Friday, 30 March 2012

2012 wasn't a very good year for new timepieces...

Interesting how sooo many new watches came out at basel 2012 (and round the earlier part of this year) and soo many of them are... whats the word i'm looking for... "forgettable" that's it :) for me the SIHH standouts were AP with some nice royal oaks (based on a 70s design) and panerai with the 398/399 and 448/449 (based on 40s/50s design)for basel… hmm… these look rather decent or are interesting releases… no view on whether they make sense from a value proposition standpoint as I know not their retail price… the tudor black bay (vintage tudor cues) i noted earlier and the pam 448 california are still contenders for watch purchases next year...

the other decent watches this year are the following...

Another Omega Speedy (50s/60s design)... done very nicely... i believe the list is US$5k plus... closed caseback and 1861 movement (which kinda means it need not cost too much. if at S$6-7k mark i might just need to add one to my watchbox... buy it if u don't have a 321 speedy! :) Photobucket

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i love the applied omega logo though, such a simple touch that is a must on that dial for me. checkout the different hand types for indicating the time(arrow) vs the chrono(straight)... coulda kept all the same perhaps? hmm
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Baume & Mercier Capeland Chronograph, Ref. 10068. Case measures 44mm x 16.5mm (nice vintage-y look and should be reasonably priced)
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this is a continuation of the nice classic pieces that came out in 2011... and are nice for vintage lookin classic pieces... but the brand
may not resonate with a global audience and may be popular in specific markets only... i may be wrong but i don't think they are exactly cheap either

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Breguet Tradition 7047 Tourbillon Fusee
(nice but will be pricey of course)
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Hamilton Khaki Navy Pioneer - Limited Edition of 1,892 Pieces
A contemporary interpretation of the brand's 1940s marine chronometers, this model transforms from wristwatch to table clock at will, housed in a Hevea wood presentation box. The stainless steel case measures 46.5mm. Movement is the Swiss manual-wind ETA caliber UNITAS 6498. The dial is silver with velvet finish, blued hands and it comes in a top-stitched brown leather strap with buckle (46.5!! it looks better in the box though.. hmm maybe with a nice strap... i can see it)
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Jackie Chan RM 57 (if u have to ask...)
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Patek Philippe Split-Seconds Chronograph and Perpetual Calendar... platinum 40mm. Movement is the Swiss hand-wind Patek in-house caliber CHR29-535 PSQ with hours, minutes, seconds, perpetual calendar (day, date, month, leap year), day/night indication, moon phases and split-seconds chronograph
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Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Automatic Ref. 5940 (very nice fonts)
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Urban Juergensen Chronometre P8 Automatique
The case, in platinum or in 18kt rose gold, measures 42mm. Movement is the automatic in-house caliber UJSP8REF11CA, with twin barrels and pivoted detent escapement. Master watchmaker Kari Voutilainen and movement designer Jean-François Mojon contributed to the completion of this movement following the demise of Peter Baumberger in 2010.
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Jaquet Droz Eclipse Onyx
stainless steel 43mm. The dial is black onyx with 8 rhodiumed star-shaped appliques and 1 rhodiumed moon applique and Rhodiumed hour, minute and date hands
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Breguet Reine de Naples Mini, Ref. 8928
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Hublot King Power Diego Maradona Watch (i like the colors :)
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Maîtres du Temps Chapter Three (interesting design... nice overall aesthetic and features)

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some of the press text: "The perfect watch for the well-heeled globetrotter might feature the following: time, date, moon phase, and a second time zone and day/night indicator—to avoid calling home at 3 a.m. instead of 3 p.m. However, while all of these indications are useful, they are not all necessary all the time.

Indication-rich timepieces have always been a compromise between functionality and refinement—an uncluttered dial is a more elegant dial. Or, to be more precise, indication-rich timepieces have always been a compromise between functionality and refinement . . . until Chapter Three Reveal.

Independent Master Watchmakers Kari Voutilainen and Andreas Strehler have created a stunningly elegant timepiece that displays hours, minutes, seconds, date, and phase of the moon, all set on a sumptuous blue guilloche dial.

But that’s not all, and this is where Mystery, Suspense and Surprise come in: Voutilainen and Strehler have also kept a couple of intimate secrets in reserve, to be revealed, and perhaps even shared, at the owner’s pleasure. A pusher set into the crown lowers two invisible panels in the dial to reveal two more hitherto hidden indications: a second time zone indicator (also known as a GMT) and a day/night indicator, both displayed on Maîtres du Temps’ signature rollers."

congrats to the team behind chapter 3. master watchmakers Kari Voutilainen and Andreas Strehler, and founder Steven Holtzman for bringing these creations to reality. oh and some nice ladies versions of the chapter 2 with some bling appeared too :) the chapter 2 diamonds... i like the white gold version. it's a stunner and of course has the interesting presentation of time, day, date as with earlier chapter 2s. for more information on these pieces -> LINK

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and that's all for now. cheers

Saturday, 24 March 2012

rekindled love for some well designed watches & a review of my PAM372

it's my preeeccciiiiioooouuuussss
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now PAMs are not about haute horology to me, its not about fancy complications (leave that to the other manufactures) but about strong, good looking timepieces. and for me the best looking ones are the historic ones, those close to their origins and DNA. the clean dials of the base ("base" dial is pam speak for just the hour and min display, no seconds n other thingamajigs, no frills). just 3, 6, 9, 12 make some of their best dials ever.

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Above Picture Copyright © Martin Wilmsen www.wristwatchphoto.com (Used with Permission)

the italian navy may not be the greatest naval unit in the world but they did their fighting in style with PAMs on their wrists as they rode in on submersibles(pigs) and a marina militaire that looks like this...

a “trittico” or mean a$$ watch, compass and depth gauge
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Above Picture Copyright © Martin Wilmsen www.wristwatchphoto.com (Used with Permission)

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worn by this chap... incursore
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and so we come to
my PAM 372 Review... so over one week in and wearing it everyday... what's hot and what's not?
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OWNERSHIP FACTOIDS (or totally inane & useless info compiled by yours truly)
~ timekeeping and power reserve on my piece. (Note these are super accurate based on iphone time hitting a 5min mark and timed till when the minute hand is perfectly centred over the baton 5min marker, difference timed with a g-shock quartz stopwatch (i hope the sarcasm is evident:)
~ After 1st day - minus 6 seconds
~ After 2nd day - minus additional 7 seconds
~ After 3rd day minus additional 8 seconds
Power reserve on full wind = 3days 8hours and 20mins (should say 3 & 1/3 day on the marketing literature ;)

PLUSES
+ it looks how it looks :) and with pams, sometimes thats all that matters. look at some of the pre-v pieces going for crazy sums of money for a steel time only, cheap eta movement powered watch
+ the strap it comes with RULEZ! sure there's this whole strap culture thing going on where some buy a lot a lot of straps(aftermarket and OEM) but this one on this watch, i don't feel like i need to get many more... (i mean i need a few of course for some variety once in a while but this one i think is gonna spend a LOT of time on this watch)
+ very smooth and nice manual winding movement. can't overwind so u hit a dead stop. nice that it allows for the 1 hour adjustment where you can just set the hour hand without moving the minute hand, as with some other pam in-house movements. good if you're crossing +hour timezones
+ the plexi is more vintage lookin vs the distortion on the sapphire like in the fiddy and it's easy enough to refinish for light marks and swirlies. if it gets really screwed, just replace it. should be quite cheap and it comes with one spare in the box.
+
other vintage touches (1) polished case (2) faux patina (3) gold hands (4) 47mm (5) engraved dial text not printed (6) sandwich dial

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MINUS
- pricing... is the price right? don't talk about the cost of making and putting it together (new 47mm case, in-house 3 day movement, but plexi) the most important factor for pricing is still demand and supply and this is a non-special edition so people will figure there will be supply so even folks who want it may be able to wait.
exclusivity matters for lux watches so if the market gets flooded with 3500 pieces of 372 in 1-2 years, is there demand to take up another series of 3500 after that? maybe if spaced out over a lllooooonnnngggg period there will be constant demand but if not, is there the possibility of it sitting around in AD and boutique showcases and trading below list? scary thought for such a nice piece and makes me shift uncomfortably in my seat ;)
[for current owners, i think all would hope that it's a one series run... for those who are biding their time to get one at a discount, of course the more series they issue the merrier]


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[to draw an analogy for these reissues: these pieces are like ferrari reissuing a modern version of the 250GTO. it looks great but has all the modern refinements and current car engineering and technology. the 372 then is the 250GTO reissue which is unlimited.

looking at another reissue: the pam249 is like a 250 reissue done in a limited manner but because they realised they had to milk it more, they make more and more variants of it to do so... here's one with a better engine & engine note and slight visual mods, here's another signed by legendary ferrari F1 race car driver and racing stripes, here's one all in a special unique Ferrari red color etc etc etc ]


but end of day for a car that u could never own to a modern hommage at a fraction of the vintage price and is possible to drive, it's a cool proposition, if it looks the part and is issued by the original brand.
so historic or contemporary would depend on if u want to pick up the ferrari 250GTO or the 458. multiples of which range or a bit of both perhaps?]

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CONCLUSION
loved it when i got it and love it more and more every day of ownership. the 372... a great modern 6152/1 interpretation... distilled DNA... storied history & heritage in a steel watch case... they got it right with this one.

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PART II

anyways... because of my rekindled love interest, i've been looking at PAMs again... lots and lots and lots of PAMs and i've come to certain conclusions for myself. NOTE: This post could offend if you own PAM models with the features I don't like personally, but don't be. everyone has their own likes and dislikes and this is my blog and i express mine here. so you can continue loving whatever u love about the PAM you own and don't feel there is a need to convince me i'm wrong cause there is no wrong or right.

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Above Picture Copyright © Martin Wilmsen www.wristwatchphoto.com (Used with Permission)

features that do and don't do it for me
- 47mm is the better size for me. i'm not a small, svelte chap so 47 is the preferred size to rawk
- i think dials with the number of days of power reserve on it are a bit daft EXCEPT perhaps for 8 giorni brevettato done in the 203/egiziano style if you really had to laud it. the pr indicators on the back of the watch are the better or only way of showing it for pams
- date cutout and one showing am/pm in a pam dial is a no. the cyclops bubble is generally a pass cept maybe on submersible models...
- dial text matters... Marina Militaire on the dial is cool(heard they can't be using it no more though. italian navy what not... will see). 1950, ceramica, tourbillon, gmt etc... not so cool
- Pigs on the dial i'm still not sure about... but hmm i think it's a pass {somehow makes me think a bit of the IWC top gun fail where they plaster cheesy top gun stuff all over the watch}
- ecru (faux patina aka fauxtina) lume is cool but depending on the combo done... u can overdo the whole faux vintage look... the 390 is cool & desirable to many but to me feels a bit overdone... [i'm a medium rare kinda guy]
- steel is the best material for panerais for me... if u want a black watch, pvd or dlc steel and there u go... rose gold and ti are some of the only other metals worth considering but steel over ti (noting weight, ability to refinish) for me... bronze is interesting...
- i don't like lume that looks green alot of the time. eg. some white lume watches look white most of the time unless supercharged under bright sun and then u go under shade or into a dark room and the lume pops. the publicity shots by PAM with light green numerals are off for me (that takes out what 80 or 90%? of the catalogue for me)
- the winner of the ugliest historic pam dial is the one with "fu" on it... i mean i know u want to cater for the Chinese market but what the fu!
- the vendome t-dial numerals don't cut it like the pre-v... the pre-vendome t dials are sweet coz of the fat numbers and funky numerals but i ain't paying over S$30k just for looks and the beginnings of a retail watch business... cheapest 'A' dials are at around the S$15k mark

the 368... a mix of things i like and don't... overall it left me flat
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noting all of this then... the best 44mms are the 5218/201A (came out in the 90s) and the 360 (2011 ultra limited release only made for blue blooded paneristis) - the dial i like best in this size is the logo at the bottom and the 2 line text on top. the positioning of it all is just great. pre-v and pre-a numerals are nicer but doubt they will ever make a comeback. when they do a logo dial similar to the 5218/201A or 360 in a new release, i will buy that 44mm (steel case and ideally below S$10k list regardless of movement choice... one can hope but it may be a long wait)

the bestowed
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the original 44mm (i remember handling and liking it alot 4 years ago...(link) i had forgotten that it had already cost around S$50k then as it does now) smiling as i type this as i recall a paneristi sharing with me about what pre-V was about recently... i like being a noob, other people educate me on watches :)

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the best 47mms luminor/6152 case are the 6152/1 (with Marina Militaire or Luminor Panerai on the dial), the 203(like it more than the 127 and 217 as a 6152 hommage) the 372 and the 399 big crown (damn that minerva movement bumps up the price. i woulda been happy if it had a p3000 movement and cost less than 7.5k euro)

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Above Picture Copyright © Martin Wilmsen www.wristwatchphoto.com (Used with Permission)

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Above Picture Copyright © Martin Wilmsen www.wristwatchphoto.com (Used with Permission)

the best 47mm radiomirs are the 232(waiting for the ecru lume version if or when it drops), 249 or 448 for less than the 249 secondary market prices with some minor changes(noted below)

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differences for the
249 vs 448
1. price - As of Mar 2012, US$12.5-14+k on the aftermarket vs euro 6500 if you can get it at list (probably below S$13k)
2. opus facere and panerai case inscription vs vintage (doesn't bother me as i don't stare at that part of the watch much ;)
3. california on the inner chapter ring for the 448 (unnecessary but not a deal breaker)
4. domed and thinner plexi vs top hat and thicker plexi (both are nice)
5. 4.5mm eta movement (some say somewhat similar lookin to rolex 618 used in the 3646 cali... pish posh a unitas/eta is an eta movement) vs 5.3mm p3000... resulting in thinner 7+mm case vs fatter case ~8mm case (thinner is better but not a huge difference so it won't matter... {a little dissonance creeping in right there coz i probably have to pickup the 448 over the 249 :) }
6. black dial vs faded black... the faux tina may also be a shade darker on the 448 (both are great)
7. water resistance: 30m vs 100m (can be dunked in alcohol and cups... i don't swim with my watches so it don't matter)
8. 1936 vs 500 pieces (will they issue more cali dials? gold hand versions in a steel case perhaps?)
9. OP on the crown vs logo (both are fine)
10. L Swiss Made L vs L Swiss L (less is better but minor diff)

TARGETS SIGHTED CAPTAIN!
- Pam 249 or 448... either works so the 448 may edge it out at list [just a thought... the Chinese may not like the model numbers with the 4s CORRECTION: my wife who knows these things better than me was tellin me that 44 is similar to double happiness. and 8 is of course lucky so the numbers do work... but it varies, some just don't like 4s. i'm indifferent to all this :) ]

the releases i hope to get if and when they are released
- the next reissue of the 232 in steel with ecru lume (or 379 in steel case), that wonderful tobacco dial and gold hands. sapphire case back and probably a p3000 ticker would be the absolute must have PAM (below euro 7.5k retail please :)
- 44mm steel case with a 201A logo style dial (pvd not preferred as it'll make the watch look smaller and i m too comfortable with a 47mm to have a small lookin 44mm :)

sigh i do so miss my 232 but i can be patient... ecru lume version if u please :)
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hope u enjoyed the post, oh and go order that 372 now yuh ;) cheers, raph

Monday, 19 March 2012

My Pam 372 has landed!!! 1st Singapore Boutique Visit & A Special Pickup!

before i get to the post proper and gush all about my swwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeettttt pickup :) some folks to thank first... Antonius Kerssenbrock, Panerai South-East Asia General Manager, a cool gent & all round good guy from the sounds of it whom i hope to catchup with at the boutique opening or sooner :) the friendly & nice boutique staff who made it a great purchase experience (thanks Michelle & Andy!) and a mystery mate who helped in this hunt...

pics of the boutique first...
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overall assessment is its a nice bright boutique space. some interesting watches on hand to salivate over... definitely worth a visit if you're looking to buy a PAM or are watch crazy and happen to be in ion :) ok onto the post proper...

[ looking back a year and some days ago... link ] In sihh 2011, Panerai answered the call of many paneristis n revealed the base fiddy. well it looked like it but there are differences. Interestingly enough it was not made a special edition (panerai speak for limited edition) and was to be issued at 3500 pieces for it's first series. Of course nothing was said n I believe there is nothing official to say how many series of it will be produced.

this is one of the perfect pams for me personally and it signifies alot of what the brand was and is about. it's of course a modern take on a classic vintage stunning pam piece, the 6152/1, which was made by Panerai when it was selling watches to the Italian navy, before it did retail pieces in the pre-Vendome era and then acquired by Vendome/Richemont...

some great pieces have come along since Richemont took on the company and some of the standout pieces were the 203 and the 127... 47mm goodness and just really great looking watches. prices for both only went one way for awhile and deservedly so. many did ask about when more 47mm fiddy cased goodness would come and there was alot of cries for a fiddy base (watch with no seconds, just the sweet 12, 3, 6, 9)... after a long long wait, it got announced in 2011! and it not being a special edition meant the raphmeister could get one at a reasonable price without selling limbs in the process.

and so after a 1 year wait, today (well yesterday now) is the day... some quick pics of this beauty...
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A pam and watch loving mate and an all round great guy, joined me for this kicka$$ joyous occasion. the journey is to be shared and i'm glad to have a paneristi mate with me for this pickup. after we pawed some nice pams and potentially ordered more pams (my mind is a blur after handing over my credit card ;) at the boutique, we headed over to marmalade pantry for some nice bites (have to go back for rum and raisin mate ;)... my mate wore a beautiful JLC for the occasion... pics of us and our watches follow

a few more grey hairs but happy... very happy :)
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you can see the post pam acquisition glow on our faces no? or is it more a
contemplative 'which pam should i purchase next' expression? hmm :)

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richemont beauties...
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a great looking duometre
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and that's all he wrote... it's a great feeling owning a PAM again after i moved my PAM 000 and 232 (both just wonderful pieces too). and based on my and my friends' experiences, i would say that there is probably a PAM model out there for most folks as their catalogue has grown tremendously and is filled with great pieces in both the historic and contemporary range especially in recent years...

i happened to find my perfect PAM(for now) and i hope you do too... whatever the case, enjoy the journey :) cheers, raph

[next post will be coming soon that will be a review of owning it, wearing experience and some comparos and more more photos :) ]

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