Sunday, October 11, 2009


August 2009

I don't often get waylaid by a watch shop for any extended period of time, as I am not much of a browser, and what watch buying habits I have don't tend to arise from random shop visits. Nonetheless, it was en route to a special luncheon with friends old and new that I found myself distracted for almost an hour inside the new ION Orchard shopping complex.

Red Army Watches are the folks who have been helping to popularise Russian watches in the watch mad place that is Singapore. Krasnaya is their new flagship store (not restricted to Russian watches) and is self described as "a gallery like experience", the horologically themed wall decorations adding to this atmosphere.

The design of this shop is quite conducive to browsing, with the brand sections carefully laid out and the displays forming quite discrete units, with information being provided on each brand, similar to art gallery descriptions of artists. In terms of trying to introduce more people to these brands, there has clearly been some thought put into the method of display.

The design of the space works well, and incongruous as the bar like area seems at first, I ended up quite enjoying it despite my initial scepticism, as it is a more pleasant informal way of looking at watches than sitting down at a desk or table.

The shop is split into two halves, with this section being behind the bar area.

I am not familiar with Nauticfish, but a quick glance at their website shows a young company (established 1989) whose goal is to "develop waterproof watches which are suitable for professional applications as well as for leisure activities".  In terms of the ever increasing size of watch boxes, I'd hazard a guess that this case would be a good contender for the the largest.

Azimuth display

This is the very interesting Azimuth - Back in Time. Limited to 120 pieces in "beige" (I think perhaps that they should have chosen a different choice of name, "beige" is well......) and 80 pieces in "brown" (yes there's a pattern here, and perhaps next time they need to work on the whole naming business), it retails for S$1999.

Your eyes do not decieve you, the photograph is not flipped and it is indeed an counter clockwise watch. There are other counter clockwise models available from Azimuth.

Another brand represented by Krasnaya, a brand which I'd first heard about two years ago from a friend in Prague, is Alexander Shorokhoff, a Russian name but hailing from Germany.

Alexander Shorokhoff arrived in Germany in 1992 (from Russia) and became Managing Director of Poljot International. He founded his eponymous brand in 2005.

The byline for Alexander Shorokhoff watches is "Great Russian Masters : Past & Present", and this is realised in the names of their collections, for example Leo Tolstoi, Fedor Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky.  His ambition is to make watches that are a tribute to Russian art, history, craftsmanship and traditions. 

As I write, I have a copy of the "Leo Tolstoi Collection" catalogue in front of me. If you are an admirer of movement decoration, then there is plenty to admire here.  The catalogue itself also includes a number of photographs from his life, as well as biographical details and miscellanea. One thing I didn't know was that he founded 22 schools; there is a photograph of his first pupils, as well as discussion about the influences on his major works.

from the Peter Tchaikovsky Collection

One brand that did excite me, as I had yet to see any in the flesh, was Lip.

Although more well known for their funky 1970s watches, and in particular the iconic Mach 2000 designed by Roger Tallon (1974) that is enjoying a revival, Lip is in fact a company with a history dating back to 1807 when Emmanuel Lipmann created a chronometer watch which the good citizens of Besançon presented to Napoléon Bonaparte.

By 1914, Lip employed 150 watchmakers and was making watches for artillery officers in the French Army.

Winston Churchill (a golden T18 LIP) and President Eisenhower are amongst those who have been presented with LIP watches by France.

During the late 1970s, a period of industrial unrest beset the company, and it really wasn't until the 1990s that the company got back on its feet again.

In 1997, Manufacture Générale Horlogère (MGH) was granted a license for the worldwide distribution of LIP watches, and LIP France became Sensemat Lip France. Both of these companies now collaborate in the development and creation of LIP watches.

Playing around with strap changes for  two Mach 2000 chronographs

I wish that I had more time to spend looking at the watches at Krasnaya but alas I had run out of time, and though the friends I was meeting were all watch connoisseurs and would have understood, it was also in the interests of my wallet that I said my goodbyes.....

Krasnaya Watch Gallery
ION Orchard
Open 10.30am - 9.30pm daily
(+65) 6509 8606


No comments: