Feb 13

FEATURE: Valentines Day, version 2.0.13

Don't screw Valentine's Day up this year.  With our help.  Image from Thinkstock/iStockphoto.

Don’t screw Valentine’s Day up this year. With our help. Image from Thinkstock/iStockphoto.

It’s February.  The Superbowl just finished.  You have successfully paid back everything you put on your credit card for Christmas.

Life is good.

But before you decide to kick back and have a brew, we’ve got something for you to think about: Valentine’s Day.

Yup, the day which makes you think about temporarily breaking up with your girlfriend for some imaginary reason (or just telling your wife “let’s not get each other gifts this year”) is rearing up its ugly head again.

Just check all the department stores and grocery stores.  That shit is everywhere.

But to make things easier for our readers, we have hatched a plan to help you guys buy some of the best stuff out there (actually the best stuff that we can sell here on ESM… same thing) to make sure your Valentine’s day for 2013 is one that doesn’t end up in a raging fight (or worse, the silent treatment followed by a big-ass fight).

Additionally, to make sure we give you highly qualified suggestions, we used women to make the suggestions for us.  This way, we reduce the probability of you getting slapped or yelled at by the end of the evening (but no guarantees).

The rules we laid out were simple:

First, they had to find items from stores we could sell on ESM (good for you AND good for us).

Second, they had to find one or two items for each of the following price ranges:

  • Gifts under $50
  • Gifts from $51 – $150
  • Gifts $151 – $300
  • Gifts over $300

We’ll also give you a brief background on each woman so you can get a better understanding of each person as well.

Oh, and one last note, we’ve got a few pre-requisites for any of our readers who are thinking about buying Valentine’s day gifts:

  • Rule #1: You aren’t a stalker
  • Rule #2: The person you are buying these gifts for is someone you know and a woman who wants to receive gifts from you
  • Rule #3: You aren’t a stalker

Valentines List #1: The Bicoastal Traveller

Lisa is a good friend of ours who is a high-level executive for a mutinational company.   She used to live in New York, moved to the West Coast a few years ago and is now living by the beach.  She’s decisive, has a penchant for the finer things in life and travels throughout the United States on a regular basis.

Gifts under $50:

According to Lisa, “Girls love makeup and girls love things that smell good.  For gifts under $50, I don’t think you can ever go wrong with lip glosses and candles.”

Gifts from $51 – $150:

“Girls love things that smell good, if they know what perfume she wears, perfume, lotions, shower gel, sets of it, all of it is a good gift that could fall within this range. I also love lingerie, so things like this…”

Gifts $151 – $300:

Gifts over $300:

“Pick a designer… pick an item… you’ll have a winner.”

Valentines List #2: The Media Executive/Makeup Artist

Tammy is an executive for a large media company here in Los Angeles and was also featured in our WEEKLY FIX article series.  Originally from Chicago, Tammy is also a freelance stylist and makeup artist who works on both sides of the camera as a part-time model.

Gifts under $50:

Gifts from $51 – $150:

Gifts $151 – $300:

Gifts over $300:

Valentines List #3: The Creative Mindset

Ryelle is a very creative personality who works as a Director of Marketing for an international web design firm.  She also dabbles in modelling and is proficient in everything that has to do with graphic arts.

Gifts under $50:

Gifts from $51 – $150:

Gifts $151 – $300:

Gifts over $300:

Valentines List #4: My Wife

Of course I had to get the opinion of the most important woman in my life (with my mom coming in a close second, but I didn’t think you guys would care too much for those types of suggestions).  It also worked to my advantage because I didn’t have to guess about what to give her for Valentine’s day this year.

Gifts under $50:

Gifts from $51 – $150:

(The first two are actually a part of a set)

Gifts $151 – $300:

Gifts over $300:

(Ummm… the Bony Levy Diamond Tennis Necklace might have to be for another year.)

Hopefully with these gift ideas we help make Valentine’s Day a little easier for you this year.

But remember, even though you get her a badass gift – don’t forget the flowers!

It will guarantee her happiness (at least until the day after Valentine’s anyway – then you’re on your own).

Jan 13

FEATURE: Exotics Racing

Exotics Racing.  Where you can drive your dream car really, really fast.  Image from http://exoticsracing.com.

Exotics Racing. Where you can drive your dream car really, really fast. Image from http://exoticsracing.com.

So last year, not only did I miss SEMA (one of the greatest aftermarket shows in existence), I also missed out on getting to experience Exotics Racing first hand.

What is Exotics Racing, you ask?

Normally, when you use the word “Exotic” in Las Vegas, it usually refers to a stripper pole and lots of $20 bills.  In this case, the term is used in reference to exotic cars or supercars.

For those of you who have read an automotive magazine in the last 5 years, you’ve definitely seen their ads – they advertise the ability for Joe Shmoes like you and me to drive a six-figure sports car a few times around a track for a couple of hundred dollars.

I’ve seen the ads and have always wondered how the experience was.

Pick your poison.  Image from http://exoticsracing.com.

Pick your poison. Image from http://exoticsracing.com.

Today, we are fortunate to get a first-hand account from our friend Ian King, who got to drive some of the best cars in existence at Exotics Racing: an Audi R8 V10, an AMG SLS, a Mclaren MP4-12C and the Lamborghini Aventador.

But before we check out the video and his short write up on his experience, let me give you a brief background on Ian:

  • He’s a car guy, through and through
  • He’s one of the premier drifters in the Philippines
  • Not only does he do a ton of car videos (of things like him drifting supercars), he also sponsors a lot of car events
  • He also runs a car shop which intends to be the first company in the Philippines to bring in RWB Porsches

So in a word, he knows his cars.  Let’s check out his first hand account below:

I was pretty stoked to go to Exotics Racing to try out some super cars for the day.

I did all the reservations online and booked 5 cars.  Unfortunately, when I arrived at the location, the Nissan GTR was out of commission so my car reservation went down to 4.   On my list was the Audi R8 V10, AMG SLS, Mclaren MP4-12C and the Lamborghini Aventador.

(On a side note I could not turn off the traction control so I could not have any hoonigan moments and that each car was rigged to have a passenger brake pedal on the instructors side for times off disobedient students.)

I have been fortunate enough to track a Ferarri 458 extensively in the Shanghai F1 circuit last year, so I didn’t include the 458 on my list.  Additionally, I heard from the instructors the Lamborghini Gallardo Superlegerra LP570 and the new Porsche 911 were one of the easiest and most fun to drive cars on the lot.

Being a car lover I decided to put my money on cars I have never driven before…

I started off with the AMG SLS.  This car looks great and the v8 rumble is heaven when the throttle is wide open.  One of the things I didn’t like was the bad seating position for someone of my height (I’m 5’11).  My elbows kept hitting the seat bolsters because I wanted to keep the chair all the way back to accommodate my legs.

My personal rating for this car was a 5/10 and I don’t think I would ever want to own one.

Then I got into the Audi R8 v10 and I felt like Tony Stark.   The R8 handled really well through the track although the automatic gearbox felt slow and outdated.  I felt the engine needed to be revved all the way to redline to feel the speed.

I don’t know why, but to me this car felt slower than the other cars I had driven (maybe its because of the AWD system), but the steering and turn-in feeling was very neutral and solid.

I could easily see people having this car as an everyday supercar.   It was easy to get in and out, handled well, had great looks and was pretty comfortable.

My rating for this car would be a 6.5/10 but I don’t think I would buy one for my personal stable.

Next I moved to the all new Mclaren MP4-12C and I absolutely loved how the car looked.  Getting into the cockpit was a snug feeling, the layout and dash cluster was very neat and accurate, and you got a feeling of precision as soon as you sat in the driver’s seat.

I was expecting more from this car but in reality it wasn’t what I expected.

I think this car was made for precision skilled drivers – you have to treat it like a go kart because the car has a very light front end (something you need to be conscious about) and it was easy to understeer into the corner if you did not set your front end with the brakes.

On occassion, I would lock up the brakes because the pedal felt very sensitive. Power delivery from the engine was strong and smooth although it sounded a little dull for me.

Overall, my problem with turbocharged engines is that the turbo zaps out the driving sound from the engine and turns the V8 into something more like a high-revving v6.

The McLaren transmission was very solid, shifts were quick and without any delays.

My rating for this car would be a 7/10 but then again I don’t think I would ever want to own one of these cars either.

The last on my list was the Lamborghini Aventador.

This car was MAD, from the styling to the v12 to the driving. I really love the Aventador’s styling and felt Lamborghini really went on a limb when they designed the Aventador.

As a child I had the posters of the Diablo and Countach (which were cars way ahead of their time) and I had always been drawn to the ostentatious design of their cars.  In my opinion, they really nailed it on the head with this latest model.

If you’re planning to rent a supercar there is no other supercar like the Aventador.  From simply opening the doors to starting the v12 you know you’re in something truly special.

Granted the Aventador was one of the most expensive cars I have ever driven, it felt sublime.

The acceleration, shifting and sound was intoxicating.  The only downsides to the car were the restricted visibility, the width of the car, and the overall volume.  But in reality, these things were so minor, they didn’t bother me at all.

I fell in love and if I were to be able to afford one supercar the Lamborghini Aventador would be the one I would get.

This car gets a 10/10 for me and I would definitely love to own one just for the fact that it was such a menacing experience that I would never forget.

Now all I need to do is plan a bank heist so I can afford to get one!

All-in-all I enjoyed my experience with Exotics Racing.  Being able to experience all these cars without actually having to own them is a great way to get your supercar fix!

Hopefully next time I come back I can get some quiet time to share my experience to the viewers without being told what to do!

You can also check out the video he created from his experience with Exotics Racing here:

For more information on Exotics Racing, you can check out their official site at http://www.exoticsracing.com/.

Dec 12

FURNITURE: The Zeta Fireplace by EcoSmart Fire

Zeta fireplace by EcoSmart Fire image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Zeta fireplace by EcoSmart Fire image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…

Oh snap, wait, you don’t have a fire in your house.

Is it because they didn’t happen to have a fireplace built in your home?  Was it because you can’t afford your gas bill?  Or maybe it’s because you’re a nature loving hippie and don’t want to pay more cash to the man for something that can destroy the environment?

If the answer to questions 1 and 3 were “yes“, we have the solution for you – the Zeta Fireplace from EcoSmart Fire (if the answer to number 2 was “yes”, then you can skip this article entirely).

Can't get much sexier than this for a fireplace. Zeta fireplace Image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta

Can’t get much sexier than this for a fireplace. Zeta fireplace Image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta

For all you tree huggers, EcoSmart Fire fireplaces use Bioethanol.  From EcoSmart Fire’s official website:

Bioethanol – or simply ‘ethanol’ is a renewable energy source made by fermenting the sugar and starch components of plant by-products – mainly sugarcane and crops like grain, using yeast. It is also made from corn, potatoes, milk, rice, beetroot and recently grapes, banana and dates depending on the countries agricultural strength.

Bioethanol is completely composed of biological products. The combustion of bio ethanol results in a clean emission: Heat, Steam and Carbon Dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is absorbed by plants. It is then processed via photosynthesis to help the plant grow. This infinite cycle of creation and combustion of energy makes bio ethanol a carbon neutral fuel source.

For those of you who are unfortunate enough to not have a fireplace built into the house or room you are staying in, bioethanol allows these fireplaces by EcoSmart Fire to do away with things like a chimney (you can actually scoff at people that have them – “a chimney?!?!? That’s sooo last year):

Because the combustion of bio ethanol is clean you can lose the chimney and the flue and keep the heat – so most of the heat generated by the combustion of bioethanol gets to stay in the room – that’s what makes burning bioethanol so efficient and effective.

But of course, you will have an open flame in the middle of your house, so you should be careful even if you no longer need a chimney or a flue.

Stylish AND eco-friendly.  EcoSmart Fire's Zeta fireplace image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Stylish AND eco-friendly. EcoSmart Fire’s Zeta fireplace image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Our favorite design from EcoSmart Fire?

The Zeta.  It’s so futuristic and stylish.  It can also be a centerpiece to any room in your house.

Zeta fireplace - yes.  Polar bear rug - no.  Zeta fireplace image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Zeta fireplace – yes. Polar bear rug – no. Zeta fireplace image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Check out the video about the Zeta fireplace below:

Beautiful right?

It was designed by John Dimopoulos who was “the first architect in Australia to specify the EcoSmart Fire and has embraced the concept ever since”  and in 2009, this particular fireplace won the Design Award Australian International Design Awards (AUS).

Here’s the official description from EcoSmart Fire’s website:

Designed by John Dimopoulos, director of Geoform, the Zeta is a clever fusion of leather, stainless steel and glass. The body of the fireplace is shaped from a high frequency heated aluminium molded into a perfect arching cresent shape.

A ventless stainless steel firebox insert is rest inside the internal stainless steel shell, and the outer surface is upholstered in leather. Toughened glass screens sit either side of the fire enhance the stunning visual effect created by the flame.

With the Zeta, you can now match the leather, steel and glass in your bedroom to your fireplace (wait, you don’t have leather, steel and glass in your bedroom either? We need to talk).

Depending on your style, you can also select from three colors for the leather outer to match your room, from roast to onyx to amaretto.

So gangster.  Zeta fireplace image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

So gangster. Zeta fireplace image from http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

So here’s what we’re thinking for your bedroom – a Bang & Olufsen sound system.  A cal king made of dark wood with a super comfy matress.  A 60″ flat screen.  A Zeta fireplace from EcoSmart Fire.

Boom.  You’ll be so money you won’t even know it.

We just hope this room won’t be at your parents’ house, because the Zeta costs just under $11,000.  And you shouldn’t be living at your parents’ house if you can afford a fireplace that costs 11 grand.

For more information about the Zeta fireplace from EcoSmart fire, you can check out their official website at http://www.ecosmartfire.com/bioethanol-fireplace-products/designer-fireplaces/available-models/zeta.

Dec 12

FEATURE: James Lamdin from Analog/Shift

Gotta get a vintage timepiece once in your life. http://www.analogshift.com/.

To a true timepiece collector, no collection is complete without the addition of a vintage timepiece.

Much like vintage automobiles, a vintage timepiece not only is a part of a watch company’s heritage, but it also has a story to tell.  At one point in time, that particular timepiece may have been owned by a Saudi prince, race car driver, or some important political figure.  Even better – it may have even been owned by an ESM legend like Steve McQueen.

We here at ESM have an incredible fascination with the topic but admittedly know very little about the vintage timepiece industry.

Fortunately for us, James Lamdin recently reached out to ESM to promote his new business Analog/Shift (http://www.analogshift.com/).  For those of you who aren’t in the know, Analog/Shift is an online store which sells highly curated vintage timepieces and they have been blowing up on the men’s style blog scene recently, with featured articles on Urban Daddy, Hodinkee, Longitude and A Blog to Watch.

We took this opportunity to ask him about the website as well as fill in the gaps for us vintage watch rookies.

Here’s what he had to say:

How did you get started with Analog/Shift?


I have long been an amateur watch collector and have had a number of friends who work in the timepiece industry professionally.

I worked for many years in the luxury automotive industry (which has a number of parallels to the timepiece industry), but last year decided I had enough of it. So I quit my job to take some time off and explore different career paths, one of which was working with timepieces. I started freelance writing on the subjects of vintage wristwatches for a few online magazines, and realized just how passionate I had become about them.

It seemed like my collecting/trading hobby was becoming an obsession.

I also had noticed an increasing number of fashion retailers and magazines using vintage goods in general to define a particular aesthetic, and I watched as some major retailers began selling vintage watches as fashion accessories for ridiculous prices, and realized that there was a burgeoning market for vintage timepieces as lifestyle enhancements for the stylish man – they weren’t the exclusive property of the collector crowd any longer.

I realized I had the connections to obtain the pieces, the resources to have them authenticated and serviced, and a desire to be a passionate source, so analog/shift was born.

Our goal is to provide exceptional vintage wristwatches, vetted and curated by our team, available for purchase through an online boutique.

Our prices are much more realistic than you’ll likely find elsewhere, and our collection is much smaller and more personal. We don’t like to consider ourselves a “dealer” in the traditional sense, and the way we do business reflects this.

As cliche’ as it sounds, we aren’t interested in selling anyone a watch – we want to help people buy them.

On your website, it mentions there are three of you who run Analog/Shift. Who are the other two partners and do each of you have different parts of the business you are responsible for?

Yes, analog/shift is a team of three.

When I decided to go for it, I approached two good friends about coming on board – John Muse and Aaron Kliner.

All three of us contribute to the operation of the company and in sourcing inventory. John is sort of the Obi Wan Kenobi of the team. He’s a watchmaker by trade and has been a “gentleman dealer” for over 25 years. He has forgotten more about vintage timepieces than I will probably ever learn. He’s currently based in Portland, Maine and is taking care of all our service, refurbishment, and authentication.

Aaron is an incredibly passionate collector with a great eye and sense of style. In my mind, he’s the one who keeps us looking good and sounding intelligent, HA!

Aaron and I are both based in Manhattan.

How do you find and curate the pieces that are on your website? Are there specific things in a timepiece you are looking for?

Our collection comes from a variety of sources, including auction houses, dealers, individual collectors, estates, and flea markets.

We look for both iconic timepieces and quirky/rare pieces which are less commonly known.

We wade through a lot of junk to find the best examples we can.

Originality is certainly important to us, but if something like a crystal or a bezel insert has been replaced or needs replacing (these are common wear items), we’re OK with that – and we always disclose that information to our clients.

For the most part, we want our watches to be worn and appreciated, so when necessary we need to do a little TLC both inside and out to make it possible to do so.

Have you ever received a piece that you wished you could snag before putting it on your website?

Pretty much every one!

I’d be lying if I said nothing we had purchased for the site hadn’t been re-routed to our personal collections… Our fundamental MO is to only offer pieces we would happily own ourselves – consider it an exercise in self control each time we pick up a new piece.

Do you wish you had a bagillion dollars so you could buy all the vintage timepieces out there? Or would you just pick a select few? Which would be your top 3? Would you buy new or would you look for a vintage piece?

I always wondered how to spell “bagillion” – now I know!

I am not sure I would want to buy them all, seeing as there is a lot of junk out there, but there certainly are a number I’m sure I couldn’t live without if money was no object.

I tell myself now that I need just FOUR to have a “perfect” collection of vintage sports watches, but somehow I already know that’s probably not going to do it. In any case, each of the four is an icon in horological history, and to me, those four are:

  • Omega Speedmaster Calibre .321 from 1967. This is the exact model worn on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission 2 years later. The Speedmaster is arguably the most important chronograph of all time, and this is the most collectable.
  • Rolex Submariner 5512. The Rolex Submariner is the quintessential diver’s watch, and to me, this represents the perfect non-date version. The matte dial and COSC movement are the tops. Oh, and Steve McQueen had one.
  • Heuer “Siffert” Autavia. My other passion is vintage automobiles, and to me this watch represents the best in the golden era of racing chronographs designed for drivers. The “Siffert” version is so-named as it found its way on to the wrist of legendary racing driver Jo Siffert. It featured a white dial (most Autavias had black dials) and is considerably more rare.
  • Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo “A Series” from 1972. This is truly a piece you have to put on your wrist to fully appreciate. It represents the very first “Luxury-Sport” timepiece ever produced, and was styled by the great designer Gerald Genta. Its super thin movement and integrated bracelet are incredibly well designed, and wearing one makes me feel like Superman. Values on these have skyrocketed in the past few years, but I’m definitely on the hunt for a good original example.

There are very few modern pieces that blow up my skirt – and most of them are “homages” or “re-issues” of vintage pieces.

I guess I’m just stuck in the past! That said, I would definitely be inclined to look at some of the masterful haute horologie pieces coming from A. Lange & Söhn or F.P. Journe.

What is your favorite piece featured on Analog/Shift right now?

That’s definitely a tough one.

I think I’ll answer that in terms of rarity – both the 1967 DOXA Sub 300 and the Heuer Lemania 5100 Chronograph are incredibly rare finds in the condition they are in.

The DOXA is an important note in the history of modern diving watches, having several patents and the world’s first orange dial.

Our example is from the first year of production, and has some details not found on subsequent models. Plus its got its original bracelet – just killer.

The DOXA Sub 300 Professional “no-T”. Image from http://www.analogshift.com/collections/in-stock-inventory/products/doxa-sub-300-professional.

The Heuer Lemania isn’t generally considered a rare piece per se, but ours is finished in its original Olive Green PVD finish, which was generally reserved for military issued watches, and I have never seen another in the flesh.

Heuer Lemania Chronograph finished in an extremely rare Olive Green PVD finish. Image from http://www.analogshift.com/collections/in-stock-inventory/products/heuer-lemania-chronograph.

Furthermore, early PVD treatments weren’t the most robust, and most of the ones you find today are beat to shit. This one has been babied its whole life. It probably belongs in a museum. Really.

At ESM we’re all about men’s style. What’s your personal philosophy on style?

Timeless design appeals to me in everything I own or desire to own – I’m not interested in fads or trends.

I don’t purport to be a maven of men’s fashion, but I really appreciate a well-cut suit, a handmade tie, French cuffs…and a pair comfortable wingtips.

But like ESM, I feel that style is much more than fashion and is more of an overall lifestyle vibe – how you dress, what you drive, what you wear on your wrist…caring about all the details from socks to shaving cream to the single malt scotch in your hand…all of the things that come together to define how others see you.

But that’s not to say I create my style for the benefit of others- I do it for myself. Call it a quality of life thing.

What advice would you have for our readers who are vintage luxury watch virgins? What should they look for?

First and foremost, you should look for a reliable and knowledgable source.

Whether that means joining the growing online enthusiast community and hitting the forums, reading up on old auction catalogs, or building a relationship with a dealer you can come to know and trust.

Fear of being sold a fake watch is legitimate, and I think its the main reason people avoid vintage watches and go buy something new from an Authorized Dealer.

But the truth of the matter is that its actually very easy for a professional to spot the fakes.

Once you have someone (or some resource) you can trust on your side to help get over that hurdle, the fun part begins. Picking a watch that speaks to you individually is important.

Never let anyone tell you what you should wear.

Wristwatches are a very personal choice, and if you can, try one on before you buy. Often times the coolest looking watches don’t work once you have it strapped to your wrist, either because they are uncomfortable, or are just awkward looking for your wrist size.

If that’s not an option, at least buy from someone who has a warranty or inspection period so you can try it out before you’re totally committed.

A couple of other quick points:

You can’t wear box and papers – so don’t go crazy trying to find a watch with the full kit if you intend to wear it. Those are really only important for safe queens.

And finally – don’t get all worked up about whatever strap or bracelet comes on the watch. More often than I could ever imagine, I’ll hear something like, “I am looking for a nice wristwatch with a brown leather strap”.

Really?? Changing a bracelet or strap on your watch is like changing the rims on your car.

It’s no big deal, man!

We sell many of our watches with several strap options from Crown & Buckle (www.crownandbuckle.com), and switching them out to match or contrast with different apparel is easy.

To me the bottom line is that owning a vintage watch trumps wearing a new one every day of the week.

Wearing a piece of history with iconic design speaks volumes about your style and values. You really forge a relationship with your watch, much in the way that many of us do with our automobiles.

Vintage watches show you have an appreciation of history and a desire to be a caretaker of wonderful old things – and that never goes out of style.

What about the seasoned horologist, are there things on your site for them?

Absolutely! I think our collection speaks to virgins and veterans alike.

Unlike most watch dealers, we don’t constrain our collection to particular brands or price points, so as long as it is interesting and authentic, we will feature it – whether it is a $300 steel Seiko or a $10,000 White Gold Rolex.

Definitely something for everyone.

Furthermore, with our network of collectors and dealers, we have access to some pretty incredible stuff – so if it’s not on our site, we offer timepiece location services as well.

What are the future plans for Analog/Shift?

Our goal is to continue doing what we’re doing, and hopefully getting better at it as we go!

Finding awesome vintage and contemporary timepieces, curating them and offering them up for purchase, and building relationships.

We are certainly exploring some options for ramping it up and expanding a little bit here and there, but we have no aspirations to ever be the “biggest” vintage watch source on the market, it’s just not our gig.

We’re more interested in quality over quantity – and all three of us are passionate about vintage wristwatches and what we’re doing with analog/shift.

If this ever stops being fun, we’ll stop doing it.

For more information on Analog/Shift, you can check out their official website at http://www.analogshift.com/.

Dec 12


Image from https://www.uber.com.

This could be one of the greatest inventions ever.


Introducing Uber, a car service for people who want to roll in style and convenience.

Been drinking a little too much at the club and don’t want to risk a DUI?  Need a ride to the airport but hate “eau de taxi“?  Want to roll like ESM Icon Barney Stinson?


I’ve actually been hearing about this service for quite some time now.  Everyone that’s used it has told me how easy and convenient it is, how you don’t have to pull out your credit card then and there (cause they have it on file) and how you can get addicted to using it.

After using it this morning, I am on board and want to shout it to the rooftops.


Here’s how it works:

  • You sign up with Uber at Uber.com and create your account
  • You add in your personal information and your credit card
  • You download the Uber app to your smart phone

Once you open up your Uber app, it shows you how far the closest car or SUV is to your location.  Once you select a pickup, the app tells you who is going to pick you up, how long it is going to take and allows you to call the driver from the app.

You get in the car, you get your ride and you get out.

Uber bills your account and you let whatever madness ensue.

It’s that easy.

One additional dope feature is the ability to rate the driver and for the driver to rate the passenger (you know, for those d-bags who decide to be themselves during the ride).  This keeps the drivers and the passengers in check.

So have we sold you on it yet?  Why drive when you’ve got Uber?

For more information or to sign up today, you can go to https://www.uber.com.

Dec 12

FEATURE: 2012 L.A. Auto Show

To be honest, I wasn’t too excited to hit the L.A. Auto Show this year.

Partially because I don’t get to enjoy the show due to the fact I am working.  Partially because I always just end up just looking for the high-end exotics in Kentia Hall as well as the upgrades in the basement.  Partially because I was just being a lazy-ass from all the rain in L.A. for the past few days.

But I’m glad I got out of bed and into the 2012 L.A. Auto Show anyway because there were a few cars I was happy to check out.

This year, instead of showing all the cars at the show, we decided to just show the top 5 that we loved.

Some of our choices may surprise you; we picked mostly classics and our list of favorites are probably very different from everyone elses.

Check them out below:

#5 Favorite from the 2012 L.A. Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept SUV

The Ener-G-Force concept SUV from Mercedes-Benz at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show.

From an article on Forbes.com:

At the Los Angeles Auto Show this week Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its Ener-G-Force concept SUV, a seven-passenger giant expected get 550 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.

Mercedes says it’ll do 0-60 in less than five seconds on a hydrogen cell system that generates fuel from recycled water stored in rooftop tanks. Power is sent to motors located in the wheel hubs for an operating range of roughly 500 miles, and it’ll have such progressive technology as a roof rack with a topography sensor that scans the surroundings to adapt the suspension to different terrain.

Our opinion?  This is Darth Vader’s ride when he goes camping.

#4 Favorite from the 2012 L.A. Auto Show: Galpin Auto Sports’ Vintage Bronco

We’d cruise down PCH in this vintage Bronco any day of the week.

Ok so you already know we love vintage Broncos.  But did you know we love Gulf colors on a car?

Put those two things together and you’ll have Galpin Auto Sports’ vintage Bronco.  We’re also assuming it’s a ’66.

#3 Favorite from the 2012 L.A. Auto Show: 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS

The 1964 Porsche 904 Carrera GTS displayed at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show.

Simple.  Clean. Classic.

Just how we like it at ESM.

#2 Favorite from the 2012 L.A. Auto Show: James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5

Given the fact we love Aston Martins and 007 movies, this one was a no brainer.

Although we love the Vanquish, the OG James Bond DB5 took the cake from the Aston Martin display.

We especially liked the ejector seat, tire shredder and bullet holes.  It was a nice touch.

#1 Favorite from the 2012 L.A. Auto Show: Ralph Holguin’s 1956 Ford F-100

This 1965 Ford F-100 is ridiculous. Great job Ralph Holguin; wherever you are.

It had to take some sort of miracle for the James Bond DB5 to be beaten out as the 2012 L.A. Auto Show “Belle of the Ball”.

But trust us, if you saw this Ford F-100 in person, you would think it was pretty badass.

For more information on the 2012 L.A. Auto Show, you can check out their official website at http://www.laautoshow.com/.

Nov 12

RIDE ICON: Airframe Carbon RR

The new Airframe Carbon RR Helmet from Icon Motorsports. “RR” in motorcycle terms means “Go really, really fast”.

Remember an article we did a while back on the customized AGV helmet made out of carbon fiber?

Seems like carbon fiber helmets are a new direction a lot of the helmet manufacturers are moving into nowadays and our friends from Icon Motorsports are no different.

Yesterday we received a press release on their latest carbon fiber creation, the Airframe Carbon RR.

With the advent of carbon fiber helmets, who is going to want regular helmets anymore? The Airframe Carbon RR helmet from Icon Motorsports helping people switch over to the carbon fiber revolution.

According to their official press release:

ICON®’s line of carbon fiber helmets has grown with the addition of the Airframe Carbon RRTM.

The ICON Airframe™ Carbon RR is an evolution in pushing both technological and visual boundaries of ICON’s carbon fiber helmets with both our patented moulding process, and brand new design elements.

The shell is formed with ICON’s unique dry molding technology, which allows for exact placement of carbon material. This controlled placement provides reinforced structure without adding weight. Weighing in at a mere 1450 grams, the Airframe™ Carbon RR is one of ICON’s lightest helmets.

Athletic, bold, yet understated, the Airframe Carbon RR™ graphics are a further evolution of ICON’s design language. Strong geometric shapes with ghosted design elements overlay the carbon fiber shell of the helmet. The helmet design is then accented with the “RR” logo, and further highlighted by precision pin striping. This design both highlights the carbon fiber construction of the helmet, while adding vibrancy and movement even while sitting still.

  • Carbon Fiber Shell
  • ICON Artist Series Construct Shell
  • DOT, ECE, SAI, and SG safety approval
  • Precision Optics Distortion Free Face Shield
  • Fog Free Performance Shield Coating
  • HydraDry™ Interior
  • XS – 3XL, $515

As with all things made out of carbon fiber, we love this new helmet from Icon.  With the Airframe Carbon RR, you won’t have to feel like you’re carrying a 4 pound bowling ball on your head whenever you ride.  Additionally, Icon now provides a great looking carbon fiber helmet to the marketplace at a reasonable price point.

Sick helmet.

On a side note, we are also trying to convince the guys from Icon Motorsports to do a plain, no paint all carbon fiber version of this helmet.  Hopefully if they decide to do it they can call it the “Airframe Carbon RR Pur Sang ESM” version.  In homage to Bugatti and the egocentric bastards from ESM.

For more information on the Airframe Carbon RR, you can check out Icon’s official website at http://www.rideicon.com/products/?productGroupId=48591.

Nov 12

TIMEPIECES: TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17 Automatic Chronograph Jack Heuer 41 mm

Image from http://www.tourneau.com/shop/brand/tag-heuer/rvids/4651#pdpSeoKey!shop_brand_tag-heuer_carrera-calibre-17-automatic-chronograph-jack-heuer-41mm-52859p.

We know we’ve said this a million times before, but we love love love love love this watch.

When we were cruising around the Tourneau website – “shopping” – (a.k.a. window shopping) we stumbled upon this beautiful, classic and limited timepiece. 

It’s called the “TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17 Automatic Chronograph Jack Heuer 41 mm” and if we owned it, the watch would be something we would be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Here’s the overview from Tourneau’s official website:

Jack Heuer. The man with the vision. The man who designed TAG Heuer’s most iconic modern timepieces, including the original Carrera.This year Jack celebrates his 80th birthday with a new limited edition chronograph. The large opening with counters at 3 and 9 comes directly from the original design, in a sunray grey dial with Heuer logo and touch of red. In addition it shows on its back Jack’s signature together with the Heuer family coat of arms that date back from the 15th century. This coat of arms symbolizes for him the entrepreneurial spirit that has been the driving force now for over 150 years.

Case Material: Polished Steel
Case Diameter: 41 mm
Strap/Bracelet Material: Black leather strap with red lining
Dial: Silver
Movement: Automatic Chronograph
Bezel Material: Polished Steel

Would it be blasphemous to even mention this would have been a great watch for James Bond to wear during a chase sequence in the 70′s?  We think it has a great retro feel and would have been the perfect accessory.  And for all the purists out there, 007 could easily change back to his Rolex or Omega right after the chase was over.

Should I have not said that outloud? 

Even the folks from Calibre 11 loved the watch when they had a chance to review the prototype:

Overall the various elements of the dial are a success- a big success. The colour combination is similar to the 40th Anniversary Carrera of 2004, but with a dial more faithful to the original. There are enough elements here that pay respect to that original Carrera, yet the watch never feels like a copy or re-edition.

And you know when the folks from Calibre 11 give a Tag Heuer a thumbs-up, the watch is definitely a winner.

If we owned the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17 Automatic Chronograph Jack Heuer 41 mm, we’d pair it with a gray flannel suit, a black tie, a crisp white shirt and our Aston Martin project car.


For more information on the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 17 Automatic Chronograph Jack Heuer 41 mm, you can check out the following links:

To purchase one for yourself, you can check out Tourneau’s official website at http://www.tourneau.com/shop/brand/tag-heuer/rvids/4651#pdpSeoKey!shop_brand_tag-heuer_carrera-calibre-17-automatic-chronograph-jack-heuer-41mm-52859p.

Finally, if you take our advice seriously, you can purchase the gray suit, white shirt and black tie ensemble here:


Nov 12

BECOMING BOND/ESM LABS: Q’s Last Stand, Part 2

ESM’s V8 Vantage with 20″ Ace Convex wheels and H&R springs.

For James Bond/007 fans, the last few weeks might have been a sort of “nirvana” because of all the 007 news and features that have been coming out due to the release of the latest 007 film, Skyfall.

One of my personal favorites is the “Bond Cars” special from Top Gear, which featured all of James Bond’s cars throughout the years.  In it, they interviewed a few of the actors who were fortunate enough to play James Bond and asked them which Bond car was their favorite.  They also even created their own version of the famous submarine Lotus which actually worked.

ESM’s version of a James Bond car is one that is lowered with H&R springs and 20″ Ace Convex wheels in hypersilver.

For today’s installment of Becoming Bond, we revisit the 2007 V8 Vantage we picked up last February to see the progress that’s been made to the car.

It’s been a slow process for sure (primarily due to budget), but we think the car is coming along nicely.

Flush. Maybe the boys fron StanceNation will give us some props.

We named it “Q’s Last Stand” in honor of 007′s Quartermaster (who coincidentally makes an appearance inSkyfall) and – much like the folks from Top Gear – is our rendition of what we would be driving if we were James Bond.

And no, we wouldn’t keep it stock.

Becoming Bond. One upgrade at a time.

Our most recent and more noticeable upgrades are 20″ Ace Convex wheels in hypersilver (9″ up front and 10.5″ in the rear) and we also lowered the car about 3/4 of an inch with H&R springs.

We love the more aggressive stance and oddly enough, the car’s ride became much softer after the upgrades (we suspect it had to do with the firmness of the stock tires the Vantage came with).

Cheesy? Maybe. We had to rep 007 somewhere. Custom floormats from The Vantage Collection.

Additionally, since this is “Becoming Bond” and not “Pimp my Ride”, we also had some custom floor mats created with the 007 logo (a little kitschy, but we didn’t care) as well as purchased a portable martini kit (The Manhattan) from PicnicTime.

You never know when you’re going to need a good martini. Portable martini kit from PicnicTime.

Next on the list for upgrades?  Engine and exhaust work.  Hopefully it doesn’t take us another 8 months this time.

You can also check out this little video we created highlighting Q’s Last Stand:

Music by Sid & Sigala “Not in Love” featuring Velvet Jungle

And while we’re at it, why not complete the entire look with these products below:

Nov 12

FEATURE: Style and Experience

GQ’s special publication for The Style Guy. Worth a read.

Whenever I travel, I love to buy magazines to read while waiting to board the airplane.

My go-to publications would be a men’s fashion magazine such as GQ or Esquire, the Robb Report, a car magazine (usually The DuPont Registry to window shop) and every once in a while, I’ll get an interior design magazine like Dwell or Architectural Digest.

This most recent business trip I picked up a copy of GQ‘s special edition publication The Style Guy, which featured “foolproof solutions for looking your best and succeeding in the world.”

In essence, the special publication is an amalgamation of questions and articles written by GQ’s in-house style advice guy Glenn O’Brien over the years.

It’s funny – I have been reading GQ since I was 12 years old (and to answer your question, that means I have been reading it for about 24 years now) and have always found Mr. O’Brien’s advice sound, but it was with this special issue that opened my eyes to his breadth of knowledge when it comes to men’s style.

The Style Guy is a great little magazine and I would highly suggest you pick up a copy if you see it.

For today’s article, I wanted to talk about what The Style Guy really inspired me to think about – style and experience.

What I noticed about the articles in the magazine wasn’t simply about Glenn’s impeccable taste; it was about how his taste grew over time with all of his life experiences.

He’s known cultural and style icons like Andy Warhol and David Bowie.  He was a part of the marketing team that developed the Calvin Klein ads with Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss.  He’s travelled all over the world.  He’s been working with one of the largest men’s publications in the world for a long time.  He’s well read.

In retrospect, when I looked back at my life, I felt my sense of style developed the same way (but on a smaller scale).  When I was reading GQ at 12, I knew things I liked and thought looked cool at the time.  Over the years, the superficial sense of what looked cool and what fit my personality became tempered with my life experiences.

For example – travelling to Europe is one of the best experiences to develop one’s style.   From country to country, you get a better sense of the rest of the world by checking out the way they dress.  Some are pragmatic while others dress for show.  You also really get a sense of history and culture as it relates to style.

Another great life experience that affects one’s style is working your way up in your career.  When you’re broke, you buy what you can afford and learn to purchase clothes and accessories that are on sale and mix-and-match high end pieces with inexpensive ones.  As you make more money, even if you can afford better pieces, you learn what you should invest and spend money on, versus what you should buy on the cheap at places like H&M and Zara.

Meeting other people can also help you develop your sense of style.  The more people you meet, the more exposed you are to what you like and don’t like when it comes to fashion and how you handle yourself on a daily basis.  Hopefully, you lean towards the ones that possess great style, good values and a higher standard when it comes to being a better human being.

So what does this all add up to?

Mathematically, it basically means style is directly proportional to life experiences.  The more you have done, the better your style gets in all aspects of your life.  And yes, this includes that one time you drank your brains out in Cabo and decided to go skydiving the next day.

So instead of asking yourself how to improve your own personal style, maybe the question you should be asking yourself is what new and exciting thing you can do with your life to make yourself more awesome.   If I were to guess, if you like to take care of yourself and present yourself int he best way possible, better style will just come naturally.

Case in point: Felix BaumgartnerThe Most Interesting Man in the WorldRalph Lauren.  They’ve all got amazing style.  They’ve also lived full and exciting lives.  We here at ESM don’t think that’s by pure coincidence.

Boom.  Consider your mind, blown.

Nov 12

GEAR: Arkiv VX/R8 Field Pack, Advanced Projects Edition

Advanced Projects Arkiv VX/R8 Field Pack image from http://missionworkshop.com/products/arkiv-system-bags/VX-R8-field-pack-overview.php.

Every once in a while, we’ll get a message from our boy Sean regarding some cool gear he’s found online.

Given the fact we do this on an everyday basis, it still surprises me when he runs across something we had never heard of before.  Oddly enough, he does this about 80% of the time.

Today, he surprised us with a new website (well, new to us) called http://missionworkshop.com/, which features some pretty cool gear for dudes.

The particular item that caught our attention was the Arkiv VX/R8 Field Pack, Advanced Projects Edition.

Advanced Projects Arkiv VX/R8 Field Pack image from http://missionworkshop.com/products/arkiv-system-bags/VX-R8-field-pack-overview.php.

We know it’s a long-winded name for a backpack, but the materials and technology associated with it makes the pack feel military grade, so having a long name is actually kind of appropriate.

According to MissionWorkshop.com:

The Advanced Projects Edition VX / R8 Field Pack allows for the secure and simple attachment of weatherproof accessories to the exterior of the bag. The Arkiv® modular system gives the bag freedom to evolve and adapt as needed. With an arsenal of accessories to choose from the R8 series is ready to travel. Accessories range from simple cell phone pouches and tool pockets to larger organizers and laptop sleeves. Equipped with 8 Arkiv rails and available in two sizes.

The AP Edition is made with a 1000 denier VX Cordura ripstop shell backed with a PTFE waterproof membrane. In addition, the R8 is lined with a lightweight VX70 ripstop liner. All of which results in an exceptionally durable barrier to the elements.

All Arkiv bags and accessories are completely weatherproof, made in the USA and backed by a lifetime warranty.

So if you’re a hardcore hiker, backpacker, outdoorsman, field agent…. or if you’re preparing for the next Zombie Apocalypse, this backpack is up your alley.

Using it for school works too.

For more information on the Arkiv VX/R8 Field Pack, Advanced Projects Edition, you can check out Mission Workshop’s official website at http://missionworkshop.com/products/arkiv-system-bags/VX-R8-field-pack-overview.php.

You can also check out this video below:

The Arkiv® Modular Bag System from Mission Workshop on Vimeo.

You can also check out the outfit we would pair with this badass Arkiv Field Pack:

Nov 12


SEMA 2012. Just another day in beautiful car land.

Before I start talking about SEMA 2012, let me put on my sad face emoticon.

Why? Because I was unable to go to SEMA 2012 due to unforseen work commitments.

Luckily for me, my good friends Ian King from Wreckless, Inc. Philippines and supermodel Joey Mead King were kind enough to shoot a quick video for ESM and give our readers some insight on their experience.

They were SEMA virgins and for most SEMA first-timers, the entire show can be a little bit overwhelming.

Here’s the video they created for us:

I also had a chance to sit down with Ian to get his impressions on the show.  Here’s what he had to say:

If I had to describe SEMA 2012 in once sentence, I would call it the biggest and most celebrated custom car show for car tuners and stylists.

It was such an overwhelming experience!

SEMA had all the types of cars in the world today from classics, muscles, exotics, customs, 4×4′s, hyper-cars and even one-offs.

Unfortunately, we were only able to attend for about 2 days and it defnitely wasn’t enough time; what was especially frustrating was seeing photos on instagram and not being able to find the cars being posted.

For people in the industry, if you wanted to network with any part supplier or famous motorsport brand then SEMA is the perfect location.   They offered booth displays from manufacturers launching new models and they even had demo drives in the actual cars.

Ford was a big promoter with their spot outside called “Ford Out Front”.   They did demo runs with famous drivers like Formula D champ Vaughn Gittin Jr. , X-Games champion Tanner Foust and Ken Block.   To our disappointment, we were unable to see Tanner and Ken due to the sheer amount of cars already at the show.   One of our best moments was to see JR do some tire slaying action with the new Mustang!

I also enjoyed seeing the classic American cars with the new modern monster engine transplants, all the airbagged cars and trucks really made my jaw drop, and the Accuair widebody Audi A4 on airbags was insanely clean.

I think one of the most impressive booths was Giovanna with all there supercar and hypercar entries on custom wheels.

Some of my favorite cars at the show was the Liberty Walk widebody Murcielago (which I though was an amazing standout), the Fatlace Ben Sopra Kit GTR (which was styling!) and the widebody Scion FRS in carbon.

Lucky convention visitors also met up for autographs with people like Chip Foose, Ken Block, Tanner Foust, Nakai San, and Mark Arcenal.

We also can’t forget the car show models who helped make the show a better place for all of us.

So if you’re into cars and personal automotive styling, SEMA shows us how its done.   Anything and everything you need to know, see, buy about cars was there and I cant wait to check it out again next year!

Hopefully next year I will be there with them and we can all be awesome together.

For more information on SEMA 2012, you can check out their official site at http://www.semashow.com/.

For more information on Ian King and Wreckless, Inc. Philippines you can check out their official site at http://www.wearewreckless.com/.

For more information on Joey Mead King, you can check out her Facebook fan page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/JoeyMeadKing?fref=ts.