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Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well here is my digital space watch collection (non-G Shock, my G Shocks are here instead), most of them are Timex watches though I have some others. I hope to grow the collection over time and add more of those interesting Seikos.

First up is an anadigi actually, the Omega Speedmaster X33 3291.50.00 (Generation 2), one of the four official watches certified by NASA for space flight. There are many well-documented information online about this watch so I shan't waste time talking about it here.

What we've got next here is the Seiko A829 6010 Digital Chronograph. From the 1980s, the A829s are one of the rarest digital Seiko out there and I was lucky enough to land a mint conditioned one many months ago from a very good Hungarian seller.

The unique thing about this movement is that you change mode by rotating the bezel, which is pretty uncommon. This watch was also widely used by NASA astronauts in the 1980s for space missions. The exact one used were A829-6019 and A829-6029, though there are high possibilities that the 6010 was also included. All these cool factors, coupled with the rarity, makes this one of the most collectible vintage digital watch.

For further reading, please refer to this article on Timezone Italia written by my friend and fellow space watch enthusiast Cristiano (screen name Schirra). Its in Italian though so you need to use Babelfish to translate it to English. Cristiano is probably the most knowledgeable guy on the topic of space watches and his website had served as an important learning resource for many collectors.

And here are my Timex Data Link collection. For more information about these Datalink watches and their significance to space travel, please read my article here.

Timex model 70518, worn by Astronaut James H. Newman on STS-88.

Timex model 69737, worn by Cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, Expedition 14, on the ISS. Yeah, mine ran out of batteries but I still went ahead and took this pic. Will update with new pic later when I change its battery.

Timex model 78041, one of the four official NASA certified watches for space mission. Widely worn by astronauts.

Timex model 78047, bracelet version of the 78041.

Timex model 78701, essentially the same watch as the 78041 and 78047, but of different color, this one's grey, there's a blue version too, which I don't have yet. Sorry I didn't remove the label on the strap for the pic coz its a collection piece kept new in box.

Timex model 69931, worn by Dr Daniel T Barry on STS-96. This is also known as the midsize model 150S, which was a more desirable model among the technically minded Datalink enthusiasts and programmers, I don't know the reasons why though, these enthusiasts are more gadget fans than watch fans. And indeed this model is much rarer. I was fortunate to get a new-in-box piece.

Timex model 70302, worn by Dr Daniel T Barry on STS-72.

Timex model 70301, essentially the same watch as the 70302, but this one is on a resin strap. There is an interesting Easter Egg on the resin strap, see the 101010 code-like numbers on the strap? Its actually an ASCII code which translate to 'Listen to the Light', how befitting since the watch communicates with the PC via light.

Timex model 69787, this is a not a space watch, but its one of the nicer Timex Datalinks that I decided to keep.

Timex model 69940; notebook adapters for the Datalink watches, both black and white versions. Not watches but I feel its importantly related to the Data Link watches.

Lastly here's there the Belarusian made Elektronika 55 watch. According to Soviet/Russian watch expert Phil (screen name 'ill-phill'), soviet cosmonauts worn these Elektronika watches in space during the 1980s and Phil got a pic on his website of cosmonaut Victor Mikhailovich Afanasyev wearing an Elektronika 52B.

I realized my piece was a remade version though, not a true vintage piece, the Ukrainian seller described it inaccurately. I wouldn't had bought it if it's a remade piece, and the accuracy is very poor. Even mechanical watches are more accurate.

Hope you enjoy the read and the pictures.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Some days ago I mentioned here that I had been busy buying stuff both horology and photograph related. Well the horology stuff was a project watch which had arrived a couple of days ago. EMS shipping from Hong Kong to Singapore only took one day.

This project watch was a response to my dissatisfaction over my previous bad experiences with those Ebay Marina Militares, which should be considered expensive for the low quality they offered. They looked good on pictures, (see pic to the left and right below), but I was actually spending money buying pain.
Water got it easily, the display glassback popped off once, there were cosmetic flaws on the dial, the lume wasn't satisfactory and the movement was dead within a month. Even the replacement from the seller had MORE problems.

So the solution was to get a custom made one of much higher quality. I got it from a custom watch maker known as Davidsen, based in Hong Kong. With Davidsen I can order the watch to my specifications, which are as follows:

47mm stainless steel case based on the 1950 design
26mm lug width, 57mm lug to lug
Brushed finishing, polished bezel
Sterile lever guard
Sterile case back (with extra glass display back, courtesy of Davidsen)
30meters water resistance tested

Sandwich with Super Luminova
Sub second dial at 9 o' clock
Marina Militare text on dial, big font, RXW style (Unfortunately Davidsen's not removing the LSWISSL words for me)

Gold with Super Luminova

High domed sapphire
Anti Reflective Coating on the underside

Swiss Unitas 6497 17 jewels hand winding

Leather. I asked for brown, Davidsen sent me a brown plus a black, and both with nice buckles. I was pleasantly surprised.

And here I have it; my custom Marina Militare watch. Pics below, (not to confuse with the above two pictures of the Ebay watch mentioned earlier). I put it on the Red12 strap which Old Skool Zack custom made for me. It had been sitting in the drawer for months and now I can finally use it. Yes!

Someday I will find a way to get rid of the LSWISSL words. The blue sheen on the crystal is from the AR coat.

The lume is great, it is something those Ebay Marina Militares cannot match, it is also one of the reasons enthusiasts turn to custom makers like Davidsen and JOA.

Night lume shot.

The sterile case back. Davidsen forgot to send the glass back, but promised to send it.

Custom Red12 strap on Strap Culture buckle. There is a pirate decal on the buckle, a skull with two crossed cutlass. I like the contrast, since 'Marina Militare' would mean the Navy in Italian. A pirate strap on a navy watch.

Side profile.

Unattached glassback which Davidsen sent shortly after.

Thanx to Zack and Rodrigo for the help provided all this while. Thanx for the read!


In April 2008 I pulled the trigger on a Precista Italian and took pictures for posting on originally, but I don't wanna waste those pictures since the thread had already disappeared so I am reposting it here on my blog.

UPS delivered the package quite efficiently, only took three days from UK to Singapore.

The shipping box.

Cut it open.

An envelope containing the invoice.

Nicely air packed.

Ahh, getting nearer.

The watch box. One thing I really like about Timefactors is that Eddie Platts had done away with those useless traditional boxes and provided a useful travel box instead, bringing more value to the customer. This travel box will hold two big sized watches.

And here we've got the Eddie's name card and a nice little booklet providing historic information about the Italian Navy in World War 2, the specs and warranty of the watch. Also included is a strap changing tool and a polishing cloth.

This is the most exciting part, I took a deep breath and blew that polishing cloth away.

Yes! The Precista Italian!

I was instantly impressed!

Put it on and took a shot of it with on screen in the background.

Specs as follows:

Material: 316L stainless steel, polished
Diameter: 44mm, 48.5mm across including crown
Lug to lug height: 50mm
Thickness: 11.5mm to the top of domed crystal
Lug spacing: 24mm
Anti-magnetic: 4800 A/m
Water resistance: 100 metres
Weight: 100 grammes with strap
Features: Screw down crown, screw back

Colour: Semi-matte black sandwich dial construction
Luminous: Hour markers Super Luminova C3
Day/Date: None

Style: Blued steel , luminous filled
Luminous: Super Luminova C3

1.5 - 2.9 mm domed sapphire, A/R coating underside

ETA (Unitas) 17 jewel hand winding, calibre 6498-1 (18,000 BPH).

Custom Banda strap,black calf leather. Signed buckle. (I received the Tan Ostrich Grain version)

After a few months of ownership, here's a few things which I especially like about this watch:

*Screw down crown has decoupling mechanism preventing problem of over winding the hand wound watch.
*Higher quality Fricker case.
*100m water resistance
*Sterile yet balanced dial.
*Sandwich dial, SL lume, blue hands, AR coated dome sapphire crystal, along with many other great features.

What I don't like about this watch:

*The wire lugs might wriggle out of position and turn downwards with the use of some straps, sometimes distorting the strap. It can be resolved by using lug tubes though. How I wish Eddie provide these tubes in the first place. Strap changing is hard and a pain for watches on half wire lugs. Fortunately I don't have to do it often.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


If you remember my bad Ebay purchase sometime ago where I bought a vintage Citizen chronograph which crystal pops off on arrival. I had shipped the watch back to the seller who promised to repair it.

The seller, Bill Spathis from the Aussieland (ebay ID: ibico0_0)was a great guy with greater business ethics. He sourced for a correct sub second hand for me but the crystal can't be affixed back properly to the case without using glue. He could had just glued it back and sent it to me, but he chose to reveal the situation fully and offered me a full refund.

Bill deserves a two thumbs up!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Well things did not went smoothly with the Fedex shipment to Italy. The shipment was delayed for a long time.

Since we both felt that Fedex had done a bad job with such a delay, Cris proposed that we call Fedex to negotiate for a refund and I agreed, since they are charging USD$105 for priority package that took 12 days to reach, its definitely unacceptable. And as I understand from Cris, priority packages from Asia usually take only 2 to 3 days.

I then called Fedex and got them to open an 'inquiry'. The Fedex guy called me back an hour later and said that the delay was due to customs hold up. They would only issue refunds if the delay was due to their mistaken, eg. sending to a wrong address, or due to bad weather, etc. So we don't quality for refund claims. Fedex guy also said the Italy customs were suspecting the value of these watches were under declared so they wanted Cris to verify and asked for documents to be faxed to them. Cris told me he had to fax the documents 4 times, because they lost the documents the previous 3 times!

Anyway the package finally reached Cris and as expected, they had opened up the package to examine the contents. They removed the bubble wraps and took out the watches, but did not bothered to wrap it back, allowing the contents to bang against each other unprotected. Here are pictures Cris sent me. Very bad...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Well here are the pictures of the newly arrived Vostok Komandirskie. It is a 3AKA3 MO CCCP. So what's the fuss about these words found usually at the bottom part of the watch dial? Well Russian watch aficionados will know, it is actually Cyrillic text, which means 'By Order of the Ministry of Defense of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic'. In other words, this means the watch was made under military contract and not available to civilians. The military connection and being lesser in numbers made these more collectible.

The condition is near mint, my best Vostok so far. I like the more distinctive case shape and also the crown at 2 o' clock. The folded link bracelet is original too but it is not very good because the links are not removable, thus the bracelet is only adjustable at the clasp. Not a big concern for me because it fits just well and I can always change it to a strap. More pictures here.
Case back.
A wrist shot.
Photographed with another Vostok Komandirskie of mine. Nothing fancy for this piece, no tank, submarine nor paratrooper insignia, just a plain blue dial with a red star, but I like it.
Another picture. It is also a 3AKA3 MO CCCP.
Well I used to have two of the blue dials. The one on the NATO strap was my first 3AKA3 MO CCCP Vostok Komandirskie. It had a very unique dial which I think its rather rare. The blue dial changes from blue to cyan at different angles of light, and there are gold streaks/veins over the dial. It was truly remarkable, I never seen such a dial before. Anyway I sold this piece sometime ago on Ebay because I wasn't really happy with the condition.
This is a Vostok Amphibian that I also have in collection. Amphibians are stainless steel instead of chromed brass like the Komandirskies, and have better water resistance. Not a 3AKA3, but still from the Soviet era.

Now back to the green tank Komandirskie. I didn't open the case, but the seller provided me pictures of the watch movement. Unlike older pieces which is marked with SU (Soviet Union) or newer pieces which is marked with RU (Russia), the movement is unmarked. The edges of the movement plate is also flat and not beveled like the older pieces. So I guess it a transitional piece. I reckon this piece is from the late 80s or early 90s, just before the fall of the USSR.
Take a look at the unmarked Cal 2414A movement with flat edges (Pic from seller)

This is the movement picture of the blue dial Komandirskie. It is marked 'SU' though the movement edges are flat too. (Pic from seller too)
Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of a beveled movement for comparison. But you can see it at Dr Roland Ranfft 's website: The sides of the movement plate is beveled, or sloped. I hope the read and photos are enjoyable.