Tuesday, 31 July 2018

PERSPECTIVES ON THE WATCH HOBBY / COLLECTING / WIS / STATE OF MIND PART 2

Before reading this, I would suggest reading the first part here
With that said, let's move on and continue from where we left...

This whole collecting hobby starts when you have the financial capability to indulge...
Now it could start with any brand and any entry point.
I have friends that starts with Seikos and still stick with Seikos...
Some move up in terms of value... I call it quality over quantity (value and quality is subjective to specific individuals)

I remembered fondly buying my first "Swiss" watch...
A Tissot T-Race.



I bought the watch when I received my 1st bonus cheque...
I still have this watch with me today.
Some occasional battery change and still running strong.

But as with all WIS... I also suffer from a deadly virus called "itchy butt syndrome"
But to be honest, I didn't get another watch until 3 years later.
Maybe it was a combination of good economic times and major priorities were handled first eg. House, car and safety net.

More "disposable income" was available.
And as a guy, there is not much to go into... Video Games get time consuming, electronic gadgets are fast to go outdated.
I don't have the body to go into fashion and style.
So watches is all I can go for... (sounds like justifications?)

From then on, the floodgates sort of just opened.
With multiple purchases of watches from the likes of Maurice Lacroix, Hamilton, Glycine, Omega, Sinn, Damasko, Longines, Laco.

It does seem like purchases are made based on current whims and fancies without any knowledge or due diligence being done. As fast as the highs come after purchasing, the "impulse buy syndrome" will come soon after... I am sure many will understand what I am talking about.

Long story short, one day... I just decide to sell the entire mid range watches that I had to fund one piece... a Rolex Explorer 2 16570 Polar... Once I did that, I though yes... this is IT... the end game... Satisfaction finally achieved.


It is basically ALL the watch I ever need to be honest...
Late serial with Caliber 3186... It was a thing of beauty...
And I gave it to my Dad... the black markers and hands on a white dial provides excellent readability for his aging eyes...

And after gifting it to him... I got ANOTHER one for myself but in black dial configuration. Yup... My Dad wearing the Polar while I am rocking a Noire... 

Until the itch comes back. The closing of the mid range collection just opened the door to a more upmarket luxury collection...
And it just kept coming...
More Rolexes...




Yeah... see what I mean about floodgates opened again?
By this time, I also managed to get some ladies watches for the lady in my life...



Times are good for awhile... until the next itch comes along...
And with it... the high prices too...
It is around this time that the thirst for watches seems like an unquenchable thirst.
I must get myself something less common I said to myself.
And then,,,


These 2 behemoth came... and I was suppose to have reached Nirvana...
Unfortunately... the experience with these Haute Horology pieces did not go too well.
In the end... I made a U-Turn and went back to Rolex with what I call the end game piece...


It is by this stage that I realized what a reliable, bulletproof, problem free, well made watch can mean to an owner's peace of mind...

And it is here that I took a long hard look at the state of the watch collecting mindset of mine.
I used to feel so excited on The Hunt. The search. The staying up all night checking updates on Baselworld and SIHH releases. The eventual pulling of the trigger.
But after some time... It just feels stale.
New releases just fail to ignite any passion.
Brands just keep rehashing old designs with new colours.
Beating the same dead horse so to speak.
Coupled with the inavailability of stocks to meet demand.
The releases at Baselworld and SIHH reaching retailers sometimes 6 months later if at all.
And if it does arrive, i would have to fight tooth and nail to acquire one... Because stocks are prioritized for "Big Spending" clients...
Well... In all honesty, I don't know what constitutes as "Big Spending" nowadays...
All these just add to the diminishing feelings towards watch collecting.

This is just a personal thing of course.
I am blessed with some great friends thru watch collecting.
They are still in the "Game" but as for me, I am just taking a backseat to see if there are any changes in the future.
Brands taking more chances, risks... changing the way of distributing the watches and also addressing the shortage of supply issue... not artificial shortages meant to boost a product's sense of "exclusiveness" but genuine shortages.
While they are at it... maybe they can spend some time really testing their products to make sure they work flawlessly rather than breaking down every 6 months and the repair work will take another 3-4 months.
By the time the 2nd or 3rd warranty claim, the warranty period would have run out and I am left holding what I felt is a timebomb... not a good feeling at all.
Which is why I now covet watches that are built properly... the "Peace of Mind" which I spoke of is indeed priceless.

