Friday, March 31, 2017

Thailand Seiko

As I am currently working in Thailand, It is natural that I try to source for some souvenir from the country and I came across this Seiko 5 that is made for Thailand with Thai lettering on the markers. I have seen another similar watch with rubber straps and let me know if you need one.

March 2017 Q1 Review

Today is the end of March and end of 1st Quarter for 2017. I have decided to do a short quarterly review - Best buy for the Q1 year of 2017. Trying to limit it to 10 watches will be a challenge, which has prompted me to initiate Project RT. Hope I can find what I like that adds values to the collection.

1. Rolex 1601
Watch found in Bangkok with new old stock dial and hands from Sweden. Love it as its know as the  無字天書 dial plus its a wide boy dial.


2. Rolex 6605
Watch found in Bangkok. Love it as its the predecessor of the Rolex 1601 Datejust and it comes with the white gold bezel instead of yellow.
3. Rado 
Rado mineral dials found from Bangkok, Mexico, Japan, UK and Germany

4. Omega Dynamic Geneve
Found this New old stock at Jatujak market Bangkok
5. Rolex 1803
Found this in Bangkok and serviced by RSC. 

6. Rolex Eaton
Watch from Canada
7. Tudor 7928/0
Watch from Hawaii, Honolulu with dial turning chocolate brown.
















8. Rolex 5501 Dress Explorer without date
Watch found in Taiwan

9. Rolex 6298 Pre Explorer
Watch from Thailand collector
10. Rolex 6494 gilt
Watch from Thailand collector
11. Rolex 5701 Dress Explorer with Date in black dial
Watch from Quebec Canada




















Thursday, March 30, 2017

My journey with the Explorers and the Rolex 5504 explorer.

Even though many years have passed, I still remember one of my bad experience with Singapore Rolex Center. I used to own the Rolex 5504 Explorer as per below photos. During the early days, there are no internet and not many books available for vintage watch collector. We have to rely on words of mouth and seeing and touching to learn about watches.
















After getting the Rolex 5504, I sent it to Rolex center for service. After waiting for weeks, I was told by the Singapore Rolex Center that the watch is not an original one as Rolex Explorer only has reference nos 1016! I have tried to explain that its original but the counter girls insisted that this is an Air King model modified and there is no such model for Explorer 1. I have checked with many fellow collectors who also mentioned that there is no such model.

To cut the long story short, later on I either returned the watch to the dealer or exchanged it for a Rolex 1016 Explorer 1. Many years have passed and with the watch forum and internet, everyone now acknowledged that there is such a Rolex Explorer 1 ref 5504. Lesson learnt is Do not trust what others have said as they may not be that knowledgeable. Perhaps after the incident, subconsciously, it must have affected me as I started to collect the Explorers series from Ref 6610, 1016, 5500, Explorer 2 ref 1655, 16550 to the dressed watch series 5501 and the dress watch series with date 5701 as well as the Tudor Ranger, which looked like Explorer and the Pre Explorer ref 6298. In my heart, there is always a missing hole...the Rolex 5504. One day my 5504 shall come..







Rolex Explorer date ref 5701

In the early days of the Explorer, Rolex was unsure of the model's potential. As a result the name was affixed to a number of models not immediately recognizable as the "Explorers". Today the name and the look are so intimately entwined it seems out of place to apply the name to watches which were so obviously not what we would call 'Explorers'. There were two distinct variations on the theme and they seem to have been aimed at two distinct markets. The first variation was the so-called 'Air-King' Explorer . The second variation on the theme are 'dress Explorers.' 


These were standard Oyster Perpetuals in steel or gold with white (or more rarely, black) non- Explorer dials featuring markers and hands, but signed 'Explorer' on the dials. Seen in both date and non-date forms, these watches all seem to have been sold in the North American market. The Explorer Date bears a model number 5700, previously unseen on any other Explorer (the non -date model is a model 5501 and 5504, which interestingly is more often seen on Explorers with the standard dial). It seems that these watches were made in the 1950's or 1960's, when Rolex was unsure of the Explorer's success, and attempted to increase the popularity of the watch by broadening the line. When the real mainstream Explorer began to sell, these 'piggyback' models were withdrawn. As a result of its limited production, these models are extremely rare and are presently sought after by collectors.

Over the years, I have collected Rolex Explorer I in gilt dial ref 6610, 1016, 5500, Explorer II ref 1655, cream dial16550 and recently the Dress watch Explorers without dates 5501 white and black gilt dial. I have been actively searching for a Rolex 5701, an Explorer with date. 

