My Watch Story.

So, it was my birthday this year, back in January, I’d been taken out for the day to London, a little bit of retail therapy, the usual sightseeing taken place, but the main event wasn’t until the early evening whereby I’d been bought tickets to ‘The Jersey Boys’.
I’m a big fan of 50’s 60’s and 70’s Rock ‘n’ Roll and Frankie Valli was way up there with my favourites!

16463270_10154779062133564_7068618673888579471_oAnyway, earlier that afternoon, hopping from doorway to doorway to avoid the drenching rain from the sky’s, I thought it would only be fair to pay a visit to Watches Of Switzerland on Oxford St, just up from Piccadilly Circus.
For about a month I’d had the Omega Speedmaster Racing on my mind and I wanted to stick one on my wrist… yanno, just to make sure. So off I went to the Omega room, and soon arrived the Omega specialist, one thing led to another and before I mentioned I’d like to view the watch I’d been sat down with a Coffee while my umbrella dried out.
I’d given the Omega specialist my story, he’d explained a few details of the watch and let me try it on… this should have been the point that I should’ve said thank you and walked away.
But, not forgetting it was my birthday I proceeded to try on another, and another, and then I looked back into the cabinets only to discover what could only be described as a monster of a box… maybe even a crane had lowered it in behind the glass, either way I needed to try this watch on “with the box”.
I’m not sure what I loved more, the watch… or the box, but this contender was non other than the ‘Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch’!
The salesman elaborated on the already known story behind the ‘Moonwatch’ and placed it on my wrist, he lugged the box over too with all of it’s accessories within… it could’ve been a box of gadgets from a James Bond film, and so very fitting it was Omega too!
It was within 10 minutes that the watch had glued itself to my wrist and of course I annoyingly had to make the hard decision to purchase it… I know, what an awful position to be in on my birthday! So, with the decision decided I confirmed I’d like to take the watch that day, but while doing so, I took a glance back at my old watch only to discover I’d actually been in the store a lot longer than I’d realised… leaving only an hour until The Jersey Boys was about to start just a mile down the road of Oxford street…. panic, panic, I quickly asked if we still had enough time to do all the paperwork and sale within the time… whether or not the salesman was lying, he confirmed to me, “of course, maybe only 30 minutes” … perfect I thought, just enough time to sign the docs and remove the baggy links while it rattled on my wrists!

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20 minutes flew by and before we knew it 20 more…then there was a problem with matching the watch with the box and authenticity card, delaying the process a Further 10 minutes. We were now at 50 minutes and too deep to call it a day!
Sweat had arrived in my palms and complimenting my forehead, I reiterated the point that my show started in 10 minutes… the salesman running around Watches Of Switzerland like he was training for the Olympics… we finally admitted defeat and took the payment yet left the 4 too many links in the watch that I’d said I’d be more than capable of removing when I got home!
He went away one last time to finally return with my watch within its ‘suitcase’ of a box which was also within a box and now within a bag that genuinely was the size of cabin luggage!
I merely had time to shake his hand and thank him before sprinting out of the doors into the rain and a mile down the road weaving in and out of the London traffic of sightseeers!
10 minutes later, the show started and I was stumbling into the back of the theatre huffing and puffing and more importantly interrupting the start of the show!
I’d already missed about 2 songs and everyone was seated! A staff member was waiting for the 3rd song to finish before escorting me to my seat where I had to squeeze past 10 people and being that person that everyone hates, the one that was late, the one that makes you have to tuck your legs in, the one that makes you move from your seat so they can get back to theirs- this was now ME!! Now, if you’ve ever been to a theatre…or at least the same one that I’d visited, you’ll now sympathise for me here, the legroom is about as generous as the back seats of a fiat 500, obviously not the end of the world on your average trip to watch a show, however, now picture sitting in the back of a fiat 500 with a cabin luggage sized suitcase under your feet… I could barely see over my knee caps to view frankie Valli and the Four seasons beautifully sing “big girls don’t cry”!
To this day, each time I place the Moonwatch on my wrist, I relive the stress of my 25th birthday purchase and still to this day I get terrible leg pains!

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The Gentina’s Lesson.

Today’s lesson is all about a famous, iconic and dead trendy shoe, otherwise known as the ‘Loafer’. On top of that…my personal go to shoe for looking dapper!

There’s a couple of fascinating stories as to why they’re actually called the Loafer, but also known as the ‘Penny Loafer’.

Ever wondered why? Well let The Gentina explain…

The slip on shoe, with the now preppy appearance, dates back to the early 90’s and has a historical connection with dairy farming. A Norwegian family were spotted wearing hand made slip on leather shoes with a strap across them while milking the cows on their farm. But the name LOAFER? Well, other than provide us with milk for the mornings and the most beautiful meat by the evenings…all cows seem to do is ‘loaf’ about which rightfully is where the name ‘loafers’ derived from.
Now, a few years down the line, taking us to 1936, a company you may have heard of called G.H.Bass produced the loafer to sell in America. After they’d seen the Norwegian family rocking these stylish yet functional ‘all day’ slip on’s around the farm for many years, they designed a shoe, very much alike the original and in true recognition G.H.Bass named it the ‘Weejuns’ …which is short for Norwegians.

So, now we’ve learnt where the name Loafer materialized from, next lesson is how the name ‘Penny Loafer’ hit town!

Since the release of the Weejuns, the practical shoes were often worn by college teens while they left home for study or nights out at their favorite milkshake hangouts. And due to the clever little strap across the G.H.Bass design,  it created a little lip for a single penny to sit in for safe keeping. That insignificant little coin back then would be the emergency price of a phone box call home!

One other idea behind the penny slotting in so perfectly to the loafer was to bring the students good luck during their exams…either that or again it was for a call home to explain how their sweetheart distracted them all year in class being the reason for not graduating (at least they looked swanky all term).

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JFK- 100!

John F Kennedy, maybe more commonly known as JFK would have been 100 years old just yesterday had he not sorrowfully been assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald back in 1963. 5007379aa2c12178d3e041d270cd29f1

The American politician was the 35th president of the United States of America from 1961 until his tragic death in 1963.

Only a few months into his powerful new position at the White House, JFK submitted a failed attempt along with the CIA to secede the Cuban government led by Fidel Castro (then current leader of Cuba) in what was known as The Bay of Pigs. The ongoing conflicts between America and Cuba led to the final decision of an embargo on Cuba in February 1962 also known as ‘The Blockade’ and still to this day stands as one of the longest embargoes to remain!

However, there was something extremely important that Kennedy needed to execute before the embargo was officially announced on February 3rd 1962. Something that required his head of office, Pierre Salinger to succeed which would take him all through the night stressing to accomplish such a task of the President.
John F Kennedy ordered that before the doors were closed on Cuba, Pierre was to source him as many cigars as possible before the hand rolled Cubans were made illegal. Specifically, JFK wanted 1000 H. Upmann Petits as these were a personal favorite of his. Salinger, who also smoked cigars, returned the next morning with Cuban smoking experience deep within his pockets and was instantly requested to Kennedy’s office.
Originally doubting himself of such a task in such a short amount of time, Pierre Salinger bombastically confirmed to JFK that he’d actually managed to get him 1,200 Petits!
I’m sure a few of these were calculated for himself as we all know, cigars are a social luxury and better enjoyed with someone else! 8d45c1bc8c12af11658d8412ff663cff

The exact H. Upmann Petit from the Vuelta Abajo region was sadly discontinued back in 2002, however you can now get what I have since learnt is a very close smoke to the original cigar for flavors and size which is the H. Upmann Petit Cornonas.

Not only was Kennedy a well known cigar smoker, he was also known for his class and impressive style. Looked upon as an influencing fashionista, John and even his wife ‘Jackie’ often appeared in the media and most commonly materializing within leading magazines!
In terms of ‘media’ JFK was a real trend setter in allowing and gaining valuable coverage on television and radio later leading to a request of a live broadcast. This act led to Kennedy being awarded the highest honor of the ‘Paul White‘ award presented by Radio- Television News Directors Association in 1961 for his open relationship with the media. God only knows how Instagram would have played a part for him nowadays!

Last but defiantly not least, I must mention Kennedy’s watch collection, all of which were gifts to him. Mostly marking a momentous milestone in his life, be it a wedding anniversary, birthday or his most popularly worn Omega watch, gifted for his election to office of President.
JFK most commonly wore his iconic square shaped 18-karat gold Omega Ultra Thin reference OT3980. This was the watch that was gifted to him by his close friend, Grant Stockdale, otherwise known as a former Florida State senator. Grant was so confident that John was to be elected that he presented the watch almost a year before JFK was officially made the President of the United States. On the case back, Stockdale had engraved the following:
‘President of the United States John F. Kennedy from his friend Grant’.

The day that Kennedy was shot in his limousine ‘SS-100-X‘, he was proudly sporting his Cartier Tank watch which was again 18-karat gold, yet this time gifted by Jackie his wife. This was lovingly handed to him on their 4th year anniversary and this time had his initials, wedding date and their families arms engraved to the rear. Later returned to Jacqueline, She then gifted it to John’s former secretary to continue its history and wonderful energy. 9ece555a4986

Other important watches gifted and worn by Kennedy included his first to be spotted, a rectangular Bulova in gold, an 18-karat gold Rolex Date Just which was gifted and engraved by non other than Marilyn Monroe on Johns 45th birthday, since there was a rumored affair between the two,  a custom Hamilton 505 which had photo engraved images of his children on the dial of the watch itself, and finally a 14-karat gold Nastrix which was apparently used for JFK’s morning swims.
All of which made up to be an astounding and eye catching collection which many can now be viewed in museums all over the world.

Once again, a true style icon, a hero and Happy belated 100th Birthday, John F Kennedy.

My first ‘proper’ watch.

17635198_10154943570533564_4230974697722099695_oCan everyone remember their first ‘proper‘ watch? The one that really meant something, the one that had the price tag, the one that started that next uncountable amount?

Well as mine was only a couple of years ago, not hard to remember as this particular watch is still my daily workhorse!

I recall back in 2015 watches really began catching my eye…I started working for a company (where I still work currently) and a handful of my back then, new colleagues wore IWC. It wasn’t a brand I’d even heard of, let alone seen before. All I knew is that they had a much stronger presence on the wrist than my Skagen or my G-Shock That I was wearing at the time.
The owners were dressing a lot smarter too, which these beautiful timepieces complimented with such style, it was at this point I needed to find out more!

But still, If that wasn’t enough, there was another watch to tease and hypnotize me once more.
Jonty, a best friend of mine still to this day, starting explaining to me who IWC was…
“International Watch Company…” said Jonty with such confidence and knowledge…
How the hell did Jonty know what these were about when I didn’t and i’m 7 years older than him!!!
As Jonty leaked more and more horological facts and names to me and dropping in unthinkable prices of these fine watches, I finally asked him what he was wearing….surely not anything better than a Timex at the age of 16…surely.
But of course, It turned out he was wearing a beautiful, yet still unknown to myself at the time, Omega Speedmaster! I’d heard of Omega, a family member also owned a couple, but again, until then I hadn’t taken much notice, and with that….I was hooked.

I needed to know more, I needed to put a ‘proper’ watch on my wrist!

As with anything that I want, I need it yesterday! So that very same evening, I was on the internet watch surfing! I had tab after tab all lined up along the top of the laptop. I didn’t know what I was looking for… a Rolex….Jesus, in my dreams, Omega…wow….not quite… ‘International Watch Company’ now aka IWC….no way….how was I to ever afford any of these…

But then I discovered Tag Heuer, one that actually for whatever reason, I did recognize, Maybe it was the logo, or even the name, who knows, but this now looked well in reach!

It must have only took me a matter of minutes to find the one I wanted…a real quick search and one that really didn’t require any in-depth research.. It looked as cool as I’d imagined, and in my eyes just like a Rolex, It had at the time a massive price tag, so it must have been a good one, and based on my amateur learning paying off,  it was even ‘Automatic’- Boom, I was an expert and about to start my very first collection of luxury timepieces!

I reserved my watch, not considering anything else, and the next day like Usain Bolt I sprinted into my local jewelers and purchased my Tag Heuer Aquaracer Caliber 5 Dive watch. Links removed and now fitting like a glove, or a watch that was designed for my wrist only, I was on my way!
Wowha- that feeling of walking out with an absolute alluring watch was something else, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, almost walking into lampposts, skimming past people as they didn’t move out of my way….Move people I have a Tag Heuer you know!

This watch has it all, I later discovered;
Automatic, Check.
Water resistance to 300m, Check.
Manly 41mm, Check.
Sapphire glass, Check again.
This sounds like a ‘proper’ watch! And this is one that I’ve worn almost daily since owning it 2 years ago. It’s been used in the workshop, smacked against bicycle chain rings, brushed past brick walls, dropped, transported, it’s been underwater in the pool and sea, had straps changed weekly, been abroad more than 4 times, and of course, had more photos taken for Instagram than seconds that have past!
It’s also the watch that started my collection of many more charming pieces and one that I will genuinely never sell, despite nearly using it to trade in for my Black Bay Blue, realistically, I couldn’t ever get rid of this. My Aquaracer is and without me really acknowledging it, my most precious, and one that’s had so many more daily experiences than any of my other watches… a real part of me and I look forward to exploring more of the world with it on my wrist and witnessing the patina unfold!

The Gentina’s Lesson.

The cafe called again, and while enjoying a flat white in the sun I eagerly flicked through the next few pages of Revolution Watch Magazine and with that I learnt something new which I reckon’s pretty cool…

The iconic Heuer Autavia originally from the 60’s found its name from two important inspirations- The words ‘Automobile’ & ‘Aviation’ made up the famous Chronographs name- Autavia.

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I love little facts like this, and this is defiantly a watch I’d love to have in my collection, such fascinating history and spectacular sporty looks, and since with the latest 2017 release at Baselworld, this I’m sure this’ll be a massive seller again!

Check out Revolution’s article on the history of Autavia’s and let me know what you think, could this be one you get next?

Photo taken from Revolution Watch Magazine. 

The Cafe Crawlers in Mallorca 2017.

Now, over the last few years it’s been the theme that my much loved and respected little cycling group, self acclaimed ‘Cafe Crawlers’ go away to the mountains in search of fresh climbs and most importantly, the SUN!

18518159_10155080759968564_6960314444557756409_oI’m sure any Brit would agree our climbs don’t last much longer than a mile and our sun lasts not much longer than a couple of days….So really I could end this post now and our reasons for a cycling trip are already justified.

However, It’s so much more than that, It’s the whole package, the funny journey travelling, usually fueled with offending banter and awfully bad wind. The feeling of escapement from work, and I’m confident some of the Crawlers may say escaping the kids as they just don’t seem to like them…Whatever it is, we’ve got the balance just right, for everything, we’ve truly got such a special bond!

Anyway, before I get all emotional and start weeping over my sweet little buddies (that I do actually pretend mean nothing at all),

I just want to share how amazing Port De Pollenca, Mallorca was. It’s such a beautiful little town in Northern Spain, the most perfect beach where the sea is royal blue yet you can still see the bottom and you’re spoilt rotten with bars, cafes and delicious restaurants of all types, everything’s in walking distance which is perfect if anyone’s as indecisive as we are when it comes to choosing somewhere to eat! We must have done two laps each evening of the Port until we finally half agreed and took a seat!

But, then comes the cycling, and boy oh boy….this is another level! We’ve previously been away to the French Alps, so this included Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, Telegraph etc etc…but the climbs here in Mallorca, just have this different vibe…somewhat more peaceful, yet still

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dramatic in their own rights. And if I had to choose between Mallorca and the Alps, It would be Mallorca, 100%, just for the views!
Such breath taking scenery, in all directions, you’d have thought once you’ve seen the sea once, then it looks the same everywhere, but that deep blue ocean is hypnotizing!
There’s weirdly located rocks here there and everywhere that look like mini mountains randomly dropped in the water, the sheer drop cliffs are shit scary when you’re skimming past them on 23mm worth of rubber but that’s all part of the game to take on such worthy descents that you’ve earned on the way up!

We were lucky enough to ride some of the most incredible climbs including Andrax, Formentor aka The Lighthouse & my personal favorite Sa Calobra.

18557240_10155083034018564_962276448048844178_nAll offering something slightly different, but all with the same outcome… a whopping great smile and the end, pure pride and satisfaction, despite your legs almost falling off and probably one lung less, these climbs are something every cyclist needs to ride!

While all the boys packed their own bikes for the trip, I ended up renting my bike from Pinarello Experience, right on the front of Pollenca, not too far from Tolos Bar & Restaurant (perfect selection of food, great just before a ride if you want a nice full belly). I rode an outstanding Pinarello Dogma F8 with Shimano Dura-Ace, this couldn’t have been any more perfect for the days that we were there! I walked in, the F8 all set up, measurements in place, pedals on, pump and saddle bag fitted, ready to roll!

Mallorca ’17 really did tick all the boxes, we stayed in a brilliant little villa, which name for now escapes me, but what a little beauty!

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Despite the off-road safari hike to reach the doorstep, and despite the threatening dogs that stretched from start to finish hoping to bite through the fences and then at your ankles….the villa had the lot!
We had 5 bedrooms, 2 kitchens, 3 toilets (could’ve done with 7, one each), 2 living areas, a balcony, veranda, outdoors dining area, BBQ (unused), and garage with table tennis and last but not least, a cheeky little pool- Jackpot! Everything and more that we needed after a long slog in the saddle, nothing better than coming back after a ride to sit in the pool and chill…..however… we thought it would be a much better idea to battle each other to underwater challenges and use up more precious energy by proving who could swim the most lengths under water. Safe to say, this wasn’t my forte!

Instead, I treated myself to one of many cigars that I was drowned in with options! Port De Pollenca has a spectacular selection of tobacconists, most with humidor rooms offering many of the finest Cubans at exceptionally tasty prices. Again, Pollenca offering the perfect back drop for any cigar smokers out there, I would totally recommend this place as a stop off to smoke and relax and watch the world go by!

So, to end this and allow you to finish reading and book the next available flights…I’d like to take this time to thank all 6 others, whether you organised it, made me laugh or pissed me off, it wouldn’t have been the same without you! Scott, Alex, Sculley, Kirwan, Danny & Pim, until next time!

Sir Roger Moore, RIP.

The longest serving James Bond actor sadly dies at the age of 89. Sir Roger Moore played the role of the secret agent better known as ‘007’ in 7 of the famous films stretching from Live and Let Die in 1973 to A View to a Kill in 1985.

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Sir Roger Moore living in luxury with champagne, cigars, fine watches and women.

For me, Moore was a style icon and one that will live on and not be replaced. Like many Bonds, Roger had the full package, the class, the suave style, and a true gentleman’s persona.
He wore many watches, but I guess the most iconic watch to stand out was his Rolex Submariner 5513. This particular example had a special, one of a kind ‘Buzz saw’ bezel which aided Bond to cut a rope in the film Live and Let Die. Yet the best in my eyes was that 007’s Submariner could create a magnetic field upon request and this of course proved extremely handy while undressing Madeline Smith out of her dainty little dress!

Now believe it or not, but despite this timepiece having more gadgets

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Rolex Submariner 5513- Moore’s actual watch.

than you could shake a stick at, it didn’t even do the most obvious and some might say the most standard function of any watch and tell the time…. It couldn’t, It had no watch movement, it was totally empty below the dial. The only thing you’d be lucky enough to find when popping the case back off is Sir Roger Moore’s autograph, which proved to be worth more than the original ingredients when it was recently auctioned back in 2015 at Phillips for CHF 365,000.
Gone but never forgotten, Sir Roger Moore, A true Gentleman a and British icon.

Photo’s: Top, taken from yourtownarizona.com & bottom, taken from phillips.com. 

First blog post

15241228_10154580879843564_2018163474920202818_nWelcome to the blog of ‘The Gentina’. My first personal blog, and as you may have noticed by the title, my very first post.
So may I ask that you go easy on me as I develop a much smoother approach to writing and posting my daily doings and fingers crossed, you’ll actually follow me on a regular basis.

Throughout my posts I will share my lifestyle experiences, my past times, interests of new cultures and a tremendous amount of what I’m wearing on my wrist.

I’m majorly in love with watches and everything that comes with it. Mainly luxury, high-end tool watches, the ones that have history, a story behind them or a job they’re designed to aid. But that doesn’t mean they have to come with a massive price tag to attract me…although this seems to be the theme with a handful of my recent purchases and one that I really need reduced for a while to recover my bank balance (I’m sure I’m not alone in this, so we can all rest together LOL).

I’ve always been one for a hobby, a new interest or a fresh injection of passion for something and I’ve always had to instantly collect everything to go with it. I guess this’ll never change, and if I’m honest, that’s just the way I like it. I’ve shared so many experiences with a wonderful array of people in the past and I hope that this continues for the rest of my life.
However, there are a selected few interests that have cemented themselves in my body and developed as passions, these are the ones that make me who I am, and the main reason I have something to blog about and post on here for you to enjoy and experience with me.

So, on that note, I’ll end my first post here and If you haven’t yet fallen asleep, then I’m assuming you’re sticking around for more. Please Let me know your comments and feel free to follow me on Instagram: thegentina .