Saturday, 20 December 2008

The Seller of the Best Cheng Tng in Singapore likes a Good Rolex

I realise of course that there are a lot of folks out there who love watches. Many buy and appreciate them and thats it. they never show up for events as thats not their thing. Many never ever drop by any of the watch forums to chat about this or that watch... but they are out there :)

One Rolex aficianado who deserves some mention, not because of the size and quality of his collection, is Uncle Andrew. He deserves mention not only because he is a genuinely nice guy but because he sells the best cheng tng in Singapore and thats probably akin to saying he sells the best cheng tng in the universe [well to me and a fair number of folks at least :) ]
the queue in front of his stall is testament to it... around 15 folks at the time...
ye lai xiang cheng tng since 1939 ... its the best
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For my foreign readers (as there are a number of u out there), cheng tng is a sweet, soupy dessert with lots of stuff inside(see picture below or google to find what stuff exactly). it may not appeal to you as well lest u have a sweet tooth, which i am happily in possession of :)

some ingredients and well deserved awards, not the bought variety..
wif the highest makansutra 'die die must try' rating too
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he noticed some of my vintage rolexes :) like this baby... my 1675
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but may have this on his mind instead... orange hand explorer steve mcqueen
Rolex 1655... enticing isn't it ;)
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but apart from all our watch talk, i would just like to say that he has been a good friend and provider of some of the best sweet 'nectar' throught the years... from when i was really young in the 80s to when i was serving my national service at bedok camp across the road in the 90s to my baby's birthday party this year and i highly recommend you try out his cheng tng given the chance. i am sure he accepts Rolexes as payment too but we're talking a lot of cheng tng there :) cheers

Real People Wear Rolex :) Vintage or Modern, its all good
A Happy Man with his family helping at his stall
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where to get the best cheng tng in the universe... Ye Lai Xiang Cheng Tng
Bedok Corner Food Centre, 1 Bedok Road, Stall No 31, Singapore 469572
(Opposite Bedok Army Camp)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

u've come a long way baby... 175 years with JLC

jlc has a most interesting history and i won't be able to do it justice in this short post. but i would like to say that it has a most significant place in the haute horlogerie universe and it is impressive to see it step up, innovate and aim to achieve even more great things building on its fantastic past.

in the earlier days, jlc as a watch brand was not the strongest to begin with and was more known for being a ebauche and parts supplier to the big houses. it has sought to improve in several areas it was perceived to be weak in and i believe it has definitely come into its own as a watch brand. one just has to look at the amazing depth and breadth of offerings it has built up in the recent years and the variety of in-house calibres it has produced to offer such a range.... and of course there is the breath taking gyrotourbillon II... so it was with great pleasure me and several other jlc lovers descended on raffles hotel for the unveiling of the yearbook 2.


Singapore's lovely Raffles Hotel was the scene and is the
location of the JLC boutique

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the yearbooks are a great way of chronicling the past, enriching the present and tantalising us with the future of the grand maison and i am a happy owner of both yearbooks 1 & 2.


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i would like to extend thanks to xavier, tjeng jaw, the jlc team and the boutique staff for a nice (albeit slightly warm ;) evening and kudos to their ceo and staff in the vallee de joux. i look forward to whats in store in the years ahead from them but even if nothing more came forth, which would be highly unlikely, they have already offered so many great watches to us :)

xavier and jaw both gave excellent and thankfully short speeches ;)
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garina and alethea hard at work ensuring everyone got their copy... thx ladies
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Some pages from the wonderful Yearbook 2 follow... Marc Newson Atmos
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cool movement pic
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pink gold duometre... a lot of folks are into this one right now :)
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u gotta love this... an older and beautiful jlc movement...
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Some pics of folks who were there that evening... i see a number of my mates...
CH, Linda, Peter, Prof Wong, Dirk, Stefano, Russell, Dick, Zach and Jeff
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i have to thank Linda for securing a copy of One for me :)
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and just a few watch pics... reverso tourby
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master tourby
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platinum duometre exclusive to the boutique... va va va voom ;)
i prefer the pink gold one more but have to reserve the funds for now :)
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hope u enjoyed the report.

cheers
raph

Friday, 12 December 2008

newly purchased time piece

before you think 'oh no, he's done it again' went off and bought a pricey timepiece in these tuff times... he must be working like 3 jobs or something... :)

i am sorry to dissapoint ;) i bought a short film entitled 'time piece' instead made by the very talented kat mansoor and the team at animal monday. From their site "Animal Monday is an independent film and TV production company, which creates original films and documentaries to inspire and inform." i havent checked out the other stuff they've done but this short film is excellent.

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it features philippe dufour and vianney halter with great optional extras and can be had for a pifling 10 quid. ie go get it now if u have any interest in independent horology or in horology for that matter :) follow this link and have your paypal account ready http://www.animalmonday.co.uk/timepiece-film/timepiece.html

Again from their site "Focusing on the work of Vianney Halter and Philippe Dufour, Time Piece is a creative short documentary which examines the philosophies of two of the greatest Independent watchmakers. Made in 2006, the film explores the watchmakers' views and ideas through four key themes; Inheritance and History, The Beauty of Craft, The Pursuit of Perfection, Notions of Time. The film has been shown at Film Festivals around the world and was selected as 'Best of the Fest' at Palm Springs Film Festival in 2007."

Technical side of things: Use the excellent 'Free download manager' to download the file which is 900+ MB. I got it downloaded in about 20mins and use winrar or other tool to extract it. Its a .mov file so u need a player like Quicktime that can play that.

Image copyright and select text from http://www.animalmonday.co.uk/

Sunday, 7 December 2008

an end of the year message... and what watches should be on your to buy list :)

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we're coming to the end of 2008 and winding down to what has been a very topsy turvy year. the financial crises and how deep its impact has been was unexpected by many... but life goes on :) As we head into the holidays, I wish all of you my dear readers, that you and your loved ones are doing fine and well through these turbulent times. And although there are signs pointing towards more challenging times ahead, that you will weather this storm with peace, joy, happiness and shalom in your hearts and homes.

i was going to wax philosophical and talk about whether you have stopped to ask whats important? about how you perceive yourself - your 'self image and coolness'.. and what it is you hope to obtain by buying expensive toys and adornments and how the marketing folks are feeding off it.. and the biggie 'what exactly is it you're looking for and have you found it?' wading through recognition, spirituality, true love and acceptance.. but lets not go there right now :)

instead i leave you with watch ideas that i was thinking of doing full blown articles for but they're here for you for free during this season of giving ;)

1) What watches to buy in times like these?

Note this advice applies to you only if you have the $ to spend and my suggestion is wait it out a bit longer as prices will decline further. (thats about the same advice for many things right now i suppose :)

What not to buy is regular production watches which u can get in good times and bad. although slightly cheaper now, you can always get it in future when times are better.

What to get, finances allowing, are the more elusive and rare watches that are popping up for sale as times get worst, at the price that you are comfortable with. the older and rarer Pateks & Rolexes, the independent works of horological art, select limited editions and limited production watches... but most importantly you must love these watches. i would recommend you never buy watches purely for investment purposes.

this lovely Dufour is an example of a watch that should
be grabbed if available on the secondary market

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2) What are your recommendations in the different Singapore $ price ranges?

This question gets asked and answered rather often in watch magazines but they don't have the breakdown i am giving below, the mags normally having much broader price bands and not many recommendations to make. Do know that I have seen and held a fair number of watches including those recommended below and these recommended pieces and ranges just reflect my taste and loves in the watch world (a small number of which i own or plan to own someday :)

ok lets begin.. & do note the following.. po=pre-owned, a watch noted as po in the price bracket its in is because it should be considered to be purchased pre-owned. some because they are not current production pieces anymore and some because of softness in secondary market prices.. all numbers below in singapore dollars in thousands of course :) [use a currency converter to change it to your currency of choice yuh]

raphmeisters watch recommendations
across price ranges


0 - 1: Select Seikos, Casio G-shocks, Swatch and Fossil Starck Watches
1 - 4 : Select Sinns, cheaper Rolexes(po)
4 - 6 : Rolex No Date Sub (14060M po), Vintage Omega Speedmaster with Calibre 321 (nouvelle lemania 2310)
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6 - 10 : Modern Rolex GMT IIc, Milgauss GV. Seadweller 16660. Vintage Rolex 5513, 1675
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10 - 15 : Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15300, IWC Portuguese (black dial), JLC Reverso GMT, JLC MC EWC, Gerald Genta Mickey Fantasy Sailor or Aviator

15 - 20 : Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Themes Black(po), Rolex Zenith Daytona, Breguet La Tradition(po, manual wind yellow gold), Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time black dial in Steel

20 - 40 : FP Journe Octa Reserve de Marche, Vianney Halter Classic, Lange 1, Vianney Halter Gold Pfeil, Patek Philippe 5296, 5196 calatravas or simple annual calendars like the 5396
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40 - 60 : Lange Datograph (the rose gold black dial first, the platinum second and the light dials last), Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Quantieme Perpetualle Squelette(po), Ulysee Nardin Freak 1 in RG(po.all time fave)

60 - 100 : Patek Philippe 5140 (or other PP perpetual calendars), Patek 5070, FP Journe Resonance, Rolex Paul Newman Daytona, Max Busser and Friends HM2, Kari Voutilainen Observatoire(my fave this year), Lange Dato Perpetual, Urwerk 103,
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Above 100 : Vianney Halter Antiqua RG(all time fave), JLC Gyro-tourbillon II, Urwerk Black Shark, Harry Winston Opus 3 and 5, Cabestan, Vacheron Constantin Malte Openworked Tourbillon. Offerings from Greubel Forsey, Philippe Dufour, Kari Voutilainen, FP Journe, Patek Philippe Grand Complications, Audemars Piguet Cabinet and Concept series, Richard Mille Tourbillons (with work by Renaud et Papi)

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if they didn't make the list, its because i know them and they don't do it for me across all the watch groups(Richemont, Swatch, Sowind, Movado, Bvlgari, LVMH, Hermes, Watchland etc) to independents (AHCI folks & others).. yes i know, mih is not there and mr oeschlin's new line also doesn't do anything for me, vaucher based RMs, and grand seikos aren't there as they're not for me too..

If u agree with >80% of the picks here, you are cool in my books… 50-80% we gotta have a chat… less than 50%, then we will need to re-brainwash u ;)

Have a great year end, a Happy Christmas and New Year!
Cheers, Raphael

Saturday, 29 November 2008

a new toy... the nikon D90

sometime back i made a quick recommendation of the nikon d90 dslr... i think nikon has really upped their game with this camera and have won the middle range lineup fight across the other camera lines (for all APS-C cameras)... going up a notch the Canon 5dMkii looks to be the king of the hill for full frame but that comes with a pretty hefty price tag.

Not wanting to spend more than the price of a Rolex on camera body and lenses, wide angle, macro, primes, teleconverters... (and flash, bags, tripods, dry cabinet, etc etc etc) i decided to go for the d90 which my luvly wife bought for me as a belated bday present... and its been a lot of fun so far... the right lenses play a part of course... so for now, I am happy with my kit lens and i just got the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and will be getting the Tamron 90mm f/2.8 for macros soon... fun times ahead :) some newbie shots to share...

my lovely wife... (shot with kit lens and sb800 diffused)
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my wonderful son (shot with sigma 30mm at f/1.4)
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bokeh all around...
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and a watch macro... gotta relearn how to shoot macros with a dslr it seems
(shot with nikon 105mm f/2.8 and a strobist's home setup)
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Friday, 28 November 2008

a vacheron constantin dinner with the quai de ille

the cool and friendly folks at vc invited us down for dinner at novus at the national museum on wednesday to discover more about their fantastic quai de ille here in Singapore.

our national museum
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a pic of the home of vacheron constantin
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the quai de ille is vc's most innovative product of late, having several interesting features from case to dial design and adding in personalisation to boot. my view of vc is that it may have lost its way in the past but now it is finding a more certain path forward. it will be interesting to see how their new lines do in the changing horological landscape.

the vc men gave a presentation on the watch, its innovations & security features
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& the vc ladies were kind enough to bring the watches
around the room later that evening...
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as with all get togethers, its always great to catch up with mates...
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the dining area was decked out with nice large posters of the quai de ille
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my dinner companions... a fine bunch of watch aficionados
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dirk, raphmeister and stefano planning which VCs to acquire...
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a nice songstress with band was present to serenade the guests
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some fine vc watches were about that nite...
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ooh i like this one.. malte chrono with nouvelle lemania 2310..the lugs are 2 cool..
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apologies for the bad shot of the movement...
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some fine non-vc watches were about too... IWC.. wrist and pocketwatch twins
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some journes were in the house too...
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but the main attraction of the nite were definitely these watches...
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with the different combination of the metals and straps and dials it had
the range of classy
to sporty and everything imbetween covered...
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dark and sporty on a rubber strap...
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light and classy in pink gold
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dark dialled and fierce looking in palladium
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david showing us how to customise the watches on
the configurator...
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couple of clicks here... choose the metal here and here... and voila... the ZACH ;)
kidding aside, it was the table that decided on this pink gold, titanium beauty
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and finally, the shot of the nite... George very happy as he places an order...
"one of each please!" :)
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my thanks once again to the fine folks at VC for the wonderful nite. cheers, raph

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