Remember the Good Old Days . . . Before OnTheDash?

We launched OnTheDash on February 12, 2003, with an email message to 80 recipients.  A few days ago, I received a message from one of these recipients, who I have been in touch with from time to time over the years.  In his message he reminisced about the good old days, shared some thoughts about the state of the current market, and also posed a few questions for me.  To mark the 12th birthday of OnTheDash, let me publish the message that I sent to this gentleman.


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I Said: Wanna Have Lunch? He Said: Sure. Wanna Buy a Watch?

One of the special pleasures of this watch collecting hobby is that, every once in a while, we get to actually meet the wonderful people that we chat with all the time, by e-mail, on discussion forums, through Twitter and Facebook, and by telephone.  Over the years, one of my favorite “pen pals” has been Ken Jacobs, the owner of Wanna Buy A Watch, a watch store in Los Angeles.  Based on his selection of watches, I can say that Ken and I have the same eye for watches. Over the years, I have bought several watches from Ken, gotten some good advice from him, and enjoyed all our conversations.  In addition to having a great “eye”, I have always found Ken to have good integrity.  When he describes a watch and answers your questions about it, you will know what you are buying.

Ken sent me a message a few weeks saying that he would be visiting Atlanta, and we decided that we would get together for lunch.  I promised Ken that I would bring a few Heuers for “show and tell”, and he asked whether there were any particular watches that I might like to see, from his store.

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New Section of OnTheDash -- Instruction Booklets

We have added a new section to OnTheDash, to show the Instruction booklets for the chronographs, stopwatches and dashboard timers.

Here are the first eight booklets that we have added.  Click on any of the covers, to see the Instruction booklet.

Instruction Booklet for Automatic Chronographs Instruction Booklet for Chronosplit Instruction Booklet for Ford Split Lap Unit 77 Instruction Booklet for Automatic Chronographs

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The Care and Feeding of NOS Watches

Every once in a while, I receive a message from someone who is very excited to have recently purchased a “New Old Stock” chronograph, but is — at the same time — disappointed that the beautiful watch of thier dreams either (a) is not running properly (or is not running at all), or (b) has just been diagnosed as needing an expensive servicing. The questions vary: Why does a New Old Stock watch need servicing?  Isn’t a New Old Stock watch supposed to be perfect?  Why didn’t the seller tell me that the watch needed an overhaul?   The final gasp is to the effect that the purchaser paid top dollar for a NOS watch, and they never contemplated that they would need to invest an extra $500 to $700, just to get the watch to run.  How can this have happened?

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The "Fab. Suisse" Marking on Watch Dials

The following is a message posted on the Horological Meandering discussion forum, by Marv, on June 14, 2011, addressing the question of why certain watches bear the marking, “Fab. Suisse”. 

There was a French law (Art 15. de la loi du 11 janvier 1892) that said that it was prohibited to import into France any product whose brand, name, sign or mark could mislead the consumer, in the sense that it could be understood as having been produced in France whereas it was not the case.

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The Search for Fab. Suisse . . . Case Closed!

Day One – Monday, June 13, 2011

One of the neat things about this vintage watch collecting hobby is that there is always something new to explore, some mystery to try to solve.  We see a number in a catalog (1163P), some strange mark on a movement (SX) or dial (T), and rather than letting it go, every once in a while, there is the sudden urge to unravel the mysteries of the mid-20th century.

And so it was on the morning of June 13, 2011, when a forum participant posted a photo of his Carrera 45 Dato, seeking information about the year of production for the watch.  That question was relatively easy, but suddenly I focused on two words written on the dial, comprised of nine letters, that I had seen hundreds of times before, but never bothered to explore . . . the words, “Fab. Suisse” (the abbreviation for the French term “Fabrique Suisse”, meaning “produced in Switzerland”).

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