Thursday, August 30, 2018

Vintage Seiko 8306-8040 - M99 Sea Lion

Among the collectible Seiko watches is this model associated with the Sea Lion on the case back. This is from the 1960s and came in different variants. I've seen many being sold that are already quite beat up.  I got this one clean and polished. The face though has some wear to it and the hour markers have some bling to them.

Interesting face with some fancy bling for the hour indices. The watch has a date and day feature; both of which are functional and can be easily adjusted.
Side view showing more of the polished case.
Side view showing the crown
Case back showing the Sea Lion and the watch features including its being waterproof, and having Diashock shock protection, which is Seiko's answer to incabloc.
A close-up of the bottom of the watch face reveals a faded model number

The like date of manufacture for this watch is July of 1966 based on the online Seiko Production Date Calculator. The watch movement is an 8306A that beats at 18,000bph. It is automatic but can be wound manually. So far, I know that the watch lasts more than 24hours when not being used after a combination of actual use and winding. The watch is pretty reliable (not too fast or slow) and so I also use it more often that some in my collection.

Here's the watch on my wrist after I changed the strap
I'm actually thinking about parting with this one soon. Whether others think its still a desirable piece is another thing so we'll see if this one goes quickly or fate decides it stay with me a little longer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another Gruen Precision vintage watch

Here is the other of two Gruen watches that I have. This one is closer to the watch design in James Bond movies (the first watch worn by 007 is a Gruen Precision - Sean Connery in Dr. No, 1962). I got this from a British shop, which specializes in British-made watches including those models worn and made famous by Sir Edmund Hillary on the expedition to climb Mt. Everest and railway watches used by British Railways staff.

This is another watch with what I'd call classic features including no day or date complications and a nice linen dial
Side view showing the crown
The other side's view
Case back showing this watch to be waterproof, shock resistant and anti-magnetic
Wrist shot
Gruen 552SS manual wind movement running at 18,000A/h with a power reserve of 42h
I've timed the watch to last about 39.5 hours on average on a full wind and a maximum of 41 hours. It gains a few seconds per day. That's pretty good for an old watch.

Here is a close-up of the bottom part of the watch face showing its Swiss markings
A photo of the movement when I had it checked recently after it jammed after winding.


Monday, August 27, 2018

Chocolate review: "Hugot" chocolate

Bonifacio High Street frequently hosts bazaars and you can pick up many goodies from these including pastries, handicrafts, and even wines and beers. There are also chocolates including imported ones you don't usually find in supermarkets though airport duty free shops may have them.

The wife brought chocolates from one of the shops there. The shop offered something a bit tacky in that they had these "hugot" quotes printed on the chocolate bar wrappers. These quotes have become popular on social media and are often part of jokes. The following photo should speak for the chocolates and their messages/themes.

Pick your quote or "hugot" saying
The wife brought chocolates as giveaways for a party we were hosting for her office-mates. We tasted one and thought they weren't bad. Pwede na! To be fair, they are not promoting themselves as artisanal or premium quality chocolates so don't expect something like that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The last flood experience?

Five years ago, we endured what we now look back to as our last flood experience. Here are some photos from that time when rains brought about by a typhoon flooded many areas in Metro Manila and its surrounding areas including our subdivision in the lower part of Antipolo City in Rizal Province.

The view from our old house on August 20, 2013
The view of the street from our former home on August 21, 2013
Another view of the flooded street from our former home on August 21, 2013.

I recall that after we came home from Singapore, we weren't quite ready yet to purchase property and build our new home. And so we ended up renting in condos in Quezon City and BGC during the rainy season where we stayed mostly on weekdays. On this particular day, one car was with the Clairvoyant and I already advised her against coming home that day. I left our other car (which was revived after it sank during Ondoy in 2009) at the university and rode with an officemate and came home before the flood waters rose.

This was the last serious flood we experienced and I say 'serious' because flood waters invaded our home. It was not as bad as the Ondoy of 2009 or Habagat of 2012 though as the water inside was only about 100mm at the deepest. By comparison, Ondoy was about 2m (scary!) and Habagat about 1m inside our home! At the time of the 2013 floods, our nbew house was already under construction and we were already looking forward to moving out of what we called home for 9 years.

The following year 2014, we moved out to our present home in upper Antipolo City. It would be quite improbable for our area to be flooded now and in the foreseeable future and hopefully, 2013 would be the last flood experience.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Glashütte Spezimatic Cal. 74 vintage watch

Here is a very elegant watch in my collection that I am featuring this Sunday. This is a Glashütte Spezimatic Cal. 74. It has a very simple yet elegant design that's perfect for any occasion, whether casual or formal.

