Today’s photos were taken with my second-favorite camera/lens combination that I own: Sony 35mm f/1.8 on my Sony a77. But really, it’s about the lens. That wide-open aperture produces some lovely bokeh, and even the chromatic aberration is kind of pleasing to look at.
The 35mm lens is relatively inexpensive (~$200 brand new), light, and very sharp when stopped down a bit. I love it.
I say it’s my second-favorite camera/lens combination because my Fujifilm X100T is still my favorite. It’s the perfect size for me. While the Sony SLT/lens has killer performance, it’s too big to carry every day. Still, it is a lot of fun!
Since getting my Seiko SKX007 a couple months ago, I’ve acquired a small collection of watch straps too. I have some striped bands, but I gravitate back towards the solid colors, namely the plain black or army green. But I had been on the look out for a black strap with thin red stripe, and one finally showed up on Ebay so I ordered it. This strap has become my favorite now!
I wanted this strap for a couple reasons. First, it’s a good combination of the solid and striped bands. I’ve found that some bands, like the “Bond” straps, look great while the watch is on the table, but less-so when on the wrist. The solid colors always look nice on the wrist, but are somewhat plain. This red-striped version is subtle enough as not to be too flashy, but has a little visual interest. A good compromise. The color scheme matches nicely with the watch face too.
The second reason I wanted this design is more fun and esoteric. I was blown away by the movie Your Name (君の名は), and liked the symbolism behind the red braided cord that Mizuha wore. So, thinking about the red stripe in the watch band… I don’t know, I just like the connection (no pun intended) to the movie, even if I am the only one who realizes it. If you don’t know about the long tradition of the red string, you can read more about it in this Wikipedia article. I think it’s a cool and romantic concept.
The only thing I don’t like about the strap is that although it was listed as 22mm width, it’s more like 20 or 21, so there is a small gap where you can see the watch lug pin. Not a huge deal, but still, a little disappointing.
Anyways, now I am wearing this band most of the time, and occasionally swapping out with the plain black or army green bands. Fun stuff for a watch otaku like me! 😆
The other day, I received a new 22mm zulu-style strap for my Seiko SKX007 watch. It’s the black, green, and red striped design, the same one that I have for my Seiko SNK809 (18mm). I really like the Artstyle straps because they have nice brushed metal hardware, and a good price. As you can see from the photo below, I have purchased a small collection of them!
However, they are not perfect. I guess they had to cut corners somewhere to get the price so low, and thus the finishing of the nylon and stitching is a little rough. I noticed that it gets a little scratchy sometimes. To fix this, I used a grinding stone (used in ceramics) to smooth out some of the rough cuts, which appear to have been heat-sealed. Basically around all the holes I sanded it down a bit. The nylon stitching also had a some bits which stuck out and would poke my wrist, but the polishing stone took care of that easily as well. You can see in the photo below where I sanded around the holes, buckle, and stitching.
After that small amount of work, the bands are very comfortable and just about perfect. 🙂
It’s the 2nd day of Spring Break for the kiddos, so I worked from home in the afternoon. I think they are old enough to take care of themselves, but I still worry! 😀
Well, I kind of knew for a while now that I wanted to get a new watch, and I also had narrowed it down to a certain model. I just had to decide on the size and the color. The watch is a Seiko diver, the SKX. There are different variations: 007 – 42mm with black bezel and face; 009 – 42mm with blue and red “Pepsi” bezel and blue face; 013 – similar to the 007, but a 38mm size.
I went with the SKX007 because I thought the Pepsi blue/red of the 009 wouldn’t look as good with different watch straps, and didn’t go for the 013 because I already have a smaller-sized watch. Plus, I liked the classic black of the 007.
I bought the model with the black rubber strap instead of the metal bracelet to save a few bucks and I knew that I would take off whatever it came with to replace with a zulu strap. In fact, I ordered a black zulu strap with the watch so that I could change it immediately. I read that getting the old watch band off was difficult and by god, it was a pain! Even with a dedicated tool, it was a struggle and my fingers are sore. But in the end, I won and got the rubber strap replaced with the plain black zulu strap. I think it looks great. And so comfortable! This watch/strap combination feels a lot better than even my 37mm Seiko SNK809 with 18mm zulu strap.
One other thing I love is the raised design on the back of the watch. It features a flowing wave 🌊, which is on all the Seiko dive models.
Speaking of dive models, this SNK007 is ISO 6425 compliant, which means it has been tested to meet or exceed some pretty impressive specifications, including depth rating of at least 100 m (this watch is 200 m). So I guess I can be confident taking this watch anywhere. In other words, I don’t have to worry about it. Here’s to a bit more peace of mind!
The SKX007 is the most expensive watch I have ever bought, but that’s not saying much since I am such a cheapskate where watches are concerned. This watch is generally regarded in the watch community as one of the cheapest yet respectable diver watches, but for me, it’s a definite keeper and the highest quality timepiece I own. I am expecting it to be my daily watch for the rest of my life. We’ll see!
Continuing with my (so far) inexpensive watch obsession, I put my grey and black NATO band onto an old Casio quartz dive-style watch. I used to really like this style of watch face, but now I don’t like the shiny polished metal looks as much. But, it does match the shiny buckles on the strap, so I think it’s a good complement. If you look at my Seiko and its strap buckles, you can see both have a matte finish so it matches nicely. 😊
I also learned that the strap that has the 5 buckles is not a NATO strap, but a “Zulu” strap. The larger, rounded buckles are the difference here. I think I prefer the Zulu strap.
Anyways, my interest in watches continues, and I have made a little Amazon wishlist in case anyone is feeling incredibly generous! 😍 But seriously, I’m keeping my eye on a Seiko 007 model… One day!
So I’ve been getting back into my interest in watches again, ever since I got my Seiko 5 last week. I absolutely love that watch! It spurred my memory of another watch that I used to own back in high school – a Timex titanium watch. I don’t think I would have ever thrown that watch away, so I can only assume that it got left behind somewhere when I moved. Anyways, I was thinking how it was such a great-looking watch, so I Googled it and found a photo of the same model and… I guess it is not as nice as my memory led me to believe! 😮
It’s not a terrible-looking watch, but I guess what I find attractive in a watch has changed a bit. I prefer a design with clean edges, and the old watch has the indents around the edges which I am not fond of. Here’s a photo of my Seiko 5, which has a thinner bezel and cleaner look:
Oh well, I guess I don’t need to find the old Timex on Ebay to add to my collection, right? 😝
Continuing with my mini-obsession with my new watch, I decided to get a couple new watch straps. I mentioned in a previous post that the band that came with the watch wasn’t highly regarded and that a NATO strap replacement is recommended. Well, I did a little research into the style I wanted, and I ended up going with the “Bond Strap”, which is the same design that James Bond wore. But, he actually wore a couple different styles. In 1964’s Goldfinger, Sean Connery wore a black, green, and red striped design, while in 2015’s Spectre, Daniel Craig wore a black and grey striped design. Naturally, I got both!
What is nice about the NATO style straps is that they are very inexpensive. I paid about $10 each. They are both pretty good, but not perfect. The black and grey Spectre strap is a good thickness, softer, and more comfortable, but the buckles are a shiny stainless steel. I prefer the darker matte finish of the stock band. The black, green, and red Goldfinger strap is thinner, harder, and the buckles are a nice matte nickel color. Unfortunately, they are a little too big and prominent, plus I think there are one too many buckles. There’s a way to loop the strap around two of the buckles so that it is more secure, but I don’t think I need that, so I might Dremel off one of them.
I like the NATO straps, though, and I bet if I search hard enough, I will find the combination of smaller matte buckles and softness. But perhaps it’s not about finding the perfect one, but enjoying the variety that comes with owning several different types. 😊 Luckily, NATO straps are easily removed and replaces, so switching it up to suit your mood is not an inconvenience at all.
One of the things that I am guilty of collecting are watches. I love them! I must have owned about 15 of them during my lifetime, and yesterday I had a total of 6. But now, that total is 7 because I just got a new one – a Seiko 5 model SNK809. It’s my first Seiko and also my first “Mechanical” watch. I love it!
I had to Google the difference between “Mechanical” and “Quartz” watches, and during my research, I found out that mechanical watches (no battery) are preferred by the traditionalists while battery-powered quartz watches are preferred by the more practical people. The Seiko 5 is an Automatic mechanical watch, which means that you don’t need to wind it to provide power – the kinetic movement that is generated by just wearing it will wind up the spring. It’s very cool! I love not having to worry about a battery.
The downside of this type of watch is that if you don’t wear it for a couple days, it will stop running, so you’ll have to reset the time if that happens. Fortunately, just a few shakes of the watch will “wind up the spring” and it will start running again. Also they are not as accurate as a quartz watch, but losing or gaining a few seconds a day is acceptable to me.
There’s definitely an allure to these purely mechanical watches. There’s a smoothly sweeping second hand instead of the quartz “stepped” movement, a nice ticking sound (like the show 60 Minutes), and the transparent back allows you to see the moving pieces. They are certainly more charming than the cold “soul-less” quartz watches. At least according to most watch aficionados. 😄 But I think I’d agree with that. I get the sense after reading the forums that people form more of a bond with their mechanical watches vs quartz models.
The Seiko 5 is considered a decent entry-level automatic watch. I bought mine for about $53, which is a real value. Build quality is excellent, but the band that comes with it is regarded poorly. I ordered a “Nato” band which will arrive in a couple days so we’ll see the difference. Honestly, the stock band seems ok, if a little rough. But since almost all the watch otaku say to replace it with a $10 Nato, I figured there must be something to that.
Like I mentioned, watches are one of the things I like to obsess over, cameras being the other. There’s a watch shop near my parents’ house that I have to visit whenever we are in SoCal. I haven’t bought a new one since 2011, so I have been overdue!