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  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by triton View Post
    augustman's recommendations for daily beater can be found here.

    do you agree with them? maybe 1 model is for ladies?
    Nah, this is purely subjective to what is considered 'daily watch'.

  2. #152
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    Default The Straits Times, life - Friday, Apr 20, 2018

    Passion for watches with a history

    Mr Aurel Bacs, a grandmaster of watch auctions, grew to love vintage timepieces after trading in them


    Mr Aurel Bacs is an arresting presence, an articulate fellow with great sartorial flair, a stylish stubble beard, a rich baritone and charisma in spades. He is also a man with a grand passion, one who loves horology so much he lives, breathes and makes a handsome living out of watches. In the world of watch auctions, Mr Bacs is a record-breaking grandmaster.

    He is the man who bought, on behalf of a client, the world's most expensive watch - the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Super Complication, a pocket watch - for US$24 million in 2014. Last year, he sold Paul Newman's personal Paul Newman Rolex Daytona (yes, a Paul Newman Rolex Daytona owned by the late actor himself) for a staggering US$17.75 million (S$23.2 million), making it the most expensive wristwatch ever sold.

    He is also the man who ran auction house Christie's watch department for 10 years until 2013, increasing annual watch sales from US$8 million to about US$130 million during that period. Together with his wife Livia Russo, also a watch specialist, the 47-year-old Zurich native now runs consultancy Bacs & Russo, which is contracted to manage the watch department of British auction house Phillips.

    Mr Bacs dismisses suggestions that he is influential.

    "I'm just a catalyst, one which can provoke a chemical reaction between a buyer and a seller," says the star auctioneer, who was in town recently to present an exhibition organized by The Hour Glass and Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo.

    Held at Malmaison in Orchard Road, it featured highlights from two upcoming Phillips auctions, including a vintage white-gold Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, known as The Unicorn; and a unique Patek Philippe (reference 2499), the only one known to have a champagne-coloured dial.

    Mr Bac's passion for old timepieces started when he was 12, just when vintage watches were beginning to become popular. His engineer father, an avid watch collector, often took him to flea markets and antique shops to hunt for interesting timepieces. It was not love at first sight for Mr Bacs.

    "I saw how my father sometimes bought a watch from one dealer, only to have other dealers or collectors offer him $30, $50 or $100 more. And I thought to myself, 'Wow, that's several weeks' worth of pocket money."

    So he broke his piggy bank and with the help of his father, invested in a couple of pieces which he traded later. Over time, he learnt a lot about models, movements and horological history.

    "In the beginning, it seemed easy. You just paid some money and hoped that someone else would buy it off you for more. But I soon learnt that if you didn't check the movement and pay attention to details, you might have to fix it for more money than it was ever going to be worth. The movements could be rusty or might not be original," he says.

    "The worst enemy of a vintage watch is not extensive wear, it is thoughtless, harsh restoration."

    He realized he was truly bitten by the watch bug when making money became secondary. "The emotional relationship, the dialogue with the watches became more important," he says.

    Asked why vintage watches make him tick, he replies: "I love everything which is well-made. It's sad we now live in a world where many objects of our daily lives have become $2.99 products - you buy, use and throw then throw them away."

    Good watches, he says, incorporate engineering, precision and aesthetics. "I believe that anything which is built to last, in quality and design, shouldn't be out of fashion. If it lasts beyond a generation, it becomes something more and should be treasured."

    Vintage watches, he says, beckon collectors to unearth their stories, making the exercise meaningful. "Sure, fast food is convenient, but we love meals cooked by our grandmothers because they are so much more meaningful."

    Serendipity turned his addiction into a career. He was in his third year at university reading law when he chanced upon a magazine advertisement by an auction house seeking a watch specialist. "After the third or fourth interview, one of the interviewers showed me a tray of vintage watches and asked me to write a commentary on each watch, estimate how much they were worth and say which components were original and which had been replaced. You couldn't cheat because there was no Google then," he says with a laugh.

    Not long after, he received a call from the chairman of Sotheby's asking him: When do you want to start?" Although his finals were just three months away, the then 23-year-old decided to take up the offer.

    "There were only 12 people in the world who held such a position. To be one of the 12 makes you as rare as an astronaut."

    It has been a sterling two decades for Mr Bacs who, prior to co-founding Bacs & Russo in 2014, also worked at Phillips and Christie's. It is a competitive industry, he says. Whether auction houses get rare pieces in their catalogues depends on the talent and reputation of its staff.

    He says: "As an auctioneer and watch specialist, the only things that you have is your knowledge, reputation and track record. All these take decades to build, but you can lose them through one unfortunate mistake... The pressure is to deliver consistently."

    He is coy when asked how big his own collection of watches is. "More than I need," he says with a grin. He has a few favourites which he calls his evergreens, but the one watch he always falls back on and which has never let him down is his Patek Philippe Nautilus, which he bought more than a decade ago.

    He adds: "It's been to every continent with me. I've worn it in the jungles, up in the mountains and swimming in the sea. It's been with me when I was happy or sad and when I celebrated great moments."

    And that is the advice he would give to anyone looking for a watch. "Look for quality. Follow your heart and get something you will enjoy. Don't get a watch primarily as an investment, but think about the pleasure it can add to your life."


    - by Wong Kim Hoh
    Last edited by Oceanklassik; 20-04-18 at 03:43 PM.

  3. #153
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    In the above article, I would like to highlight to everyone the advice given in the last paragraph. That should be it

  4. #154
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    Default The Sunday Times, Apr 22, 2018 (Pg B17)

    Indulging in a timely investment

    It helps to like the model one buys than focus on pure returns as very few pieces rise in value


    It was love at first sight when I saw it in the ad in Time magazine: The Rolex Explorer II. I had always wanted a Rolex watch because everyone I knew wanted one. Yet it wasn't the name that caught my eye. It was the watch - a cool steely timepiece with a striking orange GMT hand set against a black dial.

    It would also look great on my wrist - and not just on that of an explorer who the ad says it's made for. I didn't know how much the watch cost. I didn't even know it was a much sought-after model for which you have to pay a premium, if it was available at all. Yet I somehow knew I couldn't afford it on my meagre National Service pay.

    So I kept the magazine with the ad, taking it out from time to time to admire the photo of the watch. It was only 10 years later, in 1984, when I joined The Business Times, that I got to see the real thing. I snapped up the watch without a second thought. Only years later did I realize how lucky I was to find the watch, the first model in a series, in the first watch shop I went into. I paid about $1,200 for the timepiece, a big sum for a young man who had just started work and a family - big enough to impress my new colleagues, anyway.

    The Explorer II, a two-time zone watch, was launched in 1971 and subsequently popularized by actor Steve McQueen, who wore it in one of his movies. The first model is out of production today, making it even hotter. In fact, the shop I bought it from - now a publicly listed watch retail chain - has offered to buy the timepiece back. It didn't name the price but collectors put the value of the first Steve McQueen Explorer II as high as $52,000.

    One of my ex-colleagues at The Business Times was also lucky enough to strike gold with a Rolex watch. To get over a girlfriend who ditched him after his NS in 1976, he picked up a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with the money saved for an air ticket to London to see her. About 30 years later, he sold the watch for nearly $30,000. He had paid only $650 for it. The watch happened to be a Paul Newman Rolex Cosmograph Daytona model, a chronograph (watch with a stop-watch function) for racing car drivers and made famous by the Hollywood star. If my former colleague, a Formula One racing fan himself, had held on to the watch, he would have made an even bigger fortune. The watch commands at least $100,000 now.

    Paul Newman Daytona chronographs have sold for millions of dollars at auctions. The watch once owned by the actor recently went under the hammer for US$17.8 million (S$23.4 million) - a record price for a watch, if you exclude pocket watches. Sotheby's, the auction house which sold it, have conservatively valued the watch at over US$1 million - and the highest estimate watch experts gave was US$10 million.

    The top price fetched for a pocket watch was the Patek Philippe Henry Graves Super-complication, a watch with 24 functions custom-made in 1933 for an American banker, Mr Henry Graves Jr. Mr Graves paid US$15,000 (roughly US$202,000 today after adjusting for inflation) when he commissioned it in 1925. It was sold at a Sotheby's auction in 2014 for US$24 million.

