Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine surprise!

It's been a while since I've had an incoming post. With numerous expenses occurring in the last one year, it's been difficult for me to save up for a new wife however was! And when I reached back home from work on Valentine's day she presented me with a watch that was sitting on my wish list for a while now! It was truly a wonderful surprise :)
The watch I'm talking about is the Tag Heuer F1 WAH1011.BT0717 and my first impression was that it's built like a tank! The construction is solid and as expected, there is no play in any of the parts. It feels ready to take whatever you can throw at it and it's also rated at 200M water resistant(though I plan to treat mine with a lot of TLC). Here are a few quick pics:

Tag Heuer F1 (WAH1011.BT0717)

You just can't go wrong with a white dial!

The 'Tag Heuer' name embossed on the side, though a bit flashy, looks quite nice

Chunky, but easy to use crown, bearing the Tag Heuer emblem

The dial is extremely easy to read and I love the black sub dial which houses the seconds hand and the date window, though the date may not so legible at times. The time is easy to read in the dark as well, purely due to the reason that the entire dial is luminous! The hands and dial have different lume colors, with the dial being blue and the hands green (sorry for forgetting to take a pic of that!)
Though the case measures 44mm, it wears much smaller on my 7" wrist. I guess this could be due to the black bezel, as opposed to a steel one. The rubber strap is comfortable on the wrist, though I have to admit, there is a lot of friction between the strap and the loop, which can, at times, make putting the tail though the loop a bit of a pain. That being said, it's one of the most comfortable straps I've worn so far :)
I feel it's a great watch for the money, and even better when you get is as a gift! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who's had their eye on one :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Attitude is everything

So, I was called in for work on a Saturday, which normally happens during the fag end of production and it looked like it was going to be a dull time at work, but around mid afternoon, I get a call from my sister, who was, at the time, at a popular watch store, close to where I work. I'll refrain from taking any names since my previous visits to the same store have been pleasant and this shouldn't reflect on their reputation otherwise.
Anyway, since I was almost done with my work for the day, I decided to meet my sis and her husband (lets call him AB) and help them choose a watch for her.
When I reached the store, my sis had a bunch of watches lying in front of her, but at the same time, AB was also having a look a prospective watch. At the time the salesman was showing him a automatic chronograph from Maurice Lacroix. As soon as I set foot in the shop, AB asked me if it was a good deal at Rs. 1,65,000 ($3,300) after a 50% disc. Now, I have no issues with ML, in fact I really admire some of their models, but I told him that for that price I'd personally go for an Omega(maybe a Planet Ocean), since he was more familiar with the brand and plus I personally thought it was a better choice. At the very mention of the name, the salesguy arrogantly proclaimed that ML was way above Omega as a brand and that it was the obvious choice. He went on to explain that a team from their watch store had traveled to Switzerland and visited some museum there. At the museum they had an entire room dedicated to ML, whereas Omega was allotted a small corner somewhere. Before I could say anything he started telling me how expensive some of the ML tourbillon were, to which I replied that all tourbillons are expensive, and one shouldn't confuse the value of the brand based on the value of their watches. I also asked him why was it that ML were being discounted as much as 50% while the Omega's were at a max 18-20%.
He then went on to tell me the order of the watch companies. He mentioned Patek, Glashutte, Breguet and then thought about it for a few moments, and then mentioned Panerai. I told him politely that Panerai, though a great brand, came lower on the list, to which he immediately replied, "Oh yeah, I forgot it's a 'fashion brand' !" Not in a mood to argue, I dropped the conversation and decided to change the topic.
A little while later I started looking at the Tag F1 on display. I told AB that it was in my wish list, and that I had spoken to one of the guys in the head office, of the very store we were in, who had graciously offered me a 25% discount whenever I waned to buy one. This seemed to really piss of the sales guy who said that there was no way the discount could be greater than 20% and that he'd require hard evidence to believe that I had spoken to the person at the head office. Now, I'm fine with that, since a lot of people can simply waltz in and lie about it, just to get a higher discount, but his whole attitude was that of arrogance. Whenever I negotiate a discount, I keep the nature of the conversational friendly, but this guy was clearly not in the mood for that.
AB, not liking the tone of the guy, mentioned that I and my brother (CF), owned several watches and had our own blog. The guy immediately asked me what I thought were the top brands, to which I replied the usual PP, VC, AP, etc and not surprisingly, he hadn't heard of AP and VC. Not wanting to take pride over his lack of knowledge, I dropped the topic again and asked him to kindly make the bill for the watch that my sister had selected (a Rado Couple).
Now, when my sister had called me up initially, she mentioned that the watch she was getting was for Rs. 35,500 ($710) after discount, but when the time came to prepare the bill, the salesguy comes back to the counter and says that he had miscalculated the discount, and that the price of the watch was Rs. 38,500 ($770). Again, this is understandable, since as humans, we tend to make mistakes, but he made a feeble attempt to aplogise for the error, which is simply not acceptable from the staff of such a reputed high end watch store. This really put my sister off, and she walked out of the store. AB, not wanting to ruin the day any further, decided to just settle the bill and walk out. Just before we exited the shop, the salesguy tells us that he is in a greater position to offer us a discount than the guy who 'just sits in an office some where' since in the end, he was the one dealing with the customers. He told us that he'll beat any discount the guy at the head office offered us. We thanked him for his time and walked out, with my sister totally disappointed and me red in the face, since I had suggested them to buy the watch from that store in the first place :/
AB, though not in the market to buy a watch right now, is definitely a potential buyer for a high end watch sometime in the near future and because of this experience, he's likely to give this store, and potentially any of their other branches, a skip. I do hope this was a one off incident, and will definitely pop in another time to see if there's a positive change.
I like a spirited conversation with a watch salesperson, and most times, it's fun sharing information, and that's the attitude a salesperson should have. Everyone has a bad day, but one needs to be able to keep their cool while dealing with customers. As they say, a smile can go a long way :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

16th International Watch And Clock Fair – Samaya Bharati 2012

Before I start, I would like to say two things: firstly this report wont be as detailed as the one we did before for the previous watch fair, simply because this one was very similar. The event was held at the same location, it was set up the same way and the experience was almost the same.

Secondly, I apologize for the pictures as my camera was an old one (the new one is with a friend) and it was extremely difficult taking pictures in the low lighting conditions there. Also, the glass showcases where the watches were kept had finger prints and smudges all over, which only added to our problem.

OK, so lets move on...

Its been two years since the last Watch and Clock Fair, and as with the previous one, there was little advertisement done for this one. Had a friendly reader not commented on the blog and reminded is of it, we might have missed it. Like I mentioned above, the venue for this was the same as the previous one's. It was open to the general public from 2pm - 7pm and although Bio and I wanted to get there a bit early, we got delayed and ended up reaching at 5pm.

Just like the last time, Seiko had its booth outside the main exhibition hall. It was the first thing you saw when you entered. They had a section for clocks too and you could place your order if you wanted one.

At this point, Bio had the camera and we were generally checking some of the watches in the display case, when he was approached by someone who was excited to show off his watch. It turned out that the watch Bio was taking a pic of was the same one that guy had on his wrist and thus, was eager to get a picture taken of it. Once again, apologies for the blurry pic because of the low light:(

They had a good number of watches on display, with some really interesting vintage models. They also had the Ananta line up which was a nice to see in person. Some of them were quite stunning, but cost a pretty penny.

There was a representative there who started talking to us and I asked him if there are any Grand Seiko watches around, unfortunately there weren't but they did have a movement on display under a microscope. I guess that would have to do for now.

They also had a large number of clocks on display. Below is the clock Bio liked and almost picked up (they weren't readily available, and the guy recommended us a store, close to where we stay that should have it)

The fair was spread across two halls - one on the ground floor and the other on the second floor. As with last time, Titan had the largest booth, though it was differently set up from last time. This time they had a place to sit and even a cafeteria, with the shakes and drinks named after different Titan collections. They didn't have anything to really catch our eye, so we moved on.

As expected, there were a lot of fashion brands like Guess, Guess Collection, Salvatore Ferragamo and all. We then came across Ice Watch. We had covered this brand in our post for the previous watch fair and always thought it would do well if launched in India. Here we met Victoria who had previously commented on our blog. She was very nice to talk to and took out some time to update us on how the company was doing. She told us that Ice Watch was looking for new distributors for their watches in India and that they may have found a few already. I was having a real tough time taking photos of their watches, so she took out the whole case for me to photograph. It was nice to see them up close in person (last time they were in a box). With all the different color options and some with Swaroski crystals, I can really see these watches getting popular with the ladies here. They are priced pretty reasonably too, with the basic ones going for a lil over $80 (USD). That's the starting price for most of the designer watches you get in the market here.

Victoria posing with her Ice Watch with Swaroski Crystals.
We wish them all the best and hope they do well here.

Casio was next and it was buzzing with people - not too much of a surprise as the brand is quite popular here. I darted towards the display for G-Shocks and I wasn't disappointed. They had a lot of different kinds there, most of them which I've only seen on watch forums. I honestly couldn't choose which one I would take if I had a choice.

They even had the Baby Gs on display.

Another collection which I hadn't seen before that was on display was the Sky Cockpit. Some of the watches were pretty sweet although more expensive than the G-Shocks.

Somewhere amongst all the booths was the booth for Victorinox. It was pretty small that we almost missed it, and I'm glad we didn't. Not only did I get to have a look at my favourite watch from the brand - the 500 Mecha, I also instantly fell in love with the Airboss Mach 8. That watch was something else and I couldn't stop admiring it. I was a little amazed to hear it was priced at just Rs. 80,000 ( $1600 USD) for a mechanical chrono (Valjoux 7750). Maybe if I get a good discount and if I have some cash to spare, I just might pick it up. Another addition to the wish list!

We next came across the brand from another reader of the blog, Omax Watches. Here too we met a very nice gentleman who told us about the company and showed us the watches. They had lots of different designs on display and we asked him to show us one of their signature watches. It was pretty neat, but what blew away me was the price - just Rs.2000 ($40 USD). Now that's what you call affordable! I have a feeling they're going to do well with what they're offering at those prices. Maybe we could do a review on it someday.

Then there was Timex with a huge collection of watches. They had some watches from a few different brands they owned like Nautica and Helix. They had a green watch from Helix on display with caught my eye.

Aha! We spotted HMT and went straight for it. They had a lot of watches from different collections on display. Some of the automatic ones were pretty neat.

OK, just wanna say the next thing I am about to talk about will probably delight a lot of people and that you read this first on India Watch Blog. They had a Pilot on display which Bio and I immediately spotted. Its been quite a while since I spotted one in a display case and we instantly asked if we could buy it - we couldn't, BUT what he said next was something I couldn't wait to share. He said that HMT has put the Pilot back in production and there was NO shortage of it anymore!

I'm back!

Hopefully when I get the time, I'll make a trip to their showroom with a some cash and buy a few Pilots, and maybe a few automatics :)

Next, we went to the second floor to see if there is anything that may interest us. It was mostly for traders and exporters. They had more fashion watches and lots of clocks on display, but nothing that really took my fancy.

One display that was catching a lot of people's attention was by Giordano. They were showcasing a few water resistant watches and they did it nicely by placing them inside a fish tank. One of them resembled a Breitling Navitimer.

I did spot a PAM style strap and buckle at display in one of the booths but the person there said that they hadn't decided on the price yet and the minimum quantity I had to order was for a 100 straps. We even came across a manufacturer of watch tools who was proudly telling someone that they were the competitors for Bergeon in over 60 countries.

Well I guess that brings me to the end of the report. I really wish we had some big watch fairs where we could see some Higher End Swiss brands or maybe I'll just have to wait till I get a chance to go to the Basel World someday. Hope you guys had fun reading this :)