Apollo 11 – the Moon landing’s legacy

8CC94B0C-38E2-43D8-851E-90581F41A3CF

Hand’s up who remembers 21st July 1969? Did your parents wake you up, in what felt like the middle of the night, to watch on a small black and white TV screen the moment that Neil Armstrong, leader of the Apollo 11 mission, stepped out of the Lunar Module (‘Eagle’) to became the first person to walk onto the lunar surface? There are a handful of childhood events, including this momentous step, that this viewer, as an eleven year old, remembers with absolute awe and clarity.

The enormity of men being shot into space ahead a giant fuel canister to orbit the Earth and then be pointed in a different trajectory to the Moon’s orbit and surface, there to land safely, open the sealed hatch and climb out. Simply breathtaking both in its spirit and execution. The First Walk on the Moon was simply awe inspiring.

Armstrong was followed onto the Moon’s surface by his co-venturers, Buzz Aldrin. They spent a couple of hours making auspicious speeches and collecting rocks. After nearly a day in the Sea of Tranquility they blasted back to the command module (‘Columbia’) piloted by Michael Collins. They were returned to terra firma having safely splashed down in the Pacific on 24th July 1969.

I was certainly old enough to realize that the Mission to the Moon was the most magical blend of evolutionary technology of semi-conductors and computers, the guile of America’s military aviators, the obviously immense resources of the NASA Space Program. It was also the culmination of the dream of a brilliant and driven leader, the late President John F. Kennedy, who in 1961 launched his country’s aim to land a man safely on the Moon before the end of the decade.

Aside from the warm and fuzzy feeling of all things vintage and American, Coke fridges, leather sleeved varsity jackets, Levi’s and classic muscle cars what else can be seen as the legacy of man’s early musings with space travel?

The Apollo mission kick-started a series of major innovations the legacy of which continue to be seen, felt and enjoyed today. Some of the many spin-offs from the Space Race include the following:

The Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scanner now more regularly used to detect cancer and other abnormalities was used to identify any imperfections in space components that would only be magnified by the unique stresses and environmental issues associated with zero gravity and the g-force associated with space travel.

40181533-0A9B-4550-BF59-0B6D17B94588

The Computer Microchip, the integrated circuits and semi-conductors used in the Apollo mission’s guidance software spawned the modern microchip that appears in everything from you laptop, to you TV remote control and your oven’s regulatory systems.

92D981C7-B33B-43FF-A65A-6AFFE499D928

Cordless tools. Lacking the inability to plug in electrical tools on the Moon’s surface, power tools including cordless drills and vacuum cleaners were developed – initially by Black & Decker in 1961 – with integral battery packs enabling the collection of rock and dust samples.

B1D3CA67-B40B-4F43-A20A-8797D708D77A

In-Ear Infrared thermometer. A detector of infrared energy that is felt as heat that was developed to monitor the birth of stars found an alternative use with In-Ear thermometers.

161BA545-D437-472D-8192-D0E75A393BD7

Freeze-dried food. Since the Moon mission we have been fascinated by rehydrated food, Thai pot soups, noodle dishes and the like. Originally devised to minimize weight these packets of goodness fueled the men in space. This technology had first been developed in the Second World War for carrying blood long distances without refrigeration. Nasa was first to create freeze dried iced cream – but it doesn’t seem to have been that popular amongst the astronauts.

83670771-7084-423B-9052-8E6DBCD06926

Home Insulation materials. If you have ever unrolled in the your attic reflective insulated matting you may not know that the shiny material used was developed to deflect radiation away from spacecrafts.

95DD111A-2E08-41D6-982D-FC70E8BCC5E2

Invisible braces. Each of my three children has received the attention of the dentists and the application of braces that resulted in perfectly straight teeth. The process has been improved by the use of transparent ceramic brace brackets made from materials developed for spacecraft.

D18ADF5B-EBF2-4B11-9AE3-4229E350A071

Joysticks as used on computer gaming consoles were devised for Apollo Lunar Rover.

AC922094-C30F-4BF5-BF38-2C895548AA9A

Memory foam – for many, me excluded, they say that sleeping on a memory foam mattress or pillow results in a splendid night’s sleep. For me they are usually too firm but the underlying tech was created to improve the comfort of aircraft seats and helmets.

