Good Reasons for $500,000 watches, sounds opulent, even sick BUT

» Posted by on Oct 11, 2013 in General | 1 comment

The Good Reasons?

At least, in many ways, that kind of price really, and I mean REALLY pays for WORK.

Provides jobs.

Revitalised cities that died (economically) after 1973 with quartz.

Funded research (by coincidence) that lead to lives saved with medical implants.

Gave more reasons for a generation to admire and contemplate WORK, attention to detail, good old hard work …can’t say it enough. YES..there are $10 watches for NO work, but simply to fund talk and advertisements and egos.

I was born just after the Korean conflict, and I watched and almost came into the Vietnam war. I watched Tsunamis take away 3 friends. I worked for money because I was once in a place so low, I had to clean public places in the 1970s.

I may have more than a few hundred chips or BLOCKS on my shoulders…but I think I have no right to say what is/is not right…I embrace LIFE. I wanna live it.

I tell my patients and friends to save some money for their loved ones, but do spend some on them and on yourself. Not on alcohol or gambling, but on luxury fun things which teach me/us to be better at being human.

I apologise here for the hundreds of GOOD friends I didn’t invite for my 25th anniversary and my birthdays, but they were surprise parties…and also those I planned, they were for 12 people, Old people.

If you have read this far….I highly recommend googling images for strange machines from the 20th century.

Its about reflection.

The INCREDIBLE Greubel Forsey inventions, or even standard works, would cost

$550,000 usd to $780,000usd…that’s VERY serious money to spend.

 greubel forsey invention piece 1 platinum

But…even Dufour would buy one. If he had to make ONE choice bar none.


This is a MIND BLOWING post, even for an extremist like me.

After a visit from a Swiss friend Denis Aesch, I unearthed a few old wonders which I should bloody well wear more often.


The Greubel Forsey Invention 1, in platinum, only 11 will ever exist, possibly LESS.

The ONLY watch, that many would recognize as superior in totality, workmanship and forward thinking madness and complexity.


Yes…you do need MORE than 10 reasons.


A mechanical wristwatch is no longer a practical tool. It struggles like any rebirth between the power behind conglomerates that own the production and the individuals that define the art. Precious contemporary technical sculpture at one end, and mindless consumerism (boy bands and million dollar handbags) at the other, confusion is continually propagated by market behavior.


Supporting the manufacture and preservation of timepieces at the apogee of watchmaking is more valuable than what it costs. It is the responsibility of connoisseurs.


(1)   Improving cultural EQ. Buying to the maximum of a budget and beyond enters the realm of “ something at stake”. Large amount of cash equals fear and insecurity, leading to research and later, follow up involvement with the item for months and years after the purchase. The owner is driven to acquire knowledge.


(2)   “Paying for a Toyota but getting an Aston”. With huge taxes on cars, vehicles here can cost more than triple that in the West. Designers of wristwatches that cost $150,000 or more, create the equivalent of an Aston Martin Vantage V8 (worth $160,000 in the USA). They understand that it has to deliver the same luxury, value and prestige. In Singapore, we forget that we have purchased not a luxury Japanese MPV for the same money, but an Aston Martin of pedigree.


(3)   Iconic watches never become old models. Watches made at the level of six figure sums should not become outdated, like old models versus new. Like sculpture, they are divided into different eras and makers.


(4)   Logically, it may be a better buy.  The renaissance of computerized machining has given birth to precisely cut and uniquely shaped watches, which are indeed costly. Look at the Blu Majesty Tourbillon in Platinum as one of many examples. Priced at 2x more than a new Ferrari 612 Scaglietti  , the Blu is a punishingly expensive watch at a glance. However, the cost of making the Blu is astronomically higher than either of the 2 cars. The Blu Platinum Majesty Tourbillon is a work of art, able to withstand generations and worthy of museum placement (see marble renaissance statues). There will be many Ferrari owners, but very few can have the confidence and taste to own both the car and the watch.


(5)   It may be a rich source of endorphins. The purchase of a high ticket, cultural and intellectual item involves complex analytical and altercating processes in the mind. This is not at all like buying a branded handbag, but more akin to debating between one Renoir and another. Psychologists believe that activities relating to this are helpful in reducing the amount of chaos in the mind. This can produce an almost Zen-like state, and studies have suggested that the brain releases certain positive endorphins during these mental gymnastics. In other words, expensive watches may help prevent cancers and heart disease!


(6)   Art unlike fashion is potentially immortal. Personal experience has taught me that my inexpensive possessions did not age too well, aesthetically and architecturally speaking. Cars, likewise furniture, wine and even apparel. There is a case to be made for the less expensive “collectors” items, which are driven by market demand, but by and large, these lesser watches may look grim and old after 20 years of use. Personally, I would not classify a discolored stainless steel diving watch as art. However, in the realm of $150,000 and above, one does not deal with sports watches or questionable military designs! Just remember not to include diamonds in the price.


(7)    You get to wear your entire collection! If I had spent $200,000 on 20 watches, I would only be wearing three of them for 90% of the time. Most of the money I have spent is effectively wasted on watches that are languishing in a box. If my budget had gone into one watch, and the balance into another two much less costly ones for the office or rough use, I would fewer watches left in a box. Tip: buy one ultra expensive good watch and use it often.


(8)   Why drink table wine when there is better. Not too long ago, I was foolish enough to boast that I could easily enjoy indiscreetly chosen table wine, as well as any good vintage with a fine meal. Owning a finely crafted complex watch is the same humiliating experience. One has to be exposed to it on a daily basis, on the wrist. Within a week or less, the differences between craft, poetry, architecture, proportions, and many facets that separate us from number crunching robots will be revealed. The watches that can deliver the full experience happen to have that exclusive $150,000 entry ticket. Both revealing and educational.


(9)   Having the cake and eating it. At Goodwood, the home of Rolls Royce, I was taught the difference between the owners of Rolls Royce and the “others”. Apparently, those who truly perceive themselves as owners of objects d art and such rarely factor in resale value; they are not looking after it for another generation, or any one else (leasing or temporary tenants). At the stratospheric levels of disposable $150,000 and above (think dead Japanese Carps or racehorses), one has entered the club of elite owners. Ego at one end and wisdom at the other. Watches valued as art is not sold by or understood by current used watch dealers, today’s contemporary art watch dealer has not opened his doors (think Miro, Warhol, Pollock with Leo Castelli 1907-1999). Tip: Buy more $150,000 watches?


(10)  We are living in one of several “renaissances”. Michelangelo (1475- 1564) remains the most documented artist of the 16th century. His output in numbers is prodigious, dwarfing many independent watchmakers! His personal style resulted in the next major movement in Western art. The contemporary opinion about his work — “a revelation of all the potentialities and force of the art of sculpture”. This is happening in watchmaking today, a phase of revelation of potentialities.


It is certainly tenable that as we collect the works of several contemporary watchmakers, we may be archiving the invaluable technical sculptures for the future. Audaces fortuna iuvat!

1 Comment

  1. Bernard,

    Believe me few days ago I was nearly there to send you an mail asking you why I never saw in your collections a picture of any Greubel&Forsey !!!
    And I was wondering why you did not have any of GF !
    And then here we go your post showing invencion piece 1 !!! Incredible watch as any of their pieces !! Really superb finishing unbelievable hand work !

    Have a nice day



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