FOO CO as in Madness…

» Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in General | 5 comments

Madness always fascinates me.

May be not a surprise.

Besides a passion for wristwatch mania, and I am actually MORE fascinated by human history and behavior than the watch that creates it….I am now TOTALLY fascinated by one GREUBEL FORSEY.

This is not just a “brand”, but like the old days…names of people.

Not Ordinary people.

But people who dared EVERYTHING…like throwing your chute out of the plane, and jumping AFTER it, to put it on.


However, if as ordinary me, do not try something, do something…well.

An excerpt from my ramblings:

Why bother to buy an expensive watch?


What good is a doctor when there is no illness? I am a doctor. I have struggled with this paradox.

Should it not be my job, my work, my passion to make myself obsolete?


Yes. There is no argument.

Will my training be of waste? Yes. More than 70% of what I have struggled to learn, is already obsolete.

What place in society do I occupy? Strangely, a respected, often misunderstood place

Remember to google Phillippe Pinel , he liberated the mad from French prisons, during the French Revolution. It was Pinel who introduced doctors into asylums. Not as patients.


But as “certified wise and noble men”. This is fact. History. I do not know about whether “wise and noble” were qualities of doctors, but what Pinel did was fact.

Bear with me. The asylum is a fascinating place to visit, study and observe. However, today, doctors forgot they were placed into asylums as fathers, and that insanity is NOT a hard science.

Doctors cannot shed any form of exactitude upon madness. They are there to sooth and calm the inmates, not to treat them as diseased.

This point has much to do with watch making. And all of the peoples of the world. Success is not a hard science. It is much more of a passion, or a place of the mind.

The hard science of time keeping has arguably been conquered in the late 20th century by precisely using the rate of change of atomic particle matter under the influence of electricity. Period.

The watch maker is NOT a man of hard science, just as the psychiatrist will never assemble a brain.

There is a role. The role of art, poetry, man versus nature, the study of behaviour is my passion.

The study of how people pursue means of measuring work is my speciality.


Watch making was a pursuit which I never learnt, and like wise, I have not been insane. However, both allow me to clean and polish a small window, around the frosted globe that surrounds these two gems of philosophy.

This window is both private and public. What it allows is for a simple method to measure a man’s work ethic. There are myriads of ways, besides watch making. But believe me, watch making is the most accessible of all.

In my humble office, which is in a humble area of my country, I see people who work for a month’s salary which cannot pay for a economy class air ticket from London to Hong Kong.

These same people will save for 10 years to purchase a Rolex. I have asked them why.


The answer is always: “because it is an object that will tell my story of hard work, to all my grand children.”

Subconsciously, we all have that story to tell. Being slightly more fortunate, many bankers and lawyers will have the luxury of telling that story in many chapters, some even in a series of 2 or more books.

The cab driver may have only one chapter.

I have found sincerity a very rare commodity outside of family. I am very thankful to Rolf Schnyder for that.


To pen down thoughts and views on an industry that will come to put food on the tables of many families is a heavy task that I accepted. In retrospect, it is an experience of drowning.

We, in the years 2010 to 2015, possibly longer, live in an event horizon.

This event has what the poets, artists, architects, engineers, mathematicians, story writers, designers and many more have waited for. Sadly, doctors did not.

It is the rise of an industry that creates objects each year, that do not improve the function of its existence, which is to keep time. Yet, it exists because of a higher calling.

Making wristwatches is like painting, after the invention of cameras!

Painting must exist, so must writing and music.

Mathematics and engineering must exist.

Watch making is the ONLY bridge, after the long exclusive bridge made by MUSIC.


Music bridge mathematics and art, but excluded engineering and architecture.

Watch making  unites all. It’s like collecting a rare stamp, painting and car all into a Matchbox. a CANDID shot …now I know I am out of the “curve”.

But I have found work exceeding Lange and Patek and all.



Know that well. And, if you choose, you can leave the story of your life and times, in a steel or wooden box. Containing jewels of maths, architecture, craft and stories.



All watches have stories. And every generation has a story. That’s why watches never die or go out of fashion. The romance and passion of humanity is there.


I have not delved into materials, timing, rates of revolutions and so on….because the higher meaning of collecting is romance.


All of my watches, great or small, have romance.

Rolf’s life, like many watch makers, are stories of great romances.

Thank you so much.


  1. Bernard Cheong
  2. Hi Bernard,

    In other words “big big” brands lack of the “BIG BIG” watch which the “SMALL SMALL” brands have… What a paradox! It is so often the case! And I mean what is around the dial…

    I spend a little time reading, usually because pictures and movies paint a thousand words, but I couldn’t stop reading your article. The truth is I was looking for a continuation after the picture. What a stupid me! Surely I loved it!

    • Bernard Cheong

      Thanks Oscar,
      I am a fan of Foucault…he was like me. I am presuming.
      I like thinking about what makes people decide, choose and what is “moods”, this kind of thing.
      I even wonder, if we really have minds which live on after we are gone.
      If we do not bring in arguments for/against God.

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