Saturday, 26 May 2007

i just can't help it... more pics!!!

Crocodylus Porosus or more commonly known as the saltwater crocodile

An interesting story about one such croc ... In Sarawak, crocodiles occur in most major rivers and large individuals are sufficiently common to be considered a serious threat to people. In May of 1992, a notorious maneater, the ‘Bujang Senang’, was killed after a 30-year career in which it is said to have eaten 13 people. The animal measured 5.5m in length and weighed more than 900kg...

good thing we've found an excellent use for their hide then :) kidding yuh
(well to some degree anyways)

OT: A good weekend

* Alert: Non watch related content... If you're here to read about watches only. Skip this post and all the ones with OT (off topic) in the header, and see the previous ones instead *

hi all, i took a break from work on Friday and it has paid dividends. Of course, I went to AP service centre that day and got my bracelet swapped to a AP hornback strap which is very cool but in addition to that i got to spend quality time with my son Isaac. not to sound schmaltzy or cliche'd but time is precious indeed and we should definitely spend it wisely (not just on watches OR watch forums yuh... the cliches begin when i let go lines like "its the one commodity you cannot buy any of or purchase back" :) haha

2 pics taken of Isaac yesterday and recently...

the answer to the mysterious 88 in the background of my watch pics yesterday...

its my car number plate. in addition to the pseudo new watch, i got new wheels today... nothing fancy as cars cost the earth in Singapore but its good to see me and my wifes old car number retained on this new white horse :) you should know about the significance of the 8 in Asian/Chinese culture yuh so i ain't going there :)

no prizes for guessing the make of the car... its ubiquitous

love the smell of new leather ... oooohhhhh ... hope everyones having as good a weekend as I am. Blessings to all.

cheers, raph

some more pics this morning... lovin it BIG TIME

Friday, 25 May 2007

Damn! U fine...

here's the story then... Audemars Piguet get their hornback leather from Malaysia from a company called Porosus as it creates leather products from a species of crocodile called "Crocodylus Porosus". These crocs have very good hides, giving very good quality leather and therefore very high quality straps. A hornback strap is called that as it utilises the ridge section of the back of the croc hide which is thickest and most resilient. It has been rumored that for every hornback strap, 1 young baby croc has to pay the price but lets not dwell on this shall we :) Instead lets look at the result...

It totally blew me away to see my themes bracelet on the hornback. it totally rocks!!! the three dimension aspect of it is just so damn good.

* EXCLUSIVE: I also heard that future themes models that came on the ingrassato calf straps in the past MAY now switch to different straps in future, possibly hornbacks :) The reason being the ingrassato straps suck big time as can be seen in pics posted by owners with these torn or cracked straps etc *

some badly taken pics today... the story will continue tomorrow as well as the mystery of the 88 you see in photo 1...

To add on to the story a little. When I first purchased my themes on bracelet a year ago I had already decided that I would want to get the hornback strap as I thought the combination would totally rock. There was some resistance on hearing how pricey it could be... about S$2k to do the change. thats a fair bit of change to go from a bracelet to a strap yuh :)

my "new" themes was out with a friend after its trip to the spa for the change today :) big ups to a cool dude who has recently had the good fortune of becoming an alinghi owner. now that is another fine watch (not the Team Alinghi yuh ;) well not yet anyways :)

Thursday, 24 May 2007

OT: just a perfect day, problems all left alone...

the daily grind is getting to me... i close my eyes and transport myself to... scotland...

the sun was shining, it was a cool 20deg celsius and the wind was jus right... (for regular visitors here you may note that this is the first pic of me on this blog...but u can't make me out too much though :)

feels like such a long time ago in a galaxy far far away... but that was a perfect day...

St Andrews the Old Course ... the first golf course in the world
a tough links course with ridiculous sized bunkers and greens
and rich with tradition and the home of golf...

this works better for me than "serenity now... serenity now" :)

Monday, 21 May 2007

collectors... types, trajectories and lifestyles

this post is just for fun. it is in no way exhaustive, definitive or of any importance really :) its just observations, musings/views on different collector types and possible paths or trajectories... somehow their lifestyle and car preferences crept in as well whilst i was building it up... its not meant to offend and should all be taken in a lighthearted vein ie in the manner it was written yuh :)

die hards - these are brand loyalists. they may flirt around with other brands from time to time but their collection will 70-100% consist of one watch brand. most notable among the die hards are the paneristi and the rolex folks, but other brands like IWC, JLC, AP RO/ROO lines have their followings as well.

