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Every Excuse Is Good ...


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Every excuse is good. Every excuse is good... I do nothing but repeat it ...

For Christmas, I gave myself a watch. The fault lies with my dear brother Paolo, who to begin the story had recently bought a used one in excellent conditions. Then he made himself tempted by another, and the first, now without a master who wanted to love it, was already finding a new home in my home (I would take it for Christmas). However, nothing happened... Paolo eventually became fond of it, and I, who already made myself the idea ... I was left without the watch! Well no! I came back to the net looking for him, and with a little luck, since yesterday it is in my hands, brand new, despite being an old watch: a chronograph Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic, ref. H71 416 733, in the 38 mm size.
Now, why this exact watch? As I said, it's not my fault. My brother had chosen it.
But it's a good timepiece. It is animated by a classic automatic movement Valjoux 7750, a true reliable workhorse, it is simple and clean in design as (almost) the whole Khaki line, it has a transparent back to see the movement - even if not very decorated -, and it is a rare-very rare example of a 38 mm chronograph. I have three more Khaki, one 33 mm, a beloved gift from my wife when we were engaged, and two 38 mm mechanicals. I know the measure, and it is right in my comfort zone. The chronographs I like usually a bit larger, say the classic measure of 42 mm, type Omega Moon watch or the beautiful Aqua Terra chronographs of the first generation. Nevertheless, a 38 mm chronograph seemed to me an interesting thing, especially in its price range.
Hu hu, the price range. During the 1990s, the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph H71 416 733 came out, in my opinion, a bit overrated, with a tag over 1000 dollars. Who paid it this price, at the time, now tries to sell it used for prices a bit out of the market. With some patience you may find one used at a price around half of the original tag. I was lucky, and accomplice a colleague who was visiting from the US, I found one at that price, but new. Since I had already bought a new strap (for my brother's watch), I had nothing left to do now but to buy a new watch suitable for the strap...
On the wrist, its 15 mm thickness on a 38 mm case is fairly thick, and the watch looks a bit like a hockey puck, but I already knew it before buying (the net is plenty of photographs) and I do not regret it.
Today, at home, I made it mine. I did it in my own way, by means of a photograph. Every excuse is good, to get my new 120mm macro to work. And since there is no watch that is worth without a pen that would accompany it, I also put my Montegrappa Extra "Acque del Sile" in the picture, for the occasion filled with Hiroshizuku ink Chiku-rin. The celluloid of this pen is beyond comparison. Hey, I finally say something about pens ... Every excuse is good ...
And here is the result:

Technique. It is not a difficult photograph, but it needs a little bit of equipment. I used two studio strobes (1200W each one) with rectangular banks, a further diffuser in front of the left flash, a white panel to reflect the light in front of the camera and a white sheet to reduce the reflection of the camera on the polished bezel of the watch. The flashes are synchronized through three PocketWizard Plus, one mounted on the camera (PW Plus IV), one connected to the main flash (PW Plus III) and another that commands them all, like a remote control, and allows me to trigger the camera (even by activating autofocus if I request it) and flashes in synchronized mode. On the lens is mounted a bellows hood (of my kit Hasselblad V), the best to eliminate as much as possible the unwanted light when photographing with many points of light and much white around. Who has not tried it, does not sufficiently evaluate the change in contrast and color saturation you may obtain when using a suitable hood.
I attach a badly taken photo of the small set:
Thanks for the patient reading of this mostly off topic excursus...


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What an incredible tour de force of photographic equipment, technique, and subjects. I enjoyed every word of it.

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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As I was reading this I thought 'yes, that's a lovely idea, a favourite things of the moment snap.' Your enthusiastic desire to find exactly the watch you wanted made it a great read.


Then I saw your composition and thought 'Uh-oh, that's a fantastic celluloid. Ooh, nice watch... Wow, superb photograph.' What a beautiful shot; very slick but informal. Spot on. Now reading about it and understanding the lengths you go to to get a good photograph like that, even if I had the kit, I'd not get near the quality you have there.


I'm still going to have a go. It's interesting that pens and watches often seem to go together but just in last months I have rekindled my interest in macro photography.


Thank you for sharing your passion.

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I have always enjoyed your pen-centric posts and artistic creations. Now, like me, I also learn you have a soft spot for tasteful mechanical watches in addition to pens. I am in the same boat. I bought my first mechanical watch at a pen show in Boston about 17 years ago. It was a vintage Tissot. Since then I have owned and sold many different watches and seem to have landed on Omegas with three in hand including a limited edition Speedmaster. I have gone through a similar journey with pens I once owned a Montegrappa Symphony and your photos are making me think about buying another like yours! As with watches finding a comfort zone with a certain brand I have done likewise with Montblanc; although two recent Aurora purchases are giving me great joy. Anyway, congratulations on the watch and thank you for the wonderful post.

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How do you use the white sheet to reduce reflections? Would a polarizing filter do the same?

Rationalizing pen and ink purchases since 1967.

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