SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

After several days of fun and excitement meeting up with the Loungers, the wonderful people at VC, attending SIHH and touring the maison and manufacture, it was soon time to go (I had to leave for Zurich from where I would attend the last day of Baselworld).  Of course, aside from taking many photos, I also made sure that I got my hands on as many "souvenirs" as I could get.

All who attended the dinner were given an artsy paper weight (I hope that's what its supposed to be...SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)) with the QdI as its theme.  However, I also had a particular souvenir in mind and Radek was quick to convince me to go for it asap so that he could take photos for me to post.  Well Radek, here they are (and a big thank you too)...

The morning after the dinner (before going to SIHH), Radek and I had a quick breakfast at the hotel (Radek did.  I had the full course SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)) and rushed off to the Maison just a few steps away...(it was probably farther out but I swore I had wings on my feet)

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)


I think most of you already have an idea of the "souvenir" I had in mind...

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

(Okay, the special effects aren't exactly up to ILM standards, but hey, I'm not working with a Star Wars budget here eitherSIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer))

We were welcomed by the friendly boutique staff...

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

I had mentioned my plans to Mr. Bernaz during the dinner and he told me to look for Mr. Salvatore Latrofa, the Directeur Boutique.  I found out later from Mr. Torres (or was that Mr. Bernaz) that Mr. Latrofa had been with VC for more than 20 years (that's almost as old as I am)!  Anyway, aside from having such a nice sounding name (Salvatore vs. Kazumi...), the guy is also blessed with dashing good looks!  I'm glad I left the wife at home! 

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

Aside from the boutique models, we were also shown the last LE Chronometre Royal they had at the maison.  Radek was

all too glad to model it for us.  I must admit the red 12 o'clock adds just the right amount of accent....Classic!

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

40mm mavens in rose gold...

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

I must admit, the Contemporaine self-winding was quite a looker.  The date display at 6 o'clock (instead of the usual 3 o'clock position) was discrete and worked well, symmetry-wise.  Being able to view the breathtaking movement from the back was almost too hard to resist... But, my mind was made up (and my budget too). 

Since I already had the Jubilee (with a similar automatic movement and see-through caseback), I decided to go for the very slim and chic manual-winding model.  Now it was time to haggle...

I visually harrassed Mr. Latrofa with my Beatles' mop-top haido (courtesy of the strong winds outside), and dropped all the names I could think of ("Mr. Bernaz told me to look for you..", "I'm meeting Charlie today..", "Alex, the godfather, says hi!").

After exchanging some thoughts about where each one of us could "shove it",  we finally agreed on a price (Slick Italian vs. naive Japanese tourist...Guess who came out on top)

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

Same mop-top, but this time with a smirk of satisfaction... (thinking, "I sure showed him who's boss!")SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

 An even bigger smile on Salvatore's face...(thinking, "There's one born every day!!")SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

As a token of appreciation (which goes to show he came out from the haggling unscathed), Mr. Latrofa threw in a pochette for the watch and, more importantly, a nice scarf (Hermes pour Vacheron Constantin) for the boss back home!  My dear photographer even got a pair of his own too! (I should've haggled more)

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

(Got the teddy as a souvenir for my little daughter.  It was the only positive thing that came out of my Heathrow experience) 

All smiles!

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer) 

Kazumi: So Salvatore, was I your first (buying) customer today?
Salvatore: Yes, but I am expecting a customer who will be looking at some complicated pieces this afternoon.
Kazumi: Well, you just managed to sell a simple piece to a complicated customer.  You must be on a roll!
Salvatore: Haha, that's right.  Uhmm..didn't you guys have to leave already?... 

Needless to say Radek and I left in a very good mood.  I had been hoping to get this watch since it came out, and I thought to myself, what better way to get a Contemporaine Boutique Edition than at the Geneva Flagship Boutique and from the boutique manager himself!  I will never forget this fantastic experience. 

Thanks to everyone at VC, Alex, and all the Loungers I met last week!  Special thanks to Radek who, as you can see below,

really wanted to "shove it up someone's a_s" that morning.  I'm glad they let us in... 

SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)

Best Regards,


04/18/2008 - 20:57
04/18/2008 - 21:43
04/18/2008 - 22:19
04/19/2008 - 17:05
04/19/2008 - 07:50
04/19/2008 - 15:00
04/19/2008 - 16:18
04/19/2008 - 18:12
04/19/2008 - 19:54
04/20/2008 - 12:29
04/20/2008 - 18:36
Kazumi your the master of
04/18/2008 - 20:57

the commentary. Fun story and congrats on the watch.

Thank you Mario, you are too kind. (nt)
04/19/2008 - 16:51


An innocent question :-)
04/18/2008 - 21:43

Is Kazumi the guy with stripe necktie? Wow... he is definitely a good looking man Kazumi.. many thanks for sharing your story and experience. This is simply the funniest story I have ever read in a long time. Cheers, Teetann

Re: Is Kazumi the guy with strip necktie?
04/18/2008 - 22:13

Why, yes he is, Teetann...or at least that's what his wife was wishing!

Thanks for the kind words.  I'm glad you enjoyed.  Half the credit goes to Radek, though.  It would have been hard to take photos if he hadn't been around.



04/18/2008 - 22:19

Kazumi, you had to take Cronometre Royal and excape (to my home)!

So, thanks for pleasant reportage!


You should have told Radek while he had the CR on his wrist (nt)
04/19/2008 - 16:56


Your getting to good at thjis,
04/18/2008 - 23:27

Thanks for the laughs.

Thanks, JohnLy. Let me quit while I'm ahead...(nt)
04/19/2008 - 16:58


Kazumi, it was such a fun experience...
04/18/2008 - 23:37

And you made it look and sound so fun in your write-up, too!!! :-)))

I really didn't believe that Patek logo above the boutique's entrance door would come out clear. But there you have it. I know they were checking us out at the Patek boutique like we were from another world and that was so funny.  

Anyway, as I said before Mr. Salvatore Latrofa was wearing a Malte DTR WG that very day and we had a nice chat about the model. He made me realize yet again what a beautiful watch it really is...

Kazumi, thanks for all your too kind words. But you were, indeed, the Master of the Ceremony and I just documented it. Once again I want to thank you for that memorable and fun experience!

And congrats again on your VC beauty: may it only time happy moments for you... 

Thank YOU, Radek...
04/19/2008 - 17:02

Although getting the watch at THE boutiqe was such a good experience for me, being able to share this experience with someone who can understand how we WIS feel during those moments only heighten the excitement and add to the pleasure. 

I was glad that you were there to share in the fun!!  Hope we can do it again soon.  Next time I'll take the pics!

All the best,


Hope this moment comes along soon enough... ;-))) nt
04/20/2008 - 00:10

Congrats for this wonderful piece,
04/19/2008 - 00:51

and I imagine the great fun you got both during this story!

I hope we could share this next year...

Thank you so much Patrice
04/19/2008 - 17:05

It was too bad you and Doc were not around.  That would have been such a treat!

Yes, I hope we can meet up in the near future.

Re: SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)
04/19/2008 - 04:50

LOL! Very funny; my very favorite is the last pic, and instant classic.

Congratulation on your purchase.

Thanks. I think Radek's expression said it all! (nt)
04/19/2008 - 17:07


Nice watch!
04/19/2008 - 07:50


Thanks for sharing your experience.  LOL  Great choice of watch also.

My pleasure. Since my pics were all oversized...
04/19/2008 - 17:12

it took about 2 to 3 minutes to upload each one and I ended up spending about two hours for each report.  But as I told my wife, since the experience was only made possible because of Alex and the Lounge, the very least I could do was to share the experience with the other loungers by posting. 

I am glad that so many seemed to enjoy.  Makes the effort all worth while.

Would have been my choice too, congrats ! nt
04/19/2008 - 11:32


Great minds think alike?! Hahaha...(nt)
04/19/2008 - 17:13


Great story Kazumi
04/19/2008 - 15:00

...I think we already have our winner for best VC story for next year HL's anniversary

Thanks also to Radek for all the money shots!

Pretty cool of VC to give you the Hermes scarfes for the ladies...

