Share on:

Julian Ong collects luxury watches that document milestones in horology

His collection includes the first-generation Freak by Ulysse Nardin and the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Remontoir d'Egalite, one of the first creations by independent watchmaker F.P. Journe.

i) PERSONAL HISTORY

“When I was a kid, my uncle worked in the watch industry, so he used to give me watches, like Casios. The first watch I got from my parents was a Carven, when I finished my A levels. Subsequently, at important stages of my life, I would buy a watch to reward myself. I got my first mechanical watch – a Glashutte Original Sixties Senator Square Chronograph – when I qualified as a specialist in 2006.”

 

ii) WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A TIMEPIECE

“There’s usually history involved in what I buy. It has to have horological significance. For example, the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Remontoir d’Egalite was among the first watches made by (independent watchmaker) F.P. Journe. Aesthetics are also important. I tend towards classical styles, although I have some avant-garde ones, such as the Urwerk UR-105. I also look at the technicality and finishing of the movement.”

(Related: 5 luxury watch trends defining haute horlogerie in 2018 and 2019)

iii) BUYING GUIDE

“The Datograph movement by A. Lange & Sohne is considered one of the most important chronograph movements of the modern era. It’s a beautiful movement with a lot of depth. This version, in rose gold with a black dial, is commonly termed the Dufourgraph, because it’s the same as the one owned by (independent watchmaker) Philippe Dufour, who said that the Datograph is the best chronograph. I can’t afford to buy a Dufour, but I can buy what he owns. (Laughs.)”

(Left to right): A. Lange & Sohne Datograph, Ulysse Nardin Freak 1.0, Urwerk UR-105 Raging Gold, Lang & Heyne Georg & F.P. Journe Tourbillon Remontoir D’Egalite

iv) THE TIME I FREAK-ED OUT

“I bought this first-generation Freak by Ulysse Nardin from a friend who was looking to sell it. I had been waiting for such a piece to come by. I like it because it’s innovative and there’s so much to look at. It’s essentially a one-hour tourbillon because the entire movement completes one rotation every hour. Also, it runs on rails around the case; the winding mechanism is the entire caseback; and the time is set by turning the bezel. It’s quite different from a typical watch.”

 

v) MY MOST WATCH-NERDY HABIT

“My favourite complication is the moonphase. I think it’s the most romantic complication out there. Whenever I wear a moonphase watch, I make sure it’s correctly set. I set the moonphase by checking it against the (moonphase setting tool of the) Watchville app.”

(RELATED: Watch collector Paul Cheong favours diverse brands and unique time displays)

PeakMonogram