Archive for July, 2008

TheTimeTV joins the WatchFreaks Blog Team

July 30, 2008

We are proud and glad to announce that as of today the editors of TheTimeTV will be an author for the WatchFreaks Blog.

TheTimeTV is the first themed television channel for Watchmaking enthusiasts and professionals. New products, interviews, events, insights – TheTimeTV covers the latest Watchmaking industry news through exclusive reports and interviews.

Coming from Switzerland, a place well-renowned for their quality and precision in watchmaking, TheTimeTV retains the emotional aspects of a traditional TV channel, yet offering an innovative Video-On-Demand concept 24/7 – Anytime & Anywhere.

We are looking forward to their posts and movies!

Omega X-33: Repairing in Zero Gravity

July 26, 2008

Danish watch website TimeGeeks (“because stamps are for nerds”) came up with this YouTube movie of an Omega Speedmaster X-33 that is being repaired in zero gravity. To be honest, the Speedmaster X-33 might be a good investment, since they are not being sold anymore. It was introduced in 1998 and only upgraded once (Omega got rid of the shiny bezel and other shiny parts to replace it by brushed ones). Omega discontinued the X-33 in 2006. Ryan Rooney dedicated a web site on the Speedmaster X-33, which is really worth visiting. Anyway, Kristiaan Hagen of TimeGeeks reported this great movie about repairing one in space. NASA astronaut Don Pettit made and published this movie.

p.s. Thanks to Bernard for letting me know about this movie :)

Switzerland: The Holy Land?

July 20, 2008

Is Switzerland the holy land for watches and WatchFreaks? Many will agree with me, that this is the case. Especially for Haute Horlogerie. But, what about watches from The Holy Land?

Many will also agree with me that The Holy Land is the region that is now Israel, but this blog is absolutely not reserved for political views, for this reason we will name the region between the Red Sea, Libanon, Jordan and Egypt, The Holy Land, with Jerusalem as the capital.

My roots lie back to The Holy Land and therefore since my childhood I always wondered if watches have been produced or designed in The Holy Land. As far as I knew, the answer to this question was “no”! I write, was, because last month I learned the answer is YES! On a business trip to Tel Aviv I read an article in the In-Flight Magazine “Atmosphere” of El Al that since couple of year Israel has it’s own watch designer and creator! Itay Noy (1972), Israeli born (www.itay-noy.com), designs watches since the year 2000.

Tali Meron writes in the article “Philosopher of Time”: “Itay Noy’s watch designs open up a world of philosophical musings on the significance of time and its place in our lives.” She continues: “Itay Noy uses the philosophical concepts of time to design his watches. Itay was first exposed to the world of timepieces working at a watch shop in Tel Aviv after finishing the army. From there he decided to study jewelry making at Bezalel Academy, planning to specialize in watch making. … He later earned his Masters in Industrial Design in Holland, and his highly successful final project there was purchased by the famous Droog Design Company.”

Itay Noy

Itay Noy

As a WatchFreak you can imagine how I excited I was after reading this article twice! Not only was I bummed out that I did not have an internet connection available to view the collection of watches Itay Noy created, but more importantly, I wanted to find an address where I could see them in real life. But what annoyed me even more, is that I was 8 years ‘late’ with finding out that there was an Israeli watch creator… A watch creator that has studied in my home country… AND has sold a design to a revolutionary group of designer that have an amazing store/showroom in the heart of Amsterdam, that I often visit!

Unfortunately I did not see his watches. I went for a short trip and was busy with work. On top of that I got ‘distracted’ by the amazing things the city Tel Aviv has to offer. Of course, I ripped out the interview and stored it in my notebook. I knew that I would see it when I got back home and I wold set out my journey to find out more about Itay Noy. Unfortunately it took me until today to sit down and start my quest and in my excitement I decided to share this discovery with all of you on this blog.

While writing this post, I decided I will contact Itay Noy to ask him if we, WatchFreaks Blog, can interview him. I will be in Tel Aviv again next month and will see if it is possible to meet.

Itay Noy Watch

Itay Noy Watch

In the mean time, please visit his official website: www.itay-noy.com.

He also had a very interesting exhibition last year, named “A Second Second”. The official website is available at: www.asecondsecond.com

Please share you opinion about Itay Noy’s designs in the mean time and I will follow up as soon as I had contact with Itay Noy.

Seiko Spring Drive Spacewalk and EVA by Richard Garriott

July 7, 2008

At Baselworld 2008, Seiko announced the creation of the first watch ever designed specifically for a spacewalk. Richard Garriott, who is to be the first person to wear it in space, is on schedule with his training and other preparations. He will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan as planned in October this year.
Regrettably, however, it now seems that although Richard’s space trip to the International Space Station is still on schedule, his spacewalk will not take place. Richard announced the cancellation of the EVA to the public on his website:
http://www.richardinspace.com on June 11.
Seiko is very disappointed that this has happened. The Spring Drive Spacewalk watch has been specifically designed to withstand the extreme conditions of an EVA, and Seiko was looking forward to this early opportunity to have its capabilities put to the ultimate test, and proven, on this mission. Seiko is still determined to prove the watch on a spacewalk; SEIKO Watch Corporation, Seiko Epson, and Space Adventures are now exploring the earliest possible alternative opportunity of an EVA. The first watch ever designed from scratch for a spacewalk will, one day soon, be proven. Below is the message by Richard Garriott on his website.

Quotation from Richard Garriott’s website


“In April the Seiko Watch Corporation announced that I will be taking a specially designed ‘Spacewalk’ watch into space with me. The intention was for me to wear this on a spacewalk, but unfortunately my dreams of a spacewalk have not materialized. But I still plan on taking the Seiko watch with me to the ISS.
I have the Seiko watch with me for a couple months now and this is what I can tell you about it. I visited the Seiko factory in Japan in early March. During this visit I met the amazing team that created this watch. In talking with them, and learning about what they went through in designing the watch, my enthusiasm and respect for Seiko grew immensely. My knowledge of what goes into making fine watches grew, and with that, my faith that the watch would perform very well in the unusual and extreme environments of space.
I have been wearing the watch through my training and it has already provided great service and survived through some torturous training. Most recently, I performed a nominal 4g and a ballistic 9g re-entry simulation in the centrifuge. While these extremes challenge the human body and have recently destroyed a competitors watch worn by my backup in this simulation, the Seiko clearly had no problem with these conditions. I also subjected the watch to high temperature and humidity which also destroyed a watch I was previously wearing.
Next month I will subject the watch to what might be its most dangerous conditions on the ground, when I conduct my water landing survival training in the Black Sea. I will also have the chance to test the watch on a few zero-g parabolic flights prior to my spaceflight in October.
Not only has the Seiko Spacewalk watch proven to be a survivor in these difficult conditions, but it has proven to be invaluable as a critical timepiece and a beautiful addition to the amazing technologies of space travel. In my opinion it is something Seiko should rightly be proud of.
I look forward to making additional reports to you, especially of course, after my flight in October. While I personally won’t be able to take the watch with me on a spacewalk, I and representatives from Space Adventures are working hard to get the watch an opportunity to be tested outside the ISS. It will be an honour to be the first person to bear this fine device into the cosmos, and I look forward to telling you more about it.”
Richard Garriott
Mr. Richard Garriott’s mission is organized by Space Adventures, the company headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, USA, and which organized the flights for the world’s first private space explorers.

For more information about Richard Garriott’s mission, please visit
www.spaceadventures.com

Related Press Release at URL issued on April 3 at Baselworld 2008:
www.seikowatches.com

Watch Advertizements

July 6, 2008

Last weekend, my girlfriend and I were on our way to a department store. On our way there, we passed a watch (and jewelry) shop and stopped to have quick look at their watch collection. As we moved on, my girlfriend asked the following question: “Why do watch brands advertize with Brad Pitt and George Clooney for men’s watches? Men don’t want to be like them and probably don’t even like them.”. I just nodded and added “I understand that brands advertize with legends like James Bond or Steve McQueen, but advertizing with Brad Pitt and George Clooney doesn’t make sense to me either”. And it really doesn’t. I don’t have to explain James Bond I assume, but perhaps that Steve McQueen is more or less an actor like Brad Pitt and George Clooney are. However, Steve McQueen has a different kind of cult status. Besides being an actor, he was involved in racing motor bikes and cars as well. And he passed away some time ago (1980), perhaps this helps a bit as well.

I can’t imagine that guys are persuaded to buy a Tag Heuer or Omega watch because Brad and George are advertizing for these brands. By the way, ever noticed that Brad Pitt wears Rolex in the Ocean-movies? Who comes up with these silly advertizing campaigns? Omega should advertize with astronauts, a few sports people and perhaps with George Daniels. Or maybe even legends who wore Omega watches during their life times (e.g. president Kennedy). Same goes for Tag Heuer, let Brad Pitt go and continue advertizing with people like Steve McQueen and F1 drivers. Those are people that guys want to identify themselves with. The only thing men find interesting about Brad Pitt is his wife, as simple as that.

Anyway, I think that the collectors and watch freaks amongst us do not care about advertizements using movie stars and rock stars. Perhaps most of you don’t even care about advertizing with Jacques Cousteau (IWC) or Napoleon Bonaparte (Breguet). I know that I don’t.

I do like the old fashioned Rolex advertizements in National Geographic’s magazine, where pilots/explorers/divers share their experience using a Rolex watch. Or the Omega advertizement telling us that the 100.000 USD suits used by NASA astronauts are complemented by a 250 USD Speedmaster watch.

One of the best (recent) advertizements for a watch has been done by Audemars Piguet imho. A few years ago, the Audemars Piguet brochure included a portrait of an unknown watch collector who collected watches since he was a kid. At one time, he met this guy who was wearing an early model Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This watch didn’t let him go, and he promised himself to get one. Years later, he found one in poor condition. He bought it and had it fully restored. Why I think this is a good advertizement? Because it is finally about an unknown guy with love for watches, hunting for that special time piece, buying it and admiring it. No show-off, no famous face, no movie star… Great! I can relate to that!

 

 


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