Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rolex Receives High Digital IQ Index Ranking

Rolex Earns High Digital IQ Index Ranking

Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing from New York University (NYU) and a team of experts recently developed a Digital IQ Index for the Luxury industry. This analysis is the most robust and comprehensive of its kind, ranking 109 brands in 11 luxury categories across 15 digital competence criteria.

Rolex was ranked number 13th overall and came in 2nd place in the watches category. It is a pretty fascinating read.

The Digital IQ Index believes their metric will become the definitive measure in assesing luxury competence online. To view a copy of the report brief including complete ranking and category information please click here.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nikon 20X Mini Field Microscope

Nikon 20X Mini Field Microscope
By Ed Delgado of Double Red Sea-Dweller

I noticed on Twitter that Ed Delgado of DoubleRedSeaDweller.com posted this interesting video of a compact portable field microscope for examining watches in great detail. Thanks for sharing Ed!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Magrette Story...

The Magrette Story
The Moana Pacific Regattare

I am extremely excited to share this amazing story with you about an incredible boutique watch company from Auckland (City of Sails), New Zealand that was founded by a very talented watch designer named Dion Wynyard McAsey. Dion's brand is named Magrette and as you will learn, Dion pours his heart and soul into making his beautiful watches!!!

Dion's designs are based on timeless design and sturdy build quality with a very high value proposition. As a matter of fact, and this is hard to believe, but true, Magrette's base watch known as the Moana Pacific Regattare only costs just over $300 U.S.!!!!!

I have been wearing a Magrette Moano Pacific Regattare for a few months now and I am madly in love with it!!!! In this detailed review I will take you through a tour of all the details that make it stand out so much in my mind.

The watch in the two photos above and below are the exact same watch, except one has a black band and the other a tan band. The band is a 24/24/4 which we will examine in more detail later in the article.

The level of attention to detail in Dion's Magrette watches is amazing down to the smallest details. To begin with, they all have high quality, accurate mechanical automatic movements that wind from the movement of your wrist. As we see in the photo below, the high-quality synthetic sapphire crystal has a slightly domed bezel which really contributes to the elegance of the Moana Pacific.

Timeless Design Language

The Magrette watches are extremely timeless and elegant, but how-so and why? The thing that first caught my design eye with the Magrette watches is their design language is extremely similar in many ways to the last Panerai Rolex made between 1954-1956 for the Egyptian Army which is known by collectors as "The Small Egiziano" which had a Rolex Reference number of 6152/1.

There are only around 10 known examples of The Small Egiziano watches in the world and they are worth around $150,000 in U.S. Dollars. I include a few photos of an ultra-rare Small Egiziano below that belongs to the famous Vintage Panerai historian and author of Vintage Panerai books, Ralf Ehlers.

To learn more about this Ralf Ehlers' amazing Vintage Panerai books as well as the Rolex made Panerai watches please click here. So what is so great about the small Egiziano Panerai made by Rolex? In my personal opinion, the Rolex made Panerai Small Egiziano is about as close to perfection as you can get in a tool-watch. Its art-deco inspired populux lines and curves are just amazingly simple and elegant!!!!

Modern Panerai watches have the trademark half-crescent crown guard which is one of their design characteristics that sets them apart from all brands. The Rolex made Panerai Small Egiziano lacks the crown guard and has a simple large winding crown similar to a Rolex Submariner triplock winding crown. I am not condemning the half-cresent crown gaurd because I think it is cool, but in many ways I like it better without it.

The great challenge is that most people can't afford to pay $150,000 to purchase a Rolex made Small Egiziano, but just about anybody can afford to spend just over $300 to get a beautiful Magrette. Another tremendous benefit to paying just over $300 for the Magrette is that you don't ever have to worry about losing it or having it stolen.

I took the following photos of my Magrette in San Francisco in front of the magnificent Palace Of Fine Arts.

As I previously mentioned, I think the classic curves of the Magrette are awesome and timeless and it has extra-fat hands with plenty of lume-power. In this next shot you get a great look at the slightly domed synthetic sapphire crystal.

Also, the body of the Magrette has a tapered body with perfectly curved lugs that follow the contour of your wrist to make the watch look like it is one with your wrist. The Magrette watch measures between 43-44mm and in my opinion wears very small for a 44mm watch.

What am I talking about? Basically the benefit is that if you are coming from a 40mm sports watch like a Rolex Submariner and you want to try a bigger watch, but you don't want a watch that will make you feel like you are wearing a hockey-puck on your wrist, the Magrette is for you.

As a matter of fact, my pal Sheldon Smith who is a fellow Rolex fanatic pointed out that some 43-44mm watches don't seem that different from a 40mm sports watch. When I showed Sheldon the Magrette in person he really liked it and pointed out how he really liked the slightly domed curvature of the synthetic sapphire crystal.

The design of the dial on the Magrette is really cool. I almost forgot to mention that Magrette watches are made in limited edition series of 500 watches, which means that once it sells out it is gone forever. As you can see in the photo below, each Magrette has its limited edition serial number etched in the back of the case which is a very nice design detail.

The detail that changes most from edition to edition is the design of the dial. In the case of the Moana Pacific the dial is very easy to read and it has the Regattare designation in red which is a great detail. Also the Moana Pacific designation is in a 1950s populux italicized script typeface which ads a touch of elegance to the dial design.

Did I mention the Magrette has great curves!?! I get compliments on it all the time from strangers who notice it on my wrist!!!!

By the way, as a side note, I think the Magrette is way, way, way underpriced!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know Dion wants to give his customers an excellent value but I think the watch is worth, much, much, much more than just $300!!!! I won't tell anybody if you don't!!!!!!!!!! ;-)))))))))))

Now it is time to talk about the 24/24/4 leather strap with the oversized buckle. The Moana Pacific Magrette comes with either a tan or black 24/25/4 strap. 24/24/4 refers to the shape of the strap which does not taper from the lugs to the tail of the strap–in other words, it starts at 24mm between the lugs and continues to 24mm at the tail. The 4 at the end of the 24/24/4 stand for 4mm thick.

24/24/4 straps are very popular among Paneria collectors, known as Paneristi. Panerai does not make 24/24/4 straps but many aftermarket watch strap companies make them and they are based on the design spec of the original straps that came on Rolex made Panerai watches. The 4 mm thickness give the watch a heftier, more substantial, masculine vibe.

Now I have to talk to you about this big buckle that comes on the 24/24/4 buckle. When I first say Paneristi wearing the jumbo buckle I hated it!!! I thought it looked stupid and affected and of course I didn't understand it!?! It almost looked like it hurt to wear and it looked off-center to my design mind that is always seeking balance, harmony and symmetry.

Note: Often times I have to hate something before I can love it. I don't know why this happens so much, but it does. Perhaps it is because we mock what we don't understand?

Back To The Future

When I got my Magrette with the jumbo buckle I decided to keep an open mind. I figured I would always change it if I didn't like it. The thing that shocked me about the 24/24/4 strap with the jumbo buckle was how comfortable it is!!!!!

At first it puzzled me but I finally figured it out!!! Since the strap is so thick it acts more like a bracelet than a strap which results in supreme comfort.

I was also shocked to learn how comfortable and useful the jumbo buckle is. The purpose behind the jumbo buckle on the original Rolex made Panerai watches was that it makes it much easier to unfasten the strap from the buckle. From a utilitarian perspective, when you go to unfasten the buckle your thumb presses up against the buckle to hold it in place–thus making it much easier to remove.

All the photos above show the Magrette on the tan strap and the following photos I took show it on a black 24/24/4 strap. The cool thing about having a bunch of different colored straps is that it can quickly change the vibe of the watch.

Note: I had a fascinating design epiphany regarding the 24/24/4 straps that I will share with at the end of this review.

In the photo below we see the classic and strong black and silver combo which matches my 3Gs iPhone. The supreme irony is that the 32GB iPhone out the door actually costs more than the beautiful Magrette Moano Pacific Regattare!!!!

The Real James Bond Watch?

I have an interesting story to share with you. A reader of Jake's Rolex Watch Blog recently wrote in and said he wanted my opinion. He told me he wanted to buy a watch that had a true James Bond vibe if James Bond was a real person, but that he did not have very much money to spend.

I was perplexed and wrote back to him and said that I thought the best he could do would be to find a vintage Rolex 5513 Submariner and if he was lucky he might be able to find one for around $3000. He did not write back.

Two days later, I was walking down the street thinking about my email answer to him and then it hit me like a ton of bricks!!! I wrote back to him and said I thought if James Bond were a real dude (which he is not) I think he would wear a Magrette!!! The reader wrote back to me with delight and thanked me very much!!! This watch just has some kind of magic vibe to it that comes across in the photos.

Stay Minimal–Be Bold

The Moana Pacific stays true to the Magrette Design Principle of Stay Minimal, Be Bold.

The Magrette just has such a cool look and vibe!!! For some reason I can't stop staring at it!!! Of course it has everything you could want in a great watch including 316L stainless steel and a 3 ATM (100 Foot) depth rating with a screw-down crown. It also comes in a nice wooden presentation box.

The Magrette is not a Rolex nor does it pretend to be in any way, shape or form. It is an homage to great timeless design. If somebody were to suggest it was some kind of Panerai look-alike I would argue that it is not. Magrette does not seek to emulate Panerai, it seeks what Rolex sought when they made the now vintage Panerai watches.

Also I might point out that one could argue the modern Panerai brand of today seeks to emulate the original Rolex made Panerai watches. Just for the record, I am not putting down the modern Panerai company in any way. As a matter of fact, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the modern Panerai company and think they make great watches.

Very Special Edition

One of the things that first blew my mind about the Magrette brand is a very special edition watch they make known as the "Maui's Fish" model. When I say "Very Special Editon" I mean it is limited to just 10 hand engraved watches.

The Maui's Fish model is hand-engraved by one of the top hand engravers in the world–a man named Andrew Biggs. The hand engraved watch is a high-premium watch and sells for $3895–still extremely inexpensive for what you get.

Each Maui's Fish hand-engraved watch tells a story rooted in mystic Pacific folklore. Andrew hand carves each watch which is a painstaking process. Basically if you make a mistake there is no way to fix it and you have to start over.

