Swiss mechanical watch… Where to start? Let me ask my “alltheweb’ to do the job. Wow! A zillion comes to my screen. At that time, at the beginning of my quest, “alltheweb” is the best tool to search for images on the Internet. Almost everyday when I have free time I get my self hocked to my PC. The PC screen cluttered my mind. Price wise… huhhh, Swiss watches are relatively expensive. Buy new or second hand watch? What brand? One thing I am very sure is that Swiss made watches are good. How good comparing to the Japanese timepieces? Let’s find out later. Get one Swiss mechy first.
Being a company man (…or “kuli” of a company), I have to attend many meetings with partners and clients. In one of the meeting, I saw something very enticing. A glance of a gold cased vintage watch from someone’s wrist. I pimp his wrist as I noticed until the end of the meeting. The watch is so pristine, immaculate, and appealing to me. After the meeting is over, I approach that guy and ask. Wow! It is an Omega watch. Vintage, working and the price is not so bad. I fall in love with the simple case, aesthetic, and basic functions featured in the Omega. “Where did you get this vintage watch?” I asked him. “Jalan Masjid India”, he answered me and explained to which merchant I should make my purchase there.
Jalan Masjid India – Little India of Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Masjid India (or “Little India” in Kuala Lumpur), here I come. I remember that day, it was my payday. I stuffed my pocket with a stack of fifty Ringgit notes. It was lunch break, the only free time and convenient for me to go there. As I follow direction given by Mr. Omega Guy, I found that there are two or three antique merchants selling vintage watches. I visited all and browse the collection. Not many, a plenty but ranges from Japanese to Swiss watches. In my mind, I recalled the look of the Omega. Hey… that looks appealing! I pick-up the watch, hold it and investigate. The dial looks pristine, a gold plated German made “self-winding” watch with (ugly!) leather strap. Made in Germany! I asked the seller “Is the watch working?” The seller answer elaborately “Bang (or Abang in Malay means big brother), all my watches are in working condition. All are genuine and this is the best available for sales today! This is a German made watch but using Swiss engine. Come I show you the engine!” The seller opened the case and showed me a clean, shiny, working Swiss engine. I pimp the engraving through the seller’s watchmaker loupe and I saw the word SWISS and at main plate near the balance wheel engraved ETA. Ok, I am convinced.
How much? The amount mentioned surprisingly matches my budget. RM350 will not hurt my pocket anyway. After the deal closed, the seller introduced himself as Yunus (I believe he is still there, selling vintage watches till today). He gave me his mobile number and reminded me to call for update of his collection for sales. After that I go to nearby watch retailer and change the strap. Like a child receiving new goodies, I straight away wear the watch – vintage with matching strap. My first not a Swiss Made mechy but a Swiss movement watch: a 1960s Helbros with a twin calendar (day & date) window.
Helbros: Self-winding Day-Date of the 60s, Made in Germany.
Well, I haven’t got my Swiss Made mechy yet. Exploring Helbros, ETA, the movement. Hey, the Helbros comes with acrylic crystal, you can hear the sound... tick, tick, tick!