I should have you as an adviser, Francois
04/19/2008 - 17:17

Now you made me feel like the producer who released his prized movie right AFTER the Oscars!

Anyway, I think I got to take home so many prizes already (not to mention my wife too).

If you wish, I can send you my hourly rates.. ;-)
04/19/2008 - 19:16

not sure on what I could advise The Great Kazumi, though...

Re: SIHH 2008, final - the Souvenirs (modem killer)
04/19/2008 - 15:22

Congratulations, my friend,

It looked gorgeous in person. The photos don't do it justice at all!

Wear it in good health!


Re: The photos don't do it justice at all!
04/19/2008 - 17:22

You said it Joseph.  Especially not MY photos!

After wearing my Jubilee, Toledo, and OS, the Contemporaine feels so light and comfortable you hardly notice its on your wrist!

I have never read andything as witty! Brilliant and it was like
04/19/2008 - 15:31

being with you

I'm putting this in the recommended threads section its so good.

Thanks Radek for the photos and wow you guys like living dangerously with your VC bags in front of the PP boutique

I agree, great job Kazumi and beautiful boutique piece! nt
04/19/2008 - 15:35


Thanks on both counts. (nk)
04/19/2008 - 17:49


That would be such an honor. Thank you so much Alex
04/19/2008 - 17:48

As I said in my earlier response to Jim Elliot's comment, I owe this unforgettable experience to you and the Hour Lounge (VC) so I just tried to repay the Lounge by posting my experiences in the hope of encouraging more people to participate in the Lounge and its future activities (and bring out a chuckle or two in the process).

Don't worry Alex, even though you were busy during all that time, "the Force" was with me everywhere I went (and it still is, mon ami).

As for me and Radek...well Alex, those VC bags actually made their way all around the PP boutique.  Of course we probably would've been kicked out if we tried to take more pictures INSIDE the boutique.  They probably sprinkled salt to excorsize the boutique after we left.

BTW, thanks for that most flattering photo (I hope you don't mind if I use as my own).

All the best,


100% agree with Alex, this should go in the recoomended threads!
04/19/2008 - 19:18


What a great experience!
04/19/2008 - 16:18

I can really feel your excitement in your post. Congratulations on your new treasure Kazumi, this watch is a real stunner... Wear it in the best of health!



Thanks, Vernon. I had such a great time at SIHH and with VC that
04/19/2008 - 17:54

I actually regretted having went to Baselworld in midstream.  The atmosphere (and cuisine!) at SIHH was so much better than at Baselworld that if I had things to do all over again, I would just stay at SIHH and Geneva for the entire week.

Best Regards,


LOL Kazumi!
04/19/2008 - 18:12

What a funny narative and I am glad you finally bought the same handsome watch I got myself last year. Omedetou! Yoku dekitane  

Arigatou, Rei-san
04/19/2008 - 19:54

Yes, I FINALLY got my hands on it.  What's more, being able to get it when and where I got it adds so much to the experience.  Everytime I look at this watch, I will always be reminded of the events of last week!

It is such a fun to read your report. Congratulations, Kazumi
04/19/2008 - 20:47

I must say you really enjoyed your hunt for the piece.

To bargain with Italian, you must draw your samurai sword and put it on the table.



I couldn't get my sword past airport security...(nt).
04/20/2008 - 17:12


Kazumi-san, really a great classic and I must say
04/19/2008 - 22:00

your candor and narrative had me laughing out loud, really excellent tale and looking forward to your next trip! You rock.

Best regards,


Thanks, Tim. Its back to the grind for me though (nt)
04/20/2008 - 17:11


What a wonderful "souvenir" 2008, I wish you the same type for the
04/20/2008 - 00:41

next SIHH

Thank you for the kind wishes Lin, but I don't think..
04/20/2008 - 07:49

Thank you for the kind wishes Lin.  It would be nice to have a similar experience and souvenire again in 2009, but I do not think my wife and daughter would enjoy living on rice and salt for another year...

Nice Souvenirs ...
04/20/2008 - 12:29

Thanks Radek for your funny report!

Great souvenir
04/20/2008 - 18:36

and great writeup Kazumi. You lost on the haggling but you gained in the pleasant experience of buying from the boutique