Rolex Enters Affluent New Born market

The undisputed leader of Swiss watch industry and the pioneer who brought the world the first water proof dive watch, the watch that display both the Date and day of week. Rolex is to enter into new market segment which targets the affluent new born market. In a leaked product photo, the over sized watch is believed to be made with a rubber bezel with gold dust compound. This time only reference will likely to house a movement from the existing lady range. Prices TBC.

Afternoon Tea at Parmigiani

Over the last weekend, Parmigiani hosted a afternoon tea party at their HK office. We were treated to a lovely afternoon of great food and drinks, and spend some quality time up close and personal with some of the most beautiful creations from the region of Fleurier.

The center piece of the show has to be this stunning unique Les Carpes De Sandoz created in memory of the Swiss sculptor Edouard Marcel Sandoz, showing his love for animals, the 900 degree baked enamel dial depict fish swimming in the pond. And when I said this is a Grand complication, I mean it in every sense of the word. A tourbillon, perpetual calendar, Chronograph, engraved white gold case, Enamel art work front and back, and of course, the lovely chime produced by the repeating mechanism when you turn the rotating bezel:

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For the record, the cake was yummy!
For the record, the cake was yummy!

The stunning “Labyrithe” Jade mazed minute repeater. Released in 2013, this is one of the 5 ever produced.

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Another unique piece, the Tonda Tourbillon Solo de Jazz,  released earlier this year in support of the Montreux Jazz Festival. The trumpet player on the dial is actually puzzled together by various type of timber. And since wood is an organic material, the trumpet player is  “alive” with its colour of the timbre matures as the watch ages.  Stunning art work compliments the 7 day power reserve tourbillon. Impressive watchmaking!solodejazz2015-10-31 16.26.13 2015-10-31 16.03.57

The rest of the “regular” production model. However, they are by no mean mass produced, as Parmigiani only manufacture a few thousands watches a year, and the fact that almost all its watches comes with Hermès leather straps, is evidence that these are very exclusive items indeed.

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One of my favorite and more sporty model, the Bugatti Aerolithe , the chronograph buttons are located at the left side of the watch lugs (activate at 8 o’clock, chrono module most likely to have been rotated 180 degree for this arrangement). The buckle also resemble the front grill of the Bugatti  Aerolithe . Very neat looking in titanium.
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The Convertible set, Annual calendar or Chronograph? I think i will have trouble deciding which one to wear every time I leave home. 2015-10-31 16.07.53 2015-10-31 17.08.14 2015-10-31 17.05.42

Last but not least,  one of the guest wore a very limited Venus 185 based split second chronograph, these are believed to be made with NOS movement discover in the late 90’s. Stunning in this Panda configuration. Very rarely seen as only 10 were made (NOT 90!).

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A BIG thank you to Noel & CT for organizing this lovely afternoon! And I didn’t get to thank for the lovely Door Door Nougat candy brought by one of the member, finally tasted this famous candy and it did not disappoint!

3rd International HK China Tattoo Convention

Before I write another Watches & Wonders 2015 article (yes there are more coming).  I went to the 3rd International HK China Tattoo Convention on a semi- business nature yesterday, both shows are in their 3rd year and overlap with each other, talk about a busy weekend! So far you must be wondering why am I talking about this on WWD, well, it caught me by surprise too so read on!

First, a little bit about the show, it’s organised by Gabe Shum of Freedom Tattoo, in case you don’t know who he is, remember those Chinese calligraphy on David Beckham’s torso whenever he pulls up his jersey after scoring a goal? Well, Gabe did them, so is some of the tat’s on Lebron James as well. Gabe is regarded as one of the top tattoo master in the world.  And once a year his friends and his crew from all over the world gather at the Inno Centre near Festival Walk for a wild weekend of fun, music and beer! What I did not expect was the huge number of watch lovers I met at the show, there were Rolex’s, AP, PAM everywhere, And from what I saw, the tattoo crowd certainly have great taste in watches too.

Here is Gabe, making a great entrance with a “Segway”
like scooter!

With a stunning Rolex 2 tone GMT ! (116713LN)

 

Scratching his ass in front of the Edwin booth, more on this later
Scratching his ass in front of the Edwin booth, more on the Edwin brand later

Davee, a traveling Polish tattoo artist, also under the Freedom Tattoo marquee. We had a brief chat and he certainly knows his watces! Here he is working on his design with a Rolex Deep Sea on Rubber B Strap!

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Whatever!
Whatever!

Sajin from Korea, very friendly during our interview, also a Rolex Fan and happy to show it!

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“What was your question, Karen?”
"Look at my 11613LN!"
“Look at my 11613LN!”

 

And a local artist Jimmy, the Horned Bug tats on his left arm is as mean looking as his GMT (16710?).

A 16710? I can just spot the lug holes.
A 16710? I can just spot the lug holes.

An artist from Taiwan with a Bling’ed up YG Date Day, badass!

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The love handle area! Ouch!

His customer certainly share his love of Rolex too, a Two Tone Daytona:

From the sub-dial layout, I am guessing a 16523?
From the sub-dial layout, I am guessing a 16523?

You can spot Kaz Tattoo artist Edward  from 50m out, and his AP Royal Oak Chrono is just as eye-catching!

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And surprise! A watch manufacturer booth @ the Tattoo Convention.  Edwin, a Japanese Jean & fashion label has release a range of simplistic yet Retro design watches. They use Citizen Miyota quartz movements and the casing and bands are of very high quality.  You can get a free haircut at the Barber shop theme booth and chill out on the chesterfield with the rest of the Edwin crew Brian, Tony, Amy & the lovely Jane (in Pink hair).

Next time, if you are around Causeway Bay, be sure to check out their Barbershop x Watch Boutique at Haven street (near the famous pork chop bun Danish Bakery) and get a hair cut while you are at it!

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You can find Jane at the Haven Street Shop @ Causeway Bay
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Buy a Comb and you get a watch for free! Can’t get a better deal than that!
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Leather dial, don’t recall another watch doing this, very original!
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Most watches are in the $1000- $1800 range, and you will be surprised by their build quality, step aside Daniel Wellington!

 

More highlight of the show:

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Finally, a big thank you to Samantha, Karen & Justin for the arrangement that day!

Watches & Wonders 2015 (Calibrating Competition @ Mont Blanc)

I have owned a couple of Mont Blanc Pens, a Mont Blanc leather card holder for more than a decade (come to think of it, I think they might have came together in a set). As far as writing instruments and men leather good goes, I think you can’t go wrong with the brand with a Snowy Mountain. But I have never quite taken their time pieces seriously, and boy how ignorant was I.

Especially since the partnership with Minerva to launch the Villeret line few years ago, producing a series of in-house ultra-complication models,  the watches are handsomely designed and extremely well finished, comparable to some of the very best high end watch manufacture has to offer.

As Mr Julien Miribel describes below, the Metamorphosis consist of more than 700 parts, a typical Minute Repeater, in comparison, has 500 or so “only”.

Open Sesame! The side slider is very similar to one found on a minute repeater, I guess similar to a Minute repeater which  requires  extra energy, it winds a separate spring  to power the gate opening mechanism instead of chiming striker and gong.

Some of the other goodies during the private viewing:

The Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères in honor of 15th Century Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama.
The Villeret Tourbillon Cylindrique Geosphères in honor of 15th Century Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama.
A non functioning sample as it turns out, but beautifully made nevertheless.
A non functioning sample as it turns out, but beautifully made nevertheless.
In Gold!
In Gold!
ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph.
ExoTourbillon Minute Chronograph.
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar with "see-thru" Sapphire Dial
Montblanc Heritage Spirit Perpetual Calendar with “see-thru” Sapphire Dial
One of the most affordable perpetual calendar from a major Swiss brand.
One of the most affordable perpetual calendar from a major Swiss brand.
Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time, tested to the more stringent 500 hours Mont Blanc standard compared to COSC, also the very watch Hugh Jackman wore the night before.
Heritage Chronométrie Dual Time, tested to the more stringent 500 hours Mont Blanc standard compared to COSC, also the very watch Hugh Jackman wore the night before.

The calibration competition booth, can’t wait for my turn:

"Good afternoon, Master watchmaker!"
“Mr Arne explaining the calibration positions!”
My Witschi and my movement.
My Witschi and my movement.

I swear I got it down to -2s/d at the CH position, but when it went on for final scoring, I lost terribly. Which I immediately blame the movement, master watch maker Mr Arne told me I have great potential to be a watch maker (always blame a bad movement)!

My 3 positions (9CH/6H/9H) result. Again, due to a bad movement.
My 3 positions (9CH/6H/9H) result. Again, due to a bad movement.

Picture taken with Joe from Emperor Watch & Jewelry, also Kenny from Mont Blanc (shown in the background of 1st video), a Big “thank you”  for their hospitality and  kind arrangement.

Watches & Wonders 2015 (IWC Vintage Collection)

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At IWC, they did a great display of many of their vintage models at the upper level.

A Grand Complication from it's first year of production.
A Grand Complication from it’s first year of production.

A skeleton Minute Repeater and "II Destriero Scafusia", limited to 125 pcs to mark IWC 125th anniversary.
A skeleton Minute Repeater and “II Destriero Scafusia”, limited to 125 pcs to mark IWC 125th anniversary.

A couple of Portugieser Perpetual Calendar, one of my favorite IWC model.
A couple of Portugieser Perpetual Calendar, one of my favorite IWC model.

Pocket watches from the 1920's
Pocket watches from the 1920’s
 

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Decade apart and yet classics design endures.

Decade apart and yet classics design endures.

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Couple of old Yacht Club, notice the case shape change in the 77.

Newer design Yacht Club on the right
Newer design Yacht Club on the right

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Another classic, the 7days. 2015 sees the change to the new 5007 series.

The New 5007 replacing the 5001, with its new ceramic winding and twin barrels system.
The New 5007 replacing the 5001, with its new ceramic winding and twin barrels system.

Also new this year, the Portofino Monopusher, stunning in grey dial, the crown/pusher is perhaps just a tad too long.
Also new this year, the Portofino Monopusher, stunning in grey dial, the crown/pusher is perhaps just a tad too long.

My watch buddy Thomas, we have the exactly same Aquartimer Chrono in steel, I guess great minds think alike.
My watch buddy Thomas, we have the exactly same Aquartimer Chrono in steel, I guess great minds think alike.

Thomas getting interviewed by Kelly Cheung, for TVB Pearl programme Dolce Vita.
Thomas getting interviewed by Kelly Cheung, for TVB Pearl programme Dolce Vita. Again, great minds have similar taste 😉

Watches & Wonders 2015 (Cartier Private viewing)

watches & wonder 2015

It’s that time of the year again, the 3rd Watches & WondersHaute Horlogerie Exhibition in Hong Kong. I went yesterday (Day 2 of the 4 day event), and despite the withdrawal of Audemars Piguet announced early this year, the all Richemont cast did not disappoint, there are many big release this year and I am sure I have missed many.

Just on your left when you enter the Cartier booth, The Rotonde de Cartier Novelty set, limited to 5 sets only.

 

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Double Tourbillon with Mystery!

 

Bling'ed up version!
Bling’ed up version!

 

A Balance wheel model demonstrating the effect of weight adjustment at the rim
A Balance wheel model demonstrating the effect of weight adjustment at the rim.
Escape Wheel and Pallet system
Escape Wheel and Pallet system.

