Buying old watch, how to.

» Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in General | 2 comments

RAW BEGINNERS with a budget.

And IF you wish to pull out, you may be able to sell with minimal loss to possible gain. Of $200 sgd +/- .

I recommend Seikos brand new, below $500 to start with.

This is to learn to see and understand value. Good work.

Most of all, understanding IF you like to go further.

If you do….then:

Many example brands exist, if you wish you should move to Swiss.

They are NOT better from engineering POV or workmanship. Just culturally different. Like comparing burgers with hawker food.

Swiss or European heritage rich brands which stuck with their founding principals do not exist, no matter what some fanatics have shouted rudely at me.

It’s not possible. The Grand brands like Rolex and Patek have changed. Their board managed style allows maximum profits, which is what they need to do…a job.

Most advertising try to be honest, but magnification of value is a priority.

From my education, and insider world of watch making…since 1973, and deeply involved since 1998, my own guilty self promoting finger prints are all over Google “bernard cheong” or forums which carry bernarkcheong, to more serious print/journals of finance and engineering from 2004 to 2012.

See….more blatant self promotion.

Again, I find my own act depressing, but of needful insertion before writing this post. It seeds the content with sincerity…and needful use of injuries to the guilty.

Minimal injury. Customer bases for status, don’t usually read my pov, it’s not relevant.

You are still reading if you are at least 50% self aware.


Now for the serious stuff.

1 omega seamaster professional chronograph titanium gold1990s

I chose to start with this watch because it was bought in 1993..or so.

I recall that my audio system, which I had was the Sonus Farber Extreme, which was very hard to drive..dropping to 1 ohm, so I had settled on a pure class A Krell MDA 300, going thru either the Krell separate preamp or the LS2B by Audio Research. Most of all, I met with, and talked to the then unknown CD makers for Forsell. They were turntable people, but Dr Forsell made for me the first Forsell Air Reference and separate air reference whatchamacallit , I was such a nut, I used separate cables for different music and recording techniques….more for learning about reference. I was a 12 year veteran of real life concert performances from 1965 to 1976. Woodwinds..flute, saxophone and euphonium for fun.

So..that was the kind of guy I was.

All bought instruments etc without any external help, except God, so…it was tough.

I was buying this Omega, because I believed, correctly, that it would be my lifetime watch….all the way, despite all the watches I own in 2012 to 2015..leaving me with SEIKO and Greubel Forsey as my current, most likely, final pieces.

All this history is important.

It helps you get the mental part..crazy or intellectual..that’s up to you.

Now for the HARDCORE.

First..I was the ORIGINATOR of the word Watchporn.

As I coined it..2 porn.

I take raw, and as far as possible, uncleaned, untouched, personal watches of my own. It helps to educate the reader to a possibly unique level, as there are others who have access to exotics, but to own it, and to show it, I can explain to the many emails or questions about it much more.

Look at it..I took ALL, everyone of these pictures today, 10th July 20115, as I am about to meet Peter Speake Marin, I bought his Thalassa with a tiger’s eye stone dial way back when I ordered it…when I was in the jury of the grand Geneva Grand Prix the year Greubel Forsey nominated Vianney, and I seconded, for Best Watchmaker. It’s on tube.

Beautiful, especially the hardy titanium alloy which is still so solid and sharp.

Look especially at the edges of the 4 crowns.

Just look at that.

This watch has NOT changed much..but the quality of the alloys used for the hands have.

4 omega seamaster pro

For any used or second hand buyer of watches…it is VERY IMPORTANT , at least for me, not to buy a dead man’s watch….unless it is of GREAT relevance.

Like a rare historic Patek.

Or any of my first generation Greubel Forsey pieces. No. I am not shilling for my watches…I am just abit superstitious.

I bless anyone who owns any of my watches, future and past, with the same incredible fortunes which I have.

Now..enough of that ….look


These are taken with my Pentax 645 D and no cropping and manipulation…see the almost 3 decades of rough use.

This watch was bashed against the survey equipment I carried as a 8 man team, for the proposed new training areas for NS men.

I was inside the Brunei tropical jungle for 20 days with this watch.

It’s just so rugged.

I was also later the anaesthetist for surgery, and you doctors of old 1980 will recall how much METAL was banging around my wrists.

Plus blood and saliva.


Today’s chronograph owners do not use their chronographs for real.

I did.

We had ZERO handphones and ZERO I had to use my chorine to navigate while we were on the river Temburong and while I gave gas during surgery.

So..those buttons saved lives. That I am proud of…and no column wheel..heck..I didn’t even know what that was until later…a man, a legend called Gunther Blumlein told me what it was.


Notice the LACK of super fine detailed work on the markers.

This was to herald in the difference to the digital age.

When people took pictures that revealed so much.

It brought great changes.

Many which are VERY GOOD.

Which is why it is important to recognise, at the TOP END…when brands before the CNC and digital age improved..and WHY.

I do not believe they would have invested in changes, if they had not been pressed hard by the web, the pictures of new, no name makers, and SOLID proof of WHY they were immediately better…one such was Lange and the other…the Vianney Halter Antiqua.

Franck Muller was responsible as a force to demonstrate to the brands then, that it was possible to die. A financial, if not the loss of a throne.

In my opinion, Patek has lost that throne.

Only the early and the ones made just after they adopted cmc and cad are worthy of even coming close to Lange’s first series (not the newer ones), and Dufour and Greubel Forsey.

Franck Muller died as a brand even before they could have grabbed the throne…which Richard Mille now has..the sub throne of status…taken from Muller.

A cvstos or whatever, was a desperate attempt to take on RM.

Nonetheless….it is VERY urgent to buy a Cintree case Muller asap…because it marks an art nouveau one….the RM marks the Art Deco one, better.

Greubel Forsey..those are double ..its the renascence era.

But just note with loupes, how dial markings have changed, and collect the good old ones, if they appeal to you.

I like them.

It will develop the real patina from the 20th century.



16 omega seamaster professional chronograph

15omega 27year old  lug rear omega

13 omega seamaster professional chronograph titanium gold 4


Look carefully at the pin that goes thru the 3 hands…in the centre. It’s PERFECTLY round, clean, not a spot of smeared oil or fungus!!!


When you buy used watches, unless the owner was me, or like me, the fool could have let in water or condensation.

For so called rugged explorer level watches like this Omega..they are water and air tight.

One look, and you know.

Metallurgy changed the most.

They use solid gold for some hands..this one..I don’t know. BUT..I like it.

That’s AGE.










Now..I will bring you on a picture tour of how to examine all used watches.

The crowns and the edges.

To look at the pin holding the hands, you saw. must look at the MOST used and prone to damage from use.

Look at 3 and 4 which I marked on one picture of the crown.

Hey..this is almost 30 yrs of use!!!

Look at the brush finish they lavished on the watch!!!

You cannot do a knock off , fake, that easy..when you look.


Look at how sharp the gaps are!!!

Imagine, they were not yet using ( I think) cnc.

But CNC is GOOD, especially when more hand finish is layered on top.

That is ONE big reason I disagree with Dufour in 2006…but, he was making watches to mark the END of one in that way…he is valued. I bought. I agree with him on those grounds.

The beginning, to mark what will hold on to be the best, will be Greubel Forsey. WHY?

If they sold Greubel Forsey entry level watch at reasonable Richard Mille RM11 or RM10 profit margins, you will be paying about 2 million dollars.

Do math.

Quality and numbers made. 80 GF made a year, 100 at best. versus tens of thousands of RM made and sold….the RM goal is truly a financial success.

But for Greubel Forsey, they need customers who meet the Japanese codes of the warrior or scholar. Or the western ones.

I say this for perspective, not for self endorsement.

Honestly, if I had less money…I will buy the RM.

It’s easier to sell….which also means its not exclusive.



Which is the reason, one reason, why RM needs the illusion of the exclusive.

Now more pics before I get banned further.


One look here…I am SURE there is NO CNC..this is milled or cast, then hand worked with the blades and sanded down.


The more I look at 6 and 7 marked in the pictures…the rounded edges, vs the sharp cut (recall my previous Japan culture remark last week ?

The more I want to buy a new 2015 Omega to compare, keep.

The rest of you, look for an old pre CNC Omega. know one of many reasons why people search for older pre defined eras.


Imagine that the man had to manually differentiate, in such a small hole, the gap, to choose a rounded finish and to contrast with a sharp knife demonstrate a skill.

Today, one can bluff with CNC.

But not if certain touches are added…later article.

Buyers often quibble about tight bracelets.

Well, mine are tight.

When new, fit the bracelet well.

Well, anyway, today..most tough watches may have conquered this…because CULTURALLY, man/women have now many watches.


So there you made 30 years back can be bashed.

Can last forever.

ENJOY your money.

Don’t just buy shares.

Use some of it.

So you will not regret the time passed.

12 omega seamaster professional chronograph 9

11 omega seamaster professional chronograph 10

10 oemga seamaster pro

9 omega seamaster professional chronograph titanium gold 6

8 omega seamaster professional chronograph 13

7 omega seamaster professional chronograph 16

6 omega seamaster professional chronograph 15

5 omega seamaster professional chronograph 12

3 omega seamaster professional chronograph titanium gold 31990s

2 omega seamaster professional chronograph titanium gold 21990s


  1. Bernard Cheong

    I will be at Macallan’s events for 2 nights..please come up and talk to problem.

    You will also get to see probably the ONLY existing complete set of Greubel Forsey’s work, 3 pieces, platinum, of their first series. Privately owned by one person.

    It is a tribute to Macallan that I have wanted to support some of the UK’s most famous makers. Gerbil Forsey is half UK in DNA.

    INVENTION of the new.
    Lavish finish from tradition.

  2. I enjoyed reading your story that conveyed the life experiences that revolved around this rugged and exquisitely crafted timepiece.

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