Share on:

This watch collector bought a $200,000 timepiece behind his wife’s back

Andrew Tay, director of Sennett Battery, highlights a few prized pieces from his collection.

SOLID START
“Back in the ‘80s, when I was a teenager, my father gave me my first luxury watch – a simple steel Rolex 6694. I only wore it a few times because it felt way too flashy for my age. It was after I received my commission as an officer of the Singapore Armed Forces in 1991 that I bought my first Swiss watch, a Tag Heuer 3000 series model. It still occupies a special place in my drawer.”

(Related: Fragment Design’s Hiroshi Fujiwara on his Bulgari watch collaboration: “I wanted to do something different”)

SHIFTING TASTES
“I used to like big watches – 44mm and above – by brands such as Hublot and Panerai. However, as I got older, I appreciated smaller ones by brands such as Patek Philippe and Rolex. Around 2006, I had an epiphany while at a watch gathering where I noticed the MB&F HM3 (Horological Machine 3) my friend had on. It had such a unique design and sophisticated craftsmanship. That’s when I started getting into niche brands such as MB&F and Urwerk. In 2012, I bought the HM3 Star Cruiser my friend had, except mine is rose gold and his, white gold.”

ARMY DAYS
“I did 27 years of national service, 14 of which were voluntary. It was enjoyable because of the close friendships I formed in the army. Plus, it’s my duty to my country. I bought the Urwerk UR-105 CT Kryptonite (pictured) after I returned from a military overseas exercise a few years ago. It was the toughest in-camp training I had ever experienced, so I wanted to buy something special to remember this milestone. I like that the watch has a different way of telling time with its wandering satellite hours.”

(Related: TAG Heuer taps on Ryan Gosling to launch the latest generation of Carrera timepieces)

HEY MICKEY
“Gerald Genta’s Retro Fantasy pieces, featuring Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, jumping hours and a retrograde minute display, first came out in the ’90s. I liked them, but their prices were above my budget then. Now, I have three models that I bought from dealers, and I’m always on the lookout for more, as long as the prices are reasonable. When I wear them, some people ask, ‘Why are you wearing a cartoon watch?’ I tell them, ‘Hello, it’s a serious watch.’”

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF TAY’S COLLECTION


  • UNIQUE

    MB&F HM9 “Flow” (Road Edition) in red gold

IN THE FLOW
“My favourite brand is MB&F. I own a few watches. The HM9 Flow (pictured) is my favourite. When MB&F released the HM9 in 2018, I immediately fell in love with its automotive- and aircraft-inspired design. I bought it last year after the circuit breaker, but I didn’t dare tell my wife because she had said earlier that it was too expensive, and that I shouldn’t buy it. So, after getting the watch, I did not wear it for one year and four months. I finally owned up recently, and she actually wasn’t angry because she knew I loved it. Take note: it’s not a good idea to buy a watch that costs more than $200,000 behind your wife’s back.”

(Related: Enamel painting elevates the latest offerings of venerable watch houses)