Dear Patek forum members, It is with great PLEASURE 😊, after much (self-imposed) PRESSURE 🤪, that I provide the first of hopefully a series...

Mar 14, 2021,09:20 AM

of stories based on interviews with cbb and her family members about her family’s horological journeys, starting with her father’s (Chamnong Bhirombhakdi, a renowned  Patek collectors worldwide).  The purposes of these stories are to understand more about what Khun (a polite way to address a person in Thai language) Chamnong was like as an individual, what created & drove his passion for watches, what was his collection like, and how his horological passion impacted his next generations.

Background information before we begin: With the popularity of posts by cbb, whose full name for her handle is “cbb in honor of Chamnong Bhirombhakdi”, I felt the need to get deeper into the stories behind Khun Chamnong in order to share his passion and collection with the forum.  Given potential privacy concerns, initially I was hesitant to approach cbb with my suggestion.  When I did broach the idea with her, cbb was very gracious and agreed to be interviewed. Furthermore, she convinced her brother (Khun Nick) to join so that more stories and accurate information could be provided!  Kudos to cbb and Khun Nick for being so generous with their time & family stories and for reviewing my posts for accuracy!

Worldwide Khun Chamnong was known as a passionate Patek fan with an amazing and sizeable collection.  Generally he enjoyed collecting all the metals for certain references and loved minute repeaters.  Furthermore, he was often double-wristed.  Although we do not know the actual number of watches in his collection,  SIZE, in this case, is NOT the most important matter because his passion and appreciation for Patek were unsurpassed.  However, what was his first watch, which was his first Patek, and why did he like watches?  To understand his collection, first let’s learn more about him and the Bhirombhakdi family. 

Bhirombhakdi is a prominent family in Thailand because Khun Chamnong’s father started Singha beer and built the first beer factory there in 1930’s.  Prior to that, beer was imported and was expensive for the Thai general public.  His father, an entrepreneur in the transportation business, was introduced to beer in his late 50s and subsequently the business idea of a Thai made beer was “brewed” up.  Upon “retirement” from the transportation business, his father spent six months in Europe visiting breweries and farms for sourcing raw materials for what became Singha beer.  Eventually the consumers in Thailand (a country with four seasons of hot, hotter, a lot hotter and hottest weather) would enjoy affordable and great tasting beer to cool down! 

Singh beer started out and remains to this day as a family business.  As the youngest in the family, Khun Chamnong had to be educated in the UK first before he could join and worked his way up the ladder during the late 1950s.  Eventually he headed up the financial side of the business.

Ever since a young age, he learned the virtue of punctuality in life and business, and his personal and family motto was grounded in this quality.  Hence, a watch was important for him so that he could always be punctual, and being on-time was a key factor that drove his passion for timepieces.  While a teenager in high school, his father gave him his first watch, an Omega, and this piece officially started his journey! 

As a side story: Unfortunately I was late by 5 minutes for the video interview due to some technical difficulties encountered.  Both cbb (while on the road) and Khun Nick were punctually waiting for me.  I hereby formally apologize to them both for my lateness.  Darn, I should have worn my Patek that day ! 

Interesting during the late 70s/early 80s when the digital age boomed, he loved electronic gadgets, especially digital watches.   His son Khun Nick, who was studying in the US then, was asked to buy him a Pulsar watch from Tiffany in New York.   Hence before Patek, he had digital watches from Seiko, Citizen and other brands.  

Only in his 40s did he felt the need for a Patek as he wanted more serious timepieces.  Since he was not a big person, he had small wrists and did not like to wear big Rolex sports watches even though this brand was very popular in Asia and amongst his business network.  Hence, he began eyeing classic and classy Patek watches that were smaller and more suitable for him.

Surprisingly, his first Patek was obtained NOT from an AD, but from a TRADE with his friend in mid 70s   Apparently his friend was provided with a Patek as a gift, but he told Khun Chamnong that he preferred a Rolex instead.  As a smart businessman, he simply bought a Rolex and then traded it for the Patek.  This watch carries the reference number 2594J and became his first love with Patek.  

Even though he was part of a very successfully family business, Khun Chamnong had to worked through the ranks and was careful in his watch spending in the 60’s to early 80’s.  Khun Nick recalled that when they were visiting Hong Kong for several days in the early 80s, his father saw at a Piaget quartz watch housed in a square case at a shop and wanted it badly.   Holding off the immediate urge, he actually went back to the shop every day for several days to ensure that he really like the watch before purchasing it eventually. 

Starting with his first Patek 2594J and after mid 80s, his Patek journey began in earnest and became fast and furious! 😇

Some of his early Patek trophies were the 3940s, Patek 150th anniversary pieces and others (can you name them?).    

