Collapse of cryptocurrency value drives Arab collectors of second-hand luxury watches to look elsewhere

Collapse of cryptocurrency value drives Arab collectors of second-hand luxury watches to look elsewhere
Popular among wealthy Arab, Russian and Chinese clients, the market for luxury watches has not always been on the decline. 
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Updated 12 July 2022

Collapse of cryptocurrency value drives Arab collectors of second-hand luxury watches to look elsewhere

Collapse of cryptocurrency value drives Arab collectors of second-hand luxury watches to look elsewhere
  • The second-hand watches market is the first luxury goods sector to witness the impact of cryptocurrency collapse

LONDON: Reports revealed last week that the prices of some of the most sought-after luxury watches have plunged in second-hand markets due to a collapse in cryptocurrency value.

The second-hand watches market, which includes popular brands like Rolex and Philippe Patek, is the first luxury goods sector to witness the impact of cryptocurrency collapse, and it is unlikely to be the last. 

Higher interest rates, sky-rocketing inflation and the absence of Chinese and Russian buyers due to lockdowns and the conflict in Ukraine have brought the demand down, causing prices to drop by an estimated 25 percent.

Popular among wealthy Arab, Russian and Chinese clients, the market for luxury watches has not always been on the decline. 

In fact, soaring global demands for second-hand luxury goods, including handbags, designer sneakers and fine jewelry, were previously bolstered by a mix of cryptocurrency and stock-market gains, stimulus cash and speculation.

Rampant inflation and the war in Ukraine also contributed to their appeal, as buyers sought to invest in alternative assets, including non-fungible tokens and luxury watches.

In addition, a new generation of buyers driven by ethical consumerism entered the market for the first time, which further contributed to the spike in demand for some of the most well-known models like the Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

Today, the appetite for genuinely rare pieces, as opposed to those that are perceived as scarce, remains high, which benefits Arab collectors whose demand for these rare timepieces makes the items desirable and highly collectible.

However, buyers are becoming more cautious, and the market for second-hand luxury watches is taking a hit, which could see Arab watch collectors and new buyers shift toward NFTs.

So far, the demand for new watches is stable and the primary markets are holding strong. Recent events in the secondary market for luxury watches, however, are a stark reminder that the boom may not last.


World’s oldest recorded tortoise Jonathan prepares for 190th birthday party

World’s oldest recorded tortoise Jonathan prepares for 190th birthday party
Updated 03 December 2022

World’s oldest recorded tortoise Jonathan prepares for 190th birthday party

World’s oldest recorded tortoise Jonathan prepares for 190th birthday party
  • Despite his advanced years, he is also partial to a female tortoise called Emma, who is merely in her 50s

LONDON: He was born not long after Napoleon died, and is now officially the planet’s oldest known living land animal.
Jonathan the Seychelles Giant Tortoise is celebrating his 190th birthday — more or less — on St. Helena in the remote South Atlantic, where the defeated French emperor died in exile in 1821.
Jonathan, it is believed based on shell measurements, was hatched around 1832, and he was brought to the UK overseas territory from the Seychelles 50 years later.

In this file photo taken on October 20, 2017, Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise, believed to be the oldest reptile living on earth, crawls through the lawn of the Plantation House, the United Kingdom Governor official residence in Saint Helena, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. (AFP)

He lives out a comfortable retirement in Plantation House, the official residence of the St. Helena governor, where his birthday is being marked with events all weekend including the issuance of a special stamp.
The celebration climaxes Sunday with a “birthday cake” made out of Jonathan’s favorite foods.
He is particularly partial to carrots, lettuce, cucumber, apples and pears, according to his handlers interviewed by AFP in 2017.
Despite his advanced years, he is also partial to a female tortoise called Emma, who is merely in her 50s.
“He still enjoys the ladies and I have heard him quite regularly in the paddock with Emma and he grunts,” then-governor Lisa Phillips said at the time.
“I have to keep an eye on him when he is doing that — it was not in the job description when I became governor.”
At the start of this year, Jonathan was given the Guinness World Records title as the world’s oldest living land animal, and this month was also named as the oldest tortoise ever.
“When you think, if he was hatched in 1832 — the Georgian era — my goodness, the changes in the world,” said Joe Hollins, a retired veterinarian who is Jonathan’s main carer today.
“The world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the many governors, kings and queens that have passed, it’s quite extraordinary,” he said.
“And he’s just been here, enjoying himself.”
While they hope for many more years, St. Helena authorities have already made plans for the venerable chelonian’s eventual demise: his shell will be preserved for posterity.

 


Mexican football fan dons Qatari attire, pranks TV reporter

Updated 02 December 2022

Mexican football fan dons Qatari attire, pranks TV reporter

Mexican football fan dons Qatari attire, pranks TV reporter
  • The football fan interrupted a live broadcast at the FIFA Wold Cup to pull his prank

LONDON: A Mexican football fan was caught on camera pranking a TV correspondent by pretending to be a Qatar security staff member at the FIFA World Cup.

