Just a reminder to everyone that there are still a few days left to enter your best watch picture in a new photo contest going on right now on Watch Freeks. Details on the contest and how to enter can be found by CLICKING HERE to see the thread.
The new Photo Contest is sponsored by Combat Straps (http://www.combat-straps.com/). Combat-Straps is a leather atelier. On their site they state that: Creativity coupled with tremendous quality, and the most contemporary styling, makes us very proud of our products. Our priority is to offer you superior craftsmanship coupled with superior quality of materials.
It is very easy to enter the contest. Just post the best picture of one of your watches and you could win!
Unique, original, and interesting. Read the full review now on Watch Freeks. Here is a preview, picture, and link to the review.
My Rough Sea First Impression: It’s bigger then I thought it would be. Also the extremely unique shape is hard to miss. The multiple curves and angles around the case, and crowns on both sides make this watch really interesting to look at. My eye was also drawn initially to the multi dimensional dial and the fact that there was not a date window on this watch. READ THE REST AT http://www.watchfreeks.com/view_topic.php?id=26140&forum_id=111
The John Isaac Geneve Rough Sea On A 6" Female Wrist
Our bodies are like constantly running automatic watches. Sort of a super powered ETA 7750 with one dial working our heads; another dial working our arms and legs; and the third dial keeping our heart pumping. We eat to keep the “movement” wound up and exercise to make sure the rotor is regularly moving back and forth in a sustained and smooth manner.
Year after year on our birthdays we celebrate the amazing “watch case” that is our bodies. We have parties, blow out candles, and receive gifts all to revel in the fact that the “movement” inside us has made it another 365 cycles. Hopefully we stay “healthy” or as close to a COSC movement as possible.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
But like a watch movement we sometimes find ourselves out of sync and need an “adjustment” at our annual yearly check ups at the doctor. If things really get messed up and we are running slow, we might even need to be “serviced” via surgery or more extensive medical treatments.
On a daily and ongoing basis we wash and clean our bodies just like using a polishing cloth on our watches each day before putting them on. If we get a little more ragged we get our hair cut like buffing out scratches on a bracelet or trimming a strap that is to long.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
Seiko “mods” are very popular in the watch community BUT are nothing compared to what we voluntarily do to our bodies. We try everything to remain as new as possible by making modifications to remain young OR be different. Facelifts and tummy tucks are like replacing dials. Botox is like re-luming the hour, minute, and dial markers. Taking steroids is like creating a watch that is over 52mm in size with a 26mm bracelet and selling it on TV.
Over many years our bodies get a little looser and some of the shine inevitably wears off. The skin changes to other colors like the patina on a trendy bronze watch. Some of the scratches and scuffs are just to deep to remove or be brushed off. And as more candles are added to the yearly birthday cake we all hope for the same thing – to just keep on ticking.
I have found that there are few things more frustrating then taking GREAT pictures of watches. Years ago I would have told you I did not care about this. But now it has become somewhat of an obsession – and an expensive one at that – both financially and mentally. I have regularly taken 250+ pictures of a watch to end up using about 10 of them. The slightest blur or reflection can send an image quickly to the trash bin. It can be a maddening and emotional nightmare at times.
More and more we read on the forum about members purchasing a wide variety of different equipment to try to help them take better pictures of their watches. This seems to really become especially important when new watches are purchased and “Just Arrived” threads posted. We all have been there and we all WANT to take stunning pictures of our prized timepieces. But it is not that simple and takes a tremendous amount of patience, practice, and education. For me the entire experience of graduating to a DSLR camera has been similar to going back to college. The learning curve has been that steep at times.
In my experience this seems to be the progression for most people.
