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Archive for June, 2014

The Omega Speedmaster, behind which steering wheel?
by admin

When Omega introduced the Speedmaster in 1957 nobody thought that one day this watch would go into space. It was developed as a sport and race chronograph, Omega being the official timekeeper of the Olympics.
The first Speedmasters were driven by the Omega Cal. 321, a movement that was invented by Albert Piguet of Lemania in 1946.


From about 1960 it became clear that the USA had serious plans for manned flights into space. Among others Rolex, Breitling and Omega were the watch brands that were official candidates for the plans in space.
In the end Rolex, Longines-Wittnauer and Omega were submitted to tests under extreme circumstances.
The following tests were performed:

High temperature: 48 hours at 160 °F (71 °C) followed by 30 minutes at 200 °F (93 °C)
Low temperature: Four hours at 0 °F (−18 °C)
Temperature cycling in near-vacuum: Fifteen cycles of heating to 160 °F (71 °C) for 45 minutes, followed by cooling to 0 °F (−18 °C) for 45 minutes at 10−6 atm
Humidity: 250 hours at temperatures between 68 °F (20 °C) and 160 °F (71 °C) at relative humidity of 95%
Oxygen environment: 100% oxygen at 0.35 atm and 71°C for 48 hours
Shock: Six 11ms 40 g shocks from different directions
Linear acceleration: from 1 to 7.25 g within 333 seconds
Low pressure: 90 minutes at 10−6 atm at 160 °F (71 °C) followed by 30 minutes at 200 °F (93 °C)
High pressure: 1.6 atm for one hour
Vibration: three cycles of 30 minutes vibration varying from 5 to 2000 Hz with minimum 8.8 g impulse
Acoustic noise: 30 minutes at 130 dB from 40 to 10,000 Hz

Finally in March 1965 the Omega Speedmaster was the chosen watch because during most of the tests it had stayed within the maximum deviation of 5 seconds per day.
The Speedmaster was part of the equipment for the NASA Gemini 4 mission and also for the Apollo 11 mission making it the first watch on the moon.

Features: no 'professional' on the dial, no crown guards and pointed lugs

Features: no ‘professional’ on the dial, no crown guards and pointed lugs

Ed White: the first American in space

Ed White: the first American in space

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Buzz Aldrin during his first space walk

Buzz Aldrin during his first space walk

Buzz Aldrin in the cockpit wearing his Omega Speedmaster

Buzz Aldrin in the cockpit wearing his Omega Speedmaster

After a long day of preperations at NASA for the next mission into space there was only one car to drive home with in a relaxed modus, the 1965 Ford Mustang V8 289 Cu in.

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The introduction of the Mustang created a new class of cars known as the Pony Car.
The assistent general manager and chief engineer of Lee Iacocca, the Ford Division general manager, was Donald N. Frey. Frey was the leading figure of the Mustang project and under his supervision the development of the Mustang took place in a record 18 months.
The prototype of the Ford Mustang I was a twoseat roadster with a central engine, designed by Philip T. Clark and John Najjar. In an interview in 1984 Najjar told the following about the prototype:

“We had a studio under Bob Maguire and in it were; Jim Darden, Ray Smith, plus an artist, Phil Clark, several modelers, and me. We drew up a 2-seater sports car in competition with the other studios, and when they saw ours – saw the blackboard with a full-sized layout and sketches- they said, ‘That’s it! Let’s build it.’ So we made a clay model, designed the details, and then built a fiberglass prototype.” This car was simply a concept study rather than the final configuration, but it included a lot of the sporty, rakish flair the later showcar embodied”.


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Racen op Riverside

Racen op Riverside

At Baselworld 2014 Omega introduced the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon.
It’s a tribute to the astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission who were the first humans to see the dark side of the moon with their own eyes. De new Speedmaster is made of a single block of black zirconium oxide ceramic. Laser techniques were used to apply the signs to the bezel.

