Friday, January 29, 2010

My Picks from SIHH 2010

by [Onomatopia]

Disclaimer: the views on this post are solely that of [Onomatopia]'s and does not reflect the views of any of the other Sydney Tarts. 

So… SIHH 2010 has come and gone and I think it’s been a whoosy of a year. After a somewhat disappointmenting last year, this year we were treated to a bevy of exciting new products and innovations. I’m not going to try and feature every single new watch from every brand nor am I going to simply regurgitate the press releases. What I have done here is show you my personal picks from the show. You may agree/ disagree with them. Feel free to leave your comments, as I would love to heard from you all about your thoughts for SIHH 2010.

There are no scientific methods to my picks. Purely gut feeling. Of course, I’ve excluded what I refer to as range extensions, meaning watches that were introduced before, and were just given a fresh coat of paint, maybe new skins and new colour material combos. Wheels magazine don’t consider minor facelift a new model for their car of the year awards, and nor will I. Therefore, without further ado, and in no particular order, my picks from SIHH 2010!

Oh... before we go into the picks, you might notice there are a couple of brands missing from my pics. Some may even argue that they are important omissions. But really... as much as I appreciate the new stuff from A Lange & Sohne, and as amazing as they are, they just didn't strike a chord with me personally... So, apologies to all the Lange fans out there. Truly great watches, nothing wrong with them. I'm the one with issues.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph

It's good to see AP doing an Offshore that's NOT a limited edition. I think their limited edition Offshores have been done to death. Really, they're just different dial colours/material combos. Swatch has been doing that for years! However, this new one is very refreshing, and at a smallish (at today's standards) 37mm, it's definitely not flashy and could be a sleeper hit.

Cartier Rotonde de Cartier Flying Tourbillon Skeleton

Cartier has been doing amazing things with these skeleton watches, and using the bridge to double as a dial? Fantastic. They're truly moving away from just being a jewellery company that does some nice looking watches, to a fully fledge watchmaker with very interesting execution concepts.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication

Ok... I've read in-depth about how this watch works, and quite frankly, I still don't quite get it. All's I know is that I'm massively impressed by it. The tourbillon also rotates around the dial like a carousel as well as flying... Added to this a minute repeater featuring Trebuchet hammers (same concept as the Hybris Mechanica) and sidereal time makes it a major whoosy (to quote head tart).

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme Lab 2 Tribute To Geophysic

I think Jaeger-LeCoultre has caught the bug of the Japanese-habit-of-giving-their-cars-ridiculously-long-names somewhere along the line. If you've noticed lately, that some of their model names borders in length on a paragraph. Good thing they don't try to print it all on the dial. (like, *ahem* some other watch company we know...) Now to the watch itself, it features a large digital minute display at 12:00, making it very easy to read, and a 'switch' at 3:00. By pressing the crown you 'switch' the function of the crown between time setting, 2nd time zone setting/date and winding rather than pulling the crown out. Ingenious!

Montblanc Metamorphosis 

This is another watch I don't quite get (in terms of how it works and the mechanics that makes it so). I've watched the video here and read the detailed press release but I really still don't get it... I kind of do, but... nevertheless, it is phenomenal what they are able to do with some wheels and cogs and gears! This is what I love about watchmaking. It doesn't have to be always about making watches more accurate, but new ways of displaying and new interpretations on an old idea.  Montblanc is serious about shedding their image as just another pen maker trying to diversify their product range. I think they're on the right path.

Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare P2002 47mm (PAM339)

The one watch where almost all the 'Ristis and collectors agree that will go up in price before anyone’s taken delivery. Such is the apparent popularity of this watch. And being limited to only 1000 pieces doesn’t help. Prediction? You’d be extremely lucky to pay retail for one. Don’t expect to see any discounts on this one, and the most likely case is that you’ll be paying a certain percentage over the retail for one. That is IF you can find one. Oh, it's called composite because of the case material: "The result of an electrochemical process of ceramization of the aluminium, this material is harder than the ceramics normally used for cases in watch-making (zirconia), and also harder than metals like steel and titanium, as well as being lighter".

Panerai Radiomir 42mm Titanium P.999 (PAM338)

I like the fact that Panerai who could possibly be credited with starting the recent “big watch” trend is downsizing… ok.. 42mm is still quite big, but compared to panerai’s usual offerings of 44mm and above watches, 42mm is quite refreshing and I’m sure will go well with suits and for those who appreciate Panerai but don’t want to shout about it to the world. Powered by a brand new inhouse manual wind movement.

