Watch brand pronounciations

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 30th, 2008
Apr 30

While browsing through yesterday to remind myself of what else was there other than ETA movement reviews, I stumbled across this interesting post.


I’ve been corrected several times by German-speaking friends when I try and pronounce Glashütte, and by Italian-speaking ones when I’m attempting to say Officine Panerai.



It’s certainly not a complete list by any means, but interesting for those of us who grew up without a lot of European-speaking influence (in my case, other than Greek, which has minimal use when it comes to pronouncing watch brands!).

ETA 2892

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 29th, 2008
Apr 29

ETA are a subsidiary of the giant Swatch corporation, and their movements are used in many of today’s mechanical watch brands, including both those owned by Swatch (Omega, Hamilton, Blancpain, Longines, etc) as well as many independent firms.

I’ve mentioned a number of watch brands and the ETA calibers they use. One is the 2892, in use by such diverse brands as N.O.A. and RGM.

I always find it interesting to look at the underlying movement in more detail. Say what you want about the near-monopoly position ETA has in mid to high end mechanical Swiss calibers, they are generally acknowledged as good workhorse movements. Dare I say, the “Seiko of Swiss movements”?

The site has a few interesting reviews, one of which is an article on the ETA 2892. It includes a break-down, visual and written, of this movement that is fun to read through.



I find the summary a nice perspective on this movement:

… If I was given carte blanche, what would I do to improve this movement? Firstly, I would make all the bridges out of invar. This wouldn’t do anything for its accuracy, and probably as much for its reliability. But as a watchmaker it distresses me to see high end movements made out of brass. Brass is just so…… cheap. It also has a very poor coefficiency of expansion. Invar has a virtually zero coefficiency of expansion through a very wide temperature range. It’s also considerably stronger than brass. Being stainless obviously obviates the need to plate it too. How come Hamilton, Elgin et al produced zillions of inexpensive movements made of invar or similar alloys, but Rolex, JLC, Patek Phillippe etc make their very expensive movements out of cheap brass??

Secondly, I would do a complete redesign of the automatic winding unit to improve its efficiency even further. I would eliminate the reversing wheel and incorporate a JLC style switching rocker. And I would further reduce the diameter of the ball bearing oscillating weight support. That’s one of the reasons for the Rolex’s winding efficiency, the weight spins on a tiny diameter post. Unfortunately they’ve taken winding efficiency to the extreme. The net result is that said tiny diameter post doesn’t offer enough support to the weight. This results in the weight scraping up against the movement bridges, even with mild shocks.

So how does it compare to the competition? There are some movements that match it in terms of accuracy and reliability, but in my humble opinion, none exceed it. The Rolex 3035 and 3135 match it toe to toe. But they are a lot thicker and considerably more expensive too. The PPs, while being very pretty to look at, do not match it for accuracy and are more delicate as far as reliability is concerned. Of course they’re also slightly thinner, so that does put them at a disadvantage. The JLC 889/2 does match it for accuracy, but is also too delicate to give it any competition in the reliability department. The main reason for the latter is its very weak mainspring. The whole design, while being well thought out and superbly executed, relies too much on everything being just perfect. It is just thrown out of wack too easily, when even minor things go out of adjustment. I don’t have too much experience on the Blancpain/Piguet movements. But from the few that have crossed my bench, they don’t seem to deliver the same accuracy that the 2892 has no trouble delivering …

Happy reading.

Apple buyer’s guide – timing your technology purchases

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 28th, 2008
Apr 28

We have a number of Macs (mostly newer Intel based iMacs), laptops (including a new Air), iPods, and other Apple technology.


In the past I always found myself uncertain what version of the various technologies to purchase, when to wait for the next iteration, and when certain items were “past their best by date”.


Since then however, I’ve made use of the MacRumors Mac Buyer’s Guide site. It has a Wiklipedia-like look, and gives you a recommendation for each major product in the Apple line-up, as to whether you should buy it now, or if there is a new version coming out soon you should wait for. Very useful, would recommend for anyone buying Apple technology.


Truthful Branding 101 – Definitions

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 27th, 2008
Apr 27

A lot of our current projects at work relate to brand consulting, and involve coming up with positioning statements, tag lines, and the like. Which if you’re not in the marketing business, begs the question “what do all these terms mean?”.

I was asked this yet again the other day, regurgitated my own definitions, and then recalled I’d seen a nicely written summary online recently. Looking through my links, and a-ha! It’s another article on Toy Directory Monthly.


I know, this is the second time I’ve mentioned an article from this site about the manufacturing and distribution of kid’s toys. They don’t update often either, but I’ve found a number of well written articles on it, it’s surprising some times where you can find good information, these people have done a good job for their constituents.

Here’s some of their article with some good (in my opinion) notes about these topics. The fact that it’s written from a toy perspective I think actually makes it easier for most people to understand.


“Marketing is the whole business seen from the customer’s point of view,” Peter Drucker said. Brand – and marketing in general – must reflect a consistent customer experience. What do you deliver every time a child plays with your doll or a teen tackles your game? What can parents count on no matter which of your products they purchase for their children? The answer is your brand promise. It’s what keeps buyers coming back.


“Positioning is not what you do to a product, it is what you do to the mind of the prospect,” according to Jack Trout and Al Ries. “That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.” It is within the positioning of your product that you identify not only what you do, but who you do it for and how you do it better. To define these elements, get out of your own head and think about it from a consumer perspective … Clear positioning provides a long-term plan for company and product growth, so look back on original goals to determine how to move ahead …


“You have to reach people on an emotional level. It’s all about feel,” David Aaker said. Coke and Pepsi sell virtually the same products, as do Apple and IBM, and Barbie and American Girl. Yet each does it differently … Try pairing human attributes with your brand to create an original and consistent feel …


… If you don’t take time to define your company and actively market it, the market will do it for you. Consumers are not short on opinions, and when given the opportunity to share their opinions – particularly in this age of immediate information – they will …

I really like this article for several reasons other than the fairly well written definitions of these basic marketing terms. First, it wraps up talking about the impact of WOM and social media. And second, it does so in the context of Truthful Branding. To repeat a oft quoted opinion of mine, your marketing MUST be truthful to your brand, these days if it is not, you’ll be found out, and you’ll get negative marketing impact as a result.

Seiko – BaselWorld 2008 releases

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 26th, 2008
Apr 26

I’ve already written about the SpaceWalk, which was for me the best item that Seiko released at this year’s show, but there were other men’s models unveiled also.

The Velatura line-up added both a 200 meter diver chronograph (SNDA59 stainless/black, SNDA63 urethane/orange), as well as a limited edition (SRQ001 – 2000 pieces) automatic chronograph based on the 8R28 high-end movement, 45 hour power reserve, and an interesting case combining stainless, urethane and carbon.



In the Kinetic-based Premier line (which in my mind isn’t such compared to their other watches, oh well), Seiko have added a new perpetual calendar (SNP023), retrograde day display (SNR001).



The Sportura lineup adds a somewhat interesting double retrograde 5-hour chronograph (SPC039).



One line I always wondered about was the Arctura series. Here’s how Seiko describes it:

The concept of Arctura is the arc, the most emotionally satisfying of the many shapes in our world. The arc might be found in nature, like a rainbow, or it might be in man-made creations like the dome of a Renaissance cathedral. Wherever it is to be found, it is a form that pleases the eye and speaks of continuity, eternity and purity. The new Arctura collection pays homage to the perfection and beauty of the ‘arc’ with its sleek lines, accentuated curves and circular accents.

Hmm, a little too “hippie commune” type wording for a watch, in my opinion. But I get the idea – a bit more sleek and futuristic looking than the other models, okay. Not really my preferred look most days, but if you do like that sort of style these are nice watches, more elegant than most “modern/curvy” watches out there.

Seiko added the “ultimate Kinetic chronograph” (SLQ025, limited edition of 500) to this sub-brand, an excessive bit of hyperbole, especially for Seiko. Also added were a 7L22 caliber chronograph (SNL045, SNL047, SNL051), and a retrograde day display model (SRN007, SRN009, SRN011, SRN013).






Also a Seiko Spring Drive chronograph was released (SPS003, limited edition of 300).


And I’ve saved the best – other than the SpaceWalk of course – for the last.

A new release of the Spring Drive Moon Phase (SNR017, limited edition of 200) was released. Definitely a classical and classy looking watch, with the addition and allure of new (and still exciting) technology.


Vulcain Cricket & Cricket Diver XTreme

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 25th, 2008
Apr 25

I have always wanted to purchase a Vulcain Cricket, the alarm wristwatch used by several US presidents before the advent of quartz technology, including Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. To me this watch seemed to belong to a similar category as Seiko watches of those years – competent quality, without excessive price or ego.


