The ReedsCo Homage (left) and Axis (right)
A good friend and fellow collector, Mr Eddie Sng introduced me to a young entrepreneur Mr Reed Tan, a fresh graduate full of drive and energy and a yen for design started a business selling watches with his vision early this year. His own creation called "Axis" designed with his own ideas, working with outsourced suppliers - has yet to take off but its early days yet. He feels that his design is still going through an evolutionary process. The Axis is not without flaws yet commendable for a first effort to bring about a mechanical watch, made with equal if not better quality than many fashion watches. He sells his watches through his website with a header - REEDSCo A Singaporean Dream.
To finance his fledgling business and the development of a new model, Reed retails a homage watch that features a 47mm case shape that most will easily recognise. The interesting difference is that unlike other homage retailers found on the Internet, Reed offers this watch with a very personal touch. Hand finished sandwich dials with his own process that creates different pattern, colours and patinas. All at comparatively affordable prices compared with those being offered on Internet and forums.
Will REEDSCo able to succeed in this fickle yet demanding market? Some may say his timing could not be worse with the downturn of the global markets but I am hopeful that this young entrepreneur will find success. After all, the face of ever escalating cost of luxury Swiss mechanical watches, where would the ordinary man in the street able to find value for money timepieces? Reed may have stumbled upon a successful model at the right time if he is able to marry quality with affordable prices - and individually finished dials. Maybe, it will not be just a dream after all.
Watch collectors with years of experience know and bemoan about this issue but new collectors have to suffer a severe shock to learn about the real cost of ownership of luxury watches. Even more so if the watch in question features any of the renowned complications such as chronograph, tourbillon and perpetual calendars.
Mr Chuang Peck Ming of the Business Times reported yesterday in the Weekend Edition in "Get your watch serviced - and fall off the chair" reported that it cost him S$4100 to service his Lange 1. His research showed that its not uncommon for top brands to charge at this level for servicing and repairs.
Unfortunately - this is the hidden cost of owning a desirable luxury Swiss watch. While many may feel in time that they will readily spend 5-10k for a good Swiss watch, most will not readily nor happily part with thousands for servicing or repairs - especially when they are not mentally prepared for it.
The cost of servicing and repairs goes up exponentially with complications and watches with very high level of finishing. Lange for instance will upon servicing or repair will refinish the watch again to almost brand new condition. That is the promise made by Lange and I have seen it delivered. Not all brands are able to provide that level of service but many will of course charge a lot less.
Nevertheless, new collectors must realise this early and make the necessary enquiries so as to make a proper and considered choice when buying a watch.
Yet another reason why watches must not be purchased with impetuous decisions. So if you are not financially ready for the cost of repairs or servicing, you are not financially ready for the watch - even if you can pay the price on the tag.
The third and final unique piece featured is a second piece from Kari. The salmon dial Observertoire. A model that is no longer available as Kari has filled his order books for this design. A watch that is rated very highly by classic watch collectors who wanted rare and handmade pieces finished to a level that is beyond the mainstream brands. This model is indeed handsome and the salmon dial makes for quite a stunning watch. Click on the images to view the high resolution versions.
Kari Voutilainen brought two unique pieces for the Independence Tour this year. This Chronometre 27 in cream dial features very intricate engraving in the middle of the dial as well as throughout the movement. Capturing all the wonderful detail of the engraving is almost impossible. A long watch which does not attractive to some but for those able to wear it, it is an imposing time piece as Kari is able to show in the portrait above. Click on the images to see the high resolution photos.
The Hour Glass Tour of of Independence 2009 kicked off with a dinner party for selected fans and collectors. This year's tour featured Mr Romain Gauthier and Mr Kari Voutilainen who each brought not only their latest models for show but Special Unique pieces to commemorate the Tour.
Romain's single unique piece shown below featured a semi-open dial of his watch that showed the time dial as floating above the movement itself. Click on the image to view the watch in high resolution.
It was about time that classic and simple watches return to importance in the world of serious horology. The GPdH Asia - unlike its Geneve cousin - has a panel of Asian judges who are renown collectors without any connection to any brands nor to Edipresse - the media organisation that runs this competition every year. The GPdH Asia held its annual gala event on the 25th Sept to coincide with the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore.
Unlike the other winners from the sub categories this year, the watch of the year went to this simple looking watch from A Lange & Sohne - the Richard Lange Pour Le Merite (RLPM).
This simple three handed watch (unlike the standard Richard Lange which has centre seconds) features a hidden complication only Lange & Breguet is able to manufacture - the chain & fusee. Unlike the Breguet Chain & Fusee which is perceptibly larger, the Lange's design is more akin to a very fine bicycle chain. Look carefully at the movement capture to appreciate how fine the work is on the chain. While the Richard Lange dial design does not call to me, horologically speaking, the RLPLM is one of the most discreet looking of all high horology. It reminds me of the more gentlemanly days when understatement is the call of the day and real men wore their wealth discreetly like a tourbillon on the back rather than the front.
Click on the images to view the high resolution versions.