Saturday, 13 September 2014

Not your usual Omega Watches... Bring on the Whirlwind! :) De Ville Central Tourbillon & Hour Vision Co-Axials

During the haute exhibition in the Marina Bay Sands, i happened to see some interesting Omega timepieces and knew i had to have a closer look. they have done different versions of the central tourbillon and this is the latest version of it in the DeVille case. I would like to thank Fiona from Omega's great marketing team for her time and excellent company while i lost myself in the whirlwind :) [Note: for non French speaking and non-Watch Idiot Savant(WIS) readers, Tourbillon is french for whirlwind in case u were wondering about the references]


Although meant to be a showcase of Omega's technical ability to produce these mechanical works of art, their tourbillons do sell & for good reason
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The De Ville Central Tourbillon Co-Axial Numbered Edition (Retail SGD 177,400) Comes in a 38.7 mm 18K red gold case. The 18K gold seconds hand is fixed directly on the titanium tourbillon cage. Caliber is Omega 2635 Self-winding movement with Co-Axial Escapement. Interesting brown PVD coated movement with a nice spiral pattern. Hand polished bridges and mechanisms with a platinum oscillating weight

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Central tourbillon cage rotates completely once every minute, offsetting the effect of gravity on the performance of the watch and it is an officially certified chronometer. Comes with a power reserve of 45 hours
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interesting caseback... old father time? 
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Next up we have the De Ville Hour Vision Omega Co-Axial Limited Edition (88pcs worldwide. Retail SGD 55,950)  The sophisticated craftsmanship of the movement is revealed through the four sapphire crystal layers, thanks to their anti-reflective treatment on both sides

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 In addition to Hour Vision's DNA sapphire crystal casebody held between metallic case elements, this 18K red gold model features a sapphire crystal dial metallised with 18K red gold letterings, 18K red gold indexes and a stunning rhodium-plated hour track marked with "Limited Edition"

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Onto the latest Speedies from 2014, the Mark IIs (Retail SGD 8,050). I liked the original Mark IIs and do like these too... Distinguishing the new Speedmaster Mark II from the 1969 watch that inspired it is the Co-Axial calibre 3330, a self-winding movement equipped with an Si14 silicon balance spring and a column-wheel chronograph mechanism

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Not so evident in the pic below, but the transparent tachymetric scale on the sapphire crystal is illuminated from beneath by an aluminium ring filled with Super-LumiNova. The varnished white and black hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova
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Aqua Terra Master Co-axial 41.5mm Retail SGD 7,600 This classic yet robust timepiece represents a tribute to OMEGA’s rich maritime heritage. The dramatic and easily-recognisable dial design of the OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M collection recalls the wooden decks of luxury sailboats. This model features a sun-brushed and lacquered black dial decorated with the Teak Concept pattern and a date window at 3 o'clock
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This certified chronometer is powered by the OMEGA calibre 8500 Self-winding movement with Co-Axial escapement for greater precision, stability and durability, which is resistant to magnetic fields greater than 15,000 gauss and can be seen through the transparent caseback[of which shots have been taken in other posts on this site :) LINK]
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For the model below, the orange varnished central seconds hand is complemented by an orange minute track. A scratch-resistant sapphire crystal protects this unique dial. The stainless steel 41.5 mm case is presented on a brown leather strap with beige stitching. 
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and in case you were wondering about the interesting bracelets in the pics above with the Aqua Terra, they are Omega Aqua bracelets that come in a variety of sizes in leather and rubber versions and 16 colors in all! priced at S$400 for the leather versions. for all the range click here LINK
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all in all, some fun timepieces, accessories and some more 'serious' pieces. Definitely a fun shoot for me of some great watches. hope you enjoyed the post and do have a good weekend. [thought bubble... how much for the tourbillon again?] cheers, raph

Monday, 8 September 2014

Rolex Deepsea Sea Dweller D-Blue: In Hand Pics and Short Review/Take on the Watch and Prices


pics for this post were a bit rushed so aren't such great quality but it's a quick and dirty review anyway :)
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So I posted the press release of this watch a couple of weeks back here LINK and deliveries have started. It's being snapped up right now as it's a new and 'hot' model from Rolex. 

What's the price like? In Singapore the list price is low 16k, I believe it's around S$16,200[tbc]. Some dealers here are pricing it close to list and some dealers here are asking for S$18k and there have been buyers for it at that price. For non-Singapore folks, please use a currency converter :) LINK


Comparing with the regular DSSD 116660 which is selling at around S$12k(or less) new, that's a S$4-6k difference. [Pre-owned the regular dssd are in the S$10k(plus minus) region]

For folks with short memories, I would like to remind you of the milgauss gv and how that was selling for high premiums(more than double list) for a period of time and then dropped like a rock to list after supply just kept on coming... but enough of price talk and to my thoughts on this watch...


D-Blue vs Regular DSSD... D-Blue's got more going for it
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Depending on the angle and the light, the blue can be a lighter or darker shade... 
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Going into the details on the differences of the regular and d-blue dial then... 

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Dial Differences
  • Crown size is different, see the size of the base oval on both. Regular has a broader base.
  • The Deepsea word moved to the lower half of the dial looks to be better to my eyes. Not so squished on top. But overall, it's got a bit too much text going on. 
  • The fonts are different from one dial to the other for each line of text. The spacing between the letters for 'Rolex' are different with a larger gap in the D-blue version.
What does it have going for it? 
  • The blue to black and green do give a bit more 'personality' to the dial. Some may like this and some won't. For me it's better than the regular DSSD's dial.
  • Better placing of Deepsea word and some of the fonts are better. 
  • The good thing about the DSSD(and the No-date Sub) is they don't have the cyclops bubble. I really don't like the cyclops bubble... 
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Cons

  • Size & heft of it may not be for everyone's wrist/preference. 
  • Bracelet should have been upsized with the case size increase of the DSSD impo. the taper of it to the clasp is just off. This view hasn't changed since the DSSD was first launched. 
  • another criticism from the original dssd is calling it 'gas escape valve' vs helium escape valve. 

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Overall thoughts then is that it is a interesting piece with it's gradient dial and preferred to the DSSD if you were looking between the 2 but the price difference may be hard to swallow(worst case it's $6k for a dial change). The new Seadweller 4000 is not mentioned so far but a notable thing about it is that it's a little bit pricey, selling at around S$11+/12k region or close to the regular DSSD price.

If you have not purchased any Submariner or Seadweller in the past but love their looks, my personal preference is for the (1) No Date Submariner 114060 or 14060M or (2) Seadweller 16660 amongst them all. If you like vintage, the 5513 and 1665 are considerations too. 

Hope you enjoyed the short-ish take on the DSSDs. Cheers, Raph. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

The Refined & Sophisticated Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo 15202 Part II... An Owner's Review ;)

Part I can be found here LINK and since that fateful day, I have looked to acquire this fantastic piece. I was down at Montres watch shop to salivate over this and the owner and mate quickly pointed me to the sign which read "Once drooled on, considered sold" which kind of meant I HAD to buy it [At least that's what I'm telling the Mrs and I'm sticking to it ;) ]

my royal oak jumbo... close to perfect...
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dial goes from dark blue to a lighter blue to a wonderful  bluish gray depending on the light and angle it hits it at
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Thoughts on The Royal Oak 

There are a plethora of Royal Oaks(RO) and Royal Oak Offshores(ROO) out there. So many models, one can pick and choose what is the one that sings to them the most(at a price of course). In the past my AP ROO Themes Black LINK was all that to me and because of my love for the End of Days, I also pulled the trigger on the bumblebee LINK... For now, my Offshore lusting days are over as I gravitate towards more reasonable sized watches. I pined for something more refined, more classic sized and I have 'her' in my hands now :)


Among the Royal Oaks then, the Jumbos starting from the A series to the 15202s are regarded as THE Royal Oaks. They are a 
purist's watch, a connoisseur's timepiece for good reason. One of which is that they are just really, really good looking. Out of the sea of octagonal bezels then, it stands apart. It is the antithesis to the Offshores that bear it's name and other large/shouty pieces. 

This latest Jumbo retains a huge amount of DNA from the original A series design by Genta, who is renowned for this and the Patek Nautilus design the most, and what little has been updated has been done so in a tasteful manner and I am sure many who love this range would approve of.  Ok time to get onto more pix in this review.



Box is now a cool dark green emerald-ish color vs the brown in the past. 
it's nice but of course i don't buy the watch for the box :)
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under the bright light of the sun on its unboxing
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time to break out the loupe :)
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Aesthetics

  • The key updates then with this 40th anniversary edition Jumbo: (1) Date wheel in blue font matching the dial (2) Modern fonts (3) Larger AP logo
  • The case size is not large by today's standards comin in at 39 x 8.10 mm. It wears well for it's size on my 7+inch wrist.  
  • The petite tapisserie pattern dial is a beauty and I think AP making it smaller in the I series than the H series was a good thing(see below on dial variations). Moving the AP logo back to the 6 o'clock from the last Jumbo model, which had it at the 12 o'clock marker, and to have it same as the A series was the right thing to do. 
  • No seconds hand is a wonderful thing... it's looking at a calm surface, nothing frenetic or jittery... zen like clalm... Hmm, should I yank the second hands off on my other watches? 
  • White gold applied hour-markers and Royal Oak hands with luminescent coating are maintained as they should be
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius 
and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction" - Albert Einstein 
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all stealth fighter-ish in the darkness
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Bracelet and clasp: 
Just based on what is noted on folks who post about it on the interwebs, this bracelet and clasp is a vast improvement over the one in the last version and of course in the A series. 
The bracelet construction has always been great and the new 15202 has a slightly thicker and more robust feeling bracelet vs the older Jumbo. This is thinner than the 15300 bracelet. No shortcuts here :) The satin brushed finishing throughout this piece is wonderful and provides a nice texture to the metal. 


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one side of the double deployant clasp. two pushers at the side to release & open
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External Finishing:  

The case and bracelet finishing is at a totally other level and the light play over it is simply fantastic. The combination of polished and satin brushed finishings gives this watch a wonderful not so subtle shine and sparkle to it... all in a refined manner of course ;)

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Octavio Garcia worked on this update and he did a fantastic job. AP have taken real care to do 
this well and have exceeded expectations for this 40th Anniversary edition
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Movement: 
AP worked with Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger LeCoultre and I believe Patek to create a reliable, ultra-thin automatic movement back in the 60s. The result was the caliber 2120, and with date the cal 2121. An ultra slim movement at ~3mm height which found it's way into the first of the Royal Oaks and still is it's beating heart today, 40+ years later. It has a 40 hour power reserve and the winding efficiency is excellent as it rotates/spins on rails really well.

Sapphire caseback: Truly something that became important since the 90s. It's a good thing impo as it means u don't have to crack it open to enjoy the beauty of the movement which is now finished exceptionally well compared to the past. 

No quick set date and you have to go from 10pm to 2am back and forth to change the date which is ok. Not great that there's no quick set date but one can live with that.


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Wonderfully finished movement 
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On the Wrist: It wears really well. One issue for me though is my wrist is on the larger side so i may need to get a 1.5 link as i am not sure if they sell a half a link by itself. this will cost me $. The alternative is for me to lose some weight which was on the cards anyway but this might spur me to do better. see it's making me want to be a better(slimmer) man :)


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Accuracy: To the minute accuracy after several days of wearing
oh and it's not always 1010yuh :)
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separating the men from the boyz
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driving home happy
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yup it looks good in suits 
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Cons

  • Scratch magnet - if u stare too hard at it it will probably get a scratch. Kidding of course but close to everything out there looks to be raring to have a go at it. Metal taps, soap dispenser tips, zippers, seat belt buckles, lift doors, anything made from metal i suppose... Oh and keep it away from the kids.
  • Not so versatile - This Royal Oak is more refined and sophisticated than other lux steel sports watches(barring maybe the Patek Philippe Nautilus Jumbo) which makes it impo less versatile. It doesn't go so well with short sleeved tops and uhm wearing it with flip flops are out. Long sleeved shirts, either casual or formal, work with it but as I am in Singapore, it better be a cool place.
  • Little niggles - (1) rotor design could be more interesting in this update. The rotor in the previous 15202 is nicer. (2) AP logo is a little better slimmer as the ones used in the H series[more on the dial variations below]. And that's it. 
looking at it by itself, it doesn't look too bad but when compared next to the slimmer logo, the slimmer logo edges it out
the middle bit also has more rounded ends vs a more flattish ends in the thinner logo
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Ref 15202STOO1240ST01 Dial Variations ~ Different Dials for the same reference Jumbo
The Mark I, II, III notations for these dial variations are introduced by me. Hey if it works for Rolex vintages, it'll do for the ROs :) 
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The Mark 1 dial was too light. The blue of the dial and the wordings were too light. The font for 'Swiss made' looks too old school and it seems as if it's trying to look vintage-ised in a way and that doesn't make sense for this watch.

So there is a lighter blue and a darker blue dial and there is a thinner AP logo and a broader AP logo. The light blue dials all have the thinner AP logo, and the dark blue dials probably early I series likely have the remaining stock of thin AP logos used on them and then swapped over to the broader AP logo when those ran out. 

For me it was the darker color dial and probably brighter font that made it click to a buy. The lighter dial with the light font looks like a watch that has come pre-aged while the new one feels fresher and newer and will now begin to age with me :) but all the variants of the Jumbo are wonderful in my eyes. 

Mark I on the left and Mark III on the right
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above image used with permission SendarFB @ forum.saatforumu.com


Maybe a Mark IV is needed. Everything of the Mark III and just back to the thin AP logo
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above image used with permission SendarFB @ forum.saatforumu.com

Last Word

Strange as it may sound, the Royal Oak really does have a regal-ness to... as if it knows... the steel and gold used in it, the hand finished parts that are hand assembled within it... it is as if they all know they have come together into an amazing and beautiful work. 

A lovely watch to me and to many for good reason. I look forward to many great years ahead with this piece in my collection and on my wrist. hope u enjoyed this post and i won't be buying anything new for a looooooooonnnnnnnnnggg time. cheers, raph


[UPDATE 14Sep14: List price of the 15202 in SG is S$29,700 and the 15400 is S$22,400. the blue dial 15400 is a boutique exclusive with no discount and the non-blue dials can be had for discounts. 
WALLPAPER of the image below in 2880 * 1800 can be found here LINK]

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Monday, 25 August 2014

On Sylvester Stallone's Wrist in Expendables 2 & 3... Richard Mille RM032 Chronograph Diver & PAM Bronzo Quick Take and Pics... Oh & The RM028

RM028 (47mm * 14.6mm... Retail US$79k) vs RM032 (50mm * 17.8mm thick... Retail US$125k) 
The RM028 feels small when held together with the RM032... The RM032 is GARGANTUAN!
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Now we all know Sly likes 'em BIG! I'm talkin about watches yuh. From Panerais in the past and now going way upmarket with the Richard Mille RM032. They all have a big watch case in common and size being relative, it kinda makes sense don't it? :) 


i won't go into the movies themselves but i would say they are switch off your mind, big guns blazing, no-brainer shoot-em ups with alot of past action heros showing off their ability to shoot & blow stuff up, pugilistic skills(kickin a$$ and takin names) and there's a fair amount of knives on display.  


