Thursday, December 31, 2015

Celebrating the New Year: Watch Flaneuse

Goodbye / Adieu 2015.

 Hello / Bonjour 2016.

As the New Year begins, I've launched a new blog to accompany Wristwatch Redux.  It's called Strolling Among the Watches / Flanânt Parmi les Montres.  

Flanerie Barcelona: Pathways at Dawn and Dusk. Copyright Maryhelen Raciti-Jones, 2011. 

This new blog will take you on short walks through the historic, corporate and cultural watchscape. My intent is to frequently post my individual excursions down serendipitous paths beginning in 2016.  

Quite a personal challenge, but that's what creative fitness is all about. 

Why use the strolling construct? Why take these mental walks?  

Well, as a dedicated watch observer, my own contemporary description of a  watch flânuese, I stroll the media: printed books, magazines, journals, newspapers and online sources for information and insights. 

Some items become the inspiration or creative nudge for my extended blog posts found on Wrist Watch Redux.

There are other content meanderings that even though they do not make it to maturity on this blog are worth capturing and sharing on a passing basis.

This is the reason for Strolling Among the Watches.  It's my younger blog sister, the more lively companion second watch hand of 

Until Next Time / À la prochaine


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Decade Envy: Accurist Watches and London's Swinging '60's

I envy the 1960's, especially not being old enough to be a young London fashionable. I was a pre-teen when the decade began, just 11 years old.  Yes, by the time Time Magazine's "London: The Swinging City" cover story had appeared in April, 1966, I was in high school. But sadly, not mature enough in my Midwestern home town to fully comprehend, internalize, enjoy, and adopt with abandon, the revolutionary fashion changes that were taking hold.

What might I have been if my Mt. Pleasant, Michigan Main Street had been instead Chelsea's King's Road?

So yes, I have Decade Envy of the retro, GPS-type. To partly remedy the situation, I set out to answer the question most appropriate to this blog: What was happening with English watches mid-'60's? What was popular among the youthquake set, celebrities and common trenders? The answer:  Richard Loftus' Accurist Old England Collection line.

Accurist Watches was launched in 1946 by husband and wife, Asher and Rebecca Loftus in Clerkwell, an area in central London. According to Accurist Watches' own history, its products "were made entirely from Swiss components;[had] a positive sales point that guaranteed quality, and which coupled with competitive pricing helped establish a reputation for value."

Building on the company's solid reputation, but breaking with its conservative design base to attract the newly-affluent, younger 60's hip set,  Richard Loftus, Asher's brother launched the Old England Collection in 1967.

In doing so, contemporary fashion and wristwatches became conjoined timemates forever. They remain so to this day.  Old England watches were over- sized, had dials with big numerals and bold colors, PVC plastic bands, and iconic images including the British Union Jack and stylized flower petals.

OLD ENGLAND Richard Loftus Accurist London Pop Art Watch Vintage 1960s. Image courtesy of Jeanne at Art of Style, Colorado Springs, Colorado,

As  Petula Clark would sing in 1966, "It's a Sign of the Times":

I'll never understand
The way you treated me
But when I hold your hand
I know you couldn't be the way you used to be.

Oh so, prescient! Old England watches were affordable and fashion forward.   You could dance wearing one design and go shopping wearing another. Bottom line:  They were frivolous, fun and fab!

They gained iconic wrist status by being the brand collection of choice by such celebrities and royals of the time as Twiggy, the Beatles, and Princess Anne. 

Twiggy (Lesley Lawson) wearing a Richard Loftus' Accurist Old England Union Jack Design. Photo source unknown.

One design in the collection was sold at the Apple Shop, the Beatles-owned, short lived London boutique on Baker Street (December 1967-July 1968).


1968 Beatles Apple Records "Old England" Watch With Original Box. Image from [online] Rock & Roll Pop Art Auction, August 2009.

In a 1968 interview with Richard Loftus, he stressed that a watch "is anything you want it to be." 


That can apply to all of us no matter where we fall on our own life timeline. That includes smartwatches; time/action measurable wrist wearables like Fitbit; and of course the everlasting attraction of mechanical masterpieces embodying engineering expertise and incomparable artisan design. 

If any of you are fellow decade envy travelers and want to share your mod watches or stories, send me images, stories or comments.    


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Still Dialing Through at Twenty-two (November 2015)


Wearing my Movado at Gaudi's
Park Guell, Barcelona Spain.
It's been twenty-two months since I started posting content.  It's time again to reflect on my experiences blogging, with the focus this time on the watch-related content I've created. So I thought it would be fun to see if I could identify twelve themes that I've explored and illustrate them with accompanying posts. Some postings have been informational, others fanciful.  I've given each theme a signifying hour. And yes, you'll find thematic overlaps across the dial. 

