From a plain dessert into a millennium city, the architects of this city surely give an inspiration. From nothing to something big.
A simple family sitting on a coastline across the downtown district of Mumbai, India.
Money, people want it, few have it, some trade their time with it. To many people, money is not merely a currency to buy something we want but also a symbol of freedom. The more we have money, more we have freedom to choose what we can do with our money. Money let people relax on a five star resort, take a fancy vacation to exotic destination, buy a new car, and other things we could do beyond our imagination. When people said that they want more money, it doesn’t actually reflect the truth, what they are trying to say is they want the freedom that more money could buy.
It has been a common knowledge in high society that men are mostly proud of their watch as a representation of themselves. Men wearing big, diamond encrusted watch are perceived as an attention seeker. While men wearing Breitling with chronograph feature are associated with sporty guy (or trying to look that way). And for me? A simple dial watch with transparent case back to see the beauty of the movement, in this case a Jaeger leCoultre Reverso. Figure out yourself what it mean to me.
To me, an elephant mean a giant, biggest creature compared to its surrounding. In life it translate to the superior value in people, people who strive to go forward in spite of what’s happening around him.
Jaeger LeCoultre is a name a watch snob very familiar with, often mentioned along Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantine, and Audemars Piguet. Although price wise, JLC is not on the same level with the “Big Three”, precision and movement wise JLC is arguably on par with them. The history of JLC dated back in the 1833 when LeCoultre family founded a small watchmaking shop in Le Sentier, Switzerland. By 1900 JLC had created over 350 different calibres, of which 128 were equipped with chronograph functions and 99 with repeater mechanisms. From 1902 and for the next 30 years, LeCoultre & Cie. produced most of the movement blanks for Patek Philippe. Not until 1903, Paris-based watchmaker to the French Navy, Edmond Jaeger, challenged Swiss manufacturers to develop and produce the ultra-thin movements that he had invented. Jacques-David LeCoultre, Antoine’s grandson who was responsible for production at LeCoultre & Cie. accepted the challenge. In 1907 JLC signed a contract with the Parisian watchmaker under which all Jaeger movements for a period of fifteen years would be exclusive to Cartier, the movements were produced by LeCoultre. The collaboration between Jaeger and LeCoultre led to the company being officially renamed Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937. Today, JLC still supply various watch brand with their movement, among them are Audemars Piguet (Royal Oak Dual Time) and Vacheron Constantine (Overseas Dual Time), both acknowledged as part of the “Big Three”. What I am reviewing today is one of the most iconic timepiece of all time, Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso. The name “reverso” in Latin means “I turn around”, capturing the essence of this watch which has two faces that could be easily switched by turning it. The history of Reverso itself began in 1930 when De Trey was in India on business, attending a polo match in his spare time. He was approached by a player who held up his broken watch and asked De Trey to make a watch that could withstand the rigors of the polo grounds. De Trey thought about the problem and discussed it with his friend Jacques-David LeCoultre and the French firm Jaeger S.A. The work was entrusted to Jaeger, who then enlisted the services of French designer René-Alfred Chauvot. Chauvot developed and patented a case mechanism that allowed the watch to be flipped over while on the wrist. When I went to India on March 2015, I can confirmed there are many Polo club specially in Rajashtan and many of them are still in use. However I don’t play polo and I don’t wear my reverso at the time (I use Seamaster GMT instead). Production of reverso remained low during World War II and in the subsequent decades, and the watch briefly fell out of production in the 1970s, until Italian JLC distributor Giorgio Corvo, who was also a connoisseur and collector, discovered a small cache of cases during a visit to the JLC manufacture in Switzerland in 1972. He persuaded the company to sell him all 200 cases, had them fitted with mechanical movements and took them back to Italy, where all 200 watches sold within a few weeks. The legend, which JLC has never confirmed, adds that Corvo was instrumental in convincing the manufacture to resist the quartz temptation and use only mechanical movements in the Reverso. The blank canvas on the original reverso was quickly seized upon by those who owned the watch. Because of its timeliness and Art Deco styling, the watch was quickly adopted by the rich and famous. King Edward VIII of England wore one. His bore an engraved illustration of his crown and title, as did that of the Prince of Denmark’s watch. Amelia Earhart’s Reverso featured an enameled map of North and Central America, commemorating her historic flight from Mexico City to New York on May 8, 1935. Today, you can go to the JLC website and design an engraved or enameled back for your own watch.
The reverso I bought is the “Grande 976″ which has bigger case than the original reverso and transparent case back instead of the blank canvas. I had been wearing it for over a year occasionally when I’m dressing up, but my daily rotation are Omega Seamaster Professional 300 GMT and Omega Seamaster 300 Master Co-axial. I have to admit that it is quite large for my 6.5 inch wrist, but I still found it appealing and not too distracting. This is my second expensive watch purchase, the first one was Omega SMP GMT “bond” which has travel with me to over 4 continents in the past three years as my daily watch, I swim, cycle, run, bath, sleep (when overseas) with it on my wrist. I have once wear it for four days straight when traveling to Bali, in fear that I might lose it. When I was ready for my next purchase, I was thinking about buying a dress watch to compliment my dive watch.
I found the reverso as the perfect watch to accompany my Seamaster, after watching “Thomas Crown Affair” I knew I had to have one. As perhaps the most iconic watch of all time (along with Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster, AP Royal Oak, etc), it also has Art Deco design and wonderful movement seen through the case back. I bought my reverso on the day I established a joint venture on stock investing, so it become my “office watch” and a commemoration for the initial step toward financial independence. So far I have never traveled with reverso, and I wear it only when I know I won’t be doing much physical activity for the day.
When I was about to buy my reverso, I was undecided between the “Grande 976″ and “ultra thin 1931″. One has a second hand and transparent case back while the other is more simple and has a blank canvas on the back. Finally I tried them both and found myself hooked with the 976. It wears comfortably at my flat wrist, you might have noticed that I changed the strap with an after market brown strap with 20mm lug instead of 22 mm lug Reverso has. The polished stainless steel case is easily scratched, in fact there’s lot of hairline scratches and two deep scratches already on my lovely reverso, but of course it could be polished by the service centre.
On many occasion I found myself starring at the dial, looking at how smooth the second hand sweeps in the smaller dial. And when I am bored, I flipped the case and admire the movement. The accuracy of my reverso is +2 sec/day for a month, better than my Omega which average +4-5 sec/day, all of them however still within the COSC standard. There are few in-house movement for the price of JLC, and this one has an MSRP $7950 but available for slight discount at my AD. Looking at my reverso every morning is like love at the first sight, winding it’s mechanical movement for 70 times which retain 48 hours power reserve.
Like many things in life, a watch purchase isn’t a logical one but rather an emotional one. There will always be watches with better movement, better water-resistant, better (you name it), but eventually you’ll come with the right one for you. And after spending some time with it everyday on your wrist, it starts to grow on you. I can’t wait to see how it look and the memory we’ll had in the next ten, twenty years from now. It’s like having a girlfriend, only better.
It has been six months since we make our “2015 resolution” earlier this year, we all have been busy with our routine, whether it’s work, school, or entrepreneur-ing. For the last three years I’ve made resolutions at the end of the year, as a reminder to myself of what I should achieve and want to do in the next year. I think it’s an effective way to direct my life in the way I want it to be, according to my own standard.
Having a resolution noted on a piece of paper and read it everyday is like having a notes for groceries, when we bring our notes we could see what we want to buy instead of wandering from aisle to aisle afraid of missing something. I observed my mother when we did shopping (although we do fewer groceries shopping these days), she missed one to two items when she didn’t have her notes with her and remember it on the way home. Not only at shopping but it also applies for things we want to buy overseas but forget to because we are too absorbed in our daily trip.
Family and friends around me are not usual with making a yearly resolution. Unlike people living in the West, for me it’s rather hard to talk about accomplishing yearly resolution with anyone around so I blogged it instead. My resolutions are about my finance, self development, travel, meditation, blogging, writing, and career. That might sounds like a lot of things to do, but it actually isn’t when we apply it daily. To give you an idea of my resolution, here it is:
– Finance : Have more than $25000 in stocks
– Self Development : Read 24 non-fiction books (I’ve read 22 so far, so I’m sure it’s going to be easy. For the record, I read over 130 books in 2013 and over 120 books in 2014. I lower it this year to focus more on applying the knowledge I had rather than only piling it in my brain)
– Travel and Meditation : Go to India (I did on March), 40 hours meditation (I’ve only done slight over one hour so far)
– Blogging : 70.000 views in total ( so far I had only reach half the number since two years ago, and quite pessimist on this one)
– Writing : Finish a book about self development ( from the amount of books I read, I think I should write one targeted to young people)
– Career : acquired CFA certification (I want to be an investment manager, whether mutual funds or hedge funds)
Many of the goals or resolution above are far from accomplished in the half of the year, which mean I haven’t been productive with the time I got in the last six months. Perhaps I was being lazy, you might thought, but to tell the truth I have been straightening my life’s priority in the first half of this year and it has been a rough one.
You might have read my post two months ago about quitting medical school (which I did, by the way) and realise that the goals above were written when I thought I have to accomplish them along with doing clerkship in hospital, which tend to be exhausting and time consuming. Alas, few things actually get done after my daily shift in hospital. But as you might have read in that post that I found myself being lost in an activity I have no passion in and decided to pursue a career I actually love to do for my life. Life really struck me after I spent hours thinking whether doctor’s routine and career is the future I want myself to be. The answer is no, then I found this quote by Steve Jobs:
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
So I did, starting with quitting medical school. Maybe it’s too fast to judge whether it’s a correct decision or a disastrous one, but looking back the past two months I have to say it was the second best decision I’ve ever made in my life (the first one is learning about investing and trading). When I close a door, another one opens. I stumbled to forex (currency) trading from my father and fascinated by the prospect of earning a living from it. It’s not impossible to earn hundreds of dollar a day, but it’s also possible to lose hundreds a day. I’m still working on my trading skill, and looking at the potential it has I’ll do whatever it takes to master it, the same way I learn about stock investing. Rise and rise again until lamb become a lion.
At the end of the day, few things work as planned and lots of unexpected things happen daily. I’ve got my Bachelor of Medicine degree last February, and by not continuing my clerkship I am free to study anything I want. I enlisted for a Master degree (MBA on finance) and got accepted, starting this September I’ll be studying finance (positively correlated with my passion on investing). Although my initial goal was to graduate and work as an investment manager, another thoughts came to me, I want to retire young and travel the world.
Resolution helps me to construct my life like a map telling me where I should walk to arrive at the destination I want to go. Although not every resolution I have is going to be finished this year, it give me great insight to what I should do to get where I want, regardless of the time it takes.
From almost zero thought of quitting medical school earlier this year, today I live in an entirely different and better way than I would ever imagine last year. Sometimes life works in a very strange way, guiding us through spiral, dark cloud and thunder, only to suddenly lead us into a bright and calm sky. Finally I’m able to say yes, if this is the last day of my life, I would do exactly as I do today (or perhaps close enough).