In yet another case of crime in the luxury watch industry here in Singapore (following the Cortina case not long ago), news broke today about the boutique manager from Panerai disappearing with customer's payment for watches ordered.
Reported to day in the Straits Times, Mr Terence Quek allegedly disappeared with a sum of over SGD$100,000 apparently being payment from customers. Details of what had happened seems fairly vague but investigations appear to be ongoing.
Watch boutique's ex-manager allegedly took $109k from clients
Full extract of the news report can be read HERE
Here is a high resolution collage of images photographed of the new Planet Ocean Liquidmetal Titanium. Earlier last week I published an underwater image of this watch and here are the images showing the details of this new model. Not obvious in these images is the unmistakable tone of the titanium yet it has the unfamiliar polished details not commonly seen in titanium cases. The positive change in the design of the bracelet is that only the sides of the bracelet is high polished leaving the remaining link surfaces to brushed finish. The ceramic bezel and the flushed liquidmetal numerals is the hallmark of this watch distinguishing it from other ceramic bezel watches in the market today. The new model also features a machine polished Caliber 8600 which has the new co-axial escapement and silicium balance hairspring. All designed to provide for a more accurate movement as well as one that promises longer intervals in between services. Unfortunately this watch is rarely seen in the stores as they are snapped up as soon as they arrive at the stores and boutiques - despite having a high premium list price.
Click on the image above to view it in high resolution.
Gunter Blumlein was a visionary that made a few brands into recognised names. He brought repute to old brands with his intuitive and cutting edge leadership and management. Most critically his management of Lange & Sohne and IWC probably made these two brands the most respected in the Richemont stable.
The key to his enduring legacy is that he understood how serious collectors viewed watches and what is expected in a great brand. The Swiss watch industry lost its leading light with his passing.
CLICK on the image above to read the tribute published by IWC about Blumlein who passed away in October 2001.
What better way is there than to start the new year by meeting up with old friends (and make new ones) and fellow collectors over good food? This time about 30 collectors met at the Le Chassuer Restaurant in Chinatown with the themes (1) the latest acquired pieces in 2011 and (2) Rolexes.
The restaurant location and decor belies the good quality of the food served. The collectors were unanimously pleased with the fare and I personally would readily recommend it. Here is a collage of the dishes served.
The watches acquired by collectors this year (as well as Rolexes) reflects how well the brands have succeeded (or failed) to garner excitement or interest from collectors. The most interesting piece on the table that was launched in 2011 was the MB&F Legacy Machine No.1. This watch is in fact a highlight piece of 2011 in my personal view. Worthy of the interest within the collecting circles even though it is priced beyond most collectors.
Is the clear lack of 2011 launched pieces on the table a reflection of the taste of collectors at the dinner or of the lack of interesting pieces? It may also be due to the escalating price increases that makes the new watches less exciting - possibly for the immediate and near future. Nevertheless, click on the images to view them in high resolution.
Interestingly though, it was a surprise to me how many Rolexes (both old and new) was brought by this small group of collectors. Notice the diverse models brought to the dinner and here is one of our friends modelling them all in good jest.
With the SIHH and Baselshow exhibition coming up very soon, all the collectors were sharing information and opinions on what is on offer. However, the biggest issue seems to be how the brands will price their new watches in light of the predicted economic crisis that has yet to take full effect on the world's economies.
That would be fodder for discussion when the collectors next meet - post Baselshow in a few months time.
Over the new year weekend I had the opportunity to photograph the Blue Planet Ocean Big Size Titanium case with Titanium bracelet. Here is my first processed image of this huge 45.5mm watch. A more detailed photo report to follow. As usual click on the image to view it in higher resolution.