12 o'clock: Celebrities 

Sight to Last a Lifetime: Omega Watches and Orbis International's Teddy Bear Campaign 

Be Bond Sure It's Shaken, not Stirred: Omega's New Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition 

Taking Time Into Space: NASA and OMEGA’s Speedmaster Anniversaries

Ad Venture Begets Luxurity

A Time To Pause: Michael Korda and Marking Time


1:00 o'clock: Sports Relationships

Hublot’s Vivacious Contender: Viva Italia! 

The Colors to Watch: Brazilian Yellow and Green

Ad Venture Begets Luxurity

Riding on the Wings of Post Time: Longines and the Belmont Stakes

OMEGA: Longstanding Olympian


2:00 o'clock: Complications

App-Surdity: Using Time to Remember Your Room

Beautifying Complications: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande

September 8 (2014): A Great Date for the Harvest Moon and Harry Winston’s Midnight Moon Phase

The Sky Above, the Auction Below: Henry Graves Jr.’s Supercomplication

Face It -- It's Complicated!


3:00 o'clock: Historical Reach Back

Taking Time Into Space: NASA and OMEGA’s Speedmaster Anniversaries

Off-Road But Still On Time (PART ONE)

Off-Road But Still On Time (PART TWO)

The Sons of August: World War I Trench Watches and a Modern Day Tribute to the Fallen 

The Sons of August: Nine Months On

A Masterful Throwback: Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Grande Reverso Ultra-thin Wristwatch

Quartz Crystal Watches – The Revolution of “Good Vibrations”

4:00 o'clock: Botanical Motifs

Botanical Companions: J.G. Ballard and Chaumet

Coco’s Camellia: A Floral Tourbillon that Needs No Fragrance

Petals Extraordinaire: Richard Mille's 19-02 Tourbillon Fleur

Promoting Time for Pollinators: Chaumet’s Attrape-moi si tu m’aimes Watch Collection

5:00 o'clock: Charity Associations

Sight to Last a Lifetime: Omega Watches and Orbis International's Teddy Bear Campaign

6:00 o'clock: Historical and Contemporary Culture (Literature, Art, Music, Film)

Beautifying Complications: Roger Dubuis Excalibur Creative Skeleton Brocéliande

Passing Time with Malevich

Ulee's Gold, Time Transfigured: Franck Muller's Double Mystery Collection

“All in One”: Tomi Ungerer and His Time-Anchored Family


7:00 o'clock: Sentimental Journeys

Remembering Everlasting Times: Isabel Marant's "A Hand in My Hand" Wristwatch

From Drive Time to Watch Time: SHINOLA Detroit

Timex: Time Spent on Durability

Yuletide Timings: Meet Me at the Met

8:00 o'clock:  Blogging about Watches

Taking Stock at Six O’Clock: Beginning My Blogging Career (August 2014)

Be Watching Midnight: Taking Stock Twelve Months On (February 2015)

Wristwatch Writings: Descriptive Elements for Friendly Conversations

9:00 o'clock: Ethical Materials Sourcing/Use

 Dials Too Can Get the Blues 

Remembering Everlasting Times: Isabel Marant's "A Hand in My Hand" Wristwatch

10:00 o'clock: Métiers d’art 

Two Exquisite Repeaters: Foreign and Domestic

11:00 o'clock: Advertising Time

Advertising Time: What Brands Catch Your Eye and Why?

Saddle Up: Ralph Lauren’s SWISS MADE Stirrups

Ad Venture Begets Luxurity 

L'Limbs of Time: L’Instant Chanel

The Whole World is Watching


12:00 o'clock:  Coming Full Dial to Post Again

My next update will be in April 2016.       
Wearing my Bulova Accutron in Sitges, Spain.

If you've identified other themes I've missed, let me know. If there are other themes you'd like to see in my next series of posts, send your suggestions to me.

In the meantime, read my page updates to Poetic Time and a new page, Virtual Book Case.



Friday, October 9, 2015

Sight to Last a Lifetime: Omega Watches and Orbis International's Teddy Bear Campaign

Yesterday, October 8th was World Sight Day.  In a playful, new ad campaign with serious intentions, Omega has partnered with Orbis International featuring six of Omega's brand ambassadors: Cindy Crawford, Nicole Kidman, Zhang Ziyi, Sergio Garcia, Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos.  Each is holding a cuddly teddy bear.  

Maybe you've already seen Nicole Kidman hiding her smile while peaking over the head of the bear in national media such as the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. And you asked what's the meaning of the celebrity/teddy pairing?

