Fifty-two years ago, an aviation medicine student called Bob, studying to a be a doctor on a US naval base in the Marshall Islands, bought a watch for himself. At the time the Rolex Submariner cost him $70 (around Rs.3,160), not cheap by any means. But being an avid diver himself he wanted a diving watch that was designed for prolonged use under water.
Then earlier this month, he decided to sell the old watch along with some other personal belongings on eBay. The auction began at $9.95 for the old watch without a reserve price. And ended on 5 December, much to Bob’s surprise, at $66,100. Turns out that the watch is an extremely rare model made famous by Sean Connery in the James Bond movies. Few pieces ever come up for auction and fewer still that are being sold by the original owner.
Submariner: From the starting price of $9.95, Bob’s piece was auctioned for $66,100.
There was some controversy over the authenticity of the watch. But Bob, who prefers not to share his last name, sent watch blog Hodinkee.com several pictures of him wearing the piece over the years. This has helped quell doubters, but also will probably push more people to rummage in their cupboards and storerooms for more such treasures.
— Sidin Vadukut
Rare documentaries from the world are a click away at a specialized Indian portal
Since September, Sophy Sivaraman’s website, Sophodok.com, has become the go-to destination for documentary film lovers in the know. Sophodok sells DVDs of documentaries that are otherwise usually confined to the festival circuit. Sivaraman and her partners’ passion for the form is the website’s driving force: She believes the documentary is the only non-corporatized media format left and wants to introduce it to students as an alternative to “compromised” storytelling forms. Spotted in their store: Deepa Bhatia’s Nero’s Guests (Rs560), the Romanian Andrei Dascalescu’s Constantin and Elena (Rs350) and Audrius Stonys and Arnas Matelis’ Lithuanian Flight over Lithuania (Rs350). The site entertains orders from across India.
— Supriya Nair
Get over ‘Farmville’
Finally, games that won’t make you look like vacuous Facebook addicts
Is there a more shame-inducing online taunt than “Farmville addict”?
Zynga’s pastoral simulator may be a runaway hit, but it’s dragged Facebook games down to an intellectual vacuum. The site is now plagued with legions of imitators and cheap cash-ins—from crime romps to café simulators. Zynga’s new title, Cityville, seems to be pretty much a continuation of the firm’s previous efforts, and is already on course to be the next big Facebook hit. But a new slew of announced Facebook titles are infusing some much-needed creativity into the genre. Here are three you won’t be ashamed of getting hooked to:
Set in a dark, alternate London, ‘Echo Bazaar’ is a fantastically written romp through noirish urban fantasy, Lovecraftian lore and Victorian weirdness. It’s also one of the most inclusive video games out there, with a smart set of diverse characters and a welcome openness to themes involving queer politics.
Yes, it’s a year late and yes, we still have no idea how it works, but Sid Meier rarely lets us down. And this is the famed ‘Civilization’ franchise we’re talking about. Even if a fraction of its deep, strategic gameplay, historical sweep and intelligent mechanics translate to the upcoming Facebook variant, the world will be a better place.
An official ‘Monty Python’ video game. Need we say more? We do?
Ok, ‘The Ministry of Silly Games’ is a collection of gloriously silly mini games based on the Monty Python universe, drawing on skits from comedy classics such as ‘The Holy Grail’. “For years, people have wondered what it would be like to catapult livestock at French fortresses or play Russian roulette with an upper-class twit,” Python troupe member Terry Jones said in an interview. “Well, now they finally can, thanks to ‘The Ministry of Silly Games’.”
— Krish Raghav
At the forthcoming India Art Summit, the people’s car is a kitschy sculpture
Artist’s impression: Patel uses Indian pop art iconography in the piece. Courtesy Indigo Blue Art
It may not have the mileage and the desired number of takers, but the Nano continues to make statements. It is now an artist’s muse. The Singapore-based, Kenyan-born artist Ketna Patel is part of a new generation of Indian diaspora artists who are drawing on India for inspiration. Her latest is an installation titled Stop! Indians Ahead that uses the Tata Nano as its canvas.
The “people’s car for the masses” wrapped in pop art will be presented by the Singapore gallery Indigo Blue Art at the forthcoming edition of the India Art Summit (20-23 January).
Stop! Indians Ahead is meant to be a candid portrayal of the lives of everyday Indians. Patel’s kitsch imagery has been transferred on to the car in mosaic by the Italian mosaic company SICIS using a method similar to that employed by artisans of the Byzantine period. The collaboration has resulted in rendering the new iconic Nano a symbolic “jewel for the masses”.
In addition to presenting the Nano at the summit (an identical car will be produced for the Tata Collection), Indigo Blue Art will be showcasing Patel’s work in its booth: 3D collages on wood and limited-edition acrylic screen prints.
— Anindita Ghose
Happy feet: Black Nappa leather ‘Marine’ stilettos with 15 circles of crystal to signify the anniversary year, Rs95,000.
Old bling in a new, edgy avatar in Jimmy Choo’s latest anniversary collection
Jimmy Choo brings bling back in its 15th anniversary commemorative collection. The Crystal Collection takes inspiration from the brand’s signature jewelled shoes, which catapulted it to iconic status. The bejewelled footwear has been modified to look edgy. From subtle glitter to full-blown, high-voltage sparkle, the dazzling collection includes pointy toe pumps and strappy stilettos. A cool way to strut this party season.
— Rachna Nakra
Get noticed in the new year in suits with a sheen
Men needn’t be outshone at events this year. Sporting shine and looking stylish will be easy in the coming season. Using a satin finish, polyester and silk blends and fabrics coated with lurex, designer duo Rohit and Abhishek showed some radiant bandhgala suits at the recent Men’s Fashion Week in New Delhi. According to Rohit Kamra, shiny suits are the way to go this season. “It’s a great way to stand out at any wedding or party,” he says.
If you want to tone it down, get a combination of matte with shine with either the trouser or the jacket in a lustrous fabric. Or there can just be a panel or patch of shine on a matte suit. Balance the look with a simple shirt and a slim, textured tie.
Designer Troy Costa likes to blend silk for that glossy look. “Wearing a tuxedo in this finish with a cravat or a bow tie is the perfect look for a red carpet event,” he says.
— Rachna Nakra
Fuss over time
Wrist wrap: A piece from the Tarun Tahiliani collection.
The watch to match your vibrant bandhni lehenga or elegant chikankari sari may be hard to find. The Tarun Tahiliani and Timex wristwatch collection, which started retailing recently, has 14 styles, some of which have traditional jadau work with encrusted stones and pearls. Choose your watch from Tarun Tahiliani, a bridal collection (R15,000-30,000), or OTT by Timex, a ready-to-wear collection (R12,000-18,000).
— Seema Chowdhry
They killed the CAPS LOCK!
Google’s new Chrome laptop says it can do without the Internet’s most beloved key. But can they get away with this?
In Google’s CR-48, the reference laptop for its upcoming Chrome operating system, there is a curious omission of THE GREATEST ENEMY OF CIVILITY ON THE INTERNET.
Yes, Google’s killing the Caps Lock key, replacing it with a “search” button.
A spokesperson for the company was quoted as saying that this will “improve the quality of comments on the Internet”, which, as explanations go, is as baffling as Chrome OS itself (a laptop running a locked-in browser? Really, Google? This took two years to build?). Of course, Caps Lock functionality can be restored if you really want it. But it’s an interesting experiment. Apple once thought, wrongly, that it could do away with the right mouse button. Can we, similarly, live without the Caps Lock?
— Krish Raghav