro less VAT

Just cuz I like the design.
Plus some of their designs have won the coveted red dot design award, too, so they do know what they're doing. Plus they're just so cool! (Edit: I didn't realise this until the post was finished - our previous tarts editor had actually posted about this very watch! - Read her review here Looks like Tarters do have very similar tastes!)

Botta Design

Laco Dresden Pilot watch - 350 Euro less VAT

Along with Stowa, Laco was one of the original companies that made the pilot watch back in the 40s (The other three are A Lange & Sohne, IWC and Wempe). If you want a pilot watch with a proper pilot watch history, but your budget is limited, Laco offers their classic pilot watch with a quartz movement where really the only discernable difference is the movement. And why not? Just because you have a limited budget doesn't mean you have to miss out on a classic, right?

Laco Watches

Tissot PRC200 - $475

Yes I chose not to include Tissot in the under $1000 range, but I think under $500 is where they truly shine. The PRC200 is one of those amazing looking watches that could easily pass for watches costing many times more. A sports watch at heart, stick it on a strap and you dress it up immediately. The watch also has that classic style which means it won't go out of date, and as long as you keep up the battery changes, you should have no issues with it whatsoever. It's also a great value for money if you count the number of hands you get for your bucks. It's the only chronograph on the list here (If you don't count Swatch - but that's kinda in a different league.) Oh. One more thing- this watch only sneaks under $500 if you DON'T buy it in Australia. But then again, Tissot watches are on sale constantly here I'm sure you can pick one up new for under $500.

Victorinox Active Original - $325

Known for their army knives, they also make some really nice watches. For the price you get quality Swiss made watches, powered by a reliable swiss quartz movement, and in a variety of military inspired colours, you can't go wrong with one of these for your weekend and/or casual Friday look. I especially like the matching nato strap, which you can easily change yourself from a huge selection available from just about everywhere.


cK Bold - 200 pounds

Yes CK is a fashion brand. But Mr Klein licences his name so much that it's really lost all meaning. CK watches are made by the Swatchgroup, meaning you are getting the watchmaking expertise behind this powerhouse. Being part of swatchgroup also means that you have the peace of mind when it comes to certain levels of quality. Plus I love the minimalistic design that they employ for the CK range. Delete the name from the dial, or even, replace it with something else and I'm sure you'll get away with charging at least 3 times more. And that's what I love about the watch - it just oozes style.

Swatch Irony - In A Blue Mode - $115

Swatch was an easy choice, and their whole range comes under the $500 ceiling. Just one thing to keep in mind though. Due to the construction of their cases (one piece) if the movement stuffs up, you can't service it. I mean, they were designed to be throw-away watches. Their Irony range (or anything that's not made from plastic) looks the part and provided you look after it, a battery change every 2 years or so should be all you need for years and years of stylish Swiss timing. I have an Irony chrono that's hit double digits and still going strong (touch wood). I have chosen the "In A Blue Mode" as I really like the style, sold bracelet design and looks fantastic!

Swatch In A Blue Mode

Fortis Flipper/Fortis Colour - 240 Euro

This is the return of the Fortis Flipper from the 70s. It's essentially a watch module that you can fit into different coloured "cases" which are integrated with the strap. You can choose from a set of three different colours for 240 Euro or a case of ten different colours for more $$$. This is a quartz watch and I'm assuming it's Swiss (it doesn't say but the rest of the Fortis range are) and it's a very inexpensive way into a Fortis, and a fun watch at that. The watch 'case' is made from silicon, and it's just a case of 'popping' the 'watch' in and out to change colours. The dedicated website is coming soon, but it seems you can get them already from Chrono24

Fortis Color

Monday, December 3, 2012

Pre-SIHH 2013 IWC Ingenieur and Mercedes F1

I thought it might be the case back here. But now it's official. IWC is presenting the new Ingenieur line at the 2013 SIHH in January and I'm sure we'll also see some sort of limited edition Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 racing team limited edition watch at some point in 2013. Perhaps at the Melbourne GP in March? 

If the AMG Black edition of the Ingenieur is anything to go by I reckon the F1 version might be quite the whoosy watch (to steal a term coined by our head tart). 

