The Rise of Microbrand Watches

In the past five years, microbrand wrist watches have been drawing a lot attentions in the watch manufacturing industry. A microbrand watch company is usually started and independently owned by watch enthusiasts and is mostly outsourcing its productions to professional watch manufactures.  These wrist watches typically use high quality Japanese or Swiss made movements and are crafted in smaller numbers ranging from 300 to 2000 units annually. Each brand has its own unique design and targets very niche consumer markets.

Microbrand watches are using the same high quality parts and movements that are supplied to many established brands; and they are more affordable than old traditional high end fashion watches and Swiss-made luxury watches. With the help of Internet and eCommerce, collectors and consumers are saving much more money when they purchase a very different wrist watch directly from a microbrand watch company.  Many microbrand watches with automatic movements are priced from $400 to $900.  There are nearly a hundred microbrands worldwide. Some of them started crowd-funding efforts on Kickstarter website, however people complains that some brands fail to deliver their watches on schedule.

Untold Stories at Old Concord

On a recent Sunday my pal Mark Bennett and I made a special field trip to visit Old Concord Cemetery, one of the local historical landmarks, was the first of the early cemeteries in old Sangamon County, Illinois, the area is now within Menard County. The landscape around the cemetery is breathtaking and beautiful! It is said that Abe Lincoln’s first lover Ann Rutledge’s original grave was at Old Concord. Now we see a fairly new stone marker. On one side along with the dates of her birth and death (June 7, 1813-August 25, 1835) it reads, “Where Lincoln Wept.” Ann Rutledge’s father, James, was one of the founders of New Salem, he was also buried here. There are many markers in Lincoln-era. We wonder when more stories and history would unfold for us to learn. This is absolutely a great place to visit for people who are interested in Lincoln’s times.

It is very interesting to find that Dave Bakke wrote a very good report about Old Concord Cemetery and published by the State Journal Register ten years ago, you can read it at

Wings at Westwoods Lodge

Westwoods Lodge Pub & Grill is one of the best places for lunch or dinner with friends in town. It has great atmosphere. Both exterior and interior decor of the building is really like a country lodge: wood walls, ceiling beams, and lots of taxidermied fish, deer, bears, ducks and pheasants, you name it. Huge hunter friendly menu, with cold beer and big selection. I love the elk burgers and the buffalo burgers. Dry dusted wings are a must for an appetizer. Westwoods Lodge is located at 2406 West Jefferson Street, Springfield, Illinois.

Visit Illinois State Fair

The first weekend of August starts Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois. Visitors will notice a statue of 30-feet tall, thin Abe Lincoln holding an ax nearby the main fair entrance. The statue is named “The Rail Splitter” — and dates from 1968, it was sculpted by Carl W. Rinnus, a Springfield native.