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Have You Got the Time?

June 28, 2018


We all recognize that is an arcane expression in today’s world as all but a few percentage points of today’s world population either wear a watch or carry a cell phone. Accordingly, most anyone could respond with the time though their response would depend on their willingness to take the time to look. As we will just focus on watches, have you ever wondered about the fixation on expensive and often massive watches or chronometers as they are often called? The definition of a chronometer is “an instrument for measuring time especially one designed to keep accurate time in spite of motion or variations in temperature, humidity and air pressure.” In today’s world, translate chronometer to mean “expensive watch,” since most any watch meets those requirements.

Perhaps the most expensive watch in the world, absent rare metals and diamonds, is the Patek Philippe 5208 Triple Complication in Platinum which is shown below. It sells for $1,230,000 and illustrates the firm’s advertising slogan that “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”


Now you should know that the author puts his money where his watch is and that is the elegant but more affordable Armitron which can be purchased at Walmart for $15 including tax.


As the Armitron pretty much does everything its very distant neighbor in price above does, it has one drawback and that is it takes a digital youngster to set the time. As one often travels in different time zones, the answer is multiple watches left in each respective time zone. When you check in the hotel abroad, one hands over the passport and requests their $15 watch which has been securely locked in the hotel safe during one’s absence.

Even a lesser watch than the Patek Phillipe would leave well over a $1,000,000 to enhance the lives of several generations of more needy individuals rather than advertise one’s wealth on your wrist. Moreover, often such advertisements can be hazardous to one’s health or even livelihood if they might present a suspicion of ill-gotten income.

For a considerable period of time, counting the watches of a particular member of Government and estimating their cost captured the attention of the media of Thailand. The media focused on a cherubic looking chap by the name of General Prawit Wongsuwon, who happens to be the First Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and Minister of Defense. The chronometer count topped out at 25 different and very expensive watches.


Moreover, he has never concealed his penchant for watches from the Prime Minister who seems to have much simpler tastes.


The above watch is apparently the Patek Phillipe which was noted at the beginning. His list of watches was said to include eleven Rolexes, eight Patek Phillipe, three Richard Mille, two Audemars Piguet and one A. Lange & Sohne. There is nothing improper about having a collection of such watches but none of them were declared in his government wealth filings and it is not understandable how he could have acquired them on a military salary. His response has been that they were loaned to him by friends which seemed to be accepted after some six months. He has now returned to the forefront becoming quite visible as spokesperson for the Prime Minister since the watch media alert and possible corruption questions have dimmed into the past.

Moreover, First Deputy Prime Minister Prawit has dealt with all questions regarding the long-awaited parliamentary elections which he maintains will be held February 2019. As the upper torso image illustrates, there is no attempt to showcase any watch that he might be wearing.


Further, as reported in the Bangkok Post, he recently met with Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado who heads a Senate Sub-committee on International Cybersecurity Policy. As shown below, Senator Gardner’s large chronometer is quite visible while the time piece of First Deputy Prime Minister Prawit is partially hidden by his shirt cuff. Thai tailors can quite easily craft shirt cuffs that can conceal the largest of watches.


During their meeting, First Deputy Prime Minister Prawit said relations had improved with the United States. It was clear that the Obama administration took a dim view of the coup some four years ago when former General Prawit became First Deputy Prime Minister.  However, the current administration seems more concerned about Cybersecurity than elections. Bear in mind, the author is uncomfortable when the United States lectures other countries regarding democratic elections and their form of government. We all remember how the Arab Spring turned out. Influence from the United States should be directed to human rights abuse rather than form of government.

In fact, the current U.S. administration seems to be focused on making new friends such as North Korea while abandoning older ones such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Mexico. On the other hand, the U.S. was at war with several of these countries one or two centuries ago and they are now receiving the cold shoulder regarding tariffs on their goods imported into the U.S. Who knows whether there will be future tariffs on the import of Swiss watches? Perhaps we should seek the advice of U.S. Senator Gardner as he seems to be a “watch” kind of guy with an eye also on cybersecurity.




 
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