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Thread: My Watch Journey

  1. #1
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    My Watch Journey

    I'm going to take a departure from Alan's memory dump thread and try to go from the beginning. Since I do not have images of many of my watches form the early days I'm going to borrow those where I can find them just to show. The first 15 years of watches goes rather fast given that there were only four. My dad taught me to tell time with a cardboard clock he made during the summer before I started first grade (1968). My birthday is right after school started (September) so one of my presents was a kids Timex. It has a small SS case, white dial with black numbers and hands and a black strap. I believe this is very close to the one I had.



    At some point into the seventies thanks to the popularity of the Six Million Dollar man TV show I wanted a digital. Though the character Steve Austin wore a digital Seiko I was given a Texas Instrument similar to this one for Christmas.




    Through middle school and high school I had a TI LCD watch.



    When I graduated from high school my summer job just before starting college was in a machine shop. When welding something the fields from the welder erased the LCD watch so I went, and sought something else. I learned also to be a bit more cautious with my watch.
    The something new was my first diver which was a Pepsi Bezel Pulsar quartz dive watch. I remember it had a plexiglass crystal like many of the divers at the time. Through 4 years of college and USCG Officers Candidate School this watch served me from 1980-sometime in 1985. At that point the crystal and bezel were so scratched they could barely be read. Here is something close to how I remember it. I believe the one I had was on a bracelet. I actually learned to dive the summer between my sophomore and Junior years of college. So this was probably the first watch I ever dived with.


    In 1985 I had my first two big watch purchases during my first patrol aboard the USCG WHEC Gallatin. During a port call in San Juan Puerto Rico I purchased a Tag Heuer Quartz Diver that I had up until 2000. At some point during the 90's I had the movement replaced once.


    After getting the Tag I noticed being down in the heat of the Caribbean I was getting a sort of burn under my watch. I tried a few others (all quartz) watches, and it continued to happen (and still does today). Even putting something between the case and my skin did not help. Best theory is something in my chemistry is affected by the frequency of the quartz. I can wear quartz for a day, but not much longer if I'm out in the heat. Digital G-Shock and Suunto do not cause this, just ones with the quartz motor. I did find when the internet became available that this is far more common happening with other people. I mention this since one of the things a friend of mine suggested on the ship was to try his Seiko diver Automatic, and he wore the Tag. After two weeks no issues so I was pretty convinced I needed an automatic watch. In the 80's those were not all that common. The second big purchase that year was due to two pilots at the Officers club in GITMO Cuba. They had on these beautiful blue dialed SS and gold diver watches. I started talking to them about them and found out they were automatic mechanical watches. I had seen adds for these Rolex watches in diver magazines, but had never seen one before in the steel. The pilots told me these were on sale at the Navy exchange if you were eligible to buy from the fleet catalog. When I went and checked with the exchange I was a few days shy of the time requirement aboard the ship. I knew we would be back in a week or two for fuel so it was going to be my first stop. The price for a two tone (SS and Yellow gold) blue dial Submariner was $800. This was a about $500 less than an AD at the time. I remember telling my mom who had access to my bank account to pay my bills to pay this charge when it came. She kept asking why I was spending so much money on a watch. After a bit of back and forth she finally agreed to do it and gave me a bit of money towards it since it was coming up on my birthday. I really had no bills back then, and what money I made mostly went in the bank. These were short phone calls from the Navy phone exchange on the base in Cuba. Easier to get things resolved when you only have a few minutes to talk before the next in lines turn. So now I had a collection of two divers. The Rolex kind of became welded on my wrist for almost ten years. The tag got the occasional wear when I was doing law enforcement boardings, but the rest of the time the Sub enjoyed primary wrist time.


