|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on August 15, 2012 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
The GMT Watch
I first saw the Hamilton brand in 2007 at Nice airport while waiting to fly back to England. The watch that caught my eye was the Hamilton Khaki Air Race GMT on a black rubber strap with orange stitching that matched the orange numbers on the black faced dial. The watch was water resistant to 200 metres and came with a decent automatic movement which you could view through the back. It fitted my wrist a treat and was indeed a very tempting watch. When I returned to England I began to look at Hamilton's in earnest and quickly visited their web site www.hamiltonwatch.com. In the end this resulted in us buying His and Hers Hamilton Venturas and you can read about that here.
The Khaki Air Race GMT never left my mind but the right opportunity never came along, the price kept creeping up and then Hamilton revamped the watch with a new face, which in truth, I did not like as much as the original. It looked like this watch had slipped through the net and perhaps it was not meant to be.
I have half a dozen watches in the collection from the Christopher Ward stable and a consequence of this is that I enjoy a mooch about on an independent forum dedicated to Christopher Ward watches. I know of at least three regulars on this forum who have this Hamilton watch and every now and then they would post pictures of their pride and joy, which would torment me no end. Inevitably I would post on the thread telling the tale of first seeing the watch in Nice Airport and that if ever they wanted to sell to let me know...
Well last week My Name is Pete on the forum did just that and so I mailed him straight back asking him how much he wanted for the watch. This is where it gets interesting. Pete is aware of my battle with the Big C through this blog and also because I have mentioned it on the Christopher Ward Forum and indeed he has suffered a very personal loss at the hands of cancer himself, when he lost his wife last year through brain cancer. He went on to suggest not a price but that I make a donation to a cancer charity and he will send me the watch!
I was bowled over by this wonderful idea and immediately put my thinking cap on. I donate every month to Cancer Research already, so after a little think I suggested to Pete that if I donate over the next three months I can actually donate more than by making one larger donation. The deed was done and now I am the proud owner of a watch I have wanted for the last 5 years!
I cannot thank Pete enough for this. Not only have I got a dream watch, but all of the cost has gone to a great cause, personal to both myself and Pete. The charity almost certainly has more money than if Pete had sold it on eBay and donated the money, but more than that, I like to think that Pete knows that the watch has gone to a good home and to a bloke who will know the real value and meaning of this watch every time he uses it to check the time.
I love this watch, I have hankered after it for a very long time, but I cannot explain to you just how much Pete's kindness has made this watch extra special to me!
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on August 5, 2012 at 12:15 AM||comments (0)|
Lady Peanut is not the avid watch collector that I am but recently she bought a second watch a Christopher Ward Alex watch and thus formed a collection. Therefore it is time to add her watches to our Watch Collection stream.
Her first watch then is the iconic Hamilton Ventura as above which forms a matching his and her set with my own Ventura. The story of these purchases can be found here. Quite simply this is a stunning, stylish watch that looks very unusual. We have never seen anything like it and we both just love it.
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on April 20, 2012 at 5:30 AM||comments (0)|
Orange straps seem to be de rigueur in the watch world lately, either that or I am noticing them everywhere I look because I have a notion fixed in my head that I need an orange strap in my life. Here is just a few to whet your appetite matched to the musings in my head. First up is the Timex Intelligent Quartz T2N707 which looks fantastic and at around £130 is not out of the way in price terms. However, I have just got the Timez T2N700 which has all the same functions as the above Timex but dressed in a Bell & Ross vintage style of black face and beige leather strap. The two watches do the same thing.
Next up we have the evergreen Omega Planet Ocean, a stylish, timeless beauty, a grail watch for many and certainly the car salesman's watch of choice. A few years ago out with my pal RVW, I was offered one of these at a bargain price and I passed it by (a bargain is only a bargain if you have the money in the first place, I didn't and I missed a real investment opportunity at the least). I have two thoughts on this watch, the first it is too expensive for me just now, £2700 in standard guise or £3700 with the liquid metal bezel and secondly, actually I would like the black face and black bezel with an orange strap. I have never seen this combination anywhere, so if anyone has please point me at it. Gibbs from NCIS wears a Planet Ocean on an orange bezel, maybe that is where I got to thinking about the whole orange strap thing. Yep that's it, my wife fancies Gibbs, I felt threatened by this and realised I have to get me an orange watch strap to compete! Phew I'm glad I at least understand the psychology of this whim now!
Here we have a new offering from Hamilton which I have showcased here. This is a quartz with a mixed analogue and digital display ala Breitling Aerospace and to be honest there is nothing I don't like about it. Some watch aficionados can be a bit snobby about "high end" quartz watches but I just don't have that mind set and a Breitling Aerospace has long been on my want list. This Hamilton tempts me because it is a half price Aerospace in groovy colours. However, at £980 it is not a watch to buy on a whim.
Last but not least is the Suunto Core which I looked at here. This is a watch for the outdoor kinda guy, or girl and it is feature rich with a barometer and altimeter just for starters. It is currently around the £235 mark which for me is a great price but nonetheless expensive enough to make me think long and hard and it is a 50mm case which is a big boy and I have in truth got small wrists. Not one to mail order on then, I need to try one of these on first. I like it a lot, my wife likes it a lot, but it is a big big boy. My wife said "Who cares that it is huge at 50mm, it has a storm warning alert!" That one comment has put this just about at the top of this list but clearly we need to do more research.
