Eric Peng Cheng, an A++ watch collector and the founding father of streetwear retailers Bait and Undefeated, was having fun with his dinner at a swanky restaurant in Taiwan when he first obtained wind one thing humorous was occurring with the Kokies toys he made for beloved indie watchmaker F.P. Journe. (Kokies are Cheng’s line of big-headed character collectible figurines.)
The toy set in query: two vinyl figures of the watchmaker François-Paul Journe, one in every of him unwrinkled and younger in the beginning of his profession and the opposite, hair grayed, exhibiting him within the current. The set additionally got here with seven miniature F.P. Journe watches that Cheng insisted also have a little crystal over the dial for authenticity. Cheng promoted the set, which retailed for $500, solely by way of his Instagram.
However whereas Cheng was at that dinner in Taiwan, a set of his toys was on the block at Christie’s most up-to-date Geneva public sale in early November. Adam Golden, the founding father of Menta Watches, was within the room, and despatched Cheng an image of the display displaying bidding for the FPJ toys. The worth proven was $10,000, and Cheng assumed that was closing. “I mentioned, ‘Oh, shit, that is loopy that somebody paid that for a determine I made,’” Cheng tells me. Then, he put his cellphone away and loved the remainder of his dinner. Later that evening, he realized that he’d solely seen the half of it—that, after a battle between a half-dozen bidders, the set bought for a brain-melting 25,200 Swiss francs (roughly $27,000).
Mockingly, Cheng initially supposed the toys to function a straightforward level of entry for F.P. Journe followers, who are sometimes on the skin trying in. “Due to the value level, due to the small manufacturing, it is very arduous for brand new folks to get into the model,” he says. The Kokies have been imagined to get FPJ “to a wider viewers, even when they can’t get a bit straight away,” Cheng provides.
Nevertheless it turned out that his Kokies possessed each ingredient wanted to set the secondary market aflame. They have been produced in restricted numbers, supplied at first solely to FPJ’s internal circle of shoppers, and appealed to a really passionate fan base. “It’s a actually collectible merchandise,” Cheng says. All of which is to say: the Kokies are a really humorous—however very becoming, and really 2022—successor to clock-embedded pens and watch-shaped cufflinks. The collectible figurines enchantment to look at collectors, but additionally to a brand new technology coming into the interest, one populated by of us who’ve grown up with sneaker hysteria and streetwear as the most well-liked mode of gown.
Cheng clearly understands the enchantment of things like these, and the continuity between Nineteen Thirties watch collectibles and their 2022 iteration. At the latest spherical of auctions in New York final week, The prolific collector wound up bidding on only a single merchandise: an Audemars Piguet cash clip.
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