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Archive for December, 2013

4,000 metres below sea level: Rolex or Hublot?
by admin

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

Hublot Oceanographic 4000 m Carbon

Hublot Oceanographic 4000 m Carbon

The pictures above show that Rolex and Hublot both have a totally different approach to the phenomenon of dive watches. The Rolex is a more modest watch from which it’s exceptionality, being able to withstand water pressure at a depth of nearly 4.000 m, is not directly visible. The Hublot is a very prominent watch which radiates the fact that it must be something special.
Let’s take a closer look at both watches.

Hublot Musee Oceanographic de Monaco

Hublot Musee Oceanographic de Monaco

Nowadays every self-respecting watch brand has a dive watch in it’s collection. Before the arrival of Jean-Claude Biver, the current CEO of Hublot, Hublot already had dive watches in it’s collection. The line of models called Big Bang King contained several watches in radiant colours, with a turning diver’s bezel and waterproof to 300 m.
However the Oceanographic 4000 m was to be the first serious dive watch that Hublot was going to make. The most important question was ‘how are we going to make this dive watch a real Hublot?
Not inhibited by any kind of modesty the watch had to be big and striking. In addition Biver’s ‘fusion’ philosophy offered the possibility of using exotic materials in the production of the watch. Most obvious and also actually used is carbon.

Initially the watch was known as the 4000 m Diver but Biver likes to associate partnerships to a certain type of Hublot watch and in this case with the Musee Oceanographic de Monaco (watch case in titanium).
The King Power style case has a diameter of 48 mm and sapphire glass with a thickness of 6.5 mm. Of course, there is a helium valve.


In case anyone seriously wants to use the Hublot for diving he should definitely take the titanium version because the version in carbon is badly readable is at great depths. However, if one remains at the beach then the Hublot in carbon is an interesting option; the material is tough, has all kinds of applications in Motorsport and aviation, and can absorb shocks well.
The large crown at 2 hours is used for setting the hands and the one at 4 hours for turning the inner diving bezel. The lever over the crown at 2 hours has no direct function and must above all be seen as an expression of design.
Interesting and clever is the triangle between the lugs. This allows different straps to be easily exchanged. One has the choice between a rubber band for the ‘ work ‘ and a rubber/nylon band for ‘private’.

The following are the technical specifications provided by Hublot:

Reference 731.NX.1190.RX, 731.QX.1140.RX

Series Limited to 1000 pieces for the titanium version
Numbered 01/1000 to 1000/1000

Limited to 500 pieces for the All Black version in black carbon fiber
Numbered 01/500 to 500/500

Case: “King Power” — 48 mm diameter
Micorblasted satin-finished titanium or matte carbon fiber
Bezel Microblasted satin-finished titanium or matte carbon fiber
6 black PVD H-shaped titanium screws
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective treatment
Lug: bezel Black composite resin
Lateral inserts Black composite resin
Case back: microblasted satin-finished titanium, or microblasted satin-finished titanium with black PVD
Crown: Titanium with black rubber insert or black PVD titanium with black rubber insert
Screws: Black PVD titanium

Water resistance: Certified to 400 ATM or 4,000 meters
Tested to 5,000 meters according to the NIHS standards

Dial: Matte black
Satin-finished appliques with green or black SuperLuminova
Hands Microblasted satin-finished with green or black SuperLuminova
Movement: Mechanical with automatic winding HUB1401
No. of components: 180
Jewels: 23
Bridges: Satin-finished, beveled & polished
Screws: Black PVD
Barrel: With reinforced spring
Escapement: Glucydur hairspring
Power Reserve: Approximately 42 hours

Straps: Available with two straps — black rubber and rubber and nylon
Closing system Tongue and buckle in titanium or black DVD titanium

rohu:deepsea side
rohu:deepsea wp

Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea

The difference between the 2 watches is like day and night. Where the Hublot is expressive and flamboyant, the Rolex watch is a subdued watch but with an expression of force and robustness.
Since no one can describe the Deepsea better than Rolex itself, we will first see what they have to say about it:

Rolex Deepsea

The Deepsea already has a history of 53 years. On 23 January 1960 the Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh manned the Bathyscaphe Trieste on descending to the lowest point below sea level (feet/35.814 10,916 m). On the outside of the Trieste was an experimental Rolex Deep Sea Special (read article Jacques Piccard: 36,000 feet into the Mariana Trough). When the Trieste had resurfaced after the record dive, a telegram with the following text was sent to the Head Office of Rolex: “HAPPY ANNOUNCE TO YOU YOUR WATCH AS PRECISE AT 11,000 METRES AS ON SURFACE. BEST REGARDS JACQUES PICCARD”.

