Saturday, 29 September 2012

Audemars Piguet 40th Anniversary Exhibition in Singapore in Oct 2012


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hope alls well with watch lovers around the world :) anyways, for all watch lovers in Singapore, do drop down to the now defunct Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on Oct 10-14 for the 40th Anniversary Exhibition of the Royal Oak if u r keen to find out more about the wonderful history of it. Designed by Genta and for me, his best watch design. 

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Note what follows is my opinion... i believe the the Royal Oak is the best steel sports watch to buy in the S$10-16k range. If you have a budget of around 10-15, then the 15300 in the low teens will be a great buy if the size and looks do it for you. if you want something newer and bigger, then the 15400 at below S$16k is a very nice piece too. And if you were to step up the budget range to the S$16-20k-ish range (depending on newness and condition and source), a base Royal Oak Offshore like the themes black is a great steel sports watch to own. i prefer the ones with the arabics than the stick markers personally.
my watch... LOVE IT! ;)
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check out the collection here
http://www.audemarspiguet.com/en/watch-collection/royal-oak

some of the newer openworked squelette pieces
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and do register for the guided tour too if u want to be poisoned more effectively ;) 
http://www.audemarspiguet.com/s/ro40y-register/
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 all watch lovers should have an Audemars Piguet ;)
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ROYAL OAK 40 YEARS THE JOURNEY OF AN ICONIC TIMEPIECE TO BREAK THE RULES, YOU MUST FIRST MASTER THEM.

To break the rules, you must first master them - 40 years ago, Audemars Piguet broke all rules of fine watchmaking when in 1972 it introduced the ground-breaking design of the Royal Oak, an unprecedented steel watch and the first luxury sports watch in Haute Horlogerie. No one could have predicted anything whatsoever regarding its legendary destiny when it was launched. 40 years on, the Royal Oak not only became one of the brand’s signature pieces but it is also one of the world’s most recognisable timepieces.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Audemars Piguet’s iconic Royal Oak, the Swiss Manufacture from Le Brassus has put together a unique, ephemeral exhibition. Using design, photography, sound and film from three unequivocally 21st century artists, Sebastien Leon Agneessens, Quayola and Dan Holdsworth, the Manufacture curated an exhibition of 100 exceptional timepieces set against the backdrop that underscores Audemars Piguet’s origins, mastery and artistry. These rare watches, from the very first Royal Oak in 1972 to the latest models are presented to showcase the brand’s ability to innovate and create, illustrating how the Royal Oak became the icon it is today.

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Apart from the 100 iconic Royal Oak timepieces and invaluable memorabilia dating back to the beginning of the 70s, the exhibition features a working guillochage machine with a highly skilled watchmaker, a watchmaker working on two Royal Oak movements, a magnifying video camera linked to a video monitor embedded in the counter, as well as four exploded views of the watches. Visitors will be treated to a whole new level of interactive experience as they witness the beating heart of the skilled craftsmanship in assembling Audemars Piguet’s finest movements.

As part of the celebration of the forty regal years, the newly launched limited edition Royal Oak Leo Messi Chronograph case no. 10 in platinum and tantalum, will be displayed for the first time in Singapore. This exclusive piece will be auctioned off at the end of the exhibition run, with proceeds going to the Leo Messi Foundation. Other highlights include the Royal Oak Grande Complication which was specially created in 1998 for the founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberté and the Royal Oak Concept as an avant-garde tribute to the Royal Oak’s 30 years of watchmaking revolution.


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The Royal Oak 40 Years Exhibition will culminate its worldwide tour in Singapore from 10 – 14 October 2012 at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, following the showcase in New York, Milan, Paris, Geneva and Beijing. Guided tours will be available to enhance the exhibition experience. Shuttles buses will be available from the Audemars Piguet boutique at Liat Tower and Tanjong Pagar MRT (Exit B). Admission to the Royal Oak Exhibition is free. 


cheers, raph
 
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[images in this post copyright of Audemars Piguet except for the one with my (c) on it]

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Say Hello to Laurent Picciotto of Chronopassion! :)

so i found myself with some free time in Paris(well actually it was managing to secure it after lengthy negotiations with the mrs :) and i thought of paying a visit to Laurent Picciotto of Chronopassion. i had seen his pics on the net and in mags of course, with some great looking timepieces that were Chronopassion exclusives. He looked to be a very cool and interesting individual and i wanted to find out a bit more about the man and what made him tick. so journey if u will down a shopping street in Paris to... 


271, rue Saint-Honoré.. this is the place... i was staying down the road from here and it was a nice 10min walk to his shop that day. it was still closed when i arrived and i popped across the street for a sultana croissant and hot beverage :)
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i love the clock outside... french train station style clock if i'm not mistaken
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in laurent's inner sanctum in the basement... what a wonderful office! i wish i could do the same to my work space :) absolute wishful thinking in my stuffy work environment of course
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lots of interesting things on the wall and around.. several guitars too and they aren't for show yuh.. Laurent does play 'em and he can ROCK! :) 
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[to the interview then... note that i didn't have a tape recorder with me so the responses are not ad verbatim and are based off my notes and not too fantastic memory... let's get to it then... stuff you see below in blue are my added comments]

What did u do before Chronopassion and how did you decide to become a retailer for timepieces?

I worked in several professions before watches. I worked for a time in real estate, in banks, and insurance. I was involved in some degree with the music industry, working at getting folks to take up the use of CDs at the time being in CD production, back when they were the new thing... that was sometime ago.

My interest in watches came from my dad, who himself also had an interest in watches and was a bit collector. There weren't many nice watches to view and purchase at the time in the 1980s and the watch culture then was very different to what it is now. Back then, there was very few shops selling watches, mostly jewelers, no dedicated watch magazines and maybe just one or two watch ads in the regular mags, (raph's addition: and no watch sites/forums/blogs cause there was no internet too! :) and most people just looked to buy one nice watch and that was it. 

I wanted to sell beautiful timepieces and spread the passion for them. I started off with one brand then, Gerald Genta. The first few years were not so easy but my clientele grew over the years and over time I expanded the range of watches that i carried at Chronopassion, looking to work with brands that had something special and that i believed in. 

from the 80s then with one brand to now with a healthy stable of brands and some choice niche brands,  how has your business, your philosophy evolved through the years and what were the highlights of the journey? 

1986 through to 1996 were years of growth for me and learning the trade. basel 1991 was a turnaround year, when i expanded the brands I carried to 15, providing an opulent and varied offering.

1995 was a boom period for the watch industry through to 1999. even though the economy did go through peaks and troughs, the watch industry as a whole was growing and after 2000, there was a distinct step up for my own business, all through to 2008.

the financial crises posed a bit of a challenge. people were still buying but the attitudes of buyers changed from accumulation without much thought to putting in more consideration on their purchase decisions, finding more about of the legitimacy of what was on offer. more rationalisation and a general change in the mindset of the customer. 

I believe in helping my clients find the right watch for them even if it means presenting to them different options, this will allow them to make the right decision for themselves and  for me it's important that they know they can trust my advice and in our relationship. i'm not here to sell a single brand but help my clients find the watch they really like.

which is why it is important for me to carry brands that i like and i believe in. i have been fortunate that i have not made any mistakes so far in my choices.

why haven't you chosen to expand or grow your shop beyond the one shop you have currently? 

I don't believe in expanding and opening new outlets just because the opportunity is available. there are issues that come with expansion and there is the loss of control, the loss of maintaining the right level of interaction and that finer contact with my customers. i prefer to keep to my store here and maintain that intimacy and immediacy in my relationships with my clients. keep it small and beautiful and have the ability to create.

I am happy with how I have grown the shop to include the dedicated brand boutique with Hublot. I had first discussed this with Jean-Claude Biver(Hublot's then CEO who rebirthed the brand) on having the brand boutique and established the first Hublot monobrand boutique with them in 2006/07 and now they have over 30 such boutiques globally(with the view of growing more).


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You have had several successful collaborations, any more in the pipeline? 

the most recent one I have done is the Skull Bang with Hublot and there will be others in future of course. selective of course but with a distinctive Chronopassion flair to it and most importantly, is to do something i can be proud of and to have FUN!

Possible ones in the pipeline could be another one with Panerai. [Raph's note, they did a successful destro submersible watch that was nicknamed the kraken with Panerai, the pam 358]

I also have the good fortune of being on the boards of some major brands and am contributing ideas to these watch houses and do hope these ideas can refresh and renew some of the brands watch lines, even the iconic ones. 

How do you select brands to offer in your shop and to collaborate with?

it is important for me that i believe in the brands that i bring on. they have to have a certain quality, something unique and emotive in design or philosophy and be able to resonate with watch lovers. their history, the legitimacy of their story, that they bring something innovative or special. 



i am also happy to have worked with and discovered new brands like MB&F and am pleased to see them do well. it is also about the human adventures and who we choose to embark on them with and I am pleased with the ones I have chosen to journey with. 


raph's final note: 

It was a genuine pleasure meeting and having this short glimpse into Laurent's world and the cave of wonders that is Chronopassion. Laurent is a warm, affable man with a lively personality.


His view of not expanding his business was refreshing as well vs the typical business school mindset of grow and expand and in the process, losing a certain soul and personality along the way(at least that's kinda my take on it anyway).

The purchase of exclusive or high end timepiece is an emotional choice and enlightened retailers like Laurent Piccioto are the kind that will definitely partner with brands they carry to accentuate the uniqueness, exclusivity and beauty of their timepieces, adding emotive fuel to a buyer's curiosity or passion.

And my last comment is a compliment to Laurent... If I stayed in Paris or in Europe, I would be buying all my new watches from Chronopassion for sure for the brands he carries :) All the best to Laurent and his team! 

Cheers, Raph


welcoming me to his shop that day...
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and into the cave of treasures :)  Ap millenary tourby
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Ulysse Nardin Freak! Love it
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some nice RMs were around...
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  another
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vault

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some choice pieces from MB&F, Corum and Jouvenot...

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Vacheron Constantin celebrates the 100th Anniversary of its tonneau shaped watches in Singapore 14 Sep 2012

thanks to the team at Vacheron Constantin for the invite down to another fine dinner. good dinner companions and conversations, good entertainment and watches... it was simply put... all good :)

press info" On 14 September 2012, Mr David Heng, Managing Director, Vacheron Constantin South-East Asia, hosted a gala dinner where more than 150 highly-valued clients and members of the media in Singapore and Malaysia were specially invited to view the special heritage and contemporary exhibition. The dinner, with themed performances highlighting the tonneau shape history, was held at the Grand Ballroom at Capella Singapore."

sharing my pics from the event and some official pics and press release info too. i had cooled off on tonneau shaped watches for awhile but i must say that the malte pieces presented did look enticing especially the tourby. interestingly enough, at an earlier point of my watch loving journey i did have my eyes set on a royal eagle piece from vc which was tonneau shaped of course... time to start saving again ;) 


VC does things in style of course. They had select pieces on display celebrating their 100th anniversary of tonneau shaped watches...
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including the 1912 piece which is a pretty classic looker

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 rest of what was out front when we arrived for cocktails...
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and then to dinner and entertainment...
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some great songs sung by syafinaz selamat... con te partiro, nessun dorma were the highlights that evening for me

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after dinner, desserts were had in another area where the new malte tonneau pieces were on display... 

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yummy...
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"Such an exceptional watch deserved an equally exceptional movement, and this model is duly equipped with mechanical hand-wound Calibre 2795, comprising 246 parts, beating at a frequency of 2.5 Hz (18,000 vibrations/hour) and endowed with an almost two-day power reserve.

This new tonneau-shaped movement – making a perfect fit with the case – is entirely developed and crafted within the Manufacture. The tourbillon carriage is inspired by the brand’s signature Maltese cross, and magnificently showcases the exceptional level of finishing of each movement part, including a number of naturally hand-bevelled interior angles.


The rounding off of the tourbillon bar, which always represents a significant technical challenge, calls for over 11 hours of manual work in order to meet the finishing criteria demanded by Vacheron Constantin. Rounding off consists of filing each end of the arms in order to give them a conical or semi-cylindrical shape, while respecting the limits of the centre and the heels. To finalise this operation, the craftsmen rub it down with stones, buffs, wooden pegs and finishing pastes in order to achieve a perfectly polished effect."

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after ogling the watches, a lady asked if she could light my fire and who was i to say no? :) [u know that it would be untrue... u know that i would be a liar... if i was to say to u... girl we couldn't get much higher...]
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a line from wall street comes to mind of course... "davidoff, his favorite and very tough to get" [not if u're in Singapore of course ;)] which then makes me remember wall street 2(dreadful sequel to a masterpiece) where baddie josh brolin wears the beautiful 1921 american (which is a dream classic watch for me.. the movie may have sucked but some of the watches in it RULED)
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the highlight for me though was catching up with old friends and acquaintances after not having gone for one of these in awhile. i picked up alot of interesting facts... for eg, the fork was made in florence... and S$30k-50 is not much to spend for a bicycle. the highest end ones go for Eur100k or so... DAYUM!! as i am getting pudgier again, the cycling may be an option to pursue and i will have to lay down the fork and not dig in to more desserts ;)
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  some of which were dressed up very nicely :)

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more press release info if you click on the thingy below. hope u enjoyed the post ;) cheers

[ click to read the rest of the post... expand or collapse ]

In 1912 during an era where round pocket watches were the norm, Vacheron Constantin went against the grain and became one of the first few watch manufacturers to adopt barrel-shaped watchcases, a form more popularly known as the tonneau.

The tonneau-shaped watches were a novel creation in watchmaking history and represented an authentic revolution in horological design codes.

Such emblematic shapes were eventually interpreted through the Malte. Vacheron Constantin’s Malte collection is not just linked to the brand’s horological complications, it carries with it design forms which have since become highly identifiable with this prestigious brand.

“Creating a form-shaped collection was fully legitimate for Vacheron Constantin. The tonneau shape was chosen as it is a beautiful and elegant alternative to the round form. The Malte collection incorporates design elements deeply-rooted in the brand’s history. Most importantly, we have an extraordinary variety of tonneau-shaped watches in our Heritage Collection and archives,” says Christian Selmoni, Artistic Director, Vacheron Constantin.

As part of the brand’s 100th anniversary celebration of the tonneau-shaped watch, Vacheron Constantin, the oldest established watch Manufacture with an uninterrupted production history since its founding in 1755, showcased 12 heritage timepieces from its Geneva Heritage Collection. These historical watches, representative of the evolution of its tonneau-shaped watches over the past century, were showcased in an exclusive exhibition held at Capella Singapore.

These included one of the earliest tonneau-shaped 18K yellow gold wristwatches from 1912, a Chronomètre Royal from 1968, a dual time of 1982 featuring two independent movements and a 1995 platinum piece with a power reserve display and calendar date indicator. More than half of the heritage pieces on show were created in the early 20th century.

In addition to the heritage pieces, contemporary pieces including the highly popular Malte Tourbillon and 2012 novelties were part of the exhibition. There are four models in the 2012 Malte collection: the Malte Tourbillon, Malte Small Seconds, Malte Lady and the 100th anniversary commemorative timepiece issued in a limited edition of only 100 pieces worldwide.

In line with the 100th anniversary, a new tonneau-shaped movement, otherwise known as a form movement, the in-house Calibre 2795 which meets the criteria and seal of quality of the Hallmark of Geneva, was launched and housed in the Malte Tourbillon.

The commemorative Malte 100th Anniversary is the main highlight of the 2012 collection and is specially designed to have a vintage appeal. It is housed in a platinum case and is powered by an in-house Calibre 4400 manual-winding movement that also bears the Hallmark of Geneva.



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About Vacheron Constantin

Vacheron Constantin, the world’s oldest watch manufacturer, has enjoyed uninterrupted activity since its founding in 1755. A full-fledged watch Manufacturer, it masters the complete creative process, including research and development of movements, the aesthetic definition of each model, the full set of stages in designing and crafting the watch components, and finally, the application of hand-crafted finishing. The company has developed its business in almost 80 countries around the world, distributed through 30 exclusive boutiques and a network of around 340 carefully selected points of sales.

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