Monday, 18 May 2015

Ex Machina ~ A Recommended Film

As mentioned earlier, this blog is morphing and I will be following up this post with more information on that and why you should read it [or understand why you disagree with it] :) 

so a super short recommendation for a movie today... not a review as there's loads out there from people paid to write a lot of words when it comes to it. Ex Machina (pronounced Ex Ma-key-na in case u were wondering how to recommend it to your own mates, which means from the machine i suppose as deus ex machina is god from the machine in Greek) is a great film to me(but I recognise it's not for everyone.. hmm maybe if you liked Ghost In the Shell (film that inspired the matrix, Spielberg's A.I. and Dreamworks to do a live action movie with Scarlett Johansson as the lead... this has all the markings of failure...) & Bladerunner(replicants and the 
Voight-Kampff test and all), then this be for u too) [ Rating: 3.75/4 for sci-fi lovers ]


"There are countless ingredients that make up the human body and mind, like all the components that make up 
me as an individual with my own personality. Sure I have a face and voice to distinguish myself from 
others, but my thoughts and memories are unique only to me, and I carry a sense of my own destiny. Each of those things
are just a small part of it. I collect information to use in my own way. All of that blends to create a mixture that forms
me and gives rise to my conscience. I feel confined, only free to expand myself within boundaries." 
Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost In the Shell
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Oscar Isaac turns in a wonderful performance of the nerd king who would be God. He plays super smart and I believe paranoid, isolated and lonely, probably highly insecure geek, & mental giant, Nathan. Domnhall Gleeson portrays an intelligent coder Caleb. hewed from somewhat the same geek/intelligent fabric as Nathan but with different textures and styles ;) Alicia Vikandar delivers a wonderful performance too as Ava and is as Nathan says is '******* amazing' and with the great script and direction from Alex Garland... they and the movie all shine. 


i've always loved pollock's work so this scene was cool on multiple levels
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this is meant more as awareness and if you do watch it you can determine for yourself if you like it. cheers, raph
P.S. both the male leads will be in the force awakens. so looking forward to that...


choreographed dance routine level achieved... this was fun and effective at conveying what it had to
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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Some Breguet 2015 Basel Pieces & A Fine Looking Dual Timezone Piece from Before

didn't get a chance to view all the pieces they had in 2015 as the minute repeater didn't make it to our shores and the independent chronograph had to go travelling. no matter there were some interesting pieces about :) [Thanks to the team at Breguet for access to them]

2015 Baselworld Novelty BREGUET TRADITION AUTOMATIQUE SECONDE R√ČTROGRADE 7097 
The new model gets its name from the retrograde seconds hand at 10 o'clock, which supplements the
 hours and minutes shown by Breguet-style open-tipped hands in blued steel. Breguet’s watchmakers
show off the complication with the help of a circular-brushed semi-circle that also makes the other 
indications easy to read. To maintain the symmetry, the pare-chute is located at 4 o'clock
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50 hours power reserve. Gold winding rotor borrowing its style from Breguet antique watches
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conventional engine-turned hobnail pattern, done by hand, highlights a dial in silvered gold offset
at 12 o'clock. This type of dial can be found on many of the tact watches that Abraham-Louis Breguet
 made from 1799 onwards
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Straight-line inverted lever escapement with silicon pallets. Breguet overcoil 
balance spring in silicon. Balance frequency 3Hz. Adjusted in 6 positions.
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From 2011, the Hora Mundi Classique 5717 an instant-jump time-zone display allows the traveller to
easily display the time in two pre-selected time zones, changing instantly from one to the other simply 
by pressing a button, without disturbing the operation of the watch 
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Breguet hands... The dial’s periphery, sporting a chapter ring with Roman numeral transfers, 
has a silvered and circular satin-brushed finish, a border that is hand-engraved on a rose engine, 
and red-gold hour markers – or platinum depending on the version of the case. The dial’s centre, 
depicting a view of the globe, is stamped and hand-engraved on a rose engine to create a “wave” motif
 on the oceans. The oceans are then given multiple coats of lacquer and the continents are polished. 
On the day/night indicator, the sky is made of lapis lazuli containing numerous pyrite inclusions
that look like tiny specks of gold and represent the stars. The sun and moon are made of solid gold: 
yellow gold for the sun, rhodium-plated yellow gold for the moon. The cover for this disc, representing 
a cloud and bearing the Breguet name and the watch’s serial number, is also made of silvered
 18-carat gold and engraved entirely by hand
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The Hora Mundi is equipped with the 5717 self-winding mechanical movement, which is based on
 Calibre 777 with a silicon escapement, in this case fitted with an additional module. Four patent 
applications were filed when it was designed. The first was for a timepiece comprising a mechanism
 with two time zones; the second covered the display of a time zone on demand via the main set of hands; 
the third was for a programmable and reprogrammable mechanical memory wheel for a timepiece; 
and the last for a mechanism for displaying a temporal dimension by means of a dragging hand
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thin, rounded bezel, a case middle with fluted sides, and added soldered strap lugs
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Three versions of the dial are available, each representing one part of the world: the Americas, 
the European and African continents, or Asia and Oceania – six references in all
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Oh and ladies also get a few pieces in, pics of 2 of them follow... BREGUET REINE DE NAPLES PRINCESSE MINI 9807 & 9808


