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.
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”
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!
Sajin from Korea, very friendly during our interview, also a Rolex Fan and happy to show it!
And a local artist Jimmy, the Horned Bug tats on his left arm is as mean looking as his GMT (16710?).
An artist from Taiwan with a Bling’ed up YG Date Day, badass!
His customer certainly share his love of Rolex too, a Two Tone Daytona:
You can spot Kaz Tattoo artist Edward from 50m out, and his AP Royal Oak Chrono is just as eye-catching!
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!
More highlight of the show:
Finally, a big thank you to Samantha, Karen & Justin for the arrangement that day!
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:
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.
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.
Comes in an interesting crystal ball package. Pretty!
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.
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.
A very nice Rolex Gold MOP Day Date with Pear shape diamond markers at 6 and 9 o’clock. One of the rarer kind in the world of modern Day Date. A little too feminine for my taste but very beatiful nevertheless. This mint but watch only example is selling at a second hand watch shop in Tsim Sha Tsui for slightly under USD$25,000.
In a rare move for any current consumer product, Rolex will extend its warranty from the current 2 years to 5 for watches sold after 1st July 2015. And for any watches sold after 1st July 2013 will also get an extra year of warranty. Good news for those 1st Gen BLNR owner with warranty about to expire.
Big thumb’s up for Rolex for standing behind their product!
Sometimes a special venue brings out the special watches. Instead of our usual gathering at Tsui Wah restaurant. We moved up scale this weekend and held our watch meet at the Peninsula coffee shop. And the collection did not disappoint. We had:
A brand new Rolex Deep Blue James Cameron edition, I always thought the Rolex Deepsea was way too big, but the gradient blue dial, the first such dial for Rolex, just makes it works. The price of this item is steadily climbing above retail, perhaps the rumor is indeed true, that it is the last run of Deepsea (black or blue) before its discontinuation in the not too distant future.
My grail watch, a Patek 5980 in blue, the best dial colour in my personal opinion. It was literately impossible to take it off my wrist. The 5980 is being replaced by the new 5990 with travel time function, together with the recent price adjustment (reduction for HK), I was told only a very small quantity of the last white dial version is available.
Here is an interesting piece, a NOS (new old stock) Bvlgari Diagono Chrono FIFA edition from 2004. This watch is limted to 999 pcs, celebrating 100 years of FIFA, rather ironic to show up now in the midst of all the FIFA corruption controversies.I have always wanted a standard Chrono, the one famously wore by Al Pacino in the Michael Mann classic “Heat”.
The skeleton watch is heavily decorated with the Imperial Seal of Japan, the Kiku hana or Chrysanthemum flower. This watch is literally fit for a King because in ancient Japan, only the Emperor was allowed to use items bearing the full 16 Petals Kiku emblem. The craftmanship and engraving is on par with any ultra top end Swiss/German brand, and I am talking about the like of Ap/PP/VC/Lange. A wonderful piece with paper documenting its sale by the Kyoto Takashimaya Department store in 1996.
A wonderful afternoon and thanks to Paul pulling some strings, we had a table right away on an otherwise packed Saturday afternoon.
As a follow up of the Phillips Auctions held in Geneva over the weekend, the final hammer price of the Eric Clapton’s Daytona Albino I reported earlier went through the roof! At CHF $1,325,000, it became one of only handful of Rolex’s to enter the $1Mil+ Club.
The Jasper Dial Day Date I lusted after so much went for CHF$68,750, a slight relief as it would have been too rich for my blood. Just goes to shows rare and famous timepieces are increasingly become the investment of choice as an alternative asset class.
I love coming to the watch shows held regularly at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile, there are a number of organizers but the format is the same (yesterday show was organised by the Hong Kong Watch Auction). Here, the entire Crystal ballroom is turned into a big watch flee market, kind of reminds me of the old computer swap meet held in community town hall back in Melbourne.
Traders each get a table with a see-thru display case. Inside you will find all kind of treasures, from old Universal Geneve, AP, Lange to half a dozen Richard Mille. I kid you not, some of these display case can easily be worth 2-3 USD millions +.
Trade shows like this is where many watch traders and brokers themselves buy their watches, buyers from all over the world barter, haggle, bluff, beg and debate to get the best deal, once the price is agreed, often by the silent exchange of numbers on a calculator, bricks of cash are pull out from backpack and deal is done on the spot. In here, whether you are a watch retailer with a Grade A store front, a business tycoon or just a beginning enthusiast, the playing field is level, it all comes down to sharp eyes, experience and fast decision.
Like the trading floor of the NYSE or Tsukiji fish market, Its a place you have to be in to fully appreciate its energy. Instead of BoA Shares and blue-fin Tuna, the king of all commodity here is “Rolex”, the five little English letter that is universally recognized and globally accepted, it’s not uncommon to see many traders stock consists entirely of Rolex’s, especially for overseas merchant to increase their chances of making a sale and recoup their travel cost, because in Hong Kong, they can be sure to quickly move Rolex’s, especially sport models in steel, as long as they are willing to take a few percentage points off.
Ok we admit it, we love Rolex’s. Today, with no prior co-ordination, all the members wore Rolex to our gathering. Some of them only made their appearance after much request.
Kudos to Rolex for supporting the TED series, in additional to Tech, Entertainment & Design theme conference, TED has been awarding an annual prize of 1 million USD (initially at 100k in 2005) to worthy individual who “wish to change the world”. Among the reciepients were Bono, Bill Clinton and Jamie Oliver to name a few. And below is the TED prize sculpture, consisting of an aluminium sphere levitate magnetically above a wooden base. Pretty cool, isn’t it?