Note: Click on any pics below to view full-sized version (1024px).

Sunday, August 24, 2008


If you're looking for a budget Unitas 6497 powered flieger/pilot watch, especially a 'nine-eater', then you probably might had already heard or looked at brands like Ollech & Wajs, Trias, Jurgen & Gallai, or Kienzle to name a few. The problem is the really budget ones like the Trias are not nice enough and the really nice ones like Jurgen & Gallai or Kienzle can't really be considered budget watches. Anyway at the same price range people probably look at the more interesting Debaufre watches instead.

Enter the Altanus Unitas Flieger. It has the same style of nine eater dial like those offered by Jurgen & Gallai and Kienzle, cathedral hands and strong lume. The price is just right. However these seems to be rare and it seems really hard to find new pieces, though they sometimes pops up pre-owned on the various sales forums. Having no luck at the sales forums, I thought I should check out the original seller's Ebay store.

So while trying to procure a piece from the Swiss Ebay seller uhren_baron, who's the source of these Altanus watches, I discovered he's got another brand to offer. The Oscar.
It seems identical to the Altanus and the seller told me its from the same factory.
Comes with a display back. The Unitas 6497 movement is undecorated.
Lume is pretty good, I think it's Super Luminova.
The mineral crystal is slightly domed, the stainless steel case size is about 40mm excluding crown and lug to lug distance is about 48mm. The watch also wears flat at about 10mm height at the thickness part.
Needless to say I am happy with this purchase. I paid about CHF250 shipped back in December 2007. Thus far I had not see another similar piece, though I seen many other Oscar watches on the Unitas movement.

Till date, I think the Altanus is still the best bang for buck Unitas Flieger watch. There are some Altanus owners who are bothered by the 'anus' word on the dial, so the Oscar might be a better option if one could find another one from the Ebay seller. Though the sales forums might be more practical, since I had not seen either watches in uhren_baron's Ebay store for sometime.

*Update on 31 August 2008: I was informed by Chris (Ray Knight on WUS forums) that this watch was being sold on Ottofrei as a kit recently, though when he last checked it was no longer available.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


James (Riker) requested for some Debaufre Nav B and Davidsen Marina Militare size comparison pics. So here's some quick and dirty pics of the watches.

Nav B 48mm, Marina Militare 47mm.
Nav B's flatter, MM's thicker.
The MM's a pseudo vintage diver watch, while the Nav B's a pseudo vintage pilot watch.
Many guys had concerns if these watches would be too big for their wrists. I have puny 6.5"-6.75" wrists and I don't care and wear them. Yes it might seems like I am wearing alarm clocks on my wrist but I think it just takes getting used to. Ultimately all that matters is that I enjoy my watches. :)

Friday, August 8, 2008


If you have one of those Ebay Marina Militare watches that comes with those flimsy glassbacks, you might one day encounter the same problem as I did. Basically these glass windows are just glued to the glassback's metal frame and very often, they were poorly done. There's no real form of sealing at all. Even those higher quality glassbacks from the custom Pamhom makers will eventually deteriorate, as my friend Chris Moy had experienced with his Pamhom watch.

Water got into the watch via the gap between the glass and the glassback's metal frame, take a look at these pictures of my old Ebay Marina Militare.
My problem came really fast because the glassback came with uneven gluing and you can see bubbles within the silicon. Water got into the watch during hand washing within just a few days of wear. As you would had knew, moisture would wreck havoc in any watch.
I decided to fix it myself and solved the problem, and was better than it was new after the operation. There are no more bubbles within the silicone and it looked perfect.
Anyway here's how I fixed the problem. Don't worry, its an easy fix. You will need the following:
1. Hot glue stick.
2. Lighter or some form of heater.
3. Cooking stove in your kitchen.
4. Old metal plate or baking tray which you no longer use.
5. Razor blade.
6. Pliers to grip the heated metal glassback frame (I use my Leatherman multitool).
7. Gloves to protect your hands, do not use materials that will melt with heat, eg: rubber.
8. About 20 minutes.

Here are the steps:
1. Remove the piece of glass from the glassback metal frame, just peel it off.
2. Remove the old glue residues from the frame, make sure it's clean.
3. Heat the glue stick and gingerly apply it to the metal frame at the location where the glass will eventually sit and let it dry. Ensure you cover the whole perimeter with hot glue. Do not apply excessively but it is perfectly alright to be messy because you can never make it look neat, which bring us to the next step.
4. Place the glassback metal frame on the baking tray bottom up (with the screw threads down).
5. Place the baking tray on your stove and turn on the fire. The baking tray will prevent the glassback metal frame from blackening, we just want the heat to transfer there so as to melt the hotglue.
6. Heat it till you see the hot glue melt into liquid form. Here's where the hot glue will even out smoothly and that is why its alright to be messy in step 3.
7. Turn off the stove and remove the metal frame from the tray with your pliers (unless you wanna burn your fingers)
8. Place it bottom up (with the screw threads down) on a flat surface (not your expensive tabletop, but some surface which heat will not cause damage).
9. Now place the glass into its original position on the metal frame and press it down, some hot glue will ooze out and that is fine. Protect your fingers from the hot metal frame by wearing gloves.
10. Allow it to cool down naturally.
11. Using the razor blade, carefully trim off the excess hot glue and it's done!

I really hope I can provide some pictures of the process for this tutorial instead of just words. But I already sold my old Marina Militare and I don't want to use my brand new Davidsen glassback for it since it never gave me problems, yet.

Disclaimer: Try this at your own risk, I am not responsible if you mess up your watch, injure yourself or damage your properties. It worked for me and I hope it will work for you too. :D

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Its a happy day! I just read that I had won PMWF's latest quarter of photography contest and my photo placed first position. I entered this recent pic of my new Marina Militare watch and thanx to the support of PMWF members, it was well received. :)

Thanx for the read!