Tuesday, December 13, 2011

You are what you wear!

I came across an Interesting article found at New Straits Times…worth to share to the Watch Lovers.
Some people collect stamps. And some collect coins. Then, there's Dr Bernard Cheong. He collects watches, to the point where he says, "Practicing medicine has become something I do in my spare time."
Dr Cheong insists, has a treasure trove of people who are interested in the watchmaking industry.
Born in Kuantan, Pahang, Dr Cheong's parents chose to make Singapore their home.
New to the social dynamics at play, he felt totally out of place. "Even a primary school student would wear an Omega or Rolex. I learnt the difference between the haves' and have nots'."
Such experiences have shaped this 50-something's philosophy, which is, to champion the underdogs. In the case of watchmakers (also known as horologists), Dr Cheong tries to "recognise individuals who want to make watches but don't have the means to do so".
He explains: "Previously, it was all about the architecture of the watch, mechanics and accuracy. They were decorated with either enamel or cloisonn. I like to look at the story behind the watch. For instance," he says, turning to a window display at Khronos-Unique Horlogerie (a multi-brand watch boutique in Starhill Gallery), "take a look at these watches."
The exquisite timepieces are from the Romain Jerome collection. The one named Steampunk contains oxidized steel that comes from the extraordinary fusion of authentic steel from the wrecked ocean liner, the Titanic.
Then there's the memorable watch crafted as a gift for Julio Iglesias during his recent visit to Malaysia. The watch rests in a custom-made case and is called Geograph Rainforest. It is a limited edition timepiece which has, "a part of Malaysia in it; there is a fossil from an oil palm tree embedded in the design," explains Dr Cheong.
"When such watches were first made, serious collectors didn't see the brilliance in them. I wanted to be instrumental in helping watchmaking companies like this achieve success."
Malaysia, Dr Cheong insists, has a treasure trove of people who are interested in the watchmaking industry. The person who comes easily to his mind is the late Datuk Rolf Schynder. "His love for Asia was reflected in his work."
Dr Cheong's collection of watches seems to mirror such evolution: his first watch was a Seiko stopwatch. "It cost me about SDG130 (RM316 ). That was a lot of money in the 1970s."
Today, wearing two watches all the time, he does find it difficult to pick a favourite from his vast collection. Eventually, he settles on the "master watch" (a prototype of sorts) given to him by Vianney Halter. Such admiration, it appears, is mutual as Dr Cheong says that Halter thanked him in his acceptance speech when Halter was awarded the title of The Best Watchmaker of the Year 2011.
Now the official ambassador for Foundation De La Haute Horlogerie, Dr Cheong stresses that collecting watches can be a good investment.

"The watch industry suffered the least during the economic crisis. You see," he elaborates, "watches are a portable asset. With real estate, you can't take it with you. With paintings and fine wine, they are fragile. But, you can carry watches worth millions from US to China without much worry. Also, it's much easier to verify the authenticity of watches than it is to verify paintings."
There are two ways to approach the task of making a watch, he says. The first is to consider the aesthetics of the watch, then figure out how to put things in place.
The second is to concentrate on how the watch functions before thinking of the aesthetics. "With computers, this second approach has become redundant," says the founding partner of a chain of clinics in Singapore called Lifeline Medical Group.
When assessing a watch, Dr Cheong looks, primarily, for the watchmaker's contribution to the industry. The doctor will ask: Is the watchmaker bringing the industry to the next level or is he just making another fancy watch?
In the end, Dr Cheong is looking for, "that Wow! factor in any watch. Beauty is not necessarily in the eyes of the beholder. I believe that the language of beauty crosses all cultures."
Dr BERNARD Cheong, believes that he can tell a lot about a person by the watch he wears. For instance:
1. A person who doesn't wear a watch at all is usually a practical person who tells the time by looking at his handphone. He likes the simple things in life.
2. A person who wears brands like Seiko is probably uncomfortable with computers.
3. A person who wears luxury watches is aware of, and comfortable with, his status and cultivates it. 4. A person who wears "one-off" watches is someone who realizes that owning such a watch is the most convenient and practical way to collect art.
HK Snob believes that you wear a Rolex will have limited room to pursue higher watch Excellence as Rolex is likely one of the best durable, reliable work horse you will find on Earth. One who wears Rolex has the kind of Greatness for good taste and appreciation on the best watch-making Industry from Switzerland.
A Journey Through Time V
What: Asia's grandest luxury watch and jewellery showcase
The theme this year: Time to Celebrate.
When: Until Saturday
Where: Starhill Gallery
181 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2782 3800
PS More about Vianney Halter

The Pictures are from top:

Dr. Cheong

Vianney Halter

Streampunk watch that Contains Titanic oxidized metal for casing

HK Snob

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