Saturday, 31 January 2009

SIHH 2009... A quick review

Lets start with what I liked then. The Richard Lange Pour Le Merite. Its cool and lovely. The new upsized 1815s to 40mm are cool, the dark dialled L1 Tz and Dato Perp are cool too. Lange easily had the best showing of all the brands at SIHH.

this one parked under stealth wealth
looks like a steel simple time only watch :)
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flip it over and u can see a little chain and fusee action going on
amidst all the German movement stylings... nice

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There is also the Urwerk 103T. Looks nice & would love
to check this one out in the metal :)
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MB&F - I like the HM2 line the most so more variations are cool
this ones a winner from MB&F in my books
so u got the all white, all black or all red gold n others
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For IWC, the Portuguese in the Antique collection in rose gold looks interesting. The AP Jules Audemars Chrono looks quite alright too. The VC Traditionelle range looks smart. And the JLC Ladies GMT Diving Ceramique piece is nice.

VC had probably the next best showing for me with their Traditionelle lineup
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Stuff that I didn't like so much
  • More AP Offshore Limited Editions. RBIII is not as nice as the RBII and the AP Millenary line and the other Jules Audemars watches don't appeal much to me.
  • Ralph Lauren watches - Not impressed with the first showing but will see how things develop...
  • Not crazy on the new models shown by Panerai & Panerai Ferrari, De Bethune, IWC, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget & Cartier, GP, Jean Richard & Baume & Mercier, Montblanc, Parmigiani, Roger Dubuis

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Faceoff: FP Journe Chronometre Souverain vs Octa Reserve de Marche

I did have the Journe Chronometre Souverain on my mind for awhile... (see 4 posts down) but after todays test drive of a new friend's CS which was just traded for something really cool, I realise its not a watch i would consider personally.

In terms of 38mm vs 40mm on the Journes, my take is the 38mm is what he came out with originally and it all comes together perfectly and is proportionate and super comfy, especially for the Octas in 38mm. the 40mm is just giving into the demands of the guys wanting bigger watches which is/was the trend the past few years. no difference to the movement just supersize the case which to me makes for worse off watches, this confirmed after i had a chance to check out a 40mm CS.

our contenders today then: in the left corner, weighing in at 40mm... manual winding, double barrelled with a unique marine chronometer like pr indicator, the Chronometre Souverain... and in the right corner, weighing in at 38mm... the big date, 5 days power reserve, automatic Octa Reserve de Marche
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right off the bat, we can see the slim lines of the 38mm case vs the fatter and thicker 40mm case. check out the fat lugs as well... big is not always better i says...
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next is one of the winning things about the octa and all watches with the auto movement... the crown has some allowance due to the case width vs...
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the CS where the crown is likely to be digging into the wearers hand...
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the 40mm wears ok to some degree but because its so big and flat it doesn't hug the wrist as well as the 38mm...
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and the crown possibly digging in makes this a no-no... no matter how good it looks front and back
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on the back, the CS looks to be a winner with its nicely laid out manual wind movement and double barrels. the octa like most non mini-rotor autos, has a big rotor that blocks close to half the movement at any one time...
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quite luvly i must say... oh and of course Journe changed to using rose gold in all his current movements...
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but the winner by a country mile is.... the Octa Reserve de Marche :) YAAAY!!! and that is most excellent coz its my watch of course and i know for sure that i will never buy the CS which means i can save my ammo for other prey or have i spent it already ;) stay tuned dear readers :)
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hope you enjoyed the short review and showdown :) cheers, raph

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Lunar New Year Greetings from Vianney

I just got a very nice email today from Vianney and thought I would share it with the friends here :)
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The mail was also to inform me of something else but I will share about that another time :) As I have nothing more to add for now, I thought I'd just share a pic of my grail(which is the rg version of the below watch fyi just in case you're feeling generous :)... whatever it is, it shall be mine someday... God knows how long but... someday ;) cheers, raph

i have dreams of this watch ;) vianney halter's antiqua
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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

some jlc sihh 2009 novelties...

