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Brussels expo 2018 : Up close and personal

brussels expo

I have so much to write about but so little time. I guess most of us face such dilemmas. If only we could buy more time instead of more watches. Actually scratch that.

I compare it to those among us that for the last year have promised on numerous occasions that next week they will start their diet, go to the gym or do ten push-ups which never happened.

But just once in a while, you get that push, that moment where you say, okay, this is it. Some get it when their pants don’t close, others when they just saw this stunning gorgeous, perfectly curved…watch!! Guys, please focus! This is a watch blog!

Anyway, yes today was one of those fun days that made me decide, its time to step up to the plate and share all of the creations I got to see and stuff I got to do today.

Today I attended the Bi-yearly expo put together by , a small dedicated to about 30 high-end watch and jewelers there and while sipping your drink you got to meet the some amazing people face to face.

Hard to admit but the start-your-Sunday early concept is not really my way of spending my weekend, but this was definitely worth the exception.

Lara who was an amazing host, welcomed me a the crack of dawn (9.30am!) to meet my fellow workshop attendees at the stunning Club Van Lotharingen in Brussels.
Together we engaged on this FHH (hautehorlogerie) Academy watchmaking workshop where we tested our patience, our stability and skills in order to take apart an ETA movement (that’s easy, I’ve been breaking stuff since I’m a kid) and then to put humpty dumpty ETA back together again and get its heart ticking again.

About 3-4 hours later, we all succeeded, got our well deserved certificate and made new friends along the way. This is exactly how the watch enthusiast family just grows and remains so much fun.

What better way to celebrate this achievement then with raising a glass together and embarking on the new keen eye we now all posses to look at more tik-tocks.
Sometimes size doesn’t matter. The fact that there were ‘only’ thirty stands, did not take away from its beauty. Besides meeting awesome people and catching up with friends. There he was, standing just in front of his booth wearing and holding his very own creation was none other than the Belgian born, down to earth genius Benoit Mintiens aka
Benoit chats with everyone with passion and a great story to tell like a well oiled watch. He tells the tale of taking everything out of an ETA movement and using just the body to create his dream. Besides that, the rest is all made in Switzerland with exception of the strap. Though I personally would like to see a nicer strap and clasp for a watch of such high end but am happy and proud its Belgian. The buckle is a serious reminder of an applewatch, but I am not sure who came first.
I am the first to admit that Belgians do have better strap manufacturers. Benoit, hit me up if you need help with that, the rest of your creation you got down pat!
Harvard claims that Ressence has an innovative way of seeing time to the untrained eye which is faster than telling time on any other watch.
This seems to have partial reasoning due to the 3 dimensional architecture used. Benoit talks about this research done by Harvard and can be proud that his concept was chosen for their research.

I claim that Benoit has brought watchmaking to a new level. The various models possessing between 212 and 387 components each have this special design and as with each new model, he was able to push himself and the design forward to a new level.

Being a diver myself, I have a few watches that get to go down deep with me. However Ressence type 5 does claim to be the first mechanical watch to be perfectly readable underwater regardless of the viewing angle. I don’t know if Benoit really wants me to take it down for the test. Not because it won’t be readable, I am sure it will be, its design and domes anti reflective sapphire crystal filled with oil is perfect reason to make it legible.
But if you are so proud of being legible under water, then it should have catered more to the divers needs and marketed more as such.
We use our bezels for oxygen timing and we also don’t want to risk this little dude to get knocked around on a dive.
But all in all, it was still pretty awesome hearing all this from the creative mind himself.

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Seiko Recraft


I stumbled upon this guy and knew that this belonged on my wrist.
The vintage, the green, the open back, well the movement is not my favorite, but still a nice workhorse.
Even the price is amazing, so I will not mention that it’s a shame it’s not sapphire crystal and that I wish I can read time in the dark.
There is a lot to say about Seiko. Yes, some people look at me and seem surprised I am wearing a Seiko. First of all, you obviously know very little about this brand. Secondly…WTF? You don’t need a Patek to look good. Okay, maybe it helps a little, but I would gladly keep this guy in my collection.
So, where was I? Ah yes, so here is the thing, the vintage DNA is awesome and most people that go for this, seem to have chosen the vintage square case or as some call it the tv case look.
I preferred the round face. I think because it had the vintage look and the round face brought back more of the styles that I was used to and not what my parents remembered.The green has many names like electric green, Hulk, vintage green or even racing green. I actually choose for English green, because of the old Rolls Royce’s and Land Rovers.
Another feature I only discovered after I owned it, is the dual date. Not just the obvious day and date, but the fact that you can choose the English day (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) or on the same watch simply choose for the French days (Dimanche, lundi, mardi). Would have been cooler if the first 12 hours of the day are in one language and the next 12 hours in the other language, but still a cool option.
It’s a great conversation piece, it matches pretty much anything in your wardrobe and it’s fun to wear.
The dial is very readable and I like the raised inner dial which adds a nice touch. The bracelet is really nice with a mix of brushed steel and a durable buckle and not some cheap butterfly buckle which I have already encountered on more expensive watches.
I am wearing this lovely timepiece almost a week now and am really enjoying it. Don’t hesitate, real watch for your buck!