The Vulcain Cricket got a lot of very good P.R. and an impromptu brand ambassador when, during a press conference in 1956 that was going over it’s alloted time, President Eisenhower’s Cricket went off, loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the room. This is a great example that shows the strength of Word-Of-Mouth advertising well before the web was invented.

The Vulcain cricket was created in 1947, and has seen a lot of variations since then.





Putting a few things I like together, this diver’s Cricket is one of the more interesting one, the very popular and collectible Nautical Cricket. This images is from a very interesting article from Watchismo that you may enjoy reading, about strange and unusual 1970′s Vulcains.


Recently I read from Harry Tan that Vulcain was actually the second owner of the “Cricket” name, having acquired it from Revue Thommen. I did a bit of browsing and found very contradictory stories about the various brands.


The clearest “manufacturer” version of the story I found was on the Vulcain website, which identifies Revue Thommen as an “associated brand”, and it was only under that brand name that Crickets were produced after the start of the quartz crisis. Following some financial difficulties (collapsed company, that sort of thing), the brands were purchased and have moved forward in the 2000s. Then while digging further into some of the WIS sites, I came across this which seems to match the various stories but in the clearest way…

Revue Thommen purchased the rights to the cricket movement and they released the famous Revue Thommen Cricket Nautical new edition in 1991, completely different watch, but still with alarm and 200m waterproof. This watch was powered by the AS 1930 movement, a cheaper version, completely different movement without the exactomatic, but still a very well built watch that I love and collect.

Revue Thommen themselves went bankrupt a few years later and only a couple of years ago Vulcain watch purchased the rights back for their watches and movements. Now we have the new Crickets and Cricket Nauticals. Very high end watches with many different designs.

Anybody who can add more clarity to the history of ownership and production of the Cricket name, please let me know.

That’s been a bit of history, leading up to this, the “new” Vulcain’s new Cricket Diver XTreme. A nice looking watch, but I agree with all the comments that it does not live up either to it’s name, or to the earlier Nautical watches.



Geek Dinner – Blogger’s Cookbook

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 24th, 2008
Apr 24

Eaon has tagged me about joining his new idea, which is building up some recipes from various bloggers, and once there are enough putting it together into a cookbook, any proceeds to charity.


First, I’m officially a geek, yet again :-)

Second, my wonderful wife does most of the cooking due to her allergies (severe to MSG, which is in just about any grocery purchased food, thanks to lobbyists who have gotten government agency agreement to allow other words to be used so you don’t know that it’s still in almost everything), so a picture of me in the kitchen is somewhat false advertising (although we do plan meals together).

And third, for anyone else interested, you can read his post, or read the following summary:

I was looking at my google stats for this blog the other day and noticed that the most read article was none of the advertising/marketing/pop stuff but a recipe for beef braciole (the result of a desperate posting of some content or other during a barren spell).

Anyway, it got me thinking. Like novels, everyone has at least one recipe in them. A signature dish, lets call it. What I hope will happen with ‘geek dinner’ is that you, the reader of this and no doubt the author of your own blog, will send me the following:

1 – your recipe
2 – the story that goes with it
3 – a brief bio
4 – your linkage
5 – a pic of yourself in the kitchen

send all to geekdinnerblog at gmail dot com

Ive set up the blog over at

Once we have a decent amount of content (I’m thinking 100-150 recipies) I’d like to do an actual book using lulu or something, sell them and be able to donate the proceeds to a hunger related charity, maybe? I’m open to suggestions from you.

Scary iTouch ads – Your message affects your brand

Posted by Harry Bishop on Apr 23rd, 2008
Apr 23

As you may know, I’m a fan of being edgy in the creative you use for ads, otherwise you’ll never get noticed among all the white noise of so many messages being fed everybody.

But, sometimes it can go a bit far.


Tell me, would that be the message you want associated with your brand?

Edgy is fine, but you have to make it truthful to your brand. And an ad like this, from Apple Singapore that I just saw on creativebits, insinuates something about the iTouch brand that maybe Apple doesn’t really want. Truthful Branding works both ways – your message has to be truthful to your brand, but also your message adds to the perception of your brand.

The other ads in this series are blander, but don’t send a wrong message either.



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