A Professional and his Watch is a section where Watch Manila features individuals in certain specific fields and their watches which help them in their specific fields of work.
Paolo Maceren is a pilot for a local airliner. He has been flying for 12 years now, and he has been collecting watches for those 12 as well.
Paolo’s favorite watch to take flying is his IWC Mark XV.
The IWC Mark XV is a perfect companion for Paolo when he is flying. According to Paolo the watch is easily legible, not too big a size to be intrusive, matches his uniform, and is anti-magnetic to protect against the cockpit environment. Lastly, in the unlikely event of a water landing, the watch waterproof.
If there is one name which is most synonymous to luxury watch it would be Rolex. Why is Rolex so expensive and why is it the most famous luxury watch brand in the world? There are four factors which are responsible for why Rolex is expensive:
Rarity of Certain Models
Rolex watches are notorious for being overengineered. Before a Rolex rolls out of its factory, the movements are sent to COSC, a center which certifies accurate movements, to ensure that all Rolex movements are up to the best standards. Once the movement has passed all the tests, they are certified as chronometers.
It is also important to note that Rolex is focused on one thing: making some of the highest quality watches in the world. Rolex has steered clear of highly complicated watches and decided to concentrate on improving their movements. This is the reason why the Rolex watches are some of the highest quality watches you can buy.
In essence, it can be said that Rolex makes simple watches and they make them really good.
Rarity of Certain Models
Try to go to an authorized dealer and look for sports models (such as the Daytona, Submariner, and GMT-Master) and you will find none or close to none. The sports watches of Rolex are difficult to find with your authorized dealer and that is why it commands a premium at the secondary market. In the Philippines, the waitlist for the GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLRO a.k.a “Pepsi” is too long to even ask. A similar waitlist stands for the GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLNR a.k.a. “Batman”. The high demand coupled with low supply from the authorized dealers have led to the spike in the prices of certain Rolex watches.
For reference, the GMT-Master II steel models retail around P500,000. However, due to the unavailability, prices in the black market range from P800,000-P1,000,000. A Daytona has a listed SRP of P703,500. In the black market, the Daytona starts at P1,400,000 and goes up to around P1,700,000.
Rolex has always used the media to portray the power and the strength of its watches. Look at the following iconic advertisements which will make you want to buy a Rolex.
The clear message which Rolex is sending is that the common factor behind successful people is that they were all wearing a Rolex watch when they made history.
Endorsers and Wearers
A Rolex watch has been seen in the wrists of many famous men and women. Most recently in the US, newly-elected President Joe Biden was spotted wearing a Datejust. His two immediate predecessors, Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama, were also seen wearing Rolex watches.
From the business industry, notable people who wear Rolex watches are Warren Buffett and Steve Wynn. Locally, Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Enrique Razon, Jr., and Alice Eduardo, among others have been spotted wearing Rolex watches.
In the entertainment industry, Michael Buble and Jay-Z are known to wear Rolex watches. In the Philippines, two of the three mainstays of Eat Bulaga, Vic Sotto and Tito Sotto (Senate President), have recently been seen wearing Rolex watches in the image uploaded by Joey de Leon.
The personalities shown in this page are just a fraction of people who wear Rolex watches. In the deep roster of Rolex patrons and endorsers, it is almost sure that there is someone wearing a Rolex that you look up to (and you hate). The impact of seeing someone you admire wearing a Rolex is very strong.
The combination of the four aforementioned factors has surely driven the prices for Rolex watches up. Despite the increase in the price of Rolex, the demand for their watches has not yet slowed down. It appears that people still reward themselves with a “Crown for Every Achievement”. Expect Rolex to continue its hold and dominance in the luxury watch industry in the coming years and decades.
For the past year, Watch Manila has been identifying the watches of the men and women who lead Philippine business scene. We look back at the most liked posts of business leaders and their watches.
Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala
Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala (Rolex Explorer and IWC Portuguese)
Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala has just recently relinquished his post as the President and CEO of Ayala Corporation, one of the largest and oldest conglomerates in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. Currently, he has stepped back to a more relaxed role as Chairman of Ayala Corporation.
Jaime has been seen wearing different watches. So far, Watch Manila has identified a Rolex Explorer 39mm (Mk I), Rolex Air-King, an IWC Portuguese, and an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
The first ever post of Watch Manila features Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala wearing his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.
Fernando Zobel De Ayala
Fernando Zobel De Ayala ascended to the position of President and CEO of Ayala Corporation on April 2021 after his older brother Jaime Augusto Zobel De Ayala stepped down. Ayala Corporation has business interests in real estate, banking, telecoms, energy, and infrastructure among others.