During the 1940s and 1950s the developments in the diving technology caused a real explosion in the exploration of the seas and oceans. The professional diving world began to rely on the Rolex watches as an essential part of the equipment and they also contributed to the further development of the Rolex dive watches.
A brief chronology of the different Rolex watches for divers:
-the iconic Oyster Perpetual Submariner, introduced in 1953, is now waterproof to a depth of 1,000 feet/300 m
-The 1967 Sea-Dweller increased the depth of the Rolex watch to 2,000 feet/610 m and from 1978 to 4,000 feet/1,220 m
-the ultimate model is the Deepsea, introduced in 2008, able to go to a depth of 12,800 feet/3,900 m. The most important factor of this model is that it offers a substantial margin of safety to divers who work in open water at great depths. Each produced Rolex Deepsea is individually tested in a specially built stainless steel hyperbaric tank in Geneva


There is no disputing about tastes. The Hublot Oceanographic 4000 m is created for a different audience than the Rolex Deepsea.
The only thing that can be said is that the Rolex watch is much more an all round watch than the Hublot. The Rolex is more subdued, can be worn for all types of occasions and clothing and has also proven to be an indispensable part of the equipment of professional divers; Hublot have yet to see to prove that professionals are going to wear this watch.
The Hublot’s strong points are it’s flamboyant appearance, the easiness with which the straps can be changed and in the case of the carbon model the use of exotic material.
The choice is yours!

Jaap Bakker

December 26th


Non-Rolex watches

Hunting with the Ferrari F40
by admin


In 1987, the Ferrari F40 was born to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Ferrari. The F40 design was intended to take a specific prey in, but I will come back to that later.
Actually, as early as 1962, the Ferrari 250 GTO laid the foundation of the F40 (see article: ‘the Ferrari 250 GTO: of unprecedented beauty’). From there the following models eventually resulted in the F40:
- 308/328 GTB/S
- 288 GTO
- 288 GTO Evoluzione


Pic.: Ferrari 250 GTO

In 1975, the Ferrari 308 GTB was introduced at the Paris and London car fairs. The car was designed by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. The engine was equal to the one used in the 308 GT/4, but the GTB had dry sump lubrication providing better cooling and a lower engine position. The frame design had copied a number of striking features of the Dino 246 GT, such as air inlets in the door, round 2-lamp rear lights and vertically concave rear windows which made it a very successful successor of the Dino.
A not directly visible, but striking feature of the 308 GTB was the entire frame, except the aluminium front valve, being made of fibre glass. For Ferrari this was the first production car containing a frame made of this material, but at the same time the last one. Ferrari did not use fibre glass any more for a car manufactured in large amounts; after that however, loose parts like the front and rear wings or the nose of the car, were often made of fibre glass. From the autumn of 1976, the cars for the American market were manufactured with frames made of the more familiar pressed steel and aluminium, and from the mid 1977s the same was true for the European models.


Pic.: Ferrari 308 GTB/S

The models for the European market had tube frames with serial number F 106 AB 100. The 308 was provided with disc brakes and an independent wheel suspension with wishbones, springs and hydraulic shock absorbers surrounded by anti roll bars.
The transversely positioned aluminium V8 mid-engine had the 90-degree configuration and a content of 2926 cc, with a bore and stroke of 81 mm x 71 mm (serial number F 106 AB 000 for the European market). The 308 had an ‘all synchromesh’ five-speed gearbox positioned below the engine and against the back side of the dry sump (the European models exclusively). The cars for the European market had 255 HP, the USA models 240 (this in connection with emission regulations). All of the manufactured cars were provided with odd frame numbers. The production ran from 1975 till 1980 and during those years 2897 308 GTB/S were produced with the frame numbers 18677 to 34349.