    While stationed on the ship we had annual training events that had us at GITMO for a month and a half. The first weekend there I was talking to the guys at the Marine exchange which had a killer dive shop about getting my deep water certification. We generally had Sundays off so during this time I got in a great deal of diving. There is a shelf right outside on Guantanamo Bay that falls off for a few miles of depth where the bay is actually shallow and at most maybe 120' of depth. After I got my deep water cert I probably did about 15 tri-mix dives off the bay there over a 4 year period. The bay back then had a pretty large population of hammer head sharks that after a while you sort of got use to them. Don't get me wrong the first time there I kind of freaked out. We went diving at other places there in the Caribbean at most of the islands there.=

    As an experiment I tried one of the Tag plastic cased F1 watches in black and yellow that I picked up for under $100 at an exchange. It did not solve the burning issue. I later gave this to my brother to dive with.
    =
    My last watch of the 80's just before I left the Coast Guard I picked up this Seiko alarm watch in St Thomas. It is still running today, and I gave it to a friends son who thought it was cool.
    \
    So standing total going into 1990 when I left the USCG was eight, and my actual collection stood at four. I never realized even back then my leaning towards divers were already in place. Next the 90's which my collecting really picks up speed.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    I figured I can cover the early Nineties reasonably quickly. Just to review at this time I had the two tone Blue Submariner, a Tag diver (quartz ), a Tag F1 plastic case diver (quartz) and a Seiko Two-tone (black and gold) alarm dressy watch.

    Around 1990-91 I decided to get something a bit more dressy. I was wearing a tie to work everyday in a lab that I did engineering work on various computer systems. The rest is or was classified so we'll just leave it at that. I lived in downtown Annapolis MD and commuted to the outer loop of the DC beltway (Landover). While walking through the Annapolis mall at a Bailey, Banks and Biddle jewelry store I spotted a very thin Mavado dress watch. It was two tone (mostly steel) museum watch on a bracelet. I did not find a picture of one, but I can kind of talk through this one I found of a all SS ladies version. The one I bought had a gold bezel and crown. The dots on the bezel were SS. The dots in the bracelet (see links picture)and the dial were gold and the hands where gold. I'm thinking it was about 5 mm thick making it the thinnest watch I've owned. Ironically the Rolex was still my everyday, and this was my "Dressy" Sunday watch. I had this over ten years and it was the first watch I sold on ebay.
    Attachment 66104
    Attachment 66103

    Near the middle of 1991 (May/June) I moved to Florida north of Orlando in Winter Springs. My brother and I purchased a house together there. Both of us had jobs that did not have us home much. My first two years there I worked a s a consultant on the Space Coast so I had a 90+ minute commute each way every day. During this period my watch shopping was pretty curtailed. More over my watch related activities revolved around getting batteries replaced in what I owned, and I believe my Rolex went for the it's second service. Around 1993 I started a new job that eliminated my long commute. For my brother he had a period of about a year that he was working from the office just down the road from where I worked. We started commuting together to work everyday. My new job was setting up a software test lab for a company that made data storage software and hardware. I mention this since about a year later as part of the pre Windows 95 launch I signed up to beta test Microsofts Internet Explorer and dial up internet service for 6 months prior to the Win 95 launch. Now that I could get Internet at home for free I decided to by my first PC. This started a host of things including shopping for watches online. Ashford.com was around back then and I would spend my lunch breaks, weekend down time and sometimes evening looking at all the watches they had at discounts. There were a few other sites, but I don't think I ever used or trusted them. Finally just before the end of 1995 I decide to buy my first watch online on Black Friday. I had my list narrowed down to two Omegas. The first was what would become known as the James Bond watch the blue wave dialed 41mm Seamaster Professional. The second was the yellow dialed Michael Schumacher Speedmaster Chronograph on a yellow strap. Both were automatics, and Omegas and that was the end of the similarities. I choose the Speedy which I believe was a bit cheaper than the SMP at just under $900. I loved it until I put it on my wrist. The Yellow was too much and made even worse with the bright yellow strap. I also I found I could not live without a date on the watch. That afternoon I was on the phone to get an RMA to return the watch and it went back to be replaced by the SMP.





