04 Feb '11, 4am

Watches, not gold bars, now hint at new status in China

HONG KONG - A MEASURE of any Asian businessman is the time he keeps and, far more importantly, the watch he wears to mark it. A handshake can be soft or firm but will likely soon be followed by a glance to the wrist to see the watch wrapped around it, especially in China. A heavy slab of gold could be a marker that the person is from an inland city. A more expensive, understated watch could be a sign that they're from the coastal cities of Shanghai, Shenzhen or Beijing. New money, in Chinese terms, versus old. Around 10 or 15 years ago, the coastal cities would also just go for gold; a chunky watch with a meaty gold strap, says watch enthusiast Harry Qin. 'In Asia, probably more than in Europe or North America, a watch is something that can hint at the status,' the Shanghai private equity investor, who has a US$250,000 (S$318,462) collection of 18 timepieces, told AFP. 'Bu...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Asia/Story/STISt...

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