Sunday, 28 September 2008

Something cool this way comes... Grand Prix d'Haute Horlogerie de Geneve in SIN

i wrote about it in an earlier post but its definitely time for an update :) the Singapore F1 GP is coming to fever pitch but there is another grand prix of note happening in Singapore in the coming week... its the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Geneve - Asia Edition

i take back what critique i had on this piece... it RAWKS!!! ;)

Its the first time, this is coming to Asia and Singapore has been chosen to be the place for it. its gonna be a prestigious nite, honoring some of the finest watches and watchmakers for the year and it also gives the raphmeister an opportunity to get up close and personal to some of these beauties... seeing watches in the metal is so different from those horrible press pics or cgi rendered stuff from the brands...

i feel that its a great event to attend for the watch lover and enthusiast who wants to learn and experience more on their journey. it celebrates the innovation, creativity and artistry in time pieces and the people responsible for realising them and thats enough for me :)

the gala dinner slated for 30th Sep will be the highlight and tix may still be for sale... drop an email to general @ singapore tatler. com (no spaces) to find out if they are... Kudos to all the organisers and backers of this event, from the Edipresse Group to Daum Boutique to the Singapore government...

A sample of some of the nominated watches on display
at the Daum boutique in Paragon, Orchard Rd


greubel forsey


cabestan rj

hublot bat bang

vacheron constantin


harry winston

70 watches in the pre-selected list of which 60+ are on display at daum... the full list of watches can be found here -> click here

within the categories... these were my original picks seeing only the brand provided pics of them

ladies watch - harry winston
mens watch - vc quai de i'ile
design watch - cabestan
jewellery watch - cartier
complicated - greubel forsey or jlc gyro II
sports watch - seems quite a weak list... out of the lot i'd probably go with the jlc diver
full calendar watch - Jules Audemars Equation du temps squelette

after seeing most of them in the metal... changes in red...

ladies watch - van cleef and arpels
mens watch - vc quai de i'ile
design watch - cabestan ... close 2nd being the AP carbon concept
jewellery watch - cartier panda
complicated - jlc gyro II
sports watch - jlc diver
full calendar watch - Jules Audemars Equation du temps squelette or the Harry Winston

a shot of the gyro II on my wrist smile it wins out over the greubel forsey for me...

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Singapore F1 Commemorative Watch... and the issue with AP's forged carbon


a live shot of the piece... AP's proprietary forged carbon
case with a steel bezel...

the world needs more limited editions... NOT!


as in the best borat fashion of a not joke ;) ok LEs are overdone... and AP with the ROO line are purveyors of a seemingly ever increasing number of limited editions... these 'false limiteds' so termed because the brands falsely limit the number that can hit the market, are just a lot of marketing fluff... hyping watches with a few color changes here and there and not much real innovation or new value in movement or case design and build.

So the simple logic to buying LEs is this... If you like the watch for its looks, hotness, what it says about you, then buy it. Not just because its an overhyped LE. after the hype wears off its just an Offshore with color changes...

Singapore F1 LE... Limited to 250 pieces...
limited as it helps
justify the premium :)

The team alinghi was the first to feature AP forged carbon cases and now the SGP F1 commemorative watch has it too for the case but with a steel bezelPhotobucket

Issues with AP's Forged Carbon in the Team Alinghi
(Info from the purists and friends TA experience)

Of course when new materials are introduced, one would hope the manufacturers would field test, stress test before releasing it, but of course they need to recoup the money pumped in to making these new materials and processes/machinery to making them, so shortcuts may be taken...

AP came out with the forged carbon team alinghi to much hype in 2007 to tie in with the TA defender team in the Americas Cup challenge. While the watch was interesting and started becoming super hot selling at a premium, there are some shortcomings in the actual pieces that are coming to light.

While AP touts that forged carbon has a hardness of 626 vickers (Alacrite 420 vickers and steel 200 vickers), it has been shown that what they are using can wear quite a bit, chip, dent, scratch etc... Interesting enough, at a watch gathering, a young sleight Chinese lad managed to break a piece of AP's forged carbon disc with his bare hands. Try doing that with steel :)

Owners have commented on 'chips/dings/dents', 'scratches', 'worn/flattened corners and edges', 'roughened surfaces' etc. Some have termed it 'fragile', 'not durable'... Another noted that he knows of new pieces coming with uneven edges.

Of importance too is that there is no way to refinish forged carbon and replacement is the only option. This would cost quite a fair bit so 2nd hand buyers of AP's forged carbon watches need to keep this in mind. For the TA as the crystal is integrated with the bezel, a replacement will cost even more as you have to pay for the crystal as well.

Read more about owners noting issues with their TAs here


A) Ceramic has to be replaced too (eg RBII Ti bezel and for other brand's ceramic watches) and can't be refinished. Owners of Rubberblad ROOs, your rubber bezel of course can't be refinised and has to be replaced at quite high cost. All issues on the outer case of watches are not covered by warranty so you foot the bill.

B) If you own a TA and want them to replace a worn bezel for free, they will do so if there is water vapor in the watch as they will believe the bezel and crystal to be the issue for the presence of the water vapor.

C) If you have a AP rose gold, note that the rose gold color is made by adding copper & silver to bond them. If this goes into salt water or pool water, have it rinsed out with tap water or it may fade to yellow gold but can be refinished back to rose.

In other news, congrats to the Revolution team for penetrating
the French market... Doing it in style too, with the gorgeous
Monica Belluci on the front cover of the 1st edition...

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Hublot F Bang Launch Party !!! Red Hot !!! 'R' rating


got the invite and so a big thank you first to alan, jacqueline and all the team at the hour glass and hublot... it appears there were other watch events happening all over singapore this evening but i was happy where i was... mostly because of the fine folks i caught up with this evening. managed to have chat with mates and that was definitely the highlight for the night. but there were other good things too of course... come with me and i'll share some of the nite with you...(i didn't stay till the end, probably missed out on lucky draws.. DOH!!!) anyhow i hope u like it ;)

first off the scene of the crime... i mean event ;)

they had some very interesting wall fixtures

this watch display would look perfect in my bedroom.. uh.. may have some
to do to the mrs though..i dun think
'honey its jus a watch display' will cut it on this one :)


if u're wondering 'how much for the watch displays?'
dun ask, i did and some cuss words came my way ;)
(all this in jest yuh)

and to the watches in the actual displays...
the F bangs in full effect... i wonder what 'F' stands for
... could it be... oh yuh the F1.. what were u thinkin? ;)

the red strap suits it

black and grey bangs lookin all stealthy

spotted... a top partner in crime... George, a collector, enthusiast and a mate :)

these guys are at ALL hublot events around these parts
alex and noel... good catchin up wif u boyz

hmm this lil lady looks familiar... wonder who
she's lookin at... all bright eyed bushy tailed

wonder no more... c'est moi, le raphmeister

a friend commented on how our
mc for the evening had some very

nice stockings on...
andrea fonseca in full effect

and some difficulty pronouncing Mr Biver's name... somehow it kept sounding like
bea... uhm never mind... Mr Biver spoke on the charitable cause 'make a wish'
foundation of which he was donating $ for every person there...
The Hour Glass
is also pledging 5% of the retail price of every F-Bang watch sold through its
boutiques in Singapore and Malaysia to the foundation. Kudos to him and THG
fyi retail on this piece is in the vicinity of S$40k (ouch)

some eye candy at hand... some coy

others inviting ;)

is it getting hot in here? cool down with some of these cool multicolor bangs

and some bad a$$ lookin bangs... the big bang king

and the Rose Gold Aero Bang


and whats the nite without some wrist shots ay... alex and his mate and me...
interesting thing i noted was that other than hublot, there were a LOT of Rolexes
in da house. The chap in this photo was commenting how hardy, robust & ultra
tough his Rolex agreement on my part 'it takes a lickin n keeps on tickin'

joe also wearing Rolex... oops :)

rosemary among the thorns... namely me, Edwin and Jon. Edwin has some fine pieces and is in financial services like me and George. Jon has a very nice piece on
the way from an AHCI watch maker... great choice Jon :)

Bernard was there... he's heading up a most cool GPHH event meant to honor
the horological marvels this year and the fine folks making em... this should be happening
end of the month...
As always he is THE man and a great champion for horology


the mc was championing other causes and i was all ears
(plus other bodily thingamajigs ;)

and wif that thats all for the nite... the rest of the pics aren't fit for print (for one reason or another ;) to end off, the big bang to me is about the looks right now and some in the range are really good lookin watches but for me personally some(or most) of the price tags are not reflective of the value they represent... their ability to sell out though justifies the price asked for them... but i believe they have things in the works for future Hublot watches to have more horological merits with the building of their factory and based on Mr Biver's vision for the brand... which i don't believe lvmh's acquisition should derail(not sure but hope not).

I wish him and his team success in taking the brand to the next level... hope u enjoyed this short report ;) cheers

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

5070P pics... cool as can be...

the stuff you get from the patek web site which is a pretty
decent site btw so do check it out if interested in their watches


the stuff u get when a collector/enthusiast lays their hands on
the real mccoy :) lovely




Vintage Watch Buying Advice... uhm pointers...

IWC Portuguese... not exactly vintage but it looks the part don't it ;)
There are many great things to purchasing vintage watches. Some of the advantages of buying vintage include:
- getting good value for money. eg. significant movements at a reasonable price. Valjoux 72, 22. Lemania CH 27, Venus movements as some examples
- none(or less) of the marketing hoopla and limited edition bs to hype up a watch

At the same time, there are some factors to consider in your vintage watch purchase decision and here's a couple (totally non-comprehensive yuh, just some pointers :)

1. Condition... Condition... Condition...

If u havent got it already, condition is everything when buying vintage and is a key determinant in the price of a vintage watch. Always try and verify the condition of a vintage watch before you buy it. 

If the watch is in a distant land than get LOTS of pics. Its good to get pictures of the watch from multiple angles, dial side, case side, with and without its caseback and of its caseback to assess condition and if theres any corrosion on the watch you are eyeing if you can't see it in the metal.

For eg. U have yr eye on a vintage sports Rolex... U check it externally, it all looks fine but on opening the case back u see corroded metal and pitting. Now corrosion in older watches can be seen as to be expected but how much of it that's there and how much u r willing to pay for a badly corroded watch come into play. 

My advice is wait for a better example if you are faced with buying something in a shoddy state. Bad corrosion and pitting of the case for a Rolex watch should be a no-no and in terms of dial condition and hands condition, its really based on how you like the look of the aged dial/hands and what kind of condition of these are acceptable to you.

Rolex GMT 1675

2.getting access to a reliable servicer is key

these are vintage watches with vintage movements. not everyone can fix em unlike common eta work horses. So do check around and find a reasonable watch servicer who knows how to handle and fix old movements from the pocket watch variety to the vintage wristwatch movements and classic chronos as I mentioned earlier.

also try and find out when it had it's last proper service as then you know when abouts you will have to activate the reliable servicer you have found. 

Cal 321 Speedy Photobucket

Side note: Why Some authorised dealers aren't that great at times 
Some service centres just aren't setup to service vintage watches. They either don't keep the old parts long enough or they don't guarantee they won't replace your patina'ed tritium dial and hands and replace them with new superluminova replacement versions. replacement of which total wrecks any value of your vintage watch. I believe for some countries RSC actually can guarantee they won't replace the dial and hands if requested for by the owner but that it's not the case for Rolex Service Centre Singapore. 

Vintage Rolex Submariner

3. authentic and original

Authenticity is important so do get the authorised service centre or a good watch servicer who knows their stuff to check everything is as authentic and original as claimed to be. Whether the dial, hands, etc are their original parts and not touched up, redone or relumed etc, matter as well.

Replacement parts, relumed parts, take away alot of value from a pre-owned or vintage watch.

the 1st Omega Speedmaster Professional

4.what's the price

its hard to determine whats a fair price for some pieces as they seldom come up for sale. The going rate for some vintage pieces will be based on what is it you are comfortable to pay for it.

Do your research on what it transacted for in recent times if this information is available at all and factor in condition to any estimated 'market price' based on past transacted prices. eg ebay you can search by completed transactions to get a gauge on some watches. for others that don't go the ebay route, the auction houses can be a reference but some of their pricing is inflated because of brand's participation at auction. 

5.trusted sellers

It's good to get a vintage piece from a trusted seller, be it a brick and mortar, click and mortar shop or an individual seller. trusted folk will more likely tell you if anything has been done with the watch before if they are the honest sort or have a reputation to maintain.


& thats all for now. I will update this post from time to time as i continue on the journey. All the best on your next vintage/pre-owned watch purchase! :) cheers, raph

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