As you can see from the following sketches, each design is carefully hand-drawn in exact detail before the etching process begins.

I am not a tattoo-kind of guy. In other words I don't have any tattoos or the desire to have any, but I must admit I think the etching looks like the watch is tattooed and I think it looks great!!! The design of the etching on the Maui's Fish engraving has a definite Tiki, Pacific Island vibe which I love!!! Very unusual and exotic, eye-catching and fun.

In my personal opinion, the engraved watch is an absolute masterpiece and if you are lucky enough to have one it is pretty much guaranteed you will never in your lifetime wander into or see somebody else wearing your watch!!!

As we see in the photo above the winding crown on each Magrette watch has the company logo. I remember when I first saw this watch I was just completely blown-away!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The watch reeks of old-world hand-crafted elegance and each hand-engraved watch is an absolute masterpiece. When I look at these photos the detail just blows my mind!!!!!!!!!!! Adjectives start flowing through my mind like stunning, beautiful, magnificent. incredible, gorgeous, breath-taking!!! This watch is high-art!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also each hand engraved watch has an upgraded ETA automatic movement with a synthetic sapphire exhibition caseback.

In my opinion I think Dion has created an amazing watch brand and I can only say Bravo!!!!!!!!! Bravo!!!!!!!!!!! Bravo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

24/24/4 Band & Buckle
An Acquired Taste

Remember how I mentioned earlier in the review how I had a fascinating design epiphany about the 24/24/4 band and buckle? It started with the following photo from Magrette's website. For some reason I could not stop staring at this image. There was something just so cool about the design of the 24/24/4 strap with the jumbo buckle!!!
If you think about it, when the watch is laid flat so you can see its profile it looks like a dagger or some kind of knife!?! I now totally get why all the Paneristi go crazy over these 24/24/4 straps that originally came on the Rolex made Panerai watches.
By the way, Magrette makes other watches including the Magrette Day-Date pictured above which only costs $299 with the beautiful 24/24/4 strap. You can learn much more about the Magrette watches or purchase them by visiting Magrette.com or by clicking here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rolex Diving WIS Jean-Michel From France...

Rolex Diving WIS
Jean-Michel From France

My pal, Jean-Michel from France is a diving fanatic and WIS and RIS. How hardcore you ask? I will let you decide for yourself. He recently sent in this video along with a note telling me Open Sea diving season is coming to an end but that diving nuts like him always find spots to dive, and this week he and his pals went diving in a dark lake and made this video.

Jean-Michel points out that around 6:23 he and his pal that are wearing Rolex Sea-Dwellers show off their watches along with their pal wearing an Omega Seamaster. Thanks for sharing Jean-Michel!!!!

Jean-Michel also send in this photo of himself a month ago wearing his Rolex Sea-Dweller at 40 Meters (131 Feet). I guess this could be the wrist shot of the day?

Jean-Michel has been kindly assisting me with details on the current series I am working on about the complete history of the Rolex Submariner and Sea-Dweller. On August 24 he sent me and email saying he liked seeing how I covered "Le Prieur" who founded "The Club Of Divers And Underwater Life" which to this day is the oldest dive club in the world.

Jean-Michel mentioned that day he had gone on a dive with the owner of the club. It is a small world after all!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Chris Pfeiffer Rides BMW Roof...

Just For Fun
Man & Machine

Chris Pfeiffer is a professional freestyle motorcyclist and he took his BMW 800 R up to the roof above the 22nd story of the BMW Tower in Munich to have some fun!!!

Also, BMW just showed off their noteworthy new BMW Vision Efficient Dynamic car which looks amazing:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roger Federer Wins U.S. Open Quarterfinals

Roger Federer (Superman)
Wins U.S. Open Semi-Finals!!!

The greatest Tennis player in history (Born and raised in Basel Switzerland–Home of the annual BaselFair Watch Trades Show) Roger Federer just won the U.S. Open Semi-Finals against Novak Djokovic and will be playing tomorrow in the Finals.

In the second to last point of the Semi-Finals, Roger hit the most amazing between-the-legs tennis shot I have ever seen in my life–and for match-point in a semi-final of a grand-slam nonetheless!!!!!!!!!!!! It was the kind of shot you would expect to see from Superman, if Superman was real!!!!!!! Check this out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Most Amazing Tennis Shot I Have Ever Seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the two shots below of Federer we see him in a press conference after his quarter-finals win wearing a Rolex that looks like the new Datejust II to me.

Roger Federer's Dad
Stainless Rolex Datejust

In the photo below we see Roger Federer's father at the U.S. Open and we see he is wearing a Rolex Datejust with Roman Numerals on the dial. Roger's father must be extremely proud of his son's amazing career achievements!!!

Since it is Sunday, I thought I would share this 60 Minutes Interview of Roger Federer from 2005.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Vintage-Panerai Overview

Vintage-Panerai Overview

I added a mini-review of the two magnificent Vintage Panerai Books by the ultra-talented Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann.

In the future I will be doing a detailed reviews of their books as well as podcasts with each author.

You can read the mini review I added to the story by clicking here.