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Why watch collector Winston Kwang favours indie watchmakers

What started as a casual hobby has evolved into an appreciation for unique timepieces that aren't necessarily from big names in the horological world.

i) HOW I WENT FROM CASUAL TO COMMITTED

“I was a very casual buyer for much of my working life. I’d just buy watches that looked nice and were popular. I got into serious watch collecting about three years ago, when I came across the Purists (watch enthusiasts’) forum and got interested in the brands I didn’t normally see, with wonderful finishing and handiwork.”

 

ii) WHY CONSISTENCY MATTERS

“With regard to movements, my first love was chronographs. Now I’m more into how watchmakers make timekeeping more consistent, using mechanisms like constant force and resonance. It’s just different. I feel that horology is not just about big complications. I have two such watches coming soon, the Armin Strom Mirrored Force Resonance, and the Gronefeld 1941 Remontoire.”

 

iii) WHY I’M MOVING TOWARDS INDIE NAMES

“I like to buy watches from people who are passionate about their work. My latest watches are mostly by independents. A brand I like is Lang & Heyne. It launched the Georg watch at Baselworld last year, and the moment I saw pictures of it I fell in love with it: The movement is amazing and I like the enamel dial. I e-mailed them to express my interest, and they were coming to Singapore so they offered to meet up. (A few Purists members and I) did a photo shoot of their watches for the forum.”

(RELATED: Indie watchmakers thrive)

 

iv) HOW BIG BRANDS CAN KEEP THEIR CLIENTS CLOSE

“The 13.21 movement of the Montblanc Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe was customised for me by Montblanc watchmaker Julien Miribel. Movements by (Montblanc’s movement maker) Minerva are famous for a few things – a big, low-frequency balance wheel, a V-shaped chronograph bridge, and the Minerva arrow. On mine, the column wheel is flame-blued, and the arrow is mirror-polished. This is also one of my favourites because of its enamel dial. It’s not easy for all the colours to come out so nicely on an enamel dial.”

(RELATED: Why Swiss luxury watchmakers need to woo millennials in the digital space – and soon)

 

v) MY MOST WATCH-NERDY HABIT

“I don’t buy watches with the same movement. If you tell me there’s a 13.21 movement in another watch, I won’t buy it. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have a watch in different colours, but with the same movement. To me, it’s still the same watch.”

Top to bottom: A. Lange & Sohne Datograph Up/Down, H. Moser Endeavour Small Seconds, Lang & Heyne Georg, Laurent Ferrier Montre Ecole, Montblanc Villeret 1858 Vintage Pulsographe

(RELATED: Julian Ong collects luxury watches that document milestones in horology)

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