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About the movement cal. 9300 Omega says the following:

Complete with an innovative column wheel mechanism and Si14 silicon balance spring, the OMEGA Co-Axial calibre 9300 is the first of our exclusive in-house movements to incorporate a chronograph function. The 12-hour and 60-minute counter hands are placed on the same sub-dial at 3 o’clock allowing for an intuitive reading of the recorded time and the reliability of the movement is such that the timepiece is offered with a full four-year warranty.

The following is the information provided by Omega about the use of zirconium oxide ceramic for their latest Speedmaster:


Although Ford in 2014 is again building real Mustangs that pay tribute to their name and fame, I’m choosing another car for the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon.
At the address 2904 Bond Street, Rochester hills, MI 48309, USA EQUUS AUTOMOTIVE INc. has it’s offices. These people build the EQUUS BASS770, a car that finds it’s inspiration in the muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s.
The EQUUS BASS770 is really a fantastic car, the following pictures speak for themselves:

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The official website of EQUUS AUTOMOTIVE INc.

Jaap Bakker

June 16th

Non-Rolex watches

A flight over the road with your Rolex GMT-Master
by admin

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In 1954 Rolex introduced the GMT-Master ref. 6542. This watch had been developed together with Pan Am Airlines so that their pilots could fix a second time zone on their watch (GMT means Greenwich Mean Time).

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A short product description of the ref. 6542:

Ref. 6542 aka Pussy Galore
Production Period: 1954-1959
Model Name: Rolex GMT Master
Caliber: 1036 (1954-1959), 1065 (1957-1959), 1066 (1957-1959)
Pressure proof to 50m/165ft

This was the first GMT Master.
It was launched 1954. It was developed on the basis of a regular Turn-O-Graph (Ref. 6202). The modifications were a different bezel and a modified movement.

The first version of the Ref. 6542 had a bakelite bezel insert. As this bezel was likely to crack, it got replaced by a metal bezel in 1956.
The bakelite bezel was luminous.

The name Pussy Galore originates from a character in a James Bond movie, wearing this watch.

In 1959 ref. 6542 was replaced by the GMT-Master ref. 1675 which stayed in production until 1980.
A short product description of the ref. 1675:

Production Period: 1959-1980
Model Name: Rolex GMT Master
1565 (1959-1964) 18000A/h
1575 (1965-1980) 19600A/h (hacking introduced 1971)
Pressure proof to 50m/165ft
Bracelet: Oyster 78360, Jubilé 62510
Glass: Acrylic crystal
Indexes: Tritium
Crown guards introduced, pointed crown guards until 1964/65 (with chapter ring dial)..

New inprint on dial: “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified”.

Until late 60s: Small GMT-hand, afterwards large GMT-hand.

Early 1970s: All black version introduced.

The hands are in the following order: GMT/Hour/Minute/Second see this picture.


Caliber 1565
Gloss dial
Thin case

Caliber 1575
Matt dial with white printing.
Other Variants:

Ref. 1675/8 Gold (Leather or Oysterbracelet 7208/8, Jubilébracelet 6311/8).
Ref. 1675/3 Steel/Gold (Oysterbracelet 78363, Jubilébracelet 62523), 14k gold.

Both variants: Early versions with golden crown on dial, late versions just with imprinted crown.


All black lunette geïntroduceerd begin 1970s

All black lunette geïntroduceerd begin 1970s

Kaliber 1575

Kaliber 1575

Variant met de 'root beer' wijzerplaat en 'fat font' op de lunette

Variant met de ‘root beer’ wijzerplaat en ‘fat font’ op de lunette


In the spring of 1968 Henry Ford II made Semon E. ‘Bunkie’ Knudsen CEO of the Ford Motor Company. Although Knudsen was not a designer, he interfered big time with the development of the new Ford Thunderbird that had to be for sale in 1970.

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Knudsen wanted the new Thunderbird to be built on a mid-size chassis (he knew Pontiac was going to do the same with their ill-selling Grand Prix) and not on the current full-size chassis. He also tried to get the for him characterising ‘bold nose front ends’ (the designers called these ‘Bunkie Beaks’) and ‘massive rear quarters on the car.
Although ‘Bunkie’ was fired by Ford in september 1969 after a big clash with Lee Iacocca he had firmly left his autograph on the new Thunderbird. They kept the full-size chassis but his ideas about the front and back of the car had made it to production.

After a long and exhausting intercontinental flight the 1970 Ford Thunderbird was the ideal car for a Pan Am pilot to drive home and only having to read one time zone on his Rolex GMT-Master.

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In 2014 I would like to couple the same Rolex model, now called GMT-Master II (ref. 116719BLRO), to a totally different car than the Thunderbird (which officially doesn’t exist anymore).

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1984 Porsche 911 3.2

1984 Porsche 911 3.2

For many years a familiar sight on the Dutch highways.

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For more than 35 years Dutch police have been driving in the Porsche. In 1960 the first Porsche, type 365 B, was the delivered to the ‘Sectie Bijzondere Verkeerstaken’. The real start of the SBV was January 1st 1962. They had 12 Porsches 365 B. Until the end of 1995 the police have been using Porsches, in total more than 500. In the picture the Pon brothers delivering the first Porsche 365 to the police.

In 2014 Porsche has made a perfect modern interpretation of the 911 Targa from 1965. After the start of the production of the 911 fifty years ago 13% of the cars sold is a Targa. Technical highlight is the electro-hydraulic roof construction which can fold the roof and rear window in 19 seconds.

911 Targa 4 en 4S

911 Targa 4 en 4S

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When the Rolex GMT-Master was introduced in 1955 it had a bezel made of Plexiglas which underside was painted red and blue. Plexiglas was very vulnerable to damages and discolouring by UV light. In 1959 the bezel was replaced by one made of anodised aluminium.
In 2005 Rolex had developed a bezel made of ceramic material, called Cerachrom. Ceramic is a material that is extremely robust and durable: practically scratch resistant, resistant to corrosion and it’s colours are insensible to ultraviolet radiation. Ceramic is high-gloss and offers a razor sharp contrast with the engraved and with a thin layer of gold or platinum covered numbers and signs on it’s surface.
The manufacturing process of the Cerachrom bezel starts with the ceramic which now has a green colour.

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One of the biggest challenges for Rolex in the development of a ‘Pepsi’ bezel for the 2014 GMT-Master II was making the colour red. In general colours are made by adding natural minerals that can withstand the extreme high temperatures in the fabrication process of ceramic. Red is a colour for which there are no stabile mineral pigments to manufacture Cerachrom.
The following is what Rolex tells us about their solutions for the problems there were in the development of the ‘Pepsi’ bezel:

Red and blue Cerachrom
The name “Cerachrom” derives from a contraction of the word “ceramic” juxtaposed with the suffix “chrom” from the ancient Greek word for “colour”. The range of available shades for ceramic is however restricted by its very manufacturing process. Colours are generally created by adding mineral pigments that can withstand the very high temperatures at which the ceramic is fired for its densification and to acquire its characteristic hardness. Red, typically, is a colour for which no stable mineral pigments exist to create a Cerachrom component. Rolex nevertheless managed, in the first instance, to produce a red ceramic according to a secret process. But this innovation represented only half the journey – or, more precisely, took the brand only half way to manufacturing the emblematic red and blue Cerachrom insert.

Rolex’s in-house engineers finally found an answer to the second half of the challenge. The ingenious process consists of introducing an intermediate step in the manufacture of the standard Cerachrom insert. During this innovative bulk-colouring step, half of the red ceramic insert is coloured blue. The colour is achieved by impregnating the part of the insert representing night-time hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., with a controlled quantity of a solution of chemical compounds. The solution is added before sintering at more than 1,600 °C, when the ceramic acquires its mechanical resistance properties as well as its colour. In the course of this firing, the ceramic densifies and the added compounds react with the basic elements of the red Cerachrom insert to conjure up the final blue colour.