I just hope they don't take a page out of hublot and do a limited edition for each race or something like that. But at least for Lewis Hamilton it will be quite a step up from his Tag Heuer wrist jewellery and Nico Rosberg (who up till now wears Thomas sabo). That is of course, assuming the partnership between IWC and Merc extends to the drivers. I hope it does. 

With the Top Gun watches in 2012 and Merc AMG (maybe F1) watches in 2013 IWC is certainly cementing their place as THE man's watch (very testosterone filled) and love it or hate it I think it's a successful move. 

But dear IWC... Your "mood" photos. Aren't they a bit, erm, Baume & Mercier? I know you guys are family and all...

Here's what we know so far...

There is a new 40mm Ingenieur range powered by ETA2892, and the AMG, which runs the in-house movement 80110. I'm sure there will be other models to add to the range, perhaps an Ingenieur chrono running the new in-house chrono movement, and perhaps a lower-priced chrono running the modified valjoux 7750. But stay tuned as we near SIHH 2013 and more news becoming available.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Top 10 Swiss/German Mechanical watches under $1000

**Updated 2013 List HERE**

I've had some people asking me more details about watches under $1k ever since the brief mention in the Sydney watch collector interview here. I thought it would be a great idea to do a top ten list of the 10 best new watches (in my opinion, the ones that I would happily wear and recommend to others) under $1k. As this blog has gained quite the international following, the $1k limit is set in USD, which is pretty close to AUD anyway. (for those in other major regions, this would be roughly around EUR800, 650GBP, 1000CHF, and 80,000Yen)

It was mentioned before that there are a lot of really nice watches to be had brand new under $1k, but of course, at this price, you'll need to forgo the "big brands" and start looking at some brands you may or may not have heard of. But if you cared about that you wouldn't be reading this blog would you? You'd just go and get that Rolex Datejust/Sub and be done. For the vast majority of you, who wear watches because you like them, let's go to the top ten list.

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive and the watches are listed in no particular order... (Ok, in order of the watches that comes to mind) If there are enough watches left over at the end of the list I'll do a second top ten list...

Now the criteria for the watches that can appear on this list are the following:
1. Swiss/German made
2. houses a Swiss/German mechanical movement (with 1 exception)
3. More or less readily available (ie, not limited to 10 pieces worldwide)

This is also a good gift guide for that special someone (or yourself) for the upcoming holiday seasons. I would also very happily wear any of the following watches. In fact, a few of them are on my shopping list. Many brands also sell direct through their website (and I've included links where applicable). And now, without further ado, the top 10 watches under $1000, in no particular order...

Steinhart Ocean 2 - 412 euro

I have a soft spot for Steinhart and have owned/still own several of their models. It is simply amazing what they pump out for the price they charge. Amazing bang-for-your-bucks. Granted there are conspiracies regarding where exactly do they get their parts (as the requirement for the "Swiss Made" stamp is relatively low - won't get into that now) but then again, we could also argue where exactly some of the bigger brands get their parts... But all that is not important in the global village of today.

Another criticism of Steinhart is their derivative/homage styling. That has changed in recent years as they put more effort into their own styles and designs. They won't appeal to everyone but again, that is the case with pretty much every brand out there.

A lot of Steinhart models falls under the $1000 limit, but I have chosen the Ocean 2 as for me, it's one of their more successful inhouse designs. brilliant symmetrical dial, powered by the workhorse ETA 2824 movement (which you'll find fitted to watches 10 times the price), case quality is excellent for the price, and in my opinion, very good customer service (as long as you don't expect immediate answers- they get there in the end). This piece is high on my shopping list. You can get them direct from their website.