In the image, Fernando is seen wearing the much coveted Patek Philippe Nautilus. The current iteration of the plain steel Nautilus (ref. 5711) has been discontinued earlier this year. A limited run of green ref. 5711s have been introduced at the recently concluded Watches and Wonders.
Felix Ang is the President of Auto Nation Group, the general importer and distributor of Mercedes Benz vehicles, parts, and accessories in the Philippines. Aside from this, Felix is also responsible for the presence in the Philippines of Jaguar, Land Rover, Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, Harley-Davidson, among others.
Felix has been seen wearing an IWC Portuguese Perpetual Calendar IW5021. The IWC features a moonphase, date, month, day, and a perpetual calendar which doesn’t need to be adjusted until the year 2100.
Carmen Jimenez-Ong is the CEO and Founder of Menarco Development Corporation. Her first project, the Menarco Tower, is known as the healthiest building in Southeast Asia and is certified gold in both LEED and WELL. Carmen is the daughter of one of the owners of GMA Network, Menardo Jimenez.
Carmen is seen wearing one of the earlier versions of the Patek Philippe Aquanaut. The Aquanaut was launched by Patek Philippe in 1997. The case was inspired by that of the Nautilus.
Alice Eduardo is the President and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction. Alice is often referred to as the “Woman of Steel”. Her company is responsible for the foundations of several landmarks in the Philippines such as the SM Mall of Asia, Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila, among others.
Alice has been seen wearing a Rolex Daytona and a Richard Mille RM07. The Rolex of Alice in the image above is the so-called Rolex Daytona “Panda” due to the design which resembles in some way the color scheme of a panda. This is one of the most difficult models to get from Rolex.
Alongside Rolex, Seiko is a watch brand which is loved by both casual and serious watch collectors. Like many Swiss brands, Seiko has been around since the late 1800s. It is also notable that most people who have very expensive and rare Swiss watches in their collections also have Seikos. What’s with Seiko and why do most people love it? Why should everyone have a Seiko?
The following are the reasons why everyone should have a Seiko:
Superb watch quality
Affordability and range
Widely available to men and women
Highly respected brand
Superb watch quality
Seiko watches are built with tremendous quality. You hear it time and again: “Seiko watches never break down.”. Generally, it remains true up to today. You can buy a Seiko watch and you can wear it everyday and it will not give you major problems.
In recent years, there has been a surge in interest for Seiko watches, both new and vintage. The primary reasons for the existence of this growing community of Seiko lovers are because the vintage Seikos still work well and Seikos, in general, have timeless designs.
It is almost a certainty that your Seiko will likely outlive you.
Affordability and range
To put it simply, there is a Seiko for every price range. What is amazing is that, for the most part, you really get what you pay for in every price range. A Seiko will always be a bang for your buck.
Aside from dominating the entry-level watch market, Seiko has started to pour more attention to its premier Grand Seiko brand. While the Grand Seikos have not yet reached the status of Rolex and other Swiss watch manufacturers in terms of popularity, the quality of the Grand Seiko watches are arguably on par. There are even some people who will argue that Grand Seiko watches are perhaps better than many other Swiss brands.
This range of Seiko watches demonstrates Seiko’s understanding and mastery of watch manufacturing from the bottom to the top.
Functionality and design
Seiko watches are built for different purposes. The most famous Seiko line is its diver’s watch line (most of these are under Seiko 5 and Prospex). Seiko has done a great job with ensuring that the watch can do its task and at the same time be presentable. It can be noted that Seiko watches often have very simple and minimalist designs. It’s rare that you will find an outrageously designed Seiko.
The other known model lines of Seiko are the Presage and Astron.
Widely available for men and women
Seiko has expanded to accommodate both men and women. While Seiko is really known for its men’s watches, the women’s watches are also created equally beautiful. Seiko applies the same approach to women’s watches as they do in men’s.
Seiko watches are very much accessible as they are sold not only in Seiko boutiques but also in most department stores here in the Philippines and globally.
Globally, Seiko watches are regarded as some of the best quality watches which you can purchase. Seiko is one of the brands which transcends language and cultural barriers. A Seiko is as respected in the Philippines as it is in Japan. It also helps to know that when you wear a Seiko, you are wearing a piece of watchmaking heritage.
Currently, it can be said that the most sought-after watches are the Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Rolex Daytona. Some may have a longer list, but globally, the three watches are some of the hardest to get. The three watches have made their contentions on why the watch collecting world wants them. However, there is one watch which I believe many people are missing out on. I’m talking about the Vacheron Constantin Overseas.
The story of the Overseas started in 1977 with the launch of the sports watch Vacheron Constantin ref. 222. The reference is in relation to Vacheron Constantin’s 222nd anniversary. The watch was designed by then 24 year old Jorg Hysek. The 222 was produced in a limited run of 500 pieces in all metal and dial variations. One of the highlights of the 222 is that it features a small Maltese cross (the logo of Vacheron Constantin) near the 5 o’clock marker, outside of the bezel.
In 1996, Vacheron Constantin launched the Overseas. This watch was the successor to the 222. It was more refined and it was the first model which had hints of the Maltese cross on its bezel. Noticeable in this model is that the bracelet looks like an ordinary watch bracelet, without any unique design. Internally, it still did not feature an in-house movement.
In 2004, the Overseas was updated again. Aesthetic improvements include the newer bracelet and a stronger accent of the Maltese cross on the bezel. The 2004 update features for the first time the middle part of the bracelet having some design elements of the Vacheron Constantin logo integrated in it. At this point, mechanisms are still modified movements of other brands, including Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The current iteration of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas was launched in 2016. The model has perfected the integration of tradition with modernity. The current Overseas models range from the simple self-winding ones up to the complicated models with tourbillons, perpetual calendars, moon phases, and more. The Overseas now feature in-house movements. All the movements feature the Hallmark of Geneva, or the “Geneva Seal”. Watches given the Geneva Seal have been thoroughly tested for quality.
Commonalities of the Royal Oak, Nautilus, and Overseas
It is important to note that the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas (previously 222) shared three notable things: decade of launch, base of movement, and unibody design.
All three watches were launched in the 1970s, during the time when quartz seriously threatened the Swiss watch industry.
All three watches used movements based on Jaeger-LeCoultre’s caliber 920.
Lastly, the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and the Overseas all had a unibody design wherein the metal bracelet was integrated to the watch case.
Why should every serious watch collector have a Vacheron Constantin Overseas?
Made by Vacheron Constantin
Anything made by Vacheron Constantin is guaranteed to be of the highest standards. Vacheron Constantin leaves no aspect undone, both externally and internally. The materials used in the case and the bracelet are solid and are of quality. The movement, as mentioned earlier, features the coveted Geneva Seal.
When you purchase the Overseas, you get a metal band (steel or gold), a rubber strap, and a leather strap. Switching is made easy through a quick change mechanism. The best part of it all is that the Overseas looks good in all of the bands. With the inclusion of the three bands, you have a watch which can adapt to any situation.
Despite the long lines for the Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Rolex Daytona, these watches can be seen all over the place. There’s just an irony that it is unavailable but then many people have it. Due to the increasing prices brought about by speculation, these watches have lost some intrinsic value as they have become commodities and trading items for some. The Overseas does not suffer from the problem of long lines and price speculation. You will be able to purchase and obtain an Overseas in a similar time as you would with any Vacheron Constantin piece. You will also be secured in knowing that there are not much people who purchase and flip the Overseas for a higher price. And lastly, you will be happy to know that you will likely be the only person wearing the Overseas in a room at any given time.
People are asking why the Overseas has not reached the same level of cult-like following as with the Nautilus, Royal Oak, and the Daytona.
The easiest answer would be that Vacheron Constantin is not as aggressive in marketing the watch. Another answer is that there are much fewer celebrities and known personalities wearing the watch.
But then again, does Vacheron Constantin really want that attention? I would say that the attention is not needed. Watchmaking perfection is not dependent on the attention a watch gets. Watchmaking perfection depends on the craftsmanship of the watch combined with the appreciation of a person. Given this, I can say that the Overseas is truly a masterpiece and it remains a watch reserved for those with greater discernment in watches. There is absolutely no need for a cult-like following to understand that the Overseas is an absolute treasure.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas is available through its boutique. Starting price of the quartz model (33mm) is at P770,000. Starting price of the self-winding models are at P1,050,000. (37mm) and P1,130,000 (41mm).
Dr. Rolando Hortaleza is one of the most successful businessmen and visionaries in the Philippines. He founded beauty and personal care juggernaut Splash Corporation in 1985 and sold the same to Wipro Consumer Care in 2019 for an amount which is estimated to have reached up to P11 billion. Today, Dr. Rolan is keeping himself busy with his new hotel venture near Tagaytay called Hortz Hotels and Resorts. Other than that, he continues to guide his children Alfonso, who manages their financing company Prime Global Finance Corporation, and Alexone, who manages their FMCG business which primarily involves the Barrio Fiesta condiments business.
“I don’t consider myself to be a watch collector” says Dr. Rolan. Despite this statement, his history with watches have been nothing short of breathtaking.
Dr. Rolan says that he did not grow up with an affinity for watches. He shares that his first recollection of purchasing nice watches was when Splash Corporation started to make some profits. “I purchased three Rolexes with the President bracelet. One in gold, one in two tone, and one in platinum.” Not long after, Dr. Rolan was attracted to the slim formal watches worn by other businessmen who he looked up to. This resulted to him purchasing several Patek Philippe watches, including the iconic Calatrava.
Up to this point, Dr. Rolan said that he still did not feel any personal connection with his watches.
The first watch brand which Dr. Rolan felt a connection with was Panerai. He loved the size of the Panerais, especially those in 47mm cases. He then started purchasing limited editions of Panerai both locally and abroad. Among the highlights of his collection are his Panerai Bronzo and his Panerai Slytech PAM 225.
Now in the large watches, Dr. Rolan then purchased an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Edition. He loves the look of the watch and the aesthetics. But due to the weight of the watch and due to him wanting an uncommon watch, Dr. Rolan started to look for another watch brand which could be more adapted to him and his lifestyle.
The search for a sporty watch which is light and which is more uncommon than an Audemars Piguet led him to purchase his first Richard Mille. He instantly fell in love with the watch and the brand. Dr. Rolan even shares that everytime he is in Geneva, Switzerland, the sales team in the Richard Mille boutique offers to clean his watch. The first Richard Mille of Dr. Rolan is the RM011 Felipe Massa. The RM011 is a great watch for Dr. Rolan. However, he noted that the watch was difficult to fit under his cuffs whenever he would wear long sleeves and a suit jacket to a meeting. “I would have a hard time fitting the watch inside my cuffs. So I looked for the slimmest available Richard Mille.” This brought him to purchase the RM67-01 RG, Richard Mille’s slimmest watch.
Just last month, Dr. Rolan added his third Richard Mille watch, the RM28 diver’s watch, to his personal collection as he has recently started to enjoy the seas through swimming, diving, and yachting.
Given this history of impressive timepieces, it is hard to believe Dr. Rolan when he says he is not a collector.
Factors in Buying a Watch
Dr. Rolan keeps in mind two things, among others, when buying a watch: 1. The watch should not be mainstream; 2. The watch should be functional and apt for his lifestyle.
Dr. Rolan shares that his principle of being unique is reflective even during the time he started Splash Corporation. At that time, beauty and personal care products were not yet as relevant as they are today. Splash Corporation started the fast movement to beauty and personal care products. This philosophy of being unique continues to his selection of watches. He shares that his son Alfonso and other people were convincing him to purchase the sought-after Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711. But he didn’t feel attracted to the watch and thus he did not purchase. Dr. Rolan has no regrets on not purchasing the Nautilus even if the prices have gone up at least five-fold.
As to functionality, Dr. Rolan believes that a watch can also be a tool to help you through your life. As he started to love the outdoors and the adventures it brought, Dr. Rolan shifted from the more formal Patek Philippes to the more casual Panerais and Richard Milles. In fact, his latest Richard Mille RM28 will accompany him to his adventures in the water.
Dr. Rolan still has so much more ahead of him. Time is on his side. Dr. Rolan is now enjoying mixing business with pleasure. Like his continuing quest to develop new businesses, we expect Dr. Rolan to continue his journey with more precious timepieces.
I formally established Watch Manila on April 25, 2020, right at the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). I have been planning to work on this passion of mine for a few years prior to the pandemic but the demands of being a lawyer did not give me the adequate time for this. During the first hard lockdown, I realized that we should not be consumed by negative thoughts and energy. Instead, we should continue appreciating the beautiful and the good things in life. This is why I decided to devote and carve some time for Watch Manila. To my eyes, watches are truly beautiful and are works of art. Whenever I’m appreciating watches, good energy flows inside of me.
Ever since I was young, I have been a student of horology. I still am. The reason why I gravitated toward watches is because of my appreciation for time. The best way to remind a person of time is through a watch. Time is one of the few things money cannot buy. There is a time for work, time for rest, time for family, and time for everything. In all those moments, the only thing constant is that time is important and can never be recovered once it passes by.
The pandemic has reminded all of us again about the importance of time. Healthy today, gone tomorrow. That is how fragile our lives can be. The best thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased appreciation of everyone for devoting time to the important people and things in our lives.
Watch Manila gained recognition for the identification of the watches of business tycoons. I decided to focus on these people as I believe that their choice of watches were conscious choices. Most (or all) of them did not simply stumble into a store and bought the shiniest one. The watches they wear constantly remind them that as business tycoons, they are given greater responsibilities in the sense that their decisions may impact thousands of lives.
As I end, I hope I can make people appreciate and value time even more through the beautiful watches featured in Watch Manila.
Today only happens once. Tomorrow will be a different day. What happens today can never be redone. So let’s make every moment worth it.
I hope that you continue to join me watch the watches here at Watch Manila.