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Looking back at The Peak’s watch enthusiasts of 2019

The fans of horology we've interviewed this year share their favourite moments, timepieces, and wish lists.

Ho Kok Sen, Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

  • HO KOK SEN ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON
    Ho Kok Sen, oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Favourite buy

A Tag Heuer Connected Modular watch. I’ve always had a soft spot for Tag Heuer watches; my first “luxury” sports watch was a Tag Heuer that I bought with my army pay just before I completed National Service. I like big watches and this model has a 45mm diameter. I like it primarily for its functionality and design.

Top horological moments

Temporal rather than horological, because time is a luxury money cannot buy. I treasure every moment of time with family, friends and loved ones.

Dream Christmas gift

Since it’s a dream one, I might as well wish for the best. I have never owned an Hublot and since I do own a Ferrari, I wish for an Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari. There are only 50 pieces of this limited-edition watch.

(Related: For surgeon and watch collector Dr Ho Kok Sen, it’s go big or go home)

Adrian Ong, Founder of E-lume

  • ADRIAN ONG FOUNDER OF E-LUME
    Adrian Ong, founder of E-lume

Favourite buy

The H. Moser & Cie Endeavour Centre Seconds Concept Blue Lagoon. I love the mesmerising fume dial, the perfect case finishing and also how this watch is so under the radar.

Top horological moments

One was definitely the Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition. It was amazing to travel through time and experience the history of Patek Philippe. The other was a Zenith workshop where I had the hands-on experience of putting together a Zenith movement. It inspired me to get the Zenith Defy Inventor, which should be arriving this month.

Dream Christmas gift

Where do I start? Number one would be the Patek Philippe Nautilus Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5740, which I have been waiting for, for quite some time. The other amazing piece would be the MB&F HM6 Space Pirate – its design is out of this world.

(Related: Adrian Ong on why he buys some watches in pairs)

Lui Ee Min, Insurance broker

  • Lui Ee Min
    Lui Ee Min, insurance broker

Favourite buy

The Parmigiani Kalpagraphe Chronometre. I had been wanting to add a complication piece to my collection, and this has an in-house integrated chronograph – not just a modular add-on to a base calibre. I initially thought it wouldn’t fi t my wrist as it’s quite a hefty piece, but its teardrop lugs help it to hug my wrist nicely. Also, its blue dial and rose gold combination won it a place in my heart and collection.

Top horological moments

My first visit to (the Genevan watch fair) SIHH in January. I got to view various novelties up close, like the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat, with its revolutionary dual-oscillator technology. Following that, I also enjoyed visiting the Chopard private museum at its Genevan manufacture, where I was brought through the history of Chopard. I got to see the vintage first edition of the LUC Quattro, which was cool because I own the current edition.

Dream Christmas gift

I would be very charmed by one of Aaron Becsei’s handmade creations. His Dignitas Pure time-only model is a showcase of engraving and finishing at the highest level.

(Related: Lui Ee Min’s classic watch collection)

Hosan Swee, Sales director

  • Horology watch collectors-04
    Hosan Swee, sales director

Favourite buy

My Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra-Thin Ref. 15202 which I bought for my 30th birthday. If I owned only one watch, it would be this Royal Oak.

Top horological moment

That would be getting my 15202. I was on my way to have lunch when I saw it in the window of a secondhand shop. It’s very unusual to see this for resale in Singapore, because people who buy it rarely want to sell it.

Dream Christmas gift

The new Audemars Piguet Selfwinding Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin, because it’s quite different from the other Royal Oaks with its non-engraved dial, and it’s a record-breaking 6.3mm thin. Or the MB&F Legacy Machine Perpetual – I like the vision of [brand founder] Max Busser. He’s a dreamer and so am I.

 

Kwok Kin Fei, Project director

  • Kwok Kin Fei, Project director
    Kwok Kin Fei, project director

Favourite buy

A vintage piece that I got for my girlfriend, a Vacheron Constantin Ref. 2096 “TV watch” with a tiger’s eye dial. My good friend, Tom Chng [founder of the Singapore Watch Club], spotted this piece for sale and alerted me to it. It was likely made in the ’70s, a period that most watch enthusiasts would know was when the “quartz crisis” took place, and this interested me. I got it for my girlfriend because she likes tiger’s eye.

Top horological moments

This has been an amazing year, as I got to meet several key players in the industry. They include Christian Selmoni, the heritage and style director of Vacheron Constantin; Jean-Claude Biver, non-executive president of the LVMH watch division; Audemars Piguet CEO Francois-Henry Bennahmias; and Patek Philippe museum curator Peter Friess. I’m grateful for the sessions I had with them; they gave me valuable insights into horology, and also inspired me with their stories of overcoming challenges.

Dream Christmas gift

I’m eyeing a few vintage and neovintage pieces myself, but if there are no limits, my dream watch would be the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar Openworked in black ceramic.

(Related: Age is just a number for these young watch fans)

 

Simon Toh, Sales director

  • Simon Toh
    Simon Toh, sales director

Favourite buy

That has to be my A. Lange & Sohne Datograph, although it is still too early to conclusively say that it’s my favourite since there is still time till the end of the year. I’d been searching for this Datograph for many years, and I’m extremely glad that I finally found this preowned piece in May that met my needs – recently serviced, not polished, on a strap with a deployant buckle.

Top horological moment

Visiting the Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand exhibition was a highlight. To get up close and personal with so many classic timepieces, and to meet and speak with the artisans, was nothing short of inspiring.

Dream Christmas gift

The MB&F Legacy Machine 101 in platinum. I’ve been meaning to add this to my small but growing independent watch brand collection. I’m captivated by the distinct dial design, uniquely positioned balance wheel and outsize domed crystal – all packed in a nifty 40mm case. Now, where can I find the Santa who can secure me a piece before the turn of the year?

 

Leo Lim, Private investor

  • Talking time Leo Lim
    Leo Lim, private investor

Favourite buy

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut Chronograph Ref. 5968A. I like the fact that it is chunkier and has more presence on the wrist as compared to the regular Aquanaut 5167. The orange details on its dial, and its orange strap make it striking. It was perfect for me, as I was looking for a watch with a bit of colour, as most of my collection comprised serious-looking watches.

Top horological moment

The Patek Philippe Watch Art Grand Exhibition was amazing; I had been looking forward to it since it was announced a couple of years ago. The amount of history showcased was astonishing. There were enamel pieces made in the 1800s that were still in pristine condition, and that blew my mind. I visited the exhibition a number of times and on each visit, I learnt something new about watchmaking and the brand. There were artisans present too, and it was eye-opening to watch them engrave a case or do enamelling on the dial.

Dream Christmas gift

After witnessing the artisans at work, I would love an enamelled or marquetry-dial piece by Patek.

 

Chester Lau, Project manager

  • Chester Lau Talking Time
    Chester Lau, project manager

Favourite buy

The IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Rattrapante Ref. 3751- 03 Jubilee edition in platinum. It’s a 24-year-old watch, but still works like a charm. I moved to the US for work in July, and I found this through a dealer here. It features the perpetual calendar module designed by Kurt Klaus, and the split-seconds module designed by Richard Habring. It’s also rumoured to be the last model by the brand designed using hand drawings, and not CAD software.

Top horological moment

There’s an IWC craze going on in my office because of my colleague and I. In our opinion, IWC watches from the ’90s are so underrated today. The brand then had some of the best and most important people – like the aforementioned watchmakers – working on some amazing pieces.

Dream Christmas gift

If I’m dreaming, the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Ref. 2499 in platinum. Yes – cue laughter. [Ed’s note: Only two platinum Ref. 2499s were made. One of them is in Patek’s own collection, and the other was bought by Eric Clapton in 1989. In 2012, Clapton’s watch was sold at auction for 3.44 million Swiss francs, or S$4.73 million.]

(Related: The Savvy Watch Collector: Where You Should Store Your Luxury Timepieces)