Possible path of a diehard

Eg. 1- buys first real watch, a Rolex. wears it for a few years. noting its reliability, accuracy and durability, all subsequent watches are rolexes. Would probably have owned one from each of the brands lines through the years. eg Sub/SD, Daytona, GMTII, YM, DJ etc in different metal combinations. S/S, TT, YG, Plat etc

Eg. 2 - You lurk on timezone's panerai forum and paneristi. you take the plunge with an entry level 44mm luminor and theres no turning back. once you acquire it, u start dreaming of other models and the SEs and buy a hell lot of straps you dont need. every watch is game. Why not have one of each. A rad, sub, luminor, 1950 style case in 44mm, 1950 in 47mm or something in contemporary, historic, manifattura and special eds. You read up on Italian naval heroes, grab every printed book which has the word panerai or photos of the watch on it and can never seem to be contented with what you have.

Eg. 3 you end up being a moderator for the brand on a watch forum :)

diversifier - you like collecting good watches from different watch houses to have a taste of different beauties and appreciate aesthetics or mechanics strengths from the variety of quality houses out there. you consider the fact that there are so many good brands and watches out there a curse and a blessing as you strive to build up a decent collection that will allow you a watch for every occasion.

your collection - your watches are nearly all from different watch houses and at most you have 2 of the same brand out of a growing collection. (i think quite a number of folks fall into this category.)

well heeled savvy collector (young to middle age or old with midlife crises or totally age unaware) - you don't visit or waste much time with online forums, you just have sh#t loadsamoney to spend and you want nice watches. you have a lamborghini, ferrari or porsche or all of em in the garage and a higher end richard mille, AP ROO LE, or Urwerk on your wrist. For some of you, your yacht in monaco always makes it to the TV during the F1 races cause you have got 5 bikini clad honeys more than half your age frolicking by your side and you're lovin it.

well heeled collector (the more refined end) -
pateks, lange and sohnes and possibly some independants like dufour, fp journe. your ideal ride is a bentley or rolls baby although you could be chauffeured in a big @$$ S class benz too :) you turn up for nearly everything in a suit, well except golf :)

the bling it on'er - you like diamonds on your watch and yellow or rose gold is the only way to fly. jacob and co, cartiers, franck mullers and other fashion watch house monstrosities may appeal to you. you drive a pimped up hummer and think you're a rap or pop star... damn you might actually be one to afford all that ice.

vintage - like it says. you have pocket watches and watches much older than you. you see life through sepia toned glasses and your watch dials look sepia-ish too. some worn through wars and seen real military combat, others handed down from your forebears. you have a classic roadster or mercedes SL gullwing in the garage or at least you wish you did :)

As you can tell, halfway through I absolutely lost the thread and had no idea what gibberish I was typing but it was fun for me anyhoot :) haha hope you enjoyed my little ramble... cheers

Answer to the question ...

What does the black themes look like on different straps?

Damn good if I do say so :) I have been contemplating getting the hornback with white stitch for my bracelet black themes and the pics below may just push me over the edge... can't say I would be unhappy about going over on this one :) enjoy the badly photoshopped pix

On hornback

On rubber

On gator

Sources for the original photos: Rodolfo Coppel, SC Lau and TZ AP Forum

Sunday, 20 May 2007

random pics ... just had to post something

... cause i didn't want u to see sly's mug when you got into the site :) haha these are much better for the eyes :)

Thursday, 17 May 2007

black is the new black

dark and lovely... john boy is wearing a ceramic panerai seems like it... methinks it ain't pvd cause of how stealthy black it looks. the question could be whether its a 44mm luminor, 47mm 1950 or 44mm 1950 case. could be 44mm fiddy ceramic but the guy is huge so may even be a 47mm, its all relative yuh. the watch may even be a tie-up special edition with sly. sly isn't a great actor in my books and he looks bloody awful right now but the guy definitely likes the right brand of watches ;) I have a sneaking suspicion that the watch is the highlight of the movie though... hmmm

john rambo

real s#@!!y closeup

Sunday, 6 May 2007


I posted this sometime back on a watch forum so just sharing here for the fun of it


Its simple really, and its filling the blanks in the statement "If I were the BOSS MAN/WOMAN at ... watch house, I would ..." oh and none of the obvious I would get ALL the pieces that I love and have fun at all the fancy schmancy events with all the beautiful people *kidding*

I'll have a go at a two right now, just for the fun of it yuh...

If I were top dog at Audemars Piguet, I would
- seriously do a long term proper plan on the release of limited editions and regular production pieces of the Royal Oak and the Offshores and make sure all the tieups all makes sense and the word class, elegance, timelessness would be foremost on my mind ... yes sporty watches can be classy (no shaq model yuh and my team alinghi would have a nicer dial and the volcano would be totally dormant)
- change my brand ambassadors. no has beens or wannabes but folks at the top of their game or some artists with class *theres that word again*

If I were top dog at Zenith, I would
- go in first with a weapon of mass destruction, the biggest WMD i can find. All the current watches, and spine tingling, horror inducing watch ads would be obliterated (LVMH are you listening. Get a Gunter Blumlein disciple to do some magic :)
- I would then see how best to elevate the fact that I did come up with a kicka** chronograph, el primero, the numero uno in the chrono races and design some nice watches to house it in for a change.

Honestly who would buy one of their watches after seeing the ads below? If you do I don't want to be you

There is of course a lot more thoughts I have on all of this but I shall see if anyone else has a go before doing my takes on some other watch houses out there.. NO ONE IS SAFE ...
I hope you all take it as a fun way of providing some constructive criticisms and not a mud flinging contest that I started yuh.


2nd entry

If I were TOP DAWG at Panerai I would release this immediately! Lovely black fiddy... and just watch the price of this baby skyrocket... and since I am the bossman, it would not have a unitas inside... no sirree, I will have a 8 to >10 day handwind in-house movement inside this baby. Skyrocket I tell you :)

3rd entry

If I were top dog at IWC,

- I would have a regular production zirconium oxide cased fliegeruhr and once in a while come out with LEs with significant differences from the reg production one. ie not just little red thingies at the end of the doppelchrono second hands and top gun etchings. The LEs could come in either chrono, doppel chrono comps, hv different unique pushers, different dial designs and colors, changes to the numerals, day date indicators etc. more variety with the straps and have ceramic deployant or tang buckle options.
- I would dump eta movements and make my own base calibre to replace em and put the pellaton in most if not all my autos.
- Come up with a new innovative tough caseback material that will allow for viewing of the movement without sacrificing anti-magnetism(this is not available yet yuh? let me know if I am wrong)
- For my perpetual calendars, i would make sure they could be adjusted back and forth, have a flash date mechanism too (like the mosers) and transport me to any point in time I set it to when I push a special button to be included at the 10o'clock.. hmm I think scratch that last requirement :)

1. Panerai 2. IWC 3. Hublot

My post to the question... how do you rank these 3, Hublot IWC Panerai...

doesn't do it for me. I think JC Biver has done a great job with the brand and its revitalisation and its great to hear of his passion and witnessing his involvement in online forums and issuing out extended warranties on tz like candy but coming back to the watch. It looks derivative and somehow the brand cachet isn't there for me. Mind you if you saw the earlier hublot designs pre-Biver they are pretty scary but I think more could have been done. I'll stop there.

IWC was on a high last year in my view. They really got their act together in 2006 with nice releases, new Big Pilots(including the perpetuals), the first and better Ceramic Doppel, very nice new Pilots watches, kicking portugueses... This years followup is a let down for me as none of the watches appeal significantly and some of the things they have been doing don't seem to jive somehow eg launching the top gun ceramic with cheesy 80s movies logo on the back and side(not the logo of the real fighter school mind you), ingy's without anti-mag(well just about a year ago you were highlighting its robustness and anti-mag qualities and now you strip it out of the watch? right...)

Panerai ... they could have pleased their fans and released some pvd/dlc luminors this year which is easy enough for them to do but they instead went all high end on us with tourbys and rosegold pieces and such, but it ties in to a broad strategy that I can appreciate. They have time to come out with their ceramic historics and SEs and they know demand will be overwhelming for those. Will be an interesting brand to watch in the coming years as the folks there seem to have it together.

Ranking wise then, based on the above and just looking at these 3 brands only

1. Panerai - I may not like the new releases but they know what they are doing with breadth and depth and coming up with a holistic line to cater to different levels of watch enthusiasts
2. IWC - This year saw a deepening of their broad product lines with the curse of the too many LEs hitting them hard
3. Hublot - Lotsa bangs out there now. Bling bling ones to mat ones and all kinds of mixes with different materials imbetween... uuuggghhh

Voting with my wallet :)

Saturday, 5 May 2007

IWC and that ad... Major faux pas

Air crews to IWC: Watch yourself April 27, 2007 dpa German Press Agency

Hong Kong - Flight attendants in Hong Kong Friday protested an advertisement for a luxury watch designed for pilots which carries the slogan: "Often seen on stewardesses' bedside tables."

They said the advertisement for the Swiss-made IWC Schaffhausen Big Pilot's Watch, which appeared on the front page of an English-language daily newspaper, is sexist and demeaning.

Beneath the slogan, the advertisement describes the watch as "engineered for men," "not infrequently spotted in bedrooms" and says its seven-day power reserve "means you can afford to stay in bed that little bit longer than usual."

Complaints have been lodged on behalf of the flight attendants with the watch company, the consumer council and the South China Morning Post which carried the advertisement in its Wednesday editions.

Hong Kong is home to thousands of female flight attendants working for mostly for Cathay Pacific and Dragonair and copies of the Post are carried on board the flights and given free to passengers.

"I couldn't believe the advertisement when I saw it. It's incredibly demeaning to women," said one 32-year-old Cathay Pacific flight attendant, who requested anonymity.

"It's breathtakingly sexist and seems to make out that flight attendants are loose women who sleep with pilots just because they've got a nice watch. I think IWC should apologize."

John Findlay, general secretary of the Aircrew Officers Association which represents Hong Kong pilots, said pilots and flight attendants alike objected to the advertisement which he called "tasteless."

"Thousands of pilots and cabin attendants employed by the airlines in Hong Kong will see nothing in the words except an example of innuendo of the most sexist, offensive kind," he said.

Findlay, himself married to a senior Hong Kong-based flight attendant, added: "There's no point in asking our members to boycott IWC watches as I have never seen a pilot wearing one."

There was no immediate response to calls and emails to IWC Schaffhausen in Hong Kong and Europe seeking comment on the complaints about the advertisement.

One day later... Watch company withdraws ‘sexist’ Hong Kong ads (DPA)

HONG KONG - A watch company withdrew a Hong Kong newspaper advertisement for a luxury watch designed for pilots that carried the slogan: ‘Often seen on stewardesses’ bedside tables.’

IWC Schaffhausen told Deutsche Presse-Agentur DPA it would apologizing to customers for the ad which was criticized as sexist and offensive by both pilots and flight attendants.

The advertisement for the 10,000 US dollars Big Pilot’s Watch ran on the front page of English-language daily the South China Morning Post last Wednesday.

Beneath the slogan, the advertisement describes the men’s watch as ‘not infrequently spotted in bedrooms’ and says its power reserve ‘means you can afford to stay in bed that little bit longer.’

Complaints were lodged by customers, flight attendants and customers of the watch company, the consumer council and the newspaper.

One 32-year-old Cathay Pacific flight attendant said the ad was ‘breathtakingly sexist and seems to make out that flight attendants are loose women who sleep with pilots just because they’ve got a nice watch.’

IWC Shaffhausen spokeswoman Enrica Tong said the watch company had received a number of complaints about the advertisement and was sending out a letter of apology to customers.

In the letter, the company says the advertisement sought to convey the ‘charm and twinkle in the eye’ of a pilot’s lifestyle and ‘focused on the old word cliche about pilots and stewardesses.’

However, the company admitted it had failed to get the tone right and said: ‘We apologise for any offence we may have caused. It was by no means intended when the advertisement was created.’


My take on all of it. IWC has come up with some innovative ad campaigns in their time but this one has gone a little too far. I guess they should have thought a little harder before going to print with this. (Just like they should have put a little more thought into their 2007 releases imho ;) I am sure the official apology will do the trick and the dust will settle. Doubt there will be any significant residual reputational damage, well maybe amongst some women out there... For some watch forum's participants views on it all click here

Some of their better ... non-offensive ad campaigns :)

song of independence

currently don't have enough scratch to get one of these... but they are very nice aren't they...

vianney halters cabestan... which showcases the work of vianney and a movement genius, Jean-Francois Ruchonnet. the movement in the tag monaco v4 concept is by this movement guru too.

checkout these urwerks... too cool for school

pretty amazing watches if you ask me

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