After several months of searching, I have finally found a rare version of the ROLEX EXPLORER with date model 5701, which was only produced for the Commonwealth market in original condition. Waiting for it to arrive..

There is one or two more Explorer to hunt and the 5504 is on my lists.






Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rolex with Different shades of brown

Just had lunch with my friend Wei from Malaysia. As a watch collector, he has news that there are dealers in Europe that are able to remake or re-conditioned perfect gilt dials. This will be a worrying trend as it will disrupt the vintage Rolex watch market. Be careful when you see perfect condition vintage dials! This has been one of the great problem with collecting vintage watches as there are many who is able to reconditioned or remake vintage cases, dials and parts. In the past where he most expensive sports watches were only US$1000-3000, these will not be so much of a problem. Now with prices escalating from US$25,000-100,000, the risks have become higher.

I have avoided collecting the exotic pieces such as the Paul Newman and the Double red Sea dweller as the prices have become so high and even after buying them, how can one sell it at the same prices or higher? I Have seen two original DRSD one asking for US$25,000 and the other asking  for US$45,000. How does one determine the prices given similar conditions? The issue is not the buying but letting one go at a certain time in your life. How often can one find a buyer who is willing to pay US$45,000 for a red printed wording? I wonder.

Given the advancement of printing technology, some dealers may one day turn out fake red printed dweller and what will happen to those who bought the original, when both becomes identical...Scary thoughts... As such, I would prefer to buy a Patek Philippe 2526 with enamel dial and with a Patek Philippe archive paper instead of a DRSW as the watch with the paper has been verified by an authority. Thats's me taking the conservative approach. Just my 2 cents worth of thought.

I have been cautious in buying vintage watches especially these few years and I am not chasing after the high prices one but buy from collectors who want to change their direction of collecting. Lucky, these are original black dials watches have turned to different shades of brown.... some called it Tropical...some called it dirty old dials..that has seen the passing of time..


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Record Price for a Tudor Oyster Submariner 7923

Someone must be really in love with this very rare Tudor Submariner 7923 and is willing to pay US$99,999 for it! This must be a record price for a Tudor submariner! 

The Reference 7923 Submariner is perhaps the most unknown reference in the Tudor Submariner collection 
and only few have ever seen one. Until recently they were considered prototypes or “frankenwatches”. Even during the early stage of listing on ebay, some collectors even considered it fake!

H
owever recent finds show them clearly described in Rolex/Tudor service catalogues, and grouped with the 7922 and Rolex 6536/1. It has a manual wind movement. Cal. 1156-1188 which is unique for this model. Lesson learnt is with vintage Rolex & Tudor one can never say never!

After many years acting like a sub brand next to the big brother Rolex, it has finally managed to be at the center stage!




Monday, March 27, 2017

Seiko 6159-7001 300 M

I have not looked at Seiko watches for a while. In fact, I have been cutting down the number of Seiko watches. However, when I was surfing through the net, I came across one watch that has escalated prices is the Seiko 6159 diver. At 500,000 yen (US$4519), it is still cheap as its a very rare diver watch made by Seiko. I often tell people that with money, one can buy Rolex diver much easier then rare Seiko diver.

I have bought my Seiko 6159 at 350,000 yen and it looks like a good investment with an increase in 42% of prices within a few years.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rolex 6494 Oysterdate

For those who love the aged tropical dial Rolex 6494 with roliette dates . This wristwatch is an early ‘Date’ model with so-called roulette date – note the alternating red/black date .  It's similar to a 6694.
Both are 34mm Oyster Precision Manual Winds, the earlier 6494 will have the earlier 1215 (18,000 pbhr) caliber, while the 6694 could have either have caliber 1215 or caliber 1225 (IIRC 21,600 bphr). Seventeen jewel manual winds. The progression from case ref 6094 to 6294 to 6494 and finally 6694 happen within in a very short time frame. According to VRF's own serial number project, 6094s were made as late as 1953, and later that following year we see 6294s, 6494s and then 6694s in 1954/1955.

I was told that the movement is in super shining condition but the dial was aged due to storage in the cupboard. Even though this is not a mainstream watch now, I still couldn't resist it as its dial has aged nicely..








Thursday, March 23, 2017

Rolex 5501 dress watch Explorers reunion

In the early days of the Explorer, Rolex was unsure of the model's potential. As a result the Explorer name was affixed to a number of models not immediately recognizable as Explorers. Today the name and the look are so intimately entwined it seems out of place to apply the name to watches which were so obviously not what we would call 'Explorers'. 

