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Thread: Watch Review - Offshore Professional Field Engineer

  1. #1
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    Watch Review - Offshore Professional Field Engineer

    Although I have already posted this within another thread about the Field Engineer, it has been suggested to me that this deserves a wider audience as it may otherwise be overlooked...

    So, allow me to present the Offshore Professional Field Engineer no. 131, built by Classic Chronographs Ltd.

    Yesterday afternoon I drove over to The Clock Gallery in Ealing and collected my brand-new FE from Darius, the watchmaker who actually builds them.

    I’ll give my initial impressions afterwards, but first, let’s take a look at what all the fuss is about…

    The outer box is errr, a box! Doesn’t give anything away although it does however have the magic number 131 written on it…



    Opening the box presents you with a splendid 2-watch leather roll, beginning to suggest that there might be something rather lovely inside.



    The inside of the box is nicely lined, and the logo + ‘Offshore Professional Chronographs’ stamped into the inside of the box top is a nice touch.



    Of course, what we’re really waiting for is to see the watch itself.

    I should point out that I decided to buy another strap for it and ask Darius to fit it as part of the build, in place of either the steel bracelet or the black leather strap (both of which are included in the package). I’ll talk more about that after these photos…





















    Here’s a close-up…



    Of course, we need the obligatory wrist shots. As you can see the strap isn’t yet properly moulded to the shape of my wrist so there are ‘air gaps’ either side of my wrist at the moment – I have no doubt that it will settle down with a little more wear…







    These are the two straps that come with the watch as standard, the black leather curved end strap (wearing the Hirsch buckle that came off my supplied strap), and the excellent quality ‘Engineer’-style steel bracelet.



    Here they are alongside the watch on my Hirsch strap…



    Finally, a photo of the ‘full set’…



    …and a slightly arty shot of the watch on top of the alternative straps…



    So I guess the obvious question is… after all the anticipation, does it live up to expectations?

    I own some very nice watches – three Breitlings, an Omega and a Doxa amongst them. I know what good quality looks like, and by any standards this is a watch that punches well above its weight.

    First of all, it’s absolutely beautiful. I know Lorne Gifford (the owner of the company) makes a lot of the fact that the design is about classical purity and is not supposed to make concessions to fashion, but however you look at it, this thing’s stunning. In no particular order:

    •The different textures and surfacing on the dial are very clever. They avoid large flat one-dimensional areas and draw the eye to different elements of the design. The dial is also a very subtle mix of colours, incorporating cream and silver with grey sub-dials.
    •It’s very easy to read, I love the ‘propellor’ second hand and the trident on the chronograph hand is really well executed.
    •The case is superbly finished with brushed sides and polished top surfaces on the lugs. Very substantial and a great size. Short downturned lugs help to shape the case to your wrist.
    •The tachymeter bezel works brilliantly with the overall design.
    •The edges of the bezel and caseback as well as crown and pushers are all knurled
    •I really love the separated treatment of the day and date – I think combined day/date windows often look incredibly clumsy; two separate circular windows avoid that completely.
    •Both crystals are completely flat and the view looks great front and back. The serial number engraved onto the rotor is one of many nice touches.

    From a functional perspective, the movement is an upgraded version of the 7750, so it’s a known reliable engine. It has a little of the classic ‘Valjoux wobble’ although interestingly it’s far less noticeable in the Field Engineer than it is in my Breitling Navitimer World (the movement in that being based on the 7754). I have no idea why, although my guess would be that it’s to do with the case construction damping down the oscillations somehow (Lorne has already put his engineering hat on and weighed in with a technical explanation on the other thread).

    The watch is currently running at +2 seconds – if it stays at that I’ll be well pleased.

    The chrono pushers operate with a crisp, tactile click, as does the crown. The sub-dial hands hit their markers precisely and the chrono hand snaps back to Top Dead Centre perfectly – the whole watch feels beautifully engineered.

    The watch wears well, with a 44mm case diameter translating into 53mm lug to lug. To some that may seem big, but due to the downturned lugs it’s very comfortable and the use of the supplied deployment ensures that the watch head sits perfectly on the wrist. In truth, I like big watches anyway and if it had been any smaller I probably wouldn’t have bought it.

    I can’t comment on the steel bracelet as I’ve not put it on, but it appears to be solid and well made, and it’s built in 5 rows of links, alternating brushed and polished. It’s a nice touch and a feature shared with the bracelet on my Doxa Sub 1500t – it looks great and ‘lifts’ it so that it doesn’t just seem like one uniform mass of metal.

    The OE black leather strap with black stitching is curved end and fits the case perfectly – I know this because it’s the same basic construction as the Hirsch Principal that I have on mine. Having the Field Engineer on the brown Hirsch strap was a personal choice for me prompted by the fact that it’ll fit better into my collection rather than being on a black strap. I’m pleased I did it – it works brilliantly with the case and dial and I love the fit, quality - and the colour is awesome. I also prefer contrast stitching to matching.

    I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these reflections and checking out the photos (I’m not in Johnny E’s class as a photographer - Johnny built Lorne’s new website for him - but they’ve come out pretty well, I think). More to the point, I hope it may inspire some of you to go to the website and consider one for yourself – I’m not on commission but I can’t recommend this watch or Lorne highly enough. How often does the owner of a watch manufacturer phone you up from his car to tell you how pleased he is that you’ve just collected one of his watches?!

    Simon
    Last edited by mycroft; 27th June 2018 at 20:35.

  2. #2
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    Brilliant review, I enjoyed reading it - thank you very much. And compliments on the replacement strap - suits the watch wonderfully! :)

  3. #3
    Very nice and certainly different Simon. When I looked at the dial I was reminded of the late 1950s early 1960s styling and design that you see on furniture and everyday items from that period, a sort of early (Sputnik?) space age feel to it. The matching pattern of the metal on the top of the pushers, around the crown and around the top and bottom of the case is really effective.

    I also like the day and date holes, a lot different to the usual traditional square.

    A brand that I am not overly familiar with, but it looks a well built bit of kit and the customer service seems really impressive.

    Enjoy!

  4. #4
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    Watch Review - Offshore Professional Field Engineer

    Thanks Ares. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I haven’t taken it off since I picked it up!

    Simon
    Last edited by mycroft; 21st June 2018 at 20:24.

  5. #5
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    Watch Review - Offshore Professional Field Engineer

    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    Very nice and certainly different Simon.

    A brand that I am not overly familiar with, but it looks a well built bit of kit and the customer service seems really impressive.
    You seem to have had pretty much everything else out there, Ken . Perhaps you should give one of these a try - they’re phenomenal value for money in my opinion.

    Simon
    Last edited by mycroft; 21st June 2018 at 20:24.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post
    You seem to have had pretty much everything else out there, Ken . Perhaps you should give one of these a try - they’re phenomenal value for money on my opinion.

    Simon
    No, don't Simon, must resist. I have put myself on a sort of rehabilitation.

    My morning mantra chant is 'I am content' over and over until I start to believe it

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    No, don't Simon, must resist. I have put myself on a sort of rehabilitation.

    My morning mantra chant is 'I am content' over and over until I start to believe it
    Yeah right, how long will that last...

    Simon

  8. #8
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    Have to say been looking at these on and off for sometime. Then because, he who hesitates is lost, I missed the boat
    I'm in for the first of the new batch, more expensive, cause I dallied. But hey it's a hefty chunk and rarer than most others.
    So I'm chuffed, Great review and fantabbydosy pictures Simon. To use the taboo .......phrase

    Wear it in good health.


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    No, don't Simon, must resist. I have put myself on a sort of rehabilitation.

    My morning mantra chant is 'I am content' over and over until I start to believe it
    Put the kettle on Ken... sit back... and enjoy a good read! http://marinechronometer.co.uk/ Resistance is futile.....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyE View Post
    Put the kettle on Ken... sit back... and enjoy a good read! http://marinechronometer.co.uk/ Resistance is futile.....
    Now we’re just being mean...

    Simon

  11. #11
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    I keep coming back to this thread Simon. Its a very appealing watch, I think I would like the size especially as the knurling would help to hide it somewhat (in my head anyway, not sure in reality). I have had a look at the website and it appears there is only one dial design, is this in continuous production or are they amde in batches?

    Have you tried the bracelet, I really like the design, it must have quite a bold tool watch look to it on the bracelet.

    Cheers

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondie View Post
    I keep coming back to this thread Simon. Its a very appealing watch, I think I would like the size especially as the knurling would help to hide it somewhat (in my head anyway, not sure in reality). I have had a look at the website and it appears there is only one dial design, is this in continuous production or are they amde in batches?

    Have you tried the bracelet, I really like the design, it must have quite a bold tool watch look to it on the bracelet.

    Cheers
    It is a single design, yes, although I think Lorne ultimately has ambitions for more than one. It's hand-built to order (part of it's appeal), so typically delivery is between 2 and 8 weeks - he quoted me 8 and delivered it in 3!

    I've not tried my bracelet yet but Dariusz (the watchmaker who builds them) wears his on the bracelet and I've tried that one - it's great.

    Simon

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondie View Post
    Have you tried the bracelet, I really like the design, it must have quite a bold tool watch look to it on the bracelet.
    Cheers


    I love this pic that Lorne took. One thing that's interesting - the screws I've had before on bracelets are threaded on one end only. These need a screwdriver on BOTH sides from what I can see. The screw, screws into a receiving screw on the other end if that makes sense! Means that the bracelet itself (or rather the links) can never get cross threaded or stripped.

  14. #14
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    Yea that's right Johnny ref two screwdrivers, took a bit of careful co-ordination :)

    I put the bracelet on mine to try it out, good things are the links are all half length so you can get a fairly good adjustment although there is no smaller adjust on the clasp and no micro adjust. I found a size where there was a little slack so felt like it'd be fine on a hot day, but the watch didn't move around at all so for me that's perfect. I ended up putting it back on the leather, but will probably swap over from time to time. The leather straps are fully waterproof and robust, Hirsch Leonardo on mine but that's been discontinued so an alternative strap is in the works.

    Poor phone pic:


    There is a load more info in what looks to be turning into the owners thread here:
    https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...ngst-the-ranks

  15. #15
    Master mycroft's Avatar
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    Here's one more photo - this one taken just now out in the sunshine...



    Simon

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    Great watch, great design, nice individual-looking dial, and impressive specification. I love what Lorne has done and wish him every success.
    But.....
    I just cannot get on woth the knurling on sides of the pushers. The pushers are longer nearer the crown, and curved, so the knurling is cut through at differing points over the length and there is a varying length of un-knurled pusher, and to me it just looks a little bit wrong.
    For me, perhaps, I think the tachy bezel edge, the crown, the caseback endge and the ends of the pushers would be enough knurled facets. So perhaps the sides of the pushers could just have a small chamfer to cover the edge of the knrled ends.
    It is a small thing, and perhaps only visible at the scale of magnification seen here on screen (rather than at life scale), but it is one of those details that is hard for me to un-see now that my eye has been drawn to it.
    Dave

  17. #17
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    I tried to edit that thread title over on the other thread... but you've only got one week to change a title.

    Got myself some macro equipment last week... so I'm hoping to do Lorne some close up 1080p video for the site. One thing I really LOVE is the 3 pronged second hand at 9 o'clock. It really does just glide... and has a lovely effect, like a smooth running propeller.

    I want to get that captured!.. watch this space (eventually!)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post
    It is a single design, yes, although I think Lorne ultimately has ambitions for more than one. It's hand-built to order (part of it's appeal), so typically delivery is between 2 and 8 weeks - he quoted me 8 and delivered it in 3!

    I've not tried my bracelet yet but Dariusz (the watchmaker who builds them) wears his on the bracelet and I've tried that one - it's great.

    Simon
    It is a design that is growing on me, I would really like to see one in person to fully appreciate the dial.

    I really like the bracelet design and the double ended screw design is a bit fiddly but it is done for a good reason.

    Lorne has done a fantastic job as an ex-offshore engineer myself, I like the lineage :)

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mondie View Post
    It is a design that is growing on me, I would really like to see one in person to fully appreciate the dial.

    I really like the bracelet design and the double ended screw design is a bit fiddly but it is done for a good reason.
    I think my photos and Johnny’s do a pretty good job of showcasing the watch, but if you get a chance to see one ‘in the metal’ then do take it - it’s a mesmerising dial.

    The double/ended screws are a bit scary but if you’re careful it’s not that difficult to resize the bracelet - and as you say there are sound technical reasons for the design.

    Simon

  20. #20
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    I really like this and it seems to be incredible value

  21. #21
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    I watched JohnnyE's video for the full minute before I realised I was watching the fan hand going around in a video when I had a real one sitting on my wrist!

    Few days in europe this week so took the opportunity to visit one movement manufacturer today to discuss modifications I'd need for it to work in the next model chronometer. Better solution to have them done at source rather than the Field Engineer's 775M2 which is modified in London.

    As always, I light up every airport metal detector like a christmas tree thanks to the leg repairs, except the one at London City on the way out. Told the chap his machine was broken.

    Typical blurred and sub-standard photo:


  22. #22
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    Simon
    The fit and finish on your strap/clasp looks far better than 135
    See attached. Luckily Lorne is sorting it out. I adore the watch and with Johnny's bracelet photos it changes from classy dress watch to rugged tool watch.
    IMG_6109.JPGIMG_6111.JPG


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    Simon
    The fit and finish on your strap/clasp looks far better than 135
    See attached. Luckily Lorne is sorting it out. I adore the watch and with Johnny's bracelet photos it changes from classy dress watch to rugged tool watch.
    IMG_6109.JPGIMG_6111.JPG


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    I still haven’t tried the bracelet, Mick - I just love my watch/strap combo too much to change it!

    There’s no doubt that Loren’s level of hands-on customer support adds an extra dimension to the whole experience of owning a Field Engineer. I have no doubt that he’ll sort it out for you...

    Simon

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post
    I still haven’t tried the bracelet, Mick - I just love my watch/strap combo too much to change it!

    There’s no doubt that Loren’s level of hands-on customer support adds an extra dimension to the whole experience of owning a Field Engineer. I have no doubt that he’ll sort it out for you...

    Simon
    Yes Lorne is a real Gent and totally focused on customer satisfaction & service. It's all in hand as the actress said to the bishop
    I was just amazed at yours vs this "new" strap.


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  25. #25
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    So a few more weeks on, you still loving it Simon?



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    Not taken today, but whilst waiting for Simon to reply, mine's been out and about in this form this week... been funny observing folk trying to suss what 'make' it is

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pupp View Post


    Not taken today, but whilst waiting for Simon to reply, mine's been out and about in this form this week... been funny observing folk trying to suss what 'make' it is
    Great shot that.
    I've not had anyone notice mine, or if they have I've not noticed. But that said I'm up in Northumberland in sleepy Amble by the Sea hahahaha


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  28. #28
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    I've been looking at these with interest. A very nice review, thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    Great shot that.
    I've not had anyone notice mine, or if they have I've not noticed. But that said I'm up in Northumberland in sleepy Amble by the Sea hahahaha


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    Still very happily wearing 134. Marvellous watch, stylish, substantive, functional but does not wear too heavy.

    Mine was noticed in Somerset (!) a few times and also at the Farnborough air show

  30. #30
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    Thanks for the review, I have found reading this and the other Offshore Professional thread fascinating. Have now spent quite a while on the website as well.

    I have owned a speedy pro and an El Primero and sold both I don’t gel with chronographs, plus I don’t own a watch over 40mm, but just intrigued and full of admiration for the design, build process and ethos shown. If I do ever buy another chrono it will have to be this one

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteS View Post
    Still very happily wearing 134. Marvellous watch, stylish, substantive, functional but does not wear too heavy.

    Mine was noticed in Somerset (!) a few times and also at the Farnborough air show
    135 says hello
    IMG_6297.JPG
    Took this morning


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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    135 says hello
    IMG_6297.JPG
    Took this morning


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    Cheers Mick

    Is that the new strap? It looks very good. How are you getting on with it?

    All the best
    Pete

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    So a few more weeks on, you still loving it Simon?



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    Oh absolutely!

    In fact the reason I’ve not been on the forum for a while is that we’ve been in Portugal on holiday... and the Field Engineer was one of the two watches I took with me.

    Putting it on continues to give me a frisson of excitement (steady there...) and more and more I see it as a total keeper.

    Simon

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pupp View Post


    Not taken today, but whilst waiting for Simon to reply, mine's been out and about in this form this week... been funny observing folk trying to suss what 'make' it is
    What excellent taste you have, Sir!

    Simon

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post
    What excellent taste you have, Sir!

    Simon
    Strangely enough, I thought that when I saw yours!

  36. #36
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    It's the new strap but being swopped for another as we speak.
    Love the watch and it's nice to wear. Feels like a tool but also feels dressy well to a Northerner. (Worked in the city too)



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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    It's the new strap but being swopped for another as we speak.
    Love the watch and it's nice to wear. Feels like a tool but also feels dressy well to a Northerner. (Worked in the city too)



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    Thanks Mick, if you could please let us know how you get on with the new strap

    Knowing Lorne it will be an excellent job

    There are lots of classy Northerers!! As a Somerset dweller I happily wear the watch with a suit/jacket

  38. #38
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    Thanks for the review - it's too big for my wrist but looks perfect for a work colleague who's looking to make a new purchase

  39. #39
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    The Field Engineer chronograph is NOT diver rated, but since they're built and tested to a decent pressure resistance I thought I'd strap mine to the wrist of a commercial diver for an 8 hour stint in the sea. His instructions, other than those for the job in hand, were not to push the buttons, play with the crown, or basically do anything except tell me every once in a while if it was still running. Fresh water wash and quick clean afterwards and back onto my wrist.


  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeteS View Post
    Thanks Mick, if you could please let us know how you get on with the new strap

    Knowing Lorne it will be an excellent job

    There are lots of classy Northerers!! As a Somerset dweller I happily wear the watch with a suit/jacket
    Mine complete with new strap due back at the weekend or early next week.
    Being retired most of my suits went to charity. Still got a funeral suit, best wedding suit and then just sports coats
    But wears well in all circumstances.
    Will let you know how the new strap wears.



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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by LorneG View Post
    The Field Engineer chronograph is NOT diver rated, but since they're built and tested to a decent pressure resistance I thought I'd strap mine to the wrist of a commercial diver for an 8 hour stint in the sea. His instructions, other than those for the job in hand, were not to push the buttons, play with the crown, or basically do anything except tell me every once in a while if it was still running. Fresh water wash and quick clean afterwards and back onto my wrist.

    So swimming in the pool or the sea is a walk in the park for a Field Engineer Lorne!



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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    So swimming in the pool or the sea is a walk in the park for a Field Engineer Lorne!



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    Swimming pool, or probably more accurately, the pool side lounger, is the ideal location for a Field Engineer. Be it the chronograph or the chap wearing it.

  43. #43
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    WoW the Teju strap is awesome
    It fits like a glove and quality is out of this world
    Well worth the wait.
    Thanks Lorne it really has made the Field Engineer IMG_4738.JPGIMG_4740.JPG



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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yorkshiremadmick View Post
    WoW the Teju strap is awesome
    It fits like a glove and quality is out of this world
    Well worth the wait.
    Thanks Lorne it really has made the Field Engineer IMG_4738.JPGIMG_4740.JPG



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    IMG_4739.JPG




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  46. #46
    Master JohnnyE's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    Yeah.... Have to fully agree with you there! #130 is on a dangerous9 Teju as of today. Quality is like NOTHING I've seen or handled. Soft to the touch. Perfect curve with zero wrist gap. The blue inner is gorgeous... A perfect colour match to the blued movement screws.

    Ill get the DSLR out later. This strap deserves to be shown off....

  47. #47
    Master Yorkshiremadmick's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyE View Post
    Yeah.... Have to fully agree with you there! #130 is on a dangerous9 Teju as of today. Quality is like NOTHING I've seen or handled. Soft to the touch. Perfect curve with zero wrist gap. The blue inner is gorgeous... A perfect colour match to the blued movement screws.

    Ill get the DSLR out later. This strap deserves to be shown off....
    Just my iPhone sorry.
    Yes does deserve better shots, which I know you can do, but I can’t be bothered my Nikon D7000 is dead.
    Batteries need charging spare and camera. I have no way to add them to the forum unless I pffaff around with Dropbox.
    I leave the arty stuff to those who want to do it.
    Look forward to seeing yours



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