Friday, 27 April 2012

When said in french, it simply sounds better...sometimes.

Resigning from a community I love is a difficult choice.

However, I have always been spoilt and had people kow tow to my selfish ideas and rules, at my business.

But, I thought, I should put myself, just for the experience, in other's shoes...and learn to resign, to leave, any workplace, for good.

From today...I will be spending time with watchmakers and watch collectors.

No more posting to forums.

I feel a GREAT sense of joy and a weight off my shoulders.

More later!

630 SUNRISE outside my office!

Thats my office facing south east, no evening sun...and that's good!

It is so quiet, I saw a few annoying monkeys running across the fence around my pool!

Waking up at home 5am in Singapore

This is what happens when neighbour's car alarm goes off!

Also, because I failed to collect my SEIKO Galante, one of only 3 left in the world!

I just discovered that a HUGE, probably among the top 3 largest watch makers in the world, SEIKO...actually has not one, but 2 , elite commando type, special forces, watch assemblers and finishers.

Grand Seiko and Galante.

Although more GS are made, and their profile has been revealed 2 years back...the Galante's entry level is 2 times the price!

But only 30 to 62 pieces are made a year.

Now, I am getting concerned that I may miss one.

I have already missed 5!

Money, influence and becoming "visible"...that's me.

Beat that for an honest, no bullshit statement.
It may be untrue...maybe I am not at all influencial.
Maybe I tempered with google and wiki.

I do care.
I simply cannot convince people who are NOT inside the watch industry, ie my older and close friends how I became who I am.

BUT...I am starting an EXPERIMENT.
I am going to ASK for FREE watches as of last month.

In return, they get exposure from me.
This experiment is for 1 year.
After that, I don't need the money...I give it away anyway.

My rules are simple, I will talk about watches which are GIVEN to me.
I will also talk about watches NOT given to me.

The difference, I talk 25% more about those given to me...unfair?
I don't give a shit.

Will I destroy the reputations of watches that are kindly given to me?
Of will make no diff.

I love these blogs!!!!
I get to say what I want....with some degree of responsibility...but..not much actually.
Just alot of opinion, which I feel is simply NOT available these days!!!!

Let's start with why on earth people read the kind of rubbish I write.
I bet I make more money than Jeremy Clarkson...yes. And I don't need an audience to feed me.
So, I think I am even worse than Clarkson.

This is a GIFT.
It is a DALI. The real thing, not made in China!
It's a gift from a VERY old friend.
He is no longer with us.
So, with due respect, I won't poke fun at him.
But it meant something to was given to me because I had criticised the watches he made...and I had given him GOOD comments, both in print, on TV and online.
But he was well aware, at the time, that I knew NOTHING about art.
So he used DALI to illustrate that DALI too knew NOTHING about art, but knew alot about marketing!

I found the sculpture quite fascinating.
It was not at all inexpensive...much more than a Datograph!!!

But, he never kew, and neither does the world know, that I used to paint to releave stress when I was building my business in the 2980s.

Here is my pride...roses.
I call them roses because my mother is ROSY Cheong, and I love my parents!
My dad is Micheal Cheong, and he is represented by the BLUE leaves, because my dad is a very cool and unflustered man. I love him.

My parents believed in me.
Although while I was a student in ACS, I was caned publicly for all sorts of ill intentioned behavior.

Mischief was my main hobby.

Honestly, I may not have been able to live off my art....but I was quite good.

I mean...look at the roses and cat!

I painted these things BEFORE I recognised that watches, like Vianney, De Bethune, MBF and URWERK were collectable like art.

They also looked better than my paintings.

But if you learn anything from this post, learn that to be a collector of fine may just need to have a natural eye, and also a deep understanding of what is of art, and what is simply artisan.


That's the last serious post for the month.

Tonight, I am going to buy myself..with my own money, a SEIKO GALANTE sbla 065, known also as the blood rose, made in 2012 this year, SEIKO GALANTE is a rival to Panerai and IWC, but from an angle that is from art.

It is UGLY at first sight...but after spending time with SEIKO's CEO and Chairman, and all his good men and women...I am willing to see if I can find beauty in the Galante.

BTW..all the previous Galantes made, they make between 30 to 62 pcs a year...that's VERY little!!!!
Are all sold out.
And on the secondary resale market, they are very very rare.
In auction houses like Sothebies, they do pretty well above their purchase prices!!!