The kind folk at the JLC boutique invited me and some folks I knew over to see some (well 2) of the SIHH 2009 watches... the boutique being near to my workplace, i thought it would be good to pop by and check em out... short post on some of the watches i took pics of that nite...

master compressor tourby
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nice dark dialled tourby
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a special memovox
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platinum duometre
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nice...
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2 brains u say?
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some fine folks working in jlc were there... some on the tele introducing the new watches
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and some in the flesh... lookin fine n ... ahem introducing the watches ;)
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and the newbies... MC Diving Alarm Navy SEALs
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and my fave of the nite... the Master Compressor Diving GMT Lady Céramique
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GONG XI FA CAI! & Blessings in the Lunar New Year to all my Chinese readers!

cheers
raph

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

some watch news... a watch co. went bankrupt... will others follow?

in singapore local watch news, theres stuff about how the hour glass and a consortium of some chinese players and others may be vying to buy sincere. i hope they know not to pay a premium as luxury is not going to be bringing in the $ for some time.

cortina watch, the other authorised watch retailer here, got S$7.9m worth of goodies stolen from them allegedly by an employee at the time of the heist. a patek 3939 minute repeater and vc le masques set was part of the loot. unless he's got a buyer for the stolen merchandise i think its gonna be hard to move a lot of it considering that they are mostly high end stuff and can't be hawked at the usual auction houses etc.

minute repeater tourbillon grand complications patek 3939
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but the big news to me is that a small watch company, villemont, went bust. nobody bothering to buy it or anything. just let it close. which leads to the next question, who else is next? some rumors are that some smaller firms may not survive.

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how about independents? i heard vincent calabrese, a founding member of ahci is working for blancpain and blancpain apparently acquired the vincent calabrese brand too... whos next? of course i hope brands like romain jerome dissapear simply because of their stoopid titanic dna stuff.

the big boys like Rolex and Patek and the big groups Swatch and Richemont will survive coz they're big and can take a couple of years of losses but some of the smaller players will not be able to sustain this. lets see and hope the rubbishy overpriced substance-less ones go away.

my view is that folks who provide real innovation, good quality with reasonably priced products and good customer service will stick it out (well that may be the case across all industries). so lets see how it'll all unfold in the months ahead.

what are you paying for?

i am suffering some serious withdrawal symptoms not having my beautiful vianney halter classic with me. it has taken a trip back home for a spa treatment and should be chilling in st croix as i type this. what this has led me to is... well... desire to get me another watch! but honestly in this time i have to say that unless you have loadsa$ to spend, its not the time to pick up luxury items (Sorry to all the luxury goods/watches retailers reading this. I know your business has been down a fair bit but how can one spend on high end luxury items in these challenging times?)

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to quote from esteemed tv presenter and all round petrolhead Jeremy Clarkson, "...i bet they(state of the world's finances) are not pretty. And I bet the problems are very, very far from over. In fact, you are probably looking at your pet goldfish right now, wondering what it would taste like."
an old pic with some amazing hair on Mr Clarkson
voted heat magazines weird crush of the year...
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well he may be just pushing that a little but you get the drift... necessities before luxury. and with the cost of living not exactly coming down significantly in singapore, example the cost of rice may be increasing and children nursery/enrichment classes costs are $$#@! unbelievable, the sentiment to spend on excess, nice to haves, luxury has shrivelled up quite a fair bit.

but i still have wants... just can't give in to them is all :) so what has been playing on your mind, raphael? other than the freakish delight you so crave... well there are a few other watches i have been thinking of and there are a couple in there that have 4 digit codes a certain watch brands cognoscenti just love to rattle off :)

so the 5396G was on my mind but i may actually prefer the not so busy sector dial of the 5296 somewhat. hmm.. but then which metal does it work better in and complement what i already have? how about older models like the 5054 with officer/half hunter case? and what about the FP Journe Chronometre Souverain 40mm plat that you saw for sale? hmm... the patek makes more sense for me since i have the fpj octa i suppose? how about lange's offerings? somehow i don't understand the pricing in their ranges and feel the only watch worth considering there is the dato but thats quite a lot of $$$.

