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Monday, 19 July 2021


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No worries. It's fun to read this stuff. I rarely wear a watch, but I most often do when photographing bike races, which usually adhere to a timetable. I need to know if I have enough time to scoot off to the coffee shop before the next race starts. So I bought a quartz watch with an an analog face (https://www.casioca.com/products/watches/classic/mq24-7b2) that's easy to read at a glance without reaching for my reading glasses, like I've had to do in the last few years with digital watches. I have owned 5 or 6 digital Timexes or Cardinals and for some reason I have ended up losing almost all of them. I have this bad habit of taking them off and placing them down somewhere and that seals their fate. So I tried to keep the prices of what I bought under $30-$40. One problem with those was setting them, weird sequence of button presses. But this new watch only knows time, doesn't know about dates or leap years, no need to consult a manual to set it. And it's very thin so the elastic cuffs on my jacket easily rides over it, and it's water proof too because they don't cancel bike races when it rains. I was amazed to find that someone still made a simple watch like this.

Btw, I love the fact that dates and leap years and stuff are called "complications" in the watch world.

Same age as you. I like wearing a watch. Over the years, I have acquired a number. I have never consciously gone out of my way to start a collection. It just happened.

About twenty years ago, I treated myself to a watch at Barney's, New York. I think it was a TechnoMarine or something. Swiss made, water resistant to 20 ATM. I bought it because it was pretty. Later that year, i went on holiday to a Greek Island, where I sat in six inches of sea water, whereupon it stopped.

It didn't work for another 15 years until a photographer friend retrained as a watch repairer and fixed it. It's now back on my wrist.

In old movies see how many folks are wearing watches. Generally a lot of them. In newer movies not so many. Something to study if the plot gets boring.

Your attraction to watch collecting and writing about it is interesting in a creative mind sort of way to me. Creative people from my experience, tend to have many interests, some fleeting and some that take root. It’s all good to me.

Watching pool does not interest me, but baseball is another story. I go to the FSU games when I can, and I have had a paid subscription to a baseball channel over the years. I played pool briefly in my younger days, but was told I was not allowed to bring a table into my home when I was married even though there was plenty of space for one. Oh well!

I am definitely in the 40% of non-wearing watch people. I wore my Breitling for over a decade and absolutely love its bracelet, but gave it up when the need for an Apple Watch came into play. Both watches are no longer necessary in my life as I rely on my cell phone, and occasionally I can be heard saying inside my home: “Alexa, what time is it, please?”

[Funny. Sometimes I look at my phone for the temperature even though there's a thermometer right outside the window. The phone isn't even hard data—it's a recent but not up-to-the-minute report from somewhere nearby, who knows where. --Mike]

No complaints from me. I enjoy your off-topic writing even when I have no personal interest in the subject (e.g. pool).

Your recent posts prompted me to buy two new watches, doubling my collection to four total.

I bought an Vostok Amphibia, which was mentioned in the comments. What an oddball delight! The Zorki-4 of watches, perhaps? And the Amphibia shares a 18mm strap width with my quartz Timex so I can swap Nato straps between them.

En route is a Hamilton Field Mechanical, which I've wanted for many years. Then that's it -- no more! :)

You're in good company, Ming Thein is now a watch designer - https://ming.watch/ :-)

Here you go- you can get a twofer:


Turns out to be lots of them - search “watch with camera “

You reawakened (and I don't think it's a necessarily good thing) a minor vintage watch obsession of yore. Unfortunately, decent ones are hardly cheap and more moderately priced examples are not the most reliable keepers of time (an admirable side benefit). Fortunately, there are some cheap/moderately priced vintage reissues now available, particularly in army field watches- I even spotted a very sleek and handsome '60s reissue Timex Marlin Hand-Wound California Dial. And the best thing is that they're reissuing them in their original (non-XXXL) sizes.

As for pool, bowling, golf, yes- even baseball... better off taking a nap, which is what will naturally ensue anyway.

PS- I tried dribbling a basketball the other day and was amazed it didn't instantly return to hand and automatically follow my every body movement like it used to! I'll wait for reissues on those as well.

"I mean, how can anybody not be interested in pool? It's a sport."

I am not uninterested in pool, specifically. I am uninterested in sports.
I'm one of those older members of the Commentariat. I only wear a watch when I will be in a social situation where pulling out a phone to check the time will make it obvious that that's what I'm doing - and I anticipate wanting to know the time. \;~)>

Fountain pens? I have a nice gold Mont Blanc Meisterstück around here somewhere.. it's part of a collection of "things that collect dust that I can't make myself get rid of" which includes broken pocketwatches and assorted USB cables.

When I was a kid, the war movies out were mostly WW II stories, and many had a scene that made me feel that I could never be in the military.

When American troops encountered other G.I.s of unknown vetting, the guard or interrogator would ask, "Who won the 'fill in year' world series?" The good wholesome Americans could answer this query without fail, with little thought and no matter the year requested.

I hate sports. I won't watch sports. I couldn't name 10 players among the multiple teams out there. How could I know which team won the world series (baseball, right?) In any given year... or even last year?

Somehow, I was in the military for nearly 23 years, went to war twice, and avoided the dreaded question that would have got me shot.

When you're done with watches and fountain pens:


I wear all kinds of watches, so it's been interesting to read about your interest in them. I like the Apple Watch for a smartwatch (it offers really amazing functionality), thermocompensated quartz watches for high accuracy, and various mechanical watches for the craft and enjoyment of something well made.

This is something worth looking into if you like quartz. It doesn't show up on the Certina website, so worth getting before they're gone. It has a fantastic thermocompensated quartz movement with high-speed stepper motors for the chronograph.




Pool (and all those other pastimes that involve a ball) is not a sport, it's a game.
I might watch a bit of athletics once every four years but normally the only sport I ever watch, for three weeks a year, is cycling.

Mike -- It's got to be tough coming up with stuff to write about day after day, particularly from your chosen predominantly rural point of view. As one of your long-time followers, I must say that I don't find your litany of OT musings to be very interesting. I came to you maybe two decades ago because of your contributions to photography and that's still what I want read about. Watches, pool, dieting, et al, no thank you, and I click away. Of course, TOP is your baby and you'll do with it as you please -- but I urge you to stick the "P" in in TOP, lest it become more of a TOM --The Online Muser. My couple of pennies.

I have never gotten interested in following or watching any sports. As far as I am concerned, John Camp’s comment applies to all sports.
As for watches, I have some that I don’t wear anymore. I don't miss that at all.

Fountain pen needed? TWSBI Eco, some nice ink and you're set to go for £40.00.

I was reading the first paragraph thinking “well at least Mike isn’t going on about pool”

As for synchronized swimming, keep in mind that the participants not only can’t really see each other, they don’t even have a solid connection to their environment.

On the other hand, have you ever heard someone describe baseball as a calculus problem? Clearly it’s not possible to play.

A long time ago, I used to love watching the Acapulco Cliff Divers on Wide World of Sports. Never had the desire to dive in and try it, though. The judging always seemed a little weird; imagine getting points for style while not cracking your skull on the rocks below.

No on sports.

The only sport I'm willing to watch any more is cycling. Mostly cyclocross, and that only because I still imagine myself participating.

Once upon a time, I thought I'd learn how to watch football, to have something to say around the water cooler with other men. I got good enough at it to more or less figure out who was going to win, if not before the game started (because I'd watched so many games with the same teams) then by the end of the first quarter.

Now I don't watch any. It's boring. Golf? Boring. Tennis? Boring. Rock climbing? Actually, sometimes thrilling (but I do that too sometimes). Baseball? Boring. Pool? It's a math problem, boring. Basketball? Boring. Hockey? Boring. Horse prancing? Boring.

I am just reporting about myself. But you know those people who aren't into sports? There are plenty of those people. The people who are only into the big four (or 1, or whatever) sports because it gives them something to talk about? Plenty of those people.

You run a blog about a niche topic. Photography. There's no reason to believe that it really correlates with any of your other interests. Not even stereos. Look, we like you. So we like stories about your personal life. But, just, not too deep, please. Not. Too. Deep.

About watches again, I just remember this little gem from one of my favorites writers, Julio Cortazar (translated to english in the link):


According to an old Oxford Dictionary I once found "Sport" is "riding, hunting and fishing". Everything else is "Games"...

[A British sportswriter once said, "The only natural sports are running and fighting. All the rest are contrived." But I've never been able to find the citation.

In my view, pool is a sport. Anything that requires hours and hours of daily training to play at the top level is. --Mike]

Digressing to the subject of fountain pens . . . When I graduated from college, my aunt gave me a Parker 51 pen, IMO the most beautiful pen ever made. Some years later, I loaned it to my fiancee to write wedding invitations. She lost it, which I was to learn was a lifelong habit with her. (If I had a dollar for every time I've found her keys for her . . .)

I married her anyway, but always yearned for my Parker. The Mont Blanc she later gave me did not assuage my longing.

Finally, 56 years later, I said "enough!" Parker 51.com buys, sells, and restores Parker 51 pens, and for the princely sum of $175 I soon had a beautiful, classic Parker 51 once again. I'm sorry I waited so long.

Returning to cameras, I love my delightfully quirky but very capable Fuji X-Pro1 with the 27mm lens.

"I mean, how can anybody not be interested in pool? It's a sport."

I am not uninterested in pool, specifically. I am uninterested in sports.

I am not interested in photography and cameras. Not anymore. But I keep coming back here every day, hoping you write about different subjects. And you do that every so often!
In general I must say that I DO find your litany of OT musings to be very interesting.
"The Online Muser". mmmmm. I like that :)

I have been reading about watches lately and discovered that there are very long waiting lists for the most expensive luxury watches like Rolex. Any idea why or any comments?

Next time you're going to post an article about watches, let me know, and be sure stop by to add my thoughts from being in this hobby/avocation/whatever for the last 6 years. I thing you'll find my thoughts and experience helpful and most importantly, provide some useful...context.

FWIW, I'm wearing my Sinn 104I St SA special Matte Edition with the Sinn H-link bracelet today (tip: they're either straps or bracelets, not...bands.)


Mike, by your definition, in your comment to Chris Dematté, you elevate the "game" of pool to a sport by dint of the amount of time required to master it. By this definition then sports could include: Photography, Chemistry, Astronomy, Farming, Painting, Sculpture, lawn mowing, mixology, etc.

Sadly, I have to disagree with you and gently let you know that any activity that requires toys to pursue, and which does not require physical effort beyond walking around a table and poking at things with a stick is resolutely a game and not, by the furthest stretch of the imagination, a sport. Rule of thumb: if you can do it with a cigarette hanging out of your mouth it's not a sport.

Sports require either a race against time, or the application of strength and endurance in contest with opponents. There are few "real" sports either. At the top of the hierarchy is, of course, competitive swimming, followed by running, and the rest of the sports only exist as consolation activities for people unable to master swimming or running.

Watches, however, are interesting, fun and practical --- well, somewhat practical.

Just wait till you learn about Grand Seiko and the Snowflake … a quartz watch with a smooth movement with a dial that resembles freshly fallen snow.

I've gotten more tolerant of sports as I got older. For the early part of my life, the nerds (or geeks) vs. the jocks was one of the big social splits, and while I wasn't in a school that allowed much actual violence (I mean, I guess a little bit happened, but I didn't know anybody who was a routine victim, and I watched a very few fights get instantly shut down), it still didn't leave me with good feelings for jocks or for sports, especially organized sports.

But I watch very very little of American mainstream sports. I very occasionally (I mean, every few years I turn some on) I watch some tennis, and similarly for soccer (usually when the World Cup is on), and sometimes some Olympics if they don't make it too hard to watch.

And bits of pool, too, and not just things you post. I've even watched some poker on TV (and that's not a sport, it's a game; but those can be watched too). When various friends were doing more poker I'd watch some very occasionally.

Myself, I've spent considerable time throwing frisbees (not in any kind of competition) and playing table tennis. Those were fun a couple of generations ago.

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