Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wearing and Maintaining Mechanical Watches

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 40mm

Setting your watch

  1. Don’t wind or set the time on your wrist, as it may put lateral strain on the stem.  Take the watch off your wrist, then set the time.
  2. Don’t overwind.  Consult your manual for the optimal number of turns (modern Seiko watches recommend 20 full rotations).
  3. Don’t set the date between 9pm and 2am, as you may break the date-change mechanism.  When setting the date, change the time first to somewhere outside of this range. 
  4. Don’t set the time backwards.
  5. Avoid watch winders, as they continuously strain the watch’s winding mechanism. Let the watch stop when you're not wearing it, and set the time when you're wearing it. That said, it's probably a good idea to have a quartz watch handy, for when you need to grab-and-go. 

What to Avoid: Water and the Elements

  1. Avoid water if your watch is not water-resistant.  Pay attention to specific instructions by your manufacturer about how much water pressure your watch handle, even if your watch is water-resistant.  If you wear a watch in the pool, while the water may not harm your watch, chlorine can still be damaging.
  2. DO NOT pull on the crown of the watch while underwater, even if your watch is a diver watch or water-resistant. This will cause water to flood the inside of your watch. 
  3. Avoid showering with your watch. Shampoo and soap can be harmful for the gears. 
  4. Seals to resist water can also crack over time, so just be careful and remember to schedule your regular maintenance, including pressure tests and (if necessary) gasket replacements.
  5. Mechanical parts may shift with shocks and hard impact. Don’t split wood, work power tools, play physical impact sports, while wearing mechanical watches.
  6. Don’t place your mechanical watch in close proximity to strong magnets like those found in speakers, TV, or your iPad. Most modern watches are magnetic resistance, but still be wary of strong magnets
  7. DO NOT start the chronograph underwater. Timing underwater should be done with a uni-directional bezel rather than the chronograph pushers. Pressing the pushers underwater can compromise the seal, allowing water into the movement, causing rust that can damage the dial or internal gears.


Like any car, mechanical watches need regular cleanings and oil changes to continue running effectively.  Maintenance costs vary depending on brand and complications, but most watchmakers recommend regular maintenance every 5-7 years.

Cross-threading the Crown

  • A very common way to damage the crown, other than pulling it at the wrong angle, is when you are threading it back in. Not all watches have a screw down crown but if yours does, be cautious when closing it. The crown can become jammed and cause permanent damage.  Modern Rolex watches have intricate stems specifically designed to avoid cross-threading.
  • A crown that is slightly out of alignment can allow water to get into the movement and dial, causing further damage. To avoid cross-threading and jamming the crown, take your time while screwing it back in, avoiding force. Crowns typically rotate 1.5 full turns and could be up to three. Be careful of screwing the crown too tightly, it could also become impossible to unscrew! 
  • I usually turn the crown backward first to make sure it will enter the thread smoothly when I push and turn clockwise to screw it down. If in the middle of screwing down there's a resistance, that means the thread was not entered into the thread smoothly from the beginning. Move backward again to release the crown and start it all over again from the beginning, otherwise the thread will be stripped.
  • If the crown doesn't screw in all the way and doesn't lock and seal properly, the crown is cross-threaded and need replacement. Water resistance is also affected so don't take it in water. 

Friday, March 03, 2017

"Trumped-up" Trickle Down Economics

Pretty much.

The theory propped by Trump and Paul Ryan: lowering taxes for businesses and wealthy individuals leaves more cash in their pockets, spurring more investment and hiring, and boosting growth -- which in turn would also generate new tax income to pay for the cuts. Win-win-win!

Supply-side economics, also known as trickle-down economics or Reaganomics, have been debunked. The simple reason is that regressive tax cuts doesn't have large enough broad economic multiplier.   In other words: If you give $20,000 to someone who makes $30,000 a year, he or she will spend the extra income on food, clothes, education, and healthcare; but give the same money to someone who makes $1m, and that extra money will probably just sit in a bank.  Others went even further:
There is no evidence that the previous repatriation tax giveaway put Americans to work, and substantial evidence that it instead grew executive paychecks, propped up stock prices, and drew more money and jobs offshore,” said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the [Senate Subcommittee on Investigations], in a statement [in 2011].Those who want a new corporate tax break claim it will help rebuild our economy, but the facts are lined up against them.”

Furthermore, the mythical growth benefits of lowering taxes are largely long-term. As a matter of policymaking, in the short-term, the revenue shortfall from tax cuts would need to be paid for -- or else expenditure cuts (i.e. fiscal austerity) would be unavoidable.  Tax cuts generally never pay for themselves in long-term growth.

Proponents often cite strong economic expansion of the Reagan era, which was driven by decreased marginal taxes and looser regulations.  However, economist Paul Krugman argued that the growth was driven by Paul Volcker's monetary policy and favorable business cycle as unemployment rebounds from a high peak.  Federal spending notably expanded (from 20 to 22% of GDP), and public debt balooned (from 26% to 41% of GDP), implying Keynesian economics at work between 1980 and 1988.

The state of Kansas is already ailing from ill-advised, five-year tax policy experiment.  Clearly tax breaks are no substitute for pro-growth policy of actually building an environment conducive to creating good quality jobs. Otherwise, the United States may end up just like Trump's many past businesses.