Watch Hunting in Bangkok: Jatujak Weekend Market
Bangkok, July 7th 2002
Luckily Tommy T.S. was in town and so I had two guides to Jatujak Market. Tommy T.S. seems to know all the owners of the watch shops in the second hand section and Khun Bud, who introduced me to watchmaker Khun Prayong just last Friday knows most of the owners at the new items section. Tommy is scanning the offerings of Jatujak around once a month and Khun Bud is at Jatujak Market every weekend because many shop owners there are his insurance customers. So I had the best possible guides for my trip to Jatujak and was looking forward to some interesting yet exhausting browsing. Because there is no aircon at this market and there are thousands of people walking and standing. The photographer of the picture below (picture from http://idea-shop.hypermart.net, a website that contains many great pictures of Bangkok) must have chosen a very good moment, because normally you just see people, people and more people...
There are hundreds of stalls in different sections, the passage ways between the shops are about 1.5 wide and it is a rather exhausting experience, because you will need most energy watching your steps. But this is a very good thing about Thailand. Nobody will push, it is really a quite unique experience, but here, even it is very crowded, people will not push and everybody respects the other's private sphere, even you do not feel that would be really existing at Jatujak :-)
Tommy guided us through watch land with IFR
precision, he really knows his way around there. And he also seems to have last
month's inventory stored in his brain, because I have never seen anybody scanning vitrines and shelves quicker then him. Before I got an overview, he had already
focused and found the interesting pieces.
We found a couple of very interesting watches, but the prices were quite high this weekend. I almost bought a Citizen Cosmotron, an electric watch which was in acceptable condition, but Tommy found it was too expensive. I have to walk many times there to get his kind of proficiency.
After scanning many watch shops and meeting other watch hunters, we finally left the Jatujak Area and walked to Saphan Kwai (Buffalo Bridge) which is about 200 meters away. They call this the "junk" area but sometimes you can find interesting watches at better prices there. Just before we had met, Tommy had found a Zenith Pilot, presumably a German Air force issued watch. And I should get lucky too, of course I have to fully credit Tommy for those finds. I had also spotted the Seiko Hi-Beat, but without Tommy's hint, I would have overlooked that Hamilton Micro Rotor Buren Automatic.
Hamilton Micro Rotor Buren Automatic, 10K Gold filled bezel
Tommy thinks that this watch had a dial refurbishment, he said that T SWISS T would not make much sense on this American watch and that those watches normally carried the inscription Thin-O-Matic. I will have to check on that later.
Another view of the beauty, you will soon see why I call it a beauty :-)
This is another thing I had learned from Tommy at our first WIS meeting in Bangkok: to use a clump of BlueTac poster sticking material to open a watch case. Please note that if the case back is firmly screwed in, this method will not work. but since most sellers are aware that the buyers might want to see the movements, the case backs normally do not sit that tight.
Just put the BlueTac on the case back and turn ...
Hamilton Micro Rotor Buren Movement, Seiko Hi-Beat Movement, more about that later
Another advantage of this method is, that the case back is nicely tucked to the sticky ball and allows you a very easy positioning for a shot of the inner case back.
My first Micro Rotor Movement! Tommy's micro rotor affection might proved to be contagious :-)
A close-up of the micro rotor. Micro rotor movements are thinner automatic movments because the rotor is not overlapping the movement and thus not adding to movement height. Also note the Incabloc shock protection of the oscillating balance wheel
Thanks to the micro rotor, the watch's height can be reduced
And here is the back of the Hamilton, I think the watch is in pretty good shape for being almost 50 years old
And this should not have been the only find of this Sunday afternoon in the Jatujak Market area, please click below, to read on.
Go to Part II