Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Show Your Colors!

I am, at the heart of it, a Northern Youth.  I grew up in a very small college town in Ohio, and the closest I came to crewing was when a work crew was assembled to tackle a particularly labor intensive project at my after school job.  

But there were two things pulling on me.

One that was clear from the off - my imagination and the dreams that it fueled extended far beyond the realms of Oberlin.  The sartorial gas that was dumped on this fire was the film Chariots of Fire.  I was particularly taken by the clothing.  Specifically?  The blazers worn by the members of the various colleges and/or clubs.  I often pictured my future (better) self, sitting by the fireside in my rooms, enjoying a brandy and plotting my future.

The second string tugging at me?  My mother was an aspiring fashion designer who would later make that her second act.  So I guess it is fair to say that some of it is in the genes. 

A lot of time has passed since then.  I did not take up rowing, I enjoyed and benefited from a degree taken at the University of Oregon, and I found myself pursuing and completing a graduate program in the UK.  And where a lot of  my childhood flights of fancy came full-circle was living and working at the University of St. Andrews with Wendy during our summer vacations. 

So it was with no small amount of interest and curiosity that I walked the the two blocks to Newbury Street yesterday to check out the Rowing Blazers pop-up shop during my lunch break.  I have been stalking this online purveyor of niftyness for some time, but had never been able to see their wares up close and personal.  So a quick pop in, and I was able to meet the owners, set an appointment for a more in-depth follow-up (longer story coming Friday), and get my own copy of the book that helped start it all, Rowing Blazers -

 And Doctor Jack L. Carlson very kindly inscribed my copy -

 So more to come shortly, stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Kelys & Chirp

Presented by MB&F -
Courtesy of MB&F
One of the things I really like about MB&F is their holistic approach.  Yes, mechanical watches are showcases for elaborate and complex workings, but these walking turtles (with singing birds) are wonderful creations.

As you'd expect with all things MB&F is involved with, this is a collaboration first between a turtle - Kelys, and a song bird - Chirp.  According to the folks art MB&F, the name given to the turtle of the team, Kelys is inspired by the Greek chelone or chelys for tortoise.  Chirp is the more musical of the pair.

Courtesy of MB&F

But there is another partnership at work here, that being music box masters Reuge and Nicolas Court, one of Switzerland's best known automaton experts.

Limited to 18 pieces in each version.

Available in blue, yellow, ochre -

Courtesy of MB&F
 and green -
Courtesy of MB&F

Here are the pertinents, straight from MB&F -


Kelys & Chirp is available in 4 limited editions of 18 pieces each in blue, green, yellow or ochre

The tortoise walks, the bird opens from back, moves and sings.
For 10-12 seconds, the bird flaps its wings, moves its tail, opens its beak in time to the bird song, then as if
magically disappears.
The tortoise moves its legs in a realistically intermittent gait, its head moves.
Average tortoise speed: 0.03 m/s (0.06 mph).

Generally rhodium plated brass, stainless steel and 18K white gold for the bird.
Tortoise scales: handmade leathering with coloured calfskin.

Number of components: 480
100% hand assembled

Materials: 18K polished white gold, eyes in sapphire
Number of components (bird alone): 30
Number of components (bellows): 90
Mainspring: twin-cam spring barrel
Power reserve: 3 cycles of turtle walking and bird singing
Bellows: double bellows system (bi-directional air pushing)
Security mechanism: if the bird or cover are pushed down while the bird is singing, the bird automatically retreats

Material: grained, satin and polish finishing, rhodium-plated brass, eyes in black onyx gems

Shell: 12 leather scales with individual polished edges
Mechanism for turtle automaton is driven by the Singing Bird movement

Number of components: 100, all rhodium or satin finished

Gear train: elliptical gearing with max/min 1.3/0.8 ratio enables the turtle to advance with a realistically non-regular gait.

Table/desk edge detector: turtle automatically stops when reaching the edge of the surface.