Actually the bear is the real celebrity in the ad. 
Orbis International is a top-rated charity receiving 4 of 4 stars by Charity Navigator.  It's "an international non-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. Orbis programs focus on the prevention of blindness and the treatment of blinding eye diseases in developing countries."

In its own words, Omega explains that "going to the hospital can be scary so we supply Orbis International with cuddly teddy bears for each of its young patients. They comfort the children and their families and help the surgeons explain the treatment to the patients. Following the treatment, the teddy bear will have a matching eye patch."

Since its founding in 1982, Orbis has visited 92 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia.  In 2013, it provided training to 22,000 medical professionals and performed 5.7 million medical and optical treatments. 

One of its most visible ways of doing this is the Flying Eye Hospital (FEH), a McDonnell-Douglas DC 10-10 equipped with an on board ophthalmic training center with a 48-seat classroom connected via overhead cameras and an interactive audio system to a full surgical suite, laser  and recovery rooms and more.

You can fully experience the incredible impact of the Orbis FEH in The Hospital in the Sky, a 48 minute Omega/Orbis produced documentary film. This follows Cindy Crawford and her thirteen year old daughter on a training/surgical flight mission to Northern Peru. It's beautifully filmed, poignantly narrated and truly unforgettable. 

Omega/Orbis produced a similar, shorter documentary in 2012 featuring brand ambassador, Daniel Craig titled, Through Their Eyes. It documents Craig's visit to the Flying Eye Hospital when it was in Mongolia.

Watching either of these two films will change your perspective on the gift of sight we so often overlook.  

A portion of the profits from the sale of four Omega's models, the Constellation Quartz 24 mm, the Constellation Co-Axial 27 mm, the De Ville Hour Vision Co-Axial 41 mm, and the De Ville Co-Axial Annual Calendar 41 mm is going to support Orbis and its Flying Eye Hospital.

Omega Constellation Quartz 24 mm

Omega De Ville Co-Axial Annual Calendar 41 mm 
Omega has been a supporter of Orbis since 2012.  It plans to continue its relationship indefinitely. Given Omega's longstanding reputation, that means for as far as the eye can see and then some.

In tribute to Omega's Orbis commitment, my own teddy bear wearing my husband's Omega Seamaster (for this post renamed the Seemaster) gives an ocular high five to the company, the charity and the campaign.

Urkundle Limitiere Edition, Papa Zausel © Maryhelen Raciti-Jones

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Be Bond Sure It's Shaken, not Stirred: Omega's New Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition

Of course you recognize the catchphrase, "Shaken, not Stirred" as belonging to 007's preferred method of preparing the perfect, classic martini. It's also a great phrase for the wrist action that Daniel Craig will be giving us this month in the new JB film Spectre premiering on October 26th.

For all of his on screen time, Craig/Bond will be wearing the Omega Seamaster Spectre 300 Limited Edition.

David Bredan in his A Blog to Watch posting, August 14, 2015 gives a great run down of the defining elements to watch for when Bond's 300 Spectre Limited Edition comes into view:

  • First it's mounted on a five striped, black-and-gray NATO strap. (Definitely an affordable trend take away for aspiring 007's.)

  • The hour hand is straight-arrow broad and assertive while its companion minute hand is "amply-lumed."

  • Its "lollipop" seconds hand is defiantly playful and contrasts nicely with its parental hours and minutes ending not in an arrow but in a circle. (James always has seconds to spare.)

  • Since Bond and his 2015 fan base are world travelers, the watch's black polished ceramic bezel rotates bi-directionally, and its LiquidMetal indices run from 0 to 11 – 'so that time can be kept with any country in the world.' 

  • As for exclusivity based on astute Omega product placement, each Seamaster 300 Spectre Limited Edition watch "will have its own unique serial number, again, out of 7,007, engraved on the back along with the James Bond Spectre film logo, celebrating the latest on-screen adventure."

If your curious, Spectre is the acronym  for Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. It's a fictional global criminal syndicate and terrorist organization seeking world domination. It first appeared in Fleming's novel, Thunderball (1961) and in Dr. No (1962), the first Bond movie. Sean Connery wore a Rolex Submariner in that film.

Omega introduced the Seamaster, a divers watch  as one of its major models in 1948.  Five years later, in 1953, Ian Fleming gave the world James Bond in the novel, Casino Royale.  But it wasn't until Goldeneye (1995), that Bond (Pierce Brosnan, then Daniel Craig) began wearing it exclusively in the eight following films: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); The World is Not Enough (1999); Die Another Day (2002); Casino  Royal (2006); Quantum of Solace (2008); Skyfall (2012); and now Spectre.

Quite a 20-year film run for an Omega wrist tie-in. Toast its product placement success with a dirty martini, Bond's martini of choice in Spectre and of course, be sure it's shaken, not stirred.

Related Wristwatchredux Omega Posts: 

Taking Time Into Space:  NASA and OMEGA's Speedmaster Anniversaries, June 1, 2015.

OMEGA:  Longstanding Olympian, February 15, 2014.   


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dials Too Can Get the Blues

For the last several months, I’ve had the Blog Block Blues.  Does that sound like  a 1:00 am piano blues instrumental?  Well, that’s what I call  my own soulful, blogging sloth.  I’ve been busy, yes, but just not with blogging. 

My ideas are there but I’ve lacked the cerebral will to work through them to publication.  My last post was in July and here it is late September.  Even though my earlier blog  page views are steadily increasing, they’re based on former posts not new content. 

But now, I’m back at it and surprisingly, my energy has been jump started by an environmental art installation that I saw in Breckenridge, Colorado several weeks ago. 

Blue River Plaza, Breckenridge, CO, August 24, 2015 ©  Maryhelen Raciti-Jones

The 2015 Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts (BIFA) showcased  Australian artist Konstantin DimopoulosThe Blue Trees project.  For the installation, volunteers throughout the downtown temporarily transformed tree trunks  -- mostly aspens and cottonwoods -- by applying a water-based, biologically safe ultramarine blue pigment. It reminded me of an avenue of International Yves Klein Blue columns at an elevation of 9,600 feet. 

Beyond being surprisingly beautiful, the trees are visually provocative and make you think about how color can change your perception of the natural world.

According to a FACTS + FAQS posted about the project, "Color is a powerful stimulant, a means of altering perception and defining space and time. Blue is a color that is not naturally identified with trees and suggests that something unusual, something out of the ordinary is happening. In nature, color is used both as a means of protection and as a mechanism to attract. The Blue Trees is an attempt to elicit a similar response from viewers and inspire conversation and action around deforestation issues."

So how does Dimopoulos’ Breckenridge Blue Trees connect with my interest in wristwatches and extend the deforestation conversation?  

The segue way is trunk color to dial color.  Quirky as this may seem, it has reminded me of how art and time can have a reality-based, conceptual intimacy. 

The  blue dial bandwagon has been growing worldwide over the last few years writes Mark Bernado in his post, "Feeling Blue: 21 Watches with Blue Dials and Blue Straps."  Not surprisingly, the luxury likes of Rolex, Omega, Bremont, Breitling, Harry Winston, Jaquet, Droz, Patek, Philippe, and Louis Moinet to name a few have all introduced blue dial models over the last several years.

So I decided to explore the blue dial trend and went looking for women's models that in their designs recalled my aesthetic excitement  at seeing Dimopoulos' trees. 

After looking at literally a forest of blue-faced possibilities, I found one to herald my flagship return to writing. It reflects Dimopoulos' worldwide Blue Trees installations in such cities as  London, Vancouver, Houston, and Albuquerque and represents his environmental message

Quest & Quality  (Q&Q) Watches - SmileSolar Series  -- Green & Gray with Blue Dial (RP00J008Y)

Image from

This is the perfect watch to lead my own Blue Dial Bandwagon. It embodies the universal precept that one way to combat climate change resulting from deforestation is to recycle materials and buy products made from them. This watch is ultra affordable (around US $40) and has a case and strap made from recycled materials.

Another plus. It does not require batteries. It's powered by the sun -- just as sunlight nurtures the growth of trees -- with one solar charge keeping the watch going for up to 3 1/2 months. The solar cell resides at the edge of the dial from the 2 to 10 o'clock position like a smiley face.

This year, The Q&Q SmileSolar Series received an award in the Good Design Australia Selection in the "Housewares, Fashion, and Objects" Category. The judges "highly appreciated the sophisticated design underpinned by solid environmental credentials."

As fall's autumnal-hued leaves and dials claim our attention, take time to also see the natural landscape as blue-hued. 

I hope that with this post, you like me are inspired to see blue as the new, tree trunk white, tan, brown or gray and what conservation and recycling mean to preserving our planet's life.

 Update (October 3, 2015):  I've just read about a new book that reflects some of the ideas writers and artists have had about expressively connecting with nature. It's titled, The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism (Greg Garrard, editor, Oxford University Press, 2014). In a comprehensive review of it by Sam Solnick in The Times Literary Supplement  September 4, 2015, he writes, "Ecocriticism is the body of thought and work that broadly put, studies the relationship between ecology and the arts, particularly in the face of an emerging sense of environmental crisis."