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Scabby the Rat Visits His AD

An inflatable rat in front of a Rolex property in New York City, source: Google Maps. While following up on a recent Instagram post, I spent some time reviewing properties owned by Rolex in the New York City metropolitan area. One property, in particular, caught my interest because it seemed to be "off the beaten track." In order to learn more about it, I used street view in Google Maps to access some pictures of the building. As I virtually strolled down the middle of the street, I approached the building's main entrance. Surprise doesn't even begin to describe my reaction when I saw an inflatible rat positioned on the sidewalk facing the door. This thing was big, maybe 12 feet tall. A carnival-esque rodent was the last thing I expected to see near the entrance to a Rolex building. There were three people standing nearby, one wearing something like a construction hat. Having seen a number of labor-related demonstrations in the recent past, my gut told me th
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When Is an Ellipse Not an Ellipse?

A picture I took of a 1992 Patek Philippe catalogue Let's get the potentially controversial part of this out of the way: Ellipse is a misnomer when it comes to the Patek Philippe references 3788, 3930 and related versions. More specifically, the watch case in these designs is not rendered in the geometrical version of an ellipse that is frequently taught in high school. I'm honestly a little embarrassed to have only recently come to this conclusion, but geometry was never my strong suit. I won't take all the blame. In most discussions of the Ellipse (the watch), inevitably the "golden ratio" comes up. I think I was distracted by that, because the golden ratio is a pretty interesting topic. Nevertheless, I'd like to set the record straight, or at least straighter, with this post. An ellipse is basically an oblong shape. The Ellipse in Washington, DC, a grass area in President's Park. Compared to a canonical ellipse, the Patek Ellipse has sides t

Mystery Solved: Golay, Longines and NASA

Just before the US Thanksgiving holiday, I received a direct message on Instagram from the account @secondhand.secondhands. Al Worden's official NASA portrait from 1971. He's wearing the watch in question on his left wrist. They were looking for help identifying a watch on the wrist of an astronaut in a photo from 1971. The astronaut in question is Al Worden, pictured here. Worden was the command module pilot for Apollo 15. He orbited the moon 74 times during that mission. To this day, he travelled farther from Earth than any other person. Worden was a 1955 West Point graduate but he commissioned in the US Air Force (the Air Force Academy was not yet commissioning graduates so USMA and USNA graduates were able to commission in the Air Force). Before NASA, Worden flew the F-86D Sabre and the F-102 Delta Dagger. He then earned a Master's degree in aerospace and instrumentation engineering just before enrolling in a test pilot school in the UK. I've included a scree

Lemonade from Lemons: Rolex Certified Preowned

News broke today that Rolex has entered the pre-owned watch market. The brand even released a press statement, which scarcely happens (aside from the standard announcement of a new reference, ambassador or similar). A screenshot from the Rolex press release regarding the certified preowned program. This post is not affiliated with or endorsed by Rolex, you can find the official web page at www.rolex.com. I'm still digesting this news, but I have a few thoughts about how this will all play out and how the preowned space will evolve in response. Side note: before we get into this I want to welcome all the new subscribers who joined, maybe following my "Watch of the Week" article on Hodinkee . Thank you for trusting me enought to read what I write. I take that trust seriously and it means a lot to me that you're sharing some of your valuable attention. Ok, back to the other topic: Rolex and preowned. Let's begin with a major caveat. Daily average seismi

Closet Currency: Let's Keep It Real

Today, I learned a new term from an Instagram post by @ebaywatches. That term is "closet currency." No, this doesn't refer to someone stacking bills in some dark corner of their wardrobe. Instead, closet currency is the value that is stored in items that you put in your closet. At least, that's what I think it means. I arrived at this conclusion since eBay's post featured YouTuber Jose Zeniga describing the monetary value of different luxury watches. Zeniga also described a "luxury exchange" that eBay set up in NYC. In essence, you could take something out of your closet, go to the exchange, get an appraisal value, and then use your item and its appraisal to purchase another item that was available on the exchange. The formal definition of money is anything that is generally accepted as payment. In essense, eBay set up a NYC micro-economy in which almost any closet item could be used as money. Money is actually a pretty complex topic. It took a lo

The Death Dodger and His Radioactive Rolex

One of the most popular Horolonomics posts details the story of a radioactive, strontium-laced Rolex GMT Master. The Navy pilot who owned the watch in question sued Rolex. The watch also traced a surprising path through the hands of the owner's descendants, ending up in the inventory of a watch dealer in Florida. In many ways, my Horolonomics post was "Chapter 2" of the dangerously radioactive GMT Master story. Chapter 1 was authored by Steven Pulvirent, in collaboration with Eric Wind, while Pulvirent was still writing for Hodinkee. With this post, I offer Chapter 3 of the radioactive Rolex saga. This chapter also involves a Navy pilot, one who is much more well known than the Rolex owner in Chapter 2. Along the way, we will learn some interesting facts which shed light on the history of Rolex. Let's begin at the beginning. Moar Archives A few weeks ago I found myself poking around, virtually, in the archives of the Smithsonion National Air and Space Museum.

Hot Take: Preowned + Vintage are the Greenest

I applaud the effort by watch manufacturers to minimize their contributions to climate change. Globally, we've made some progress towards "bending the curve" of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the good news. This figure from climateactiontracker.org shows that, even under an optimistic scenario, some increase in global temperatures is unavoidable. The bad news is that we clearly need to do a whole lot more to get to a point where we halt the growing cost of environmental degradation. As the graph I've presented here shows, existing policies are not enough to ensure a healthy planet for our children, their children, and all future generations. As Elizabeth Doer's outstanding coverage on Quill and Pad shows, the watch industry is discussing the challenges ahead and developing contributions to the fight against climate change. These include the use of recycled and recovered materials in manufacturing as well as requiring transparency in how raw materials are