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Azimuth Mr Roboto

Whether you remember Rosy from the Jetsons or the golden robot C-3PO from Starwars, when thinking of robots, we don’t look to the future but remember our youth. Actually quite strange if you think about it. Robots are supposed to be part of the future, yet instead of thinking of the year 2100 we think back to the 1950’s or 80’s.
I definitely smiled when I got my hands on Mr Roboto. At first I was like, seriously…your kidding. But as a Mona Lisa that just sees you from any angle, Roboto or R2 for friends, just kept looking at me, and I smiled.
This one-eared funny faced time-machine was gonna had me wrapped around my wrist within minutes. And I didn’t care about the 47.5mm wide, 55mm long, and about 19mm thickness.
My wife was like, “your not serious?” but she didn’t even expect an answer as I put on my dinner jacket for the gala event we were about to attend.
We became very close that evening, yes, we bonded. Due to its weight I needed to have him a little tighter than I usually tend to wear my watch, but I could almost feel that heart pumping. That pumping at 28,800 VPH was just the talk of the evening at my table and beyond. Oh and everyone likes a partner at the gala with an open back, don’t you agree?
Yep, there aren’t many like these around. Like the one I walked in with, all men wanted to get close to me and especially once they found out that what I have is limited edition.
I even met Nick who brought his big eyed Azimuth to the gala, but more about him later.
Getting the time is not as complicated as it may seem, you do just have to look him right in the face. Much easier than expected and quickly get the hang of it. Roboto just needs and loves when you stare.
No one looked at this timepiece as a toy or gadget, everyone (okay, the men around me) were quite intrigued and enjoyed the concept and the memories it brought along.
I guess you can’t expect anything less from an Italian designer based in Switzerland. Giuseppe is a brilliant mind and no, he did not create Pinocchio looking watches, but he did take his designs to a different level. The unique design (which you should appreciate the fact that all is done in-house) the complications and innovativeness are the reason why Switzerland and Italy share borders. Italian design and Swiss timekeeping. What else can you ask for?
ども ありがと
Domo Arigato!

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Is it because I am undecisive or am I just lucky that I like so many different styles of watches. Like any watch enthusiast, you will identify yourself as someone that does not need to go diving in order to wear a divers watch. I won’t necessarily wear a vintage style when I go to a 60’s themed party.
However, I might wear a Cuervo Y Sobrinos when I am chewing a cigar, but then again, its more about the mood then the event.
But I also enjoy being different, having something unusual or maybe because it just gives me something to talk about.
So here comes the AVI-8. I am wearing one of these watches for nearly 2 weeks (yes that doesn’t happen often, but that’s as long as it ever gets). People have asked me about it, they are all over Facebook and have some very cool designs.
Obviously AVI-8 is all about aviation. The designs are very WWI and WWII aviator style. As they say, the collection of timepieces seeks to honor both the aircraft and the untold story of the airmen who have dedicated themselves both in and out of the cockpit to bring these incredible machines to life.
Being quite a military and aircraft fan myself, I was happy that the Hawker got some well-deserved attention.
The Hawker besides constantly being updated is unique for the short runways or where landing is not the easiest. Basically, the rebel, the different one, the unique one. Just the way I like it.
The khaki numerals on the face and on the hands are nice to complete the military look, along with the matching strap. The stand-out is the reminder of the Altimeter cockpit dial which does not have a 12 but the 0.
I have seen plenty with the 24 instead of the 12, but the 0 is quite unique.
The Hawker Harrier II also has a day display which is quite neat. An indicator displays next to the current day while all days remain visible and the week starts with Monday. Though a cute feature, I would have preferred this to be on the left side of the face which is where you can often find the checklist on the instrument panel of the aircraft dials.
The back is nicely engraved with a nice picture of the Hawker II, you can find plenty of open backs at AVI-8, and Im usually a fan of the open back, but for the sake of the aircraft, I am quite happy with this.
But it wears very nicely, the genuine leather strap is very comfortable and the one I am wearing is quite thick and I like that the AVI-8 is deeply incrusted into the leather strap. Which also means that it will not fade or be illegible after wearing it for a while.
Buckle is simple but also has the AVI-8 on it and the casing along with the fact that its 50M is quite a shame. However, the movement is decent for this type of watch and fits the price nicely, Citizen has some excellent movements that are found in many similar watches. The retail is quite higher then what you can get it for, but that’s part of the fun of finding your watch.