Archimede Pilot 42 Automatic - 375 euro

One thing Archimede is famous for is the watch case. Their cases are made by Ickler, (who also produces watches under several other brands) and you know when I said case is good for Steinhart at the price? Well, Archimede watch cases takes it to an entirely different plane. I'd rate them alongside many of the bigger 'prestige' brands. Which makes their pilot watch, a pinch at 375 euros, steal of the century. That is, of course, if you like pilot watches. They do have other models in the range, but I think their Pilot line is the most successful one. And everyone needs a Pilot watch in their collection, right? It's a classic that'll never go out of style. If you can afford it, for an extra 20 euro, you get a sterile dial ie, no branding, and that gives it a very clean look. And like a decent German car, you can also spend lots optioning up the watch with such luxury items as curved sapphire, custom engraving, bracelet etc. This is also available direct from their website


Prometheus Signatura - 389 euro

I only found them quite recently. But what they've made really blew my mind! I don't care much for any of their other models, but the Signatura is done so right where many others (more expensive) have done wrong. You'd think it quite easy to produce an elegant dress watch, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Prometheus managed it for a paltry 389 Euro! From the images the case quality seem to be on par with Steinhart, but for the money you get sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, sapphire display back with custom rotor, enamel dial(!!!), and Sellita SW200 (same as ETA 2824). The dial is simply gorgeous and elegant, and to top it off, symmetrical (yes I have a thing about symmetry on dials and good proportions in general). I really like the black dial as the enamel gives it a certain depth and sheen but you can't go wrong with the white dial/blued hands version either. A definite on my shopping list, direct from their website:


SevenFriday - 897 CHF

So far we've looked at very traditional looking watches. But what if you wanted something a bit "out there"? Well this one is for you. Name's a bit.. well.. but at least it's easy to remember and easily pronounceable. It doesn't look like anything else on the market around the same price range. (You'd need to be sniffing around the 5 figure mark at the very least). This is definitely not for everyone, but I really love it. So much so I'm willing to overlook the miyota movement (not that there's anything wrong with them) and include it on this list.

you can even print the watch out to try on your wrist!

Available direct from their website or from Jura watches for 695 pounds, less VAT if overseas

Jura Watches

Defakto Akkord from 420 euro

Their watches are also made by Ickler, so you know the case quality is top notch. But the Defakto brand itself employs very minimalistic, bauhaus inspired designs. Perfect for those who are sick of paragraphs printed on dials. The Akkord is more traditional with 2 hands, (but you can also get 1-handed watches for that extra minimalistic look) and powered by ETA 2824. Available direct from their website. Like their sister brand, Archimede, you can also choose your customisation for the watch for extra dough.


Halios 1000m "The Puck" $780 USD

Do you like to go deep? Or maybe you just like the idea that you could? Or perhaps you just like a massive chunky watch on your wrist? Then this is for you. With a diametre of 47mm and a height of 14.5mm, it is certain like wearing a hockey puck on your wrist. But it's all about the wrist presence isn't it? Big enough to also use as a weapon. The amount of stainless steel and sapphire crystal (domed and 4mm thick) makes this watch a bargain at $780 USD, direct from their website

Halios Watches

Stowa Marine Auto - EUR680 less VAT

Stowa is a great brand with a great history. (Stowa is one of the original makers of the pilot watch in the 40s) They continue today under Jorge Schauer, and continue to bring out great watches. The Marine is aother classically styled watch (like the Pilot) and Stowa's Marine watch comes with heated blue hands and a sterling silver dial. It's also powered by ETA 2824. I'd say their case quality matches that of Ickler's and you also get a variety of options to customise your watch.

Stowa Watches

Now we come to the 'bigger' brands. Well, the next two can probably still be considered quite niche, but by bigger brands I mean that they do spend money on advertising and marketing so you will need to factor that into the price... However if you searched hard enough on the interwebs I'm sure you can find some good deals.

Glycine Combat 6 manual 590 pounds less VAT

For a 'bigger' brand they're still fairly good value for money. But you are looking at the sort of case quality equal to that of Steinhart. But if you prefer a manual wind movement (or you just don't want something powered by 2824 or equivalent) this would be the one for you. It's powered by ETA 2801, which, well... it's really just the 2824 minus the rotor... um... You do get a choice of different dials for this model, ranging from sporty to dressy. My pick would be the blue dial. Love it. Jura watches in the UK has them in stock on strap for 590 pounds, less VAT if overseas.

Glycine Watches
Jura Watches

Sinn 556 - 630 euro on strap

There is something about Sinn. Unfortunately name perhaps in English, but there is a certain something that just feels special about their watches. With a Sinn, at under $1000 will get you into one of the very basic entry level watches in their range, but that doesn't mean it's any less of a watch. Case quality is again top notch, and although it is powered by ETA 2824, you do also get the following:

Shock resistant as per DIN 8308
Anti-magnetic as per DIN 8309
Sapphire crystal front and back, anti-reflective on both sides on the front, anti-reflective one side on the back
200m water resistant
low pressure resistant

It's also a smaller watch compared to all the others on this list at 38.5, so if you prefer something not so ostentatious but classy and high quality at the same time, you won't sin with a Sinn. Ahem.

Sinn watches

Hamilton Jazzmaster Slim

Last but not least is one watch from one of the majors. Hamilton is part of the Swatchgroup behemoth, but being part of something so big has its perks. Access to in-family ETA movements at most likely mate's rates, you get surprisingly good value and build quality from their watches. Especially the Jazzmaster Slim, which caught my attention not long ago. A really elegant dress watch, in 2 sizes (I'd go for the 40mm) powered by ETA 2892! The 2892 is much more expensive than the 2824, plus it is also a thinner movement, and by most accounts, a more 'premium' movement than 2824. And yet, look at what you get for the price! and this is retail. You can easily find them cheaper than that online. For my money, I'd get a Hamilton over a Tissot. Even if Hamilton is originally an US watch brand, they're all Swiss now, and I just think their watches are much, much better than Tissot. (Which is also why I haven't included any Tissot watches in this list. I do like Tissot, but... hmmm... bang-for-your-buck? Hammy wins hands down.)

Hamilton watches

43mm - 625EUR 795USD, 950CHF
40mm - 525EUR, 695USD, 795CHF

Hopefully this list has opened your eyes to some amazing new watches available out there for not a lot of money. And in most cases, if you buy right, you'll get most of your money back when it comes time to part ways. Most of the smaller brands (Steinhart, Archimede, etc) will amaze you with their resale value since they are sought after and not all that many in circulation.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top Gear 50 Years of Bond Cars Wrist Watching

Top Gear.. well, Richard Hammond recently did a Bond car special to celebrate the 50 years anniversary of James Bond. This episode is absolutely compulsory viewing if you're the least bit of a Bond fan, or a car fan. Of course, as we all know very well that all 3 hosts of the program are also somewhat watch enthusiasts, as our previous posts have shown. And this time around, Richard did not let us down, wearing no less than 4 different watches during the course of this special episode.

2 of the watches we've seen him wear before so I won't go into details. They are the Rolex Sub and the Breitling. The third watch he wore during the interview with Daniel Craig, is a Tissot T-Touch of some sort. There aren't really any clear shots of the watch during the episode so I couldn't tell exactly which T-Touch it is...

However, what was most interesting to me, and I had to do a double take (well, in this case, pause, rewind, zoom) to make sure I wasn't mistaking what was on his wrist for most of the episode...

Aston Martin DB5 - the most famous Bond car of all...

As Richard is driving the DB5, I couldn't help notice what was on his wrist. It can't be....

But it looks like any other Speedy, you say. What's so special about this one?

Well, I'm going out on a limb here since I can only determine from the screen caps, but it's most likely a 105.012 or a 145.012. These 2 references were produced in the late 60s/early 70s and powered by the cal.321, which had the column wheel arrangement rather than the cam and lever that's found the cal.861 and subsequent Speedmasters.

But it is!!! Not just any ol' Omega Speedmaster...

The 105.012 is the first Speedmaster to have the text "Professional" added after omega discovered that its watches were sent to the moon on the wrists of the Apollo 11 astronauts and there are only very minute differences between the 105.012 and 145.012. And if you can tell the diff, you're even more of a watch nerd than you're letting on. I won't go into details here. There are plenty of info out there on the interwebs.

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules back in those days and exceptions do apply. Finding one these days that had everything correct and original is becoming increasingly difficult.

Plus the fact that the Speedy were pretty much unchanged over the past 50 plus years, and that it's been around for so long, there are always going to be franken-watches (put together using original parts, but may not be original to the actual watch) or watches that were serviced and had parts replaced with later original items... and a whole host of other reasons.

That's quite a long limb I've gone out on. Let's bring this back to the episode. In my opinion, I've never seen Hammond as one for vintage watches. James May we all know has quite a few vintage pieces and they do go... well with his style. But that's the thing about the Omega Speedmaster. It's such a classic and iconic piece of great design and engineering that something made in the 50s (the very first iteration of the Speedmaster) still looks modern today. Just like BOND! 50 years old and still as relevent today as he was 50 years ago (totally biased opinion here), and the Aston Martin DB5. Granted car tech has moved on since then, but the design is still as gorgeous today as it was 50 years ago.

Sorry... but the same can't be said for Roger Moore...

During Hammond's interview with Daniel Craig we see briefly what appears to be an Omega Aqua Terra.

You can't really see it but Daniel Craig is wearing an Omega Aqua Terra... as per contractual agreement...
More Bond car porn...
Classic Toyota 2000GT
Lotus Submarine!
The Breitling Hammond's worn before on Top Gear
Aston Martin Vanquish
A close up of the Omega Speedmaster
Aston Martin DBS

We also catch a glimpse of ex-Stig, Ben Collin's wrist, and he is sporting a TAG Heuer Carrera chronograph day-date, which is powered by the venerable Valjoux 7750. 

Ben Collins wearing a TAG Heuer Carrera chrono
Hammond and Tissot T-Touch of some description...
So it would seem that Hammond's taste in watches is almost as diverse as James May.
Now, can someone convince Clarkson to wear something else????

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

De Bethune Meet and Greet

If you happen to live in Sydney, and can spare an hour to get all the questions you have about De Bethune answered by the President and co-founder of the brand (such as how exactly do you pronounce the name and put to rest once and for all whether he really WAS inspired by the Starfleet badge) this is your chance!

Meet David Zanetta at The Hour Glass in Sydney on Monday the 12th of November and perhaps get your mitts on some hot watches too.

Don't believe me about the Starfleet badge? Have a look at the watch above, and below, and finally, the  Starfleet command logo...

image from De Bethune website

image from the internet

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Put A Cork In It!!

Vegetarian? Not only do you not want to eat cows, you also don’t want to use items made from cows? You’re also an environmentalist and believe in renewable resources? But you don’t like to wear watches on steel bracelets, and you also have certain allergies? Well, we have a solution for you. You can now wear your watch on a strap made from all natural renewable sources, as well as being completely hypo-allergenic.

(c) Espiral do Tempo/Miguel Seabra - strap fitted to JLC Master Compresson Extreme 
“The cork industry is generally regarded as environmentally friendly. The sustainability of production and the easy recycling of cork products and by-products are two of its most distinctive aspects. Cork Oak forests also prevent desertification and are a particular habitat in the Iberian Peninsula and the refuge of various endangered species” – Wikipedia

If you’re like me, and only know cork from wines, well, you'll find that they’re also very commonly used as flooring, acoustic and thermal insulation, holding together woodwind instruments just to name a few.

(c) Espiral do Tempo/Miguel Seabra
Cork as a material is extremely durable (otherwise you wouldn't use it as flooring). The cellular structure of cork comprises of hollow, 14 sided cells joined together in a honeycomb like arrangement. These cells have extremely strong yet flexible cell walls. Moreover, cork has suberin in its chemical composition. This is a waxy substance that functions to prevent water from penetrating the cork tissue. Cork also repels insects and mould; it resists rotting, and also fire.

(c) Espiral do Tempo/Miguel Seabra
So what’s the sudden interest in corks? No I wasn't looking at the cork whilst enjoying a glass of cab sauv and decided that it would make for a great strap. Have a look at the post here (use Google translate as it’s in Portuguese) and thought it simply looked brilliant! And cork as a material is relatively inexpensive, meaning you'll get a fantastic looking (to me anyway) strap for not a lot of dough. You can pick one up with a buckle for under 30 Euro, in sizes ranging from 18mm to 24mm at the lugs.

 Nike LeBron X - in cork!

With a gratuitous shot of LeBron's AP Royal Oak Offshore limited edition
And who knows, cork might be making its foray into mainstream material usage… you can also get LeBron’s shoes in cork, and I've seen bags made from cork… Maybe we'll see a completely corked watch? You read it here first! I mean, why not, there are already watches made with a cork dial…

Image from American Apparel
Trust me, the idea is NOT as strange as concrete watches...