Can't go wrong with black. This is elegance in simplicity.
Side view showing the crown
The other side view
Close up of the watch face/dial showing no date or day complications
Back of the watch indicating (in German) that this is stainless steel, shockproof, 20microns gold-plated, and waterproof. And, of course, it is Made in Germany.
I keep the postcard the wife sent me the first time she was traveling across Europe.
Pristine Cal. 74 spezimatic (special automatic) movement for a vintage watch. This beats at 18,000 A/h with a power reserve of 37hours. Movements like this were manufactured between 1964 and 1980 so the watch is probably just about my age. :)
I usually wear this on formal occasions as the other watches can be quite hefty on the wrist and an ill fit with the Barong Tagalog. This is more of a low key watch as many people in the Philippines are not quite aware of the brand, which is now part of the Swatch Group.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Looking back at Ondoy/Ketsana 2009

I started blogging back in 2008 and I was not really in to it at the time. I found writing to be somewhat cathartic for me after the floods of Ondoy/Ketsana so I wrote more frequently since then. Here's something I wrote a few days after Ondoy. We were reeling from the losses and could only wonder about the what-ifs.

Post deluge

My mind was full of ideas of what to write after going through what water resources engineering or hydraulic engineering textbooks term as a 40- or 50-year flood. From my experience (and I am a certified flood veteran) I am more inclined to say that what hit us last September 26 was actually a 25-year flood. I am basing this interpretation from the 1985 flood that inundated our village of Kasibulan in Cainta. Our whole family and all others from the subdivision had to evacuate our home when floods reached waist-deep at road level. We found safe haven in the factory across Imelda Avenue. The guards allowed us to seek refuge in the huge steel structures that housed heavy machinery no longer operating after the factory shutdown because of a labor problem. The striking workers actually assisted many families in getting to higher, safer ground that day.

Fortunately, no one from our village drowned from that 1985 flood. But it left a lot of deep scars that painfully reopened every year for the next 10 years that we were to experience flooding - not as terrible as 1985's but some comparable if you weren't used to them. A lot of memories were lost in those floods. My parents' wedding photos were lost including many of their photos before they got married. We were able to save many photos though - mostly mine and I'm afraid those were all damaged if not wiped out by typhoon Ondoy. We shared the same losses with our neighbors and made people closer in our village. In fact, we there were many of use there who studied at Lourdes Mandaluyong and one of our neighbors happened to be the high school principal at the time. Mr. Ben Dayo would always vouch for us when we claimed we had to miss classes because we had to help in cleaning our houses after the floods receded. I believe those floods have somehow influenced me as I grew up.

I wanted to believe that the floods in Town & Country wouldn't be deeper than what I had experienced in Kasibulan. I desperately wanted to believe that it could get deeper. But it did. When the clairvoyant and I bought a house there, one of the information I sought was about flood experience. Referring to the designs of the houses as well as neighbors stories, our home was supposed to be safe with the deepest flood experience in our area reaching only our gate. We were fortunate to have ample space in our second floor rooms. The clairvoyant and I were able to transfer our books and other personal properties with the help of Manang Aileen with an efficiency anyone can be proud off. Most importantly, we didn't have to abandon our home like many of our neighbors and we always had non-perishable food and drinks stocked. Many, we discovered afterwards, weren't as lucky as we were. We all lost our vehicles that day. Most cars went under overnight and emerged still parked in what everyone thought were garages that were flood-safe. But that's another story.

I was able to save my stamp collection from my parents' house in Kasibulan. Many items from an old brief case (what was my school bag when I was in high school)survived including old letters and bookmarks I had put aside as souvenirs from visits to Kamakura. These included old bookmarks from Tatay's visit to Kamakura in the 1960's.

The past days were blessings in that another super typhoon veered away from Metro Manila and still another will not hit the country. I honestly want to believe again that I won't experience another flood of that magnitude in say, 25 years (not the 40 years that would probably be much more damaging). If there was one thing I didn't want to share with the clairvoyant I guess an actual experience of such a flood would be it. But we did share the experience and we came out survivors (not victims as other people might label us) and I would rather believe that we came out better and will be stronger for this. We still have, after all, our faith.

We learned our lesson well and now live in a flood-free and better neighborhood in Antipolo. We are also glad that our daughter would not have to experience what we went through along with the floods due to the monsoon rains of 2012 and 2013.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Another Enicar automatic vintage watch

This is my fourth Enicar watch and one I got a bit recently. The opportunity presented itself and so I took it. :) Old Enicar watches are collectible and this one's a more contemporary one compared to my other three vintage watches.

The design tells me its from the 1970s but I have watches of similar body shape that are from the 1960s.
The back is a bit worn probably from too much polishing from the previous owner(s). You can still make out what's indicated on the case back
Side view showing what seems to be a generic crown. These watches would usually have a signed crown (i.e., the Enicar logo).
Side view
The watch on my wrist - it is big and on the heavy side for watches

I wear the watch every now and then and it keeps good time. The power storage though is quite low as after wearing it during the daytime, it only lasts a little over 2 hours before it stops. It maybe time for some maintenance?

I recently encountered the watch brand as I was window shopping at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport prior to my flight back home. Upon seeing the watches on display, I can definitely say that the designs are on the ghastly side, and trying to copy the designs we usually see on Rolexes. The original founders and makers of this watch would definitely disapprove of how the watches still bearing their brand are made today.

[Note: I let go of the watch and it was easily sold recently through a site run by friends. 9/3/2018]

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Seiko Unique vintage watch

An interesting fact about Seiko was that it had two watchmaking houses: Suwa and Daini. Here is a vintage beauty from Daini from the 1950s. I still am unable to estimate the year of production for this model but some quick research over the internet dates it to the mid 1950s.

Simple watch face with leaf hands and no day or date complications. A friend noted that he liked the S logo of the old Seikos.
Side view showing the crown
The other side's view
Case back showing the Daini logo, the serial number and the U marking you'd find at the backs of this watch model.
This is a photo of the movement from the seller and likely runs at 18,000 bph, which is common for watches this old. I recently timed it to last about 34-35 hours on a full wind. Again not bad for watch that's more than 60 years old.
It's a small watch but feels good on the wrist.
I have quite few small watches including an old LeCoultre (ca. 1947/8) and the even older Laco (ca. 1937/8) that I have in my collection. These were the typical sizes for the older watches. I'm no expert in watches, just an amateur collector, but I think the movements made for these were a bit more delicate when you think about the sizes of the parts that went into these watches' movements.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Chocolate review: Ragusa

There was a chocolate bar in our refrigerator that the wife and I didn't know was there as we couldn't remember buying one or someone giving it to us. However, the brand is familiar to me and has some nostalgia to it because Tatay brought home these chocolates as pasalubong after his travel to Indonesia and Singapore in the 1980s. I recall they were "different" compared to the usual chocolate we got to enjoy back then when chocolates from the US were not so common and usually expensive. Foreign trips by my father afforded us these chocolates.

Ragusa Classique
Details on the chocolate at the back of the package
Ingredients and nutrition information
Expiration date and manufacturer's information
Here's what the chocolate looks like with the nut and nougat


Friday, August 3, 2018

Omega De Ville vintage watch

My first watch feature for this month is about one that I don't get to wear as the Clairvoyant 'sequestered' it. It is really a men's wristwatch but can be easily and aptly worn by ladies as well.

This vintage Omega has a simple face with baton hands. There is no second hand and complications such as day or date display.
Side view showing the signed crown
A view of the other side. This watch has been restored/refurbished so it looks brand new.
Case back - I don't have a photo of the movement but this watch runs on a Cal. 625, which is a manual wind that beats at 21,600 A/h with a power reserve of 42 hours. I have seen the movement myself and my suking watchman attests to its being genuine. I haven't timed it but it lasts the whole day and is usually wound the next morning.
One of the few times I had the watch on my wrist :)

I had it recently serviced as the wife complained it was running too slow. The watch now keeps good time and is on her rotation with her favorite Hampton and weekend Swatch.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Snacks - junk food in Bangkok

I took advantage of my travel to Bangkok to finish some reports. Scanning the nearby supermarket for something to eat and drink while working, I chanced upon some junkfood that we used to enjoy while living in Singapore.

Cheezels and Chachos were available at a supermarket chain of a major retailer in the Metro Manila. I don't find them in their shelves anymore so I assume these aren't generally available locally.
I also like chocolate milk and there are many choices in the supermarket so I have my fill of milk while working late. What I couldn't find was Yakult. There's a local version/brand of the probiotic drink but I opted not to purchase a pack.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Comfort food: Mango and sticky rice

I must admit I was a little but pleasantly surprised to see something that we enjoyed while living in Singapore that's also a delicacy in the Philippines - mango and sticky rice. We have excellent mangoes in the Philippines especially those coming from Guimaras that have also been successfully farmed in other provinces. There are also various varieties of glutinous or sticky rice and plenty of coconuts for the coconut milk (gata) that you mix with the rice during or after cooking. I have bought this from street shops in Bangkok just didn't expect to find this at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Mango and sticky rice sold at the airport. Perfect for a snack or a quick meal. They have three versions for rice - original, pandan and butterfly pea (also known as ternatea). Pandan sticky rice is colored green while butterfly pea sticky rice is colored bluish purple. Each pack is priced at 180 Baht (1.5 Peso: 1 Baht)
Yummy mango and sticky rice. The coconut milk is in a small container embedded on the rice (visible in the photo). It also comes with a plastic spoon so you can enjoy it while waiting for your boarding call.
This is definitely something to enjoy at the airport or, if you like, something to bring home as souvenir or pasalubong. I'm sure it can survive the 3.5- to 4-hour flight to Manila.