    The thing I first remember about the SMP was when I first got it I had no clue how to size the bracelet. I took it to the AD at the Mall during lunch and I remember they had one of the punch and hammer pin tools. I could hear them beating on the watch pins and I had no idea what they would come back with. They did get it sized after a few tries and nothing was scratched or marked at all given all the beating I could hear in the other room. Years later I figured out the pin, and collar bracelet set up and bought a tool to change these out. This was a big watch, and though only 1mm more than the Sub it looked much bigger and seemed to fit my wrist well. This was before Omega added the Co-Axial escapement to the 25xx series of watches so it was thin for a diver and had a proper solid case back with a beautiful Seahorse engraved in it. The SMP has a solid machined clasp that made the stamped one on the Rolex seem quite flimsy. This was the first time the Rolex started to loose it's edge. The SMP also had excellent lume. I came to love the wave dial and the hands of the SMP. We had a new number one.

    So we are going into 1996. I have had 10 watches total and I currently sit at a collection of six:

    Omega SMP
    Rolex TT Sub
    Tag Diver
    Tag F1
    Seiko Alarm
    Movado.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    My Watch Journey

    So going into 1996 I had a big change in my life. I was asked to take on a big project with Compaq computer for my company based around the Orlando area. This started with a once a week trip to Houston that then evolved to me being there all week and home on week ends. This went on through June of 1998. From a conversation at the Airport during one of these trips I came across a guy that had a few Panerai. It was so big and so different I became obsessed with the brand. I started to hunt down stores and sites that sold them. I found one who took the Rolex on trade and bought a vintage form the 50's Pam and a Sly Tech. Over the next ten years several passed came and went in my collection, but these first two remained until almost the end. I do know I kept talking my self into buying a base seven times only to sell it in a month or two. Base is Panerai speak for a two hand Luminor with a minimalistic Dial. I was not ready to love or live with a base back then(except for the vintage). Hand wind and no date or second hand. I think 2004 or 2005 was when I bought my last of the first round of Pams in my collecting days. This was a Pam 88 which is a Luminor GMT. These were the first watches I broke the over $1000 mark for and then some. During this period that totaled 24 Panerai watches I never owned a Radiomir. Don't know why just never bought one? Around 2001 a friend suggested I lurk on TZ Panerai forum. Mostly I just read things on there since it is a pretty brutal crowd that hung out there that waited to attack anyone with a question that did not have over 1000 post count. My first watch forum, but I only to this day have about 12 posts there. The Pam 88 stayed about a year past the departure of all the others that I sold off in the fall of 1997 (15 watches). The 88 was my go to at the time and it is even in all of our wedding photos on the beach of Costa Rica in 2005.

    I'm kind of departing on the year, by year of the previous post to just focus on my ten year original obsession for Panerai. It was a solid 10-12 year run that turned out to allow me to change everything when it was done. Panerai came from nearly unknown to highly in demand. In 1997 they were purchased by what became the Richemont group. I had several of the Pre V watches and many other rare ones that appreciated at multiples of what I originally paid for them. This was plain and simple pure dumb luck and holding on to them for the period I did also turned out to be a good thing. The yield was a lot of money of which I have used half of it to fund my collecting since then. The rest was put away for retirement. This was a game changer for me which as we move forward some was good and bad.

    Here are some pictures I found on the web of some of these. The Pam 88 pictures are mine since this was the start of having digital pictures of watches for me. My next post will go back through 1999 to 2008 when I first joined WUS since there are few significant events there.








    Pam 88


    Tried it at one point on a bracelet...Note how the links match the crown guard. 98% of the time it was on the original honey colored Croc strap with deployant.


    Note the configuration of the Pam 88 (GMT with Date). You'll see this several times in the coming years.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    Forgot to put a rolling count to include the Panerai. So we were at 10 and there were 24 Panerai during this phase so lifetime watch total is at 34. Since I'm going to go backwards a bit next we'll just include this even though the date will go up through the fall of 2007.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    Going back a bit now to 1999. I decided that March to take a voluntary lay off since it was time to find a new place to work. This was a family owned company that the owner had passed away while I was out in Houston. They were going to make me a VP, but from what I saw they were funneling off money from this thriving Tech company (this was during the prime of the .com period) to support a floundering Realestate Business and a Lumber company. Tech companies need to take a large portion of what they make to fund new tech. They were not doing this at the level it needed to be an development was mostly maintenance. I saw they would be near dead in a year. This had been brewing since I got all of the projects in Houston complete for that time. I had not taken vacation in nearly 4 years so decided I was going to take 2 months off and go on a motorcycle trip to all the places I had said I wanted to go to east of the Mississippi River. This started the weekend just before Labor day 1998 on my new Harley Road king. I had piles of Hotel points and Airline miles that I was able to stay at all kinds of nice Hotels and fly my dog to my parents house all for free(since my brother was going away). The only hotel I paid for was two nights at the Gaylord Opryland hotel since it always looked amazing as part of my stay in Nashville. During this trip I had a lot of me, and my thoughts time to reflect on what was going on at work. I decided I would stick it out through the end of the year, and if I did not see things changing I was going to go find a new job. All told I road nearly 10K miles with the most in a single day being almost 700 miles when I was trying to get out of the path of a hurricane coming up from the pan handle. Since I was gone so long in Houston, and really only spent money for a few little things when home I had saved up for a serious new car. Christmas day had my dog and I staring through the window of the Mercedes dealer in Orlando at a E Class AMG convertible. I was going to buy it the next day when they opened, but the more I thought about it I knew it was not going to make me happy if I still worked at the same place. So the plan was to try and see what exit package I could work out along with the money for the Mercedes and go fine a job I really wanted. It must have been the right move since as of yesterday I had my 18 year anniversary there.

    On the watch front when it looked like I was at the point of choosing between eight offers and waiting on a Interview the following week with the company I choose I happened by the then new Mall in Lake Mary to a Mayors Jewelers. I was looking at a couple things when a Salmon dial Tudor Sub caught my eye. I believe it was marked down to the point that with tax it was $900. I bought it on faith that I would be employed soon and it kind of became my lucky charm. The next day I had the phone interview for my current job. The next Tuesday I flew down to Ft Lauderdale for the interview, and that Thursday I accepted the job offer. Other good things happened like meeting my wife a few years down the road wearing this watch, but that is another story ironically also watch related.




    So it is now at the end of 1999 my Rolling count was 35 watches. Current collection consisted of the following:
    Tudor Sub
    Omega SMP
    About 10 Panerai (do not remember the models)
    Tag Diver
    Tag F1 Diver
    Movado Museum Watch TT

    So a collection of 15.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    Take three since I've lost this post two times now. We're now up to the year 2000. Everything made it through Y2K with little effect. This was the year I discovered buying and selling watches on eBay. The Tag Diver, and Mavado were sold on eBay this year. While I don't have pictures I also tried a few private company offerings from unknowns from the bay.

    Possibly two new Panerai found there way to the collection and I'm certain I had one or more of my Pam base in and out cycles. The

    I gave the Tag F1 to my brother to use as a diver. When I look at his watch collection if you want to call it that everything he has was a gift. He has a Tissot dress watch I gave him as a graduation gift from college and the F1 just mentioned. He has a quartz Date Just look watch that was a work anniversary gift and another watch that we'll talk about in the next paragraph.

