Friday, May 31, 2013

Advertisemnet of an Important watch

This is the new Rolex ad after AC360 on every morning's CNN.

The four consective front pages on "TIME"

This Watch is a Witness.

To words that moved nations

It’s dared men faster, further.

Worn by luminaries, visionaries, champions.

It doesn’t just tell time, it tells History

HK Snob

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Should We Invest On This Italian Legendary Panerai Watch?

Following the article of Panerai posted Yesterday, a few guys asked me to make a translation on that. Due to my poor and limited use of Englihs, I did try to make some short highlight in English. I hope the original Writer will not mad with me if I can not make a true picture of what he wants to say to all of you.

The Legends of Panerai
A turning point for Panerai, in a 200 Watch show at Beijing, Allain Chung was the one to start promote this “Big Cake Watch” in his magazine...

Richemont MD Johann Repert bought the entire Panerai company with 1 million dollar for this Italian manufacture and its history of making military watch for the Italy since 1960 to 2000.

Since then the company strategy is to lunch limited edition for his Watch

Panerai has its style, Bold, big and unique following the old Italian Diver watch design concepts and initial response was proven to be successful.

First legend
1. 1997 Special 021 Platinum Case with Rolex Movement. Limited to 60 pcs. List price $200,000, after a couple of years it reach $1,000,000

2. 2005 203, Angelus 8 days steel watch. Limited 150, list price $140,000. But it is about $800,000

3. 2011, 339 using composite material 8 days power reserve, limited to 1,500. List price is below $110,000, Sothebys’ Autumn auction price went up to $325,000

4. The Copper Watch 2011 382, limited 100 pcs, listed price $80,000

2011 Sotheby’s Spring Lot2212 reached a final bid price of $212,500

5. 2011 steel chronograph 52mm 300 with limited production of 99 pieces.

Listed at price of $270,000. 2012 Sotheby’s autumn made a hammer price of $437,500

Second legend
Just by the sales amount of 60 pcs of 021, the investment of buying this Panerai company as return.

Last legend
This article Author Cheung was trying to create the last bid at the Sotheby’s auction at Convention centre on 8 Oct 2012. All in sudden, he received the calls about news of the Master Allain Chung’s mortality. He put down his hand and left. Or he had helped to create the new Auction record for Panerai.

We under why Patek Philippe watch can gain market value when it is just leaving factory, because of his 100 years of magic in building horologe with impeccable quality and innovations. But for a ten years history for a watch that no one could be aware, this is a legend too.

The Panerai’s shtick is Limited Edition and they Broke the rule of Game!
This is a good market policy for those watches that has not come with a hundred years of history and recognition…
The Panerai big Four: 2002 127 1950 pcs, 2005 217 1000 pcs, 2006 232 1938 pcs,
2006 249 1936 pcs.

In Short, the control of the number of watch is important. What if the watch was sold out in the year they are produced? Panerai then Issued the 2nd Round of Limited Edition!!

Whereby the add OOR” after the S/N. OOR stands for “Out of Range”

Beside big four, at least there were 16 models had used this shtick to gain market revenue!

OOR was in fact interpreted as “Out of Regulation” by the Author.

Later, it would be a bit hiccups to add OOR, they just simple enlarge the production unit, like huge 60mm Egyptian Military watch 341, was announced to have max. 250 pcs, when order came in like swam of flies! they simple added production unit to 500! That caused the slash of price when goods was still on sales!

Composite material 382 was initiated to produce 500 units, finally topped up to 1,000!

Copper 382, was started with 500, then 750, then 1,000!

The Moribund legend
The issue of steel version after the Platinum or gold version was released… this is killing people who has bought the Platinum…

Well, 2011 Prototype dial 373 Platinum of 199 pcs with list price $300,000 without any discount. Worse is when they were selling that watch, they release the steel 425 which is just $40,000.

To a watch maker, the mark up 6 times of Platinum to a steel version is too high. The Platinum 373 can stay forever in the safe box for their depreciation. Those Platinum and gold watch is usually bought by all VIPs, is that the way to kill their VIP!?

After all, those are the mis-practice a watch maker should have!?

Buying Hints for Panerai
And After all, the author being a renowned collector, had some advised to us.

1. Do not consider precious metal except 021 because the movement is Rolex.

Precious metals are poison. Stainless steel is the only material for military watch.

2. Only buy 47mm as that is the original size of Military watch, all the essential important watch are made under this size.

3. Except 44 mm 195 and 52 mm 300, he cannot tell any single model that can last for one year other than 47 mm.

Forget the Panerai House Movement, Panerai is good at Packaging the watch instead of making his own movement, those well-known one are all packed with Angelus, ETA, and Rolex. After 2005, look for Minerva movement.

4. Note the material used on the Watch like, 339 and 382.

New material of good quality and lower cost might be a target of Panerai collector, but those material turn-around time for R & D and Production is long. We will not get any benefit from them at all!

5. Don't trust the Number of production units.

These are the hints for Lovers of Panerai to consider when they Buy Panerai as a Collection item.

Note of HK Snob
Since watch maker and designer are moving into thinner and simpler watch design for most of the top brands in Switzerland. We might not see a sudden decline of the demand for big Diver’ watch, and as a matter of fact, no one would like to.

To a watch collector, the success of watch is not just a function of the demand of some of the Collectors, dealer and speculators regardless of the engineering effort on the movement. It would be widely back up with watch connoisseurs, Horologes lovers, watch Historians and collector of watch with passions on the whole history of the watch, and having that kind of quality, reliability, functionality of such a watch to exceed the watch Owners expectation.

HK Snob

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

An Astonishing story about marketing strategy of Panerai

In explicit uncovering description on the mal-practice and astonishing unfair treat to VIP, fans and watch lovers of Panerai.
What a daring story we should take note. 
This is a cut out from TRENDSTIME magazine May 2013. 
Worth a thought when you plan to buy the watch.
HK Snob 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

President Marcos' 58th Birthday Watch

                                                  11 September 1975  Thursday

Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. (September 11, 1917 – September 28, 1989) was President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986.

To what I know Marcos time, While in power he implemented wide-ranging programs of infrastructure development and economic reform.

Presiden Marcos has celebrated his 58th birthdays with an appeal for more food production.Macros flew by helicopter to Barrio Pandi joined farmers harvesting rice, took breakfast in a hut with the peasant’s family and held a cabinet meeting under the shade of a mango tree.

1975 is a special year for the first family the First Lady was the guest speaker in the U.N. in New York for women's right before heading back to Manila for the president’s 58th birthday.
The model number is 3528/3.

To watch Collector like I, it is key interested to know what essential watch he likes… Marcos was ahead of time wearing White Gold as one of his preferred colour on watch.
Note that the watch Marcos worn on the top picture is another one, we are trying to find out what watch was that.
HK Snob

Information was proivider by the Watch collector who is a Philippino statying in USA now.

Rolex Ref 18038 Day Date Yellow Gold with Oak Dial

This is another Collector's item one of the collector showed us duing Watcher Hi Tea on Saturday.

Rolex Ref 18038 with special Oak Dial, not been polished, and he had changed with Chinese Day Dial in HK RVC.

HK Snob

The BesselWorld 2013 Rolex Retro Day Date Comes into effect

With the new BeselWorld 2013 preview of Rolex Day Date with a young look with leather strap design will capture more younger buyers who are a bit itching going for Rolex Gold Watch after his drawer has bee full of the steel tool watch!

Well, look at recent More magazine ad that Lane Crawford cannot wait to sell some of the most lovely colour Day Just and Day Date Ref 1803… Buy price is astonishingly un-friendly!

Black Date Just with ten Shinning Sugar cubes- HKD$97,000

Blue Date Just without diamond HKD$104,000

Green Date Just without Diamond HKD$104,000

Note the Stella Red Ref 1803 , price is HKD$314,000

HK Snob

The Early Rolex Promotion slip and Rolex AD in Hong Kong

This is an actual Rolex Slip for Rolex promotion in the 60s’ friend of mine gave us yesterday.

In the list you can see there were not too many Rolex Authorized dealers at that time, now we have over 100 shops under Rolex AD in HK.

Note the slogan " Men who guide the destines of the world wear Rolex Watches!"

HK and China itself consumes over 60% of Watches export from Rolex and HK is still the most important market of Rolex. With the new Xi Administration of China who cut extravagant spending on entertainment and at same time slow down of China GDP has an impact to the Rolex Watches market in HK. Nevertheless, the Watch Business is still a billion dollar business in HK.

These are the old Rolex shop but now they either closed or no longer selling Rolex.


林源豐錶行地產發展有限公司Established 8 Aug 1973, and dissolved 30 June 1995.

- Precision Watch Company

Level 2 , Harvey Nichols ,Pacific Place , 88 Queensway,  HK

- China Emporium Queen’s Road

大華國貨, I think the shop has been close in early 90s that is where the Oriental Watch company now .

- Budson Watch and jewelry Company 弼臣鐘表珠寶有限公司

Established on 1962 Dec 6 and close in 1998 after running for 36 years!

These are the list of HK Rolex AD outlets, Correct me if I am wrong!

Chow Sang Sang
Chow Tai Fook
Fung Leung Kee
King Fook
La Suisse Watch
Right Watch
Tai Hing
Times City
Times Watch
Wah Hing

HK Snob

A Lange and Sohne Datograph



Even though you don't know much about watches, once you have seen this watch, I believe you will appreciate how beautiful the mechanical assembly, polishing, and evenly arranged layout of the parts on the watch. Yes, Datograph, from A lange & Sohne.

Each piece of the components has been finely polished to the highest standard to a mirror surface, meticulously care has been exercised on each of the chamfer, whereas where two chamfers meets, is still able to maintain a vertical straight line. What can you say!?

Is German watch manufacturing another step higher than the Swiss!? No in par!?

It is a Platinum watch that weighs like one Ton on my hand! Partly it is heavily expensive!

Man, Should I sell one of my kidneys for this watch?

The watch belongs to one of the low profile watch collectors in HK! He has also a case of Rolex Day Date of various fancy colour!

HK Snob

Rolex Ref 116710LN GMT Master II bought by Selim in HK

This is a new purchased GMT master II at special discount yesterday by a friend Selim who came from Germany, and has just carried this watch going on board the late flight back to Germany...
Wish he loved this watch as much as I love mine!
HK Snob

Sotheby's Auction on Ref 1503 and Watch Fever's Ref 18038, both has the arms of UAE Military Arm force Dial

From Sotheby's latest auction on Watch catalogue listed the Date Just Ref 1503
With the same special dial with arms of UAE Military Armed Force. With price HKD$48,000 to HKD$63,000, of course final hammer price is yet unknown. We will see on 27 May 2013!

About my 1986 Rolex Day Date Ref 18038, a very special dial with arms of UAE Military Armed Force.

Now this un-polished Rolex Day Date with this very rare special dial is only HKD$69,000!

What is the impact to you!, a Ref 1503 or Ref 18038, One is Day Just, the other is Day Date.
One has Aryclic Crystal, the later is Sapphire!

Think about it!

HK Snob

PS. The watch was sold to an Rolex Collector 2 June 2013

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Rolex Ref 18038 Day Date Solid Yellow Gold with Rare and Special UAE Military Armed Force Arms

This is a 1986 Rolex Day Date Ref 18038, a very special dial with arms of UAE Military Armed Force.

This was made by Rolex as a custom order from UAE in the 80s, not for sales, believe to be made at a very limited number. Rolex does not make any such item any more!

"Spiral" Magazine May 2013 had mentioned that the Dial itself worth HKD$30,000!

Now this un-polished Rolex Day Date with this very rare special dial is only HKD$69,000!

Please note that Rolex had revealed the new Retro Day Date in BleselWorld 2013. I believe that the price of vintage Rolex Day Date will rise gradually. It is a good time to buy at low as an eternal Investment.

HK Snob

Friday, May 17, 2013

White Gold and Stainless Steel watches; Rolex Day Date and Date Just

                              Rolex Day Date White Gold on left and Date Just Stainless steel Ref 16014 on Right

White Gold
White gold is an alloy of gold (Au) and some white metals such as silver (Ag) and palladium (Pd). White gold can be 18kt, 14kt, 9kt or any karat. For example, 18kt yellow gold is made by mixing 75% gold (750 parts per thousand) with 25% (250 parts per thousand) other metals such as copper and zinc. 18kt white gold is made by mixing 75% gold with 25% other metals such as silver and palladium. So the amount of gold is the same but the alloy is different. Palladium is a kind of rare metal and so as the cost, so in Other

Price Difference Between White Gold and Yellow Gold Rolex
Same model, same size of Rolex, the White gold is likely to be more expensive than Yellow Gold. As an Example, a Rolex Day Date, white gold version is more expensive than Yellow gold by HKD$21,000!

Traditionally nickel was used in white gold, however, nickel is no longer used in most white gold made today as nickel can cause allergy with skin. General, we do not use nickel in our white gold and I am sure Rolex is not using also. The natural color of white gold is actually a light grey color. For Jewelry, some white gold rings are coated with another white metal called Rhodium. Rhodium is a metal very similar to platinum and Rhodium shares many of the properties of platinum including its white color. This is to preserve the White Elegant Colour of the Gold! As rhodium plating is used to make the white gold look more white. The Rhodium is very white and very hard, but it does wear away eventually. To keep a white gold ring looking its best it should be re-rhodium plated approximately each 12 to 18 months. Most jewelers are able to rhodium plate jewelry for a cost effective price. Rolex White Gold Watch has no Rhodium Plating at all.

Stainless steel
Stainless Steel is an important invention in 20 century. In metallurgy, stainless steel, also known as inox steel or inox from French "inoxydable", is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% to 11% chromium content by mass.

Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and resistance to corrosion are required. Stainless steel does not readily corrode, rust or stained with water as ordinary steel does, despite the name it is not fully stain-proof, most notably under high salinity, low oxygen like poor circulation environments. I have seen Rusty Stainless steel, the steel itself may have insufficient Chromium. It is also called corrosion-resistant steel (CRES) in the aviation industry particularly. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel.

Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts (Iron Oxide film) readily when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film or rust is active and would accelerate corrosion by forming more iron oxide, and due to the greater volume of the iron oxide this tends to flake and fall away. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which blocks further surface corrosion and stops corrosion from spreading into the metal core, due to the similar size of the steel and oxide ions they bond very strongly and remain attached to the surface.
Passivation only occurs if the proportion of chromium is high enough and oxygen is present.

                                                             Watch Pits in Watch Case
Stainless Steel 316L and 904L on Rolex Case
Stainless steel comes in over 150 grades and types of different mixes, 316L is the most prevalent in wrist watches. As it is easy to polish, refinish, mill, drill and does not readily oxidize. Most diving watches are made of 316L stainless steel because it is resistant to salt water erosion, and it is easy to polish and keep lustrous look.
That is one of the reasons why most watch companies utilize 316L stainless steel in its watch cases.

Rolex used 316L until 1985*, Rolex started to move to 904L in all Rolex watch cases because of pitting occurring in the case between the watch case and the caseback.

904L was initially developed to withstand strong reducing acids and highly sustaintible to chloride corrosion. Rolex utilizes a harder 904L that is both hard to prepare and hard to machine.

Rolex of 2000s
Starting in the mid-2000s, Rolex started utilizing 904L in its bracelets. Initially utilized for its watch cases, Rolex realized that the bracelet required an update to solid links, solid bracelet end-links, and the addition of 904L for pitting resistance.
Some people consider the difference between 316L and 904L as being negligible and that Rolex’s divergence from the industry standard 316L is just another marketing point. But after seeing pitted casebacks and bracelet clasps, 904L certainly has its place.

The Difference
How to tell the difference between the white Gold and Stainless steel; simply the White Gold Looks more white!

How to Restore the Original Lustre
Rinse your Submariner off after you dive and every once in a while anyway even if you don't dive it because your body sweat has chlorides in it also. And don't worry about the difference between 904L and 316L because in the application of a diving watch it just doesn't matter.

Date Just, Date Day
I used to lock up the crown tight.
Wash under lukewarm tap water, use my Oral-B Electric tooth brush, dip into some mild soap solution and give it a light brushing thoroughly, especially the strap, corner of the slugs, and hidden area between the strap sections. Then on the bezel and the diamonds. Then wash under running tap water for 30 second…Soak with fine tissue paper and wipe off all water residues by a lint free cloth….
Surprising you can see you watch is giving you that kind of Bling bling Shinning again! Especially the Diamonds!

That is why people always said to me ” Oh, you bought another new watch again!!”

HK Snob

Reference * Rolex Price book Ref .246/0113 218.16 CHHK-12.2012  had clearly stated that all Rolex case are made by 904L stainless steel in 1985.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Is Rolex worth a High price!?

When you are about to see a lady walking along the Four Seasons Hotel lobby, which part of her body will you look at first?

30% of the men at breast, 30% at leg, 20% at face and 19% at hair, I am the only one who will look at her watch!

Watch is her character, look and style can give me a peek into a women's background without having to ask a single question.

That is why purchasing a watch is a personal and important decision.

