“Watches, Stories, and Gear” is a roundup of our favorite content, watch or otherwise, from around the internet. Here, we support other creators, explore interesting content that inspires us, and put a spotlight on causes we believe in. Oh, and any gear we happen to be digging on this week. We love gear.
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This installment of “Watches, Stories, and Gear” is brought to you by the Windup Watch Shop, which now features an EDC section.
Field Report: Becky Kagan Schott & Seiko Check In From Their Antarctic Expedition
Last week we left Becky Kagan Schott and Seiko traversing through the Drake Passage where they encountered rough seas and swells close to 30 feet high, commonly known to the locals as the, “Drake Shake”. Well, we’re happy to report that the team has made it in one piece and they have begun to explore the alien world of Antarctica. Over a span of a couple of days, Schott and her team were able to experience a variety of wildlife including a group of feeding Gentoo penguins, Adelie penguins and a pod of humpback whales. Schott expresses how much beauty there was in every direction; from the stunning blue and aqua tones and textures of a gigantic glacier, to the leopard seals resting on icebergs, and penguins playfully moving around the ice. Schott at one point found herself in the water with a curious leopard seal where she was able to interact with, and photograph, the semi-aquatic mammal for almost an hour in sub-freezing waters. Schott and her team would travel to Danco Harbor and Cuverville Island in the following days.
With the Danco Harbor mountains in the background, Schott and her team set out to find an iceberg to dive and explore. She mentions the unpredictability of ice, how dynamic it is and that it’s constantly changing, which adds to the list of dangerous things to be mindful of when diving in the Antarctic, and especially around an iceberg. Her team decided that it would be best to locate an iceberg that was already grounded, eliminating the possibility of the iceberg flipping or moving while they were below the surface. Schott describes the iceberg underwater as cold, silky, transparent and sparkles in the sunlight. Although the waters looked akin to the aquamarine color of the Caribbean, it remained a frigid 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Below, Schott describes the difficulty of diving an iceberg in Antarctica and also treats us to a wrist check.
January 10th, 2022 “Diving in Antarctica isn’t easy. It takes a lot of gear and preparation before splashing into icy waters in the most remote part of the planet. Before I come, I make sure my dry suit is dry and there are no leaks because having 32f degree water in your suit isn’t pleasant. We have to bring everything except tanks and weights. We dive from zodiacs so loading them with all of the gear is strenuous. Then gearing up on the water we help each other by holding the gear on the rib and sliding into it. Rolling backwards is the easy part and I always hope I don’t feel the rush of cold water during those first few seconds. Once I flip around, I’m able to get my camera rig passed down to me and we go diving! We watch our time closely and try to keep the dive around 45 minutes. After we surface, we hang up the cameras and then get out of the gear in the water and it’s pushed up into the zodiac. Then we grab ropes on the sides and kick hard to push yourself up onto the side of the boat. It’s not usually pretty but this is what expedition diving is all about. I only dive the best gear in these harsh environments and gear I can depend on. The ice, the cold and the zodiacs are tough on equipment, so I rely on the best to do my job and not think about anything but getting great images. Today, I am wearing my Seiko Prospex SPB175”
Becky Kagan Schott and Seiko will return stateside on January 14th, 2022. Check out all her photographs from her recent expedition to the Antarctic here.
You’ve Got The Watch (Hopefully), Now Get The Art To Match
If you’re looking for some new watch art, head over to the just launched Apt Independent boutique. Inspired by the rise of independent watchmaking, the new project features prints and t-shirts with colorful, whimsical, watch inspired graphics. Designs are based on watches by brands like Kudoke, J.N. Shapiro, and F.P. Journe, and go surprisingly deep into the details of well known watches from independent makers. If you’ve been jonesing for a t-shirt with an artist’s rendition of Journe’s deadbeat rementoir front and center, your time has come. And if there’s a watch you love that isn’t represented in their initial collection, Apt Independent is also considering commissions, so the possibilities are endless. The first drop of t-shirts and limited edition prints are available now.
The Leica M11 Gets Lighter, Faster And Well, A Hefty Price Tag
This past week, Leica announced the release of their new addition to the M Series in the Leica M11. At first glance, it seems that not much has changed aesthetically, but a closer inspection reveals the M11 is a profoundly updated camera. Here are a few highlights. The new M11 comes with a versatile 60 megapixel tri-resolution sensor and dynamic crop zoom capability, which effectively allows the prime lens to cover three different focal lengths at 28mm, 36mm (approximately) and 50mm. The M11 also comes equipped with internal memory storage, in the event you forget your SD card (been there) or wanted to separate files, and a significantly improved battery allowing up to 1,700 additional shots when using the rangefinder (or an additional 700 shots when using the live back display). Speaking of the battery, gone is the baseplate that nostalgic Leica users have come to know and love. The new M11 features a switch located at the bottom to open the battery hatch, and an internal battery lock. The Leica M11 comes in two variations, a silver trimmed model and an all black model that weighs 20% less than its silver counterpart.
If you’re interested in some more of the specs, check out the in-depth Leica M11 review by The Art of Photography. The Leica M11 will be priced at a cool $8,995. Now is the Leica M11, with all of its new upgrades, worth the nine stacks? That’s up for you to decide.
Robert Redford’s 1964 Porsche 904 GTS
Speaking of hefty price tags, up for auction via Bonhams, is a pure example of a beautiful 1964 Porsche 904 GTS. The Porsche 904 GTS, designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, was the next racing model in line that followed the 550, 645 and 718. The 904 GTS took the first two places at the Targa Florio event the year it came out, second at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1965 and several other competition successes during its racing career. Only a shade over a 100 road-ready Porsche 904 GTS were made to meet the FIA’s homologation requirement in 1964. This 904 GTS in particular has some provenance, as it was owned by actor Robert Redford, racer Steve Earle and Porsche enthusiast Jim Tidwell, as well as saw time on the race track under the Otto Zipper Precision Motor Cars banner at numerous North American venues. If you’re keen, head on over to Bonhams to check out this fine looking piece of machinery here.
Ethan Hawke Six-Part Paul Newman Documentary
Believe it or not, Paul Newman’s legacy extends far beyond his association with exotic dialed Daytonas. Shocker, I know. Alongside being impossibly stylish, the Oscar winning actor (The Color of Money) was, by all accounts, a pretty good dude. His philanthropic work thrives today through the food brand he created, Newman’s Own, whose proceeds go to charity. Newman’s prolific life, along with that of his Oscar winning wife Joanne Woodward (The Three Faces of Eve), will be profiled in a new 6 part documentary helmed by none other than Ethan Hawke, of Reality Bites & Gattaca fame. The series is set to debut on CNN Plus, with an extended release happening through HBO Max. You can read more about the upcoming doc from Variety, right here. Until then, pop that VHS of The Sting in your VCR and enjoy some peak Newman, Redford action.
Well, this week we have another gorgeous vintage watch complete with original box and papers! This one is a 1975 Seiko Actus SS 6106-8760. Classic 70’s style with the hidden lug case and brown dial. The steel case is clean and sharp, with the original brushed finish and looks unpolished. The brown sunburst style dial with applied steel markers is excellent too. Comes on the correct and original Seiko bracelet. Best of all, it comes complete with the original clear plastic box, instruction manual, warranty booklet and the original price tag in Yen. This was a JDM (Japanese domestic model) and was not available for sale in the US. Really cool complete set on a classic Seiko!