so what is it to be? 5296G or R?
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and what about the 5396 annual calendars? hmm
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so where does it leave me with? trying to convince myself that its not worth spending on watches and save the money for whats important... a new house and spending $ for the family ;) why do u say watches aren't worth it raph? well ask yourselves, what goes into the price of a watch?

some costs and expenses from the brand/manufacture
- labour costs for all staff... watchmakers, management, marketing, hr etc
- r&d, branding and marketing, sales and distribution/relationship management, pr
- direct watch costs like watch parts, ebauches, cases, dials, bands, bracelets, metal and labour to make them watches
- expenses like machines(purchase and maintenance costs), tools, property/rents

some costs and expenses from the authorised dealer/retailer
- labour costs for all staff at retail boutiques, service centres and head office
- marketing, sales and distribution, pr, events
- rentals, utilities of all offices, outlets, service centres
- price of watches sold to them from the brands/manufactures (from 'hot' to 'not so hot' to 'not hot at all' pieces that they have to display in that brand's corner)

after pricing in all of that, the cost of the watch you hold should probably be a fraction of the price you pay. how difficult do you think it is to machine cases, work with new materials, have eta/vaucher/lemania movements prettified, order ebauches/parts needed for a watch from providers to your specs and put it all together? not a lot. so the brand x watch in your hand may cost from a pure 'costs related to making the watch' standpoint, maybe 10% or less of the price you pay.

the lemania 2310 in my speedy pictured below was probably a couple of 100 bucks or less. patek took it and beautified it and changed a couple of bits and put it in the 5070 as the ch27-70 and charge 15-20 times the price of the speedy for it. in the vc malte chrono its probably about 10-15 times...
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you have to factor in the other costs noted above and the margins at both the retailer and manufacture end too. some following price hikes in the heydays of the 2006 and 2007 market growth and pushing prices to a high with the ground swell of demand as more $ was made in the equity and property markets. with the great demand and controlled supply worked out by the smarter brands, many watches sold for very low discounts and some went for premiums in primary and secondary markets. that has all come crashing down but luxury watch prices are retracting slowly it seems, much like property. the singapore property situation is sellers still asking for high prices even though bank valuations are down and buyers holding out for prices to go down further and hoping sellers wake up and realise its time for them to let go at more realistic prices... its a standoff... oh patek did revise its prices downwards but i am not sure if its across the board or in certain markets or some pieces only.

for independents, you have to consider what it is you are buying... is it art? the philosophy, soul of the creator imbued in a tiny space or is it technical excellence and mastery in ultra complicated watches or some romanticised notion in your mind of the artist artisan creating their watches... is it their lifes work, their heart and soul, their passion or just a means for them to make mo money.

some independent greats who are in ahci and time aeon...
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marketing hyperbole, superlatives abound... with watch forums(many that are paid by the brands) and watch magazines(that survive on the brands ad revenue to them) doing their part to add to this and make people believe that that is the watch you should desire and buy if you want to be seen as ... (fill in the blank) ... What is it you want to project then? vulgar or conservative? connoiseur or wis or ? and how do people/other watch collectors/enthusiasts actually view you with that watch... is it what you believe you are buying the watch for... perhaps. or perhaps they think you are a sucker to pay S$50k? for a S$5k watch at most :)

but its all pretty unnecessary isn't it? i mean really... clocks and time telling devices(pc, mobile phone) are all around us... what good is a watch anyway?... i don't need another watch and you certainly don't too... but all dat said... could someone explain to me why it is I still want to buy that Patek? and kari's observatoire... and vianney's antiqua... and journe's resonance or cs... and and ...

the beautiful and classy fp journe chronometre souverain
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Sunday, 11 January 2009

My Visit to Jack Road

the most comprehensive tokyo panerai cum watch shopping report I have ever seen on the net was made by one Max Moller, a paneristi to the core and all round top guy. the link for that report can be found here... WATCHES IN TOKYO All watch lovers should check it out if they have any wish to check out any watches in Tokyo. There are also a number of boutiques to visit when over there, like FPJ, Lange, AP, Swatch Group etc.

this short post is just about my visit to Jack Road and a bit more info on how you can get there... Some info:

Open 11am-8:30pm. 3F Nakano Broadway, 5-52-15 Nakano, Nakano-ku. Nearest stn: Nakano, north exit. Follow the Sun Mall to Nakano Broadway. www.jackroad.co.jp

Its conveniently located 2 stops from Shinjuku which was where I was staying. Walk through the covered walkway from the station and at the end you will get to Nakano Broadway.

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the ads leading me to...
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jack road :)
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I didn't have a chance to take pics of the place itself or its marvellous inventory of watches. suffice to say it has some amazing pieces on show there. from rare pateks to very rare vintage rolexes. check out their site for what they have there and its a veritable feast for the watch lover :)

a pic of betty road, selling watches for women
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sadly i came away without a purchase as nothing called to me then. but thats a good thing... shouldn't be spending on watches at this time. well i may make an exception for one or 2 pieces :)

Thursday, 8 January 2009

2 Ulysses in a Day... but went home only wanting... needing One

Happy New Year Everyone! Apologies for being absent for awhile. I have several posts I wanted to put up but have been busy. Was in Tokyo over the New Year and will be doing a short post soon about watch shopping in Japan but for now... a tale of two ulysses... (note... this is about watches yuh :)

For awhile now I have had the UN Freak on my target list but at times have entertained the idea of other watches for my one big watch purchase in 2009... how about the urwerk? hmm or the lange datograph in rose gold black dial, the dufour dato... i need to see it in the metal to be sure perhaps? so i beg a mate i know who owns one to let me have a look see...

whilst muddling about thinking about this, i saw an interesting For Sale 'FS' ad in purists and wanted to check this other watch out too, as I had liked it in the past... the Louis-Ulysse Chopard Tech Twist Sincere LE :) and so 2 ulysses in a day...

Upon seeing this in the metal. it took me half a second to realise that i want this watch... nay, I NEED THIS WATCH! in white gold it was boring to me, but in rose gold, it has a boldness befitting its innovation... a rupture from the past and pure poetry in motion. This is a watch that is horological art and then some
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'my precious...' well uhm not mine yet... but someday :)
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sexy, beautiful, gorgeous... every which way u turn it.... GGGRRRRRRRR
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next to the chopard luc... its an amazingly well finished watch. it has a lot of quality and it should be jostling with the likes of Patek and Lange in the finishing department but its let down by one MAJOR thing... CHOPARD the brand is just not a strong horological name... images that come up when i think of chopard are jewelry, fashion watches, women in evening gowns and elton john and something pink thrown in, all mixed up and shaken together... so while the watch is excellent, and i do like the combination of the ruthenium movement and the openworked dial, i could never wear it. for folks who don't have any hangups about the brand though i highly recommend u look at this piece in particular as its probably my favorite reasonably priced one in the entire range. (as noted one is available on purist's collector marketplace and the seller is a top guy)

it didn't do it for me... maybe i should have drunk more of that pink martini... elton's song 'crocodile rock' playing in my mind
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lovely finishing and nicely done ruthenium coated movement...
Journe does ruthenium too :) this on my mind as i wore my Octa to the meetup

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but there can be only one... this watch is THE WATCH for me. (well other than the kari voutilainen observatoire and the vianney halter antiqua and the .... ) hmm ok lets revise this...
this is the WATCH for me for now and hopefully an owner will be kind enough to sell theirs to me. it will go to a good home and to someone who will wear it a hell of a lot and love it a whole lot :)
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hope u enjoyed the post and i will be waiting and hoping for one to come my way :)

cheers
raph

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