Saturday, 25 October 2014

Tra-di-TION! TRA-DI-TION! ;) no not fiddler on the roof... BREGUET! My take / review on Breguet Tradition 7047 7057 7067

Perchik: Money is the world's curse. 
Tevye: May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover.
a funny exchange from the musical/film i watched probably about 25+ years ago. remember folks there are more important things than money ;) 

this post / review will focus on the Tradition range but i shot some other absolutely beautiful Breguet watches on my trip down which i will be doing up a post in time(but these things take time) so before that's up, I will be posting some shots of them on my Instagram account so do check it out here LINK. my gracious hosts for the day was the fine marketing team here in Singapore and my thanks to them for having me over. 

hmm what's wrong with this picture?
and this? any guesses? :)

Well going back to the first quote, money is a necessity if you want to purchase some of these fine timepieces of course. I do so love them but if you don't, that's fine as well. We were all not made to love the same things. The great thing about this passion is the variety of timepieces and stories that's out there. It is definitely a good thing to open our eyes to see and experience more and know what it is that resonates with us and not anyone else... then figure out a way to obtain it ;) 

Looking back then(as one should do with Breguet)... Abraham Louis Breguet made beautiful and significant timepieces in his time. Certain notable inventions or characteristic stylings of Breguet timepieces are:
  • Tourbillon - as the person who invented it to aid in accuracy of pocket watches by addressing gravitational pull for pocketwatches, which were more or less always in the same position, and the oils used then 
  • Breguet hands - I love these.. on Breguets, Voutilainens and other classic styled dials
  • Wonderful guillochage or engine turned dials. A lot of beautiful designs and some dials feature several different types of guilloché at a go. 
  • Breguet overcoil hairspring
I must say that the Swatch Group, under CEO Nicholas Hayek then, had great vision in purchasing the brand and take it forward the way they have. From the brand's site it also notes that "Today more than ever, its capacity to innovate reflects a brand’s vitality. Breguet’s own creative powers and ingenuity have certainly not declined over time. Driven by Nicolas G. Hayek, they have indeed been amplified, resulting in Breguet filing in eight short years, a number of patent applications exceeding that of its founder’s own inventions."

That is the right way forward. Building off what was good and distinctive from Abraham Louis Breguet, and his wonderful creations of horological art with technical innovation, and taking it forward staying true to the spirit of the man. To note though, there were lost years when ownership passed on to people/corporations who did not know how to build on the name and innovate as the Swatch Group are doing today. 

Passage of the brand (Much of the information for this bit is referenced from this great article by Carlos Perez in this LINK)

  • 1775 Abraham Louis Breguet(1747-1823) begins his watch business. After his passing, it goes to his heirs.
  • 1870 - The watch business is sold to Edward Brown, an English watchmaker that worked for Breguet. To note, there were significant English watch collectors of Breguet at the time, Sir David Lionel Salomons(1851-1925), being the most significant and an owner of the Marie Antoinette pocket watch for a time.
  • 1970 - Sold to Chaumet brothers, Parisian jewelers.
  • 1987 - Chaumets' went bankrupt and the Republic of France sold its patrimony to Investcorp, a small-ish investment company(site currently states AUM of $10.5b) that looks to invest in alternative investment products.
  • Investcorp interestingly also purchased Nouvelle Lemania and Valdar in 1991 and brought them into a "Groupe Horloger Breguet." I don't know much about Valdar but Lemania, there's a name with some movements I know about :) they also supplied low to high end calibres to many brands. The brand lost it's way a little during these years.
  • 1999 - Sold to Swatch Group... Nicholas Hayek(1928-2010) steps down as Swatch Group CEO in 2003 to focus on Breguet. Marc Hayek  has since taken over the reins after his father's passing. It has not been easy road but they have given new life to the legacy. 
And we come to La Tradition... when it first came out, I took notice and at some points I had looked to buy one. The Tradition has the look of some of the pocket watch movements Breguet had done in his time. 
From 1793 to 1795, because of the Terror (wiki on it LINK), Breguet took refuge in Switzerland. He then came up with the idea of the souscription watch or 'subscription' watch which were committed to with a downpayment while he made them. they also had certain stylings to them, some of which has made their way into the Tradition range.