6213F081-AEA8-4266-8C33-FB49980A019C

You may not be surprised to hear that satellite television technology, primarily devised to repair relay signals from spacecrafts and to unscramble satellite sound and images sent from space now sits at the core of home satellite driven services.

C7BAD73F-81B1-4D6A-ABF5-DE38FC7DC893

At the optician when ordering a new pair of glasses you will almost certainly have been asked if you would like a ‘scratch resistant coating’ to be added. Substantially improving the long term wear and tear on glasses these coatings were developed to make astronaut helmet visors scratch resistant.

EA057199-DCC1-43AC-BA11-9B0A6D4CFE81

Whilst shoe insoles have been around for years, indeed the likes of trusty beach worn Birkenstocks are based on the eponymous insole a challenge for athletic shoe companies was to adapt an insole for the Space missions boot designs to maximize on ventilation and springy comfort.

6DAB927C-EC76-4F92-8FAB-4164E051DC5F

An absolute must around any home is a smoke detector with good batteries. It may surprise you to know that Nasa invented the first adjustable smoke detector that was programmed with a level of sensitivity that prevented false alarms. Just as essential in the small cabins on board spacecrafts.

68B3D900-8266-4145-AD4C-02B373426DF7

The design of a space rocket is perhaps a classic example of drag reduction. Interestingly Nasa deployed the same principles of drag reduction to help create for Speedo a world beating, but highly controversial, swimsuit the LZR Racer.

EDE4E294-E9DB-4497-B0F4-0FB3156FA31C

Aside from bottled oxygen, filtered and clean water was one of vital elements needed in space. NASA developed a filtering technique that killed bacteria in water. This has subsequently been used to deliver filtered water in millions of homes.

CF89AA7F-013B-4440-832C-14BF18F3C148

Velcro – whilst not strictly a product developed for the Space Race, the system of a hook-and-loop fastener was originally conceived in 1941 by a Swiss engineer George de Mestral. NASA made significant use of touch fasteners in myriad of ways including the closing of astronauts’ suits, anchoring equipment during maintained and for trays at mealtimes to avoid them floating away.

3502D51E-8CA7-457B-A34C-2CB46ADD40A7

Artificial limbs – Nasa is a world leader in the science of robotics devised primarily to remotely control space vehicles. The technology had been adopted to give artificial limbs greater functionality.

94C49AD4-AF91-4152-8918-6F5B5F426D81

If you have ever completed the London Marathon, for example, you may recall crossing the line to be shrouded in a silver foil blanket. These blankets were developed in 1964 they are excellent at  reflecting infrared radiation but they also enable the body to they retain heat and reduce the risks from hypothermia.

5A3AF91C-5AD5-459E-9ADE-40B895F5D317

The Bacon hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell celebrated British engineer, Tom Bacon, developed an existing and century old technology to create a patented fuel cell that provided electrical power for the Apollo mission. The science that combined hydrogen and oxygen to create a reaction that caused heat that could be converted to electricity also had a useful by-product, water: which the astronauts drank. Fuel cells have been used to create electric vehicles including the Toyota Mirai, Honda Clarity and Mercedes-Benz F-Cell, where the technology is seen as a having great green credentials.

6DFCAD13-1AAB-4C7F-9080-B18C6EFA7345

The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is part of a range of manually winded chronometers launched by the Swiss watch brand in 1957 and used as part of Omega’s role as the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games. The “Moonwatch”, a combination of both timepiece and stopwatch, was water-resistant, shock-proof, and could withstand 12Gs of acceleration endured by the astronauts during their mission. It was first worn during NASA’s Gemini missions that included the first space walk. The Moonwatch was on the wrists of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, when the former two took their first steps on the Moon. It remains a firm favourite with those who love this Swiss watch brand which has created a series of Special Editions to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the first Moon landing.

0DD2A366-AFC8-44CA-94D2-AE646CD8DFCD

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

Driving Miss Dolly

62727CC5-A70E-429F-BBFF-5156E7E69E5E
I have just found the original of this piece written in 2003 – I couldn’t resist reposting it.
I have just driven over 1500 km in two days. Hearing you say that your Land Rover or Audi could do that standing on its head is fine, except I have completed such a distance in my wife’s sixteen year old, 506 cc, Citroen 2cv known to all as “Dolly”.

Living in the Southern Europe I have found a compelling urge to share this glorious place with as many people, or things, as possible. Moving here a year ago from Wandsworth, leaving family and friends to battle the Congestion Charges, the M25 and the May Day riots, the only thing that wasn’t put on the back of the removers truck – and God knows we stuffed it – was our cherished 2cv.

There came a time when seeing our re-built classic rotting in my Mother’s Surrey garage became all too much.

[2019 Addition: Aestheticons readers will know of my adoration of these characterful and timeless little cars – and their big sister the Citroen DS]
Having lain dormant for 12 months, the points having been flooded by previously abortive attempts to start her, I asked Mark Waghorn at MWR in Battersea – a 2cv expert – to give her a full service. I wasn’t about to undertake a trip across two international borders in a car that hadn’t run for a year.

Booking on line the Dover/Calais leg I decided to play safe and also book a French Motorail trip from Calais to Toulouse. I tried to book the next leg on the Spanish equivalent from Barcelona to Malaga but that gets booked up seconds after going on sale, three months ago. So I had to face up to driving home from Toulouse – around 1500 km.

To make sure I got to Dover, I decided to drive there mid evening to find a B&B and wake refreshed for my 10.00 am crossing. At least I could push the car onto the Seacat, if necessary.

B&B’s in Dover now don’t really exist in any meaningful way. They have been seized by the Immigration Service to house the influx of asylum seekers. The locals now call the Old Folkestone Road, “Asylum Alley”.

I had visited the site of David Blaine’s most recent inexplicable stunt. He is encasement in Plexiglas overlooking new look London. His main views are the Mayor’s rotund office and the new Gherkin.

He had been boxed for 4 days and 21 hours by the time of my visit and was condemned to watch the British public hurling insults and golf balls at him as he slumbered scribbling in his journal. I would come to appreciate David’s predicament a whole lot more after my ensuing days of intimacy with Dolly’s minimal grey velour seats.

The mileometer at Dover read 66228.

The Seacat was a breeze – except for the loudest and most strident lady passenger who didn’t draw breath the whole of the one hour crossing. Her main pre-occupation was a solution to the asylum seeker problem. Perhaps she should be retained by the British and French Governments who thus far have struggled to solve this thorny issue.

I arrive at the Calais/Motorail terminus about six hours ahead of boarding. So if you have six hours to kill a visit to Calais centre ville is a must.

The Town Hall, is the home of the Rodin statue known as “the Burghers of Calais”. It features a number of wizened individuals bearing keys and such like. The depiction is of the proposed sacrifice of a few senior citizens of the town in return for Edward III lifting the blockade on food supplies. The old folk were saved by the swift actions of Queen Phillipa of Hainault – top aren’t they – those Essex girls.

Loading of the cars is a haphazard arrangement. The SNCF employee has never had the joy of driving a 2cv and stalls a couple of times before lurching Dolly’s into her resting place behind a Mercedes whose hazards are already flashing. The late evening calm is punctuated by screaming car alarms and the fulfilment of earlier placed orders for “pique nicque”. This is essential as we are told that the train has no catering facilities. The 20.30 pm train this evening is the last of the summer from Calais to Toulouse.

We set off 45 minutes late.

The carriage compartments on Wagonlits are box like – about as deep as I am tall – 6 feet – and close to four feet wide. There is something military about their regiment throughout the carriage there must be at least twenty or so cells. All the fabric seat covers, the ceiling, walls and blinds are all khaki.

The top bunk is open and very neatly turned down. There is a small oval basin with neat “Wagonlits” ancient publicity packed soap. Beneath the basin is a plastic commode which when its retaining door is closed deposits its contents directly onto the rails – via a wide mesh

There is a steward in a smaller cabin at the end of the carriage. He explains the operation of the lights and wakes you moments before you destination. For the rest of the time he smokes, drinks from short green cans of Heineken and read l’Express.

We are towing around thirty cars arranged on car transporter like carriages. At least six pairs of tiger’s eyes continue to flash and alarms sound. Their batteries will have nothing left to get their occupants to Beziers or Perpignan.

The first third of the bottle of Beaujolais Village bought at the station buffet and uncorked by their staff when picking up the excellent “pique nicque” kicked in shortly after departure. Sleep and Toulouse await.

Before dawn we arrive in Brive.

As first light breaks we are greeted by dense forests and quaint villages with their beautiful stone towers and red tiled roofs. We emerge from a long tunnel high over the Dordogne a stunning Norman chateau is perched high behind us.

We are following the Lot peppered with caravan sites through Cahors, with its stunning three squared towered stone bridge. Past low built houses fused onto higher and ancient pigeon lofts. Field after field of fruit trees and sunflowers discolouring in the late summer morning light.

We follow the back of several towns along the Canal into Toulouse. On every available space there is graffiti. One particularly good artist has “signed” more than fifty walls in a twenty kilometre strip with his distinctive “tag” the word, “Arse” – it cannot mean the same.

In Toulouse it takes an hour or so for the cars to be off loaded. Unfortunately, the road to Montpellier and Barcelona is shut “pour travaux” and a “diversion” takes us around the city to be released back onto the E80 an exit or two further out.

Finally, I am on the E80 “hurtling” at a maximum of 65 mph through Carcassonne, then Perpignan and over the Spanish border – where for some curios reason one of the Guard regards the car as of Italian origin and waves his arms shouting “avanti!”.

I am in Spain – well that was reasonably easy. I am about 250 kms into the journey and its late morning.

The peage through France may be costly but the Catalan tolls are even more expensive. At each toll booth driving a right hand drive car can be perilous. I have to stop, run around to collect the ticket or pay the fee and get back into the car before the barrier falls.

The E15 (the same road that runs through Malaga) is easy driving and Barcelona with its pistachio and baby pink tower blocks and canary and black taxis looms mid afternoon.

Barcelona has its own new Gherkin under construction complete with exterior crazy paved walls and incrementally small terraces for the top five or so penthouses.

On crossing the Plaza Cataluna, I spot a car park showing a “libre” sign so seek to enter. Shouting and waving ensues as the gate keeper explains that he does not allow right hand drive vehicles to enter as they tend to scratch the other cars – great logic.

La Rambla district has a “scalextric” shop with a huge window display and an artist in white robes and make up sitting on an un-plumbed loo. There is a wacky tiled Bullring and the famous multi-spired cathedral.

It’s worth a longer visit but come by train.

The exit road signs seem to refuse to use the same numbers as the official road numberings. They are replaced with a “C” preface. There are no signs for Tarragona – yet alone Valencia or Alicante. As a result, I get back onto the North bound E15 taking me probably 40 kms out of my way before I can change direction.

South of Barcelona become thick with grapes in the Penedes region – grapes then rock and then open plains as I head towards the hilariously named Tossa del Mar and onto Peniscola!

Arriving in the Comunitat de Valencia every available square meter is planted with orange and lemon trees.

I have seen 11 magpies by this time. After “10’s a bird you must not miss” does it start at “One for sorrow” again?

Having exceeded the boundary of my boredom threshold and with fading light I decide to stay at a road side hostel near Castellon.

I am back on the E15 by 7.30 am and by 8.00 the sky is blood orange.

I have already seen two magpies – “joy” – that’s good.

I wait until 9.00 am – it is Sunday after all – before the first of many calls to the family. At one point they were every half an hour as boredom really set in.

I scoot past the huge Valencian tile and porcelain factories and hill top fortresses.

Rainbow coloured pipes extend over the road to greet your arrival in Valencia. Your departure is marked by a road side flock of monochrome metal sheep.

The Manhattan skyline of Benidorm is incongruous but rising as it does majestically above an arid plain I guess it’s the closest thing Spain has to Las Vegas.

The heat of the roasting road is seeping into the car and I am drinking probably a litre of water an hour.

Two more magpies.

Clearing the toll booth at Alicante – a hiccup.

For a while I have been trying to ignore that Dolly is over revving. The only way to stop it is to lift the accelerator pedal with your foot. As I leave the toll booth she’s screaming, so I pull over and lift the bonnet.

She cools quickly and I notice that a spring has rusted away and is lying against the engine casing. A quick clip and twist with my Swiss army knife’s pliers and a new spring is formed. It works perfectly allowing the accelerator cable to return. Now could you do that in your Land Rover or Audi? I don’t think so.

As my wife will tell you, my mechanical skills are minimal, so I am feeling a sense of achievement as Mark Waghorn confirms over the phone that I have cured the problem.

There follows a lengthy stretch passed Murcia towards Almeria where an arid moonscape has been created by the constant excavation of the hills to provide a raw material for the Curtidos factories.

A fifth magpie.

The mileometer hits 66666 so I speed up to 66 mph to give some shape to this numerical wonder.

I am very, very bored by the drive now but hearing my family’s voices – for the 10th time today – stirs me on. I have by now lost count of the number of times I have filled Dolly’s tiny fuel tank or paid toll charges.

The whole of the Eastern Costa del Sol is under plastic tarpaulins. This region is known by the locals as “the Plastic Sea”. For such a shrouded area there’s little surprise that a local town is named “Vicar”

The first signs for Malaga –219 kms. At last!!!

About 120 kms from Malaga the Autovia del Sol – the main trunk road from Barcelona to Algeciras becomes cobbled – well not quite. It is stopped by traffic lights outside the tented suburbs of Motril.

The E15 becomes a charming twisty road through some very picturesque – and some not so – white villages. It reminds me of the old Corniche along the Côte d’Azur.

Eventually we are forced to hill climb. Only a couple of times approaching hills around Alicante was I required to change down a gear, I now have to take most of the next ten miles in second. The far sides of such ridges are a roller coaster for a 2cv. Dolly may be unhappy on steep gradients but the trip down is hairaising. The turning circle and cornering are dire. I am convinced a couple of corners are taken on two wheels.

Finally, I am onto the all too familiar stretch passing Malaga airport.

The mileometer reads 67299. I can hardly believe I’ve done it – in two days with about twelve hours a day behind the wheel – or should that be behind a juggernaught.

Post script – in 2006 following many years of truely faithful service and after a number of months of “tricky” engineering issues Miss Dolly is returned the UK for a complete rebuild!

© Mark FR Wilkins 2003 (Iberia)

MGB

02832334-7A2F-4C32-A8A2-2F20EEC9E5E2

I was flattered to be asked to contribute To the January-February 2018 edition of The London Magazine – the Capital’s oldest. I was asked to write their 25th “My London” piece which you can see here please – My London by Mark FR Wilkins . I refer to one of London’s tribes, as a  “typical” MGB owner. I suggest that this still holds largely true, despite that the owner may now be in his 70’s although the corduroy’s will still be worn!

722D9FCD-E6AB-49C7-B87F-A0B59DF6DF44

These are adored British cars that have even described by Simon Chalesworth in his brilliant piece on the MGB in February 2018’s “Classic and Sports Car”, as the “gateway drug into whatever this is that we do with old cars”. I understand, that a good quality example of an MGB can be acquired at reasonable cost and by a proficient mechanic or a hired hand it can be up, running and looking fine in reasonably short order and comparable cost.

The MGB is a four cylinder, two-door British roadster – open topped/rag roofed sports car – produced by British Motor Corporation, later British Leyland, between 1962 and 1980, from its famed Abingdon (Oxfordshire) works. It used braking and suspension from the MGA and the engine dated to a design from the late 1940’s.

A previous outing of the MG brand was seen in Aestheticons with the MGA – please see here our previous piece – MG – MGA

22755B6E-C4D2-4A20-A519-A5B04C5F4381

 

The MGA is a stunner and I thought it couldn’t be surpassed but those who know tell me that the MGB is infinitivly more fun and certainly a greater level of comfort – particularly later models – over its predecessor. The Sunbeam Alpine, also featured here before, seems to have set an newly raised bar one that the MGB sought to attain –  see our earlier post here – Sunbeam Alpine – Bond’s first car

Below is an MGB Mk 1, in Tartan red with a black interior and red piping. It was built in Abingdon in February 1963 and was an early car; the MGB being first shown to the market in September 1962. This car, a stunning example, is Norwegian owned and had 22 previous owners!

2A3A4BEB-BE2D-4740-AB6D-21B6B6FC10B1

The MGB with its 1798 cc BMC B-Series engine – which was upgraded in 1964 and again in 1967 – initially achieved a 0–60 is around 11 seconds but required detuning in 1975 to be comply to stricter US emission standards, the US being a key export market – you’ll note our featured image is a left hooker. The same year the MGB, which was one of the first cars to benefit from crumple zone technology, was fitted with black polyurethane bumpers to comply yet further with the US Health & Safety codes – some see these as a blight the MGB’s otherwise clean lines and great looks.

9EBD4B2C-E859-4298-9AA5-F845772C4BF8
Variants including the MGB GT – which first appeared in 1965 – the MkII MGB and MGC that both appeared in late 1967 with the latter benefitting from a six cylinder engine in a MkII MGB body. With around 9000 examples of the MGC made by August 1969 it was withdrawn and is highly regarded by collectors for its ride and handling.
 In 1993-5 the MGB bodyshell was brought out of retirement by Rover and used for a limited 2000 MG RV8 roadsters to celebrate the MGB’s 30th Anniversary.
As much as I adore these splendid small English sports car my garage is destined for others. I’d be more than keen to have a die-cast model of an MGB on the shelf in my Man Cave – join me by clicking the Amazon link below the image! 

E4DA912B-5753-4D02-8D93-EDAABB9B392E

MG B MGB Cabrio grün Modellauto 10002 T9 1:43

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks
Photo credits with grateful thnaks – Trygve Sørli/www.petrolicious.com, The London Magazine, Marc Vorgers,

Clarks Desert Boots

63FC832E-9BD6-4E38-B10C-EB703075DDD8

The Fast Show – a UK TV show from the mid-1990’s  – had a wealth of characters created by Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse – amongs others. One particular favourite was “Louis Balfour” – played by John Thomson – who was the oh so slightly pretentious presenter of “Jazz Club” with a catchphrase – when all else failed – of “Nice!”. You rarely got to see his feet but my bet is that he would’ve worn Clarks Desert Boots

See here a sample of Jazz Club The Best of Louis Balfour’s Jazz Club

Now you have to follow this, Louis was cut from a very similar cloth to a couple of Art Masters at my last school. They insisted on being called “Chris” and “Steve” as indeed I suspect they were their real names and as 6th Formers it seemed odd to continue with “Sir”. They wore corduroy jackets – in brown and country green – one with contrasting leather elbow patches – they had a penchant for practical Farah Hopsack trousers – don’t ask – and each had several pairs of iconic Clarks Desert Boots.

Quite what desert there were planning to cross in leafy Cheshire was uncertain but none the less these two were simply the coolest guys in the school.  “Steve” with his long hair even drove a late reg VW Beetle – click here to our previous post Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined – you can imagine he was already ice cool to me.

Assured not to be bitten by scorpions nor rattle snakes, Clarks Desert Boots to this day are an iconic and a highly flexible wardrobe essential that you can wear with jeans, moleskins or chinos and they will always look the part. Just avoid wearing in the rain – they are suede and, after all, are intended for deserts!

CEFDD56B-078C-4F08-9E58-50B58D4FB2B7

C. & J. Clark International Ltd, (“Clarks”) was founded in 1825 by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, (Somerset, England) where its HQ is still based – although manufacturing is now predominantly undertaken in Asia. Clark’s continues to be 84% family owned.

Since 1879 the Clark’s trade mark has been the distinctive Glastonbury Tor with the St Michael’s tower.

7CCB581C-0043-44B8-AD69-C5EB3594125B

The Desert Boot was launched in 1950 having been designed by the co-founders, James’, great-grandson, Nathan Clark, a serving British Army Officer based in Burma. It is said that the Desert Boot was based on the unlined boots made in the bazaar’s of Cairo for returning British Army Officers during the Second World War.

1C944518-5070-47CA-8E32-1D9E080C9AB9

Post War the Desert Boot saw adoption by the Mod Culture in UK, the Beatnik Culture in the US and were known to be a favourite of the Student anit-capitalist demonstrations in Paris in May 1968.

Why not be like Steve McQueen or Liam Gallagher and get a pair of Clarks original Desert Boots – please click the links below the images below to be directed to AMAZON – the two links show the full colour range available.

264A70FB-C14A-4775-9A50-1C95D6BEA40E

Clarks Desert Boot, Men’s Derby, Braun (Cola Suede), 10 UK

A047C24D-D007-4EA7-B5C8-AF8B47AFE1DA

Clarks Originals Desert Boot, Men’s Derby Lace-Up, Brown (Brown Sde), 9 UK 43 EU)

41B71094-0D50-4531-A222-921CFC08E66D

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images courtesy of C & J Clark International Limited

Rolex – The Submariner

E8302EC6-5FA2-4422-8697-068001628225

What an interesting year for Rolex. Who would have predicted that a relatively “unspecial” Rolex Daytona given by a loving wife to her iconic film star and motor racing obsessed husband would be heralded as the most expensive ever sold. See our previous celebrating the iconic Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona

8DCE6AA0-98FC-494B-BD05-FE1C4A85FEAE

Whilst I really like the Daytona, particularly the steel and white faced one, I have always been massive fan of the iconic and hugely aesthetic Rolex Submariner in its various incarnations from the early 1980s.

Interesting news from the same auction when Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona was sold a Submariner achieved an important milestone by recording highest price of $579,000 ever paid a Rolex Submariner (Ref 6200).

FBB1D5FD-C5F7-42F1-8DC2-AA2E332BAD4A

Launched at the 1954 Basel Spring Fair, Rolex debuted its now iconic Submariner (no. 6204). The 6204 and the slightly smaller 6205 were officially launched for sale to the general public in 1955.

It’s difficult to determine a precise designer within the Rolex team but credit is given to Director, Rene P. Jeanneret, a keen amateur diver, who in the early 1950’s encouraged Rolex to develop a sports watch for divers.

Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf (aged 24) and Alfred Davis in London in 1905. Precision was an obsession for Hans and in 1910 a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision from the Official Watch Rating Centre.

In 1920 Rolex moved to Geneva and in 1926, Rolex created the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch named “Oyster” featuring a protective and hermetically sealed case. In 1933 Rolex patented the world’s first ingenious self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor that continues to this day to be at the heart of every modern automatic watch.

The Submariner was the first divers’ watch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres with a rotatable bezel showing the diver their immersion time. Renowned underwater explorer and film-maker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau was featured prominently wearing a pre-launch Submariner in his documentary film “The Silent World” that won an Academy Award in 1957.

JC Rolex

In 2003, a special model was introduced by Rolex (No.16610V) to celebrate the first 50 years of the Submariner model and it features a green bezel insert. Despite subtle design changes, including a ceramic bezel, the most recent version of the Submariner (no. 116610) launched in 2010 continues in loyal homage to the 1953 original model.

See here from the guys at http://www.Watchfinder.co.uk is an amazing video featuring the dismantling, clearing and reassembling of a Rolex Submariner. Dismantling a Rolex Submariner Now understanding that each watch takes over a year to build and test, I suspect that the price tag is warranted as even a new Rolex Submariner can be worth more than was paid for it!

As we approach the festive season our loved ones may be giving serious thought to parting with some hard earned cash and spoiling us with a Rolex. The one pariah that has been in the back ground of those who enjoy fine watches in recent years are the developments in, particularly the Chinese market’s ability to reproduce luxury items: leather bags, fine silk scarf, watches and motor cars – yup…. if in doubt Google “Land Wind”….staggering.

So here, also from the guys at http://www.Watchfinder.co.uk is a fascinating and very comprehensive video helping us to identify a fake from a genuine Rolex Submariner – now no one should get caught out! How to Spot a Fake Rolex Submariner

As I have said in our “About” section not all of the iconic and design classics featured in Aestheticons are currently in my possession. However, in a few months I celebrate a “special birthday” and who knows……When it does I will be able to gush appropriately in these pages about the many and varied thrills that I am assured are certain to occur…..

As a post script, ok call me a sucker for some great piece of marketing, but please check out this James Cameron piece for Rolex SA – James Cameron’s Rolex Submariner

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images from Rolex, Watchfinder and Jake’s Rolex World’s

Baseball Caps

ny-yankees-cap

Frankly, whilst I love baseball caps and have several cherished examples, I don’t really think they suit me. Its like my head is the wrong shape or my ears protrude but trust me that doesn’t stop me.

I particularly like the design classic and iconic, New York Yankees cap and I have had two, both reliably sized 7 1/2 inches. Both are classic New era 59/FIFTY fitted caps (a design that dates from 1954) , with my first being purchased in the early 1980’s from a store in New York, it’s a deep boiled melton 100% wool that has gradually shrunk but stayed colour fast despite surviving ski trip snow storm. My second from the New York Yankees store off Times Square which is now 100% polyester.

For many outside the US they may not even connect the cap with baseball – where the sport is less known. The appearance of the cap, titled side ways or backwards on a rappers head, in gold or silver as an essential accessory to a cat walk show, the cap’s reach is much more than a piece of sportswear. Go ahead ask any non-affionado about Babe Ruth Joe DiMaggio or Derek Jeter.

The NY Yankees caps are often seen in the media on noted fans like Tom Cruise wearing them in movies such as in 2013’s “Oblivion”. Having been to Yankee Stadium there is every chance you’ll see celebrity fans appearing on the huge TV screens. During a recent visit preceded by the playing of “You Can Call me Al” was a smiling and cap wearing Paul Simon.

Paul Simon NY

Even the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York has created, with the guys from New Era, a special limited edition (at $48.00 plus p&p) New York Yankee/MoMA cap.

Moma NY cap

The New Era Cap Company was founded in Buffalo (New York) by Ehrhardt Koch in 1920. He had borrowed $5,000 from an aunt to start on his own. Koch’s first production took place on the third floor of 1830 Genesee Street in Buffalo and in the first year 60,000 caps were made.

The first Major League Baseball (MLB) caps were first manufactured in 1934 with the first licensor being Cleveland Indians. The 59/FIFTY On-field caps first became available to the general public in 1978. In 1993, New Era were granted an MLB wide license to make all MLB teams on field caps with an equivalent deals from the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) was signed in 2012 and 2017, respectively.

NO Saints

I particularly like the NFL team, New Orlean Saints, and the “Fleur de Lys” logo on their caps. Get your own one here by clicking the following AMAZON link NFL New Orleans Saints Heather Crisp 9FORTY Adjustable Cap, One Size, Black Heather

1996 the film director, Spike Lee, specifically asked New Era for a red New York Yankees cap – not a team colour – an event that is seen as the dawn of a new era which saw the New York Yankees cap becoming associated as much with the streets as the ball park.

Spike Lee NY

Get you own New York Yankees Cap by clicking the following AMAZON link New Era Cap | 9FIFTY Snapback | New York Yankees | Navy/White (Medium – Large)

Photo credit to the New Era Cap Company

Fiat 500 – 1957-2017

Old Fiat 500

Like many well designed iconic products a sixtieth anniversary not only surpasses the all too frequent 50th – recent milestones include The Beatles “Sgt Pepper” – please see here our previous post Peter Blake and Jann Haworth – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” , BBC’s Radios 1 and 2, the first ATM (cash machine) and the launch of McDonalds in Canada – but the longevity of a product with sixty years under its belt truly says something about its core appeal and durability. Even if it is re-imagined in the process.

Such is the accolade that the fabulous Fiat 500 celebrated in July this summer when the the stunning Dante Giacosa designed first iteration the Nuova 500 was launched, succeeding the Topolino and, in an 18 year total production run, sold over 4 million cars.

 

At under ten feet (less than 3m) long, with “suicide doors” and a roll-back roof its minute 479cc two-cylinder engine produced just 13 horsepower. I can bear testimony to the power of this sprightly little vehicle to whisk a car load of not small people and too much luggage – shooting too many red lights in the process – around the melting tarmac of Rome’s streets.

fiat_trepiuno

Roberto Giolito’s 2004 concept, the Fiat Trepiuno, paved the way for design guru, Frank Stephenson – who also designed the iconic new Mini – to re-imagine the Fiat 500. The new car was launched on 4th July 2007 to great acclaim, winning Car’s “Car of the Year 2007”.

new Fiat 500 blue

Both the original 500 and its later incarnation have appeared in a number of guises including as Abarth special editions. The later model, which underwent some restyling in 2016, has also been styled as a Riva version – after the eponymous boat-yard – please see here our previous post Fiat 500 Riva.

 

Images courtesy of Fiat

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks