Friday, 28 November 2014

Rolex Milgauss Z Blue 116400GV and Pepsi GMT 116719 BLRO In the Metal, In Hand Quickie Review

Rolex Rolex Rolex... nope I am not reading the rehaut of the watch but shaking my head at a good opportunity squandered. the press pix were pretty cool of this piece but the in-the-metal look of it is a bit of a letdown... damp squib moment for me coming up [note this happened to me only now after i had a chance to see it in the metal recently. not sure if the basel piece was any different]

oh that's it?
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now this is still a nice watch. the milgauss design is great but the blue could have been done better impo [my 2008 milgauss review here LINK]
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this went quickly from a potential buy to a just another watch out there in the mix and an option
if you were looking at the milgauss or equivalents
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and apologies for the iphone pic below... the Pepsi GMT 116719 BLRO... S$50,030 retail
if only it had come out in steel, i would buy it even with the cyclops... but in WG and wanting to make
it more exclusive unncessarily... i see it as a bit of a wasted opportunity. well the uber wealthy 
can have another piece to flaunt[not a big thing in the biggest market in the world] but the 
Pepsi fans(myself included) will be denied... even if i had the $, there are so many other 
watches to consider at that kinda price point. for example I could buy a 1675 AND a Patek 5711 instead :)
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gone but not forgotten :)
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Thursday, 27 November 2014

A Look At Richard Mille Hyper Luxury Timepieces & Some Pics of a RM032 in a Ferrari 458 Speciale No Less

Under A Blood Red Sky
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Sorry what was the title of the post? Ah, Richard Mille!

So who is the man behind the brand? His relatively short history can be found on wikipedia LINK... jewelry sales and marketing, then watch head for Mauboussin and then starting Richard Mille in 1999 and the RM001 coming out in 2001. Had wanted to talk more about the production of the watches but that's been covered really well in this ablogtowatch post LINK (do check it out) 

My short simple take on him is that he is a marketing genius for being able to sell what he does and price it the way he has and the bar just seems to get higher and higher to join the exclusive club of RM owners. He also has some design mojo since he has a hand in the designs or greenlighting them. On the quality and technical kick-a$$ery front though, i would make a distinction between RMs that have APRP [Audemars Piguet Renaud Papi] movements/complications vs the Vauchers but to most as long as it's an RM... it'll do :)

You know those articles that say what your watch says about you? RM owners would fall into the category of (1) too much money to care about prices much or at all (2) too much money to care about what they're actually paying for or maybe just (3) too much money period. [Luxury watch purchases are not highly rational decisions as it is, this is just stretching iiiitttttt ] No surprise that RM becomes a de riguer brand to own for the flash car/exotics/supercar/hypercar owner. these are hyper luxury products and for the people with the $, the price does not matter.

Enough of words and onto the pics... and there are a number of them. hope u like 'em. cheers, raph

RM011-FM Dubail Ti
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movement view... 
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profile has nice mix of brushed and polished surfaces
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very consistent machine aesthetic through the range

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RM032... we meet again
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movement view
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going all in...
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red storm rising... [ok i've officially run out of things to say about it... for now :)]
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Ferrari 458 Speciale

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engine bay... so beautiful... 
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i wish they all could be california... 
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beautiful inside and out of course... 

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it even looks good in black and white :)
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Forza Ferrari!

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and coz i took pics of another RM recently... let's have a quick look at RM030 AN Ti
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movement view
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the transparency of these pieces are cool
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RM032 Ti with the Ferrari

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exiting the beast
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totally in it's natural environment :)

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we are ready for liftoff...

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hmm i wonder what this button does... oops that's me ready to launch this bad boy
hmm nice team alinghi forged carbon... kinda goes with the carbon fibre methinks
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objects in the mirror are closer than they appear... may be a good thing there's nothing there
then coz we left em all behind :)
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About Me, My Blog & Services Provided

Watch Blogger since Jan 2007
The original aim for this blog was to spread the passion for horology, the art and science of timepieces, and my view on it all. Not right, not the best written, not wrong, just mine. I am not out to please everyone and am just doing what makes me happy. I respect others views too and am more than fine to agree to disagree on any watch related stuff. There is a lot to appreciate in finely made timepieces and I hope my sharing will be of benefit to interested folks one way or another.  
Along the way, photography and capturing cool images got to be of importance too. At first to showcase the beauty & art in timepieces and it's progressed to be something I really enjoy as a hobby beyond watch photography. 