HOW WE TAKE THE PICTURES:
Cell Phone pictures. Cell phones have progressed to such a level now that many phones have better features then some point and shoot cameras. In addition they have packed in so many “auto” focus and anti shake features that some images taken with these devices rival those of far more expensive cameras. But of course there are still limitations with lighting, lens options, max resolution settings, and image processing options (raw, jpeg, etc)
Point and Shoot Digital Camera
Point and Shoot Digital Cameras. This is the most popular image taking tool we see being used. Mainly because these cameras have come SO FAR DOWN in price almost anyone can afford them. On any day there are multiple online deals for 10-16MP cameras for under $100. And it is amazing how many features these point and shoot cameras pack into tiny spaces. Most of these have multiple auto settings for different uses and even some zoom or wide angle features. While again there are some limitations like lighting, available lens options, and the ability to make adjustments to the image settings – these still take AMAZING pictures. For most people this is all they ever will need and many of them come with included images editing software.
DSLR orDigital Single Lens Reflex Cameras. These used to be FAR out of most people’s budgets and were used exclusively by professional photographers. But as with almost all other electronics as the technology has become more readily available the prices have all but plummeted. Now very good DSLR cameras can be purchased in the $500 range and if you really look around for deals even less then that. As recently as this past Christmas 2011 entry level DSLR cameras like the Nikon D3100 and Canon Rebel T series were for sale for prices between $300-600, which included the body and a lens (typically 18-55 lens). Of course moving up to this level is a jump financially but also a massive increase of picture taking options as well.
What I found out personally (and am still finding out daily) is that the learning curve can be vast when making this jump to this level of equipment. For years leading up to the move to a DSLR camera everything was simply “auto”. The camera or phone did all the work and that was it. Now there are literally endless setting variations and unlimited addition equipment options (multiple lens, lighting, bags, tripods, memory cards, etc etc etc – it never ends). LUCKILY the DSLR cameras also have an “auto” setting, but you just know you could be getting more from your images so you are motivated to learn how to tweak the settings to the fullest capacity possible.
I never could have imagined spending as much time as I have reading reviews about different macro lens, light boxes like the example shown above, tripods, lighting, camera bags, and on and on and on. Websites like YouTube are filled with thousands and thousands of HOURS of videos about every single piece of equipment you can imagine. I have found myself lost for hours watching videos about camera equipment I not only don’t need but will probably never buy. But once you are committed to taking great pictures you seem to want to see what else is available and how you can get better and better. It is an incredible phenomenon that I never could have anticipated becoming this obsessed with.
I love reading about people who get creative and make their own photo solutions like J-Rod who built his own light box for photography in his home. You can see pictures and read more about his home made photo light box by clicking HERE
Photoshop, Photoshop … Adobe Photoshop! Sure there are other programs available for image manipulation and editing, but Photoshop is the king. Learning to use Photoshop is like another visit to college all to itself. People who use Photoshop full time and daily for their careers admit to never really using all of the available features and needing to learn more ongoing. It is a massive and powerful program, but also one that can take your images from pretty good to really good and more importantly – help fix some of the mistakes!
The web has also made learning about taking great pictures a lot easier with an endless supply of online tutorials and help sites for just about every type of photography. Some of the online photo gurus have become internet celebrities with their daily blogging, videos, and insanely popular websites. One of my personal favorites is Fro Knows Photo – a photographer who makes me laugh while also teaching me a lot of new information each day. His larger then life personality (and hair) has built a following over almost 70,000 subscribers on YouTube and over 13 million views of his videos.
Finally, what I have realized from this journey of trying to take better pictures, is that you can never give up. You can not get frustrated and you must keep trying to figure out what works for you to take the best pictures you can. I plan to keep working on my pictures and posting them on Watch Freeks.
Question for our readers: What type of equipment are you using to take your watch pictures and have you found any special techniques or tweaks that have helped you take amazing pictures?
On Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 3pm EST Reactor watches held their first ever “State Of The Union” conference call for their network of dealers throughout the United States and Canada. Approximately 50 people/dealers participated in the conference call.
Watch Freeks was one of the only non retail participants invited to listen in on the conference call and learn about the previous year’s performance by the company and what is planned for Reactor in the coming 12 months.
The highlight of the conference call was a 30 minute speech from company founder Jimmy Olmes. Mr. Olmes briefly described the company’s history and mission statement, reviewed high points from 2011, and announced new models planned for release in 2012. It was an interesting glimpse into the relationship and communication between a brand and its core retail dealers.
Here are the key points from the conference call.
