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Dr Gerald Tan on his commissioned MB&F Starfleet Machine clock

Dental surgery and high watchmaking both involve science, technology and a delicate touch – similarities that drew this collector to the world of haute horlogerie.

I PREFER INDEPENDENT WATCHMAKERS

“I like watchmakers who aren’t mainstream and who make interesting pieces. I’ve made lots of new friends with my Devon Tread One because people can’t figure out what it is. I’ve had random people walk up to me and say, hey, that’s a really unique watch. It sparks conversation and curiosity, a new friend is made, and if they become interested in mechanical watchmaking, I introduce them to watch interest groups.”

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I’M A TINKERER

“When I was doing my national service, I got myself a Casio G-Shock and painted it to match the pixelated pattern of my uniform. I got a special rubber-adhering paint from a hobby shop, dismantled the case, dipped the case and the straps in primer and then painted it by hand. It took three weeks. The pixels have long since faded but I still wear this watch for reservist training, for tumbling around on the beach or hiking. I still really love this watch.”

TOP OF MY WISH LIST

“I’m eyeing the MB&F HM6 Alien Nation but I’m also working hard to get the Vianney Halter Deep Space Tourbillon. I’ve always been a fan of science fiction, as well as Halter’s obsession with perfection. At a quarter of a million dollars, the Deep Space Tourbillon is currently a little out of my budget, so it’s my Holy Grail. When I finally get it, I’ll stop buying watches.”

ON MY COMMISSIONED MB&F ‘STARFLEET MACHINE’ CLOCK

“When I started Elite Dental Group four years ago, I asked my friend and watch mentor Dr Bernard Cheong for advice to make it unique. He said the waiting area should be a reflection of me. So, when he introduced me to Maximilian Busser, I asked if Busser could create a Starfleet Machine just for me. It’s laser-engraved with the name of my dental group and has a bronze plaque addressed to me and signed by Busser. When my clients see it, I hope they perceive its owner as someone who is as much an artist as he is a dental surgeon, craftsman and mechanical engineer.”

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WHY I BUY WATCHES

“Some watches, like the Apple Watch I wear to work every day, are for telling the time. And other watches I wear to remind myself that the time doesn’t really matter. It reminds me to slow down, to take a breather, and to enjoy the fruit of my labour. My first ‘serious’ watch was the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Extreme World Chronograph. After graduating, I worked hard for five years to save up enough to get it. It’s a diver’s watch but I’ve never worn it on a dive. I’ve always liked chronographs and watches that have a lot going on, on the dial.”

MY TOP THREE TIMEPIECES

  • Casio G Shock

    “The tank” – Casio G-Shock G-79001A

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