Reading A Vernier Caliper

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I got a plastic vernier caliper for measuring watch parts. I got a plastic one because it’s (1) cheaper and (2) it will not scratch the watch.

A caliper is a device used to measure the distance between two opposite sides of an object. A vernier scale is a device that lets the user measure more precisely than could be done unaided when reading a uniformly-divided measurement scale (such as a ruler). A vernier caliper is therefore a caliper equipped with a vernier scale for precision measurements.

It has a main scale (in this case, in mm), a sliding vernier scale (in this case, with graduations that correspond to 0.05mm), inside jaws (upper, smaller jaws on picture) or the outside jaws (lower, bigger jaws on photo).

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The inside jaws is for measuring the distance from inside of objects like lug widths (inside distance between the lugs of a watch). The outside jaws is used for measuring from outside of objects like length, width, height, case diameter, and lug-to-lug distance (distance between the tip of the top lugs to the tip of the bottom lugs).

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Simply slide and position the jaws lightly on the object to be measured and read the scale. In this case, the “0” index on the vernier scale points a bit over 41mm on the main scale. How much is a bit over? Find the index on the vernier scale that lines up with the index on the main scale. In this case, it’s 2. Thus the distance is 41mm + 0.2mm or 41.2mm (with a ±0.05mm error).

That’s all there is to it :)


First Impression: Apple Watch Sport

apple-watch-sport - 10I got my hands on Edong’s Apple Watch Sport and, with his permission, I unboxed it, took some photos, and played with it a bit.

The packaging is unusually big and bulky for Apple who have been steadily reducing the size of their product packaging for years. But it seems to be part of their premium and luxury message for the Apple Watch.

The 42mm case is rectangular and made of aluminium with a space grey anodized coating. Everything is smooth and rounded with no sharp edges or corners to be seen or felt. Knowing beforehand that it is 42mm, I wasn’t expecting that it would be quite small and light. But it is.

The Ion-X screen covers the whole face and is rounded at the edges. It is black and shiny when off and the display is very sharp when on. Nice to look at in either state. It has force-touch which means touching it with varying levels of force result in different actions. It is also very responsive though force-touching needs some getting used to.

The digital crown on the right side is big and quite effortless to turn and push. So with the other button.

The back has those scifi-looking sensors for reading your heart-rate.

The strap is black silicone rubber with a clever clasp. You button it on and slip the excess strap under the clasp. Very neat. And you can change straps or bracelets without any tools.

The whole watch is well-built. It looks and feels the high-end device you expect from Apple. Even more, it looks and feels like a futuristic device from science fiction. But aside from small nods to traditional watches it doesn’t pretend to be a watch but instead steps ahead and defines itself as a new class of wrist wear, the so-called smartwatch.

It looks like Apple has another winner on its hand (or wrist).

Orient Mako

orient makoSince the demise of my Suunto Observer, I’ve been looking on-and-off for a stainless steel watch that is more casual and less toolish than my Casio G-Shock. After a whole lot of research, I finally got an Orient Mako.

Heard of Orient? I haven’t until fairly recently. Orient is supposedly Japan’s largest manufacturer of mechanical watches. It was founded in 1950. Since 2001, it has been a subsidiary of Seiko Epson Corporation, one of three core companies of the Seiko Group. But it operates independently from Seiko Watch which is owned by Seiko Holdings, another core company of the Seiko Group. It has its own product line and manufactures its movements in-house. To me that means it is a serious watch maker instead of someone who designs the outer bits and just throws in someone else’s movements.

The Mako uses the Orient Cal. 46943 movement. It is a tried and tested automatic movement but it doesn’t have manual winding and hacking (stopping the seconds hand). However a few shakes is all it takes to get the watch started and you can approximate hacking by very slowly turning the  crown clockwise when adjusting the time. The movement also has day and date complications with quick set. The day is set is done via a pusher at 2 o’clock. The date is set the conventional way by pulling the crown further out and turning it.

The dial is a very deep metallic blue with a radial ray pattern. It is absolutely gorgeous to look at. On the upper half of the dial there’s an applied Orient logo and just below it is “Orient” and just below it “Automatic” in script. On the lower half, there’s “Water Resist” in script and just below it “200m”. It has big applied Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12 hours and rectangular indices for the remaining hours. All are chrome-outlined and lumed. The hour and minute sword hands are also chrome-outlined and lumed. The seconds hand is chromed with a red arrow tip. No lume this time.

The bezel is a deep blue and often appears black in dim lighting. It is unidirectional with 60 clicks. It has scalloping all around with slightly bigger scallops at the 5 minute mark and every 10 minutes onward. The scalloping appear to have been stamped instead of machined. Or maybe it was overpolished. Anyway, the result is that the scallop edges are smooth and makes it a bit harder to grip and turn the bezel.

The 41.5mm case is round and made of stainless steel. The sides and bottom are mirror polished while top is circular brushed. The face, unfortunately, is just mineral glass. The caseback has nicely detailed engravings including the Orient logo. The screw-down crown is big and easy to grip. It is signed with the Orient logo. The day pusher has a screw-down collar that prevents accidental pushing and changing of the day (and flooding if you were underwater).

The bracelet is stainless steel and based on the popular Oyster design. It has polished sides and brushed top and bottom. The links are solid (not folded) but the end links are not. Adjustment is done with split pins. The clasp is made of sheet steel. It has a triple locking design and signed on the outside with the Orient logo.

The overall look and feel of the watch is unmistakably that of a quintessential dive watch as heavily influenced by the (in)famous Rolex Submariner. But it is different enough to have its own identity and just as refined enough to be worn on a day to day basis and not just on dives.

But the best thing is that for all these good qualities, it is a quite a bargain at less than $200.

Rating: 5/5


Two iPhones and a Watch

As widely expected, Apple announce the iPhone 6 at their September 9 event. Actually two iPhones. Specifications-wise, they’re actually average. So they’re quite disappointing to some (and always disappointing to Android fans). The features are pretty much normal for other (read: Android) phones. It doesn’t even have QHD (1440×2560) which some Android flagship phones like the LG G3 already have.

But Apple doesn’t usually go for bleeding edge technology for the sake of it. Why go beyond overboard with the pixels per inch (ppi) when you can make just the same (or actually much much more) revenue for less cost (of high-resolution displays). You probably can’t even tell the difference (I know I can’t) when holding the phone at normal usage distance.

Why use new technologies when they’re still unstable and potentially ruin the all-important user experience? Why offer 802.11ac when most installed routers and access points don’t support it? Why offer NFC when there’s no business case and corresponding strategy for it? But now they have Apple Pay, which was announced on the event.

But people are asking for bigger phones because of more media consumption (to quote a friend) and so they delivered a big phone and a bigger phone.

I do hope they will offer a smaller version for us who still like our things small and beautiful. Unfortunately, other than the display size and the NFC, the iPhone 6 and 6 plus are more incremental  improvements. So for now the iPhone 5s neatly fills in the slot for a small phone in the product range. That may show up on next year’s iPhone 6 upgrade or in two years on the iPhone 7 range.

But the big thing during the event was the now classic “one more thing”: the Apple Watch. It’s actually more of a fitness/health monitor with extra functionality which just happens to include telling time. Or you can also say it’s a watch because it watches your fitness/health :P In terms of the target market, it’s quite clear from the photos and videos they used: it is for the fashionable millennial fitness buff. And boy did they nail it!

The Apple Watch offers two case sizes (women’s and men’s), three case materials (stainless steel, aluminum, and gold) and a whole bunch of straps. Strap it on for the gym (or the route) along with the rest of your trendy gym wear, look fab doing your sets, and then go off to work and/or the coffee shop. If you’re still wearing your Apple Watch by then, even better. For Apple. Of course that would depend on the battery life on which Apple was silent. But if it’s better than the generally dismal battery life of most other, if not all, smartwatches, then Apple has a winner.

Most have known, or at least suspected that Apple is not just a hardware company, is not just a software company, but a lifestyle company. If you’re not convinced look at the iPod, the iPhone, U2, the iTunes festival, Beats, and now the Apple Watch which further reinforces that identity.

So a word of advice to Samsung and company: you’re not competing against a phone, you’re competing against a lifestyle. Good luck!