Thursday, October 30, 2008

TAG Heuer joins the FHH club

La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland — TAG Heuer has become a member of the exclusive Swiss watchmaking club, the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), joining the ranks of the Richmond heavyweights such as Cartier, Jaeger Le-Coultre and Audemars Piguet.

For TAG Heuer, the membership became official Oct. 1, capping off "a 150-year history dedicated to the pursuit of ultimate precision and inspired by a constant quest for innovation," the brand said in a press release issued earlier this week.

As part of its association, TAG Heuer will showcase the "Grand Carrera Calibre 8 RS Grande Date GMT," part of the Grand Carrera series of 2007, at two of this season's most important watch fairs: the Munich Time show, set for Oct. 30 through Nov. 2, 2008, in Munich, Germany, and the Salon Belles Montres in Paris, set to take place Nov. 28-30.

Established in Geneva in 2005 to celebrate the heritage and values of fine watchmaking, the FHH promotes Swiss watchmaking culture and tradition by communicating the professional and ethical values of authenticity, creativity and innovation on which the industry's legitimacy is founded.

"The FHH has gained the respect and admiration of the fine watchmaking industry as a whole," Jean-Christophe Babin, president and chief executive officer of TAG Heuer said in a press release issued Monday. "We are extremely proud to become an active member and thus demonstrate our commitment to the founding values of haute horlogerie."

More details can be found on the official FHH Web site.

I welcome their addition so hopefully at a future event we'll finally get to see the much talked about yet maligned in both delivery & execution - the Monaco V4 concept.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Economic downturn & the effects on the horlogy industry?

Much has been said already about the global economic downturn affecting the US and now the rest of the world. So much in fact that it affects our daily thoughts in every aspect of our life. This impact is here to stay with us for unforeseen times thus affecting everything including many of ours horology acquisition and collecting habits. Now I will not go on about what/whom/where/why did it happen nor will I try and predict the future. All I will state is how I see it affecting me/us right not and how I see it developing.

There is definitely a correction from watch market valuation highs from the middle of the year especially evident in the vintage watch markets. The biggest change I see now (and for the future) is in the middle to low market where the effects are clearly evident. The middle to entry level consumers momentarily will see the sharpest decline due to lack of disposable income for luxury objects of desire. I say momentarily because as disposable income becomes available we will see the return en mass because the timepiece in today's digital age is not anymore just a time telling tool but rather the reflection of ones style, persona & emotional desires (very much like ones home, car, clothes, etc). On the other hand there is no abating in the high-end market with clear expansion in the very high-end due to unseciable demand in ever growing numbers of emerging markets new millionaires.

The positive thing of potential reduced demand for watches as a result of this is that finally the supply and manufacturing capabilities of the companies will catch up to true demand. Thus resulting in a move back to the equilibrium including both exuberant pricing increases of the past few years, increase in service and quality control of manufacturing, increase in true watchmaking talent pool & timely deliveries for the true aficionados that will stay in this horology game.

Another positive result evident already is sharp reduction of speculators and flippers which puts a smile on every true watch aficionado dial. In addition I foresee further consolidation in the horology industry with hopefully weeding out the overcrowded field of the weak, lemmings & the inconsequential that benefited from the past half decade of the horology renaissance. All in all as you can see not all news are that bad because once the economic fortunes bounce back (which eventually they undoubtedly will) the industry will emerge much more complete, efficient and stronger – of course this is just my humble opinion which just might be completely wrong.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cigar Review: Saint Louis Rey – Serie A

Cigar review: Saint Louis Rey – Serie A Box Code: Nov. 1995

This box was abruptly cracked open after a 13 year sleep in the humidor specifically on my request and generously gifted by a good friend, so big thanks to Viken. I figured this at least deserved a proper review as one doesn’t get a chance to find such home aged treasures so easy. So enough of the chit chat and let’s get into the nitty gritty of things.

As you might see for yourself the wrapper held a nice colorado color and was devoid of any veins (not much plume to report to which I was surprised due to its 13 year old age, but I could have just whipped it off while handling it).  I had it a bit on a dry side below 63% RH (still no to dry) to avoid any draw and burn problems - there were none.  The draw was excellent, easy and slow yet not to fast to rush the cigar.  The cigar provided a nice amount of smoke and created wonderful white and firm ash.
It was truly divine and nothing like I expected it to be (isn't being positively surprised the best thing in the end?).  If I was to guess I would have not been even close to SLR Series A as the profile was even mellower then what I was expecting, however the taste was wonderfully complexed.  As for taste I was drinking a nice Bordeaux (with my NY strip) so it didn't really jibe perfectly overpowering the cigar which I rectified soon enough by poring a bit of my Caol Ila aka peaty nectar of Gods ;-)  Now for the taste there was no harshness of a young cigar to be noticed whatsoever. Also I didn't get any licorice, chocolate or too much cedar taste so easily associated with Series A, but rather the musky meaty earthy tones which later developed into espresso and dark chocolate all over laced with subtitle yet noticeable sweetness that I could only describe as combo of honey and caramel.  From my memory the progression from start to finish was not as pronounced as with many younger examples I sampled before although there certainly was a progression it was much more delicate and smooth.  The overall flavor of tobacco and cedar was there even though it didn't dominate the palate (as with many fresh cigars) it maintained the presence through, while allowing other flavors to show through and enhance the overall tasting experience.  I don't do analytical scoring, however if I did this one would score right there at the top in the category of delicate and refined flavors experiences I had a chance to enjoy.

The biggest mistake I did was not pairing this up with more suitable restrained drinking choice as it certainly did deserve a much superior match.  What I gathered from this experience is that really there is no myth of aging cigars that indeed it is a reality - they do get better with age just like fine wine.  Now as for the fact that I was perhaps a bit overmatched to truly gouge the subtleties of such a fine example I will plead the 5th.

Update ... I'm baaack!

First a note of apology to everyone that has been leaving messages and comments of support during my unexpected time off from the blog. I have just been way to busy with day to day life as well sincerely unmotivated due to some past personal & professional issues. The good news is that so many of you have been just been so encouraging and appreciative for all the posts that I simply can not digress anymore or use any lame excuses, but to get back on track.

Note of caution thought! I do like to share my sincere thoughts and not hold back writing in a certain way, but always while inspired and truly immersed in the topics at hand. From now on in order to catch up as well to frequently post I just might throw some posts/pictures/comments together that might not be as I (and You) have been used to. This will not be a lowering of a certain standard that I behold to maintain, but rather a snippet, instead of the usual essay of the daily topic at hand (including my point of view arguments, observations of daily life, recollections and reflections). Hope you enjoy the ride!

Daily thoughts, musings & interests about anything (mostly horology) that currently makes my soul & grey matter tick.