Nigel Band is a professional diver with over 30 years’ worth of commercial and teaching experience. He also owns two rather unusual Rolex watches: a 1986 “triple-six” Rolex Sea-Dweller Reference 16660 and a Himalayan mountain climbing 1952 Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Put on your breathing apparatus as the fascinating stories of these two watches are told by Colin Alexander Smith here.
About Colin Alexander Smith
Colin, aka “The Bumbling Watchmaker,” is a freelance translator and digital nomad currently based in southwest France. When not haggling over and rather hamfistedly restoring vintage watches, or sampling Bordeaux wines and magret de canard, he is a keen 35mm film photographer and jazz/rock guitarist. Follow him on Instagram at @calexandersmith.
Professional watchmakers have specialist machinery for testing the water resistance of their watches, but Colin Alexander Smith does not. So after servicing his Seiko SKX013 he was on the lookout for an opportunity to take it down deep. And he found the perfect opportunity while summer holiday diving at Aiguablava cove on Spain’s Costa Brava. But it didn’t go quite to plan and his Seiko came out of the experience a tad better than he did.
Colin Alexander Smith’s journey into what some call “watch fettling” began with a case of cat-killing curiosity: one of the subdial hands on a cheap watch had come loose, bringing it to a halt. That led him down a horological rabbit hole. Here he explains why you might want to consider a similar path.
Project 248 is the working title for Struthers Watchmakers’ first in-house, handcrafted movement. It features a new improved English lever escapement, picking up where the British industry left off in the late nineteenth century. Colin Alexander Smith reports extensively on the project whose first run of five watches has already sold out.
Last year, Colin Alexander Smith’s mother showed him a silver pocket watch. All she could tell him about it was that it had belonged to his grandfather. The watch appeared to be older than his grandfather, though, and he embarked upon a quest to identify it and discover the original owner. The story took a few interesting turns as he reveals here in a truly interesting trace of the origins.
Colin Alexander Smith is reunited with his first watch and discovers an intriguing watch manufacturer that has been producing mechanical watches in Switzerland continuously since 1886.
Colin Alexander Smith highlights the fact that both electric guitars and watches share the timeless debate over whether to restore an item showing its age or to preserve it “as is.” And John Mayer is mixed up in both; but how?
As a fan of the classic 1950s and 1960s Omega Constellations, Colin Smith had always dismissed Omega’s 1982 reworking of its flagship model, known as the Constellation Manhattan, as something of an aberration from the “true” Constellation concept. His “road to Damascus” moment occurred recently when he saw a 36 mm black-dial co-axial chronometer on display at an Omega dealer in Bordeaux.
If you were to ask people about the first watch they received as a child, the majority would probably say it was a Timex. And although LIP was at one point the world’s seventh largest watch manufacturer, it’s now little known outside France. Both companies share an extremely turbulent past one aspect of which Colin Smith shares with us here.
Colin was wearing a steel watch with blue dial when the receptionist at the trading company he was working for, a chirpy lass straight out of the BBC’s ‘Eastenders’ soap opera, looked down disdainfully and said, “I hate watches with blue dials. They remind me of old men in pubs.” What happened after that can only be described as a case of gerontohorologyphobia: fear of inadvertently wearing an old man’s watch.