    This was the year I really started to research watches on the internet. I'm certain I looked at many of the Panerai related things at this time since that was my core. I was looking for a sort of beater automatic watch and had been researching these for quite a bit. I had just about settled on the coin edge version of the Sub look alike Invicta when one of the comparisons pitted it against the just released Seiko Monster. This lead to a whole bunch more research on these two watches. When the dust settled I decided I wanted the Seiko orange Monster. SO now was the flurry to find the best price. On Black Friday that year on site had both the black and orange Monsters for $90 including shipping. I felt this was such a good deal I bought the Orange for me, and got a black one for each of my two brothers for Christmas (See he got another watch from me as a gift). After i got the orange Monster and wore it a bit I went back to the site to get a black on also. The price had gone up to about $150 so I put getting the black one on hold. The orange monster became my go too watch for evening and weekends. In those days i would come home, take off what ever I wore those days to work and put on the monster for the evening. I also took up golf this year after playing for the first time in Ireland during a business trip. There was a driving range right on my way home so I would stop a few times a week to hit a bucket of balls on my way home. We also were out on all the local courses with a group from work nearly every Saturday and quite a few Sundays. I was also still diving or going to the beach or pool a lot so the monster just fit in. The Mosnter is the other watch in my honeymoon photos a few years later. It was on in many of the photographed activities like the three horseback riding tours , the ATV volcano and forest ride (that was very advanced for someone like my wife)and white water rafting we did in Costa Rico. It also later played a big part as I expanded my internal workings of the watch knowledge.




    BTW I did buy, and return in a day or two the Invicta Pro Diver around Christmas.
    So at the end of 2000 I believe this is were I was at:

    Tudor Sub
    Omega SMP
    12 assorted Panerai
    Seiko Orange Monster
    So a collection of 15 with a total across the years of 40 watches at the end of 2000.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    In this post I hope to cover the years between 2001 and 2007. A few Pams came in between 2001 and 2004 which was last last year I bought a new Panerai until the second round last year. I also found Zeno watch as a brand that I bought and sold through out the period quite regularly. I believe I had this Diver in both 3 and 4 hands variations in every color it was offered in. Five colors seems to be what I remember which where green, yellow red, orange , and black. I also tried several of their pilot watches, a few LE and and a Muller style watch. Looking at things this accounted for 20 watches.









    Another big event in my life was meeting my wife Lisa just before Christmas 2002. We were a modern couple which translates to we met on an online dating site. Our first date was the Light House Point Boat Parade at a friend of mines house on the Intercostal waterway. Since I had already arranged going back to PA for Christmas we did not see each other until I got back in January. Our first real date (just us) was at a restaurant just down the road from our home now. We can walk there. We went out until April 2003 where Lisa said she may move back to Chicago. So we were not in contact until October. I knew her birthday was then and when I contacted her I found out she did not move to Chicago and was still here. We arranged to go to diner on the Saturday close to her birthday. At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with watches, but indulge me I'm getting there. We decided to go to the Aventura Mall for diner and along the way Lisa said she had to return something to Macy's. We were having a good time and it seemed like we had not been apart for those months at all. When we got to the store I found out the watch she was returning was some kind of off brand watch she bought there. She knew I was into watches so she was kind of trying to hide it. As we walked around a bit we found ourselves wondering into the Omega AD. She tried on several watches there including some other brands that they had. She settled on the Omega Ladies SMP. I told her I would buy it for her for her Birthday.


    From there we went to diner, and then decided to go to my new town house which she had never been to. We watched the Marlins beat the Yankees in the World Series and we kind of saw that as a sign. The next day we were back together. Lisa has always been practical so when she found we could get the same watch cheaper the hunt began including ebay to get the best price. We took the one we bought back and she found one from HK that was a HK only version and less expensive. This was unique in that it was all the same as the blue wave dial version, except it had a pure white wave dial. The AD when it was taken for a battery change confirmed this was original from Omega this way and not a Franken watch. I've never been able to find another like it for sale. Lisa had this watch on in all of our wedding and honeymoon photos in Costa Rico. So that means she had it though September of 2005. Below appears to be the dial she had, but imagine it with the blue bezel. It is possible they did change the bezel inset to the blue on this watch. I never did ask that specifically of the AD, he just confirmed that was the correct dial for that model watch.



    Going into 2006 Lisa had seen a ladies Breitling with a gold, bezel, diamond pearl dial with two tone rings in the bullet band. She did not want too many watches (that has since changed) so she told me to sell the Omega and get her this for Christmas.





    About 6 months later she decided the Breitling was too hard to read. In its place we bought a new Ladies SMP (blue again) from Rob (possibly the first thing I bought from him?), and a preowned two tone ladies Rolex Date Just with diamond dial and jubilee bracelet. A few years down the road I learned a valuable lesson about buying Rolexes when we tried to sell the Rolex. We found out it had a counterfeit dial So we had to discount it a bit to sell it. I only now buy new so i don't take a chance, unless I know the history of the watch. Lisa still rotates in the SMP from time to time. Note that I am not commenting on my wife changing her mind about a watch.People in glass houses....



    In 2007 the great Panerai and apparently Zeno sell off started in October though December. At the end of the year only the Pam 88 remained and one Zeno diver after the sell off. Additionally I sold off the Tudor Sub to someone who bought a few of the Panerai from me.

    So as I head into 2008 I have now had 60 lifetime watches and my collection sits at the following:

    Omega SMP
    Panerai 88 GMT
    Yellow Zeno Diver
    Seiko Orange Monster

    By the end of 2008 only the Monster will still be in my collection. But that I will cover in the next installment. Note picture content from this point forward will be pretty high. This is due to me buying my first DSLR just before our family wedding ceremony in May 2006. We went to Costa Rico since we wanted to be married in 2005 and ran out of time before the Hurricane season came on full bore. This came in handy during the big sell off.
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    My Watch Journey

    Oh I forgot one. After our wedding when my Aunt and Uncle where visiting around my birthday. They presented me with this beauty. You have to love the Klingon war bird bridge, and the "unique"(cough...cough) shape, and dial set up (that is a day/night indicator not a moon phase, which makes the 24 hour indicator redundant ). You can Google and read for hours about Montres Allison watches. I believe Ernie at WUS had some big blow out with Terry Allison, but that was before my time there. This was a watch that only came out of the box when my aunt, and uncle came to visit. Finally after about three years they had read some things about them on the internet, and we all had a chuckle. I believe I just gave it to someone as a gag gift after that. So adjust my end of 2007 to 61 lifetime watches and add a Montres Allison to make the collection total five. This is what I list as the most embarrassing watch I've owned. It is possible this has contributed to my dislike of Roman numeral watch dials?



    Here is a good link on Montres Allison to get you started:
    http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/...378#comment_73
    Cheers,

    Michael

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    My Watch Journey

    So we are now going into 2008. Well pretend the Montres Allison did not exist and is hidden from anyone seeing it which was pretty much true. I've sold off all of the Panerai except the 88 which is next on the chopping block. By Valentines day it is sold to a man in Hawaii, and I learn the value of CONUS for the US since shipping is nearly double to Hawaii(not what I expected). So my collection (that I consider my collection)stands at just the SMP, Zeno Diver and Monster. With all the Pams gone I had a pretty sizable watch fund so I started to look a what to buy. For about a year the Orange bezel Omega Planet Ocean just kept coming up in photos looking so good. So good that I decided to sell the SMP since It seemed redundant with the PO that I was going to buy. So with the SMP gone I'm now wearing the monster 24/7 since I believe I had the Zeno posted for sale. I had never seen the PO in the flesh at this point, but hey the pictures could not lie...or could they. I bought one from a grey market dealer (do not know that I knew what that was back then). When it arrives it does not look like any of the photos. The dial is dull grey/black and the hands seem too big for the watch and possibly the worst thing about it is the numbers on the dial are red not orange. First thought it must be a fake. So a rush to look at the photos and I convinced this cannot be the beautiful dial from the photos. So before calling the dealer I decided to drive up to an Omega dealer, and see how this fake does not look like the real thing. Only problem is when I go in the dealer mine looks exactly like theirs. So I sold my beloved SMP for this. It went back the next day. Here was another valuable lesson learned which was it is always best to try one on in person before buying the watch. Pictures lie. I shied away from Omega for about three years because of this. It drove me crazy seeing how good the PO looked in pictures, yet I knew it did not look like that in person. The PO as you will see in the future has always been a love/hate (at the same time) model for me.



