Bring a Brain XVI

Bring a Brain reviews

Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 18th 2017, 11:44am

Note: parts of this instalment were already in the announcement made earlier this week.

Welcome, lads and lasses, to Bring a Brain! Today's edition marks something of a breakthrough - that is because a major victory has been achieved, or at least the vintage watch collectors' community can feel some relief after an unbelievable spot of luck. But we'll get to that later. Lads and lasses, this is your Bring a Brain!

First, we shall focus on some offers from the Shop.

First up for a critical look, this Omega:
https://shop.hodinkee.com/collections/watches/products/1956-omega-seamaster-xvi-reference-2850sc-for-the-olympic-games?variant=49876138895

No lume on the dial, lumed hands, and on top of that - these lumed hands are obviously of a different shade of gold. How much room does that leave for uncertainty? None, dear Donkeys, none.

Next, another Omega:
https://shop.hodinkee.com/collections/watches/products/1945-omega-reference-mi2325-with-extract-from-omega-archives?variant=49876166415

When you finally get something more or less right, but not the price... $4900? Not by a bloody long shot is that right.

And...another Omega:
https://shop.hodinkee.com/collections/watches/products/1958-omega-ranchero-reference-2990-1?variant=243815383055

"Explorer-style dial." How about no? First of all, I've yet to see a sub-second Explorer. Second, an Explorer doesn't have a numeral at 12. Of course, the price is above the top end of the range for the regular Ranchero (there were also military issued ones, which sell for way more). I wonder why is that so, if the watch has not even been serviced, and the movement is in a rather poor condition?

Now, something from the non-Shop content:
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/a-rolex-submariner-5512-with-possible-sealab-provenance

Hmmm, a frankenwatch without any papers to prove the provenance... No. Just, no. I'm very glad, that my comments about the Heuer Calculator "revenge listing" have made it to them, and they did take them into account. A proper caveat is there, which is great. But there are some issues, which need to be addressed. First of all, a movement incorrect for the case can't be excused by something like "one often sees watches used by professionals, with swapped movements, re-lumed dials, and other service upgrades." Swapped movement parts - happens. Factory relumes- happens. But swapping out an entire movement? Sorry, but no, that doesn't convince me. Not in the bloody slightest. Without any papers to prove the provenance, the Sealab engraving is worth naught - I could well have a random watch engraved, and say it belonged to Humphrey bloody Bogart, which doesn't make it so. Evidence, evidence, evidence, no evidence, no provenance, fare thee bloody well and good riddance to the big-time claims.

Now, this piece, by Sauron himself, preaching from the heart of Mordor:
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/six-next-level-and-anonymous-watch-collectors-you-need-to-follow-on-instagram
First of all, no, I don't need to follow them. And I won't.
"There is lots (and lots) of horological buffonery to see on IG." It's buffoonery, not buffonery. Oh, by the way, who promotes that buffoonery all the time? Food for thought.
"These guys are next level." Ummm, next level of what? Spending? Wallet thickness? Oh, yes, quite on the contrary to what he wrote in his rancid editorial about "mistakes" some time ago, he does appear to believe that price = bragging rights. Also, fondness of Rolex and spending millions of them doesn't make one "next level." It only makes them someone who spends the GDP of some forgotten tropical nation on Daytonas.

Lads and lasses, I have left the best for last, for which I'm sorry, but I just wanted to give you your long-awaited, regular Bring a Brain, before getting to this. Some of you already know that, and this communique is for all who don't know it yet...

I am pleased to announce, that Louis Westphalen, the author of Bring a Loupe (to which BaB owes its title), Donkeys' Hype Specialist and the culprit behind all the Shop's fails, which were so much fun to write about, is now out of Hoodwinkee. Karma, or justice?

The story is truly fascinating, if I may say so. Only something like a week after the Aqua-Lung frankenwatch having been sold at the Shop, Bring a Loupe went quiet. On last week's Friday Live video, Jack Forster has announced, that Louis "is no longer with Hodinkee", as he went to pursue "a big professional opportunity in Europe" and to "spend more time with his family", as well as "he left on the best possible terms."

Nice try, Pinocchio. All that Mr. Forster lacked, was his nose growing so much as to hit the camera in the lens.

First of all, the Hoodwinkee staff in these videos appears to act naturally in front of the camera, including Mr. Forster. And so he did on this video...save for when he was making that announcement. Rapid blinking. Lack of confidence in the voice. Nervously looking at his co-presenters, as if for a confirmation of his words. By Jove, dear Donkeys, if you want to at least pretend to be as much as good liars - why, you're good at pretending, so maybe you just can pull that off, as the time to pretend to be experts and a trustworthy news outlet is over - do that in your writing, because on video it's not going to work. I'm no detective, but if that stuff can't escape the attention of an average person, there's just no way it can be convincing.

Second, you don't say something like "left on best possible terms", if someone leaves of their own accord. That's corporate newspeak, which is used when someone is, ummm...asked to resign. Heard enough of that newspeak to be able to identify it when I hear it. It's just a part of the standard set of excuses, some parts of which set were used in that announcement.
Also, when a key figure leaves, someone who was there for a long time, and who was responsible for a lot - a lot - of the site's content, just going silent without even a "goodbye" article, that's peculiar, to say the least. There's a word for that, and it's called "suspicious."

Fare thee well, Louis. If you're out of fleecing, and back into collecting, maybe now you'll experience that mayhem you've made in the market. Hope you do, and hope it'll be a lesson. Call it the ethic of reciprocity in practice.

In the meantime, every week without the usual Friday fest of hype is a week of peace for the market, and a week of peace for us, the collectors. This week, there have been no new arrivals at the Shop, so the Fleecer's Den is temporarily out of order, it seems. Which is good. Now, if anyone has doubts, that an initiative like Bring a Brain can't make a change, I believe it's time to rethink your views on that. Yes, it can. Veritas vincit. We did it, lads and lasses. For now, maybe for a week, maybe for a month, but still.

Of course, Forster's statement did have a mention of Hoodwinkee intending to continue Bring a Loupe, upon finding a new vintage watch specialist. Should the new person in charge of that be more competent, there will be less Bring a Brain threads published. But to Jove and to all of you I promise, that if it'll be any worse, if the hype will be more dreadful than ever, and the Shop will sell even more redials, frankens and rustbuckets, Bring a Brain will be necessary, it will be there, and it will give them no quarter.

But for now, it's time to celebrate. If I may use a scriptural metaphor, the horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken.

Bring a Brain will return if necessary!
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby Mortuus » October 18th 2017, 1:12pm

This was my first foray into the BaB franchise, and I must say that I enjoyed it immensely. Hell, it was bloody brilliant, 'bloke! The only downside is its rather a humbling experience for the putative or "average joe" vintage collector to see this much knowledge packed into one single cranium, then realizing how far one needs to travel to reach that level of vintage horological expertise. Oh well, c'est la mort.

Thanks for the excellent article, sir. 8-)
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 18th 2017, 1:43pm

Thanks, Mort.

Looks like it was too good a thread, because apparently the mods at WUS have taken it down. Fuck!
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby bobbee » October 18th 2017, 2:15pm

Great stuff Mike, and fuck WUS, fuck 'em in both ears!
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby koimaster » October 18th 2017, 2:30pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:Thanks, Mort.

Looks like it was too good a thread, because apparently the mods at WUS have taken it down. Fuck!



Might be a time for a bring a brain rant against wus
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby Mortuus » October 18th 2017, 3:00pm

koimaster wrote:
MKTheVintageBloke wrote:Thanks, Mort.

Looks like it was too good a thread, because apparently the mods at WUS have taken it down. Fuck!


Might be a time for a bring a brain rant against wus

I'll second that. And it might even be time to add a section called Horological Censorship, or some such thing. Trouble is, short of a screen capture, it's pretty tough to show exactly what was censored. Hmmm...and maybe I just talked myself out of my own idea... :scratch:
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby koimaster » October 18th 2017, 4:12pm

perhaps in the next few days the wayback machine may have a copy of it. I can assure the OP that these will not be removed.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby conjurer » October 18th 2017, 4:22pm

koimaster wrote:perhaps in the next few days the wayback machine may have a copy of it. I can assure the OP that these will not be removed.


Quite so. It has become something of our raison d'etre here, along with breaking balls and maiming trolls, to cause agita to those jerkoffs who wish to rip off the less learned folks in this thing of ours. Indeed, while we are sometimes seen as the murderous horde who thunders down on the Geeks fetid settlement, put the pacerguys and Billy Smiths to the sword, burn their yellow dive huts, urinate on the ashes, and (sometimes) take away their womenfolk, more often than not we Lords stand proudly for the truth. Like superheroes, if you will. Although I really wouldn't care to see any of you guys wearing tights.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 18th 2017, 5:12pm

Had to edit out the post, and send it before posting to a mod (this one's a fan of BaB, and has prevented the admins from putting a lid on it in the past), so there will be an abridged and more polite version of it on WUS...most likely. But the real Bring a Brain XVI stays here for posterity, full, unabridged, with all the vitriol the Donkeys have earned. Got no response so far, likely tomorrow evening- if BaB XVI is back, I'll let you guys and gals know.

I'm starting to think that I shouldn't limit BaB to WUS and WL - maybe I should also sign up for TZ-UK and PuristsPro. On WUS it's just preaching to the converted - people enjoy it, but that's that.

Whoever's responsible for bringing down BaB XVI - fuck them! Ten Cabriole table legs up theirs!
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby bobbee » October 19th 2017, 2:12am

Sounds like someone made a complaint to the moderators/admin to me.
All they need is one person complaining there, and something gets shut down. I bet I know who that one person could be... :D
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby Pubbie » October 19th 2017, 4:01am

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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 19th 2017, 2:04pm

BaB XVI is back, in an edited form. Wonder if the regime will fuck off now...

http://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/bring-brain-xvi-4556905.html
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby TemerityB » October 19th 2017, 6:30pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:BaB XVI is back, in an edited form. Wonder if the regime will fuck off now...

http://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/bring-brain-xvi-4556905.html


I wouldn't bet on it, but keep fighting the good fight. The truth might hurt some, but any watch collector with gray matter gives it a salute.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby bobbee » October 20th 2017, 9:47am

I see that another person at WUS is saying he is personally involved in Louis' new position elsewhere. I have always respected his knowledge, and have had many personal interactions with him, he was a trusted friend over there. Knowing the person's area of expertise and knowledge, I think Breitling is a safe bet.
I wonder if his new employers know of the BaB threads?
I doubt it... :D
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 20th 2017, 10:25am

bobbee wrote:I see that another person at WUS is saying he is personally involved in Louis' new position elsewhere. I have always respected his knowledge, and have had many personal interactions with him, he was a trusted friend over there. Knowing the person's area of expertise and knowledge, I think Breitling is a safe bet.
I wonder if his new employers know of the BaB threads?
I doubt it... :D

He's a knowledgeable guy, but he's slightly on the fleecers' side. Mostly because with what he has in his collection, the hype is on his side.

He rubs shoulders with the watch blogs, especially Fratello and the Donkeys. Sadly, that makes him too much of an apologist of all their fails. First he tried to chew me out when I criticized an editorial by Michael Stockton of Fratello, because Stockton's his friend, and now that. It so happens, that I hardly give a fuck about him being friends with them two - if their writing's rubbish, I'll call it a pile of rubbish, regardless of who are they friends with, be it princes, plumbers, Freds, even the hounds of Hell.

Judging by his take on Hoodwinkee - like, "yeah, just some fails" - he's either completely oblivious to that, as being a friend of Louis' impairs his judgement of reality, or worse, he knows full well that it's a lie, but will keep repeating it anyway, because this helps him maintain his good relations with the Donkeys.

And yes, Louis indeed is going to work for Breitling. It's beyond me why would they hire someone quite as inept, but...Maybe because whoever hired him there, doesn't know any better.
Anyway, all his fails combined with starting some talks with Breitling could have pissed off the other Donkeys. Professional opportunity, maybe, but the part about good terms is, IMO, a lie.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby bobbee » October 21st 2017, 10:40am

I see Louis has replied to you on the WUS thread, Mike.
I will quote it here:

Let me chime in quickly, and not about watches for once, as part of this thread is about me personally, and I would like to set the facts straight here.

@mkws with all due respect, I hope that you are not a policeman in real life because your interpretation of body language could not be further from the truth so you would probably have sent a few innocents to jail already :)

I did not leave Hodinkee: I joined Breitling, a company that as many Frenchmen born in the 1980s I grew up to love. The Chronomat and relaunched Navitimer were super hot in Paris when I was a child, not mentioning the fact that one of my grand fathers that I admired dearly was involved in the development of the electronic module of the Emergency then.

So you can imagine that i could not pass on the opportunity to be involved in the new wake of Breitling; with my wife, we decided to move back to Europe for this exciting challenge. You can expect some amazing things coming shortly, and i will be happy to discuss them with you, always (send me a pm and I will share my new details). It is also a pleasure to work with WatchFred on a daily basis, and I can bet you will like what we are preparing together.

Jack in addition of being a fantastic mentor was, and remains, a personal friend, and as he said I could not be in better terms with Hodinkee right now.
I won't produced proofs here as we are on a watch enthusiast forum, not in a personal tribunal but I would have really appreciated less assumptions and judgements being made, and preferred to be asked directly. I think I have proven repeatedly here and elsewhere that I value and practice honest and direct communication.

While some errors mistakes were made over my tenure at Hodinkee, my team and I have always strived to fix them, and have always welcomed your feedbacks and criticism. We might have disagreed (and still disagree) on many points, this honest confrontation of ideas and facts is what makes watch collection so interesting, and forums such great places.

So if you allow me one parting thought:
I certainly get that our passion for watches explains heated arguments and challenging discussions. I also firmly believe that the same rules apply behind keyboards than in real life. For the past years, I treated each you with respect and consideration at all times, no matter of our disagreements, and have valued the input of each of you, and acted upon them to the extent that I could.
Yet, reading this thread it is clear that my set of values was not shared. It is ok, those are just words and no one will die but please ask yourself how you would feel when faced with personal attacks, assumptions, and libel on a public forum.

In any case, thanks a lot for following Hodinkee, and I look forward to engaging with you in the future on behalf of Breitling (I help with the digital operations there).

Sincerely,

Louis

P.s: I welcome you to apply to Hodinkee anytime, the team is amazing and there is currently an open position there. If hired, you will also discover the difference between operating business operations and judging them from a distance, and I mean that very openly.



"While some errors mistakes were made over my tenure at Hodinkee, my team and I have always strived to fix them, and have always welcomed your feedbacks and criticism."

Now that's a laugh! How does he justify using his Bring A Loupe article to try and con his readership into believing that a refinished dial on a vintage watch is of equal or higher value to an original, even one in a fair condition?
Did he or his team "strive to fix" that little pile of steaming horseshit?

I think not.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 21st 2017, 11:13am

Noticed that. Tony C's reply to him was great, Border-Reiver also noticed one good detail.

Here's my reply to Louis' post(quotes from his post in italics):

Originally Posted by Louis_hodinkee
@mkws with all due respect, I hope that you are not a policeman in real life because your interpretation of body language could not be further from the truth so you would probably have sent a few innocents to jail already :)
Fortunately I'm not, the doughnuts would undoubtedly drive me into diabetes. The circumstances of the departure plus what I've seen in that video led me to two conclusions - one, something during those 30 seconds wasn't true, and two, no matter if that's the case, there should also be some vacancies at the PR department, be it new ones because Hodinkee needs these, or be it just freed, because the ones so far didn't do a good job. Oh, and for what it's worth, I've spotted two of the three clues in the body language. Food for thought.

Originally Posted by Louis_hodinkee
I did not leave Hodinkee: I joined Breitling
Assuming it's not a language mistake, did you leave it or did you not? Obviously not both. Being in the industry and reporting for a news outlet is also mutually exclusive, at least by the basics of ethics in journalism. Or has someone seen an acting MP writing news articles?

Originally Posted by Louis_hodinkee
You can expect some amazing things coming shortly, and i will be happy to discuss them with you, always (send me a pm and I will share my new details). It is also a pleasure to work with WatchFred on a daily basis, and I can bet you will like what we are preparing together.
If it's 46mm in diameter and all polished - with that big a customer, some manufacturers of polishing equipment won't file for bankruptcy in the near future, I believe - I likely won't. I wasn't fond of the vast majority of Breitlings made since the first 1980s Chronomat, the said Chronomat included. I look forward to seeing a Breitling that surprises me.

Originally Posted by Louis_hodinkee
While some errors mistakes were made over my tenure at Hodinkee, my team and I have always strived to fix them
The last of these mistakes was cobbled from a few different watches. Notably, it had "Incabloc" on the dial, and a non-shockproof movement with filth all over it, and a chronograph bridge after what likely was some sandpaper treatment. Unlike the redialed Vacheron, this one was sold, and now someone is over the Moon with their new frankenwatch. Which is only fine until they've learned that they've been duped into buying a franken, on top of that where they'd least expect it, and where they did choose to buy a watch while overpaying for the expertise that wasn't there. Which means, that it should never be fine, and it should be fixed. That case left no room for doubt or for different opinions, it was too obvious for that, so I just hope I don't hear something like "we've looked at it again and we believe it's not a franken." I mention that scenario, as in the case of the Vacheron a similar explanation was there, and that was a redial that a nearsighted rookie would tell from a mile away.
Recently, there was also one redialed Omega with more than a few red flags to it - not an inaccurate one, but still obvious to those who know what to look for.

Mistakes are merely a human thing, so that's not what I mind, what I do mind is the frequency and magnitude thereof.


Originally Posted by Louis_hodinkee
Yet, reading this thread it is clear that my set of values was not shared.
That's true, at least in terms of misrepresentations and hype - in that respect most of us have a slightly different one, whether a more rigorous or more extensive one, that's entirely subjective.

Originally Posted by Louis_hodinkee
P.s: I welcome you to apply to Hodinkee anytime, the team is amazing and there is currently an open position there. If hired, you will also discover the difference between operating business operations and judging them from a distance, and I mean that very openly.
Won't use the opportunity, I'm afraid. If someone misuses whatever skills I have in a way that makes it impossible for me to know that they're being misused, that's something I have no control of. But I wouldn't use them in the way that's in line with Hodinkee's take on hype and watch dealing (the same way and in the same form that it's been done so far), since if I would, in my book I'd then be misusing them by volition, which is something I'd never do for any amount of money. Some things aren't for sale.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 21st 2017, 11:27am

bobbee wrote:"While some errors mistakes were made over my tenure at Hodinkee, my team and I have always strived to fix them, and have always welcomed your feedbacks and criticism."

Now that's a laugh! How does he justify using his Bring A Loupe article to try and con his readership into believing that a refinished dial on a vintage watch is of equal or higher value to an original, even one in a fair condition?
Did he or his team "strive to fix" that little pile of steaming horseshit?

I think not.


The mastermind of the attempt at hyping redials was his boss, Ben Clymer, who - IMO - is the worst thing that happened to the vintage watch hobby, ever. Clymer wrote a rancid editorial, in which he claimed that redials and watches with replaced dials are perfectly OK to be offered at prices identical or even higher than the ones for original specimens. This editorial I have criticized in one of the previous Bring a Brain instalments.

But Louis did follow, openly hyping watches with incorrect parts (offered at way above their value)- for example, a Zenith cal. 135 with a repainted dial, and hands with an empty space for lume. The way he sees it, is that it's likely a correct dial/hands combination, and the way I see it, is that the dial has been repainted, and the hands were deprived of lume in order to make it look like Zenith wasn't at its best. Only the Zeniths powered by the cal. 135 was Zenith at its best - they were their top offering, and a mistake like that would by no means be acceptable.

I like the part that Border-Reiver caught in Louis' post;
"...and have valued the input of each of you, and acted upon them to the extent that I could"
Interesting. Now that's some food for thought. Were all these "mistakes" coming from him not being any good with vintage watches, or was there pressure from above to sell all that shit?
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby codguy » October 21st 2017, 12:17pm

Thread totally lost me (as all these threads have). Seems 'ole bobby & bloke are having issues with some other place unless I'm missing something of ultimate importance. Is this about railing against another forum/blogger??

Sure wish fatman was here to educate me on all this ultra important stuff............. and why I should care.

Yo, Matt from Ohio, where art thou?
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby conjurer » October 21st 2017, 12:21pm

codguy wrote:Thread totally lost me (as all these threads have). Seems 'ole bobby & bloke are having issues with some other place unless I'm missing something of ultimate importance. Is this about railing against another forum/blogger??

Sure wish fatman was here to educate me on all this ultra important stuff............. and why I should care.

Yo, Matt from Ohio, where art thou?


Yup. I'd like to see Matt around, too. He had an apparently effortless way of slicing through the bullshit. He's also a Viking: a day after getting his chest cracked in open-heart surgery, he was back on the forum, telling us to go fuck ourselves!
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 21st 2017, 1:28pm

codguy wrote:Thread totally lost me (as all these threads have). Seems 'ole bobby & bloke are having issues with some other place unless I'm missing something of ultimate importance. Is this about railing against another forum/blogger??

Issues? More or less, although it's about exposing fraudulent practices of a certain watch news website and watch dealer in one (something of a watch media/hype/sales behemoth), said website and its practices being harmful to the collectors' community.
If you want to be illuminated on that, ask, and you shall receive. If not, I won't be wasting my time on trying.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last.
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Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby conjurer » October 21st 2017, 1:57pm

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Johannes! My knees are trembling from banging her so hard with my rod!

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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby codguy » October 21st 2017, 2:21pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote: Issues? More or less, although it's about exposing fraudulent practices of a certain watch news website and watch dealer in one (something of a watch media/hype/sales behemoth), said website and its practices being harmful to the collectors' community.


You made that quite clear in your other WL threads railing against this watch news website and watch dealer.
Got it, they are fraudulent & collectors shouldn't do business with him/them.

Me thinks you made your point some time ago imo, is it really necessary to remind the Lords of this issue of yours? Just asking.
And I could be wrong but Sauron, Louis Westphalen, Jack Forster, Tony C's, Ben Clymer doesn't mean shit to 99% of us.

But by all means, keep up the sermon, knock on a few more neighborhood doors, it might garnish you more people to your congregation. And perhaps someday he/them will eventually stick his/their heads into drywall and earn a trip to the barrens............... thus ridding you of all this agony.............. well, until the next schmuck comes along.

Road trips, it is what we do.
.



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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » October 21st 2017, 2:33pm

conjurer wrote:Image

I know, Mr. Conjurer. Although the nature of this by all means insignificant situation is rather obvious to me, I have the more or less fortunate habit of making sure, that as expected of someone civilized, I've made an enquiry about said nature of situation, before -depending on the result - I carry on explaining or kindly ask the other party to fuck off.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last.
Winston Churchill

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
The Dude

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Re: Bring a Brain XVI

Postby foghorn » October 21st 2017, 2:42pm

If it's good enough for Invicta and Evine,then it's good enough for Hoodonkey. Just a higher level of hucksterism.

It's what we do.
GET OFF MY LAWN
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