Tuesday, December 21, 2010

JLC Reverso

With the Reverso’s 80th birthday being just around the corner I thought I’d share stories about the Reversos that have been a part of my life… 

The first Reverso I had was also the very first JLC watch I’ve ever owned - a Reverso Duo. The name Duo, meaning there are two faces to the watch, with each face being able to show a different time, with the hour hand being able to be set independently. A very useful watch if you happened to travel a lot, or have the need to call someone in a different timezone, or, if you were like me, I simply enjoyed the fact that I kinda have two watches in one, and depending on my mood, I’d choose once face over the other.

Mine had a little pusher on the side of the watch, and you need to use a push pin or a toothpick to change the time on the 2nd dial. Later models would come with a proper pusher, making time zone changes a lot easier.

This watch actually came into my life quite unexpectedly. It wasn’t on my to-buy list nor did it ever appear on the horizon for me. But I was given the chance to buy one at a price too good to refuse.

So I didn’t.

Refuse, that is…

It was a great watch and I think this watch made me start to really like Reverso watches in general, but just not this one. As much as I liked it, I couldn’t get over how small it was (Men’s watches used to be smaller, but as we all grew larger, so too, did the size of watches) and ultimately, I had to let it go.

Here are some specs on that particular watch:

Case size: 42.2mm by 26mm
Manual wind movement calibre 854
21,600 vph
21 Jewels
180 parts
Front: Hour, minute, seconds
Back, 2nd time zone, 24 hour display
Power reserve: 45 hours.

It would be a while before I wore another Reverso, and this one I thought was perfect for me size-wise. It’s the Reverso Squadra Hometime, and when it was released, a lot of people didn’t like it, as they felt the case too thick and too chunky and lacking that classic Reverso finesse. But it suited me just right, and even at retail, the price was extremely reasonable.  Then the price started to creep up year after year, until it become overpriced, but the prices have come back down to a more reasonable level.

This is powered by an automatic movement, but rather than having a second face on the back, it is see-through, and you can see the movement. To me personally, if you want to show the movement, at least make sure there’s something to see? I’d much rather a second face, or even a solid case back, which would be great for engraving, if I ever went for one.

Being automatic is great too, as at times I do get a bit lazy winding up watches in the morning, so it’s quite convenient to just put the watch on and go. Yes I realise quartz is even more convenient but then you wouldn’t really be reading this if quartz is your thang…

Even though it’s only really single-faced, it still offers the function of a second time zone, in the form of a skeleton hour hand, which you can hide under the regular hour hand if you have no need of a second time zone.

I’ve worn this watch for more than two years now, and I enjoy it just as much as the first time I put it on my wrist. I think that due to its size, it can be a bit of a scratch magnet, but I can live with that. Looks great on the chunky bracelet, but I think I’ll stick to leather straps for the time being. The only major issue I have with it is that as the case is so thick, the strap needs to be fitted to the case; otherwise it would look quite ungainly. And that means I can’t just fit any 22mm strap to it. Meaning I’m stuck with the OEM choices of black, brown or black rubber, or… I’d need to go down the custom made route…

Again, some specs on this watch:

Case size: 50.5mm x 35mm x 14mm high
Automatic movement calibre 977
28,800 vph
29 jewels
234 parts
48 hour power reserve
Hour, minute, seconds, 2nd time zone, date display.

However, I’m very much looking forward to their new releases coming up. The Pre-SIHH 2011 shots of the Tribute to 1931, the original Reverso, already have me salivating. And I think they’ve hit the nail on the head with the size of the case. Being an “ultra thin” model as well, it would go great with a suit, and the Reverso Squadra maybe relegated to weekend jeans/ t-shirt duty…

...and yes... just so you know, I do earn my keep from JLC.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rolex 5510 - Some notes

As we have mentioned in this previous post, Rolex 5510s have been in the news a little of late (and in the US$66,100 ebay 5510's case, this interest even appeared in the non-watch media).  Compared to the 5510 that went for US$98,500 only a matter of nine days later, the ebay one seems like a bargain, if you have that sort of money to play around with.

Why is the Rolex Ref. 5510 such a sought after watch, and not just amongst not just Rolex enthusiast? How do you identify a 5510?

Fortunately for us, one of the Tarts is a veritable encyclopaedia of vintage Rolex information, and so this information is courtesy of TonyC, whose knowledge of Rolex arcana is, simply put, amazing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Verandah Restaurant

Verandah Restaurant and Wine Bar
55-65 Elizabeth St
(Entrances on both Elizabeth St and Castlereagh St)
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph : (02) 9239 5888
Open : 12-3pm Monday to Friday

British politics, links from the Daily Mail, and very likely the best gingerbread cookies in Sydney.

These are some of the things that I associate with chef Jonathan Ingram (or @jonathaningram3 as he is known on twitter) of Verandah. We crossed paths once, at the opening of the Wine Library, but didn’t actually meet or speak on that occasion, so a visit to Verandah was a long overdue event.

The sunny spacious restaurant is accessed via a walkway from the popular Verandah Bar area, and easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.

On this particular day, the clientele was very much the Suited City type, which made our table somewhat incongruous. I’d like to think that we added err ‘variety’.

We faffed around with our orders, one course or two? Quite ridiculous, really.

The problem was solved for us, in the end.

Zucchini flowers stuffed with Wild Rocket, Ricotta and Parmesan; Prawns on Ratatouille;
Crab and Avocado tian

My favourite of these three (yes the plate was as large as it appears) was the zucchini flowers, both the batter and filling of which were light texturally and tastewise. Sometimes I find zucchini flower filling a bit heavy, but these? Well I wished that I'd had more than one.  The tian contained generous amounts of crab, the classic avocado combination creamy but with the acidity of the accompanying tomatoes cutting a nice bite through the creaminess. Oh, and I think that the middle item was a small dollop of ratatouille beneath the plump fresh prawns, or if not, then something akin to it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An evening at Vendôme Woollahra

Following on from our Vendôme Woollahra teaser last month, the evening finally arrived for our private viewing with Alex and Grant.

I shall let the photos do the talking. Some of the brands I've already shown in the post linked above.

 The champagne served on the night.

 Globe-Trotter luggage

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rolex 5510 - Christie's Auction 2366

If you lost out on the recent much talked about ebay auction of a Rolex 5510 covered here by Hodinkee, you can always try for this one, up for auction at Christie's Sale 2366 on 14 December in New York. It’s lot 166 and the estimate is US $40,000 - $60,000.

"Lot Description


Cal. 1530 nickel-finished lever movement, 25 jewels, black gloss dial, luminescent baton, dot and triangular numerals, center seconds, tonneau water-resistant-type case, revolving black bezel calibrated for 60 units, screw-down crown, screw back stamped 1.1958 and engraved ROLEX OYSTER CASE, case, dial and movement signed, stainless steel Rolex Oyster bracelet and deployant clasp.

38mm diam. 

Accompanied by a Rolex service box and additional watch parts.

This last version of the Submariner model without the crown guard is also the last model of an historical and experimental era during which small quantities of unusual and varying diver's watches were made. In production during a short period of time only, it is assumed that the reference 5510 was made in an exceedingly small series of less than 300 examples."

This auction also contains something unexpected. Well for us, anyway.

Actor Anthony LaPaglia appears to be a watch collector of some quantity and breadth; he is getting rid of some watches via the same auction. In fact lots 199 to 420 are all from his collection. That’s a staggering amount of watches by any stretch of a collector’s imagination, but it’s not just about quantity, it’s quality as well. You’ll find some rare vintage Rolexes, Langes, a Panerai Ref. 3646, vintage Blancpain 50 Fathoms, Omegas, vintage pocket watches…fairly much something for every watch enthusiast and collector.

Take a look at what he's selling, I can find at least two dozen that I'd be more than happy to provide a new home for...


Postscript : 15 Dec - Price realised $98,500

For the prices realise for the LaPaglia watches, click here for the first lot. 

If you want to learn more about the Rolex 5510, you can read some notes here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

EAT Deli Kitchen

Eat Deli Kitchen
Level 5
Westfield Sydney CBD
Pitt St Mall
Sydney NSW 2000

When the revitalised Westfields shopping precinct opened (the signage actually says “The Opening Begins”, which doesn’t make any sense), it was reported that there were queues of people waiting to be the first to enter and part with their cash. 

As well as those queueing to enter the new shopping mall, queues were also present, for the first day (and subsequent days in that first week or so) at some of the eateries within this new shopping centre, with people happily waiting for up to TWO HOURS for their food in this shiny new food court.

One of these new eateries is EAT Deli Kitchen, owned by Panerai wearing chef Michael Moore.  I haven’t managed to get a clear view of which Panerai it is (Luminor, bracelet), but I was there to try the Reuben (100kg of that salt beef was sold on day one of trading), for which I didn't have to wait for more than about five minutes.

The Reuben – Blackmores Wagyu Salt Beef served on Rye with Swiss Cheese, Dill Pickles, Sauerkraut, Mild Mustard Mayo ($13.50)

Why aren’t Reuben sandwiches more popular in Sydney? I mean seriously – why? Lauren Murdoch’s new restaurant Felix, which has just opened, also has it on the menu (and I can’t wait to try it); perhaps this is the start of a new trend?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Watch brand ephemera

Last week we had a visitor, TonyP.  Although mostly living in Shanghai  nowadays, he comes back to Sydney a few times a year. When he does, he'll pop by on a Thursday evening to say hello and catch up.  Yes, we're that predictable that if anyone comes into town and wants to see us, they know exactly where and when to turn up.

For the past couple of years, Tony has been accumulating some free bits and pieces from SIHH and the like, and on this occasion he brought along a small suitcase filled with branded products to share with those who came along that night.

Here are some of them. Thanks, Tony!

Omega Apollo badges

Blancpain credit card case

Set of three Maîtres du Temps Moleskines

Daniel Roth Pilot fountain pen

Daniel Roth Wenger Swiss Army Knife

Audemars Piguet leather notepad

Richard Mille Sony Cybershot

Mont Blanc single pen holder

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Azuma Patisserie & Cafe

Azuma Patisserie & Cafe
Address: Shop 10.01
Level 10, 501 George St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Monday - Saturday: 12pm - 10pm
Sunday: 1pm - 8pm

An unexpected phone call, a brief GTG at Azuma, the first visit for one of us.

Was this photo tweeted by @initialjh?

Tableshot : the Rolex is self-explanatory. On the right is a LE Stowa B-Uhr Flieger.  

The two small tarts are Cheesecake and Matcha Green Tea Ganache Tart, at $2.50 each.  With cheesecake filling in the Japanese style, the first was probably my preferred one. The Green Tea tart, its texture of a slightly chewy consistency, had a sweet, strong green tea flavour but the taste was of a more ordinary quality green tea powder, lacking that component of green tea aroma that comes with good green tea.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

AMVOX2 Chronograph DBS

AMVOX2 Chronograph DBS - 192T450

Ah what is it about cars and watches?  Whether it’s co-branding, collaboration or ‘inspired by’, TAGs, Rolex Daytonas, Chopard Mille Miglia, Panerai Ferrari, Breitling for Bentley, Manometro, the list is endless, with even Spyker is getting in on the act with their own watch.

One of the more popular lines (and probably my personal favourite) is the JLC-Aston Martin AMVOX collaboration.

The modern partnership between Aston Martin and Jaeger-LeCoultre began in 2004 with the launch of the Aston Martin Jaeger-LeCoultre AMVOX1, reviving a link between the two companies going back to the 1930s, when Edmond Jaeger created dashboard instruments for cars such as the 1.5-litre Aston Martin LM.

Jaeger had established a company in the 1920s specialising in automotive dashboard instruments, and at its peak it is believed that 95% of car races were won by cars equipped with Jaeger counters.

I unexpectedly got to have a bit of a play with an AMVOX2 DBS Titanium recently.