That is a VERY good thing for SEIKO.

BTW..SEIKO does not pay or give me stuff....they are Japanese, and there, the code of business is different.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

SEIKO watches, expensive watches, doctor's offices..

I am still lost in the internet, for example....this happens:

I didn't realise that I was here:

The Omega Ploprof looks at home with expensive stuff

 It feels right with a 911 or a Toyota RAV (my usual car).
And it was born at almost the same time, with changes made slightly..bec the damned watch was rightly made.
Functionally beautiful.
It belongs on both an oil rig as well as a woman's wrist.
 This is what I am wearing now as I post....OK..this watch gets much much more attention.

 As you can see, the Omega Ploprof sort of feels RIGHT among all these fellows.
Not too expensive.
And it sort of has a place here.
Note the 20 year old Omega Seamaster pro next to it.
That watch has also been around...a long time!

 Note the OLD 1960s model of the ploprof is almost identical...small details...
 Today's watch is much more refined because of modern machining.
CNC cutting is everything to the edges we can achieve today.

 The Ploprof today has a relevant movement, an industrially perfected and reliable George Daniels direct drive, it allows a very convenient way to adjust the hour hand forwards and backwards, without harming the watch, or moving the minute hand.

The watch is nice, good, and will last a few hundred years.
With the coaxial movement, it will last forever.
And it looks good when it gets scratched and seasoned...always an important factor.
Just like shoes or Birkin bags or Porsche 911"s

I highly recomend it.
In fact, I was among the first to own one when it was launched.
And I actually was crazy enough to bid for a solid gold model!

Hmm..BUY the OMEGA ploprof, it is a classic, like a Porsche 911. $12,000 or less.

 will explain why, tmrw morning..meanwhile google it.
Ask me why...and for value alone...this is what I bought too.
I love it, and wear it.
EVEN when I have watches 20x the price.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

LIFE, how I spent 10% of 1998 to 2011. SEIKO watches, exotic watches.

 I am a "chair" person, pardon the pun, but life revolves around my chairs about 7 to 9 hours a day, 5 days a week.
So chairs reature BIG in my blog.
You will not be seeing the last of many great pieces, and rare chairs.
In my office, I used to have some great design pieces, but because of many people touching or sitting on them, I decided to move them home.
BUT...I still wanted a GOOD piece...and I found this one last week.
More on it later.
 SEIKO watches have been a part of my life since 1965.
I still own the first generation of the really GOOD SEIKOS that served with Nasa on most of Apollos missions as well as almost all space shuttle and skylab missions, with Casios too.
Omega? That's a commercial thing, yes, they did go into space, but it was the SEIKOs and Casios that the astronauts prefered.
Because those were watches they lived with as pilots.
The ONLY watch designed specifically for use in space, OUTSIDE the craft!
It can take G forces, and temeratures that would be overwhelming for any other watch...including their own brand.
 This is the SAME Seiko that the Spacewalk is made from, a premium model solid gold, 100% hand assembled and finished by hand 90%.
These SOLID GOLD, 18k, rosegold springdrives are so rare, I am sure that I am the ONLY collector who owns BOTH of the gold and the the world!

It's fun knowing these things.
It is also about reverse snobery.
It amuses me to read about owners of Pateks and Lange platinum pieces talking about "stealth"...the fact of having an unrecognised expensive watch.
BUT...they are still BRAND CONSCIOUS....because when it boils down to what is really GOOD and reliable, and rare, and fine made...see my previous ramble and rant on Pierre Corthay's shoes...the SEIKO spring drive in GRAND SEIKO guise is superior to almost half of what Lange and Patek make today.
The first generation Lange, and the pre 2004 Pateks, I bought, and still own...those are good.
They can take on my SEIKOS.
Today, some Langes like the ridiculous looking Zeitwork, is a laughing matter.
It is so ugly. It's the emperor's new clothes!!!
It is a digital watch that sucks not the milk of design, but of death. The death of sensible work.
The death of design, of honesty....I could rant on and on.
Buy a Lange 1, or any simple Lange. Avoid the terrible shit that is produced by money hungry men who have no love for watches...and believe me, they laugh at you when you buy their watches..."suckers". TRUE.

So WHAT WATCHES are expensive, rare, and worth what you pay?
The watches I am about to show you.
I am not humble, I am boastful.
But in a good way...because you know I am BERNARD CHEONG...I don't need to endorse what I buy. I can share, and you know I can, because I am an arrogant son of a .....

Lets see:

 This is my office about 3 hours ago.
Yes, I bring about over a million bucks of watches to work.
Hey...enjoy hard earned $$$ man!
It is also a testimony to how much I trust my patients, I leave the room with this box alone with them!
Singaporeans and people of working classes here are 995 honest.
I have no drug addicts in my clinic.
I have hard working, good men and women.

 This is a raely seen LV trunk made for super watches...because of the SIZE of the cushions...they are BIG.
No other box can keep the Opus V or the MBF1.
LV assumes that at $8, will keep these level of watches.
Otherwise, don't waste money.
BUT...if you are collecting these watches, this is the ONLY box to keep them in.
It is 100% handmade as the edges and nails are tiny...and the rules governing the legendary trunks of LV apply here.
The trunk alone is the ONLY practical LV trunk people dont travel the old way any longer.
 The watches are on a tray in the trunk.
below, is a secret compartment that can fit 3 bars of Ikg each gold yah?
 My desk reflects me...a tad mad...100% fun!

 Vianney's own personal watch that he made in 1996 to hand.
This was before I accidentally made him famous.
Today, I thank him with all my heart because he remembers me....I feel warm and right.
I bought his watches in a time when people bought only BRANDS.

 This is anIWC squelette minute repeater.
IWC was my favorite company when the owner /CEO Gunther Blumlein was alive, and a genuine friend.
He was alive to see the watch industry grow.
But not into the size it is today.
He died after Lange made things which he told me that he would never place into a Lange.
(1) Luminous materials
(2) Useless complications
(3) calibers made for general use
(4)Overlap of dials
(5) sports watches

The CEO who took over from him after his death, he did all of these.
If you talk to him for 5 mins, you KNOW he resents you, the customer.
Because he cant afford what he sells, and he does not love watches.
He will buy a car or a bigger house with the money.

 Thsi is URWERK..or the mighty Opus V, a legend that is like the rod of Moses or the ark.
But yes, some of the 50 were made.
I was with Max when this was created.
It is 250g in weight!
Due to bad economy, it sells at auction for $360,000 last year!
But I was involved in a $560,000 USD trade for this piece in 2009.

 This is a VERY special tourbillon.
It is also 3 times more special than other circumferential tourbillons.
Because it is the FREAK's tourbillon.
It is sold out.
Thsi piece is numbered 0.
That's because the late Rolf Schnyder was a very good friend...the kind that I travel with and stay at his home type of friend.
He was an incredibly GOOD person.
I have only one thing in common, we both speak our minds...and money is important, no matter how much/little one has. But people, who are good, they are even more valuable.
 Thsi was a RM002 tourbillon, today it is a $360,000 sgd watch after good discounts.
I bought it for much less...because the then man did not believe me when I told him that the brand will survive.
Unfortunately, today...many of the designs are quite undelievable in ugliness.
AND..that Michelle Yeoh, endorses them. It's like a man advertising menstrual pads or tampons.
A silly thing, a compromise on truth.
Will you find anyone saying this on their blogs???

 Thsi si the MBF1.
It is the second piece I own.
I sold the first, when I needed money...yes, even I need money.
BUT...I like MBF because he is about business, and he is not lying.
Max is honest to me.
I trust him.
He makes good stuff, and he does not least not much.

 This will become the MOST sucessful of the MBF by the year 2020.
It is relevant.
It carries the design history of the times.
It looks funny.
It is beautiful.
It is not worn by movie stars.

This is the DeBetune DB28.
I made a promise that I would own a DB oneday, to David Zanetta.
It took 5 years to complete that promise.
I also promised that I foresaw that DB would one day be recognised as among the MOST beautiful watches made...without sales talk and actors and actressess bullshitting about how much they know.

So that ends this RANT.
The world of selling expensive watches is FULL of sharks.
FULL of over egoed people.

Even myself included.
I will spill the beans.
But to my sense of judgement, I will play the game their way....I will be nice to those who were nice.

Wait and see!!!

Meanwhile, I forgive much more than take revenge.

It is FUN to be honest, even if I could be wrong.
This is only watch collecting.
a small part of life.