What do you think of Khun Chamnong’s journey so far?  Where did he go into the 90s and beyond ?  More stories and photos of his journey and collection to come soon hopefully with the generous contributions from cbb and her family members !

Double-twisted☝️and display cases for his collection☝️ 

His first watch ☝️ 

Khun Nick got him this digital watch ☝️ from NY

What a beautiful first Patek ☝️

Took him 3 days to decide on this Piaget ☝️

What is the reference number ? ☝️ 

What is the reference number ? ☝️ 

Pair of 3940s ☝️ 


150th anniversary limited editions ☝️

More posts: 25943940calatravagrand complications

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Comments: view entire thread


Great information...

 By: mdg : March 14th, 2021-09:30
...if one has wealth, I can think of few better things to spend it on than watches (charity being another), of course). Also, very nice to know that the 'kids' are passionate as well...this is not always the case : )

Thanks ! Glad you like the information !

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:05
The fact that I did not write about charity does not mean he was not charitable, correct ?

I'm sure he was and the family continues to be...

 By: mdg : March 14th, 2021-11:00
...I just didn't want my comment to seem like buying material things is the only good use for great wealth...

Charity was a very big part

 By: cbb in honor of Chamnong Bhirombhakdi : March 16th, 2021-06:36
My father was a very sensitive & caring man. Until after he could provide for his family, friends, giving back to society by giving to various charities did he decided to enjoy his life. Hope this helps you understand him.

He sounds like a really good guy and you are very lucky to have him as a father...

 By: mdg : March 16th, 2021-09:39
...My 92yo father is still around and doing great. You might appreciate that when he eats at his favorite Thai restaurant in Northern California, he always orders a Singha beer : ) Also, I looked at the website, and for those who haven't seen it, there is... 

I will be an avid reader of these posts!

 By: M4 : March 14th, 2021-09:33
Cbb's watch collection has been a point of interest from early on. The story behind the collection promises to be intriguing. Thank you for doing us all this service. M4

Thanks M4 for your...

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:05
strong support !

hopefully cbb and her family have...

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:06
time soon for another round of interviews !

you are...

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:06
most welcome nacelle !

Incredible. Thanks for sharing.

 By: MichaelC : March 14th, 2021-09:47
I'll need to try that beer one day!

Singha beer is ...

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:07
popular !

Thanks Fab ! I will ...

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:08
do my best to continue the sequel !

Very interesting...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : March 14th, 2021-09:49
My thanks to the family.

it has been...

 By: GLau : March 14th, 2021-10:08
intriguing for me too !

Very exciting Gordon, I look forward to reading the posts.

 By: Jay (Eire) : March 14th, 2021-10:06
And thank you CBB and your family for sharing this passion here.

Excellent and great post , already looking forward to read more .

 By: Watchonthewrists : March 14th, 2021-11:19
Its so fascinating to read about someone’s journey into this crazy hobby.

Thanks, please give us...

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-07:33
some time.

Thank you for pulling back the curtain on such an important collection to give us an opportunity to see these beautiful pieces!

 By: BigAppleBill : March 14th, 2021-11:58
Also I’m very happy to know that my affinity for Singha beer has been helping (in some small way) to support the hobby I share a passion for. It’s a win-win!

Now BigAppleBill you MUST...

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:21
drink more Singha, especially when you are browsing through WPS !

Thank you Glau and CBB

 By: Wristenthusiast : March 14th, 2021-12:01
These posts are wonderful. The story of family and the journey of the collection. If anyone deserves an authentic family photo as a PP advertisement with the “ you never own a Patek..” line, it would be of CBB and her family. Can’t wait to read more. Obse... 

You are welcome Roger ! Your kind comments ...

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:25
made it worthwhile to write the post !

Thank you G. Very interesting and always lovely seeing such passion.

 By: Miles_151 : March 14th, 2021-12:09
Especially for the brand we all love. Had I have been as fortunate in my career I would have probably done exactly the same and surrounded myself with what makes me happy. Loved family and exceptional watches. I can personally think of no better way to en... 

Thanks M for the kind words !

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:26
Pressure is now on for the next posts !

Sure is.

 By: Miles_151 : March 18th, 2021-10:32
Look forward to it. M.

Glad you had a great read !

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:29
Hopefully the next ones can just be as interesting.

Can’t wait for the next Chapter...

 By: Patekfinity : March 14th, 2021-12:14
Great article and I do not agree with mdg in referencing charity work with Kun Chamnong’s passion for watches...after all Gordon this thread and story is about his collection of watches. I’m sure most individuals of wealth such as Kun Chamnong’s stature h... 

Hi TheCollector1688, very happy that you enjoyed the article !

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:40
Will ask cbb about whether Khun Chamnong collected vintage Pateks. I was also pleasantly surprised to see a Pulsar with a Tiffany stamp ! cbb and Khun Nick poisoned me with that photo !


 By: john c : March 14th, 2021-13:48
Thanks for this post. Always great to hear from CBB.

Hi john c, hang...

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:40
tight for more to come !

you are welcome Patrick ! cbb and Khun Nick were very...

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:41
generous in sharing their time, stories and photos !

And I thank them and you for your time!

 By: patrick_y : March 18th, 2021-10:17
Very cool interview! Maybe in a year or two we can have an Encore!

Thank you for taking the time

 By: Tchela1 : March 14th, 2021-14:12
To write this informative article, and also to the interviewees!

you are welcome Tchela1 !

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:42
More to come !

Thank you

 By: ns23 : March 14th, 2021-15:34
this is very interesting! Enjoyed reading it...

You are welcome ns23 and glad that...

 By: GLau : March 18th, 2021-08:44
you had an interesting read !

Thank you Gordon for this introduction

 By: cazalea : March 14th, 2021-17:04
I am doing an interview with a great collector next week and your questions have given me some leads on how to ask him about his thinking, and where he got his start. And I really have appreciated cbb and her contributions over the past few years. Cazalea... 

Hi Cazalea, you are welcome and I ...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:08
look forward to reading about the interview to be conducted by you !

This will be an absolutely amazing story.

 By: Gelato Monster : March 14th, 2021-17:05
Thank you GLau, CBB and Nick Looking forward to learning about the endeavor, the passion and Khun Bhirombhakdi .

Scary yet exciting😁

 By: Gelato Monster : March 20th, 2021-06:05

Thank you for writing this up and sharing the stories.

 By: gup502 : March 14th, 2021-17:24
It is always fascinating to read stories behind watches, regardless of the wealth of the owners. It is however more interesting to read about a brand like Patek.

You are welcome and happy that you had a good read !

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:10
Hope we can repeat another interesting post soon.

Very true

 By: Gelato Monster : March 14th, 2021-22:18

Ref 1526 above the pair of 3940s.

 By: U3O8 : March 14th, 2021-19:44
CBB has mentioned in a previous post that her father acquired it in a trade for a Rolex. When I read that I thought it was the greatest trade ever.

Yes, trading a Rolex for the 2594J was a...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:14
smart deal for his first Patek !

Charming collection. Passion fulfilled. 😊👍

 By: geross : March 14th, 2021-22:01
Thanks for sharing Gordon. Cheers. 🥃 Geross.

you are welcome geross ! Glad that cbb provided a photo of Khun Chamnong with ...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:16
some Singha beer, similar to what you like to post with watches !

Could not resists

 By: Dauster : September 12th, 2023-03:39
And had to take a picture during yesterday’s lunch ...  

Thanks for your photo ! I showed it to cbb and she was

 By: GLau : September 14th, 2023-16:05
very happy 😃 for your support !

Here is what I sent to cbb from my

 By: GLau : September 16th, 2023-14:37
BBQ 🍗! ...  

cbb will likely prefer seeing a

 By: GLau : September 19th, 2023-18:32
Singha beer in my hand than a Patek on my wrist !

Fair enough :)

 By: Dauster : September 20th, 2023-23:46
I'd like to see both

Wow!! Fantastic review!

 By: Watcholic_id : March 14th, 2021-22:28
Thank you very much for taking your time to do all the efforts. Bravo! Can't wait for the next articles

the travel time is Ref. n°: 5034R-001

 By: patrickh : March 15th, 2021-03:52
here is a link to a 1999 model for sale ;-) [commercial links not allowed -- Thank you! ;-)] You have a Great selection of watches. Congrats

Excellent post - I look forward to the next chapter!

 By: w220 : March 15th, 2021-05:07
Happy to see that Khun Chamnong and I have one thing in common: Both of us got an Omega from our father as our first "real" watch!

Thank you and great to hear about ...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:18
the Omega as your first watch !

Thanks Justin and you are piling on the...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:20
pressure for the next one with "baited breath" !


 By: holdemchamp1225 : March 20th, 2021-13:34

what a lovely read G!

 By: keks : March 15th, 2021-12:40
thank you for making the effort and sharing this lovely story! Throughly enjoyed reading! Puts perspectives in so many ways!

yes, there will be more in...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:21
due course !

thanks Monopole !

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:22

Thanks Gordan for preparing such a great read as usual.

 By: Huei : March 15th, 2021-21:47
Lots of thoughts have gone into this and it is so interesting to learn more about such a great PP collector. Looking forward to have more upcoming series.

