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Adrian Ong on why he buys some watches in pairs

The founder of lighting specialist E-Lume shares about the time Jackie Chan sold him on a watch.

Going with the flow

“My tastes can be quite random. I have a rather large Patek Philippe, Rolex and Audemars Piguet collection, but sometimes different things capture my heart because of their design. For example, I have a Devon Tread 1, which has a belt-based mechanism and is charged by induction. Two watches that I like, that are unusual for me, are Hermes’ new moonphase watch (Arceau L’heure de la Lune) and the Ulysse Nardin Freak X.”

 

Why I keep some watches away from my wife

“I buy watches for my wife, Michelle. But she also wears some of my watches, like the Hublot Big Bang and a Rolex Daytona. What I don’t like is that she wears watches with a lot of jewellery – her right arm is full of Cartier Love bracelets – and they scratch the watches. So, I don’t take my Rolex GMT-Master II ‘Root Beer’ home because I think she wants to hijack that as well. (Laughs.)”

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The time Jackie Chan sold me a watch

“My first Richard Mille watch was an RM10; I bought it before the brand became so popular. I like RM’s design because it’s flamboyant and different. Some time after I got my RM10, I was at a Formula One party. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Mille and (Richard Mille ambassador) Jackie Chan that evening, and we were chatting about watches. They were very convincing, and Chan told me: ‘It’s a very good watch, you should get it.’ You don’t get to talk to big stars like that every day, and the whole atmosphere probably sucked me in. I got my RM11 Felipe Massa the following week.”

 

On getting the sought-after Patek Nautilus Ref. 5711

“I got my 5711 five years ago. I did have to wait a bit for the watch to arrive, but sometimes I’m quite lucky. When you support a dealer a lot, they tend to give you priority or access to some of their special pieces. So, I support them when it comes to other pieces that may not be as popular, or I’ll take my mum to them if she likes a certain watch. My dealers will never force me to buy something I don’t like; I’ll still buy watches I like. But of course, there are some watches you like more than others. (Laughs.)”

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Twice as nice

“I have two pieces of a few watches, including the Rolex GMT- Master II ‘Batman’ and the Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’. I haven’t worn them yet, because I have so many watches. They are still wrapped in plastic, unworn and untouched. I buy them to collect. I don’t sell my watches. I sometimes take them out to look at them, and wind and shake them. I see them as appreciating assets, like art pieces.”

 

Three watches that best represent my collection

  • Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref 5711

    “Elegant” - Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711 in steel

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