Dress chronograph is an acquired taste, a love that takes time to develop. I have never seen somebody who initiated his/her collection with a dress chronograph. A "normal" chronograph (I'm looking at you, Daytona)? Sure, that's common. But, say, a Patek Ref. 5170? No, that's never a "first serious watch" candidate. Nothing to do with affordability here but rather, people only tend to slowly, if they ever do, gravitate towards the more delicate, sophisticated pieces after spending some time with their more versatile counterparts as they mature as collectors. And for many, to own a serious dress chronograph is to gain an instant badge of approval in the eyes of fellow aficionados. They're some of the most elegant and romantic timepieces one could possess. And there's nothing quite like the experience of looking at a well finished chronograph movement (if the watch comes with a display case back). For all these reasons, dress chronographs from across eras are categorically going up in value. Well, except perhaps one. The sole subject of today's article, from none other than one of the Swiss "Holy Trinity" manufactures - Vacheron Constantin. And today, we go deep on the Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques Chronograph Ref. 47101/47111.
It's exceedingly rare to meet a watch collector who does not have a thing or two other than watches that he/she too savours in life. After all, the appreciation of horology, or the art of watchmaking, is really just a manifestation of a sense for beauty. And beauty, my friend, is ubiquitous. It is that unexpected stroke of a capturing painting. It is the silhouette of a well thought-out piece of furniture. And for the interview subject of our third episode of My Watches and I (you can check out the first two episodes here and here), beauty certainly can be found in the aftertaste of a brilliant scotch.
Recently, I got to spend a morning talking watches with Kam Daswani, a personal friend and founder of whisky business Dram Good Stuff (you can find out more about it here), who happens to own some pretty remarkable - or should I say, pretty Dram Good - timepieces. Relaxed and friendly as he has always been, Kam walked me through his watch collection in detail, and explained his personal stories with them. And of course, I, being a complete whisky novice, seized the chance to pick Kam's brain and learned a thing or two about his trade (now I know what a bourbon is).
And this, is your third episode of My Watches and I. Let's get to it.
Auction house Phillips has been on a streak of successful watch auctions one after another, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Just two weeks ago, in its Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE, the London-headquartered auctioneer sold the elusive Rolex "Bao Dai" Ref. 6062, fetching over CHF 5million, which makes it officially the most expensive Rolex ever sold in an auction. The legendary Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref. 6263 in yellow gold - or simply, "The Legend", one of three known examples ever - changed hands for a handsome CHF 3.7million in the same occasion. And it's not only the mega pieces that fared well, in fact, the rest of the lots did also sell for more than their respective high estimate consistently. Let's just say Phillips is enjoying a very good moment now with their unquestionably high quality watches on offer.
On 30th May, 2017, The Hong Kong Watch Auction: FOUR will take place, once again in the brilliant Mandarin Oriental and as usual, a public preview precedes the main event, with all pieces generously on display. We managed to spend some personal time with them in a sunny afternoon and here are our top picks from the 356-lot-strong lineup. You will see Patek Philippes, Rolexes, and some more. Let's check them out.
Auction Preview: Our (Less Predictable) Picks from Important Watches by Christie's on 28 November 2016 in Hong Kong
The last couple of months in a calendar year are in general quite an enjoyable period of time for watch collectors of all sort, for this is the time when most of the major auction houses would be staging their season finale watch auctions, bringing to the market rare and collectible pieces. Christie's, being one of the handful of traditional auction powerhouses, is certainly not going to run short of amazing timepieces to go under the hammer at this time of the year.
With their "Important Watches Including NAUTILUS 40 Part III" auction - to be held on 28 November 2016 here in Hong Kong - around the corner, we did a little catalog flipping and pondered over the lots and picked 6 lots from 6 manufacturers which are, hopefully, less predictable. By doing so we wish to show you exactly how diverse a watch auction usually is, and how it's not always (just) about vintage Rolex Subs and (or) Patek perpetual calendars, for instance. Don't get me wrong, these are great. Nonetheless there are other gems that deserve some love, too. So let's get right down to it.