    Near the time I returned the PO I also sold the Zeno Diver so now the Orange Monster was all I had (or admit I had). After all the refunds were in from the PO refund I decided that I was going to go back to the AD I saw the PO at since they had several other brands. I started before going to search the web and I came across a site called Watch U Seek( I believe I joined that night). I stayed up way into the early morning browsing through this new site. My objective was to try and find something from a brand I never had before. When I went back to the dealer on Saturday night, and after a lot of looking at what they had I had it narrowed down to two Breitling Avengers models. I had never had a chronograph and the Breitling Avenger Skyland was a beauty on the bracelet. Option two was the Avenger Seawolf with the yellow dial which they only had on the rubber strap. It was late (almost 9pm), and I decided to get the Skyland just before they closed. They took it back to size and set it for me in the back. I wore the watch out the proud new owner and made my way home.


    The next morning when I woke up I broke out my camera an took a picture of it while I ate breakfast out on the Patio. After this I noticed the date did not change. I unscrewed the crown, but again the date would not change. So I grabbed the book looking to see if I was doing something wrong. That did not appear to be the case, but I did see the warning about setting the date between certain times at night. I had never heard of such a thing so I fired up my computer and a search on setting date on a Breitling Chronograph landed me on several articles on WUS. This appeared to be a common issue during date setting so I guess I was lucky all those years and somehow never damaged one. The Breitling though was broken, from apparently setting the date at 9pm the night before by the AD. So I was back at the store at noon when they opened on Sunday armed with this new watch knowledge. They tried to deny it, but in the end agreed to refund me back the purchase since they did not have another like it, and Idid not want to wait for it to return from service. I tried on the Yellow Seawolf again before I left and then went home. The Seawolf haunted me, but I also had this new site to read that was very addictive to me. I even started ask questions and was given answers rather quickly. I was a member on TZ for many years before this, but the one time I asked a question there my head was almost bit off. WUS was far more friendly. I stumbled upon this brand that seemed to be exclusive to this site called Ocean 7 and I was fascinated at first that you could talk directly to the brand owner, and second that they were local to me. It was after midnight and may eyes were almost hanging out of my head from browsing so much. I was on the Ocean 7 retail site and decided to pull the trigger on a LM2. In the order note I asked if I could pick it up in person? The next morning I had a confirmation email from Mitch which said he could meet me at the Starbucks in Coral Springs to pick up my watch/ I replied that I also wanted to buy a LM-3 so could he bring that if I ordered it right now. I did and he replied we could meet the next day at Starbucks. I'm excited since I was going to meet the watches designer/brand owner tomorrow. I also kept thinking about the Seawolf and decided I was going to pick it up at lunch the next day before I met Mitch.

    So the next day first we picked up this:




    My ponds at the house by the beach came in handy.

    Next we met Mitch for coffee and picked up these two:





    This had 24mm lugs so I could use my vast Pam strap collection.





    Mitch and I had a nice conversation about watches while I opened my new toys. He collected Pams also, and said he had a dresser full of old Tuning fork Accutrons. Thiese were the start of many Ocean 7 watches over the next two years. I would have to say that the LM-2 was the best(ironically the first). Mine actually had to have the crystal changed, and Mitch picked it up that morning, repaired it, pressure tested the watch, and had it back to me that afternoon. I was a fan of the Brand. Mitch and I use to meet about once a month for a period there to have a little GTG and have him show me what he was working on. For the first time I felt a bit like an insider.

    The Breitling was not fairing as well as the O7's. The sharp down turn lugs of the Avenger line were digging into my wrist. I tried going to an AD to try one on the bracelet and it was actually worse on my wrist. After trying a bunch of things I squeezed in one of my thick 24mm straps into the 22mm lugs and the watch was up enough off my wrist and felt good. So I placed an order for a strap from my primary Pam strap source Vintager (Micah). This strap was actually taken on about a dozen saltwater dives plus a few months of swimming in the Ocean on the weekends. His straps do well even when they get wet (which for this material he said it was OK).





    A few more lessons that have served me over time well aside from the date setting one, was that not all watches fit everyone. I've never had a watch not fit me right like the Breitling. I found later that the Super Ocean is the only line that fits me comfortably from Breitling. Other lesson was that watch sites are dangerous. Three watches in one day? I never did anything like this ever before.

    We are not even through the first quarter of 2008 and I have three new watches added in one day(5 in 7 days if you count the returns). A personal record at the time. So my lifetime count is now at 66 and my collection at mid March 2008 sits as follows:

    Seiko Orange Monster
    Breitling Avenger Seawolf
    O7 LM-2
    O7 LM-3
    Montres Allison (hidden in safe)

    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

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    So continuing in the month of March in 2008 I was approached by a colleague from work looking to buy a watch. Given what he wanted we settled on a Revue Thommen Airspeed XL. He bought a black dialed version on a bracelet. I decided to get the blue on a strap with deployant. I remember posting it as deployment and getting corrected by Mike S at WUS that it was deployant. I never made that error again. Funny that same error is annoying to me today to the point that the Authentic Watches.com site drives me crazy with all of their deployment buckles. I written them about it it a few times, but I'm guessing they let spell check be their guide.



    Looking at the Airspeed today it is actually one of the better 7750 based chronographs for dial setup. I had this watch about 5 years since any other chronograph I tried just never worked as well.

    At this same time on the home front my wife had decided to started breeding Poms about a year before this. This was triggered after our Pom got hit by a speeding car in our yard (well swale). Her search to find and exact replacements showed her how poor most of the Pom breeders are so she decided to do it better on her own. She sells fully trained puppies now, and some are actually certified therapy dogs. Our first puppy was born March 27 of that month. This is baby Dosa. All the dogs had watch related names back then and my wife who is Chinese from Cambodia does not pronounce "x's" right so Doxa became Dosa. So even our dogs have links to watches.


    Dosa at 6 weeks this picture was on the cover of one of the pet supply catalogs and their calendar that year after my wife submitted it for their contest. We still have Dosa who is my girl. Dosa's mom was Panda (more watch related names) in the background and on the couch below.





    This was Omega, and we had a Rolex and many more watch brand names through out her first year doing this. So I guess you get the tie so I'll stop here.


    My Ocean 7 fixation continued with a few more of those found there way to me through out that year. The Breitling Seawolf was at that time a Titanium case (about two years later they changed them to SS) watch and it did not hold up all that well. This represents what most people fear about Titanium watches which I feel is sort of an Urban Legend. The LM-2 was titanium and it did not show any wear like the Breitling did. With the exception of the Breitling, and later down the road the GS diver(s), my Titanium watches have held up better than, or as good as my SS ones. I ordered one of the limited edition O7 American watches which came with a Titanium case (44mm) and bracelet which also had a strap in the box. This watch had a large for a diver 36mm dial compared to other 44mm divers at the time that had 28mm and 30mm dials. Money from these went to one of the Veteran's charities. This kind of became my dress watch at the time:



    Following the American I bought my first two PVD watches. These were the 24hour LE version of the LM-2 and the LM-5 LE Carbon which had a carbon fiber look dial. Here the are along with the American,







    Below it is on the OEM strap.


    Since I was one of the first to get the LM-2 LE 24hour since I was able to get it directly from Mitch I remember this lume shot that I posted that day helped sell out this watch.



    In my next post I'll cover a few other brands that I was also buying during this time frame in 2008. To summarize at this point I am at a grand total of 70 lifetime watches, and one puppy. We'll give collection status after the next post.
    Cheers,

    Michael

    Tell everyone you saw it on IWL!

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