Saturday, December 30, 2017

Timor vintage military watch

As we wind down 2017, I thought it appropriate to feature yet another watch. I got this rare watch at my favorite online store. After I spotted it and noticed it not getting attention (i.e., few likes), I quickly did some research online. It is a military-style watch from the 1940s. These were small watches that were the norm during that period, were manufactured in Switzerland and issued by the British to their troops deployed around the globe at different theaters including the Pacific.

The patina on this one is quite nice and screams vintage. This is supposed to be from the 1940s but I won't be surprised if this watch was an even earlier model (maybe late 1930s?) though that may be quite a stretch. :)
The crown is consistent with the model and year and the domed the case is in very good condition for an old watch.
Another view of the watch showing the wear on the case that's understandable for the age of the watch.
This is the case back showing the watch is/was waterproof and non-magnetic. I dared not open the back to see the movement although I already cleaned some of the dirt from the watch. The watch back for such military watches must be inspected for certain marks that indicated they were actually issued during the Second World War. This one does not have the W mark, which makes it likely to have been a civilian-owned piece.
I had the old strap replaced (I kept it though) as it was obviously not the right one for this rather small watch with only a 14mm lug. I will likely look for a more rugged leather strap or even a NATO that's more appropriate for this military watch.
I haven't opened the watch yet to see the movement but I attempted to time it after what I felt was a full wind. I was quite careful not to wind it to its limit as I am not sure about the condition of the movement. It definitely passed the 24-hour mark and all indications so far is that it passed the 36-hour mark. It gives good time but I need to find a L strap for it. I could only manage to find a M strap, which I think looks better on a lady's watch than a vintage military watch. The lug is at 14mm so the  strap's not an easy one to find at most strap shops. Perhaps I should have one custom-made?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Grand Seiko 9581-7020

I thought my collection could not be complete without a signature model of Seiko's. I have a King Seiko automatic watch, my favorite Kinetic and AGS watches, and Seiko 5. I found that vintage Grand Seiko's are very much in demand such that even the defective watches go for high prices as they are restored or used for spare parts. The automatics are the more expensive models and I've read about them in many articles and online fora. When I saw this watch, I initially had doubts about its authenticity as it was, first of all, a quartz. And so I again did some research online and found that this model was legit. Many discussions have referred to a Japanese site regarding this watch and I share the site here. Afterwards, I went to try to catch my first Grand Seiko.

I will probably change the strap. It is leather but I think the color is just not appropriate for this watch, and not "me". Besides, it takes away attention from the watch itself.
The watch has a simple face and obviously without the complications of day or date.
This is a very thin watch as shown above. It is a quartz but perhaps one of the best models around. I think we should dissociate from the notion that quartz watches are inferior to the mechanical and automatic relatives. The crown displays the GS logo.
Another view of the watch showing the crown and face.
It's difficult to get an old Grand Seiko as these watches, whether mechanical, automatic or quartz are very much in demand. I have not had the battery changed since I got the watch and so haven't had the chance to see what's inside. What I know from quick research is that it is powered by a very accurate single crystal 32.768 KHz movement. 1 Hz = 3,600 beats per hour so you can figure that this is much more accurate than the Hi Beat mechanical watches (i.e., 36,000 bph = 10 Hz).
The back prominently shows the GS logo that's etched to the cover instead of the brass logo that was glued to the back in the much sought after older GS automatic models.
Quite invisible in the previous photo are the details etched below the logo.
I will post an update later for when I am able to change the strap on this nice quartz watch.

[Note: The online Seiko Production Date Calculator estimates this to have been manufactured in November 1994. 7/19/2018]

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Chocolate review: Milk chocolate from Belfast

The Clairvoyant brought home this milk chocolate that was given by a colleague during her trip to Belfast. This was her 3rd trip to Belfast and the second in 2017 and had not purchased any chocolate bars from there. That is not because she couldn't find some dark chocolates but just didn't have the time while there. In any case, we usually got our chocolates from the duty free shops at NAIA to avail of the 5% discount.

Souvenir chocolate from Belfast
Details on the chocolate at the back of the wrapper
I shared the bar with my nephew and niece who were visiting us a couple of weeks ago. We wanted to have some sweets after lunch and enjoyed this chocolate. This was very good quality milk chocolate and was certainly satisfying.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Parol - Christmas lanterns

I had a meeting in Angeles City last week and took the opportunity to go lantern-shopping. We went to the shops in Dau, Mabalacat where we previously bought lanterns. A friend asked us to get her a parol and told us her budget was 1,500 pesos. That seemed to be a low budget for a nice lantern but you can get a nice medium sized parol for less after some bargaining with the shopkeepers. We ended up purchasing more parol as I got one for my parents' home and my colleagues also bought one each for their homes. We already have several at our home including one like the one I got for my parents.

The shopkeepers turn on the lanterns when customers arrive. It is a very colorful display that tends to capture your attention and convince you to get one for your home. We got one each as well as a parol for our friend who asked us to get her one.
There are various designs and sizes that will fit your budget. And all are made very well. In fact, the province of Pampanga including Angeles City, San Fernando and Mabalacat, is well known for parol. There is an annual competition for the best parol in Pampanga and the competition is a tourist attraction in the province.
Some people prefer the colored lanterns as they are still colorful even when not lighted (i.e., during the day). I prefer the simplicity of the white parol.
There are other Christmas-themed decors available at the shops including Santa Clauses, reindeer pulling a sleigh, and flowers. I prefer the parol over these more 'contemporary' decors.
My brother sent me this photo of the parol at our parents' home in Cainta. I got this for only 2,300 pesos and you cannot get a similar one with comparable size and workmanship for less than 5,000 pesos in Metro Manila or nearby places.
The parol is one of the symbols of Christmas for Filipinos as it represents the star over Bethlehem when Christ was born. You know there is a Filipino abroad when there is a parol displayed at their homes. I remember seeing parol displayed outside the windows and balconies of apartments and high-rise condominiums around us when we were previously living in Singapore. My Ninang (godmother)  in Japan also had a lantern hung outside their home that my Ninong (godfather, who was Japanese) says reminded them of the Philippines and family. We have one similar to the one I got for parents hanging from our balcony as well as a classic star that hangs over our lanai.

To our family to yours, a Blessed Christmas!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

End of semester stories - persistence pays off

I released the class standings for the three sections I am handling this semester. Included were their scores for assignments I gave throughout the semester and for the long exams that included those I assigned as take-home work and for which discussions among students were encouraged in order to facilitate learning.

I got emails from four students regarding their scores and tentative grades. One student asked if its possible to have one exam rechecked as he was percentage points away from getting a 1.0. I quickly checked his scores and decided to give him an early Christmas gift as simple rounding off his average will improve his already excellent grade. I am usually generous with grades even if its not the Christmas season. I just don't feel like its worth stressing over percentage points and cases of a few points in exams.

Another student asked why he got a very low score in an exam. I remembered him as one who did not bother to include/attach solutions to his exam but instead submitted only the answers. How could I give full or even partial credit when it is not clear to me that the student did his work and understood the topics covered in the exam? I promptly replied to him asking if he already got the papers back and read what I wrote on his papers. He replied with a 'Thanks' and I never heard from him again.

I got a message from one student who believed she was able to submit one assignment and confirmed with her partner (it was a group project) about their submission on time. Turns out I have no record of their submission and I replied that perhaps her partner failed to submit it on their behalf. She had good scores in exams and assignments but her partner had average scores so I suspected perhaps that the other person wasn't able to submit their work but was afraid to admit it. There was no effort from him to support her. I recalled that there was a confusion where the assignments were to be submitted because half the class placed theirs in the wrong pigeon hole (this was the first homework) in our new building. And so I asked her to check for maybe their paper was still there (students were notorious for leaving their assignments or returned/corrected work so these usually accumulate by the end of the semester). To cut a long story short, she was able to find their paper in the pile and along the way also found the papers of 3 other classmates. I was able to correct their standings and this resulted in higher grades.

I wonder how many students are as persistent these days? I wouldn't categorize her as the grade- conscious type as she was not begging for points or asking for additional work to get a higher grade. The student 'fought' for what she thought she worked for that she wasn't able to get credit for. The other students (total 4) didn't even make an effort to rectify their situations and I suspect they didn't even check what was recorded as non-submissions. I was tempted not to change the scores and grades of the others, in a way making a point or lesson here, but that was not the right thing to do. I took the inspiration of the persistent student for the benefit of the others. Persistence pays off and the effort of one benefited others.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Seiko 5 6309-403A retro watch

December had become somewhat of a watch month for this blog.  This is because I've decided to document my collection recently. The acquisitions through the years necessitated this as well as the topic of watches being interesting to me to write about.

I have this retro watch with the TV face that I acquired a couple of months ago. I got it cheap also as it seemed to be under the radar in an online auction. I got this about the same time I got an even better Bulova automatic watch that's now with my brother.

The TV face of the watch was 'in' back in the 1970s. The watch model is 6309-403A and is part of the dependable Seiko 5 line.
Side view showing the small crown that may appear hidden when the watch is seen at certain angles
The bracelet is also somewhat retro 1970s. I remember one relative having another watch with a similar bracelet before.
The movement is rated to be at 21,600 A/h with a power reserve of 47 hours. I haven't really tried to test it yet but it runs well over the 2 to 3 days I usually use it in rotation with other watches during the typical week. In short, it keeps good time.
The back of the watch shows the model and water resistance. I have not opened or had it opened to see the movement yet. However, I got the specs on the movement thanks to the many online sources for the Seiko 6309 movement. The watch has a f = 21,600 A/h (or beats per hour).
Seiko 5's are probably the workhorse of the company in the sense that its features (automatic, water resistant, day, date, etc.) are desirable and it comes in many designs. It is also quite durable and very affordable compared to other watches. I will not be surprised if there are also fakes going around I think replicas are more likely for the luxury brands and the higher end models of Seiko.
The watch keeps good time and therefore reliable, and I keep it at the office as a "reserve" of sorts. It is a bit odd-shaped but I've found that it goes pretty well whenever I wear it.

[Note: The online Seiko Production Date Calculator estimates this to have been manufactured in April 1978. 7/19/2018]

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Enicar Ocean Pearl Manual Wind Watch

This Sunday, I am writing again about another watch in my collection. Enicar was a Swiss watch brand that was well know for producing high quality time pieces. It along with a lot of other Swiss brands, however, suffered from the 'onslaught' of quartz watches in the 1970s. At the last part of this post is a link to an honest history of the watch brand. Don't trust the current site that claims an unbroken line for the brand. :) This one looks new but is actually an old watch from the 1960s. The watch has been restored and the seller obviously did a very good job on this.

The watch is simple and elegant. I thought it's perfect as a dress watch.
The watch face is simple, which is why I liked it in the first place. The only complication is the date feature.
Here's an 'artistic' shot of the watch highlighting the raised hour markers.
The brand logo on the crown
The back is quite interesting in that it featured the watch logo with what appears to be a shark jumping out of the water.

Here is a very honest history of Enicar that I found on the net:

History of Enicar

This is one of my current favorites and have found it to be quite good compared to my tried and tested watches. I just have to wind it every morning; a task I have become accustomed to. I have not opened the back to see the movement and have not done research on the movement but it is quite efficient and so far I know that the watch could last over a day without winding.  That is good enough for me. I don't wind my watches in a hurry as I like to listen to and feel the mechanism in order for me to know if its wound enough I am worried I might overdo it and end up damaging the watch movement.

[Update: I recently timed the watch and it lasted 42 hours and 20 minutes after a full wind. 2/21/2018]

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Another look at Kazoku, Maginhawa Street

A couple of weeks ago, our family was in the UP area and we decided to try out Kazoku along Maginhawa Street. I had not eaten there for quite some time and my wife and our daughter haven't tried it, too, so it was decided we go and have lunch there. Japanese food is our favorite so we are always on the lookout for places we can enjoy sushi, sashimi, maki and other favorites. I wasn't able to take photos at the time so I just had to go back, this time with friends/officemates, for lunch.

The restaurant's interior layout had changed. Gone is the tatami room though they still have an area they can close off for private functions.
They now have more seats but they have retained the bar where individual customers may opt to be seated and perhaps watch the preparation of sushi and sashimi.
Salmon (shake) sashimi
Maki preparation
Yakiniku bento
Chicken teriyaki bento
Shake (grilled salmon) bento
Their bento (lunchbox) selections are really good and as shown in the photos already include salad and sashimi. You also get miso shiru (soup) with the bento. For both times we ate there recently, we had very good meals that satisfied our craving for Japanese food. The staff were attentive and overall service and food quality were very good.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Chew Love, Tacloban

Another restaurant we went to when we were in Tacloban last month was one that we had spotted before but didn't consider because at first glance it looked like a place for younger people. Another colleague thought it looked like one of those food hubs that's now the fad around Metro Manila. It turned out many of us wanted to try it out and it helped that one of our contacts in Tacloban recommended the place.

The decor reminded me of another restaurant, Stacy's, that had that American diner feel to it.
The interior was well lighted, clean, and orderly
There are a lot of 'positive' and humorous messages posted around the restaurant that are consistent with its theme and vibes.

The menu features some interesting names for the items
Here's the rest of the main menu (there's a separate menu for drinks and dessert)
These seats are likely for waiting and not necessarily for dining.
This probably drew inspiration from the bridge in Paris that was recently rid of decades of locks attached mostly by tourists.
'Cheeky feeling'
'Love at pork sight'
'Hot chick'
'Beef mine'
Their version of the halu-halo
Sinful chocolate dessert
Chew Love turned out to be a good restaurant. Serving sizes are just right for the meals and a bit generous (indulgent) for dessert. The latter may be meant for sharing perhaps? There are two buildings where customers can be seated. They fill one first before allowing people in the other. A third building is under construction and is closest to the street. The kitchen is located at the back area of the compound. Parking is very limited so that's an issue for those bringing their own vehicles. My transport background makes me wonder how such restaurants can comply with parking requirements considering they are in clear violation of the National Building Code...but that's another story.