Services
I work in another industry on a full time basis. If there is interest though to engage me for freelance photography (portraits to watches to cars to food etc) for more bespoke sessions (u let me know what you want to achieve and i let you know if i think I can achieve it) or tfcd for models/themes i am keen on, feel free to drop me a line at raphaeltoo @ gmail. com (remove spaces) or sms/whatsapp +65 91 eight 68 924.  

Other social media platforms: 
- Facebook: Timetapestry LINK
- Instagram: Timetapestry LINK
Facebook: Raphael Too Photography LINK

Blog Stats by Blogger/Blogspot as of End Jul 2016
  • Daily Views: Average above 2.2k views every day 
  • Monthly Views: Above 70k (mostly watch enthusiasts) views monthly
  • Over 2.3 million Pageviews. Over 1.3 million unique visitors

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Blog Stats by Blogger/Blogspot as of Jul 2015
  • Daily Views: Average above 1.2k views every day 
  • Monthly Views: Above 40k (mostly watch enthusiasts) views monthly
  • Over 1.7 million Pageviews. [Over 1.09 million unique visitors]
  • Popular in America(USA and Canada), Asia Pacific(Singapore, Indonesia, Australia Malaysia), Europe(UK, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Portugal)
  • Top 6 countries (in order of all time rank) with highest visitor numbers from Singapore, USA, Canada, UK, Spain, Indonesia
timetapestry has strong google-fu or a pretty high google page rank and is a top 3 hit or in the first google results page for many watch related searches for the watches that I post on. Eg. if u google "Rolex Daytona Review" [I am the 1st hit after ad sites (in Jul 15)], "harry winston opus 3" [2nd hit, 1st hit is the official site page (in Jul '15)] try "Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Review" 


Stats from Nov 2014


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sharing views in other media once in awhile... (interviews in Business Times, Straits Times)
and mags(August Man, Nan You{Nu You's male mag}, Harpers Bazaar)
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Saturday, 22 November 2014

HYT H1 and H2 Hydro Mechanical Horological Timepieces ~ A Short Pictorial Review

As posted earlier LINK, I think there's more to look forward to with HYT and I thank the team there, Vincent, Omamgbe, Carla for a chance to spend some time with some pieces from their current range of interesting hydro-mechanical watches, the H1 and H2. Thoughts and pics follow, mixed in with info from HYT press materials(italicised): 

H1 Alumen Blue with retrograde fluid hours & minutes... the idea that led to the H1 was simple
 and consisted of two flexible reservoirs fixed to each end of a capillary. In one was an aqueous
liquid filled with fluorescein, and in the other, a transparent viscous liquid. To keep them 
separate: the repulsive force of the molecules in each liquid, with a meniscus to mark the
 boundary between the two
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some nice design touches include the small seconds indicator resembling a water wheel at 930
and at 230 a 65-hour power-reserve indicator. Blue ALUN 316B hour dial, white indexes and 
numerals and blue ALUN 316B minute dial, grey minute hand
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Mechanical hand-wound, exclusive HYT calibre 101 - 28,800 vph, 4 Hz, 35 jewels. Bridges hand-chamfered
 and adorned with Côtes de Genève, rhodiumed bellows - 65-hour power reserve
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Luminescent minute hand and hour-markers under some blue light (thanks Carla for the light! :)
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Realised by Jean-François Mojon and his Chronode SA team, a mechanical movement is situated 
in the upper part of the watch, and propels a cam, which pushes the piston and activates the 
bellows. Jean-François Mojon also worked on several MB&F Machines
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case sizes for the H1 and H2 are the same as they share the same case
> Diameter: 48.8 mm > Thickness: 17.9 mm
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Next some info from the HYT site...  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
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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
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H1 Red2 - Titanium with shot-peened and satin-finished surfaces 
brushed pink gold (5N) bezel and lugs (Retail: US$69k)
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same movement of course for the H1s
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a very nice piece with a nice color combination
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and a little detail...
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The H2 Ti Black DLC... realised together with Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi (APRP) The perfect
 alliance between high-end watchmaking and fluid mechanics, the h2 was born of a vision
 shared by the hydro mechanical horologists and the aprp team overseen by giulio papi.
At 3 o'clock is a "H-N-R" crown position indicator, which brings to mind the gearstick of a racing car,
 is counterbalanced by the presence of another hand, which is also original and exclusive to HYT,
 a temperature indicator. Once the watch is being worn, this function enables the user to accurately
 find out when the fluid has reached the optimum temperature range. In the centre, a minute hand,
 designed in stages to perfectly fit the structure of the fluidic system jumps after 30 minutes
 to avoid the bellows
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Firstly, by the position of the bellows, positioned at 6 o'clock in "V" and rising, which clearly evokes
 the most outstanding achievements of automotive and aeronautical engineering. This 
optimises the integration of the interface that connects the watch mechanisms with the fluidic 
system. Mirroring the pair of bellows, the balance spring presides at midday on its black bridge, 
the dome marking the rhythm of life in this unique world
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wristshot! these watches sat well on my wrist and they were light and comfortable.
appreciating the multi-dimensional architecture of the movement. i somehow feel that it would 
look better in a non-round case... which seems to be the most conventional thing about them
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liquids getting re-fueled... just kidding :) it boasts an 8 day power reserve which is very cool. 
Manual winding HYT calibre 21,600 vib/h, 3 Hz, 28 jewels. Titanium bridges with decorated 
microblasted Black PVD and titanium coloured satin-finished accents
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Looking forward to more from HYT, the H3 and onwards! Hope you enjoyed the pics and post :)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cut vs Morton's... Which is The Best Pricey Steakhouse in Singapore? & Some History of Morton's in SG

[UPDATE AS OF Sep 2015: Haven't been down in a while and finally made it down for my annual birthday dinner and a good meal was meant to be the highlight for the day. The food standard has dropped tremendously and my steak, both the cut and the done-ness, was just off. had to send the raw in the middle steak back and they butterflied it and it tasted worse after that. 
Service was also not great and the long time serving staff member added to the miscommunication on our desserts. The chefs are probably not as good as before or at least the one that did the food for my table and the one next to mine was a massive fail. The food on the next table had an overpouring sour-ish vinegar-ish smell that was too much for them and for us. OVERALL: I would not recommend going to Mortons anymore due to the drop in the food standard and the iffy service. All the positive notes about the place below can be ignored as they no longer apply. Consistency is extremely important and this place has lost it.]  
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[this review is based on my taste(being subjective no one is right or wrong) and opinion in rating two of the more expensive steak joints in Singapore. if you disagree with it then all well and good & do read info in the disclaimer at the bottom of the page ;) oh and bear with the pics in this post as none were done with a dslr in pretty dark environments]

I won't dance around like those sites out there probably looking to maintain free food status and say these are the TOP steakhouses in Singapore blah blah blah. My post is simpler: which is better and why. Note this is not a food blog(although i may do a few food posts now and then), I pay for my food like regular folks, and I think I have had a decent amount of good food through the years. The paying for the meal bit matters as it goes to objectivity and a typical dining experience i.e. same as any other dude or dudette that walks in and pays for their meal. 


so which has the better beef and was the better dining experience? An emphatic win 
for Morton's impo :) medium rare filet mignon done wonderfully
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Let's break it down a little:  

(1) Ambience [Morton's 4.5/5(for old layout ~ darker and felt more comfortable... the lights were almost out and you had the piggy light on the table and everything felt very cozy. had alot of old skool charm goin for it), 3.5-4/5(for new layout ~ brighter and newer and loses a bit of character. i don't think it's a plus to see a grey wall outside), Cut 4/5 ~ neat, chic and nice] 
(2) Service [Morton's 4/5, Cut 2.5/5]
Morton's staff are attentive and we never had to ask for something twice. Cut we had to ask multiple times for water top-ups and other stuff. Our waiter actually told the kitchen to put less salt in one of our dishes when we never asked for that and told us about it when he served us the food. If I wanted my food to taste different than how the chef meant to make it, I would make that decision. 

Cut restaurant interior
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Morton's... u can see the outside on the left bit now... i prefer it before the renovation

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(3) Bread and Appetisers: Normally not so key as you are really there for steak
Bread - Morton's bread is great and you need control yourself not to stuff your face
 with too much of it otherwise you won't have much space for steak and desserts.
Morton's excellent onion bread!
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 and excellent stuff to dip it into... rich lobster bisque with nice creamy consistency
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it was pretty forgettable bread in Cut but this is not terribly important

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Prawn cocktail and tomato salad in Cut ~ wasabi panna cotta was interesting and the 
combination of flavors made it taste like a prawn cocktail. overall a nice take on the dish
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Note on Seafood at steak joints(appetisers, surf and turf and what not) - these are steakhouses. they will have passable 
seafood but you should be there for it's core offering which is steak. If you want lobsters and scallops and prawns and stuff, 
then the really good stuff can probably be found somewhere else. 

THE MAIN EVENT: Filet Mignon [Morton's 4 to 5/5, Cut 3.5/5] & Sirloin Wagyu  [Cut 3.5/5]
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Steak - I had US Filet Mignon at both places Medium Rare. I've had different cuts at Morton's(Porterhouse) and tried the Wagyu Sirloin at Cut. Morton's taste wins. 
Doneness - my recent visit both were done Medium Rare and done right. In some of my earlier Morton's visits, my Medium rare came rare and bloody and had to go back for a bit more heat. 

Bearnaise sauce - Morton's bearnaise for me is a great sauce to go with their Filet Mignon. The Cut one was too thick and almost had a butter like consistency and taste

Double Cut... mmmmmm
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Surf and turf! the prawns weren't the best but the scallops were yummy and asparagus was good
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Sides: Just rating one side. Sauteed Mushrooms [Cut 2.5/5 as they were too sweet. Morton's used to have this great sauteed mushrooms side which they don't have anymore by itself. now there's only a button mushroom with spinach thing on there. even further back more years and they had a sauteed mixed mushrooms (i believe with onions) side which was amazing. shame they don't have these offerings anymore. ]
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Desserts: Chocolate dessert [Morton's 5/5 for the chocolate lava cake, Cut 3/5 for choc souffle] Apple crumble type dessert [Morton's 4/5, Cut 3.5/5]
Cut chocolate souffle was good but if i never had it, it wouldn't matter. 
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Morton's molten lava Godiva chocolate cake is legendary for a reason. It was so good even though i was stuffed i still wanted to lick the plate. Disclaimer: I have been to Morton's late in the night just for desserts
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Conclusion: Morton's is better than Cut in all ways and in the most important steak department too and if you I were looking to spend $150-200+ a pax on a steak dinner than there is only one choice. 
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Some background info: I have been going Morton's on average at least once a year since 1999. I have been to Morton's in Chicago at their original location LINK, when it was called Morton's of Chicago and it was excellent there and then too. 

How has the dining experience for Morton's in Singapore changed over the years then?

(1) In the past they would do a presentation of all the different cuts of steak and show you the Maine lobster they were gonna cook for you if you so wanted lobster that night [ i named him Harry, He looked like a Harry to me ;) ] After the first few times the novelty wore off but for folks there for the first time(eg young lovers and the boy wanting to impress the girl etc), it was nice and fun and also for non-steak aficionados they have the answer to their questions of 'what can i expect from cut A vs cut B' or 'i like xyz type of meat what should i go for?'. 

(2) When you're celebrating a birthday they give you (1) a free dessert(chocolate lava cake is my choice ALWAYS) and the menu sheet with 'happy XXrd birthday Raphael!' on it and a photo of you and your guest in a card thingy with the staff's signatures. In the past they would sing happy birthday too and you would hear it being sung 2-3 times in the course of your dinner. Yes it is a great place to celebrate life events too. but i think over time everyone got tired of that so that's stopped for awhile. the souvenir menu sheet used to be on thicker stock paper and is thinner now and easier to roll up and hand to you as a souvenir. the camera used to take the pix for printing to give out in the card thing with signed staff names has improved :) 
from my bday in 2009... good times

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(3) Presenting desserts - they still present the cold desserts and let you know what the hot desserts are. they aren't shown on the menu. this hasn't changed iirc. 

(4) they renovated the place too so now instead of the wall with black and white photos of folks lining em one of the walls has given way to windows(see pic above) and the front of the shop is now a glass see through thing(see pic below). more tables squeezed into the place too. 


facade
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(5) most or all of the long serving wait staff are gone. there was the Indian chap with the fine moustache and the caucasian with the squarish hair cut style and some others i would remember if i saw em again who worked there for at least 3-4 or more years but in this recent trip down, all the wait staff faces were new to me. of course it could be that they had the day off.


and that's it for this post. Morton's was a better overall experience in the past but even though it's slightly lesser than it's former self, it still is great and the best marquee steakhouse in Singapore for me. be prepared to spend $150-300(or more) per pax depending on how big an appetite you bring and what you be drinking. oh and my recommendation for any new to you restaurant is to go in with very low expectations, the only way should be up then :) cheers, raph

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