History, Mission, Business Model:
Mr. Olmes started by talking about how the company was entering their 10th year in business. 10 years ago they went to the Baselworld show in Switzerland to do research and find the inspiration that would eventually become the Reactor brand. While there they learned about the Swiss watch industry and put together a list of ideas. They looked at a wide range of companies, visited factories, and came home motivated and excited. They spent the next couple of weeks working on a plan about what the Reactor company would look like and what it would represent.
In the end their vision and initial direction 10 years ago is still the same a decade later – to build the best built performance sports watch possible. Along the way they developed their DNA set of features that are shared by every Reactor watch.
Fast forward a decade and in a few weeks they are going to Baselworld again, but this time to feature and display their watches.
It was interesting to also learn that the company’s business model has evolved over the years from talking extensively to their dealers about what would be the most desirable, positive, and proactive direction for the brand. What Reactor learned was that many retail jewelry/watch businesses felt that selling watches was a “necessary evil” and in the end there were such small margins that they did not make money. Additionally the long service times turned off customers and created negative impressions not only of the watch brands but also for the retail stores themselves.
To that end Reactor has always stuck to a “full retail pricing” sales model Mr. Olmes described, with no competing discounting that would hurt their core dealers. For service they would provide a 48 hour turnaround time and do 100% of the service themselves in-house.
For advertising Reactor accepts dealer’s suggestions for co-op advertising that will benefit both parties. Mr. Olmes stressed that they would continue to listen to their dealers feedback to directly help shape their promotion and marketing direction and efforts.
2011 Reactor Sales Numbers Reported By Mr. Olmes:
- Sales for 2011 were up over 22%
- Added 1 (one) new dealer a week in 2011.
- Best November sales numbers in companies history.
- Another strong December for the annual holiday sales numbers.
Looking ahead for 2012: New Models and Product:
Mr. Olmes mentioned that they kept hearing a common request from their dealers in 2011 for a mechanical watch from Reactor. He said that it was well known that the brand used quartz movements because of their unmatched consistency and performance, but they could not ignore the ongoing requests and demand. So in 2012 Reactor will be releasing new Titanium Poseidon and Neutron models with Miyota 9015 mechanical movements. Additional information on these 2 new automatic models.
Titanium Poseidon Miyota 9015 mechanical movement
1000M depth rated
Exhibition case back
Dual rotating timing bezels
Limited edition box with additional rubber strap and custom billet aluminum tools
Target price: $1500.00 – $1750.00
Available in early June
NEUTRON Miyota 9015 mechanical movement
two dial colors
Exhibition case back and decorated rotor
Target price: $750.00
Available in early June
Other new models expected in 2012
Mr. Olmes also told the dealers about new models to be released in 2012. These included the following:
Solid 316L internal core covered by a new space age ballistic plastic that is nearly indestructible. 100% of the integrity of the watch is stainless steel, the polymer cover helps protect the inner core from shock and eliminates scratching, in addition it is non reflective, ideal for military and tactical use. Movement: Miyota 2S65 10 year quartz movement. Never Dark dial technology. Watch Band: Combined soft silicon / rubber compound band with a very high stencil strength polyester that affords incredible strength between the band and the case.
Projected release date: Mid April
Suggested retail: $350.00.
Unnamed Aviator’s watch
Size: 49mm featuring a slide rule bezel ( officially called E6B) for mathematical and fuel consumption calculations. Movement: New Miyota 6S10 movement featuring … Continue reading →
A very Bad Santa without question. But one you watch about 30 times each December.
Sure I love watches. But I also love movies. With the holidays rapidly approaching a popular thread on the Watch Freeks forum about Christmas movies got me thinking about my all time favorites.
I could have simply taken the easy route and picked over praised movies like Miracle on 34th Street, It’s a Wonderful Life, or A Christmas Story. But that would have been WAY too easy and let’s be honest – those movies are NOT on the top of my must see annual flicks for the holidays each year.
So today I present to you the first annual Watch Freeks Top 10 Christmas / Holiday Movie List. The criteria for making this prestigious list was simple. First and most important – the Christmas movie movie MUST be one that I love to watch over and over again. If it is on 20 times in one week in December on TNT or TBS I am going to stop what I am doing to watch part or all of it each time. Next, to be considered a top Christmas movie of all time, the flick must have multiple memorable lines that I will randomly quote out loud to anyone who will listen or to myself even if watching the movie alone. Bottom line – I have to seriously love a movie for it to even be considered for this Top 10 Christmas Movies of all time list.
So without further adieu here is the first annual Watch Freeks Top 10 All Time Christmas Movie List. I will even give you a few bonus selections for your holiday viewing pleasure. Every one of the movies below should be mandatory viewing each December!
Watch Freeks Top 10 Christmas / Holiday Movies: (in no order)
Bad Santa (2003): Pure holiday movie genius. If there was an anti-holiday movie made as a response to all of the other supposed classics – this would happily be it. Rarely does a movie revel in being so anti-establishment and purposely trying to break all of the established and unspoken rules for a holiday movie. Bad Santa earns it’s R rating in a big way. Racism everywhere, swearing midgets, basically abandoned children, open alcoholism, ongoing robbery and breaking the law, prostitutes, school yard bullying and much more undesirable behavior - all in a Christmas movie.
Only with the help from a sad, overweight, lonely boy and a pretty bartender, does our anti hero (the brilliant Billy Bob Thorton who IS this movie) finally learn the true meaning of Christmas. Totally awesome from start to finish and a must see. IMDB Link For Bad Santa
This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!
Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Kidnapping Santa Claus! We love it. Only Tim Burton could try to kill Christmas completely and still make it cool! A truly groundbreaking cartoon at the time. The movie is basically a musical with countless full cartoon dance and song productions layered on top of vivid images of a magical and spooky world .
Nightmare Before Christmas follows Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, who is bored with Halloween. One day he discovers Christmas Town and tries to learn/understand what it all means so he can use it. So he kidnaps Santa so he can take over Christmas Town. Take that little children!
This cartoon is dark, at times scary, and the plot is more involved then some award winning dramas. But it all works and still looks as good today almost 30 days later as it did the day it was released. IMDB Link For Nightmare Before Christmas
Elf (2003): “SANTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I know him!” Each year it is incredible to see some TV channels play this movie every night for 3-5 straight nights leading up to Christmas! Will Ferrell is at his comedic best turning a completely ridiculous plot and story into 97 minutes of fun, memorable lines, and the almost the perfect family movie. Great Artie Lange cameo as a fake department store Santa. IMDB link to Elf
Gremlins (1984): Of course the original in this series was the best. It is scary, violent, and cute all at the same time. And who can forget the 3 important rules, which of course were all broken and led to complete mayhem.
First of all, keep him out of the light, he hates bright light, especially sunlight, it’ll kill him. Second, don’t give him any water, not even to drink. But the most important rule, the rule you can never forget, no matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight.
Gremlins is comedy movie. Gremlins is a horror movie. Gremlins is an action movie. Gremlins is a family movie. Most of all Gremlins is FUN to watch. All things Watch Freeks loves in a good Christmas movie! IMDB link to Gremlins
Time for a water break. Read more of the Watch Freeks Top 10 Christmas Movies below!
Edward Scissorhands (1990): Tim Burton makes our list again with another very dark at times, original, romantic, and again downright weird holiday classic. The vision of Burton, and intense and excellent acting by Johnny Depp in the lead roll, made this film not only a hit, but holiday cult classic.
Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder
The strong cast which includs Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Anthony Michael Hall, Vincent Price, Alan Arkin, and many others, creates a fantasy world where the same paranoia’s, prejudice’s, and mass hysteria exist as in our normal daily lives. Edward is different then everyone else so he is at times celebrated. But at the same time this difference also creates jealousy and fear and negative reactions from some.
There are MANY ups and downs in this story, which is basically a love story. Like others on our Top 10 Christmas Movie list this is not a holiday movie where it is all smiles and fuzzy festive stories. Edward Scissorhands makes you think about how you would react if faced with an unknown situation that you did not understand or did not have all of the facts. Would you join the mob mentality or be open to being tolerant and accepting of something that did not fit into the common norm?
Edward Scissorhands is touching and tragic. The ending is not what you want, but also perfect. Somehow the boy, with Freddy Kruger like scissor fingers, is the hero in the strangest Christmas love story to ever make it to the big screen in our opinion. IMDB Link to Edward Scissorhands
Nicolas Cage in The Family Man
The Family Man (2000): What’s interesting about this one is that many people seem to really like this movie but only recently were introduced to it on video or cable television and long after it’s original release. In our opinion this is one of Nicolas Cage’s best movies. The subdued Cage plays Jack Campbell, a very successful high flying fast moving businessman, who is given a “glimpse” of what his life would have been if he had not left his college sweetheart 13 years prior and they had gotten married. This happens right around Christmas.
Instead of the individual-first, cold and unfeeling corporate world he is used to, Jack wakes up as a married suburban father with 2 children, who is in a bowling league, and is a tire salesman. Initially it is horrible to him and he desperately wants his life back as he tries to figure out how he has been thrust into this alternative universe (by the great Don Cheadle, who plays Cash, a being with magical powers and the ability to allow Jack to experience what his life might have been).
After the initial shock Cage’s character soon realizes there is MUCH more to life then money and the corporate business world he has been part of. And when it is time to return to that life he has to make life changing decisions. I have seen people start crying when watching this movie. It just hits people very hard on multiple emotional levels. The importance of family and being with people who care about you and you care about. The value of making the right decisions in one’s life and how to know what those decisions are. In the end this is a very powerful movie that is well acted and entertaining from start to finish. IMDB Link To The Family Man
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – The Griswold’s big Christmas gathering turns into a disaster at every turn. Of course we know this is going to happen but it is still impossible to deny the devilish real fun of this movie or to stop watching. Everything goes wrong from problems with each arriving family guest, to the 25,000 Christmas lights that wont turn on, to the holiday bonus Clark is expecting that never arrives. It is classic late 80′s comedy and you can see and feel famous writer/director John Hughe’s influence in each scene. IMDB Link to Christmas Vacation
Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..
Die Hard (1988) – This is the movie that made it cool to blow stuff up at Christmas! The first movie in the Die Hard series introduced the world to New York City Detective John McClane who travels to LA to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunately a group of terrorists takes her and everyone else in her building hostage while trying to steal hundreds of millions of dollars.
McClane is also trapped in the building but not being held by the terrorists. He leads a one man assault on the bad guys that produces countless famous movie quotes, multiple explosions, and high tension throughout the film.
There are many stand out actors in this movie but none more then Bruce Willis at McClane and Alan Rickman as the head terrorist Hans Gruber. This was the movie that made Bruce Willis a world wide movie star. The film grossed an amazing 127 million dollars, which was massive for 1988.
Scrooged (1988): Bill Murray at his best and he is the singular force behind this movie’s lasting popularity. Murray is in virtually every scene of the film and the storyline focuses on a journey back through his life in this modern day version of Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
The movie mocks itself with Murray playing Frank Cross who is a television executive running a channel that is doing a TV adaption of the Christmas Carol story. He meets with the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future and endless comedy realizes that his life must change.
Scrooged mixes comedy and drama perfectly and again it is the strength of Murray that makes this movie an all time holiday classic. IMDB Link to Scrooged
Home Alone (1990): An 8 year old (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left home alone while the family goes away to France. The idea that a family, even one rushing to make a plane flight, would forget one of their children, is ridiculous to start. But what follows is really what makes the movie the classic hit it is.
When 2 robbers (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern) plan to break in and rob the home, Culkin’s character booby traps the house and fights back against the robbers. It is slapstick physical comedy that has laugh out loud moments as the tiny child continually taunts and beats the 2 bumbling robbers. This movie has all the elements needed to be in the top 10 on almost every Holiday movie list. Cute kid. Lots of laughs. And a unique family dynamic that all comes together again in the end.
Trading Places (1983): The Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd classic is not totally set during the holidays, but a big part of the plot and movie’s best parts are centered right around Christmas time. One of the best comedy movies of the 80′s and Murphy at his best.
Trading Places starred an amazing cast including: Dan Aykroyd – Louis Winthorpe III / Eddie Murphy – Billy Ray Valentine / Jamie Lee Curtis – Ophelia / Ralph Bellamy – Randolph Duke / Don Ameche – Mortimer Duke / Denholm Elliott – Coleman / Paul Gleason – Clarence Beeks.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996): Best movie Geena Davis ever did. Entire movie happens around Christmas time as a deadly x-spy played by Davis, has amnesia and is living in middle America as a mother and housewife (name – Samantha Cain). Suddenly she is jarred back to her former life as a killer and secret agent (Charly Baltimore).
What follows is a full scale shoot them up action flick with loud explosions, torture, and a lot of killing. But it also is about a family that is ripped apart by Davis’s past and then brought back together. Most of the humor is provided by co star Samuel L Jackson in one of his earlier roles. He is perfect as the sleazy private investigator Mitch Henessey who unwittingly becomes part of Baltimore’s problems. Cheesy holiday action flick. We love it. IMDB
Lethal Weapon (1987): The “buddy cop” comedy. Mel Gibson and Danny Glover were perfect partners in this action film that started the Lethal Weapon franchise. This original is a Christmas and holiday classic, but in my opinion not as good as the original Die Hard. So it gets honorable mention status only.
Some things I was thinking about today. I wish I had not.
If it takes you 10 minutes a day to shave each morning, and assuming you shave for approx 55 years of your life – that equals 20,750 minutes OR 334.58 hours OR almost 14 full days of your life you will be just shaving. That’s a lot of time in front of a mirror staring at yourself.
Lets say it takes you 30 minutes to drive each way to work, or 1 hour round trip daily. If you work for approximately 50 years of your life and 5 days a week that equals 13,000 hours or 541 DAYS you WILL spend just sitting in the car listening to crappy morning and afternoon drive time radio. Just imagine if your round trip commute is LONGER then 1 hour. A scary waste of time.
If you sleep an average of 7 hours a night, and assuming you live to be 70 years old – that equals 178,850 hours of your life you are asleep. That means you are asleep 7,452 days or 20 FULL YEARS of your life. This one is actually mind boggling.
A man who is 40 years old has lived 1,261,440,000 seconds. Over 1 BILLION seconds. How many of them have been spent living life to the fullest? How many of them have been spent working? How many of them have been …… wasted?
People who are 20 think they will live forever. People who are 40 think their life is almost over. The difference between the 2 is only 7300 days, or 175,200 hours, or ten and a half MILLION minutes (10,512,000 minutes). How can 2 identical blocks of time, be viewed so completely differently? How does circumstance, experience, and regret factor into our view of “time”?
You can obsess quickly about numbers and how they relate to the world we exist in and the unseen but very real “time” flowing by and all around us every second (pun intended) of the day. Doing these calculations makes you quickly realize how much time we all allow to slip by us without taking advantage of the opportunity to use it productively.
This review was originally posted on the Watch Freeks forum in the Freeky Staff Review Section on Sunday, January 23, 2011
The watch being reviewed was purchased by me in December 2010. I received it on January 18, 2011
I met George Fox, Owner of NFW at a large Get Together in November of 2009 held in PA. At that time the ViperFish had been announced and mentioned a few times on another forum. At the Get Together George had with him an early early version of the ViperFish case. It was just the case with no movement or dial or hands inside, but the case was unquestionably cool. I was able to handle it and view it from all sides and angles. It was original and different and I was honestly excited about it. George mentioned back then that the watch was still a ways off due to redesigns and his desire to make it exactly the way he wanted it. Assuming it would come out a few months after we viewed the empty watch case at the Get Together I started saving $$ for it based on the ball park pricing George mentioned.
Most people did not think it would take as long as it did for this watch to finally be available, myself included. Also back then I was wearing much larger watches then I do today. Over the past year my entire collection has shifted to watches in the 44-48mm range. So when this watch was finally available my one concern was its size. But the many months waiting had not lessened my desire to purchase one based on my initial feelings. I already had the money saved and put aside so I pulled the trigger.