Piaget Altiplano 43 mm with Calibre 1208P

Going off the picture count, you would think that I really like the Piaget. Well I do like it. Quite a lot. If only it wasn't out of my price range. No. It's not just out of my price range. It's not even in the same suburb. But I digress. The reason I like it so much is because it's such an elegant and understated watch. And at 43mm it's a very good size for mr wrist and that ultra thin automatic movement is really something else. I love watches because I really admire the craftsmenship that goes into every watch, but making an automatic movement this thin is an amazing achievement on itself. I love it! Dear Piaget, could you please please make one in stainless steel?? Pretty please??

Oh... Another thing about Piaget... Those of you outside Asia will probably think Piaget is only good for jewellery and jewellery watches, but they are actually a genuine, certified watchmaker with some pretty spectacular movements...

Here's a little bit from their press kit : For Piaget, 2010 will represent a tribute to its rich watchmaking heritage as well as a quantum leap towards the future. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the introduction of its legendary Calibre 12P in 1960, the world’s thinnest mechanical self-winding movement at that time, the Manufacture de Haute Horlogerie Piaget is presenting Calibre 1208P. Because it stems from the expertise in ultra-thin movements that has become a hallmark of the Piaget style, this mechanism once again sets new limits by becoming the thinnest self-winding movement currently on the market, at 2.35 mm. A first record.

Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Manual Wind White Gold

Like the Piaget, this is an excellent example of classic elegance. I have a soft spot for watches with a small seconds hand at 6:00, and just the perfect symmetry of the dial, this is love at first sight. There are nothing superfluous on the watch. Very clean and just elegant. The movement's not bad either!

Vacheron Constantin Metiers d'Art - La Symbolique des Laques

Aren't these amazing?? I really don't know enough to write about them, so... copy paste from their press kit: master watchmakers combined their talents with master enamellers – each working in their respective crafts as masters and lovers of their art – to combine ancient and modern techniques and give birth to watches that are exceptional for both their mechanics and their aesthetics. The patented movement combined an astonishing display of the time with a dial made even more beautiful by an ancient and complex art: grand feu enamelling. 

Van Cleef & Arpels Le Pont des Amoureux

I think this is really cute. Ok, VC&A aren't generally known for their watchmaking prowess. But this is just cute and very creative in a technical way. It's actually 2 retrograde hands disguised in the form of a guy and a gal (The gal's umbrella is pointing to the hours and the guy's rose(?) is pointing to the minutes.) They slowly advance towards the centre and presumably 'kiss' at midnight and midday, then bounces back to either side of the watch to make the journey once again. (well, ok, the guy needs to make the trip 12 times before getting the kiss... kinda mirrors real life anyways)  Awww.....


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dish Pizza & Gelato

Dish Pizza & Gelato
Shop 5a
19-27 Cross St
Double Bay

Ph: (02) 9328 9000

Early in December, HG and I caught up in Sydney for a meal at Prime. Rather unexpectedly, she came up to Sydney again, this time en famille, and so the hunt was on for somewhere in Double Bay (where they were staying) for a smackeral of something.

I don't really know the Double Bay restaurants, so the inevitable twitter SOS was sent out.  This arrived back in the form of suggestions for Una's and two pizza places. The decision was left to HG, and so it was that four adults and two under 5s found themselves at Dish, as recommended by @grooviegal

There was some reference by @grooviegal to the identical name shared by the co-owners, and of the bald one being known as "cute X", but twitter time being what it is, I've already forgotten the details, apart from the fact the bald one is apparently the cute one.

At any rate I didn't see any bald chap.

What I did see were children.

A lot of children.

In fact there was only one table there without a token child or five. It seemed that every child that lived within a radius of a kilometre or two was at Dish, an indoors/ outdoors pizzeria located amidst a group of shops, including a toy shop, whose "closed" status didn't deter some of the children from window shopping. 

Kibbeh - middle eastern beef meatballs ($9.50)

Why did I order kibbeh at a pizzeria? Because it was somewhat incongruous, and because I felt that three adults and two under 5s sharing two regular sized pizzas was just not going to be enough. Plus I felt like having some meatballs.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chat Thai - Haymarket

Chat Thai
20 Campbell St
NSW 2000
(02) 9976 2939

First, a health warning. Those of you who have a weak stomach that vomits at the sight of vomit, sounds of someone vomiting (you all know what that sounds like..) or even the hint of someone vomiting, please stop reading now! After a meal at Chat Thai, it did make me violently ill, which I have not done for a long time. No, it’s not because I had food poisoning. And it’s not that the food was bad. In fact, the food was fabulous. I shall explain.

The first thing that contributed to my illness was the long wait in the queue, 97 minutes to be exact.  We had been warned about the queue but it still didn’t quite prepare me for the very long wait.

Once inside however, the speedy service and the smiling waitress made up for the long wait. I really liked the décor with the open kitchen, exposed brick work, dark wooden furniture and dimly lit room with funky light fittings; it is moody but not seedy. The room was filled with a lovely smokey smell from the grill in the open kitchen, and it made me even more hungry than before!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More Top Gear Watch Spotting

A little while back we did a post on watches spotted in Season 13 of Top Gear. What we didn't realise, was that there is more curiosity about the wrist candy of James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson than we had expected, as we seem to get regular visits to that page via Google searches.

Because of the popularity of this topic, we thought we'd do another post. You can see for yourself whether any of them have new watches, or whether they are wearing old favourites.....!

Season 14 - Episode 1

Rolex Sub Date
(likely to be the 16610 due to reflection from the flat sapphire from a certain angle)

 Omega 49mm Railmaster XXL

Omega Planet Ocean on rubber strap

Season 14 - Episode 2

Rolex Sub Date

Clarkson is confirmed to be wearing an Omega Planet Ocean on rubber strap

Season 14 - Episode 3

Rolex Sub Date 16610 

Omega Railmaster 49mm XXL

Omega Railmaster 49mm XXL

Omega Railmaster 49mm XXL

Season 14 - Episode 6


Breitling Avenger Chronograph

Season 14 - Episode 7

Omega Planet Ocean

Rolex Sub Date 16610

JLC Reverso Squadra Chronograph

Omega Railmaster 49mm XXL

Season 14 - Episode 8

Jeremy Clarkson : Omega Planet Ocean
James May : IWC Portuguese 3714

IWC Portuguese 3714

Omega Railmaster 49mm XXL 

It appears so far from the current season that Richard Hammond has a more diverse watch collection than Clarkson and May.

Stay tuned for future Top Gear watchspotting, and click on the 'Top Gear' link below for all TG watchspotting posts.


Friday, January 22, 2010

The Golden Goose

393 Sussex St
Haymarket NSW 2000
Ph : (02) 9212 3901

All the hype, all the excitement, all the schoolgirl giddiness could not have prepared you for the amazingness that is the ultimate in niche avian dining experience – #goosefest2010!

Yes there were one or two tweeps who were concerned that the event could not possibly live up to the expectations. Plus out of the ten courses the famed goose will only feature, alas, in two.  The initial idea of a single table exploded, and the waiting line extended long and far in a 4square town such that even the mayors hath no say in whether or not they got a seat in the inaugural goosefest. 

The immense popularity of it all made it (sort of) a trending topic on Twitter (albeit a fairly localised one). The reputation of the goosefest preceded it by a long shot, and even spread overseas.

Amongst some of us, it got to the point were some people couldn't wait for the fateful Wednesday to come around; the waiting was akin to the trepidation felt as a rollercoaster takes you higher and higher with that imminent rush just over the apex.

The Roast Thirlmere Goose

I suppose the most important thing that everyone wants to know is, “so how was the goose?”

Sorry. Not just yet. But for those of you who know not the definition of patience and want to know everything RIGHT NOW in this instant-noodle-microwave-cooking-just-add-water instant gratification world that we live in… you’re reading the wrong blog. Plus you can always just scroll down to the bottom of the page to find out the verdict.

#goosefest2010 was organised primarily over Twitter by @urbanfoodmarket and @aptronym. What was planned to be one table ballooned out to three. Even then people were still asking if they are able to come along. I think judging from the success of the first goosefest, a second is all but a forgone conclusion. And I believe there are now many, many more goose followers… 

Before I go any further, and it could just be me, but I needed to Google "goose" to find out what a goose looks like. For the life of me I just couldn't picture one! 

Here’s a picture of a goose I found on the interwebs, next to a duck. Ducks, apparently, have shorter necks and legs compared to a goose, amongst other anatomical differences. But as presented on the table as a dish, it looks suspiciously like a duck.

The Goose

The Duck
(Both pictures taken from the internet)

For #goosefest2010 we opted for the banquet menu, and at $40 per person, $45 to include corkage for BYO, it’s a real bargain. And considering the amount of food present, it is amazingly great value.  A quick description of the geese on @urbanfoodmarket website here

This was the banquet menu :
1. Cold Cut BBQ meats platter
2. Roast Goose
3. Prawns sautéed Szechuan style
4. Scallops sautéed with Honey Beans
5. Steamed live fish
6. Peipa Tofu (for some reason this dish seemed to have been gone awol at some point)
7. Beef with black pepper
8. Crispy skinned chicken
9. Poached vegetables with Oyster Sauce
10. Goose Fried Rice
11. Boiled Rice
12. Fruit platter and cookies

I didn’t get around to taking photos of all the courses as some tweeps (I won’t mention names here hehe), were very hungry and couldn’t wait to dig into the food, despite protests of, “Hang on! I need to take a photo...” but I think I managed to capture most of the interesting/ tasty dishes. So here they are in picture form:

Cold Cut BBQ meats platter

Roast Goose

Steamed live fish - still one of my favourites. The sauce goes great with boiled rice.

Scallops sautéed with Honey Beans

Prawns sautéed Szechuan style

Goose Fried Rice

Beef with black pepper

Crispy skinned chicken

I didn't take photos of the poached vegetables with oyster sauce- this is the same as that dish you get when you go to yum cha. We did realise afterwards that the pei-pa tofu never surfaced... strange. Perhaps in all the excitement it was missed and forgotten about??

We need more room!

The deal was BYO, and we had a couple of wines to go with the banquet. First up amongst the Tarts was a pinot which went very well with the goose, and  then a reisling, which went extremely well with the rest of the dishes.

2007 Clyde Park Pinot Noir 

Tasting notes segue - A complex array of dark berry fruits harmoniously melds with aromas of plums and black cherries. Subtle floral notes combined with spice, earthiness and toasty oak to fill out the nose. The palate is long and generous, with concentrated flavours of dark cherry, plum and  spice, around toasty French oak. A complex mid-palate is supported by a framework of ripe silky tannin.

2008 Leeuwin Estate riesling 

This riesling opens with intense aromatics: the perfume of lime and citrus flowers in general are immediately apparent. There is also a fruity fullness like sweet grapefruit underpinning the lift adding volume and depth to the nose. The palate is richly citrus and clean with the natural acidity perfectly balancing the fruit. 

Ok. So what does goose taste like?

It’s chewier, meatier, and has more intensity than duck. For those who for some reason can’t eat duck, but still like that sort of taste, I can highly recommend the goose. I cannot remember if I’ve ever eaten goose before, but I think I have found something else I enjoy immensely. You know something? I’m not so sure that I can go back to eating duck again after this. I need some time. And I reckon a goose would be great in Peking style. Next up, Peking Goose!

And it's not a tarts blog without some watch shots now, is it?

Pictured:  three of the many watches present on the night. Not pictured, but spotted, were Rolex Lady Datejust, Rolex Vintage Air King, Tissot two-tone PR50, Tag Heuer Kirium, Tag Heuer 2000 Classic amongst others...

Sinn U1

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Squadra Hometime

Vintage Omega Marine Chronometre

It was great to meet some of the tweeps for the first time, and to put aliases to faces. I’m happy to announce that no one was a psychopath…

A huge thanks to @urbanfoodmarket for donating the geese and for the opportunity to be guinea pigs in the goose venture. Also big thanks to @aptronym for helping to get the whole night organised. I’m sure it wasn’t easy.

For those who missed out this time around, make sure you get in early for the next goosefest! 

As mentioned previously, the cost of #goosefest2010 was $40pp, and the geese, all four of them, which were kindly donated for the evening by the dinner's sponsor - the one and only Tim of urban food market.

And in green we have Tim - purveyor of geese and other juicy meats.
(in the Twitterverse, he is also known as Ava's dad)

Some photos of the goose lovers :

Videos of the event, taken by Reem, can be viewed here, here, here and here.

P.S. This post included Twitter jargon. if you need to find out what they mean, please join Twitter.