There were two distinct variations on the theme and they seem to have been aimed at two distinct markets. The first variation was the so-called 'Air-King' Explorer . The second variation on the theme are 'dress Explorers.' These were standard Oyster Perpetuals in steel or gold with white (or more rarely, black) non - Explorer dials featuring markers and hands, but signed 'Explorer' on the dials. Seen in both date and non-date forms, these watches all seem to have been sold in the North American market. The Explorer Date bears a model number 5700, previously unseen on any other Explorer (the non-date model is a model 5501, 5504, which interestingly is more often seen on Explorers with the standard dial). 

It seems that these watches were made in the 1950's or 1960's, when Rolex was unsure of the Explorer's success, and attempted to increase the popularity of the watch by broadening the line. When the mainstream Explorer began to sell, these 'piggyback' models were withdrawn. As a result of its limited production, these models are becoming extremely rare and are presently sought after by collectors.

These are two rare version of the ROLEX EXPLORER, which was only produced for the Commonwealth market (Canada, U.K., India Australia) and rarely appears, because few were produced. My two black and white dial Explorers 5501 reunited after separation for 58 years.




Sunday, March 19, 2017

Project RT

As a fellow watch collector, it is never easy to let go watches. In order to keep my number of watches down, I have started to do some weight loss programme with Project RT. The main objective is to avoid increasing the number of watches and to reduce the number of watches, if possible ...

The progress so far includes:
1.                  Letting go Grand Seiko 5722-9990 for a Rolex Eaton Bubbleback
2.                  Letting go King Seiko 5702 & lady Duward diver watch for a Rado Blue lapis
3.                  Letting go Duward diver for a Rolex 6298 Pre Explorer
4.                  Letting go ZRC for a Rolex 5501 Explorer white dial
5.                  To Let go Seiko 43999 for Tudor 7928 

I have seen many collectors going all out to buy the box, certificate etc to assemble a "full set". While I admire their determination, I will not consider these full set as authentic unless its from the original one owner.

Weekend gathering

Weekend gathering of watches.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rado Starliner & Daymaster

The Rado Starliner epitomizes the watch industry of the 1960s, where the public was fascinated with all things having to do with space and the future and watchmakers did their best to capitalize on that fascination. Rado Starliner Daymaster Day Date with Starliner date with its very progressive concept and Rado's concept of making watches which are different and avant garde. 

In Asia, they will call this the Yin Yang watch..or Tachi




Rolex 6298 Pre Explorer (Semi Bubbleback)

I love the Rolex Explorer model. Over the last weekend, I was lucky to have found a Rolex reference 6298. This model is known by collectors (along with its slightly older sibling the 6098) as the Everest Explorer or Pre-Explorer. These watches were the prototype watches used by explorers in the early 1950s that led to the development of the Explorer line.

This model is also known as Big Semi ‘Bubblebacks’ or ‘Ovettones’. These large case watches (36mm)  have a real presence on the wrist and are truly versatile and appealing. The normal bubbleback model size is 33 mm and other semil bubbleback 6084/5 is size 34 mm.

In 1952, the Rolex semi Bubbleback came in models 6098 and 6150 and became the prototypes of the Explorer. The watches had white dials and leaf-shaped hands. In 1953, they became the 6298 and 6350, displaying the famous 3-6-9 Arabic dial which is typical of Explorers. Later, the Mercedes hands were also added. After the Everest expedition of 1953, the name Explorer was inscribed on the dials of the 6350. The watch was made to be especially strong and able to withstand extreme temperatures, as a dangerous mountain climbing adventure would require. 

According to Collecting Rolex Wristwatches by Patrizzi, this model 6298 had a production run of less than 1,000 and one wonders how many is still around after so many years? As mentioned, this model was taken on the Everest Expedition in 1953, that was highly promoted by Rolex in magazine ads to show how rugged this watch was

In 1959, Rolex replaced the Explorer 6150 with the 6610, which had a more flattened back than the previous model and has the current 3,6,9, black dial look. Then in 1963, this model was in turn replaced by the 1016. The 1016 was more water resistant than the 6610 and also had a new movement, the Cal. 1560. The 1016 stayed in production for 26 years, in which time it evolved quite a bit from having gilt dial to matt dial and eventually became the 14270, the Explorer in 1971. The history of Rolex Explorer II ref 1655, 16550, like that of the Explorer, are laden with stories of adventure seekers using the Explorer II during their journeys. The Rolex Explorer always bring joy to me...




Friday, March 17, 2017

Technos tiger

I was hoping to find a Rado with Tiger eye without success and came across another. This is a Technos watch with Tiger Eye dial and the watch is in excellent condition. Just sent it in for complete repair and servicing.