02 April 2012

Hot Off the Press!

I iron my own shirts. I was never able to justify spending money at the cleaners on an item that I could launder at home. I don't like starch, because it distresses a shirt's fabric and causes it to wear more quickly, but I don't like to see latent wrinkles appear as the day progresses. I'm not talking about new wrinkles, but the ones that the iron didn't entirely get out the first time.

When My last iron went kaput, I decided it was time to invest in a high-quality steam iron that would do the job right. My solution was this offering from Rowenta. Made in Germany rather than somewhere in China, this iron presses a shirt to the max, eliminating wrinkles completely, so long as there is water in the reservoir. It was a little expensive, although many irons cost a lot more, but the speed with which it irons and the quality of the finished product is well worth the investment.

If you iron your own shirts and use starch out of necessity rather than preference, this baby will retire the need for spray starch, save you time, and leave you smiling.
Rowenta Master steam iron, $59.95, available at Costco.


23 March 2012

Long Live the King: The King Seiko

Yeah. I got it. A King Seiko. 25 jewel automatic movement, 28,800 beats per hour (that's 8 per second, by the way), the same beat per hour rating but a slightly better regulated movement than Rolex uses.

Manufactured in December of 1973 and still going strong. I sold a bunch of shit I didn't need to get it. Been wearing it ever since. I put a midnight blue deBeer padded strap on it to accent its beautiful blue dial. It makes me happy. What more can I say?

16 March 2012

I Believe You Have My Stapler...

The Rio Red Swingline Stapler...Milton's choice.
I've always been a big fan of the film "Office Space", and I loved Stephen Root's character Milton Waddams and his infatuation with a contraband red Swingline stapler that he kept during a corporate changeover to a different supplier.

For the film, the art department custom painted an existing Swingline stapler to make the red one seen on screen. In the aftermath of the film's release, Swingline received so many calls from enthusiasts wanting the stapler from "Office Space" that they decided to make one. At the time, the red 747stapler was not part of their product lineup.

The "Rio Red" stapler was released as a special edition and can be found on ebay or Amazon for those interested. I bought one for my desk, and made sure to buy it on my own rather than seeking company reimbursement so that it could never be taken from me, as it is ultimately taken from Milton.

The funny part is that the confiscation of Milton's stapler finally leads him to set his office on fire. If only he'd gone out and bought his own in the first place!


24 February 2012

Black History Month: Miles Davis

Once, when asked to describe his style, Miles simply answered that he was "Clean as a motherfucker." I couldn't agree more. As he got older, Miles let his style lead him into the realm of the bizarre (and often, downright gaudy), but what we have pictured here are examples of Miles in his prime, exhibiting pure, unadulterated cool.

See that jacket in the very top picture? Miles designed it. Simple and elegant, his sportcoat was designed to have as few seams as possible. You'll notice there is no shoulder seam. See the suit in the bottom picture? Miles designed it. Only one working and one decorative button. The double breasted equivalent of a single button jacket. This man was a trumpet player by profession, but made a career out of being a stylish, cool motherfucker.


22 February 2012

The Seiko Lord Marvel, 36,000

Ahhh... the vintage Seiko obsession continues. Had to send back the chronograph, sadly. One of the hands detached from the bottom sub dial after the first day of wearing it, and while I know it was a vintage piece, the guy who sold it to me had allegedly had it all checked out prior to shipping and I don't feel that a recently serviced watch should have broken in this manner. He was not very friendly about the sending back process either... I had to get ebay involved. The seller refused to work things through with me, asked ebay to decide the case, and when they decided in my favor, he balked and said he wasn't going to respect their decision. Ha! That is so... elementary school. The world has too many people of his caliber in it. Perpetrators of low-level energies. It took a lot of focus not to drop to his substandard energy level.

Anyhow, that aside, I found this beauty and had to go for it. Built in September of 1969, this Beautiful Seiko Lord Marvel is in mint condition and functions flawlessly. It came with an expandable band, which I replaced with a Rolex-style jubilee bracelet for now (see the before and after photos). It may ultimately end up with another band entirely. The cool thing about this particular watch, is its movement paved the way for the high end King Seiko and Grand Seiko watches. This Lord Marvel possesses one of the first ever "hi-beat" movements. What that means is, the movement in this watch "beats" 36,000 times per hour, or ticks 10 times per second (When this watch was made, Rolex's best movement beat 19,800 times per hour or 5.5 times per second, and to this day their best tops out at 28,800 or 8 times per second). This provides for a sweeping second hand so smooth, it looks like a classroom wall clock and ticks so fast it sounds like a flea with a jackhammer. It keeps incredibly accurate time, down to mere seconds per day.

The fact that it has a manual winding movement keeps the watch very thin. I love its simplicity: no date window, stick markers, and a slightly off-white dial that most closely resembles the surface of a pearl. Until I can get a King Seiko or Grand Seiko, this lovely watch is a testament to the incredibly high-quality construction of the Seiko watch family and I'm honored to own it. I can literally just sit and stare at the eerily smooth sweeping second hand and my body begins to relax. The one in the video is not mine, but watch this video (above) of a similar Lord Marvel in action. Now that's a sweeping second hand. Freakin' awesome!


14 February 2012

The Auto-Chrono

A Tag Heuer Carrera is a beautiful watch. Likewise is an Omega Speedmaster (I pledged to fill this site with things that I love. It just so happens that I love, and have loved for as long as I can remember, wristwatches).  But with automatic movements, these watches with a chronograph feature are $2,000 (used) on the cheap side.

A couple of years ago I passed up the chance to buy a used but in like-new condition Hamilton Jazzmaster chronograph for $450. I didn't think about the fact that the Swiss Valjoux chronograph movement that gave life to that watch would cost $400 by itself, with no watch built around it! Skipping out on that purchase is something that I regret to this day.

I have since been on the hunt for an automatic chronograph, and I finally found one that captured my fancy. My last post mentioned my new appreciation for vintage Seiko watches, and this beautiful Seiko Chronograph manufactured in January of 1977 is the newest member of my collection. It is in near-mint condition, which is impressive for a watch that is 35 years old, and it very closely resembles the aforementioned Swiss-Made watches.

Now don't think that I am dogging Swiss brands... I will at some point be writing about at least one, but this Japanese automatic chronograph is built like a tank, and its 21 jewel movement is very accurate. It bears timeless and classic style, and with a midnight blue dial and leather band, I'll never have to worry about which color shoes or belt I pair it with.

Let's face it... a watch is really more about form than function. Our cell phones will tell us what time is is, and if the accuracy of a time piece was what we were concerned with we'd all be wearing $10 quartz watches anyway! The important thing about a watch is that it makes the person who wears it happy and serves his (or her) purpose, and my Seiko fits the bill to a "T".