Although the idea in itself may appear simple, a number of major technical hurdles had to be overcome before it could be implemented: the formulation of a solution of precursor chemical compounds that would turn red into blue; the homogenous application of an appropriate quantity of this solution; ensuring a sharp, precise and clear demarcation between the two coloured areas, the definition of the precise length of time and temperature for the sintering so as to prevent any distortion of the piece. Every single one of these parameters is crucial for the success of the process and the quality of the final product.

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Seeing the 2014 Rolex GMT-Master II with the ‘Pepsi’ bezel out of the corner of your eye makes blasting in the new Porsche 911 Targa just that little bit more comfortable.

Jaap Bakker

June 9th


Suitable transport for your Patek Philippe
by admin

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pp:F 400 zijkant

In 1962 Patek Philippe introduced the ref. 3448, the first automatic Perpetual Calender with Moon Phases. Ref. 3448 was fabricated between 1962 and 1985, with a total production of only 586 watches.
Most of them were in yellow gold but there is also a handful in white gold. Very few are in rose gold and 2 or 3 are made of platinum.

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A ref. 3448 with Tiffany & Co on the dial

A ref. 3448 with Tiffany & Co on the dial

A very rare ref. 3448 in rose gold

A very rare ref. 3448 in rose gold

Half way the 1950s Ferrari built less than 100 chassis per year. From 1955 until 1959 production quadrupeled and in 1962 it doubled again which meant the manufacturing of 493 chassis.
Most of these cars were the in series produced 250 GT Coupe, designed by Pininfarina in 1958, and it’s successor, the 250 GT/E.
Ferrari then reached a broad market of well-to-do customers but, apart from a couple of ‘specials’, in terms of pure performance as well as of visible distinction they didn’t have enough to offer to the most demanding part of their customers.
There was a small but very lucrative market of industrials, royalty and stars for whom money was not an issue and who only wanted the best. For them Ferrari developed the 400 Superamerica, designed by Pininfarina.

pp:1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I SWB Coupe Aerodinamico

A new engine was designed, Tipo 163, a so called ‘short block’ V12 with a 4 litre capacity (hence the new type indication 400, in the past the indication meant the capacity of one cilinder) and a performance of at least 340 bhp.
For over ten years Ferrari used this block to power the V12 Ferrari’s. A modified version of the Tipo 163 was used in the Ferrari 330 TRI/LM with which Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien became overall winner of the 1962 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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Total production number of the Ferrari 400 Superamerica Series I Coupe Aerodinamico, introduced at the 1962 Geneva Motor Show, eventually was about 13. The only watch of that era that really matched with this fabulous car was the Patek Philippe ref. 3448.

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Let us see what 2014 has to offer.

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At Baselworld 2014 Patek Philippe showed their ref. 5960/1A-001 to the public for the first time. The most interesting feature of this watch with an Annual Calender is that it is made of stainless steel. Normally Patek Philippe only manufactures complicated watches with the use of precious metals. Until now SS was only used for the Nautilus and the Aquanaut.

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Press Release
Description Card

Ferrari has just made the California T public. Just like the ref. 5960/1A-001 it has a very striking feature.
It’s V8 engine is equipped with 2 turbo’s and that is a technical breakthrough for Ferrari (the last Ferrari with a turbo engine was the 1989 F40). This engine not only produces more than enough power, 560 bhp, but also has lower fuel consumption. This development comes straight from Formula 1 where, after a long pause, cars are running with turbo engines again in 2014.

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The Patek Philippe ref. 5960/1A-001 and the Ferrari California T, a combination for the ultimate joy.

Jaap Bakker

June 9th


Non-Rolex watches