Pic.: Ferrari 288 GTO

Ferrari developed the 288 GTO in order to take part in the new group of B Race series for which at least 200 samples were needed for homologation. However, after the death of Henri Toivonen and his co-pilot Sergio Cresto in the 1986 Tour de Corse the FIA did away with this racing class due to which only the Group A Rally championship remained. Eventually, the 272 280 GTOs built between 1984-1985 did not race, but remained road cars.
By the way, Ferrari initially built 270 GTOs, but then they intended to present Niki Lauda (see article:’Niki Lauda: passionate race-driver) with a 288 to thank him for his efforts as a Formula I race-driver for Ferrari in the 70s (world champion in ’75 and ’77). Number 272 was built out of spare parts for an American car-lover.

Ferrari built the following 6 prototypes of the 288 GTO for various purposes:

- 44725 GT’SWB’: standard testing
- 44421 GT’LWB’: standard testing, crash test
- 44727 GT: brake and frame testing
- 47647 GT: test car for electronic system and turbochargers
- 47649 GT: road and endurance testing
- 47711 GT: speed limit and acceleration testing
The first two prototypes had 2.88-litres V8s with KKK and IHI turbochargers respectively, the other four had GTO engines.
Later another prototype was built to be used for the development of the 288 GTO Evoluzione:

- 50253 GT: 650 hp Evoluzione engine, test car for the F40

When taking a first quick glance at the styling of the 288 GTO, it seemed a logical evolution of the two previous Pininfarina designs, the Berlinetta Boxer and the 308. However, it turned out to be a completely new car of which even the dimensions deviated from the previous models. The 288 was shorter, had a longer wheel base and was significantly broader, all features of a racing car. The air inlets and outlets were focused on racing as well. Furthermore, the high-positioned wing mirrors and the striking Kamm tail (invented by the German Professor Wunibald Kamm [1893-1966]; already applied to the 250 GTO) could be noticed leading to higher speed and more stability. Chromium could hardly be found on the 288 and even the Cavallino Rampante at the back side was black. The 288 GTO was delivered in one colour only: Rosso Corsa.
The 288 frame consisted of fibre glass and composites. The bottom and most of the frame parts were made of pressed fibre glass, and aluminium, Kevlar and Nomex were also used for other specific parts. The tube frame consisted of several subframes attached to the central part around the cabin. The entire back subframe, with wheel drive and back wheel suspension, could be removed from the car in one part for faster maintenance (also typical of a competition car).
The 288 GTO was driven by a longitudinally positioned 2.855 cc 90-degree V8 Twin Turbo light metal engine. The engine block was behind the passenger’s cabin and connected with the back transaxle. Every cylinder row had its own ignitor, its own large IHI Turbo with Behr Intercooler and was fuelled by its own aluminium fuel tank (two tanks, inter-connected, with a total content of 120 litres). The 288 was provided with an entirely synchronised five-speed gearbox with hydraulic single-plate coupling.
Although designed for racing the 288 GTO interior was far from spartan. The majority of the clients opted for kevlar, black-leather bucket seats, an option was black with orange hems. The dashboard was provided with non-reflective material and behind the three-spoke steering wheel were black/orange indicators. The car had climate control and sound reproducing equipment.


Pic.: Ferrari 288 GTO

The 288 GTO was a fabulous car, but one thing kept bothering Ferrari. In the country of castles, frying sausages and beer festivals a car was manufactured that drove even faster than the 288GTO: the Porsche 959. This was the prey the F40 still to be developed had to hunt for.
Ferrari developed a competition version of the 288 GTO, the 288 GTO Evoluzione, its sole purpose being to serve as a testing car for the F40 (Ferrari no longer participated in competition, Group B in the World Rally Championship). Giovanni Razelli, Ferrari’s general manager, called the Evoluzione a ‘mobile laboratory’.
In mid-1983 Nicola Materazzi’s first priority was the engine.
The F 114 B of the standard GTO had to be converted into the F 114 C. By relatively simple interventions, including increasing turbo pressure, its capacity was driven up from 400 to 600 hp. The total weight was reduced to 1,000 kg (including full tanks) and extensively aerodynamic testing was done. Eventually, Ferrari built 3 samples of the 288 GTO Evoluzione, chassis numbers 50253 GT, 70167 GT and 70205 GT, which are still being used for testing.


Pic.: Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione

On 21 July 1987, at Ferrari’s 40th anniversary, the Ferrari F40 was presented. At 11.09 h sharp, a Lancia Thema limousine driven by Enzo Ferrari was driven up to the entrance of the ‘centro civico’ in Maranello. The unpretending hall of the ‘centro civico’ was crowded with journalists from USA, Japan, Brasil, England, France, the Arabic States and Italy.
The F40 was Ferrari’s answer to the Porsche 959, a delicate item in Maranello. Materazzi had watched the 959 project with interest, but he was also sceptical about it, stating:”As an engineer, I found the things they were doing in Weissach fascinating. But I don’t hold with the idea of packing so much technology into a fast road car. What tends to happen is that technology becomes an end in itself, which has a demotivating effect on the development team”.

Dr. Leonardo Fioravanti, Pininfarina’s general manager, who was responsible for the F40 design, elucidated his opinion about the car:
“With its central passenger cell, flat front section, favorable aerodynamic properties and sealed underbody, the F40 is a quintessential sports car. One of its outstanding features is the low, flat nose, which harks back to the classic Ferraris of the 1960s, with their exceptionally clean and functional lines. It has a central air intake for the oil-cooler and the optional air-conditioning system, and two further air-holes, mounted on each side, for the ventilation of the disc brakes. The two small NACA vents in the hood supply fresh air to the interior. In addition, on each side of the car there are two air intakes for the rear disc brakes and the air supply to the engine, plus air escape vents on each of the front fenders. The rear section also has a markedly sporty appearance, which is emphasized by the large rear wing. The rear window, which extends across the width of the car, has a semi-conical form and directs the air-flow onto the wing, thereby maximizing its aerodynamic effect.”
About the interior Fioravanti said:
“When we began to design the interior, our main concern was that it should be as functional as possible, in order to make it fit in with the general character of the car. For this reason we decided to equip the car with sliding windows and racing car pedals. The dashboard, which is made from a special compound material, also derives directly from racing car design and is hence in keeping with the overall concept of the F40 as a sports car.”

f40:kappen open

Pic.: Ferrari F40

During the developmental process of the F40 the following interesting step took place. The frame of the car had to be distinctly stiff, but also light. In order to test this frame Sergio Scaletti designed a four-seat cabriolet with a Ferrari 412 engine. Scaletti stated:”The reason for choosing this particular format was that we wanted to compare the car with the 2+2 coupe. We were extremely pleased with the result: the new vehicle was several hundred kilograms lighter than its predecessor, and its stiffness was improved by a factor of four of five. Incidentally, the frame of this experimental car was made in one piece, as in racing car technology.”


Pic.: Ferrari 412 convertible from 1984

Nicola Materazzi said about the engine:”With 55 mkg of torque at 3.500 rpm, we have achieved our original objective. At 7.000 rpm the car delivers 478 bhp, which is enough for anyone except Enzo Ferrari, who initially hoped that the LM would reach 500 bhp.”
The F40 (also called LM) accelerated from 0-200 km/h in 12 seconds and its top speed was 324 km/h (201 mph). By making the frame parts out of composites the F40 weighed 100 kg less than the 288 GTO which was indeed a lightweight car.
The F40 was nothing less than a racing car with a number plate. The hunt for the Porsche 959 could be opened.

Jaap Bakker

December 26th


The Huygenshuis: victim of the 19th Century
by admin



A picture of the Huygenshuis just before it’s demolition in 1876. It had to make room for a new building for the Ministery of Justice. In it’s former gardens are now the buildings of the Dutch Parliament

Following is an article written by prof. dr. ir. C.A. Grimbergen about the history of the Huygenshuis until it’s dramatic end in 1876.
Mr. Grimbergen is among other things chairman of the Dutch Federatie Klokkenvrienden and chairman of the Dutch section of the Antiquarian Horological Society. He has also been, for over 25 years, member of the Board of the Museum van het Nederlandse Uurwerk in Zaandam.

As a whole the Netherlands have always been too modest about the the genius of Christiaan Huygens, who invented the pendulum clock and the balance spring.
For years the only books written about him came from foreign authors. On the 6th of October 1997 spaceship Cassini was launched into space carrying the European spacecapsule Huygens, a name the Americans had come up with, to put it on Saturn moon Titan in 2004. The whole event got very little attention in the Dutch press.

The article about the Huygenshuis:


Jaap Bakker

December 22nd


Rolex during WOII: the POW watch
by admin

Swiss watch sales received a severe blow thanks to the outbreak of WOII and things only got worse when Germany occupied Vichy in France in November 1942 and neutral Switzerland was completely surrendered by hostile troops. Watchmakers were closed off from their best clients, the British and the Americans.

pow:foto nutting rechts

Pic.: In the right side of the picture Clive Nutting with his ‘Brothers in Arms’ in Stalag III

Rolex noticed that large numbers of British and American troops were literally on the doorstep to Switzerland, being held prisoner in the German POW camps. In camp Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany (now Poland) there were about 10,000 allied aviators who had been shot down over occupied Europe. In the whole German Empire thousands of officers were being held at several Oflag (officers POW camps).

pow:brief HW>Nutting

The genius of Hans Wilsdorf at that was that he, spring 1943, took a bet that the allies would win the war (significant because Wilsdorf himself was a German). He offered the thousands of POWs that they could get a Rolex now and that they didn’t have to pay for it until the war was over.
In a letter to Clive Nutting (more about him later) Wilsdorf wrote the following line: “…but you must not even think of settlement during the war”.
Wilsdorf was convinced that his illustration of faith would have a positive influence on the state of mind of the prisoners. Besides this, having a watch was of great importance to this group of prisoners, mainly aviators; if they saw a chance to escape the only way to reach the border was by train and for this they needed exact time.
The chronograph Rolex gave the prisoners the opportunity to exactly time the rounds of the ‘goons’ (camp guards) which lead to the ‘Great Escape’ on March 24-25 1944 when 76 men escaped through tunnel ‘Harry’ (in 1963 a movie was made called ‘The Great Escape’).

pow:speedking wp

Although most POWs choose the cheaper and smaller Speed King Clive Nutting (prisoner nr. 738 in Stalag Luft III in Sagan, Germany) became, on August 4 1943, the proud wearer of a new Rolex Oyster Chronograaf ref. 3525 (nr. 122, case nr. 185983).

pow:chronograaf wp

The following is a short description of this watch:

Two-body, polished and brushed, screwed-down case back, concave lugs. D. Matte black with luminous gilt-edged Arabic numerals, outer gilt minute/seconds track, subsidiary seconds and 30-minute register dials, outermost gilt tachometer and telemeter scales. Luminous gilt “baton” hands. M. 13”’, rhodium-plated, 17 jewels, straight line lever escapement, monometallic balance, self-compensating Breguet balance-spring, index regulator.

Dial, case and movement signed.

Diam. 35 mm. Thickness 14 mm.

In the beginning of the 1940s the steel version cost 350 and the 18k gold 935 Swiss Francs.

pow:CN rechts workshop

Clive Nutting (on the right) was a professional shoemaker and therefore he was of great value to both the Germans as to the other prisoners. The Germans paid him well for this so he could sent money to his family at home and lent money to other prisoners. Even in these circumstances he was somebody who could afford a beautiful watch.

What makes Nutting’s watch so special is that is completely documented, at least until 2007.
Directly after the war, when he came home in Acton, London in August 1945, he wrote to Hans Wilsdorf that his watch, although it had withstood the cold circumstances during evacuation from the camp well, it was now an hour fast. Where can I have it repaired? Can I get the final bill for the watch?
Because of English rate restrictions Nutting receives the invoice for 15 Pounds 12s 6d not before 1948. He kept the watch until he died in 2001 in Australia, 90 years old.
In 2003, dated March 28, there is an invoice for 2,356 Australian Dollar (1,400 Euros) from a watchmaker in Sydney for Nutting’s watch.

pow:CN>restorereceipt 2003

In 2007 the Rolex of Nutting was offered for sale by auction house Antiquorum Geneva. The estimated price was 80,000-100,000 but the watch wasn’t sold. The current owner of this historical watch is unknown.

Jaap Bakker

December 2nd