Anyone else fancy a black and orange and know of a sexy model that we should look at?
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on July 23, 2011 at 5:30 AM||comments (0)|
This is a very attractive entry-level automatic chronograph coming in September 2011 from Hamilton. The watch is actually a re-issue of the original Swiss-made Hamilton Pan Europ introduced in 1971. The modern version is mostly true to the original design, the major difference being the placement of the crown — on the modern version it is between the chrono-pushers on the right side of the case, whereas on the original model the crown was on the left side — as you can see below. With its cushion-shaped case and sporty chronograph functions, the watch is unmistakeably 1970s style and this latest homage to an original looks to be right up there with the Tudor Monte Carlo Heritage in styling terms, keeping reasonably true to the original. There have been a few blue faced dials of late and it is looking like the latest trend.
This is a limited edition of 1971 pieces and it certainly gets our vote at Beastie Folly!
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on October 23, 2010 at 5:01 PM||comments (0)|
The Elvis Watch
I first saw the Hamilton brand in 2007 at Nice airport while waiting to fly back to England. The watch that caught my eye was the Hamilton Khaki Air Race GMT on a black rubber strap with orange stitching that matched the orange numbers on the black faced dial. The watch was water resistant to 200 metres and came with a decent automatic movement which you could view through the back. It fitted my wrist a treat and was indeed a very tempting watch. When I returned to England I began to look at Hamilton's in earnest and quickly visited their web site www.hamiltonwatch.com.
Their history caught my eye and I was drawn to the Ventura. This watch is iconic in the watch world for a number of reasons. First, it was the first ever battery powered watch introduced in 1957, secondly it came wrapped in a very modern stylish case designed by Richard Arbib who was also famous for putting the fins on the rear of the huge American motors of the fifties. It was the watch that began the journey into quartz watches which almost killed off the Swiss watch industry. Now this fine American watch company manufactures in Switzerland and is part of the Swatch group! Finally, for me the discovery that Elvis Presley wore one in his movie Blue Hawaii sealed the deal and I knew I had to have a Ventura! However, I could not see where it fit into my plans for a watch, as by now I had my Breitling Navitimer for general wear and the next watch that I wanted was a more sporty watch that I could wear on the beach and for swimming etc.
However, the ladies version looked great and they also did a ladies version on a full stainless strap which looked very nice so I thought perhaps a Ventura could join the family as a watch for my wife Peanut. Still exploring the brand we looked for a local dealer and found the nearest one to us was in Knowle near Birmingham. This was close to Solihull where we like to shop on occasion so it was perfect.
KNOWLE GOLDSMITHS LIMITED, 1644A High Street Knowle, SOLIHULL, B93 0NA Tel. 01564 772827 was the jeweller and we visited on a day when we met some friends of ours in Solihull who had come up from Boston near Lincoln. We had a delightful time in this lovely jewellers and spent well over an hour there trying on all his Hamiltons, asking loads of questions and finally coming away with just a catalogue! They had a ladies Ventura on a white leather strap which Peanut tried on but she wasn't convinced about the strap. However, the jeweller said he was getting a Ventura on the bracelet and would ring us when he had one in. A few weeks later he rang but it was about two months before we could find time to visit again.
Meantime, I had been reading some fascinating debates about dress watches on some of the watch forums on the internet and had kind of seen a gap in my watch collection, where I didn't really have a modern watch that you could wear for a dressy occasion. I mean let's be honest, the real James Bond would never wear an Omega Seamaster with a dinner suit. If he did wear an Omega it would be a Deville surely? However, I had given no real thought to the matter beyond reading the forum debates with interest and anyway I had two gold watches for that already!
Finally we paid a second visit to Knowle Goldsmiths in Knowle and saw the Ladies Ventura on a stainless strap. Both of us fell for it instantly - it was gorgeous. Peanut tried it on and great disappointment followed. Her wrists are very tiny and the bracelet was very big and the jeweller thought that he just could not make the bracelet small enough. We were very disappointed. Anyway we carried on looking and mooching and talking and kept trying the Ventura on. Meanwhile Peanut had spotted a man's Ventura - an automatic on a croc style strap with a visible movement. It looked great and very stylish. I tried it on and it looked lovely and was very comfortable sporting a very swish deployant buckle. Meanwhile, the jeweller decided that nothing was to be lost trying to make the strap smaller. Ten minutes later he emerged from his back room and success - the watch looked stunning on Peanut's wrist!
The automatic Ventura had still not come off my wrist and in my mind it filled the gap in my watch collection that I had just invented. It was the perfect dress watch for me - not a dress watch in the conventional way as it is quite a busy watch with the skeleton style face, but really on the croc strap it couldn't be anything else. So there you have it - my new dress watch!
It was an absolute delight visiting this shop and the guys in there were so friendly and helpful. Final outcome - two happy bunnies left the shop sporting his and hers Hamilton Venturas!
Postscript. My Hamilton Ventura Automatic to me encapsulates a huge chunk of modern watch making history in one ironic watch. The first ever battery powered watch now come with a prestige swiss automatic movement inside! A full circle so to speak!