 

Crash taken apart.
Crash taken apart.
Clé de Cartier range, the shape is very unisex!
Clé de Cartier range, the shape is very unisex!
Up close with the Double Tourbillon Mystery early, the tourbillon just floats on air, hence the name.
Up close with the Double Tourbillon Mystery shown earlier, the tourbillon just floats on air, hence the name.
I want a new pet! Just shy of 1 million HKD :(
I want a new pet! Just shy of 1 million HKD 🙁

 

The ladies went crazy with this! Look at the video below and you will see why!
The lady went crazy with this! Look at the video below and you will see why!

Each Diamond sits on it’s individual spring, Think of it like your pocket spring Sealy Mattress.

Tag Heuer x G.E.M.

What is going on at Tag Heuer? Is JC Biver trying to make it the “Tissot” of LVMH? Is business really that bad? I am all for celebrity endorsement and certainly have nothing against G.E.M. but the whole video is a little too much for my taste, I don’t even know where to begin. Come on, cutting cheese on the Jungfrau* is just, well… Cheesy.  The giant Swiss and Chinese Flag in the background? A small group of Chinese fans just happen to be  waiting for there (Are they Swiss Chinese or did Tag paid for them to go as well?). The banner in the back should have said “Don’t Crack Me up”

And the worst part? The watch that G.E.M was holding under close up at the 0:30” mark was a Quartz with Gem (sorry for the pun)! An ugly one as well. Aaaargh!

*少女峰 translate literally as “Teenage Girl Summit” in Chinese

 

Rainbow Watches!

There are more than 26 million Facebook user who have changed their profile pic to rainbow since the US fed court rule in favor of same sex marriage in June 2015. And of the most unlikeliest of places, A homosexual-themed TV show called Rainbow Family attracts similar number of viewers (24 millions) in China since its launch in last month , despite a limited online release only.

Which makes me wonders, at what point in time did the “Happy” community claimed the Rainbow to be their totem? Is that also the reason why there are so few rainbow color designes in the watch industry? On fears that it won’t appeal to the general public?

Of the major brands, I can only recall the following:

manbox

The G-Shock Man Box which came in a little robot that sold for about USD$200 in 2010, and re-issued again in 2013. This “limited” (don’t see the actual quantity mentioned anywhere) Nakano Shirou designed piece was listed as high as USD$1000+ in some Casio forum.

SFZ115S_sa000_nvs

 

Another brand famous for it’s colorful plastic watch, the Swatch “Over the Rainbow” SFZ115S designed by french artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, released in 2011, this piece is interesting because the bracelet is made up of little Murano glass bead.

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Comes in an interesting crystal ball package. Pretty!

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Another Swatch, “Color the sky” GS124 which is still currently available.tumblr_mutrhptiBC1siuw4no1_1280

 

And how can I end the article without mentioning these two babies. The Rolex 116598RBOW & 116599RBOW in yellow and white gold. Rolex actually use Rainbow in their model naming, how cool is that! When I first saw one in person, I remember my initial thought was who in their right mind would wear something like that? But boy, how wrong was I! The going rate for these have almost doubled compare to their original list price, as supply of them have long dry up even when they were still listed as catalogued item. Rumor (and very likely true) is that it was extremely costly to source those 36 perfectly colored matched diamonds to make that rainbow bezel.

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But then in this year Basel2015, Rolex came up with this, not exactly a Rainbow, but the Yellow/Green/Blue diamond combination actually makes it much more wearable. I almost want one if it weren’t for the Pearl master bracelet and the diamond hour markers.

 

DKSH to sell Maurice Lacroix

The 15% Swiss Franc surge earlier this year, together with the slowdown of Luxury market claims another victim as DKSH, a SIX listed company, announce to sell Maurice Lacroix in order to focus more on its core brand management service.

Make no mistake, the name Lacroix  might not be on your most wanted list. But Maurice Lacroix is a true ” Manufacture d’Horlogerie” with an annual production of around 90,000 pieces. Turning out amazing retrograde complication such as this Masterpiece Lune Retrograde:maurice-lacroix-masterpiece-lune-retrograde-watch

and this very handsome GMT Retrograph which ironically is listed on Overstock.com.

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Continue reading DKSH to sell Maurice Lacroix

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