You are welcome Huei and kind comments...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:23
like yours make it worthwhile !

yes, for me, I ...

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:23
also want to find out more !


 By: DDM : March 16th, 2021-16:45
Lovely to read this history and see a stunning collection. Thanks to all involved for sharing and will look forward to further instalments!

you are welcome DDM !

 By: GLau : March 20th, 2021-03:23
More to come.

Always a joy and privilege

 By: GirlAndHerWatches : March 17th, 2021-12:31
to learn and read about. Thank you Gordon, CBB and family.

You are welcome Erik !

 By: GLau : March 21st, 2021-07:36
Glad you had a good read !

Thanks Henry for your kind comments! I will do my...

 By: GLau : March 23rd, 2021-09:48
best to write another post ASAP !

Please do!

 By: alwoo888 : March 26th, 2021-23:33
Looking forward to this. Such a different theme from the usual focus on the watches or makers themselves. Thanks for the effort, Gordon, and thanks also to the family for their willingness to share!

Fantastic post!

 By: Horology_Ancienne : March 29th, 2021-19:09
Hope we will see more instalments!

It starts with Omega

 By: Weems@8 : March 29th, 2021-21:06
I recognize that Omega is a starting point to the watch collecting journey. Equal i feel the need to get a Piaget. Trophies and collecting, i recognize all.

Great that you recognize all ! Previously did you know about the...

 By: GLau : March 30th, 2021-09:09
existence of the Tiffany pulsar watch ?


 By: Weems@8 : March 30th, 2021-12:12
the Tiffany pulsar i did’t know. But the Patek Caltrava Tiffany i know, and the furniture. The subject of famous jewelers watch editions. Wempe, Bucherer.

Hi Abel, thank you for your kind comments !

 By: GLau : April 4th, 2021-12:40
Your encouragement is highly appreciated !

Hi Abel, I will do my very best to make the ...

 By: GLau : April 5th, 2021-06:24
next post even more interesting ! 💪

I’m sure you will GLau!! Look forward to read it!!

 By: Subexplorer : April 5th, 2021-08:31
Have a nice week ahead! Abel

Thank you so much Gordon!

 By: Marc M : July 9th, 2021-03:56
This is a great article of a truly passionate watch collector. I have never been interested by the value of a collection (you know me now!) but by the persons behind, both in the manufactures (the creators) and the one wearing them, appreciated them. Ulti... 

Hi Marc, thanks for your kind comments !

 By: GLau : July 10th, 2021-15:46
Glad you liked the post !

Great work Gordon. Thank you for taking the time to give us an insight into the world of a true Patek collector.

 By: Miles_151 : July 9th, 2021-07:29
Fantastic family and business values are clear to see. A collector who clearly had an unprecedented Passion for Patek Philippe and who clearly bought what he loved and what gave him the most pleasure. A lovely story about his first Patek. I am so looking ... 

Hi M, you are most welcome !

 By: GLau : July 10th, 2021-15:48
Hopefully more to come soon !

Very interesting read....

 By: cmclee : July 10th, 2021-02:03
.. and thanks for sharing. I always love to read these stories about how and why people collect Patek watches. Looking forward to the next story..

You are welcome !

 By: GLau : July 10th, 2021-15:53
More to come soon hopefully!

I have no idea how I managed to miss this amazing post till now.

 By: Rhyzen : July 10th, 2021-07:23
Kudos to the Bhirombhakdi family for generously sharing such intimate details of its amazing fascination and affinity with horology, and of course to Gordon for making this possible for the Purist community. Two thumbs up! Eagerly awaiting other posts und... 

No worries ! Glad that

 By: GLau : July 10th, 2021-15:53
you now have read the post !

Glad that you like this post. Pressure is now

 By: GLau : August 7th, 2023-17:31
on for the next one ! 😅

For WPS members, sharing is

 By: GLau : August 10th, 2023-12:00
caring ! 😃

Great read! Thank you for the effort and glad the family made this happen as well :)

 By: @lberti : August 8th, 2023-14:46
While drinking a SINGHA, i thought to myself: "you only need an omega actually to be punctual " ! Lovely collection so far. Looking forward to part "2" and please be on time as you're representing WPS here hehehehehe ! Thanks again mate

Glad you liked the post !

 By: GLau : August 10th, 2023-12:01
Hopefully more to come 💪

Remarkable that Khun Chamnong started with . . .

 By: Dr No : December 2nd, 2023-17:58
. . . an Omega, corroborating the adage, "From acorns, mighty oaks." What a wonderful story, Gordon. I hope there's another chapter or three to share. Impressed, Art

Thank you Art for your encouraging comments !

 By: GLau : December 11th, 2023-17:12
Same here, I also hope there will be more to share