Monday, February 28, 2005

A Billionaire with a Passion for Flight

Well The Aviator lost out on a few major awards last night at the Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director & Best Actor, but if you want to see the magic of a modern day billionaire financing innovative airplanes & encouraging new aerospace milestones you need look no further than the founder of Virgin Atlantic, Richard Branson. His latest chunk of money is going to finance what could be the first solo non-stop around the world trip by pilot Steve Fossett in the Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer.

The article I was reading about it mentioned Branson giving Fossett his watch:
Branson planned to follow Fossett in a chase plane for the first day of the flight and on the last leg. He gave Fossett his wristwatch, complete with emergency beacon device, to wear for the flight.

“We want you and (the watch) back in one piece at the end,” Branson quipped.
A Breitling Emergency I would presume???

Fossett is no stranger to Breitling. He one-upped the crew of the Breitling Orbiter 3 which flew a hot air balloon non-stop around the world in 1999, by doing it solo in 2002.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Time & Measurements Converter

I found today on the web the most complete measurement converter that I have ever seen. Maybe you know that 1 meter = 1.094 yards, but do you know how many furlongs, nautical fathoms or astronomical parsecs are in 1 meter? (the answers are: 0.004971 furlongs, 0.5468 fathoms & 3.241e-17 parsecs). You can also convert measurements of weight (my weight of 200 lbs = 90.72 kilograms, 58330 pennyweights, 151.2 Japanese kinn, or 278.3 Ancient Roman Libra), temperature, volume, speed, pressure, power and even time (5 years = 1826 days, 43830 hours, 2630000 minutes or 157800000 seconds.)

Check it out:

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ernst Benz sold to Universal Watch

Just got a press release announcing that Chuck Agnoff sold off Ernst Benz Limited to Universal Watch Company so he can focus on his Orbita Watchwinders:
Agnoff, who is also the founder of Orbita Watchwinders, had a good problem which this acquisition solves. Orbita's remarkable growth and success in the watchwinder business caused Agnoff to expand both in the USA and in Europe where Orbita has become an important supplier of private label watchwinders to several major Swiss watch manufacturers. Mr. Agnoff has had to establish a European factory to meet increased watchwinder demand and this growth requires his full attention.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Jaeger LeCoultre Grand Reveil


A classic watch full of features. Jaeger LeCoultre Grand Reveil.18k yellow gold case on a genuine black alligator strap with an 18k Jaeger LeCoultre classic buckle. Automatic movement. Features a Perpetual Calendar (day, date, month, moonphase & year), sweep seconds, & alarm. 40mm case diameter (excluding crown).
Est. Retail is $25,000



Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Our newest customer

Any of you who have ever called into Gray & Sons and heard a dog barking or a bird squaking knows that Gray & Sons is an animal friendly place. Keith, the owner, was a zoology major before he turned to horology. Gray & Sons is also a proud supporter of the Wildlife Care Center located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

So you can bet Keith was excited on Monday when a client brought in his pet: a 5 month old Russian Lion. The cat was beautiful but had a deep growl that made you glad she was on a leash.

Keith Gray (owner) & Junior Whyte (Head Watchmaker) show "Sasha" some watches.

Can you guess what her favorite watch was? It was a tie between the Cartier Panthere, and the Baume & Mercier Catwalk.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The 10,000 year clock

"My customers were always looking at 'faster, faster.' So I naturally began to think of 'slower' as the unnoticed frontier."
-- Danny Hillis
Our society is certainly fixated on a faster/cheaper mentality - you can buy DVD players now for less than some DVDs. We buy faster and faster computers that are obsolete with in a year or two. When something breaks we rarely fix it - we just get a new one. We run in the rat race day after day to earn money to buy stuff to make our lives easier (but it only gets more complicated, doesn't it?)

I was reading an article today about a project to create a huge mechanical clock that will run acurately for the next 10,000 years in a cave near the Nevada/Utah border. The cost: $10 million. The purpose: to foster long term thinking and a slower/better mentality.

The clock is being developed by the Long Now Foundation which was established back in 01996 (they use a 5 digit date to solve the "deca-millenium bug" when the calendar rolls over to the year 10,000). The clock will be completely mechanical with a couple innovative technologies in place to keep the clock acurate over the long haul. The project is still in a fund raising and design mode but several prototypes have already been built. When will the final porject be completed? As the executive director of the Long Now Foundation says: "Not sooner than 10 years and possibly longer than my lifetime." That sounds like it is keeping within the foundation's ideals.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Color of Gold

What do you think about when someone mentions gold?

Most people make a quick association with wealth and riches - a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or Scrooge McDuck swimming in his vault of gold coins. We make this association even though gold coins aren't so common anymore (nor is the desire to keep all of one's wealth tied up in gold coins or bars).

The next thing people think of is jewelry & watches. Maybe they immediately think of their preference: white gold or yellow gold? They think about the shine and luster. The precious nature of the metal.

Those within the jewelry industry think of gold in terms of penny weights & grams. The fluctuating market price. The design & craftsmanship. The purity: 24k, 18k, 14k.

After several years of photographing jewelry & watches and touching up those pictures in Photoshop, I tend to think of gold in terms of CMYK.

For those not familiar with what CMYK is here is a brief summary: CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black (I know, "black" does not being with the letter "K" but it sure does end with it.) In color printing, all colors are created by blending these four inks together in different proportions. All colors can be expressed in percentages of each ink. For example:

Red: C0% M100% Y100% K0%
Blue: C88% M76% Y0% K0%
Yellow: C7% M0% Y100% K0%
The color of pants you wouldn't be caught dead wearing: C100% M30% Y100% K27%

So what is the CMYK equation for the color of gold? Well that is the hard part. Because gold is shiny and reflective you get a whole range of colors. Look at a gold watch and move it around - you'll notice the color keeps changing. Making that gold look just right is one of the hardest parts about taking pictures of jewelry & watches. Here is a sample of the 256 different colors found in a Corum $20 gold piece watch:

Chain Smoking Watch Theives

A simple reminder to all sales people and shop owners: don't ask a customer to take his cigarette outside while he is still wearing the $37,000 Rolex he just tried on.

Read about it here: