Sunday, 5 July 2015

Grand Seiko Acquired... Never Say Never ;) Vintage 45GS In The Watch Box

I was in Tokyo early part of Jun and it was... painful. 4 days of Disneyland and Disneysea with the kids, and then 4 days of walking abouts/shopping in various parts of the city more for the wife and I wanted to reward myself somewhat from this ''holiday'' that wasn't enough of a break for me... and that meant buying some toys to give me a little bit of joy. All consolatory purchases were Made in Japan too :) 

first toy was the Fuji X100T which I posted 1 pic of in the previous post(picked up in map camera which has a sister watch shop GMT next to it) and uhm I got 2 watches and one of 'em I thought I would not ever commit to but "thar she blows..." A Grand Seiko in my watch box. Vintage in decent condition, less than US$1k, and i found it hard to walk away from as i held her in my hands at Jack Road in Nakano[for my really short post about Jack Road and how to get there click LINK]. For why Grand Seiko is a class above many watches out there, including a fair number of Swiss makes, click here LINK and to read a good article from Watchtime LINK [google for a lot more info around the net of GS]


Say hello to my 1970 Grand Seiko 45GS. Case has been polished a fair bit over it's 45 years of life but it's still in pretty good
nick. Per Grand Seiko site "[45GS] A manual 10-beat model, featuring a slimmer movement, Like the automatic 61GS, it 
delivered a higher level of precision that made it more stable in different usage situations. The date calendar featured an instant-change
mechanism." LINK the 45GS is more or less a hi-beat version of the 44GS which had a modern reissue done 2 years back LINK
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the way it catches the light from both the faceted batons and hands, to the case... it is a wonderful thing to behold
the 45GS follows the 44GS{Grammar Of Design by Taro Tanaka} and is largely similar except for the hi-beat movement
for more info about design of the GS click LINK
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some corrosion around the edges where the caseback screws in but otherwise in pretty decent shape 4522 A ~ 
GS standard official approval  
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4522-8000 Grand Seiko, no Seiko lion on the back of this though
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Beating at 36,000 for better accuracy. from the Daini factory. for my other watch from the Daini Seikosha factory click LINK
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Some wear and tear but that's what macros show up. overall it's 
very nice for it's age to me... 5years older than me
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beating at 36,000bph / 5Hz, 25 jewels with date and it's accurate (well at 
least to the min, i haven't done more intensive accuracy tests... yet)
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play of light over it is great... hmm may have to think of sending 
it in to get it better Zaratsu polished... will see
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and the other watch... let's just say it's a quartz... to be continued

Saturday, 4 July 2015

RICOH GR Review & the Differences with the GR II

Note: This post could just be me rationalising my purchase further coz I bought this baby :) I believe it was good enough to spend hard earned money on vs what else is out there.  
In terms of my credentials for reviewing cameras? I'm just a hobbyist photographer, who usually takes pics of watches(see the rest of this blog site), largely shooting and editing pics in jpg and just sharing my view on use of this camera for a couple of months. This post will be slightly photo heavy and not so wordy because end of day it's what i captured with it and what i want to share about it(which is the pix). hope it's of some benefit to others out there looking at the Ricoh GR
Update: Looks like the RICOH GR II has been announced about 2+ weeks back! check it LINK  i did a comparison as well and the changes noted are: (i) wifi and nfc (ii) wireless flash control (iii) 6 new effects (iv) AF during movie capture and some other minor tweaks you can checkout here LINK
What stays the same: size&weight are about the same(minute diff), lens, sensor, focusing system, image processor, LCD, exposure comp controls, HD video.
Goes on sale in mid-July at SRP of USD800/GBP800 (possibly in the S$1-1.2k range in SG). Hmm I hope some of the software related improvements will be catered for the GR in a firmware update... please Ricoh please :) I bought my GR for around S$600 which is a price i'm happy with and won't need to upgrade based on the differences noted and coz I got another camera(read on below). 


the bubbly Ricoh GR
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Miniaturisation Has Arrived! ...well uhm actually it's been around for over 2 Years :P

the dream of digital camera users is big sensors in small, light cameras. of course other factors like good lenses are key as well as good handling and user friendliness.  

so 2 years back Nikon and Ricoh announced pocketable APS-C cameras which was significant because for a camera smaller than many a Micro Four Thirds camera(and of course the DSLRs) you get a sensor that's larger and a camera that has loads of good qualities for taking excellent pics. both of them are light and pocketable too, so that is all pretty AMAZIN! [Sony did something similar with fixed lenses but on full frame sensors in the RX1 and RX1R but those aren't pocketable or light on account of their Zeiss glass and the fact that fast lenses for full frame tend to be a bit bigger and heavier than lenses for smaller sensors]... and you have the Leica Q too, non-pocketable and i think 
price comes in somewhere too :) 

Rather than hold out for the next iteration of the GR(which as of early May i new naught about), I decided to put some bills down for this. 


so who's up to try it? [ISO400, F8, 1/160"]
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Why bigger sensors matter? 


- Depth of Field: you can get more separation of in focus and blurry surrounds with larger sensors. of course available apertures matter. 

- More info capturing space of a larger sensor: image quality should be better... should be
- ISO: you can most likely shoot at higher ISOs that are more usable instead of smudgy, weird colored high ISO shots [note for the GR, above 2,000 and maybe some grabs at 3,200 are ok but beyond that, it doesn't work for me personally in jpg. RAW may be better but i don't shoot RAW much]


Following pics taken in a dark coffee eatery joint and I liked the detail it was able to capture [ISO2,000, F2.8, 1/40"]
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it's Ronin by the way and raved by me about here LINK [ISO3,200, F2.8, 1/30"]
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Pocketable APS-C? For real? 


Before Nikon Coolpix A and the GR came along... APS-C were typically in DSLRs... then we had them coming in smaller bodies like the Fujis with the X100 range... but these take the cake... 
Once we enter into non-pocketable territory than it means u need a bag for the stuff u want to bring around. So because of pocketability you can carry it anywhere and because of that you can get many many shots done. what's that quote about the best camera is the one with you...

Why is the Ricoh GR a cult camera for street photography? 

coz they make good cameras for street photography and have been doing so for a long time now. [yup they do more than photocopiers and weird lookin watches which i saw in Japan this last trip] From film days with the GR1/GR1v and then other iterations then to Digital which had some misses in it's early days but hit a good stride in GRIII and GRIV... The GR V in this post, which is just called the GR, though, is for me(on paper) doing the right things towards achieving a digital version of their cult film cameras. 
It's photos have been pretty highly lauded by folks who shoot film mostly(for some of course, as folks takin film mostly are a breed apart) and who like those red dot cameras... especially pics taken and used for b/w conversion.


satisfied customers [ISO100, F6.3, 1/500"]
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hello stranger [ISO400, F5, 1/250"]
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the tortoise and the hares [pic was taken very quickly and not so steadily. High ISO
didn't work too well for this shot and it shows. the post processing may have made it 
worse too... hmm ISO3,200, F2,8, 1/80"]
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perfect [ISO800, F4, 1/125"] a bit noisy for 800, maybe a setting i didn't get right
and this was cropped quite significantly

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What are some of the other cool things about this camera? Positives: 
  • Small(cubic volume 248cc), light(245gms), pocketable [check out stats vs other fixed prime lens "compacts"here LINK ]
  • GReat ergonomics and control layout for one handed operation
  • Snap focus is raved about often. basically you set a focus distance and it won't have to focus and will get what's at that distance in focus. this allows for hyperfocal shooting where playing with apertures can get a good range of distances in focus (google it ;)
  • GReat bright LCD from Sony: 1.23M dot RGBW 'WhiteMagic' LCD same as what's on the Sony RX1R
  • GReat shutter range: 300seconds to 1/4000 
  • GReat lens. 9 bladed and 2 aspherical elements
  • 28mm and they put in 35mm crop and 47mm crop in firmware upgrades :) the image size drops as it's just an in-camera crop of the file but the goodness is still there and allows u to frame with those focal lengths [A different way about it is for eg. Leica Q putting 50mm frame lines on the screen]
  • ISO good to 3200 for me. I am tempted to better my RAW processing ability but need time to get round to it
  • Quiet and stealthy - Not as quiet as the almost silent X100S/T but not much louder for focusing and shutter
  • High customisability for menus and custom settings
excellent control layout and ergonomics for easy one handed operation
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Quiet, stealthy/non-descript helps for many shots :)


Out & Down [ISO200, F8, 1/200"]
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criss cross setup [ISO320, F2.8, 1/750"]

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Perfect Selfie Form [ISO100, F6.3, 1/125"]
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just think about it ok... u don't have to decide immediately [ISO800, F5.6, 1/125"]
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gettin that perfect shot [ISO280, F6.3, 1/125"]
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Pensive [ISO400, F5.6, 1/125"]
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Negatives (maybe some of it will be addressed in the next iteration hopefully):
  • F2.8 ain't the fastest. F2.0 or better would be nice
  • AF misses at times... a fair bit of times actually... so improving it to whatever is in the top end Oly OMDs which are known to have good AFs for mirrorless would be cool :) but it does have snap focus... 
  • Video is appalling - I guess Panasonic & Sony set the bar here. this is more a nice to have i think for many photographers who don't shoot much video, me included
  • No image stabilisation... it helps
  • Good if ISO at and above 3,200 was better
  • although i rave about ergonomics and handling I do hit the exposure + - buttons a fair bit which isn't great. fat fingers perhaps. 
  • JPG colors not as strong as some eg. Fuji
What does this mean? 

Hopefully it means even bigger sensors in pocketable compacts and lens and more camera manufacturers getting it right or better. Actually I am looking forward to what Ricoh comes out with next, after all, they have set the bar, which no one seems to have tried to take on... FOR SHAME!

In terms of pocketable out there that looks cool right now... Sony RX100 MkIV is the latest and greatest. feature packed, some awesome video capabilities but some would say pricey at S$1399(i think that's what it is)

Indoor Outdoor [ISO3,200, F2.8, 1/40"] can see graininess comin in at 3,200
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Light [ISO400, F2.8, 1/40"]
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Play [ISO320, F4, 1/60"]
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Heavenwards [ISO100, F5, 1/750"]
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rest [ISO2500, F5, 1/160"]
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A Skytree View [ISO100, F4, 1/2000"]
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Disney Shadows [ISO100, F6.3, 1/500"]
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At the Handsome Makers [ISO800, F2.8, 1/40"]
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done for the day [ISO2200, F3.2, 1/80"]
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all aboard [ISO320, F5.6, 1/100"]
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Omega Seamaster Ploprof [ISO320, F2.8, 1/50"]
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fresh vegetables! [ISO280, F2.8, 1/200"]
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flowers [ISO100, F2.8, 1/1250"]
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Popiah! [ISO100, F2.8, 1/30"]
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Wristshot [ISO2,500, F3.5, 1/100"]
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Would I keep it if I got, say a, Fuji X100T?[Note from this post LINK I thought that the Fuji X100T would be the camera for me having had the chance to test drive the X100S]

The answer is... Yes! ...for now :) I just got the X100T a few weeks back and will be putting it head to head against the Ricoh soon. watch this space. 

ooh you sexy beast... "How do I let them know because of the unfreezing process, I have no inner monologue?" :)
anyways the ricoh looks plain, simply put and it works for the stealthy camera that it is but the fuji...is really really nice looking
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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Spectre... Looking Forward to the Next Bond Film and A Look At The Next Bond Watch

Spectre, starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista and Naomie Harris and others opens Nov 2015 
"A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces 
to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE."
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and the official trailer...

In anticipation of SPECTRE the 24th James Bond film scheduled to release in 2015, OMEGA has created a limited edition 
Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M model inspired by the Bond family coat of arms. Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra James
Bond 007 Limited Edition, limited to 15,007 pieces (available from July) and priced at S$9,500

The Bond Family coat of arms and motto the Latin phrase Orbis non sufficit, literal translation is '"The world is not sufficient"
 or ''The World Is Not Enough" which in the real world was the motto of Sir Thomas Bond, (ca. 1620–1685) an English landowner
 and Baronet and I suppose ancestor to James. It was also noted as the Bond family motto in the novel 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'
 and the film adaptation. pic below from OHMSS
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The OMEGA Seamaster family welcomes a new limited edition model inspired by the world of James Bond.
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Among the most striking elements of this 41.5 mm stainless steel timepiece is the oscillating weight of the movement visible
 through the sapphire crystal caseback. This component has been cut and shaped to resemble a gun barrel, a design feature
 associated with James Bond. 
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The Bond coat of arms symbol is repeatedly interlocked to create a dynamic pattern on the watch’s blue dial. 
The coat of arms is also found near the tip of the yellow central seconds hand. 
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The timepiece is presented on a stainless steel bracelet and will be produced in an edition limited to 15,007 pieces.
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Powered by the completely new OMEGA Master Co-Axial calibre 8507, this timepiece is resistant to magnetic 
fields of 15,000 gauss. It is delivered with a full four-year warranty.
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Finally just a pic of the lovely Monica Belluci... still a stunner at 50... 
and Mr Bond in Rome
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Hmm which watch does he have on the Nato? Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial last posted of here LINK a great lookin piece James :)
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Monday, 22 June 2015

Antiquorum Upcoming Auction on 27 & 28 Jun 2015 ... Some Really Nice Pieces

Antiquorum has a number of auctions through the year (check out some past and the upcoming one here LINK) and the upcoming one in Jun... is a biggie! 700+ lots over 2 days happening in HK on the 27 and 28 Jun 2015, check out the catalog and register to bid if you see something that you be keen on LINK There are a number of pieces I wish i had the $$$ to acquire but for now, just taking pix will do and warms the cockles of my watch loving heart ;) in this post is some watches I wish i had in my watch box and some blingy ones which aren't for me but are here to show some of the interesting pieces(and some of them may have very interesting stories to tell) that are coming up. Let's check em out :)

First up, is the watch that i have loved for some time... From the design genius  Jean-François Ruchonnet and watchmakers, Vianney Halter and Eric Coudray, a wonderful vertical winch tourbillon in titanium pvd case. Lot 520 Cabestan [Estimate USD 100,000 - 150,000]
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CABESTAN REF. CAB 0091 TOURBILLLON TITANIUM PVD Cabestan, Swiss, Winch Tourbillon vertical, Ref. CAB 0091, No. 88/110, made circa 2014. Fine, rare and large, drums display time, tourbillon, chained and fusee and 72 hours power reserve, titanium PVD coated wristwatch
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Cabestan Swiss Watch Manufacture today has a new CEO and owner, Lionel Betoux. Furthermore, the watch will be serviced completely by Cabestan and given a two year warranty, as well as customized for its new owner. Very Nice!
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a wonderful looking piece to me and with a number of interesting variants pout there. the black and red is a great combo but with the choice of changing it up, this looks to be a cool purchase
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next up 2 oldies but goodies :) Patek 5970 and 5070... First up the 5970R... I love this watch... Lot 600 PATEK PHILIPPE REF 5970 CHRONOGRAPH PERPETUAL CALENDAR PINK GOLD Patek Philippe, Genève, No. 3048530 case No. 4411297, Ref. 5970R-001. [Estimate USD 97,000 - 140,000] Sold on June 1st, 2007. Very fine, water-resistant, 18K pink gold wristwatch with square button chronograph, register, perpetual calendar, moon phases, tachometer
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Cal. 27-70/155, stamped with the Seal of Geneva quality mark, rhodium-plated, fausses cotes decoration, 24 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance adjusted to heat, cold, shock absorber, self-compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring
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just a classic beauty... this is how it should be done
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next up 5070P baby :) Lot 725 PATEK PHILIPPE REF. 5070 PLATINUM Patek Philippe, Genève, movement No. 3715XXX, case No. 4454XXX, Ref. 5070P. Made in 2008. Estimate USD 99,000 - 140,000
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a balanced and beautiful dial
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Cal. 27-70/157, stamped with the Seal of Geneva quality mark, rhodium- plated, fausses cotes decoration, 24 jewels, straight line lever escapement, Gyromax balance adjusted to heat, cold, isochronism and 8 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating free-sprung Breguet balance spring
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this wasn't a great shot but i love the light playing off the watch
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next up is a watch where i prefer the back of it to the front of it... Lange's movements are beautiful and this is no exception... LOT 706 A. LANGE & SÖHNE REF. 140.035 ZEITWERK LUMINOUS PLATINUM A. Lange & Söhne, Glashütte i./Sa., "Zeitwerk," limited edition No.074/100, No. 81633, case No. 191494, Ref. 140.035. Made in a limited series of 100 pieces in 2010. Very fine and rare, platinum wristwatch with hour and minute indicator, power reserve indicator
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closeup of the dial... Black with subsidiary seconds dials, jumping digital hour (at 9) and minute (at3) indicators on the time bridge. Power reserve indicator at 12. [Estimate is USD 100,000 - 150,000 which i have heard is a bit on the low end]
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gorgeous movement... Cal. L 043.3, Glashütte 3/4 plate in German silver, fausses cotes decoration, 68 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, Gyromax balance adjusted to 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating Breguet balance spring, swan neck micrometer regulator, hand-engraved balance bridge, hack mechanism.
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gettin a little closer... amazing movement finishing as always from Lange
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poetry...
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next up 2 skeletons done very differently...
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Lot 317 AUDEMARS PIGUET SKELETON ROYAL OAK PERPETUAL CALENDAR YELLOW GOLD Audemars Piguet Genève, Perpetual Calendar, Automatic, No. 062, Royal Oak. Made in 1993. Very fine and rare, self-winding, water-resistant, octagonal, skeletonized, 18K yellow gold wristwatch with perpetual calendar, phases and age of the moon, 18K yellow gold Royal Oak bracelet and white gold deployant clasp. Accompanied by a octagonal fitted box, a winding box, setting pin and instruction booklet. Estimate USD 30,000 - 40,000
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Cal. 2120 gilt brass, skeletonized, hand-engraved decoration, 36 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance adjusted to heat, cold isochronism and 5 positions, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring, 21K engraved gold rotor.
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Lot 213 RICHARD MILLE RM011 AL CA FELIPE MASSA ASIA LIMITED TITANIUM Richard Mille, "Felipe Massa Flyback Chronograph Asia limited", case No. P05, Ref. RM011 AL CA. Made in the 2000's. Extremely fine, rare and very unusual, tonneau shaped and curved, self-winding, water resistant to 50 m, DLC-coated titanium wristwatch with square button fly-back chronograph, registers, annual calendar, oversized date display and a titanium Richard Mille double deployant clasp. Estimate USD 52,000 - 64,000
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41 x 50 mm. THICKNESS 16 mm. Three-body, solid and matte, bezel with 12 special milled titanium screws, reinforced titanium case band, transparent case back with 8 special milled titanium screws, rubber-coated winding crown, pushbuttons to control the chronograph start & stop function at 2 and the reset & fly-back function at 4, curved and anti-reflective sapphire crystals.
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Transparent with white Arabic numerals, outer minute divisions with 5-minute luminous dot markers, subsidiary ring dials for the seconds, the 12-hour and 30-minute registers and 60-minute count-down timer, central double-digit date indicator within red boarder, month indicator between 4 & 5. White gold skeletonized baton hands with luminous tips.
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Lot 314 AUDEMARS PIGUET ROYAL OAK JUMBO A SERIES STEEL Audemars Piguet, Royal Oak Jumbo, Automatic, case No. A 558, Ref. 5402ST. Made in the 1970s. Very fine and rare, octagonal, self-winding, water-resistant, stainless steel wristwatch with date and a stainless steel Audemars Piguet bracelet with deployant clasp signed Gay Frères. Estimate USD 11,600 - 18,000
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and next to it's current iteration... it shows why i love the latest 15202 so much. staying very true to the original but little refinements and updates that let it be a great current evolution of this piece. they gave a lot of attention to the details in the update. both with a 39mm width
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next up we have 3 blingy Pateks... diamonds and gems and precious stones... and one is the shiniest brightest of the lot... Lot 392 PATEK PHILIPPE REF 3800/108 NAUTILUS YELLOW GOLD DIAMONDS AND RUBIES Patek Philippe, Genève, "Nautilus", formally owned by Jiro "Black Shirt from Maten" Yanagawa [A Yakuza Oyabun], No. 1425727, case No. 2824032, Ref. 3800/108. Made circa 1990. Accompanied by the Extract from the Archives. Very fine and extremely rare, cushion-shaped, center seconds, self-winding, water-resistant, 18K yellow gold wristwatch with date, entirely pave-set with round diamonds, pave diamond-set dial with 3 baguette rubies and an 18K yellow gold Patek Philippe link bracelet with a concealed 18K white gold Patek Philippe deployant clasp, all bracelet links pave-set with round diamonds. The total diamond WEIGHT is 7.49 carats.
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engraving notes it's a gift i believe [Estimate USD 80,000 - 120,000]

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hmm u think that's enough bling? ;) when holding this piece u kinda wonder what it's seen of the world... any liquid splatters cleaned off it before... hmmm

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Next up Lot 730 PATEK PHILIPPE REF. 5711 JUMBO NAUTILUS RUBY PLATINUM Patek Philippe, Genève, Nautilus, Ref. 5711/112P-010. Sold December 27th, 2014. Very fine and very rare, cushion-shaped, center seconds, self-winding, water- resistant, platinum wristwatch with date, ruby-set bezel, ruby-set dial

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Ruby Tuesday playing in my head... Estimate USD 250,000 - 350,000

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Lot 728 PATEK PHILIPPE REF. 5961 ANNUAL CALENDAR CHRONOGRAPH BAGUETTE DIAMONDS PLATINUM Patek Philippe, Genève, Annual Calendar Chronograph, No. 5765470, case No. 4631777, Ref. 5961P-001. Made circa 2014. Very fine and rare, self-winding, water-resistant, platinum and baguette diamond wristwatch with round button Flyback chronograph, combined 30/60-minute and 12-hour totalizer, annual calendar, power reserve, day/night indications and a platinum Patek Philippe deployant clasp set with 22 baguette diamonds, total 58 baguette diamonds = 4.68 Ct. Estimate USD 110,000 - 210,000

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and if i could just get one piece from the above? ah let's not think about that :) hope u liked the post and do check out the catalog as there are lower priced nice pieces and the pricier ones of course. cheers, raph

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