First up let's tackle the recent addition to the line... the Tradition GMT with two dials for two 
timezones to be shown and a day night indicator for the home or reference time. the pusher on the left 
to advance the 2nd time in hour increments. a beautiful piece with a modern and practical dual time function
power reserve indicator near the bottom centre on the back... i do so like the frosted finishing 
found throughout the range
all the Breguets I saw also had wonderful clasps and buckles. this was no exception

Next up... the Tradition Tourbillons 7047 in Plat and Rose Gold at 41mm. there is another version 
of the Rose Gold with the grey movement... all lovely

Let's take a closer look at the Rose Gold first... the high domed bombeé shape sapphire 
allows for great visibility of the dial with it's Breguet overcoil silicium hairspring and 
titanium balance wheel, tourbillon with titanium cage, power reserve indicator on the 
winding barrel and the chain and fusée transmisson
 this fusée and chain transmisson provides a constant force or balances out torque as the 
power in the barrel winds down. it's the bicycle chain and gear lookin mechanism behind the dial
before we look at the plat let's look at an older Breguet tourbillon... notice anything
interesting from the pic below? :) Chronometer No. 1176 with inverted fusée 
The Plat is colder looking of course and has a cool machine vibe to it. i like that this range 
exists in the Breguet family of watches together with their classic looking pieces
the back is simpler with most of what is to be seen on the front of the watch 

but what a front... a one minute tourbillon, power reserve indicator, chain and fusée 
And lastly the La Tradition in Rose Gold (other pics of a Tradition in another metal here LINK
this is one of the three 40mm diameter Traditions released in 2011. power reserve indicator
 and parachute shock absorber evident from the front. The other 2 released were the Rose Gold with 
movement in matt grey NAC finish and the white gold with the grey NAC movement
and the distinctive fluted or 'coin edge' style case and welded lugs. note the traditions come
in 2 sizes, 37mm(ref 7027 when it first launched) and 40mm(ref 7057 in 2011) the 40mm 
works better for me personally
and a pic from an auction piece from the past... Breguet No.689 souscription calibre with 
central barrel. 3 arm barrel with parachute on the top pivot... just wonderful translation into the modern range
The Group of Traditions then and their retail prices(inclusive of 7% GST)... the Plat Tourby 7047PT is at S$272,600, 
the Rose Gold Tourby 7047BR is $252,300 and the GMT 7067BR is S$56,200. 7057BR should be high 30s.Photobucket

ah... "if i were a rich man... Yubba dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum. All day long I'd biddy biddy bum. If I were a wealthy man. I wouldn't have to work hard. Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum. If I were a biddy biddy rich, Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man." song from the movie yuh

if i were a very wealthy man, i would buy at least one Breguet Tradition [amongst other pieces of course :) ] probably this one which i had significant trouble getting off my wrist after putting it on there... 
studying the art of breguet of which there is A LOT! this is a great book by the way showing 
auctions of interesting Breguet pieces and highlighting owners of note 
and that's it folks... a parting shot of mine as i was dragged out of the store by security ;) 
kidding of course. HAGWE! cheers, raph

Monday, 13 October 2014

Pointers on Buying A Watch in Singapore Or Online ~ New, Pre-Owned or Vintage Watches, from ADs, Non-ADs and Local Watch Forum/Sites

i have bought a number of pre-owned and vintage watches over time and have done a fair amount of watch buys online so thought of pulling together a couple of pointers to help out folks taking the plunge or looking for better deals out there. 

how many would you like to get today Mr Too? [note this is a box of watches at a dealer and i don't own any of em :( ]

If in Singapore looking to buy pre-owned (and in some cases brand new) watches in face to face deals, you could check out these non-Authorised Dealers/pre-owned watch shops (many do have brand new pieces as well)... [a scary truth is that i have transacted(bought and/or sold) with all of the below shops & ADs and other shops not listed] Note I will not be updating these links if they go dead so google is your friend then. My dealings with them went fine but it is no indicator of how they might operate now or your experience with them so caveat emptor. 

  • montres [China Street] and watcharena [Balestier] LINK my post on montres LINK 
  • watchlink [Far East Plaza] LINK
  • Shawn at Heirloom Gallery for vintage LINK
  • Kenneth Chen LINK [site requires registration] formerly from VIP Hotel Balmoral Crescent / Barry Lim LINK [site requires registration]
  • Chuan Watch [Golden Landmark Shopping Centre] LINK
  • JW Watch [International Plaza] LINK
  • HJ Watch [Far East Plaza] LINK / GR luxury [Mandarin Gallery] LINK
  • Passions [Funan Shopping IT Mall] LINK
Singapore-centric online sites(can sometime be buggy though)
  • sgroc [site requires registration] LINK
  • swx  LINK
For grey market dealers, they are able to offer some brand new pieces cheaper than the authorised dealers because they get it from the authorised dealers looking to move inventory in larger quantities or from ADs in markets where demand is low and the pieces can be obtained at better prices. Just noting some of the common reasons. 

If you want new from authorised dealers than go to the watch brand site u r interested in and check out their authorised dealer(AD)/retailer network listed on their sites. For the luxury watch brands here, the main ADs in SG are:
  • The Hour Glass Site link [they have 40month Installment Payment Plan towards helping you get your desired watch... very dangerous :) ], 
  • Cortina [recently finished their jewelry of time exhibition LINKCortina Site and 
  • Sincere Site link
Authorised Dealers will carry a mix of brands. some come and some go depending on terms 
and relationship with the brands

When buying online, take note of the following: 

1) Try before you buy

Try the same watch model if possible before you buy vs making the decision off a pic you saw of it online. if you can't get the exact same piece then an alternative is trying something similar sized or similar model with some slight variances to understand presence of the piece and suitability. if you have owned and tried many different types of pieces(and know their sizes) this won't be too much of an issue for you. 

reaction 1: damn i didn't know it was soo small... [note this is in reference to the size of the watch!] 

reaction 2: damn i didn't know it was gonna be soo big... [note: this is again in reference to the size of the watch! ;) ]

see the middle chap? he is all of 60mm! makes the other sizable watches by it's side look a little puny

2) Pics to assess case condition

for vintage or older pieces with solid casebacks(which most of them do as clear casebacks weren't big in the past), always ask for pics of the watch without it's caseback on to see condition of the case and the caseback. if there's black-ish or other corrosion marks or pitting, I would stay clear and wait for a better example to pop up. it may require some patience though and if a piece is ultra ultra rare and you can stomach the corrosion of the case then it's your call on that... but i would wait... 

it doesn't really matter how expensive the watch is that you're getting... $100, $500, $1k, $10k or more. try and get some internal caseback shots if possible.

you need some caseback shots aye... done! :) 

3) Buy the seller

Folks with many transactions done before without issues are safer bets and better to deal with but again no guarantees as each new transaction is what it is. For watches, once the transaction is done, make sure all things pertaining to the deal are sorted. 

For me personally, for sub-1k watches i have been hitting eBay a fair bit. Most of my Seiko acquisitions were obtained there. Buying off ebay is cool coz of buyer protection. this means if the seller sends you something different from what was advertised, you can open a case and get paypal to assess to get your funds back. buyer protection is crucial for online transactions of course.  

Next onto buying pre-owned watches...

A. Provenance - Provenance matters especially if resale is important... having all the box, certs, papers, warranties, receipt if possible. the older the watch is though the tougher that this will all be intact and for quite a number of pieces greater than 10 years old, a lot of this stuff may be gone. 

my Rollie stuff, not for sale but an example of it having everything... box, guarantee card, receipt(not shown)
purchased from The Hour Glass Millenia Walk 27 Jan 2002
serviced once in 2006 after 4 years as i had really abused it in that time, being my first 'real' watch 
that i wore from board rooms to pools to the sea. the 'parts' noted was the sapphire crystal i managed to damage :)  
i have not serviced it since as it's worn in rotation with other watches i owned over time
checking with Rolex Service Centre if it were to go in today it would cost me S$900+ to service 
vs S$390 in the past... it has more than doubled in 8 years :( 

Oh and don't ask the question, is the Rolex warranty international? 
Yes, it doesn't matter which Rolex dealer globally sold it originally it's covered by Rolex Warranty internationally.
It is likely to be the same for most other established watch brands as well but i can't speak for all of 'em so you can double confirm for other brands.

B. Condition - As close to what it was when it was first sold. no replacement parts or re-touched up parts eg. the dreaded re-lumed markers. never polished would be good too if there aren't any serious dings as it retain the original case finishing and lines. most watches that have gone in once for a full service would likely have been polished then.  

What are u looking for? 

  • Sharpness of the case
  • Bevelled lines not missing
  • Not over polished or had too much metal taken away
The challenge here is that many sellers aren't able to send good enough pics to assess these so if the purchase is pricey enough eg. in the>40k range[or whatever your tolerance is], travelling to the seller may prove to be the better thing to do.

C. Servicing Matters - How long since its last service and who serviced it? 

Always try to get verification on when it was serviced last. Eg someone selling you a watch that was serviced last 8-10 years ago likely means the next servicing will be coming up soon on your dime. 

Check how long the warranty lasts as well. Some pieces may have been sold with an extended warranty(eg. boutique sold watches) so get it in the service centre before the warranty ends if anything needs a fixin. 

In terms of who serviced it, authorised is still best but can be costly. if non-authorised then make sure it's a reliable enough servicer that you personally would trust to use. if it's not then it casts a bit of doubt on the piece as in the course of servicing, parts that weren't from the original brand may have been replaced in the movement. eg. Tag, Panerai or IWC eta based movements replaced with generic eta parts. 

For my post on servicing -> LINK

D. Authenticity - To be safe, authenticate your watch before purchase if possible especially if it's a commonly replicated watch. Official service centres are best for this. 

[Note: For the dealers with shops or very established sellers, there is less need for this but it depends on each individual's relationship and trust established.]

Interested in Vintage Watches?

There are a lot of great vintage watches out there but what is said above on condition is extremely key in assessing the vintage watch you are keen on getting. for some vintage Rolex, certain aging features or patina actually give the watch it's value and the last thing you want to pay for is a service dial or replacement superluminova dial for the original tritium dial as an eg. 

havin it original is the way to go

The great thing about vintage though is the value for money buys. Watches with good to great movements eg the Lemania CH27 and Valjoux 72. Some brands may have interesting mechanical pieces from the past but you will have to tread carefully eg the likes of Universal Geneve, Movado, Zenith, English pocket watches and others.

i went through a 'find some interesting watch stuff off ebay' phase once. it was fun hunting for decent buys, looking at movements in old watches and seeing if there were worthwhile finds. somehow or another, i kinda knew that what i did buy may get very little wrist time but I still trawled through results pages looking for some good value pieces vs modern equivalents. 
some vintage pieces are popular though and have kind of settled at certain price range. for these, it comes down to your assessment of it's value when coming to a buy or not to buy decision.

ok a valjoux 72 but not found in a cheap vintage ;)

hope the above pointers help you in your hunt/purchase for a pre-owned timepiece and that's it for this post. happy watch hunting! cheers, raph 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Young, Up & Coming Brand to Keep An Eye On... HYT Watches, Hydro Mechanical Horologists Launches in Singapore!


one of the bigger news in the watch world recently is Dominique Renaud the 'R' in APRP has joined HYT Watches. APRP is Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi and it started out as Renaud & Papi who later sold some of it's shares to AP and Renaud sold off his share of the business to take a bit of a break. Deployant did a great post on the watches and catchup with Vincent & Dominic so i have no intention of covering the same ground. check it out here LINK a lot of good info on their site too of course LINK

On to some thoughts from the launch of HYT House opening up in Singapore then... a lovely lady welcomed me in
the scene inside
some of the H1s on display... from their literature: "Each HYT watch is equipped with a fluid module. 
The fluid module is the device, which enables to display time via the meniscus. The meniscus
marks the boundary between the two non-miscible fluids in the tube. 
The watch movement drives the module via the bellows fixed on the main plate"
It's been setup to be at 10:10(or just past it) for the next 2 watches 
the pink gold one looks nice... H1 PINK GOLD FACE LIFT pink gold (5N) with
 brushed, shot-peened and satin-finished surfaces, pink gold (5N) crown
H1... the fluid shows the hours and the hand on the sub-dial points 
out the mins
H1 Titanium with brushed, shot-peened and satin-finished surfaces
Vincent was kind enough to pull the H2 off his wrist for me to have a feel of it. 
a large watch but light
and most kind to illuminate both me and the watch ;)
the H2 is a very interesting watch... impressive 8 days power reserve and 
retrograde hours... 
but ah what's that i smell... CIGARS! Cohibas no less :)
one for the raphmeister.. Thank You
wristshot with the deployant boys
and one just of the ultra cool cabestan...
friendly eye candy sought to distract... 
but the attractions of the night were the watches of course ;) this is an interesting version in white with blue fluid... the H1 ICEBERG 
Titanium with brushed, shot-peened and satin-finished surfaces
and that's it... some champagne, a fine cigar, nice watches and good company... 
my thanks to Vincent and Omamgbe for the invite down. oh and thanks for the nice door gift too... will be put to good use :)

Press release info follows: HYT OPENS ITS DOORS IN ASIA 

Independent Swiss luxury watch brand HYT establishes Singapore hub after arrival to the scene with revolutionary fluidic technology and stratospheric growth. 

Launched in 2012 The Hydro Mechanical Horologists revolutionised the horlogical market with the use of game changing fluid technology that unites mechanics and liquid within a wristwatch. 

The use of hydro mechanics was a first ever in the watch industry and HYT was the winner of the 2012 Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prize, Best innovative Watch Concept (Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve). 

2 years on and more than 50 points of sale wordwide, HYT has decided to open HYT Asia, a non-retail subsidiary of HYT in Singapore to cater to the pressing demand coming from collectors in S. E Asia. 

The team of Hydro Mechanical Horlogists recently partnered up with Time International for an exclusive distribution of its pieces in Indonesia and will confirm other alliances in the region in the next weeks. 

HYT CEO Vincent Perriard said ‘South East Asia is one of the strongest and most sophisticated markets in the world for niche luxury brands such as ours and is where we need to be. I always knew our watches would create a lot of interest but none of us thought it would be this big.’ Perriard added, ‘HYT’s liquid technology is 100% unique in the watchmaking industry and we’re working hard to keep it that way. Our team thrives on innovation and we have some amazing developments in store for you!’ 

About HYT

HYT’s Hydromechanical Horologists have turned fantasy into reality, mixing mechanics and liquid within a wristwatch. While addicted to nonconformism, these alchemists have drawn upon the strictest codes of fine watchmaking, and shattered them. 

The Principle 

Two flexible reservoirs with a capillary attached at each end. In one, an aqueous liquid containing fluorescein; in the other, a viscous transparent liquid. Keeping them apart is the repulsion force of the molecules in each fluid. 

The hours are indicated by the green fluorescent aqueous liquid released from a flexible reservoir compressed by a piston. These reservoirs, or bellows, are located at six o’clock and are made from a supple electrodeposited alloy. The first coloured liquid travels through the capillary pushing the transparent viscous one back into its own reservoir and then returning to its original position at six o’clock in what is referred to as a retrograde manner. 

The two reservoirs at 06:00. While the first compresses, the second expands, and the other way round, resulting in the movement of the liquid in the capillary. As the hours go by, the fluorescent liquid advances. The meniscus, in the shape of a half moon, marks the breaking point with the other fluid in the tube, indicating the time. At 18:00, the fluorescent liquid comes back to its original position, going backwards. The secret that gets the reservoirs going? Two bellows made of a highly resistant, flexible electro-deposited alloy, each driven by a piston. And this is where watchmaking comes in to activate the system. 

In 2014, HYT is continuing its all-encompassing quest for hybridisation by introducing its new collection: the H2. This timepiece was born of a vision shared by the teams of HYT and Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi overseen by Giulio Papi.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Non-Watch Post: Chilling Out at Kommune Cafe & Bar... A Spot for Both Night & Day

[NOTE: The day time food cafe is closed for the time being. 
Just the bar in the evenings / night]

As fate would have it, I bumped into a mate of mine after some time and we got to chatting and I suddenly found myself on a Saturday afternoon, having a nice time learning latte art and sampling some of the makan at his great chillaxing spot at Tiong Bahru, together with some interesting, young bloggers in Singapore. 

At night, it is a bar with some serious beers(a familiar word, artisanal, was used when sharing about 'em) and some of the harder stuff and in the day, it transforms to a nice cafe where you can pop by for a nice meal. So kids and the family for the day, and a night out with the gang for proper drinks when it gets dark :) 

3 Seng Poh Road #01-01 Singapore 168891 
Cafe opening hours: 10am to 4.30pm Tuesdays to Sundays. Closed on Mondays 
facebook / instagram: kommune_sg

so my take on all of it? for me it's definitely worth further visits and if you are keen on exploring a nice spot for breakfast / lunch / brunch or just have a nice cup of coffee or chai latte, do swing by and check out what's there. will share more on why together with the pics below. 
starting with the environment then...
lovely bright and spacious seating areas both indoor and al fresco...
the other side of the room
and what do we have here... hmm that's not coffee... 
so what's for breakfast? 
ok on a more serious note... i NEED MY COFFEE! grounded coffee before compression
a good chart sharing on coffee facts before we got down to latte art'ing :)
and the end result! (ok this is not my creation)
Chief kommunicator Ken was our gracious host and shared about the cafe and special kommune original 
roasts worked on by coffee gurus [he sported a nice Rolex Explorer II by the way ;) ]
they also had some great chai latte... i sooo need more of this!
but then it was time for makan... there is a rumbly in my tumbly... oh but first pics have to be 
taken and review impressions written... putting pen to paper Photobucket
MAKAN TIME!! some starters for you? 
yes, why not? why not indeed... let's start with some yummy okonomiyaki
overall decent but a little lighter on the seasoning would work better for me
easy solution is to get the sauce on the side... that should do the trick
mac and cheese(every restaurant should have mac and cheese on the menu just in case ;) 
this one was great with crabmeat in it! i m having it again the next time i'm down
sammiches ~ 3 Little Pigs - pulled pork, bacon, bak kwa, onion jam, which was a tad sweet for my taste. 
there was also a salmon & egg sammich with smoked salmon, lumpfish caviar & egg mash
avocado egg and some goodness ~ open-faced Avocado Sandwich - avocado,
 apple, rocket, tomato, sunny side up... for avocado lovers of course
And then come the Mains... oh yeah... grilled chicken up front (most of the mains are in the $15 to low 20s range i believe)
some saba fish 
some shepherd's pie
but the tenderloin hit the spot for me... medium rare and decent tasting :) [note serving below 
may not be what they serve for  one it was for a pack of us that was sharing] 
and to end off... you can have your pet dog chill out in the tables outside while you enjoy your makan.. 
[Ken's dog came by to observe proceedings]
and have the kids down(or young-at-heart folks ;) who can entertain themselves with crayons,
chops to draw all over the covered tables... encouraging creative expression which is cool!

and that's it. thanks again to Kenneth and the Kommune crew for hosting me. hope you enjoyed the foodie post and have a great long weekend folks(for Singapore readers). cheers, raph

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