Tail switch: world first tail indication; with the turtle’s tail up it rests in place while the bird sings; with the turtle’s tail down
it walks and the bird sings.
Security friction clutch

Circular stainless steel winding key located on tortoise’s belly.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The 5 Windows

From Minase -
Courtesy of Minase
Now to be fair, I know precious little about Minase.  But what I've seen so far, I do like.  And I like it because in an horological world of conformity, Minase has a very clear idea about what they are trying to accomplish.  Their concept of the "case within a case" is an unflinching statement about just who Minase are and what they stand for.   It's about structure, but not just structure for structure's sake.  There is a reason to their rhyme.  

Courtesy of Minase
In the case of the 5 Windows, it is not just to show what's inside.  Honestly?  Anyone can do that.  How many cheesy, half-assed, under-cooked, pseudo skeletonized watches are out there?  You can't count that high.  And ultimately all of these are just half-hearted efforts.  Yes, there is a display back, maybe the dial has been removed, but it really doesn't show you anything special.  The 5 Windows does something unique.  

You've all seen the "exploded" view of a watch?  Sure you have.  And it might just be little me, but this is the first time I've actually seen a watch that took all of that feeling, energy and emotion, and put it into a watch where you got that sense of "floating structure".

The 5 Windows is available in 18K yellow and rose gold, or palladium.  That means something.  These are metals that you use for a watch that is not just going to be bought and sold.  This is the stuff you make something permanent with.

So I haven't seen one in person, but now I really, really want to.  

Here are the pertinents, straight from the source in Akita-Ken:

Exclusively made in palladium, black PVD or 18K yellow and rose gold. Dual spherical box type sapphire crystal ( non reflective coating ) on top, see though case back and sides with sapphire crystals ( 9, 2 and 4 H ). Water resistant up to 50 meters ( 5 ATM ).
Dimensions : 38 x 46.5 mm. Thickness : 14.0 mm. Weight : 160 g.

KT7001/1, power reserve 38 hours. Swiss ebauches customized by MINASE with hand-made polishing and "perlage" on plates and bridges.

HiZ concept with individual components to become a 3-dimensional dial.
Together with the movement and the hands, this structure consists an independent entity inside the case.

Hours, minutes and central second hands. Date at 4.

Genuine alligator strap manufactured by hand at Minase factory.

"Jewelry" solid palladium or 18 K gold buckle.

Support Tempus Fugit - Get a Super-Dope Sweatshirt!

It's that time of year again!  With the snow finally arriving here on the North Shore, it seemed appropriate to offer something a little cozier than a mere t-shirt, so this time around I thought I would change it up:

1.  Offer a sweatshirt

2.  Offer the sweatshirt in both men's and ladies versions!

And before you panic, don't worry!  This is just a quick mock-up, the logo will be nice and centered ; ) 

This is once again being facilitated by the good folks at Custom Ink.  

Get A Tempus Fugit Sweatshirt!

The shirts have been priced at $44.00 US.  This fund raiser will run for 30 days, with the last day of the fund raiser is January 8th, 2018.  10 of each version must be purchased in order to move forward, so if you read the blog and appreciate the coverage, please consider supporting this.

All monies raised go towards operational and travel expenses related to covering the industry and bringing you the story.  

Tempus Fugit accepts NO ADVERTISING.  Little fund raisers like this help me keep the lights on, and the news real!

Any questions, please contact me!

Hit Me Up!

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Bronze Beauty

From Archimede -

Courtesy of Archimede
Every so often you see something that just hits you in the right spot.  This is one of those times.  Point of full disclosure, I am not firmly on either side of the great bronze debate as it applies to watch cases.  Some, admittedly, are more desirable than others.  But more than just a great case, the watch itself needs to have balance and appeal.  

And Archimede's Deck Watch ticks all of the boxes for me.  I tend to prefer hand wound movements, and that is what is under the hood -

Courtesy of Archimede
 ETA's 6498!

 Another great touch?  The blued hands -

Courtesy of Archimede
So I might just need to plan a trip to Pforzheim ; )

Enjoy your watches!