The footage showed the fan, clad in a Qatari thobe and ghutra, interrupting the live broadcast of the Chilean TV channel Canal 13, claiming that he was a security officer and that filming in the location required a permit.

This prompted the reporter to argue that he was authorized to work in the area, with the football fan indulging in his performance until finally saying “Viva Mexico,” revealing — to the journalist’s relief — that he was pulling a prank.


Google marks 51st UAE National Day with Doodle

Google marks 51st UAE National Day with Doodle
Updated 02 December 2022

Google marks 51st UAE National Day with Doodle

Google marks 51st UAE National Day with Doodle
  • UAE National Day is celebrated on December 2 each year

DUBAI: Red, green and black fireworks and an animated four-colored flag are featured in Google’s latest Doodle to celebrate the UAE’s 51st founding anniversary.

“Today’s Doodle celebrates United Arab Emirates National Day. On this day in 1971, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Al-Ain, Sharjah and Umm Al-Quwain united to form one country. Ras Al Khaimah, the seventh emirate, joined the following year to complete what is now known as the United Arab Emirates,” Google said.

UAE National Day is celebrated on December 2 each year.

“Celebrations kick off with an exhilarating show at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Thousands of people gather to watch orchestras, musicians, and aerobatic displays. After national leaders give speeches to honor the country’s founding fathers, fireworks splash across the Abu Dhabi skyline as festivities carry into the night,” Google explained.

The UAE’s national flag was officially adopted in 1971, featuring the Pan-Arab colors – a vertical red line with horizontal green, white and black stripes. It was designed by then 19-year-old Abdullah Mohammed Al-Maainah, who beat more than 1,030 entries submitted as part of a nationwide contest for the UAE flag design.


German pundit mocks Qatari traditional dress, calling the thobe a ‘bathrobe’

German pundit mocks Qatari traditional dress, calling the thobe a ‘bathrobe’
Updated 30 November 2022

German pundit mocks Qatari traditional dress, calling the thobe a ‘bathrobe’

German pundit mocks Qatari traditional dress, calling the thobe a ‘bathrobe’
  • Wagner was referring to the thobe, a garment worn in many parts of the world, including the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and North Africa

LONDON: German pundit Sandro Wagner mocked the Qatari national dress, calling the thobes “bathrobes” on Sunday while commentating on the World Cup match between Spain and Germany, a remark Twitter users found to be “racist.”

Wagner apologized on Monday, describing his disparaging remark as “ill-considered” in a tweet shared by ZDF on Monday, which came after the German TV channel faced backlash from social media users.

“It was an ill-considered saying with an inappropriate remark that I would be better off not saying. If anyone felt offended — sorry, that was zero point, zero my intention,” the former Germany striker said in the tweet.

Wagner, 35, said in the 79th minute of the Monday evening game: “I thought before that the whole corner (of the stadium) was full of German fans. Then I realized it was the Qatari bathrobes.”

In his comment, Wagner was referring to the thobe, a garment worn in many parts of the world, including the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East and North Africa.

ZDF commented on Wagner’s demeanor, saying his remark “occurred during an emotional phase of the game” and confirming that it was unacceptable: “He’s not permitted (to say that). We’ll talk about it.”

The German broadcasting company said Wagner will face no further consequences, confirming he will be commentating Wednesday’s match between Poland and Argentina.

People expressed frustration over Wagner’s “racist” remark. One Twitter user said, “This World Cup has put European racism under a spotlight where it can’t hide,” while another commented that “the only reason Sandro Wagner still has a job is because ZDF is just as racist as Wagner.”


Bad abbot: Thai temple left empty after monks fail drug tests

Bad abbot: Thai temple left empty after monks fail drug tests
Updated 30 November 2022

Bad abbot: Thai temple left empty after monks fail drug tests

Bad abbot: Thai temple left empty after monks fail drug tests
  • Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flooding in from Myanmar’s troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

BANGKOK: A Buddhist temple in central Thailand has been left without monks after all its holy men failed drug tests and were defrocked, a local official said Tuesday.
Four monks including an abbot at a temple in Phetchabun province’s Bung Sam Phan district tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday, district official Boonlert Thintapthai told AFP.
The monks have been sent to a health clinic to undergo drug rehabilitation, the official said.
“The temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making,” he said.
Merit-making involves worshippers donating food to monks as a good deed.
Boonlert said more monks will be sent to the temple to allow villagers to practice their religious obligations.
Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flooding in from Myanmar’s troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
On the street, pills sell for less than 20 baht (around $0.50).
Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record meth seizures in recent years.