9807 in steel. Its domed dial is in shimmering white natural mother-of-pearl, while the hour markers 
are in a marquetry of natural white mother-of-pearl. This is a real achievement 
because mother-of-pearl 
is naturally brittle, making its use in marquetry particularly tricky
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& the 18-carat  rose gold version with gem-set attachment and crown: 9808BR
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cool that's it's a mechanical automatic movement rather than quartz from my perspective...
Self-winding movement, numbered and signed Breguet. Cal. 586/1. 6. 3/4 lignes, 29 jewels
38 hours power reserve. Rotor in engine-turned 950 platinum. In-line Swiss lever escapement. 
Breguet balance on a silicon spring. Balance frequency 3Hz. Adjusted in 6 positions
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Saturday, 16 May 2015

Wotancraft Scout Bag Review

hmm morphing perhaps into a lifestyle-ish kind of blog but whatever it is, i just blog what i want to blog about ;) so we're onto bags now are we... well a small artisanal maison hand crafting fine leather products has a better ring to it ;) let's have a look shall we... 

there is a watch connection... first i heard of wotancraft is for the panerai straps they do and they do look good. the pricier and nice vintagized range be found here LINK. some of them are reproductions of the classic old skool straps(in the style of those worn by Italian frogmen in WWII) and i nearly pulled the trigger in the past on one in this range but that watch has sailed... uhm i mean the Panerai has dived out of my watchbox on a Maiali or pig which was the nickname for the SLC 'siluri a lenta corsa' or slow running torpedos that the Decima Flottiglia MAS rode on... nevermind... 

what i do have though are cameras and camera equipment and they need a bag. my day to day bag was getting a bit knackered too so i was looking for a camera bag that was versatile enough to use as a day to day bag for when i traverse vast concrete jungles! 


this guy knows all about maialis...
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so i think the purpose of this review is 2-fold. it's to address any dissonances i may have for buying it(noting the negatives) but it's also to help others who might not get a chance to have a feel of it, as it doesn't have distributors in many countries noting they are a small outfit, form an opinion in this online shopping 'click buy' day and age... so let's dive right in ;)

positives

(1) modifiable: the bag itself minus the waterproof insert and the strap isn't too heavy... so with another
strap, which i do have on it & no insert, it's a light setup you can take with u daily. you can buy alternate
straps too(and lighter inserts) if you find the one it comes with too heavy but that's added cost to take note of
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the heavy & heavy duty strap

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(2) it looks great! personal opinion of course. military inspired cum urban style. no shots of me
carrying it and why would you want that when there are shots of her carrying it ;) LINK
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i don't typically carry it with it's wotancraft tag but may have it on some time perhaps to change things up
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(3) rugged, tough, waterproof: the waxed canvas material has proven to be waterproof after being exposed 
to a thunderstorm i was in recently. if the waterproof insert is used, i think it's safe to say your camera 
equipment will be nice and dry when you need to use them no fluids are getting in there...
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and the waterproof insert has good compartments too... to keep your batts and cards
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solidly made and nice... u can pull the zippers open from the middle if this tongue is out but 
i normally have it zipped to the side where i can access it easily with my right hand
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to note, the current variant has a handle and a zipped compartment on the back of the bag which are pluses that aren't on the version i got. get the version with these upgrades if you are intending to get one of course. 
negatives 

(1) weight: it's heavy with everything on i.e. original strap on and waterproof insert in... and uhm 
that's not even putting in your camera equipment in... quite heavy... 
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after putting your camera gear... it's gonna be a lot of weight to lug around. trade offs between
quality & toughness vs weight in this case
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(2) price: i'm good with the price for what it is, solidly built good quality, but some folks may not be too 
comfortable with US$259 with regular insert and US$299 with waterproof insert for a 
camera bag or for a 
day to day bag... 

one niggle for me is the main closure... was a bit tough to open and close one handed but 
i am gettin the hang of it
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JUST THE FACTS... what can you pack in it?

Mid-sized DSLR body with a lens on and 2 more lenses(not the big daddy ones yuh)...
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Or M4/3 body with 3 lens and a flash or several compact cameras if that's how you roll ;) eg. maybe a fuji 
x100/s/t or m4/3 with pancake prime lens setup, plus a ricoh gr(or equivalent), plus a compact zoom
very spacious bag for a m4/3 setup
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and u can squeeze an ipad imbetween the insert and back of the bag but it will be a tight fit
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and that's it. if u're reading to this point, it's likely you're in the market for a camera bag and possibly considering this, so all the best in your hunt for the perfect camera bag for u :) well nothing's really perfect.. for me, this gets the job done and i'm happy with it... for now... 

other sites with good pics/info and alternate viewpoints on the scout
- steve huff with video review
- simply photo
- la vide leica review of 2013 scoutcompario of 2014 and older version
- travel photographer

Note this review is a personal opinion and i get absolutely nothing for doing it. the links are there just if u're keen on picking up one or checkin it out for yerself. 
  • Link to the bag on wotancraft site & order page here LINK 
  • Link to their retail shop and retail partners in various countries LINK [best would be to check it out in the canvas/leather and assess if it suits your needs/budget before you buy it if you can] - This cost S$365 from their retailers in MBS in SG. 
  • The clean, smart looking ryker costs S$550 which might be preferred over this for some folks... it looks good too LINK
but I'm good for now :) cheers, raph
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Saturday, 9 May 2015

Longines Pulsometer Chronograph & Heritage Diver 1967 In Hand Review

So I follow-up my last watch post about Basel 2015 timepieces with the Basel 2015 timepiece that I thought was a winner... and in the metal... IT IS! check dis out [Note: All press release info in black text and red text is my views/thoughts... Thanks to the fine folks at Longines for getting this baby in my paws...]


sweet sweet pulsometer... 
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u got my heart beating faster which u can time for sure ;)
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u want it back? you'll have to pry it off my wrist! :) oh my ticky ticker
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one minor niggle though... it needs a pin to set the date... the date is to meet the demand of the masses 
who prefer to have the date but for folks like me, i'd rather not have the date and the pin pusher to set it

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and the movement, though exclusive made by ETA, is no 13zn or 30ch manual
winding goodness... again something that would make the enthusiast buy it... 
but it needs to be automatic for the people ;) movement finishing is more basic
but is to be expected. it does have an interesting blued column wheel... 
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what lovely Breguet  blued steel hands u have and on such nice lacquered dial... a pretty face for sure
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Retail for this is S$6,360... hmmm do i start saving up? decisions decisions... 

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Press Release Info: Inspired by a mainly medical timepiece from the early 1920s, the Longines Pulsometer Chronograph measures the number of heartbeats, in addition to the time. The original model of this reissue was used as an instrument by the medical profession to calculate a patient's heart rate reliably and quickly.

At the time, the pulse measurement was taken over a period of 60 seconds during which it was necessary to precisely calculate the number of the patient's heartbeats. As this approach is not entirely trustworthy, the creation of pulsometer overcame inaccuracies. Indeed, this function provides a simple, reliable and rapid heart rate reading. The chronograph hand, coupled with the pulsometric scale, clearly indicates the patient's heart rate on the screen after only 30 pulses.

The Longines Pulsometer Chronograph offers sober elegance like the model that inspired it. The white lacquered dial is adorned with painted black Arabic numerals which subtly enhance "Breguet"-type blued steel hands, while the red of the pulsometric scale stands out in perfect refinement. The transparent steel case back with a diameter of 40 mm reveals the minutiae of the column wheel movement produced exclusively for Longines.


Now as I was at Longines office in SG, there was a great reference book for their vintage pieces and this caught my eye...
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come to papa... just imagine it on a lovely black gator strap.... We have a winner!
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the 13zn... what a movement. i wish they would revive this or the 30CH and that would 
be me buying these Longines watches and my wife probably kicking some sense into me after ;)
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Next to the Longines Heritage Diver 1967 in the metal!

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i don't need another diver
i don't need another diver
i don't need another diver
....
i am so weak ;)
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another really nice looking piece
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Longines draws on its rich watchmaking history to offer new editions of its iconic pieces. The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 draws its inspiration from a divers watch produced in 1967. Its graduated bordeaux diving bezel contrasts elegantly with its black opaline dial and silver-coloured counters. This chronograph watch is also equipped with a tachymeter function. An original piece is kept in the Longines museum in Saint-Imier.

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Longines has always made chronographs designed to accompany pioneers' exploits. After having explored the earth and the sky in the twenties and thirties, athletes turned to the ocean depths in the fifties in the early days of diving with compressed air. This turning point promoted the development of divers watches. The reliable and elegant divers watches produced by Longines experienced great success.
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Today, Longines is reissuing a divers watch dating back to 1967, a copy of which is kept in the Swiss watchmaker's museum in Saint-Imier. The divers watches of the time borrowed the pilot watch system, in particular their notched rotating bezel with divisions in minutes. This device makes it possible to calculate the length of the dive. The tachymeter scale of the internal flange is used to calculate the speed of the diver: the chronograph must be triggered at the starting point and stopped once the distance of one kilometre is completed. The hand will indicate the average speed.

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With a diameter of 42 mm, The Longines Heritage Diver 1967 case houses a self-winding L688.2 movement. This chronograph features a completely original design, reflecting the model that inspired it. It’s silver-coloured asymmetrical counters stand out against the black opaline dial. The bordeaux graduated bezel and silver-coloured tachymeter scale of this model add elegant touches of colour to the overall piece. In the spirit of divers watches, the hands and hour markers are coated in Super-LumiNova® while the back and crown of the piece are screwed to ensure water resistance of up to 30 bar. The watches are fitted with a steel bracelet, black leather or rubber strap. 

Retail is S$4,770 for the diver on bracelet or rubber... 
i think i likes it on the rubber more...
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An engraving of a diver adorns the caseback as a reminder of the first divers watches produced by Longines
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42mm steel-y goodness and it's got depth[see what i did there ;) ]

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signing off for now (& saving money for my next watch purchase too :) cheers, raph

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