With that said... Sometimes I still find myself browsing new releases every now and then.
Hopefully something will reignite the flame that once make this hobby so enjoyable and fun.


Monday, 30 October 2017

PERSPECTIVES ON THE WATCH HOBBY / COLLECTING / WIS / STATE OF MIND PART 1

Having been enamored by watches from an early age, sometimes I do wonder how it all started. 
The first step into this world of micro engineering, artisan craftsmanship, meticulous artful designs... Ok... Enough about all this "justifications" some might say...


If a non-WIS stumbled upon this post, it will probably scuff and say "pffftttt... please... it's a watch... worn on the wrist... it tells time... they are in it for the status, the showing off, the proof that they have made it..."

In a way, I don't disagree... 
Yes... Some people who consume luxury watches do go in with a certain kind of mindset.
The above generalization would be one...
Who can blame the general view when everytime news about rising luxury watch sales and export figures seems to coincide with good economic times?
Tumbling watch sales and watch exports figures from Switzerland seems to signal an economic slowdown of sorts...
So that must be IT!!! Good economic times? People made money, people spend money on luxury watches.

Well, you know what they say about opinions right?
It's like a certain body orifice and everybody has one...
I would just say this is mine... (not literally referring to that specific orifice... but my opinion just to be clear)

Maybe it will sound shallow, pointless or even fake? gasp...
But nevertheless... it's mine...
A quick note... this will not be a picture heavy post...

THE BEGINNING

I remember when I was a boy in school.
You know... enjoying childhood experiences and tribulations...
Comparisons with what friends have will undoubtedly creep in at one point or another...
I remember seeing friends with G-Shocks and Swatch watches and I have... well... nothing...

I did pester my Dad for a watch and he balked at the price of a G-Shock and Swatch... understandable now that I look back as that time coincides with one of the worse recessions... the late 80s and early 90s...
I can only imagine what my parents are going thru at that time...
But nevertheless, he still got me my 1st watch...
A quartz Q&Q watch.
How I wish I have a picture of that watch to share but unfortunately I don't.
I do however remember the watch in my head clearly.



I am not too knowledgeable in the history of Q&Q but what I do know is they still make watches today and are owned by the Citizen Group.

THE PROGRAMMING PHASE?

Then came the next phase of adolescent and teenage years...
Whereby the focus switches to a more concentrated consumption of entertainment... namely movies, music, video games and maybe some trendy fashion and such...
As these things take up hours upon hours at a time...
Not much is focused on watches and time because hey... who cares about time? I need more of that stuff... not keeping track of how much is left...

Then come the what I would like to call "Stepping into the real world with responsibility" period...

Work commitments will need to be honoured...
Transport schedules will need to be adhered...
Appointments and dates will need to be kept...

Then suddenly... keeping track of time seems like a very important aspect of real life...
All this when smartphones were still non existent and is a mere figment of imagination from science fiction...

With my measly salary... I still managed to purchase a watch bearing the brand "25 Hours"
I am certain not much have heard of this brand... but when talking to some WIS friends, one have owned the same brand of watch previously... 
Fast forward now? I am not sure if the brand even exists anymore as Google searches don't yield anything...


This is the logo of the brand that I can find.
The watch is a quartz 3 handed stainless steel watch with a sunburst blue dial and a date complication.
It's my companion for a few years and went thru a couple of battery changes... working without any problems.

Subconsciously though (and this is where I think brand marketing really works) the journey to and from work, meeting appointments, window shopping, nights out with friends and so on... I am bombarded with images and marketing material and noticing these without even noticing... if you can get what I mean...
Some might argue we only notice things we want to notice or rather notice things that are significant and in-line with our interests...
Problem is... personal interests sometimes lay dormant... it could manifest itself when you are in the economic sense, able to indulge...

I think this is where the 1st generalization is formed... The one I mentioned earlier.
Those who have made it and are able to indulge and those that are still climbing and wishing to be there one day.

I belong to those that are still climbing way back then.
Hence took it as a motivation of sorts... a bulls-eye to aim.
A measuring yardstick to measure success and financial soundness.
It might sound absurd to some but do think about it...
Wealth inevitably comes with the need to fulfill wants... to indulge... 
And for a more grounded and logic mind... watches will be the last on the list... Other things will take priority like place of dwelling, mode of transport, children's education fund, savings, safety net and others... watches will remain the last thing on a person's mind.

So when DOES it really start?
I would surmise that it's when you can afford to...
Sounds shallow? Maybe? But there is more to it...

Let's stop here for now...
Until Part 2
Hope you guys enjoyed it.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Bell & Ross BR03-94 Aero GT Orange

Bell and Ross with it's aeronautics heritage did not shy away from collaborating with industries out of their core branding which is demonstrated by their involvement in Motorsports with the Renault F1 theme.

Pushing it one step further... 

They are glad to introduce you the newest timepiece launched in Malaysia: the BR03-94 AeroGT Orange, a limited edition of 500 pieces that enhances our focus on the motoring world. The BR03-94 AeroGT Orange follows the avant garde AeroGT concept launched last year in a new orange version.


This piece will carry an RRP of RM38,000
For more info head to Bell and Ross

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

ROLEX COSMOGRAPH DAYTONA WITH CERAMIC BEZEL REF:116500LN

Here is it... Finally a review of a piece that I decided to be the one to end my game... If you can even call it a game...
After a 13 month wait and wearing it daily since the day I got it... it's time for a complete review.


After spending a couple of years collecting watches, meeting great friends with similar interests and learning about horology in general... 
It reaches a certain point where you just want something reliable, bulletproof built quality but with finesse, a little history thrown in, brand cache, a daily wearable watch with as little or no problems with ownership experience.
Based on all those criteria, the 2016 launched Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ceramic Ref:116500LN ticks all the boxes for me.


I chose the white dial as it has the better looking black surround on the subdials which I feel is a better overall look.
The black cerachrome (Rolex speak for ceramic) is just awesome.
Precision laser cut etchings filled with platinum dust exudes quality as you would have expect from Rolex.


5 lines of text greet you on the top dial... some find it too much, some don't... and this is not including the red "DAYTONA" lettering on the bottom of the dial.
As with any new Rolex that is now subjected to in house testing to +2/-2 standards and a 10 year service interval with 5 year warranty, this is as good as it gets if you want to own a watch with a peace of mind.
My experience with the accuracy can be summed up with 1 word... OUTSTANDING... I sync my watches with exact reference to the atomic time and so far... it has been a few seconds fast.


I am glad Rolex did not "supersize" the case into the maxi case style now seen with Submariners and GMT Masters.
It still retains the svelte lugs which makes the watch abit more classy and refined rather than blocky.


The Oyster bracelet is polished on the centre links.
Some don't really like it as it scratches pretty easily.
It doesn't bother me though.
Although scratched, it still keeps it's shine from a distance.
It's not like I scrutinize every part of the watch all the time.
Just wear it and forget about it. It will still look good.
I am not one to baby my watches.


After experiencing countless bracelets and clasps from many brands, I still place Rolex bracelets and their Oysterlock clasp as the best.
Best in an engineering standpoint and also user friendliness and durability.
Construction and execution is simply flawless. No sharp edges or protruding buttons, all smooth to the touch.


One of my pet peeve with older Rolexes or watches from other brands is the inability to centralize the clasp especially for smaller wrists.
6 digit references now provide enough adjustments to make it just perfect.
Owners of 5 digit references and small wrists will know exactly what I mean.


As with most if not all Rolex watches, the caseback is left plain.
Good if you want to engrave something on it to make the ownership of the watch memorable to a certain occasion.
But make no mistake the Caliber 4130 behind the caseback is a one the best chronograph movements ever made.


The flatter caseback is one of the reasons I like this watch when it sits on the wrist.
It's also one the reasons of my fondness for the GMT Master II over the Submariner.


