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Category: ramblings

Origin stories

Jon Osterman was caught in an “Intrinsic Field Subtractor”; Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider; Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, and Sue and Johnny Storm were exposed to cosmic rays; while Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup were born from a mixture of sugar, spice and all things nice (plus, of…

Raiding the past

The burial chamber of king Tutankhamun was, it seems, saved from tomb raiders by a combination of poor memory and natural disasters. Although plundered at least twice in the years after Tutankhamun’s interment, the thieves appear to have taken only a few small objects; further incursions may have been curtailed by floods…

Red Bar London

Eight years ago, on the subway on the way back home from a lunch held by Kobold Watch owner Michael Kobold, two New Yorkers got talking. It transpired that they worked a few blocks from each other in Midtown, and had a shared interest in collecting and discussing watches. What was…

An English Cut

A version of this post was published on The Modern Gentleman during December 2014.

I’ve been following Thomas Mahon for nearly a decade. When I first stumbled across him in 2005, he was one of very few people in the industry to be writing about the art of bespoke tailoring. Through his ‘blog posts on The English Cut, I began to gain a slightly better understanding of how suits are made, by whom, and at what cost. Indeed, one of his earliest posts gave alternatives to bespoke, in various price ranges. Within months, I was reading about pattern making, suit fabrics, fittings. I followed his trips to the US to see clients, the training of apprentices, and was introduced to his tailors and cutters. The ‘blog was, in short, a revelation (it was also an inspiration to begin the #watchnerd, but that’s another story).

Halting state

Vianney Halter at SalonQP 2014
Vianney Halter at SalonQP 2014

You may have noticed that there are some themes that run through these posts: British watchmaking; dive watches; smartwatches; cephalopod molluscs. I don’t tend to write about new products or press releases, and I can’t compete with the top watch ‘blogs in terms of coverage, contacts or access. If I write about something, it’s because I *want* to – or rather, it’s because it interests me. It’s a very selfish way to write, I suppose, but then, vanity ‘blogging almost always is.

Designs of futures past

The MB&F Legacy Machine (LM1)
The MB&F Legacy Machine (LM1)

There was a time when watches were micro-mechanical models of the future – sweeping curves cast in highly polished gold or steel – devices to take you boldly where no person had gone before. These were the days of the Hamilton Taurus, the Gemini and the Savitar II, whose asymmetric cases pointed firmly to the future. Within a couple of years, Hamilton would also give us the X-01, a prop for the seminal science fiction film 2001, a Space Odyssey, as well as the QED, an LED watch that, subconsciously, may have echoed HAL’s unflinching, red eye. Hamilton even spun-off an LED-specific brand, Pulsar. Pulsar, a name so cool it was bought by Seiko in 1978 and relegated to a sub-Lorus backwater. These were the days of Disney, of EPCOT – the experimental prototype community of tomorrow – Walt’s utopian vision of the way we would live. The way we could live.