Now these watches aren't my cuppa but i can see how they might appeal to folks with loadsamoney who want 'em big, brash and shouty :) declaring loudly to the world, "Look at me i have a lot of $ and i spend it however i want to" as they pull up in their supercar[lambo, ferrari, pagani, mclaren take your pick]. It is also in some ways kinda suited to the world of the Expendables(the title may be apt too). I mean, these are supposed to be divers watches after all and it always makes sense to go diving with US$100k watches ;) Some in-hand pix follow of these 
BIG Beasts and some factoids... Let's tackle the BIG one first! 

First off what it looks like on the Italian Stallion's wrist... 'Adrienne!'

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the red strap looks great on this piece actually, better than the stock black
and as we know red is great for tactical, covert mission ops :)

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time, big date, annual calendar, flyback chrono, locking mechanism for activation of chrono pushers
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oh and the running indicator on the 3 o'clock position which looks like a vent that closes and opens or pulses. it has a luxurious 2rpm rotational frequency
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What does RM say about the case? Specs:
"The RM 032 is water resistant to 300 meters (30 atmospheres), following ISO 6425 diver’s watch norms. This is achieved with a unique, curved, tripartite case design. It is complemented with a screwed crown construction and the integration of the horns in the case. The horns of each RM 032 version have screws that optimally fix the diver’s rubber strap. 
In the world of horology, the case of the RM 032 is one the most difficult to manufacture. After a 1h30- hour turning phase, this tripartite case has to undergo 830 operations planned during an 9-hour milling phase. After a 11-hour machining phase, each case has to pass a full day of quality control. The pushers and their respective components and the crown require a 10-day machining phase. Within this period, numerous water resistant tests and quality controls are carried out and also the hand brushing and polishing of the case. All of these steps are paramount to obtain ergonomic levels specific to Richard Mille watches."


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these round cases are a departure of course from the trademark tonneau cases like in the RM011 (pics of that here -> LINK) but it retains the brand DNA in looks
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the curvature of the case and the lug design actually allows it to sit pretty well on the wrist for such a large watch. the RM028 has a similar titanium word on it's side but is a bit more squeezed vs the RM032 which has some breathing space for the word. i mean 17.8mm... come on!
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look of the movement is similar to other RMs with the distinctive screws and machine aesthetic. speaking of screws, check out the 12 around the edge of the case below
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to be honest i find this flatter looking than their usual movements as it's mostly shades of grey and no purple or gold-ish lookin bits like the RM028's movement below but guess it's good that it looks a little different from that movement
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RM028 time and date on the nice red strap :)
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Movement is the same as what's in the RM10


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vaucher made RM specs with it's distinctive look
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i believe vaucher makes more than half the movements of RM's annual output with the
 higher end stuff coming out from APRP and soprod takin care of some of ladies watch movements and others

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last note on RM. it hasn't gotten bought over by Kering as they got Ulysse Nardin instead. Not sure if talks are still on so RM may be independent for some to come. On to the Italian dive watches made in Switzerland :)

Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Bronzo PAM382 in Expendables 2

The PAM382 is interesting for 2 reasons: 

1) it made bronze a popular case material, in a fair number of dive/dive style watches, even though other brands had bronze watches before it came along
2) Panerai did a u-turn on not issuing more bronze cased watches by coming out with the PAM507 in 2013. read more about it here LINK
and a last interesting fact is Sly bought and gifted them to several of his co-stars(Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews). Great gesture


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everyone's getting one of these (speakin of the Sly's cast members in expendables)
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the bronze of course changes color and develops patina with exposure to air and seawater so each watch case will look unique as they will patina, gain verdigris differently. it can be cleaned up back to clean and shiny too of course
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automatic cal p900 movement
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dial goes from light to dark green in different light
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why do i feel like going down to the gym, pumpin iron and beefcakin up? GRRRR... ok scratch that. i'll stick with the non-clock sized watches that are my taste right now :) cheers, raph

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