September 21, 2019
I have a cool Henry Sy, Jr. story. I want to pass this from a good watch buyer of mine from around 12 years ago. So I sell vintage and other watches on my spare time. I started in 2007 specializing in Citizen automatic chronographs with the 8110 and 8100 movements. These were sought after and special, beating at 28,800 beats per hour near chronometer grade. That means they are precise. The 8110 was the fourth automatic chronograph movement made in the world in 1970 after Zenith/Movado’s El Primero (30,000 bph), Seiko’s 6139 movement and Heuer/Buler’s Caliber 11 movement, all in 1969.
Anyway, I have a buyer for one of my 8110s in the aviator style version with the rotating inner bezel. I personally delivered it to him in his home in swanky Valle Verde. He came out nice and happy to see me, and of course, the watch which he held it like a treasure which it was. After paying, we had a nice chit-chat. He asked me where I worked, and I replied that I work in Makati in a financial consultancy firm specializing in distressed assets. I asked him where he works, and he sort of cautiously replied that he has five Zagu kiosks in separate metro malls.
Subconsciously, the cash register in my head automatically ran, and I knew the guy was raking it in. He was surprised that I thought that was cool because not much people think he has accomplished something great. One of them was his father-in-law who criticized his lifestyle and thinks he has to work in a Makati or BGC office like his wife. He wears jeans and stays mostly at home if he is not out checking on his kiosks. When he still had two or three Zagu kiosks, his father-in-law pressed him to go on a job interview with his big boss in SM, Big Boy.
Big Boy is Henry Sy, Jr., son of the greatest rock star in Philippine business (if you’re not from the Philippines, just click on the links). Coincidentally, my mom also called me her Big Boy which made me cringe every time so let’s just call Henry Sy, Jr. as HSJ. To his father-in-law’s insistence, my buyer wore a suit and went on the job interview to explore possibilities but mostly to please his wife’s dad. He came in, sat down, and HSJ asked him his background and what he is currently doing with his life. He said he has two Zagu kiosks. HSJ immediately said, “Then what are you doing here?”
My buyer was surprised to see HSJ baffled. HSJ also said that they have a space at the MoA for a Zagu kiosk. “I think it’s outside; do you want that?” That probably became his third Zagu kiosk. HSJ thought that it was best for him to grow his small business. When they were done, HSJ asked, “Oh by the way, you don’t happen to know how to transport chickens from the north to the metro do you?” “There is a chicken glut up north, and we can probably get a good supply of them. I just don’t know if people here can consume them regularly.”
My buyer was perplexed, and seeing that he was, HSJ said never mind and thanked him for coming. My buyer was relieved and humored at his father-in-law’s reaction at the story when he asked him if he got the job. Soon, my buyer expanded to five kiosks, and I don’t know what happened to him since then. That chicken glut opportunity was also probably been solved by Injap as Mang Inasal just grew so fast that Jollibee had to offer to buy them. Also a couple of years after selling the 8110, I left my job and built Corpecon Research. I also met HSJ in some SM analysts briefings after stockholders’ meetings.
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