Legibility is no issue on the white dial model for me.
The hands provide enough contrast to make telling the time a breeze.
Another pet peeve of mine is the the alignment of the minute hand have to sync with the markers after the seconds hand makes a complete round.
I am glad to report that after wearing this from day 1, all the hands are still aligned just as I like them to be.


One small detail to clarify.
Although Rolex advertised this watch as being 40mm in width.
I measured it myself and bezel to bezel from 9-3, it's actually 38.6mm.
I always wondered why the Daytona always wears smaller in comparison to similar 40mm watches like the Submariner and the GMT Master II... at 1st I thought it was the maxi case that makes the difference (well it did in terms of visual impact) but the real reasons is the case does measure smaller.
Not that it bothers me anyway.


On the wrist, it just feels at home.
I love how the slimmer lugs just works with this model.
It makes the watch less squarish... more elegant and sublime in it's appearance.

Well, I have been indulging in watches since 2009 starting with a Tissot and slowly moving up til Rolex and up to Audemars Piguet.
Didn't have a taste for Patek, could not afford a Lange Datograph or any Richard Mille or more high end horology brand.
And now I have turned back to Rolex as my end game piece.
Why?
Although many have told me it's what most will do at one point or another. I didn't believe them.
But then... Here I am...
The whole experience have been fulfilling and rewarding in it's own way.
One thing for certain is that... Life already presents enough problems for one to handle... I don't need my watch to be one of the problem.
So, a Rolex is almost guaranteed to be problem free.
And THAT my friends... Is the peace of mind this RM48,130 (at the time of this post) watch provides you... and so much more....

Monday, 8 May 2017

THE ONE I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR 13 MONTHS

This is the piece I have been waiting for since Basel 2016.
After a 13 month wait, finally got it.
Complete review coming in due time.
Need to enjoy it abit more before I can genuinely write a review.


Most readers will know what watch this is... :-)

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

CURTAIN CALL COMING...

After dabbling in the watch collecting hobby for a couple of years.
I believe I went in during one of THE most exciting times for the watch industry.
Fast forward to today.
Falling value of the ringgit currency coupled with some sombre releases from watch brands have made me reassess my priorities.

The flame of excitement sort of just slowly died down.
It was since last year actually.
And it was also the time when I put my name on the waiting list for a watch I believe is the proper one to be called an "end game" piece.
After a full year waiting, I should be getting my piece soon.

So, to all my blog's followers,
Thank you so very much for your support and visit.
It was great being able to share the knowledge of the watches I have had the privilege of owning and having them loaned to me.

It has been a great couple of years and my last update will most probably be the piece I considered my "end game" piece.
Special thanks to my good friend Prof Alex and also to Kevin, a true professional and a man of his word.

Although alot of my friends also tell me never to say never... I do believe this chapter have to be closed to make way for a new phase.
I will still keep my eyes open for future watch release announcements during SIHH and Baselworld.
Who knows? All it takes is just one single piece to sing to me to jumpstart the whole journey again.

Until then...

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

BELL & ROSS BR126 SPORTS HERITAGE FLYBACK CHRONO GMT

Today I am going to talk about a watch that I considered an itchy butt purchase last year.
Yes... last year.
I have these pictures taken but did not have the time to post it up.
It's the BR126 Sports Heritage Flyback Chrono GMT.
The name itself is a handful.


As you guys can see. The dial is a bi-compax layout with the left subdial showing GMT time.
The little button on the 10 o'clock advances the GMT time by hourly jumps.


Dial is clean and balanced with the rose gold accented markers and hands lending a vintage/heritage feel to the piece.


The case profile is very nice and is polished nicely.


Piston style chrono pushers and a "&" logo on the crown for a nice touch of quality.


The case itself is slim but the conical bezel and also domed crystal adds to the thickness.


I believe the movement is and ETA 2892 with a Dubuis Depraz module piggybacked on for the GMT, Chrono and Flyback functions.
Nothing wrong with it. Helps keep the price accessible.


The date window is abit on the small side... and I mean really small.
Could've missed it...


Close up shots reveal the details.
The "airplane" chronograph totalizer hands means only one thing.
Which is the chrono function mirrors that of those Lemania chronographs of old.


Very confortable on the wrist,
Highly wearable and for the price point, offers quite alot of watch for the money.