Monday, June 29, 2015

rebelde Contributes

Some of you will remember that about four weeks ago we said that we were going to organise an auction in which all proceeds would be donated to the University of Sydney's East Timor Health Fund. Unfortunately, we are going through a crazy period where priority is given to workshop activities, and have not found the time to do this. In time it will happen, however, we made a commitment to the fund for now. Therefore I am proud to report that today the rebelde project was able to deliver a cheque to representatives of the University of Sydney. This was a happy event, and we are proud of our association with these intelligent and hardworking people, who have devoted themselves to making a difference.

I am sure that you all know about the law of diminishing returns- that to a person on a low income even a few dollars can have a huge impact on their enjoyment of life, but for someone on a high income, a comparatively huge amount of money won't make the slightest bit of difference. The more money you have, the less you enjoy it. You know how excited you were with your first watch... and then the second... but after that it's almost impossible to find a peice that reignites that initial excitement. That feeling is universally human, it is an inevitable and unfortunate consequence of financial comfort and disposable income. Once you have reached this stage you find that sharing your prosperity becomes a far greater source of joy, than the acquisition of more personal wealth.

What put us in this position was the rebelde project; which thanks to your support is now able to support other projects itself. This is not something I would ever have been able to do even three years ago, but thanks to rebelde, and your excitement for it, we have been able to support the Timor Leste Health Fund, and make a real difference. Again, the full credit goes to those hardworking people on the ground, who left the comfort of living in Sydney to go and work in East Timor. I admire the sacrifice they make to change the lives of others. If there is one thing that Australians are really good at, it is their medical voluntary work overseas. We are extremely proud of our rebelde ambassador Professor Peter McMinn, who will spend this entire year in Vietnam and East Timor conducting crucial research on the Rota-virus, and all other members of the East Timor Health Fund team.

Today I want to thank you all for supporting us, so that we in turn can support them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to subscribe to my newsletter?

To assist our customers in staying abreast of what is on offer without having to constantly check our website, we publish a couple of newsletters. One of these newsletters contain the details of the new stock we get in, as well as occasional opinion pieces by myself on various issues on and off the field of horology.

This is our free newsletter and can be subscribed to here: Subscribe to Free Newsletter

In addition to this we also publish a Premium newsletter with yearly subscription of $99 a year. This newsletter is the first place any information about watches we get in is published, and is provided to give serious collectors a head start on finding the watches they are after.

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A Post in a Forum...

"I am considering a rebelde. However I saw this post in an online forum, it was brief and read: 'Who is going to pay $14K for a gold rebelde?'. Please reassure me that rebelde is a good investment. A.K."

Dear A K,

I found this advert on Craigslist the other day:

"My kid is having a birthday coming up soon, and there'll be a lot of children around, so I figured I'd better get a pony. If you have a pony to sell, please contact me, and then immediately start putting barbeque sauce in it's bedding or add some Lawry's to it's salt lick - I like to marinade it early and long, so that the flavour is at it's peak by the time I take possession."

The first point I want to make is this: online forums are fun places to visit, especially if you have time to kill, sitting at the airport lounge or while your boss is having a day off and you are left unsupervised with a tonne of important work to do but you just can't pull yourself together. However most of the stuff you find online falls into 3 categories: fantasy and wishful thinking, unsolicited advice or plain nonsense.

No one in their right mind would go online to get medical or investment advice, because the online world is *not* the real world, but mere shadow and mirage of it.

The second point is this: our opinion about the world is based on our own vantage point. Today, I arrived to work on public transport, but some of my subscribers and rebelde comrades arrived in Porsches. Others were driven to work. Many didn't even go to work because they no longer have to work. A few of them will fly large commercial aircraft today because this is what they do for a living. And one thing you can be sure of is this: the world looks completely different from the back seat of the E69 bus than from the cockpit of a Boeing 747.

We are all different. What seems like a hell of a lot of money for you or me, is loose change for someone else. Terms like "expensive" or "cheap" have completely different meanings to different people. Would you pay $600,000 for a chess set? Or $250 for a hamburger? $35 million for a 1962 Ferrari? The PrestigeHD Supreme Rose Edition TV sells for $2,7 million dollars. Pollock's painting No 5. sold for $140 million in 2006. when it changed hands between two collectors. Today, it would be worth significantly more. This is the REAL world: real people CREATING real things, selling to real buyers who have REAL money to afford them.

To answer your question: $13,980 for an 18K gold rebelde is really not that much when you take in to account a/the mere gold-content value; b/exclusivity; c/compare it with any other gold watch out there available for under $14K. I am not mentioning the story behind it, or anything else which is bit more complex to attach value to.

Asking is a rebelde a good investment is same as asking is any watch a good investment? The answer is: we don't know. Some watches do increase in value over the time, others don't. But people who buy 18K gold Rolex or Cartier or IWC or rebelde don't buy them for investment purposes. They buy them simply because they want them. I wish there was a more rational explanation to this phenomenon, but there isn't.

What makes rebelde much different from Rolex, IWC, Cartier and really any other luxury brand, is the fact that each gold rebelde is made to order. That is, unlike all other brands, I don't have a stockpile of watches sitting in a safe, waiting to be sold. You won't find a glossy advert for rebelde. The rebelde project is self-sustaining and we owe money to no one, so I don't need to assemble and sell 500, 50 or even 5. Rebelde 18K gold can not be bought on credit card because I would never exchange REAL gold for a piece of plastic. It can not be traded for another brand - I would not take a Rolex or Panerai for rebelde. This is something you may find difficult to accept or understand, but that's how it is. One day when I'm gone, things may be different, but as long as I am making them with my own hands, this is how it's going to be.

If you are going to pay any attention to what people think of you, or what they think of your product then you will end up with a very functional but very boring and very commercial product. The drip series of paintings established Pollock as a leading figure of new American painting. Pollock was an iconoclast and a rebel, which got him a reputation that made him infamous. His techniques and methods were radical. This in turn was great publicity for his work.

Project 'rebelde gold' is not conceived to please the masses -and particularly not the hordes of anonymous online forum users- but to excite a handful of true supporters. The only thing on my mind is how to make rebelde more water resistant, how to improve my polishing technique, how to get rid of dust particles which are impossible to get rid of, how to drill more perfect holes, cut finer thread, to invest in better assembly tools and equipment, where to find skilled craftsman who share the same ideas as myself, where to find better leather for straps, source more Swiss mechanisms - and then, to find time to design more dials, hands, cases, re-commence work on rebelde chrono, complete Titanium series. And these are just the top priorities on my 'to do' list. Unfortunately there is simply no time to care about other people's opinions or to convince anyone about anything. Those who have nothing to do will always find plenty of time to waste.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Production in earnest

The work station set up.

Precision assembly.

Putting the final polish on the cases.

Washed up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

***The finished product

***The finished product: rebelde 18k Rose Gold

Today is an exciting day. Today, I have fully assembled my first rebelde in rose gold, T03/10. Exciting news for rebelde comrade George C. who will be taking ownership of it shortly. However before relinquishing T03 to him, I thought I'd share what the final product looks like with all of you. The watch is mounted on our new alligator horn strap, which is on offer as an alternative to Horween, exclusively for rebelde gold. These alligator horn straps have been in the making almost nine months now, as our supplier searched for only the perfect horns for our straps. I have also included a couple of close up pictures of the much awaited gold buckles for your perusal. It feels good to finally have completion of the project within my grasp. With no more components left to wait for, a few weeks of assembly is all that's left standing between us and the next exciting chapter for rebelde.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Preview of Titanium A

***The first preview of rebelde titanium A.

Case size: 45mm. Movement: a very unique chequered finish. 50 pieces only. Brush, gloss and sandblasted finish. Water pressure tested. Ready to move on dial design! Delivery: October 2015.

No Fear

***The next rebelde

The greatest fear for any watchmaker is the fear of scratching a watch dial during the repair or servicing process. The dial is the most prized component of the watch, one which is almost impossible to replace or to even repair, repaint or restore without leaving traces. The possibility of damaging a customer’s dial is a nightmare – even for the most experienced and most skilled watchmaker. This is made many times worse on a unique, vintage or a rare timepiece. While servicing the mechanical ‘internals’ is just a matter of time and dedication, handling the dial is a task bordering on becoming some kind of ritual ceremony: the dial is carefully removed then quickly stored away while the watch is overhauled. The slightest contact with a sharp tool, tweezers or a screwdriver will leave permanent and irreversible damage and this is something that must be avoided at any cost. It is not just a mater of ‘the customer will notice it’ – it is a matter of pride and self respect. And this is precisely why all watch brands strictly control the supply of their dials to independent watchmakers. By controlling the supply of dials, brands retain full control over the servicing of the watch. A simple yet effective ‘tool of oppression’. For a watch brand, the dial design and it’s elaborate execution is sign of pride and workmanship. For 500 years of Horological history, no watchmaker and no brand in the world has ever intentionally produced a watch with an imperfect dial. Not until today.

In front of me and in front of you today is the rebelde “NO FEAR” Pilot’s watch. Each dial is unique having been scratched with no less than 13 different tools and stained with inks in never to be repeated colour schemes. Rebelde “NO FEAR” is limited batch of 10 individually signed pieces. Each one is completely unique and imperfect. Each “NO FEAR” piece is rebelde’s way of saying “we don’t care”. Because we don’t. A rebelde and its owner can not be oppressed. Oh yes, we CAN do perfect – as 256 rebelde owners can testify. But today we chose not to: no other watch brand in the world, ever, stood for ‘NO FEAR’ and ‘NO OPRESSION’ – except for rebelde.

Batch serial: Y01/10 to Y10/10. Total batch qty: 10 pieces.

Case: original 3-piece rebelde Pilot’s, 44mm in surgical steel.

Sapphire crystal, 11atm waterproof.

Swiss UNITAS manual wind movement, signed rebelde.

Gold rebelde cases

***Gold rebelde cases

Another milestone reached: 18K gold rebelde cases are completed. The photos below show the very first assembly of the middle case, bezel and case back. Good news: the Teflon seals and crystals are perfect fit (this was a crucial moment since each component is manufactured by a different specialist). Any out-of-tolerance part would require re-making which would set us back at least 4-6 months! The next step is crown tube assembly, then movement and dial assembly. The watch case is fully serviceable (if needed). I feel very proud and humbled - there are not many watchmakers out there who can proudly assign almost $14,000 to a watch - and certainly none in Australia. Thank you all for your support. Without you, this project would have remained just a dream.

Developments in Gold rebelde

***Counting down the days to Gold rebelde release

It's been a slow process but the final piece of the Gold rebelde puzzle is falling into place. At this very moment the final gold buckle is being finished, and soon they will be in my workshop where assembly can begin in earnest. With the completion of this final component I can now also confirm the final price for Gold rebelde will be $13,980. We're only weeks away now from the first Gold rebelde's leaving my workshop, so watch this space for more developments.