Mark Palmer July 2, 2015 News 4 Comments
Unless you are British the first part of that headline will mean nothing to you. ‘Six Of The Best’ refers to corporal punishment in all-boy schools in Britain up to 1987. It was thankfully finally banned in the country in that year.
Corporal punishment could involve a paddle on the buttocks – ‘Six Of The Best’, or in the case of the Jesuit College I attended in North London – the ferula. A ferula resembles the insole of a size 15 shoe, made of dense leather about 1/2″ thick. At St. Ignatius College in Stamford Hill the ferula was administered for everything from forgetting to submit homework to telling wanking jokes within earshot of a priest or brother. And at the age of 11 wanking is no joking matter – it’s serious business.
Looks great on a black school blazer. The St. Ignatius School badge.
The ferula was was applied to the hands. And in the hands of its worst exponents it would leave you unable to write for hours. I hope that whoever invented the ferula is rotting in hell. But since I don’t believe in hell, or heaven, he or she isn’t. It’s at times like this I wish I wasn’t an atheist – for a split second. Then I come to my senses.
Alfred Hitchcock went to the same school decades before me. I think I know where he came up with some of his plots. Other notable alumni were George Martin, producer of The Beatles; Adrian Smith, one time Iron Maiden guitarist and Bernard Butler, songwriter and guitarist with Suede.
Now here’s the rub. The punishment was not administered on the spot. The action took place either at lunchtime or after the school day ended. Lucky recipients (litotes alert – ed.) would have to write on a small piece of paper known as a ‘chit’. The layout was rote and immutable. From left to right, top to bottom:
A.M.D.G (Ad majorem dei gloriam. To the greater glory of God. The motto of the Jesuits). Next the date, then center field the number of ferulas – typically six-of the worst. Bottom left went the lucky recipient’s name and bottom right the name of the donor. The recipient would then have 24 hours to go to an assigned classroom and receive the punishment.
Wikepedia incorrectly notes in an entry about the school that “offenders were given a week to decide when they would receive their ferula, (sic) otherwise additional punishment was liable to be added.” The author must have had his memory severely jostled by too many ferulas.
Brother McGeady was one of the most generous donors of the ferula. I recall he once ‘ordered’ me six for joking around in class. Of course I ‘forgot’ to get them for 12 days. Unfortunately he remembered and added six for each of the forgotten days, for a total of 72. He relented after I received 24. Nice guy.
So why am I telling you all this? Partly as catharsis, but mainly to explain the meaning of ‘Six Of the Best.’ Which brings me to the serious business of watches. Below are six watches which I think represent exceptional value. And as always these are all watches that I would wear – yes even the ladies entry. People think I’m wearing ladies watches anyway when I sport vintage Bulova mens’ watches, so I don’t give a toss.
I am a big fan of the Discount Watchstore. They are a real brick-and-mortar shop in Milford, Connecticut. You can go through a door and actually look at watches in their showroom. They are rated A+ by the Connecticut Better Business Bureau and they are also a large presence on the internet. What’s even better is that they sell watches I like at reasonable prices.
So what do I get out of this? Full disclosure. If you buy a watch from them I get 8% commission. This site costs more than a few buck each month to host and post. But I refuse to recommend anything that I wouldn’t buy myself if I was in the market for that particular style of watch. And the 8% doesn’t come out of what you pay for the watch. I feel good about that.
So here they are, six very different watches that I think represent outstanding value for money. In alphabetical order they are:
Bulova 96A135 Men’s Grey Dial 21 Jewel Automatic.
Style in spades. Bulova still has it.
Almost designed for the gentleman diver, this medium-sized, very solid, stainless steel encased watch shows that Bulova still has the style they established almost a century ago. 42mm across with a lug-to-lug measurement of 48mm. The 96A135 has a fixed bezel and an oversized crown.
Like so many watches these days it has an exhibition back exposing the Japanese 21 jewel movement, and an ‘open heart’ on the dial showing the balance wheel. There’s an offset sub dial with a second hand and a 12/24-hour time function. And you can get your feet wet to the tune of 100 feet.
BUY IT NOW
List price $450.
DWS Price $245.19. Includes free shipping anywhere in the US.
Hamilton H70455553 Men’s Field Khaki Automatic.
A watch that means business. The tough military style Hamilton
Like Bulova, Hamilton have been a US watch-making icon since the late 1800’s. The Hamilton H70455553 khaki Field men’s watch is designed for serious use and some abuse. The military styling says it all. At 38mm bezel to bezel it’s on the medium-size side. The watch is powered by a Swiss made automatic movement and has an exhibition caseback. It also features a shiny silver dial with luminous hands and black Arabic numeral hour markers along with the date display at 3 o’clock. The crystal is scratch resistant sapphire. And if you’re a water sign you are good to 330ft.
BUY IT NOW
List Price $575. DWS Price $431.25. Includes free shipping anywhere in the US.
Invicta 14684 Men’s Pro Diver Automatic.
Fast and bulbous. The Invicta 14684 Dive watch is no shrinking Violet.
Fast and bulbous, like a squid in a polyethylene bag, as the incomparable Captain Beefheart once said. This watch makes its presence felt. It’s over two inches wide and 2/3″ thick.
When you compare the suggested list price and the street price you realize just how large of a mark up there is on watches – $795 versus $172.50. Is it worth $795? No, but it’s a steal at $172.50 especially when you consider that you can cavort with Octopi – or squid – down to 660 feet. An automatic Japanese movement powers this pup and hides behind a carbon fiber semi-skeleton dial.
BUY IT NOW
List Price $795. DWS Price $172.50 Includes free shipping anywhere in the US
Kenneth Cole KC9374 Men’s New York Skeleton Dial.
The skeleton comes out of the closet. The Kenneth Cole Skeleton dial.
I’m not usually a fan of foo foo watches made for fashion designers, but whoever came up with this watch got it right. This watch has a soul and a great look, right down to the skeleton back revealing a 21 jewel movement
The watch is 44mm wide and fairly deep at 13mm. It comes with a silver stainless steel bracelet.
In the unlikely event that you feel the overpowering need to wander into the water, you’re good to 160 feet. And a 45 hour power reserve means that you can leave it on the dresser for a couple of days.
BUY IT NOW List price $225. DWS Price $115.41. Includes free shipping anywhere in the US.
Orient ER24008B Men’s Bambino Automatic.
The Orient Bambino. A most tasty timepiece.
When you think large-scale Japanese mechanical watch production you think of Seiko. Yet Orient kicks their arse – currently making almost 500 automatic watches to Seiko’s 70. They also make all their movements in house, and only for their own watches.
Orient watches have street prices of about $50 to more than $2,500. So there’s something here for everyone. And this is one that I would wear in a heartbeat.
The style of Orient ER24008B Bambino is classy – very 1950’s. With a rose gold ion-plated solid stainless steel case. The watch is 41mm across and 12mm deep with a lug-to-lug measurement of 46mm. The Roman numeral hour markers are discreet and a date only window adds to the classic feel. Motive power is Orient’s in-house Japanese made 48743 automatic movement.
BUY IT NOW List price $280. DWS Price $168.20. Includes free shipping anywhere in the US.
Orient NR1Q004W Women’s Charlene Automatic.
Elegant and be-jeweled. One for the ladies.
There aren’t many affordable women’s mechanical watches out there. Perhaps watch companies think that women want batteries to be included. Orient makes only four – but 488 mechanical watches for men. A little unbalanced perhaps?
The Charlene is the dressiest of the four. Housed in a polished steel case with a lug-to-lug measurement of 38mm, this model employs Orient’s automatic movement 55741. The hour markers are faux diamonds and the dauphine shaped hands are luminous. ‘Water Resist’, as the dial announces, to 160 feet.
BUY IT NOW
List Price $235. DWS Price $125.64. Includes free shipping anywhere in the US.