General's passion doesn't cost an arm and a leg
INDONESIAN military commander Moeldoko claimed on Wednesday that a luxury watch he wore during an interview in Singapore was a knockoff, and even threw it on the floor in front of journalists.
He also said he buys fake watches only to satisfy his curiosity about watch technology.
General Moeldoko is in the spotlight following a Channel News Asia report last week on the naming of a warship after two Indonesian marines who bombed MacDonald House in Singapore in 1965.
During the TV interview, he wore what looked like a limited-edition Richard Mille timepiece that caught the eye of watch fanciers in Singapore.
The first report about Gen Moeldoko's luxury watch appeared on Singapore-based lifestyle website themillenary.com.
In a photo that accompanies the article, the general was seen wearing a Richard Mille RM 011 Felipe Massa Flyback Chronograph "Black Kite" during his interview.
The 30-piece limited-edition watch for North and South American retailers is priced at around US$100,000 (S$126,000).
Another website, mothership.sg, posted photographs of Gen Moeldoko wearing four expensive watches on separate occasions.
These included watches from IWC and Audemars Piguet, which go for at least US$12,000 each, the website said.
But the general claimed that his watches were not the real deal.
He later went on to explain the philosophical value of his passion for luxury watches.
"A country can move forward if it is innovative. Every time I look at this watch, it reminds me of innovation. So, I don't mean to show off," he said while displaying his Richard Mille watch to reporters.
"In the market, this watch could fetch more than 1 billion rupiah (S$108,000), but I bought it for only 5 million," Gen Moeldoko said after a meeting with the Philippines' armed forces chief, Emmanuel Bautista, in Jakarta on Wednesday.
When asked whether his watch was an original, Gen Moeldoko allowed scores of journalists to take a closer look at the watch and said: "Do you think this is an original?"
One of the reporters said: "But this looks heavy, sir". To which Gen Moeldoko responded by throwing the watch on the floor.
As his aide picked up the watch, which apparently remained intact, he left the building with a chuckle.
Gen Moeldoko, a former army chief of staff, was sworn in as the chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces in August last year.
Prior to the promotion, he had a total combined wealth of 32 billion rupiah and US$450,000, including 10 plots of land and a cattle farm.
Reports in Singapore said that Gen Moeldoko issued an apology for naming a warship Usman-Harun. It was named after Usman Haji Muhammad Ali and Harun Said, the two Indonesian marines who were executed in 1968 for the deadly bombing during Indonesia's confrontation with the Federation of Malaysia, of which Singapore was then a part.
Gen Moeldoko later said he did not apologise, explaining that during the interview he was expressing his regret that the name was final and would not be changed.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK