Thursday, 25 February 2010

OT: wassup with women and their bags man?? raphmeister takes on the Chanel 2.55

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to folks in the know, the 2 most classic iconic ladies bags out there would be the Hermès Birkin bag [its pronounced air-mez dAR-ling... some folks pronounce it her-mees similar sounding to herpes... but thats if u're talking about the greek messenger god... if talkin bout french horse harness and bridle maker turned ultra haut de gamme luxury brand, than air-mez or air-mess would be the better way about it... Birkin after its designer Jane Birkin] and the Chanel flap-style bags which have more or less all been labelled as 2.55 [be it the 2.55 Original, Re-issue or the Classic]... a lot of nice bags try, these succeed... at what exactly raph? being kickass my friend... being kickass ;) classic... iconic... always in fashion... timeless... are some of the words oft thrown around for these bags... and rightly so...

lets focus on chanel for now. she's one classy lady and i dare say in her younger years, quite the looker... vavavavoom ;) kiddin
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the 2.55 original is a lean and mean bag... it was designed by Coco in Feb 1955 hence the 2.55 tag as she wanted to have her hands free when carryin the flap style bag and its got design cues from her time at boarding school (caretaker's key carrying chains for the strap, her school uniform etc) and other nice little touches (hidden compartments for love letters, money storage flap pouch thingie)... its vintage-y and has a biker chic charm and must have been a very bold statement at the time but this lady was not one to shy from those... it has a rectangular 'mademoiselle' lock, called as such as coco never was married (by choice)... came in both leather or metal chain straps...

the 2.55 was updated in a reissue in Feb 2005 by Karl Lagerfield and it also sports the rectangular lock but only comes with all metal chain strap. the 2.55s reissues also only come in vintage distressed calfskin...

A 2.55 reissue... absolutely mean lookin... chains and leathers... grrrrr... very grrr....
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the 2.55 next to the Classic...
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the one that a lot of folks label together as a 2.55 which has a lot of the dna of the 2.55 but is more an evolution of it is the Classic range which was introduced by Karl Lagerfield in the early 1980s. the interlocking Cs lock was introduced by him to the line. the chain in the original is updated with the leather interwoven into the hardware for the strap...

the interlocking Cs on the front signifies its a Classic
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example of a white in caviar leather (made of stingray skin)... which has been processed to be tougher and textured..
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black in lambskin... soft supple and comfy with its distinctive quilt design (note more care has to be taken with the lambskins as they can scratch and have indentations etc but its one of their top material grades)
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the valentines day edition for eg is based off the Classic range with the addition of charms on the strap and lacks a flap inside... the coral colored one in the 2010 limited edition... [note here: all limited editions for bags are false limiteds as i believe they will never ever run out of the materials they make the bag from or the colors to make them whatever color they want... so its all marketing hype to the extreme for limited editions in bags UNLIKE some watches ;) read this about false limited in watches too]
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i do like em lucky charms though... they're cute :) "They're always after me lucky charms...[Dr. Evil and Frau Farbissina laugh] What? Why does everyone always laugh when I say that? They are after me lucky charms!" ~ Paddy O'Brien in Austin Powers
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[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

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as noted the classic retains the dna of the original 2.55... Photobucket

the chain with the difference of the leather interwoven into the hardware...
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the burgundy lining for the color of the uniform in the convent she grew up... The Aubazine School... theres a zippered flap as well where its rumored she kept her love letters...
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all 2.55s though, be it original re-issue or classic, are truly timeless classics and all women who carry them, ladies wif taste & class ;) [mostly... ;)]
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apologies to watch lovers for the short interlude lookin at some/most ladies' passion BUT there is relevance to watch lovers who have wives who bemoan their husband's huge expenditures on their fave timepieces... as noted in the post below, its good to make the Mrs happy with nice gifts... bags are noted as one of the items your lady may appreciate (other than ice, watches wif ice etc)... so do note that this is a good buy for the Mrs if you piss her off with another BIG watch purchase... sharing what i've learnt in a short span and hope u enjoyed the post.

cheers, raph

PS. never buy fakes, replicas, lookalikes/hommages etc as straight to loserville you go... sorry but dats the truth...

PPS. luxury fashion houses, jewellery houses, companies that specialise in one area of the luxury universe don't make that great watches for their price points. hermès, chanel, lv, prada, tiffany and co, piaget, harry winston (except for the opus), montblanc, ralph lauren etc do try and constantly will try...but do consider watches from real watch houses before you buy their watches. if nothing appeals to you from a real watch house like Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet or Vacheron Constantin or Lange & Sohne or Independent Watchmakers etc vs the Chanel J12 then go for it :)
probably the only exception to this is Cartier... they do have some cred in the horlogerie space... CPCP in the past and a strong team developing innovations now...

Sunday, 21 February 2010

some simple truths...

what a difference a day makes... twenty four little hours...
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simple truth 1 - buy watches dat u can love for some time


the thing is i see people flipping watches n though some, including myself may do it for acquisition of grails, some just tire of what they have and want someting else or the next hot watch, which is all fine, no right or wrong there... as long as u can move wat u had bought easily for something else.

the secondary market is highly imperfect and there r folks who like it dat way just fine. the closer u come to a global exchange or a more efficient market, the tighter the spreads get n dealers will make less per piece.

as i am not dealer, i do wish someone wif money n sense realises that the best way to go is to bring all buyers n sellers of pre-owned pieces together to establish firm secondary market pricing n hopefully for some stronger dealers to do 2way quotes for select super-strong brands ensuring liquidity for them (which the brand owners will love immensely as well even if they don't say so officially ;) if anyone wants to sponsor me to get this up n running the right way jus contact me yuh (will work for watches ;) kiddin

so back to the truth... if u can't move a watch than at least if u still love or like it alot or if it continues to bring a smile to yr face when u strap it on (even though u may want another), then its still pretty alright, right? :)

a mate of mine moved this recently... but while he held on to it... it was still a fine watch that i'm sure put a smile on his face :)
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simple truth 2 - spending beyond your means is just not that good an idea :)

now i dont claim to live by my own advice but because i haven't i truly speak from experience :)
ok guys(assuming 90+% of readers here r boys) if u are unmarried, u only hv to take care of yrself. pay off yr student loans, honor yr parents wif a monthly amount regardless of whether they need it n tithe if so inclined. the rest of the money u make is for booze, broads, toys, games... passions in all shapes n forms... console games to ipads, world of warcraft to golf, hi fidelity audio, pricey cameras & lenses to ginger midgets in green kangaroo gimp outfits with boxing gloves... hey! whatever rocks your boat mate ;)

enjoy as much as u can yr singlehood n spend as much as u can on yourself without going bankrupt yuh. because u dun hv wife, kids n loads-a-bills over yr head, u hv certain liberties (not only on the $ side) so enjoy them while u can...

for married guys, u r screwed. if u spend a bit excessively relative to yr net worth(defined by me as all cash + highly liquid assets like equities and other select financial assets NOT hedge funds) than be prepared to reap the whirlwind unless u buy said whirlwind some nice blingety-bling/it bag or grail exclusive birkins/nice watch which will restore order... for awhile...

note i mentioned relative... so lets say i know a guy with more than 10mil in watches. its not ok if he has just a couple mil thats cash or close to cash but if he's got over a 300mil to play around than whats the 10mil spent? and of course some of those ultra rare pateks may fetch stunning prices someday... next case, a guy with $300k in watches but with less than $100k in cash or cash equivalents on hand... not such a good idea huh...

but the fact is for most of us who aren't scrooge mcduck, theres a mortgage to pay [an aside: watch 'thank you for smoking' if u haven't]. should u only be spending after u have fully paid yr house, car, set aside all funds for yr kids education till university n base retirement funds to support a bland-ish lifestyle? the toil of saving up to that point might be just too damn hard and u would be having a pretty miserable existence to that point without enjoying the fruits of yr labor thru life's up-down and upside-down journey no? ok unless they are other compensating factors but in general, as u age and as u earn, u want to be happy no? so how? spend a little lah :)

this one may not be in the 'spend a little' category... not for the faint hearted... but the diamond hearted... love all freaks, blingy and non-blingy ;)
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simple truth 3 - timeless classics always work better than depeche mode...


superhot watch ABC comes to the market... everyone and their uncle seems to want one... the models(the leggy type with sultry written all over) at the launch event all look as if they would go out with you if you own one too... the retailer is just saying that its like squeezing blood from the roc to get a piece for u but he can do it if u really really want it (but u must recognise what herculean effort it is for him to do this for u as he is using it for 'building' the relationship for their vvip n high potential + high roller customers).. grey market dealers are pricing it 30% more, then 50% more... and u crave for hot watch... u yearn for hot watch... and eventually u land it... after a few months have passed, is the hot watch still hot? sometime it takes a bit longer but the hotness fades... so the next question is 'is it still kickass to YOU?' ask yourself 6 months after and at 6 months intervals from there... if after 2 years it stills totally kick ass(to u), then you're pretty safe :)

example of classics that will never go out of style... select wong kar wai films man... they are that good :) i'm in the mood for love... simply because you're near me...
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oh and because DM was mentioned... "let me see you stripped down to the bone... let me hear you make decisions without your television..." & "u know how hard it is for me to shake the disease"
here's one of my timeless classics...
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so some simple truths to share... can be viewed as advice as well... do with it what u will :) & have a good week ahead...oh and what watch are you thinking of getting next? cheers, raph

Saturday, 13 February 2010

loving different expressions...

[note that this is me sharing based on what i have experienced, seen, felt along this journey of passion... it may not resonate with everyone who isn't geared in a similar way as the raphmeister (watch mentalist) and its all good... to each their own... and one man's richard mille is another man's seiko ;) ]

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this post has been somewhat a long time coming... i wanted to share in this one about my learning much and loving many different expressions in timepieces & why it is i have acquired what i have in my short and mostly excellent journey... there's just so many wonderful and different expressions of timepieces out there that we can realise and regard as important for ourselves... so much for us to admire, appreciate, enjoy and also to hopefully acquire the ones that call to us the most... i chose to go with the simplest acquisition philosophy end of day... choose the "best of" in the different expressions i love and desired to wear and in this adventure it has led me to these treasures...

the best representation of the "timepiece as art" is the Vianney Halter Antiqua... it is created and hand made by an amazing artist artisan who is highly technical but a respector of the aesthetic qualities of the watches he creates that carry his name. for folks who wish to obtain an expression of a timepiece as art look no further than Manufacture Janvier and all their offerings here... (to read more about my path from enlightenment to acquisition... knowing the grail...quest for the grail... ruminations...) [so as not to limit you though, these are other contenders for folks looking for some soul in a timepiece... FP Journe, Philippe Dufour and Kari Voutilainen are some makers of these...]

the timepiece as art is not about luxury... it is as with all art... expressions of and for the soul...
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the best "innovative creative tour de force" piece is the Ulysse Nardin Freak... folks who don't read up on it don't know how amazing it is that this watch exists in our reality... please go to this link and the articles noted in it to find out what it takes to birth a concept [alternatives? scratches head... uhm Daniel's escapement, JLC Gyro II perhaps, Greubel Forsey Quad tourbillon possibly, some of Claret's complication cocktails & such? hmm]

Innovation... often over-used abused in marketing hyperbole from so many big brands... in this case though, its justified... it took vision, leadership and creative genius to give birth to this freakish delight...
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the best "sporty luxury millionaire playboy watch" goes to drumroll please... Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore... b!tch all you want about unlimited limited editions(which i do on occasion too :) but these are da bomb y'all ;) i know u're thinking wat about Richard Mille dude? and RM is definitely up there too in these stakes but AP RO and ROOs showed the way and many many many have followed(with more wannabes sprouting every year). Would there be so many black watches in the world if not for the End of Days? Would there be so many big watches or limited editions being popular if not for what they first accomplished. the founders of the bigger watch trend and the king of sports luxury... whichever way u wanna take it ~ stealthy or blingy or shouty... if u want an upgrade u, let me Audemar Piguet you! ;)

no bs cutting edge materials... this one in stealth luxury mode... and punching way above its weight... highly compressed entirely unique forged carbon body... highly scratch resistant ceramic bezel... not burdened with an unnecessary association to give it a totally unnecessary limited edition tag... all the good looks without the shortcomings of other illustrious brethen(bezel scratch-ability, weight[its not too heavy not too light], replicability)... the bumblebee delivers in style & substance...
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the best "watches to get u respectin' watches as robust reliable luxury products with top notch servicing" is that old king of Swiss Watch-dom ~ Rolex. Patek can step aside on the passin' over to the next gen thing for a bit. Rolex is king for me on this one. Own a Rolex as a first watch and u know wat good (mass produced and mass marketed) quality is about. and pray tell why do u have 2 of the same model Rolex raph? bcoz i am passing my first Rolex to my son someday... [sticker shock story: i popped into the very same shop i bought my 14060M no date submariner recently... and its current rendition is going for more than 50% of what i paid for it 8 years ago...my son may be getting a pricey Rolex when he hits the age i am thinking of passin this on to him... but of course its not the money that matters yuh... really :)]

father and son timepieces someday...
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the best "beat em up, kick the shizzle out of em, take a lickin and keep on tickin concept watch" is the casio g-shock. put it to torture tests against so called sports divers or tuff watches from the Swiss luxury houses or even quartz variants or offerings from other Japanese watch brands and after the fancy mechanicals have expired and others movements' are on their knees beggin for mercy, this lil fella will be smirkin and askin "is dat all u got punk?" light, comfortable and tough, durable, wif loadsa varieties of design & colorways and functions to choose from, cheap and good and most of all, a lot of fun...

check 'em out here gettin' ready for their usual leisure swim...
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there are more to speak of but perhaps these are meant for another time... a part 2 perhaps... looking at the rest of it though, i think i've managed to cover most if not all the expressions that matter to me in some way or form and satisfy my needs for a long while [this last bit here to make my boss, Mrs Too, happy... DOH!]

to end off, this is all just about sharing a perspective... its not saying u r wrong to love your Romain Jerome, Jacob & Co or any >US$8k list price ETA movement (sic) timepiece [replicas don't feature here as they're below even all that crap...oops] its just sharing why i love what i do and why i acquired them... finally, choose your own expressions to love and to own... and repeat it with me now... "enjoy the journey" :) blessings, raph

Friday, 12 February 2010

Happy Lunar New Year!! Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

Wishing all readers a happy and prosperous and tiger-rific year ahead ;)
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as i can't give you all angpows ;) just sharing some shots of a rarely seen piece first... pics of the concept thematic 12 piece unique from my fellow watch blogger dario at kronosblog...
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the carbon concept i love of course but this is no slouch either :) great pix from dario...
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2 macros i took which i liked myself :)
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one of the alinghi sailors from the caseback of the TA... this year he'll be wearing a hublot me thinks ;)
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and a lucky red 8 to end off this post... wishing a prosperous year ahead for all... HUAT AH!!!
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oh and if you're wondering why its all octagons and offshores and 8s... check this post from 3 years back ;) see you at the integrated resort (read casino) cheers, raph

Monday, 1 February 2010

Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!!! We have a Winner!! the AP ROO BUMBLEBEE!! My 1st & last watch for 2010 ;)

look at the stars... look how they shine for you... and everything dat u do... yeah they were all yellow... ~ coldplay
it just fits so well together... the sheen of the ceramic bezel, the glint of the steel screws, the matte textured forged carbon body... its one sexy beast...
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BUMBLEBEE!!! uhm or the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore with Forged Carbon Case and Ceramic Bezel... (i'll stick with its unofficial nick ;) 26176FO.OO.D101CR.01/02... 01 dial is non-lume and has 157 units out there, 02 dial is the lume version and is being made and bought and sold right now ;) mines an 02 dial which is all good :)
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Before I talk more about the Bumblebee ROO, i wanted to point out that I am a ROO lover. the ROOs are just the best luxury sports watches [read this] out there and why buy a watch from another brand that was set out to be a ROO challenger or is a ROO wannabe? buy the real deal i say... i've been spoilt before too... i really loved the black themes and enjoyed ownership of it. but due to my grail quest, my black themes was sacrificed on the altar of the antiqua ;) that watch though was really really excellent on the hornback with white stitch i had it on. so in my hunt for a new ROO i did consider it again but having owned it before, i thought it wise to try something different, something a lil more exotic... jus a lil ;)

RIP my black themes... gone but not forgotten ;) still beautiful in my eyes...
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So what does this ROO lover consider to be the best ROOs out there? mind you noting that there are ALOT of em! loads of regular editions, unlimited limited editions, limited productions et al...

RAPHMEISTER'S FAVE ROOS
(prices are my estimates and are noted in Singapore Dollar$ as at early Feb 2010. note these aren't official and dealers/sellers can ask for anything they want to ask for...)

1. Black Themes (Priced around S$22k new, Pre-owned around S$18k depending on condition) [Less than S$25k category - It wins out for me against the other themes and new regular editions (Around S$22-23k new), steel rubberclads (S$17+k-20), Navy, Safari, Volcano (Around S$24 BNIB), older ROOs, Scubas (Around S$18k) etc] Pricing information: Depending on condition in the pre-owned market the Regular Eds could go for S$17+k to 20ish. The Limited Productions(LP) typically go for S$21-24 in BNIB or LNIB condition depending on model.

2. Bumblebee (Priced around S$38k new) [S$25-50k - It wins out for me against the Kill Bill(Jalan Bukit Bintang) (Around low to mid S$30s from high 30s), Orchard Rd La Boutique (Around S$40), Rosegold Rubberclad (Around S$40-42 new and mid-high 30s pre-owned), Alinghi Polaris (High S$20s to Low S$30s), Sincere, RO La Boutique NY (in the low 40s), Ginza (High S$30s), Las Vegas (Around mid S$30s from 40s), Masato (Mid to High S$30s), Singapore GP (High S$40s), Montoya (Around S$50k), Shaq LE (Mid to High S$30s), T3, etc]

3. Rubens Barichello II Ti (Priced around S$64-69k) [S$50-100k - It wins out for me against the Team Alinghi (Around S$50k, note it was once in the low to high 60s), Survivor(Low to Mid S$50s from high 50s a couple of months back), GP, RBIII, Don Ramon etc]

4. End of Days (Priced around S$50 to 60+k depending on provenance and condition) [S$50-100k including the Perp Calendars, Arnold All Stars, Ginza Rose, Team Alinghi Rose, RBII RG, other LE RGs etc]

5. Carbon Concept (Priced around S$300k if i'm not mistaken...but it depends) [>S$100k - It wins out for me against the Tourbillon LEs, other Concepts, the LE RGs that are above S$100k, RB2 Plat, TA Plat, and all the other Plat and Blingy ones etc]

definitely one of the BEST ever... RB2 Ti
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other than bumblebee, another ceramic bezel, forged carbon watch is the concept carbon which costs A LOT more! wowza!
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[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

Initial impressions... read about it here

I think my first thoughts were slightly dismissive of this piece as i put it in a head to head with the End of Days... but i have since seen the error of my ways. this piece stands by itself and does so beautifully. the more i see it the more i realise that it is a wholly excellent ROO and it needs to be seen in the forged carbon to really know how good it is...

Some specs... 42mm case diameter... ~15mm stack height...
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hand finished in-house base calibre sits inside it...
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its true... look how they shine for you... look how they shine for you... look how they shine for you...
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raphmeister takes on the bumblebee... so whats the deal with ceramic? its much harder than steel for one thing... how about forged carbon? its a proprietary process by AP that uses high heat and A LOT of pressure to make something unique and special...


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double AP deployant clasp in bead blasted titanium with a pvd'ed end... sweet... the baby hornback... not as proper as hornbacks of old where the leather was tougher and the horn was higher... i prefer the older hornback straps as they felt like straps for men... this feels a bit more wimpier but it ain't that bad :) its more comfortable but not as fierce as the older hornback is all...

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& the verdict? its my first and last watch purchase of 2010 and thats saying something :) hope u enjoyed this take on the ROO and the BumbleBee. cheers, raph

[To see a cool-ish video on how its made... go to AP Website via this Link]

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