As my plane touched down at JFK Airport in NY, I was eagerly anticipating my upcoming dinner in Manhattan. My journey started several hours earlier and was delayed by a malfunction on the Delta aircraft I was scheduled to fly on.
I was (ultimately) rerouted to another Delta flight, consumed a portion of my inflight meal (they SAID it was chicken), and was hoping to soon be reunited with my luggage. Ha! Ha! After filling out the lost luggage forms, I caught a cab to my friends’ place in Queens, then boarded the subway for the short ride to Grand Central,
where I was met by William Massena, and shortly thereafter, by Michael Friedberg. We proceeded to a well-known Manhattan restaurant, the Tribeca Grill, owned by actor Robert DeNeiro, and in the bar met the remaining member of our party, Olecrewdog, who bought us all a round of drinks. Michael Friedberg gave me several open-end watch bands he had obtained for my IWC Mark XI, allowing me to retire the awful NATO strap which came with it.
After a short post stay in the bar, we were taken to our table in the dining room. Many topics were discussed at dinner, primarily involving watches and various friends who on Timezone. Michael Friedberg and I compared our IWC Mark Elevens;
Michael’s, which came out of England, had recently been restored by Jack Freedman. The story of Jack’s restoration of this watch has been detailed in a bulletin board post placed by Michael a month ago. My Mark XI had just arrived from Australia, having been supplied by Shonie Herbath of Armadale Watch Gallery. This watch was already in superb condition and did not require further restoration on receipt. A comparison of our two Mark Elevens show them to be very different watches, made in different eras; Michaels was produced early on in the production run, but mine is much newer, probably dating from the early 1980s. One of these days I’ll have the back removed, and check the serial number to be certain. The cases and dials are different in subtle and not so subtle ways. Michael’s case is somewhat shiny chrome plated on copper, whereas mine is brushed stainless steel. The shape and size of the case is also subtly different. Michael’s dial has the older design, with the “broad arrow” under the “12,” and with the “T” (for tritium) circled and above the “6.” The “T” on mine is smaller and below the “6,” next to “Swiss,” and there is no broad arrow. It may or may not have been of military issue.
William wore an absolutely immaculate vintage JLC Futurematic, an early bumper automatic.
To my eyes this was the standout watch of the evening – you would never guess how old the watch really is.
Olecrewdog wore an IWC Mark Twelve on strap, and told us he had just successfully bid on a Mark Eleven in a London auction, and expected delivery in a short while. Coincidentally I wore mine daily for a week, during my entire NY visit, and found it to be an absolutely wonderful watch I could easily wear everyday. It even keeps good time by modern standards (+5 to +7 sec/day). The food was excellent, and other than for my ill-fated choice of a mediocre Spanish red wine (thanks a lot, Robert Parker!!), the balance of the meal was uneventful, we paid our bill, and departed in taxis as this very enjoyable evening drew to a close.