The Art of the Good Life: 52 Surprising Shortcuts to Happiness, Wealth and Success by Rolf Dobelli (Part 3)

The Book of Worries (How to Switch off the Loudspeaker in Your Head). Everyone has to have the right setting on anxiety. That’s the way humans were wired, to be slightly anxious and wary of our surroundings. In the past, anxiety was useful as it ensured the survival of humans. But in modern day, such anxiety is unproductive. Anxiety will simply affect your sleep quality. Excessive anxiety will lead to stress. Fear is enough. There isn’t a switch to turn off the loudspeaker in your head. One trick is to write down your anxieties in a book at a fixed time everyday. Think about the worst possible consequences. Take out insurance. Focused work can definitely help against brooding as it very fulfilling in nature.

Determine what you can influence and what you can’t. Address the former. Don’t let the latter prey on your mind. – Rolf Dobelli

The Opinion Volcano (Why you’re Better Off Without Opinions). Difficult questions require thought and not simply muttering an opinion. The human brain is a volcano of opinions. We express opinions on topics which do not interest us. It would be better for you to shut up. We think we know answers on unanswerable questions. We give over-hasty answers to complex questions. The trick is to not keep on feeling that you need to give an opinion. Select the topics of your interest carefully. Writing is the ideal way to organize your thoughts. Question your own opinion to see if it can stand up to scrutiny.

Your Mental Fortress (The Wheel of Fortune). One needs to accept the existence of fate. Everything can be turned on their head all of a sudden. Everything you own, value and love is ephemeral. These things are fleeting and temporary. Thirdly, understand that the positive outweighed the negative in your life and that all sweet things are tinged with bitterness. However, no one can take your thoughts and your mental tools. These are the principles of stoicism. Happiness can only found in your mental strength and resolve, not in a Porsche collection.

Envy (Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall). Envy is one of the most toxic emotions. It has many destructive powers. Envy is one of the most important sources of unhappiness. Envy is an animal instinct. The trick is to stay clear of comparisons in order to enjoy a good life. Social media also contains information about others. Do not be envious of the neighbour’s car as car is unlikely to be able to bring someone happiness.

This is the interesting thing about envy: the more we compare ourselves with others, the greater the danger of jealousy. – Rolf Dobelli

The images uploaded have nothing to do with your friends’ normal lives. They’ve been meticulously curated, giving the fake impression that others in your social circle are doing better than they really are. – Rolf Dobelli

Prevention (Avoid Problems Before You Have to Solve Them). What is wisdom? It is a practical ability which we need to navigate life. Avoidance isn’t sexy. Successes achieved through prevention are invisible to others. The financial press loves a good turnaround manager. Hence, we underemphasize the role of some people in society. It is better to steer clear of danger because of your wisdom of foresight.

Mental Relief Work (Why You’re Not Responsible for the State of the World). Sometimes, we hear about the injustices in the world. However, there is nothing we can do about them personally. Most catastrophes are more complex than they seem to be. Don’t overestimate your ability. If you want to help reduce suffering on the planet, donate money. Voluntary work using your time is largely unproductive and you would be better off investing in your circle of competence. It would be smarter to pay and let the professionals do the work. Drastically restrict your news consumption – especially when it comes to catastrophes. Evil is all around us, and some things are hard to prevent. You’re not responsible for the state for the world.

The Focus Trap (How to Manage Your Most Important Resource). Focus is important, but you need to know where to direct it. The problem is that in modern society we are distracted by many notifications etc. Focus is an important resource. Don’t confuse what is new with what’s relevant. Avoid content or technology that’s free. Avoid absorbing information from multimedia as books are less distracting. Act from a position of strength. Focus can affect your happiness directly too.

If you deliberately focus your attention, you’ll get more out of life. Be critical, strict and careful when it comes to your intake of information – no less critical, strict and careful than you are with your food or medication. – Rolf Dobelli

Read Less, but Twice – On Principle (We’re Reading Wrong). Get through life via 50 books that you have read. I can faintly recall the content of books I have read. Little of the books you have read, you can remember. What’s the point of reading a book if you can’t remember the content? Why do humans retain so little of what we read? The problem is that we are not selective or thorough enough. Now, I am more selective with my reading and sometimes even read the same book twice. When young, read widely and do not restrict yourself. This is the stage where you are improving your powers of judgment. After you are 30, be very selective about what you read.

The effect of reading twice isn’t twice the effect of reading once. It’s much greater – judging by my own experience, I’d put it at a factor of ten. – Rolf Dobelli

The Dogma Trap (Why Ideologues Oversimplify Things). Humans think we know things very well until we are forced to explain them. This is the knowledge illusion. Special issues require a lot of thought. We need to account for the effects of the effects of doing something. Ideologies are very dangerous. Notice when you are falling for an ideology. An ideology is one which can seemingly explain everything. Remember to give dogmas a wide berth.

Mental Subtraction (How to Realize that You’re Happy). How generally happy are you with your life? Gratitude is an important feeling which you need to be appreciative of. Gratitude might not work because of habituation and we get used to things. Instead of focusing on the positives, mental subtraction works too. It can help to boost happiness. Think about how much you’d miss the things you do have if you didn’t have them any longer.

Our happiness is sometimes not very salient. We need to do what we can to make it more so. Imagine playing a piano and not being able to hear what it sounds like. Many activities in life are like playing a piano that you do not hear. – Rolf Dobelli

The Point of Maximum Deliberation (Thinking Is to Acting Like a Torch is to a Floodlight). The best ideas come to you while you write them down. Action speaks louder than words. Doing beats talking anytime. The world is opaque to us. To go beyond what we know, we have to forge ahead and act. This is the point of maximum deliberation. This is when all the facts are laid on the table and you have digested them. Meditation won’t help you anymore, if there are no more new acts. Stranded on an island, who would you rather be by your side? Your partner? A Consultant? A boatbuilder? You won’t achieve the good life simply by thinking about things you ought to do. Self-inquiry will get you bogged down in moodiness, vague thoughts etc.

An entrepreneur won’t know whether a product will be successful until she produces it and launches it onto the market – no matter how much consumer research she’s done. – Rolf Dobelli

If you’re simply thinking something over, you’ll never bump up against reality, which means you can never fail. Act, however, and suddenly failure is back on the cards – but you’ll gain new experiences. – Rolf Dobelli

Other People’s Shoes (Role Reversal). Sometimes, it helps to take the place of someone else. The issue might be resolved more quickly. You got to see things from someone’s else perspective. Role reversal is a quick way to build mutual understanding. Reading novels can help you to build empathy fast.

Being immersed in a good novel, accompanying the protagonist throughout both highs and lows, is an efficient workaround that sits somewhere between thinking and doing. – Rolf Dobelli

The Illusion of Changing the World (Part 1 – Don’t Fall for the “Great Men” Theory). Can you really change the world? Modern society are very optimistic for the individual. We see ourselves as engineers of the world. However, the idea that any individual can change the world is a grand illusion. The first problem is the focusing illusion. We over-estimate the importance of our projects. The next bias is the intentional stance such as ‘without Einstein, there would be no relativity theory’. However, without such great people, things would have happened, just with someone else at the helm. Individual humans do not shape history, but there are a myriad of factors driving it. Do not cling on to the illusion, that you can be a great man yourself.

The Illusion of Changing the World (part 2 – Why you shouldn’t put anyone on a pedestal – least of all yourself). Other inventors, if Edison wasn’t around, would have invented the light bulb. Hence, the light bulb would still have been invented. Technology will find its inventors, not vice versa. Even without Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, things would not have changed much. Even outstanding CEOs can’t control market forces. A lot of them are forgotten people already. Hence, we need to be modest about our own achievements.

No matter how extraordinary your accomplishments might be, the truth is that they would have happened you. Your personal impact on the world is minute. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are. – Rolf Dobelli

The only place where you can really make a difference is in your own life. Focus on your own surroundings. You’ll soon see that getting to grips with that is ambitious enough. Why take it upon yourself to change the world? Spare yourself the disappointment. – Rolf Dobelli

The ‘Just World’ Fallacy (Why Our Lives Aren’t Like Classic Crime). We believe in justice and equality and cannot bear injustice. We believe good deeds will be rewarded and bad deeds will be punished. We need to accept the unfairness of the world. In life, we have to put up with a bit of unfairness. Humans like to think everything will turn out fine. The world is fundamentally amoral. Part of the good life is to accept that not everything is fine.

The things that happen to you across the course of your life, especially the more serious blows of fate, have little to do with whether you’re a good or a bad person. So accept unhappiness and misfortune with stoicism and calm. – Rolf Dobelli

Cargo Cults (Don’t Build Planes out of Straw). Many people try to emulate their idol’s behavior or mannerisms, but they can’t achieve the same success. Auditors like to tick boxes, but are so good at identifying risks. Avoid companies that reward ceremony over achievement. Learn to understand what truly made people successful first.

Star far away from any type of cargo cult. And be on your guard: the substanceless imitation of form is more common than we think. – Rolf Dobelli

If You Run Your Own Race, You Can’t Lose (Why General Knowledge is Only Useful as a Hobby). You can recite facts about your own area of expertise. However, what do you know outside your expertise? The more you fill your brain with specialized knowledge, the less you will have for general knowledge. We see ourselves as versatile specialists. Our general knowledge gets affected by this. Our ancestors were better at more things, because they didn’t specialize. Now, society only rewards the specialists. If you are not the best in your field, you will have to specialize further. It is okay to have some general knowledge, but you won’t make a career out of it and do not spend excessive amount of time on it.

The Arms Race (Why You Should Avoid the Field of Battle). Students are trapped in a paper race, because others have degrees too. However, taking into account the education cost, they are barely better off than those without degrees. If you are in an arms race, get out if you can. Find a niche where there is no competition. Find a niche where you can operate smoothly and confidently. Humans are pressured to do many things in modern society. If you want a career as a musician, avoid the piano and the violin as there is too much competition in the area. Steer clear of arms race.

Making Friends with Weirdos (Get to know Outsiders but Don’t be one Yourself). People who do not belong in groups can be very successful too, like Einstein. Many of these people can be termed as outsiders. They enjoy an advantage as they don’t have protocols to slow them down. They also look more deeply and learn to question the status quo more. There is an appeal to being one. However, do not be one. Only the brightest outsiders can succeed. Your best chance is not to leave the establishment. Make friends with outsiders and be interested in their work. Practice reciprocity and tolerance. Surround yourself with smart people and outsiders as they might give you a fresh perspective on things and life.

The Secretary Problem (Why Our Sample Sizes are too Small). If you have 100 people to interview for the secretary position, how would you go about it? Take the first good candidate? Or interview many and then assess the feel of the quality of the pool? Statistically, one should interview the first 37 candidates and reject them all; however, you should monitor their quality. Then you should continue interviewing until you find someone better than the previous 37 and then hire her. Although it may not be directly applicable to real life, it can give you guidelines about how long we should be spending time testing things before making a final decision. Try out different options in life first. Understand what are the different options out there. We tend to make decisions too soon and too hasty. Sometimes, our sample size are too small. The trick is to take as many samples as you while you are still young. Be receptive and learn.

Read widely, because novels and short stories are excellent simulations of life. Only as you age should you adapt your modus operandi and become highly selective. By then you’ll know what you like and what you don’t. – Rolf Dobelli



A Man and His Watch (Iconic Watches & Stories From the Men Who Wore Them) by Matt Hranek (Part 1)

Preface. My father owned a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, stainless steel with a black dial. It meant a lot for him as it signified a successful year in business. I was 18 when he died and I was given his watch. Every time I wear it, it remains me of my past. No other watch I own will replace this. I was a magazine editor for the watch market and I began doing a lot of research on historical brands and collectors. All these stories are powerful and unifying in nature. For many of these men, these watches played a significant role in their lives. Paul Newman’s Rolex was a gift from Joanne Woodward, his wife. It was a Daytona, reference 6239. The feeling of holding it was simply electrifying. The inscription on the back read ‘Drive slowly – Joanne’. Now, his youngest daughter Clea, wears the Daytona daily. Compiling the stories in the book has been an absolute joy.

For many men, watches seem to have a deeper meaning than just keeping time. Watches mark special occasions, they tell the world a bit about who you are, and they can, if you’re lucky, connect you to the people in your life who matter most. – Matt Hranek

At the end of the day, a watch is just a watch – it’s the story behind it that can make it exceptional. – Matt Hranek

Eric Ripert. Eric is the Chef & Co-Owner of Le Bernardin. His watch is the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. The numbers on the dial are offset to the right as it is meant for drivers to look at. I received the watch in 2011. My business partner gave it to me as I was celebrating the 20th anniversary at Le Bernardin. Vacheron is a beautiful brand. Like fine watchmaking, cooking is a craftsmanship as well. When craftsmanship reaches a certain level, it becomes art. Collectors understand the effort gone into making watches.

For me, watches signify special occasions. I’ll buy one for myself as a gift, maybe for the holidays – or maybe before, if I can’t wait. – Eric Ripert

From the Rolex Archives. I managed to set foot in the Rolex Archives. It was from there that I managed to photograph Francis Chichester’s watch. He was a famous adventurer who circumnavigated the globe from Aug 27, 1966 to May 28, 1967 and wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. The watch worked perfectly throughout his expedition.

Mario Andretti. Mario is a racing legend. His watch is the 1967 Gold Heuer Carrera Pilot Reference 1158CH. My uncle gave me a watch when it was my 13th birthday. An F1 gave me the Porsche Design watch in Rio. But, I fell asleep and the watch got stolen from me. In 1978, Porsche was kind enough to replace it for me. Most of the watches I own are given to me. Often, watches were given out as ‘trophies’ for winning races.

Benjamin Clymer. Ben is the founder and executive editor at Hodinkee. His watch is the Omega Speedmaster Mark 40. My dad was a photographer and since young, I was obsessed with gadgets. This naturally progressed to wrist-watches. My grandfather really impressed me and I looked up to him as a hero. When I was 16, my grandfather handed me his Omega Speedmaster Mark 40, which ran on a Valjoux movement. It was a chronograph with a triple calendar. I started off my career in strategy consulting at a big Swiss bank. The whole watch journey started when I blogged on Tumblr about this Omega watch that my grandpa gave me. An editor from a major men’s fashion site reached out to me after he saw the Tumblr post. He was interested in me as I was writing about old watches. I started Hodinkee in 2008. This watch was the one that kickstarted my career. Without it, I wouldn’t have achieved the success that I now enjoy.

One day, when I was 15 or 16, my grandfather said to me, unprovoked, “You know, I want you to have this.” Then he took this Omega off his wrist and handed it to me. I was just blown away. – Benjamin Clymer

From the Cartier Archives. I wanted to see the Cartier Santos-Dumont. The location of the archives is unknown to me as I was being hooded at the back of a van and was driven to a secret location. The place had super high security. However, the archivists inside were super amazing and hospitable. Some of the interesting pieces were the Constantine I’s Cartier Tonneau from 1915. Another was the Cartier Santos-Dumont. This was a transformational piece. Alberto Santos-Dumont was the first person to pilot a fixed-wheel aircraft that could take off and land under its own power. Louis Cartier gave him a watch so that he could keep time while flying. This was essentially the first ‘pilot watch’. This marked the era where wrist-watches started growing in popularity. Before this, all owned pocket watches.

Dimitri Dimitrov. He is the Maitre D at the Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel. His watch is the Timex Indiglo. Bill Murray gave me his Timex because the Baume and Mercier I was wearing was not visible in the dark. I thanked him for it. The Timex had a button you could press where there would be a backlight. This was something like the Gshock.

Kikuo Ibe. He is the creator at Casio G-shock. His watch is the Casio G-shock. The watch he would be making had to be tough. The G-shock was launched in 1983 and took off in the US. No one gets bored of the design, even today. G-shocks are subject to rigorous testing.

James Lambin. He is the founder of Analog/Shift. His watch is the 1967 Doxa Sub 300 professional ‘Black Lung’. It started with my grandpa, as he appreciated objects with high quality. There can be storytelling related to objects. Dirk Pitt was a character of fiction and he wears an orange-faced Doxa diving watch. I was determined to hunt it down. I did plenty of research. This watch was really designed with a purpose. Doxa was a reputable brand, and is older than Rolex. By the 1950s, the company wasn’t as relevant. Orange dials make the watch dial very visible underwater for divers. I bought it from a guy that used it for diving. I just want to love my watches.

A vintage watch is the ultimate luxury – it’s owning something that no one else has, but it’s also being the keeper of its story. It’s a book; there are chapters. And then you have that object and you write your own chapters into it. – James Lambin

Paul Boutros. He is the Head of Americas and Senior Vice President at Phillips. His watch is the Rolex ‘Kew A’ Observatory Chronometer. I looked at watches with my dad. I was mesmerized at those on display. The movement was really impressive. It was really love at first sight. I did research and asked for watch and auction catalogs. Dad and I often went to flea markets and retailers. We both often fought, but when it came to watches, there were no fights. When my dad passed away in 2002, I was awestruck to see the box of watches he left behind. I entered the watch industry despite being an electrical engineer at Lockheed Martin. I joined the watch forums, like TimeZone. Now, I’m living my dream at Phillips.

NAS. He is a musician and entrepreneur. His watch is the Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 5712R. A serious gold Rolex makes a man look dapper. Many famous men have worn the Rolex Presidential. I developed my own style when it came to watches. The Nautilus fits me well. It goes well with almost every outfit. I still like old-school movies on film.

If you see a guy with a lot of diamonds on his watch, the way I see it – the way I’ve experienced it with other people, and even myself – you know that guy likes to have a lot of fun. He’s looking to have a good time. – NAS

They say time is an illusion, but even so, you need it. A good watch represents someone who’s punctual, responsible, who has a lot on his plate. Someone who knows how to manage his time and takes life seriously, because life doesn’t wait for anybody. – NAS

Dr. Jack Carlson. He is an arcaeologist and author. His watch is the 1941 Waltham Trench Watch. I love the idea of artifacts and understanding history through objects. Waltham is a watchmaking brand that made watches for soldiers in WWI. My watch has a shrapnel guard. I imagine the stories behind the artifacts.

Aaron Sigmond. He is a columnist and author. His watch is the Elgin. My grandfather purchased the Elgin. It represented, to him, the life in America. Elgin is based in Chicago. When he passed away, I wanted his watch. This is the least valuable watch in my possessions, but it’s the dearest to me. Like my grandpa, I only wear it on special occasions.

Max Wastler. He is the founder of the All Plaidout Blog. His watch is the Timex Ironman. I got it from my camp counselor when I was young. I respected him a lot. It came on a Velcro strap that was really impressive. It’s just a simple, clean digital watch. In addition, it has the Indiglo light function. Wearing it makes me feel like an adventurer, even in the city.

From the Tag Heuer Archives. Steve McQueen was an amazing man and a racer. He made the Heuer Monaco famous. A lot of them received wristwatches as gifts. I was very lucky to be able to access their archives. The famous film was called ‘Le Mans’. Jo Siffert was also another prominent guy in the industry.

Matt Hranek. He is an editor, author and photographer. His watch is the Sears Winnie the Pooh Watch. When young, I was obsessed with everything Pooh related. My mum kept this watch for me all along. This was the watch that started it all.

Atom Moore. He is the photographer and art director of Analog/Shift. His favorite watches are the New York City Swatches. Swatches were colourful and cool. During my lunch breaks, I would head to the Swatch store and study about watches. The Keith Haring watches were pretty amazing. Since then, I have participated in auctions for vintage Swatches.

I’m buying Swatches all the time, because they’re inexpensive and they’re fun, so why not own them? They’re like little pieces of art that you can put on your wrist. – Atom Moore

Frank Castronovo. He is the chef & co-owner of Frankies Spuntino Group. His favorite watch is the IWC Mark XV. My grandfather endured a tough life. However, he was a collector of cars, watches etc. He believed that these items could retain value. When he was older, he decided to visit Germany and see the people and the culture. He asked me what watch I wanted. I mentioned I liked IWC and we drove through the Black Forest to the IWC boutique. I like the black face on stainless steel. The watch is incredibly comfortable and you can wear it on any occasion.

It’s my everyday watch, but it’s also an heirloom; it’s something you pass on to your children and your grandchildren. Heirlooms make you think about the people in your life. – Frank Castronovo


U-Live Health Talk on Mental Illness

  1. Get at least eight hours of sleep a day

You are more alert and less prone to stress after a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep can also improve your memory.

  1. Eat a healthy diet. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, cut the risk of dementia and mental decline

Good nutrition is a natural defence against stress. Begin your day with a nutritious breakfast, preferably of wholegrain cereals and fruits, and take balanced meals throughout the day.

  1. Keep yourself active. At least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week, is ideal

Exercising keeps you physically strong, and reduces or prevents stress. Go for a walk or unwind with yoga. It is better to do moderate exercise regularly than to have a heavy workout occasionally.

  1. Interact with others. Talk to another person for at least 10 minutes daily

Talking to people stimulates the brain. A study in the US found that talking to another person for just 10 minutes a day improves memory scores. Also, the more you interact with others, the faster your brain will work.

  1. Pick up a new skill or hobby

Learning to play a musical instrument, acquiring computer skills, starting a new hobby or learning to cook a new dish can help keep your brain active and healthy.

  1. Get a mental workout. Scrabble or Mahjong anyone?

Engaging in mind-boggling games involves a combination of memory, decision-making and strategizing, which keeps the brain active and prevents dementia. In addition, playing in a group will boost interaction.

  1. Do something for others. This is the best remedy when you’re feeling down

Helping a friend or family member, or doing community work helps you to take the focus away from yourself. In turn, you will feel more positive and less helpless.

  1. Learn to manage stress. Shift your mindset and make a list

Make a list of goals and check them off when they are completed. This will help you tackle things one at a time. Seeing problems as opportunities or focusing on the positive can also help to reduce stress. Stress cannot be avoided, but you can learn to manage stress.

  1. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. They are not the solutions to problems

If you have emotional problems, seek support from family and friends, or get professional help. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs provide only temporary relief from stress and unhappiness.

  1. Laughter is the best medicine.

Laugh yourself silly and have fun whenever you can. Laughing can help to keep the doctor away because humo​ur activates the brain’s reward and pleasure centres, generating emotions and relaxing the mind.



How to Profit Collecting Vintage Watches by E.J. Kelly

This book will help you to make good decisions. This guide is portable and concise. It will be useful for new collectors out there. It is easier to profit from mechanical watches than other types of watches. They are inventive and are alive. These watches also have a high value and are scarce in production.

There are roughly five types of mechanical watches: hand-wound, automatic, chronographs, alarm watches and chronometers. The mainspring was invented in 1511. By 1571, the wristwatch was invented. Blaise Pascal wore his wristwatch in 1623. By 1770, the automatic watch was underway. Breguet was one of the first brands to use the mechanical watch. Women treated watches as a form of jewellery. Men’s watches were typically made for military personnel. In 1909, the first chronograph was made. The first waterproof case and screw-down crown was invented by Rolex in 1926. In 1948, Eterna produced an automatic watch with a ball-bearing rotor. In 1969, the first Omega moon watch went into space. By 1970, quartz watches hit the market. Mechanical watch production was hit but some of these watches continued to fetch astronomical prices at auctions.

There are examples of Americans making quality timepieces. One of them was Daniel Burnap. He helped to design brass clocks. Pre-1850, there were more clocks than wrist-watches. These clocks can be considered as collectibles now. Aaron Denilson and his partner, Edward Howard founded Waltham Watch Company. They had a monopoly for nearly 20 years. The American Railroad Pocket Watch was invented due to the poor timekeeping on trains. Some brands like Hamilton, Elgin, Hampden began to become more popular. After WWII, many watch makers were badly hit and some had to close. The watches manufactured before this time can be considered really collectible. Some US brands managed to emerge again, but they bought Swiss components. Nowadays, more US brands do not produce their watches in-house anymore.

The Mechanics of a Good Watch. It depends on the materials used and process/production. The overall styling is important. A watch should be judged based on its performance and quality. Some can be made from expensive material. Gold filled watches are usually of better quality. Stainless steel was more popular over recent years as it was an anti-magnetic material. Engraving, etching makes the watch more valuable. The finishing and polishing on the bezel matters. The dial can be made of enamel or other materials. Markers can be carved, plated, applied, hand painted etc. Dials can be sunken or not. Quality movements are durable and reliable. Jewel bearings increases serviceability. Quality can be judged based on the number of jewels, its setting and the number of screws to hold them down. Some screws can be highly polished and bevelled to become smooth. Brass or nickel plating for movements are common. The co-axial escapement for Omega watches helps to avoid the need for lubrication. Quartz watches are accurate as they do not require lubricants. Always buy within your means.

Understand terms like repeater watch, tourbillion etc. The heart of the watch is the ‘balance spring’. The escapement is a device in the watch that checks the motion of the train and the amount of energy sent to the balance. Mainspring is a coiled spring that supplies power to the watch.

Learn to Identify, Inspect and Grade a Watch. Start with vintage hand-wound mechanicals. Some of their price points are okay, but always start small. Self-winding mechanicals fetch good prices too. Be wary that some watches are simply frauds and should be avoided. Please do your due diligence before buying. Be wary when a vintage watch is re-cased. Sometimes, the original movement number can be replaced. Please look out for discolouration on the dial. Make mental models in your mind when you inspect a watch. Pull out the crown and set the watch. Listen to the ticking of the movement. Take out the loupe and check for dents, scratches etc. Open the case-back and look out for rust, dirt etc on the movement. Look and record down the serial number if possible. Determine which year and period was the watch manufactured. Understand the following terms: (Pristine Mint; Mint+; MINT; Near Mint; Extra Fine; Fine; Average; Fair; Poor; Scrap. Learn and memorize the grading system.

You can buy broken luxury watches, fix them, and then sell them at a profit. There is a great demand for high end ladies vintage mechanical watches. Do not enter the ladies market straightaway unless you know you can get the watches at a cheap price. Family functions or social gatherings could be a place to start to purchase watches. Pawnshops are a good place too. Some people are willing to let go their items on the cheap. Some of the pawnshops have vintage watches. You might even be able to find a Blancpain sometimes. Goodwill stores are another good option. Before you travel, go scout out and hunt the vintage watch stores overseas. Make it a point to visit them. Set some time aside to visit these stores. You can combine your passion and also learn about their culture. Advertise garage sales if you want to sell your watches. However, in this case, if you want to buy, advertise that you want to buy. This method is also relatively inexpensive. Flea markets are good too. However, you should bring a loupe. Give a ‘frown’ when you hear the seller quote a price. Bring cash and stay disciplined.

How to Buy ‘In Real Time’. There are no barcodes for vintage watches. Learn to find good deals on the internet. Use eBay’s red laser to alert yourself of deals and auctions that are ending soon. However, not all sites’ search functions will produce good results. Take advantage of the descriptions on these websites. Learn about the auction process and how it works. Sniping is where you withhold any bidding until the last minute on a desired item. Bid during the auction’s off-season. Look for misspelled words or poor quality photos of watches on sites and then question the owner about them. Bookmark different sites and visit public forums etc. Use the internet like a library.

Selling: ‘Profit from your Passion’. The market will tell you what should be the ‘right’ price. Niche products do command higher prices. I have never lost a penny on a watch. When there is increased demand, the prices tend to rise. Always let it be known to others that you are a watch collector. Auction sites are great too. Create a title for your auction. Check out the sites from other countries. Make sure you are doing business with credible dealers. Always be honest when you deal with others. The mediums to use are the same as when buying a watch. Mechanical watches should be serviced once every 3 to 5 years. Keep your watch in a cool and dry place in order to prevent rust.

The Gray Market, ‘Don’t Get the Blues’. It is an irregular way of distributing/selling merchandise. They might be fake. However, they are not illegal to own, sell, or buy. This might happen when dealers or distributors sell outside their territory. This is driven by demand. There are usually no tariffs. Usually, you will buy watches without serial numbers and there is usually no warranty. It is difficult to sell a watch without serial numbers. Stick to the basics outlined in the guide.

Your Watch Business. Approach your friends and relatives. Find guidebooks and a few watch books. Establish business cards to make yourself look authentic. Find a proper digital camera and set aside money for advertising and your budget. Slowly learn to build your inventory. Choose a business name related to your watches. Wear a watch that you are willing to sell. Always tell the truth about where you found the watch. Take photo with natural lighting only. Keep the watches in a cool and dry place. Use bubble wrap when shipping. All transactions should be recorded using accounting software. Keep track of your expenses. There is no need for a real business plan. For collectible and vintage pieces, it makes sense to head in this direction and not open a watch shop per se. Women are getting more interested in watches and you can potentially target them. One can always sell watches to dealers. Put some system in place to make your life comfortable.

Hot Watches or ‘Time Honored Classics’. The entry price for mechanicals is between $100 to $1,000. Learn to specialize for watches in a particular period or in a particular type of mechanical watch. There are many factors that will affect the price. Some of the famous European brands are: Baume & Mercier (owned by Cartier); Blancpain; Breitling; Corum; Ebel; Eterna; Excelsior Park; Glashutte; Tag Heuer; IWC; JLC; Junghans; Le Phare; Longines; Minerva; Movado; Omega; Tissot; Ulysse Nardin; Universal Geneve; Zenith. American watches: American Waltham Watch Company; Bulova; Benrus; Elgin Watch Company; Gruen Watch Company; Hamilton; Timex.

The watch is a personal “billboard”. It also displays an understanding of aesthetics. It is a miniature piece of art worn on your wrist. When you buy a distinctive timepiece, you are sharing a common interest. Art and beauty! – E.J. Kelly


A Short Guide on Purchasing Luxury Watches by Leonard Lowe

A luxury watch is more than $5000. This book will educate you on watches so that you will not make the wrong purchase. This book will guide you on watches which value can last. Which models keep their value over a few years? Can a luxury watch be an investment piece as well?

A luxury watch is defined by the watchmaker’s reputation. Reputation depends on the heritage and image of the brand. It also depends on scarcity of production. It should be Swiss-made too. Quartz watches should not be classified as luxury watches. Luxury watches need not have the best technology. An Apple watch or a smart watch isn’t a luxury watch too. Only timeless watches are luxury watches. Mechanical watches comprise of both manual and automatic watches. Rolex was the first that produced an automatic watch. Watch dealers order many from the manufacturer, but they keep it for many years so as to increase the perceived value. In the grey market, there are more interesting watch models available. Try to only buy from an official dealer. Rolex watches costs more because of R&D it performs on its watches. A lot of the watch-making process is performed in-house. Be wary of replica or fake watches. It is illegal to sell replica watches. Please do not buy one in the first place. Rolex tracks their serial numbers in a database, so you will know whether your watch is real or not.

A mechanical watch is a piece of art and engineering. It is a living thing, it ticks like your heart beats, only 28,000 times every hour. It never stands still, like your heart. It’s a piece of art, technology, a living thing – not a boring, battery driven computer chip. – Leonard Lowe

The top brands are Patek Phillippe, Audemars Piquet, Vacheron Constantin. These usually command at least 20k per piece. AP shocked the world with their stainless steel RoyalOak line. Some of the other brands are A. Lange, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Breguet, Rolex, Omega, Breitling, IWC, Hublot, Panerai. Rolex makes very durable watches that will last. Breitling focuses on pilot’s chronographs. IWC has a range of military watches. Panerai represents Italian design. Tag Heuer, Longines, Ball, Chopard use ETA movements. However, they do not fully manufacture the movements in-house. You should invest in a model that should not lose money over time. The only 2 brands are 1) Rolex; 2) Patek. Rolex watches are robust and can last for generations. Their movements are highly reliable. PP is known for their refined quality. It is really beautiful and looks perfect. To be safe, you should only invest in the 2 watches.

There are only very few cool watches. Watches are meant to be perfect. The watch must feel comfortable on your wrist. The Rolex Submariner is one of the most iconic watches around. However, it loses that interesting appeal due to the masses who own them. The Rolex Deep-Sea Dweller should be even more appealing than the Submariner. It has a black dial, black bezel, steel case etc. It is very rugged indeed. The movement is one of the best ever made. The watch works best at body temperature. The second place goes to the Panerai Luminor PAM00112. It is the most elegant and has sharp features and a clean design. The Omega Seamaster professional is also an iconic watch. It costs at least 2K on the market now. The PP Nautilus costs at least 30k but it has a perfect design. The PP Calatrava is also one of the best dress watches out there. The Rolex Daytona in steel is highly sought after. Try to get one with the white dial and the steel bezel. The AP Royal Oak is also impressive. The Hublot Big Bang is an iconic watch. It is a fun watch and looks great in rose gold. Hublot might be the Rolex of the 21st century. Hublot experiments with a lot of exotic materials. Get the GMT Master 2 with the Pepsi bezel. The AP’s RoyalOak is also an iconic watch in stainless steel. Consider getting the Breitling Transocean Chronograph 38. The JLC Master Compressor Deep Sea Chronograph is a watch that even the Navy Seals use. It is a very serious dive watch. The A. Lange’s Zeitwork costs $75k and marries the merits between analog and digital times. Consider getting the IWC Ingenieur Vintage. It is a hybrid between a sports and a dress watch. Do not rely on the pictures and you must wear them to see how they feel on the wrist. There are 4 elements to consider when buying an expensive watch: 1) not too expensive; 2) a model that will not lose its value; 3) a versatile model; 4) a real beauty. Omega is quite pricey at the moment, as they are planning to compete with Rolex. Some chronographs are thicker than normal mechanical watches without complications. If a ball keeps releasing new models, chances are that the value will not hold for long.

Luxury is, when you own something that you don’t really need, but fancy. Luxury is not to have to, but could. Luxury is connecting yourself to perfection. And these watches represent perfection in their field. – Leonard Lowe

You might consider watches like Eterna 1948 or the Rolex Datejust II. Instead of the Rolex Daytona, you can get the Omega Speedmaster. Eterna is the one that produces the ETA movements. The Eterna watches are well-made and their 1948 model costs only $2,000. The Rolex Explorer for males is 39mm. The Datejust and Daydate are similar to the Oyster Perpetual models and might have a date or weekday display. Consider buying a Datejust II. The Omega Speedmaster Professional is famous because it is known as a moon-watch. It is beautiful and you can get one for about $4,000. Do also consider getting the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Also, another option is the Breitling Superocean 44.

A replica is not a luxury watch. It isn’t nice to wear a fake watch. Are there perfect imitations around? No, there will always be shortcomings in the manufacturing process. Buying a fake watch is not legal.

However the thing you need to understand most of all is: a fake watch is a watch without value. You cannot resell it, because it is an illegal product. Once you give your money away for it, this money is gone forever. – Leonard Lowe


Success With Landscape Photography by Tom Till

I (Tom Till) was seeking a good spot for photography alongside Norway fjord. Soon, I realized that a vantage point on a cliff provided me with the best view. I have been in photography for over 30 years and it has took me to many exotic places. This book seeks to improve your landscape photography skills. Landscape photography requires luck and the longer the time you spend on the field, the better your chances will be. Earth can indeed a very beautiful place.

Equipment for the Landscape Photographer. Some cameras can keep both the foreground and background in extremely sharp focus. There will always be a market for film photography. However, digital photography has kept pace in terms of development. Most landscape photographer carry a bulky 4*5 camera. A good tripod and graduated neutral density filters are key too. Weigh the pros and cons between film and digital cameras (example DSLR). Digital 35mm is also a good option to consider. For large prints, the 4*5 camera is the way to go. Compacts are good for first timers who do not care about technology. DSLRs 35mm are great for capturing fleeting moments. You can’t change the lens on a compact as well. A high FPS is not necessary and an SLR (film or digital) will do the trick. Nikon AF lens can work with both digital and analogue cameras. Mega pixels matter in landscape photography. People should consider the medium-format cameras. For lightning, I use a 6*7 camera, with 400 ISO and leave the shuttle open for a few minutes, while trying as close to the lightning as possible. For panoramic shots, use a 6*17. Some people can stitch different photos together to create a panoramic shot. 4*5 cameras provide incredible clarity. It is the pinnacle of landscape photography. The aim is to make the photo as realistic as possible. The back tilt is one of the strategies. For hand held shooting, I recommend the wide-angles over longer lenses. For 35mm users, try to get ED, zoom lenses, lenses with stabilization control, lenses with broad focal-length range. Wide angle lenses are popular for landscape photography. It is important to find a good backdrop as the foreground. Normal lenses are 50mm for 35mm, 90mm for 6*7 and 210mm for 4*5. Telephoto lens tend to compress distance. For these, try to use a high megapixel 35mm camera. Zoom lenses are multiple focal-length lenses and is useful. You can even get telephoto, wide angle and normal views in one lens. If you are not going to use a tripod, use a stabilizing lens. Use aircompressors etc to clean off dust. Use neutral GNDs. Filters are a big part of landscape photography. The GND is supposed to block bright areas of the scene. Filters can be approximated in the lightroom. Use at least a three stop filter. Use a blue polarizer to accentuate blue. Use warm filters if you want colour filters. Try polarizing filters too as they will bring out sky colours and shiny, colourful subjects. Spend on a tripod. Wear state of the art clothing to protect you from the cold, if necessary. Look out for weather forecasts etc.

Techniques for Landscape. You must get up early to work. You need good lighting even though you have the right technique. It’s about marrying craft and technology. Constant practice and shooting is the key to success. Fleeting moments can be captured that way. It is important to learn how aperture works. A small aperture (big number) seeks to create sharp focus from near to far. A smaller aperture lets less light in and must be compensated by a longer shuttle speed to get the right exposure. SLRs have great light metering systems. Many professionals bracket their exposures. Histograms can determine whether your light exposure is accurate. A graph skewed to the left indicates underexposure while a one skewed to the right indicates overexposure. Try to use RAW images where possible. High f-stops are needed to get the best depth of field. Find the right point of focus to get the best depth of field. For shots requiring little depth of field, autofocus is fine. Aperture is lot more important than shuttle speed in landscape photography. A lower ISO is ideal in landscape photography

Light is the Main Ingredient. Light is extremely important for landscape photography. You must understand the qualities of natural light. The best lighting is side lighting. The best photos can be taken just after sunrise and just before sunset. Clouds can be used as subjects too. A cloudy day provides better opportunities. Learn to study cloud movements. Buttermilk clouds are perfect. If you want light but there is none, wait for it. In a forest, cloud cover is good as sunlight will enter in many areas and spoil the photo. Fog, trees and sunlight can create a pleasant, mysterious combination. Use rainbows to elevate a great scene. Use a polarizing filter to brighten the rainbow.

Composition for Landscape. Fill the frame with pattern all along. Use the rule of thirds. Sometimes, shadows will affect your work. Lead-in lines help provide better perspective on photos. An example of lead-in lines would be sand dunes. Find a great near/far combo for maximum field of depth photography. Shoot frames within frames. Use people to create a sense of scale in the photograph. White clouds are distracting because people’s attention will be drawn to them. Look for diagonal lines or S-curves as they are pleasing to the eye.

In the Field. You have to love nature to thrive at landscape photography. Check the weather forecast before leaving your home. Some places require local guides. Lookout for photo guidebooks as well. You may sometimes have to return to the same place much later to get a great shot. Use a GPD so you won’t get lost.

Earth’s Amazing Landscapes. The coast are a great area for landscape photography. The sun can be part of the composition too. Waterfalls make great subjects. So do mountains, rivers, autumn leaves etc. Lakes can provide a source of photography. Deserts are also a great place to work. Be careful of sand in your camera lens. Clean your equipment and make sure that it does not come into contact with sea water. Get a water resistant backpack for jungle photography and remember to slap on repellent. Mountains are amazing for photography as well. You can hire llamas to lug your camera equipment. You may need a 4-wheel drive for snow photography. It may be very slippery and dangerous. Fogged lens are a problem. Autumn photography is very popular among professionals. Floral landscapes are also very attractive. For historical sites and landscapes, you need to negotiate with the ranger there.

Landscape in the Digital Darkroom. Analogue to digital workflow: Image Created à Image Developed à Inage Edited à Image Cleaned à Image Editorialized à Film Mounted, Labelled, Filed à Metadata and Keywords Added à Image Added to DSL à Image added to Archival Library at Highest Resolution à Image Added to Backup discs. You can get colorimeters for your printers. Adobe Lightroom is a great tool to use. People have said that the purity of landscape photography is in jeopardy because of digital technology. Lightroom has the ability to process many images at once. Lightroom can save photos that are over and under-exposed. The fill light control can work wonders. There are also brightness and contrast sliders. You can also edit the white balance and vibrance and saturation. There are also sliders to reduce noise. Sharpening images is also possible. However, an out-of-focus image cannot be saved. Photoshop allows you to stitch photos and create panoramas. HDR can address problems when there are a huge range of light values in one image. Using the grayscale function can create black and white photos.

The Next Steps. There are many peripheral benefits of being a professional photographer. Examples include an improvement in mental and physical well-being. Work to please yourself and hope that your work will be accepted by others. Learn marketing and computing/business classes. Join a professional group. Find a mentor. Keep practicing. Have fun along the way. You can consider self-publishing as well. However this is risky if you can’t sell the book. Focus on a particular area for your book. If you are lucky, you may be asked to do assignments outdoor. Starting a gallery is one option but the rental is likely to be expensive. You can diversify your business by teaching workshops, guide other photographers, sell your computer skills etc. Some of the photography equipment might be deductible for tax purposes if you are a professional. You will also need to set up a blog or website to market yourself. Not many people are landscape photographers because of the fact that it is time consuming and has high initial costs. You need to learn to face rejection.

The Art of Landscape Photography. Look at the work of masters and study them. Understand the history of the industry. Your photos should be able to tell stories. Photography allows spontaneity and this is very important. Always try and shoot things from a different angle and not simply copy others. Do not keep going to the same places. You must also be willing to embrace hiccups in your journey. You must be aggressive and hungry to learn during photography workshops. Don’t simply go through the motion in courses.

The Life of a Landscape Photographer. Being physically fit is necessary for the job. You must also get up early. The bulk of the job involves hiking. You might even have to camp at one location to get the best shot. It is important to respect the rules of the place and not to litter etc. Keep abreast of the latest technology in the industry.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever, and a photograph of that beauty is an important reminder to others of what we hope to leave for our children. Best of luck for photography – and be there. – Tom Till

success with landscape photography