Analysis: In Defence of Power Watches in Full Gold, Bracelet to Case (and How to Pull Them Off Gracefully)
High Risk, High Reward
Power watches in gold (yellow gold, rose gold and to a lesser extent, the more subtle white gold/ platinum), such as the Rolex Day-Date, are a weird breed. They are capable of yielding vastly different sentiments depending on whether you're the person wearing one, or someone who witnesses one on somebody else's wrist. While it most certainly gives the wearer tremendous pride and pleasure knowing the watch of choice tells the world at least something about his/her level of success achieved in life, there's almost always no saying how the general onlookers would feel about that.
You usually end up with a group who gets totally blown away in awe, secretly wishing to trade place with the watch owner. And then you have a group who either took it as a gold-plated Nixon, or simply not registered anything at all. Last but definitely not least, you have this jealous hater group that jumps on the chance to (again, secretly) comment against you on how showy, ostentatious and tasteless you must be in life, while conjuring up all kinds of lucrative and illegal activities you must have engaged in to gather the fund needed to purchase a vulgar toy as such. In short, donning a full-on power watch in solid gold (all the way from bracelet to watch case) is a risky business, to say the least.
But what's equally true, is that these watches made in precious metal do embody a sense of beauty that could not be easily replicated. Yes, they are very loud pieces and will always attract attention like a piece of magnet. But if made well and worn with confidence, they really are as majestic as it gets. And I mean, who can blame you for owning something beautiful as such? Sometimes, only gold would do. If you've worked hard for it and genuinely appreciate the appeal of it for what it is, then really, go for it. This will be the most satisfying, exciting purchase you will ever make.
And here in Lengbeau we want to offer several tips on how to best choose the gold watch to own, where and when to wear one and most importantly, how to properly carry one without looking like a 6-year old kid trying on his dad's business suit for the first time.
We told you earlier that an ultra rare Patek Philippe ref. 1518 in steel is going to go under the hammer in the upcoming Geneve Watch Auction: Four hosted by Phillips, the leading auction house for watches. Guess what, we've received more updates from Phillips on the watch and the auction itself AND we're teased with a few more very cool pieces which will change hands in the same event. We've selected a handful truly expectational watches to share with you here. Let's check them out.
It's the weekend again and what better way to spend your day enjoying a selection of vintage watches currently available on the market featured in our very own Weekend Brunch Report? In this episode of WBR, we bring you a couple of interesting and rare-ish vintage pieces plus, of course, the Unicorn Find of the week that never really disappoints. Let's check them out.
Analysis: Understanding the Genius of the Late Gerald Genta, the Maestro in Watch Designing (Part 1 of 2)
Five summers ago, the world of horology lost arguably the most important and talented modern watch designer ever graced the planet - Mr. Gerald Genta. As a watch designing hero to many of us (and most certainly the Lengbeau team), his legacy is to be missed. You might or might not have heard of him but we guarantee you'd recognize some of the his most groundbreaking creations, not the least of which, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, with the kind of boldness and flair unseen before. Before Genta, there was no such thing as a luxury sport watch in steel. Today, we cannot imagine a world without one.
Yet, Genta's legacy hardly stops at the Royal Oak and Nautilus. A prolific watch designer as he was, he has worked with any number of world famous watchmakers, from Omega and Universal Geneve in his early days, to AP and Patek later on, to the likes of IWC and Bulgari and even Seiko at one point, creating timepieces travelling between the realms of the edgy and the poetic; the solemn and the comical. It is fair to say his influence on how many of the watches at the top of the echelon look, even to this day, is wide and deep and has certainly lived on after his passing.
In this two-part series, we explore his genius and unique design language by revisiting his best works, as a commemoration. In the first part, we examine three Genta-designed steel watches.
Weekend Brunch Report is back and kicking and this time around, we bring you several pieces we've scouted from the market, with very special value propositions (hint: our Unicorn Find of this episode is actually very affordable, relatively speaking). Ready? Let's check them out!
Lengbeau cultivates appreciation for the eternal beauty of mechanical watches, for our everyday dudes and ladies.