There are men who who wear a $20 watch all the time, but he earns $900 an hour. I know one company’s president who own a building in the heart of Makati and A food chain business of food and beverage CEO of a Electronics company, he never wears any watch! One time whilst we were drinking a bottle of Pauillac de lynch bages 1996 wine, in a place where President Aquino used to go; I could not stop to ask why, he said he really does not need a watch as he carry a hand phone does show the time.

Of course, there are men out there who only need a watch to tell time, and for those guys a watch whose price ends with .99 would suffice.

For the rest of us, a watch has a more prominent meaning, and for the select few who dabble in the Rolex territory, it can even be an investment opportunity. Really!?

We all understand the basic concept of a watch is to tell time, mostly work perfectly with quartz movement of battery operation. A deeper understanding, though, can help you recognize the subtle differences between different timepieces. One most Common asked question is “is Rolex Worth that High Price?

There are two possible answers to this question, why do some people automatically say "no"? Because the Rolex corporation artificially inflates the price of its watches by limiting the yearly supply of some of its collections. Rolex Daytona Black Dial stainless steel Ref 116520BL is notorious for being near impossible to find! Rolex Submariner Green bezel Green Dial Ref 116610LV is limited to supply maximum three pieces a month to one of the renowned Rolex Authorized Dealers (AD) in HK!

This create scarcity in the market. It is a marketing strategy similar to the Luxury French hand bag who introduces Christmas Special that only VIP is informed in the first tier where by nothing left for me when I visit the shop.

Rolex also meticulously controls its authorized dealer pricing system to make sure that all watches are sold at its suggested retail price. Less 5% in Hong Kong, less 10% in Philippines for example. Any dealer that sells a Rolex at a discount is subject to having his dealer status revoked.

There is Rolex Insider dressed in Indian traveler as disguise to ask more discount in HK…since it is nearly impossible to get a new Rolex at a bigger discount, you will always pay a premium for the name.

Many watch expert believe that a Rolex is worth the price because it is still a premium watch made with the highest level of craftsmanship. The artificially inflated prices also help Rolexes maintain their extremely high resale value. In Hong Kong, Rolex is the Highest Resale value watch, second is Panerai and then Patek Phillippe.

And, of course, you can't underestimate the cachet value of a Rolex. The status and prestige it projects can, in certain people's eyes, justify its exorbitant price. More than any other regularly produced watch, owning a Rolex is an investment and a status symbol, more than it is a teller of time.

HK Snob

$ shown here is USD

Cartier Santos XL 35mm Men's Watch in stainless steel

                                             Cartier Santos, Waranty, Booklet and Box

Size Comparison with A Rolex Day Date  36mm
I have been talking to HK Watchers today as Saturday usual gathering about my Passion on Cartier, I started on Santos stainless steel two tone back to 1983. At That time a men’s Santos Two tone auto was selling HKD$4,000. That was three month salary of a fresh University graduates in HK.

It is not cheap, but it got the style! I still remember three of us bought one each at same time because of quantity discount!

After a couple of years, I bought a thin Santo Tank vermeil Watch with hand wind mechanical, That is a small watch in Today’s watch size standard. But it was a very Elegant dress watch for me. In 1997 I bought another Santos two tone Auto hexagonal shape with black dial. I still remember that was the burst of Asian Economy turmoil that I can get 7 Thai baht with 1 HK Dollar, I bought that watch with HKD$3,500 in Bangkok World Trade Centre, Isn't that a good deal?

This is another Santos Stainless steel, 35mm Auto with much thicker watch case and strap, it comes with books, paper and Box, Excellent Plus Condition, no scratches and looks almost new.

Santos de Cartier XL 33mm Auto men’s watch

HK Snob

Watch was Sold on 11 May 2013

Rolex Ref 16014 Date Just "Steel King" as what HK People used to call

This is a near Mint Condition Rolex Great Classic Date Just for men, 36 mm Ref 16014. Stainless Steel Perpetual Oyster with 18 KT Solid White gold Fluted Bezel and Jubilee stainless steel Strap. The condition is great, the label under the watch is still un-scratched, the watch has not been polished. Believe this Japanese owner had slightly used this watch at all.

It comes with International Warranty, Circa 1990. The powder white Dial was of the newest design at that time, a Rolex Computer dial with Arabic numeric. A great watch to use, and a great legendary watch for us. As we used to call this the “Rolex Steel King!" in Hong Kong.

Price is HKD$18,500HK Snob

PS Watch Sold to a Philippino Friend on 26 May 2013