Watches, Stories & Gear: Sunken Treasure, A Finnish Watchmaking School, and Super-Earths

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“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.

Share your story ideas or interesting finds with us by emailing our Managing Editor at [email protected]

This installment of “Watches, Stories, and Gear” is brought to you by the Windup Watch Shop, which now offers home goods.

AMA Diver Kickstarter Update

We first reported on the Albany Watches Ama Diver in December of last year, and at the time the small brand with a unique diver inspired by the 2,000 year old tradition of Japanese pearl diving was looking at a Kickstarter launch for early 2020. Then, 2020 actually happened, and like so many other things in this strange and difficult year, Albany’s plans were delayed. We’re happy to report that the Ama Diver is back on track, with a Kickstarter launch set for Tuesday, October 13. We’re still fans of this attractive, vintage inspired diver with a very cool story behind it, and we’re especially drawn to the unique “Black Pearl” dial variant, which has a dramatic mother-of-pearl look that makes a lot of sense given the Ama’s inspiration. Sign up to get notified of Kickstarter updates for Albany’s Ama project right here.

A Finnish Watchmaking School Profiled by ACM

Credit (plus header): A Collected Man

In this story from A Collected Man, James Buttery takes a deep dive into a not often publicized watchmaking school in Finland, the Kelloseppäkoulu (or, simply, The Finnish School of Watchmaking). You might be surprised to learn that Finland’s watchmaking program predates Switzerland’s WOSTEP by a full 20 years, and unlike WOSTEP, which has become very much an international school that caters to students from all over the world, the Kelloseppäkoulu conducts lessons only in Finnish, ensuring a distinct national character. Stepan Sarpaneva and Kari Voutilainen, two of the most important indie watchmakers working right now, are both graduates, and their unique styles are a reflection of the watchmaking education they received in their native country. For anyone interested in what it takes to become a watchmaker, this story is worth a read, and as a plus it features a ton of great archival photographs from the Kelloseppäkoulu’s long history.

A Line on Sunken Russian Treasure

Tomasz Stachura/ Baltictech/Handout via REUTERS

It’s been well documented that in the closing days of World War II, Nazis, knowing they were on the verge of defeat, began to raid cultural treasures of the nations they occupied. To this day, the search for art lost at the hands of the German forces continues, and a fascinating story in Ars Technica highlights the potential discovery of a trove of Russian treasures – at the bottom of the sea. German steamship Karlsruhe, which sank off the coast of Poland in 1945, was recently located, and among its cargo is a large number of crates with contents unknown. There’s a chance, according to experts, that those crates could hold the contents of the Amber Room, a chamber decorated with amber panels in St. Petersburg’s Catherine Palace. This would be quite a discovery, and the end of a real life, decades long treasure hunt. Read all about it here.

AMD Drops Zen 3 CPUs 

AMD revealed a new generation of CPUs this week running on their latest Zen 3 architecture, once again keeping the pressure on rival Intel to keep pace with a rapidly growing market of PC gamers. The new CPUs create the Ryzen 5000 series, replacing the popular 3000 series units that offered staggering performance at attainable pricing. While prices have risen, so has the performance – so if you’ve been holding out on that new build (or are just waiting for a 3080/Big Navi update), it might be a good time to nab a new CPU. Be mindful, you’ll want a mobo with a 500 series chipset if you don’t want to mess with a bios update. More from AMD here.  

25 Super Habitable Planets Identified

Credit: NASA/SETI/JPL

2020 may have you wishing for a new planet to escape to, and a new study identifies 25 such examples that may be better for supporting life than earth. The study was led by Washington State University scientist Dirk Schulze-Makuch, and appeared in the journal Astrobiology this week, detailing the newly discovered worlds in orbit around stars as close as 3000 light years away. That may place it slightly out of reach for the weekend getaway, but the planets offer prime subjects for study, as well as honing our ability to identify potential life elsewhere in the galaxy. A new crop of upcoming telescopes should provide additional insights on which of these worlds will make the best candidates for hosting life, but in the meantime, we can chalk this one up as another win for Copernicus. More details here

From the Archives: The Aloha GMT 40

Last year we brought you news of watch brand Aloha, and their GMT 40 watch. The release may have gone unnoticed by many, and by the time 2020 rolled around… well, we thought this one could use a little resurfacing. The GM 40 is a charming watch with a unique personality thanks to the sun and moon details placed around the rich blue or gilt black dial. Paired with the classic case shape and wearable proportions, we think this is a watch worth a second look. Find all the details on this one right here

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