    Patek Philippe timepieces, priced upward of $20,000 to more than $3 million at retail boutiques, have often hit the headlines with their million-dollar sales at auctions. At the last Only Watch charity bid last year, where only unique watches made exclusively for the auction are offered, it was a Patek Philippe titanium timepiece. This was snapped up for 6.2 million Swiss francs (S$8.4 million). The year before, a Patek Philippe stainless steel watch was sold for US$11 million at the same auction.

    So it is easy to draw the conclusion that watches make great investments, especially when a shaky economy has upped the risk for traditional assets like stocks, currencies and properties. Just buy a premium-brand watch and sit back to watch it grow in value. Then sell it for a tidy profit. Yet for every watch that had soared in value, many more have depreciated below their purchase prices. Some have become worthless. And mind you, we are talking only of Rolex and Patek Philippe, two of the biggest names in luxury timepieces. Rolex and Patek Philippe timepieces have at least some resale value. There's a bigger pool of lesser brands out there with watches that hardly even make it to the resale market.

    I own at least one watch (mostly an entry-level piece bought when luxury watch prices were more down to earth) of almost every major brand - A. Lange & Sohne, Vacheron Constantin, Omega, Blancpain, Breguet, Jaeger Le-Coultre, Grand Seiko, IWC Schaffhausen, Officine Panerai, Laurent Ferrier, H. Moser & Cie, Harry Winston, in addition to Rolex and Patek Philippe.

    But perhaps only five - three Rolex timepieces, one Patek Philippe and one A. Lange & Sohne - out of the collection of some 30 watches - are worth more than what I first paid. As for the rest, a few may still maintain their original price in the resale market, but most will sell at a loss. Most watch experts will tell you not to buy watches for investment. They may just want to dissuade you from killing the joy of collecting as a hobby, but they also have a valid point in making the case against buying timepieces for pure investment.

    Fine watches like the popular Patek Philippe perpetual calendars could appreciate in value, but it will take a long time. Virtually all those timepieces that have skyrocketed in price in the secondary market and auctions were vintage pieces. Patek Philippe's famed Henry Graves pocket watch was 81 years old when it went for US$24 million. Many of these watches were also rare, or no longer produced.

    "It's the common law of economics - the rarer, the higher the price," one expert says. A mythical vintage steel Patek Philippe chronograph commands more than its gold versions, because few are made despite steel being a non-precious metal, says another watch fan.

    In the case of the original Paul Newman watch, provenance added to its rarity and made it so special that it was sold at such an astoundingly high price. Yet even the rare timepieces are generally not one-of-a-kind objects, unlike paintings or ceramics. This makes a strong argument for investing in art work, instead of watches. At least it's said that the art market is more transparent and regulated - qualities that make for safer investments.

    The same can't be said for the second-hand market for timepieces, which is often flooded with fakes. But putting your money in watches can still be a good investment, according to other watch enthusiasts. One collector observes that while many timepieces don't rise in value, those that do generally stay up and keep their value - even in uncertain times.

    It is unlike gold, whose price can swing wildly. Watches also don't take up too much space and they are highly liquid, says the collector. "You can sell a watch to a big market - the international market. But you can't do that with properties which are confined largely to the home market." What's more, he says the capital required for investment in watches is lower.

    Some advocates of watch investments say it helps a lot if you also like watches. "If you like the watch you invest in, half the risk is gone," one says. But others didn't think passion for timepieces should be mixed with the investment motive.

    The first sees watches as an indulgence, while the second as assets. In other words, collectors buy watches they like. Investors buy watches others like. Even as investments, the advice is watches, whose values are less affected by the financial market than other assets, are at best alternative bets like stamps, antiques and vintage cars - and they should make up just a tiny portion, perhaps 5 per cent, of your investment portfolio.

    I didn't buy the Rolex Explorer II expecting any returns - and I've never thought of cashing it in now that the watch is worth many times more. It's the same sentiment I have for all the timepieces I've accumulated. I've even purchased some of the watches at premium prices.

    I guess I'm a collector - and not an investor.

    - Chuang Peck Ming
    Last edited by Oceanklassik; 24-04-18 at 01:28 PM.

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