Monday, March 29, 2010

Watch shopping in the 21st Century

The other my friend and I went out watch hunting. We were not looking for anything in particular, just to see what was available. We decided to go for pre-loved watches. So off we went to visit some of the shops that I went when I was looking for my Rolex. We arrived at the first shop and we had a look at what was on offer. There were many watches to look at and many many temptations.

We, he rather, was interested in a couple of watches. This is where it got interesting, hence the title. We did something we could not have done some years back. We, with the advances in technology were able to surf the Internet and check out about the watches he was interested in on our phones.

We were able to surf and check out competitor websites to see if they had similar watches and see what were the going prices. We were able to surf and check and even read reviews on the watches he was interested in. We were able to check out what were the going prices internationally and even find out when the watches were issued. Best of all, with the number of websites, forums, blogs and on-line sellers, we were even able to find out if there were issues with the watches and even what the watch should come with (in terms of packaging). We could also check out if there were fakes for the said watches and what to look out for to make sure we were not buying fakes. Talk about making an informed decision.

We realised with this power (knowledge) readily available, it is not easy for the seller. We could negotiate for better prices based on what was available (in other shops) and even ask for a reduction if the package was not complete. Indeed shopping in the 21st Century has made it easy (to a certain extent) for the buyer. All you need is the right equipment and a bit of knowledge of where and what to look for.

Anyway, the day ended well for both of us as he ended getting a NOS JLC (Jaeger) Reverso Gran Sports Chronograph at a great bargain and I ended up with a wall clock. All in all not a bad day out.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Watch Shopping in Malaysia Part 6

This time we will look at the KLCC Shopping Mall. This is the Kuala Lumpur City Center building, better know as the Twin Tower. This use to be the tallest building in the world, but has since been taken over by the Taipei 101 and The Burj Khalifa. However, it is still the tallest twin tower in the world.

There are a large number of watch shops in the mall. We start with the Swatch Boutique. Here you can find the latest Swatch watches and also Swatch jewelries. Opposite the Swatch Boutique, we find Watatime. Watatime is of course a chain watch shop. It carries the following brands, Omega, Eberhard, Louis Erard, Tag Heuer, Oris, Longines, Tudor, MontBlanc, Fendi, Omas, Gucci, Aerowatch, Alpina and Revue Thommen.

Around the corner from Watatime, we find City Chain. Here you will find the usual fashion brands and Japanese watches. The brands, Casio, Seiko, Solvil et Titus, Pronto, Fossil, Espirit, Aigner, Tommy Hilfiger, Wenger, Cyma and Skagen among other brands.

One floor up and we find Sincere Watch. Sincere has long history here in South Asia and have been a purveyor of fine watches here in Malaysia for sometime. The brands you find here includes Bvlgari, Bell&Ross, Panerai, Ferrari, JLC (Jaeger), Vacheron Constantin, IWC, A. Lange & Sohne, AP, Piaget, Patek (PP), MontBlanc, Ebel, Omega, Zenith and Corum. They also carry Baume & Mercier, Tag Heuer, CD (Dior), Buti and Cvstos.

Its 'sister' company Emotus is also located in KLCC. Emotus carries Fortis, Tag Heuer, Raymond Weil, Longines, Rado, Ebel, Fendi, Lumi-nox, Victorinox, Tissot, Epos, Titoni, Citizen, Zeno, Hamilton and Omega.

We should also note that other fashion brands are also located within KLCC. We can find Cartier, Bvlgari, Hermes and a host of other brands. I will not be covering these brands, just suffice to say that you will not miss them.

The Chopard Boutique.

The Cartier Boutique.

The Bvlgari Boutique.

The Piaget Boutique.

There are also independent watch boutiques. I found Franck Muller, MontBlanc, Rolex and Tissot.

The MontBlanc Boutique.

The Franck Muller Boutique.

The Tissot Boutique.

The Rolex Boutique.

Next we find Cortina Watch. They are similar to Sincere in set up and offers more high end brands. The brands they carry, but not limited to, are Omega, Blancpain, JLC, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, Longines, Concord, AP, Chronoswiss, Wyler, Porsche Design and Maurice Lacroix.

Within Isetan, anchor tenant of KLCC, we find a couple of counters selling watches. At the watch section of Isetan we find the following brands, Tissot, CK, Mido, Guess, Fendi, Citizen, Titoni, Swatch, Timex, Maurice Lacroix, Seiko, Alba, Nautica, Chronotech, Flikflak, Oris, Pierre Cardin, Espirit, Charles Jourdan (did not know that they were still making watches), Poljot and Certina.

At the sports section of Isetan, we find the following brands, ODM, Bum, Puma, Adidas, Levis and of course the Casio G-Factory.

And there you have it, KLCC, a one stop center for most of the watch brands.

Friday, March 26, 2010

ArtyA Coprolite Watch

Here is something that you don't see very often. In fact I believe most of us will probably never get to see this watch. The watch is called the ArtyA Coprolite watch. It is the brainchild of Yvan Arpa. For those unfamiliar with Yvan Arpa, he is the guy behind the watches from Romain Jerome. Yes the watches with moon dust and metal salvaged from the Titanic.

Anyway this is the watch he has revealed in the recently concluded Basel 2010. So what is the deal with the watch? Well Coprolite is also known as 'dinosaur dung'. Yes, dino dung. The Coprolite used is over 100 million years old. According to Yvan Arpa, he likes to turn non-noble material into noble material.

The Coprolite used to make dial of the watch is the excrement originated from a herbivore. The exact type of dinosaur it is from is still being investigated. There is at the moment 1 piece of the watch and it will retail for USD 11,265. The watch looks rugged and comes with American Cane Toad Skin strap.

The basic specifications:

Case: 316L stainless steel or bronze, display back
Crystal: sapphire
Movement: automatic mechanical movement, 25 jewels, 28,800 A/h
Functions: hours, minutes and seconds
Water resistant: 3 ATM

The watch.

A closer view of the special dial.

For more information:

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Casio News Taiwan Specific

Just got some news today. The GW-3000 series, 'Gravity Defier' will be available here locally in Taiwan in April. There is no price as yet. So far there are 3 models in the series. All models will be fitted with the 5121 module which offers Tough Solar and Wave Ceptor Technology.

The models:


All the models are similar in design with the difference being the dial colour, case finish and type of strap. The GW-3000B-1A will have the resin strap and orange highlight on the dial. Both the GW-3000BD-1A and GW-3000D-1A will be fitted with metal bracelet with the GW-3000BD-1A bracelet in PVD black. The GW-3000BD-1A will also have the PVD black case and blue highlights on the dial. The GW-3000D-1A will have the stainless steel finish case and dial highlights.

The watches:

The GW-3000BD-1A.

The GW-3000D-1A.

All the watches will have the standard G-Shock functionality like alarm, stopwatch, timer, world time and the Neobrite luminous coating. The watch is water resistant to 20 ATM. I will bring more updates once available.

Red Army Watches

I have always wanted to visit them since I found out about them sometime ago. However I never had the opportunity. This changed on my last visit to Malaysia. I am talking about the Red Army Watches Shop.

The Red Army Watches was founded by an Indonesian watch lover who realised that there was an area in watch collecting that has been long neglected. This was the very much over looked Russian watch scene. So that was when the Red Army Watches was set up. I have to say that they must be on the right track as they are now located in 3 countries, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia with a total of 6 shops. It is good to see shops carrying brands outside the box.

Here in Malaysia, they can be found in Tropicana City Mall and its new outlet in the upscale mall, Pavillion. I was able to visit the shop in Tropicana City Mall.

I have to say that the shop is pretty interesting. It is well decorated with many things Russian and military. The displays for the watches are just awesome. If you visit their store, you will be tempted to ask if the display items are for sale. The other interesting about the decoration are the little Babushka or Matryoshka dolls. These dolls are from Russia and they are not cheap. I actually offered to buy some of the dolls (the wife collects) but they were not for sale.

The staff there are very friendly and very knowledgeable about the products they sell. They are very willing to explain about the watches and the history behind the brand. I find that very refreshing as there are many shops where the sales staff only want to sell the watch but know nothing about what they sell.

The brands they carry, not all Russian, are:

Junkers (German)
Zeppelin (German)
Lip (French)
Denissov (Russian)
Poljot International (Russian)
Schaumburg (German)
Nauticfish (German)
Buran Swiss (Russian/ Swiss)
Sturmanskie (Russian)
Aviator (Russian)
Moscow Classic (Russian)
Alexander Shorokhoff (Russian)

They also carry other watch accessories like watch storage box and straps. In fact it was good to see them carry Hirsch straps. They also carry Morellato straps.

Anyway the shop at Tropicana City Mall.

Lip watches.

The Red Army Watch Watch storage box and a selection of rubber straps.

Full range of Hirsch straps.

More displays, got to love them displays.

A BMW collaboration Limited Edition watch.

The Nauticfish watches.

The Schaunburg watches.

Poljot watches.

For more information:

Their website is packed with information on the various Russian brands and their history. It makes an interesting read. You can also join their mailing list and get updates on latest launches or when is their next sale.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My next project watch

Well I hope to start on my next project watch soon. It will be based on the highly popular Tudor Snow Flake Submariner. These Tudor Submariner were first issued between 1966 to 1968. There were two models, 7016/0 and 7021/0. The difference between the two is the 7021/0 has a date display.

These were replaced with the model 9401 and 9411 (with date). I believe the 94XX model was the ones that were issued to the French Marine National (M.N.) and the US Navy, hence its popularity and high prices. Also because of these reasons, there are lots of 'fakes' in the market.

Anyway, the watch I will (I hope) to assemble will have the Snow Flake hands, but not the Snow Flake dial. I am still looking for a sterile Snow Flake dial. The case will be based on the Submariner case. The watch will be powered by an ETA movement.

The hands.

The watch on which the project watch will be based on.

Photograph: Stuart MWR

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sewills Army and RAF watch

Timefactors have released two new watches under the Sewills name. As with the earlier releases, these watches are assembled from NOS parts but with new batteries and seals. The two new watches are the Sewills Army and RAF watches. Both watches will share the same basic specifications, the difference being the straps and the Army and RAF logo on the dial of the watches.

Basic specifications:

Case: 316l stainless steel, 41 mm diameter, 9.8 mm thick, 20 mm lug width
Crystal: sapphire
Movement: ETA 955.612 quartz
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds and date
Water resistant: 3 ATM which is strange as it comes with a screw back and screw down crown

The Army version will come with a black polydamide 'Kevlar look' strap with titanium buckle while the RAF will come with Hirsch saddle leather strap with satin finish steel buckle.

The watches.

I have to say that the case back is interesting.

The Army.

The RAF.

Photographs: Timefactors

For more information:

Tudor an update

Tudor has updated its website. The site now offers lots of information on the brand and the watches. Most important (to me anyway) is that there is now information on the formation and early history of Tudor.

For many years, Tudor has lived under the shadow of its bigger and famous brother, Rolex. It looks like that is about to change or the change is in progress. I think this is great as I have always like the Tudor brand.

Anyway, you can visit the website here:

Photograph: Tudor

Do visit the download section of the site as you can download screen saver, wallpaper and even the history of Tudor.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cyclops removal...

I found this video and thought it would be interesting for those who are interested. This came about as I am searching for parts for my next project watch. Since I have the Snow Flake hands from MotorCity WatchWorks, I thought I look into getting a watch done up with the hands.

The problem is most of the crystal fitted to the watch case has the cyclops (since I am looking at a Submariner type case). I prefer watches without the cyclops, so I was wondering how to remove the cyclops.

There are a couple of ways to remove the cyclops. The common methods:

1. The chisel method. This is to chisel the cyclops off. Place the chisel at the corner of the cyclops and tap it. Careful not to chip the crystal. Clean residual glue with acetone or 'goof off'.
2. The heat method. Apply heat to the crystal and use a blade to slide the cyclops off. Watch the video.
3. The Acetone method. Soak the crystal in acetone for a few days and the cyclops will pop off. It would be advisable to remove the crystal from the watch before soaking it in acetone. :)
4. The easiest method. Replace the crystal with one without the cyclops.

Anyway the video:

Thanks to rtomson for the video.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Casio Taiwan Specific News

Went to Casio today and finally saw the GW-200Z-1. This watch is also known as the last Frogman. It is retailing for NTD 13,000 (USD 410). I have to say that I like the watch and it does look like the Frogman of old, i.e. the DW-6300. However I did not get it as I was distracted by something else and also because I am currently saving up for another grail watch.

The GW-200Z-1.

The DW-6300-1.

So what was it that distracted me? It was the G-Shock Mini. It is finally here. Had a look at the pieces available, and have to say that it is cool. So cool that I got one for the wife.

The G-Shock Mini, from left to right, GMN-691-4 (pink), GMN-691-8 (white), GMN-50-7B (white), GMN-51-4B (red?) and GMN-50-1B2.

Photographs: Casio

The watches retails for NTD 2,700 (USD 85) for the GMN-691 and NTD 3,100 (USD 98). I got the GMN-51-4B for the wife.