A veterinary studies undergraduate at the University of Sydney, Jackie Tan was first bitten by the horology bug in 2018, when he visited a friend in Thailand. Says the 24-year-old, “My friend’s dad is a watch collector. He showed me his collection and shared the stories behind his watches. He hopes to pass them to his son one day. I found it intriguing, and thought that it would be cool if I could also get my dad interested.”
After that trip, Jackie began diving deeper into watches and bought himself timepieces such as the Tudor Black Bay Dark with money he had saved from part-time jobs. However, it was only last May, when the pandemic led to his return to Singapore in the middle of his studies, that he and his dad Tan Kwang Chin, a businessman in the pet industry, got serious about watches.
With a laugh, Jackie says, “We’ve never had similar hobbies. For example, I enjoy fishing and he hates it. But watches are something we can talk about over dinner. I research the watches we are interested in and show him photos and videos of them online.”
Since then, they have built a collection comprising brands such as Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. While they both love sports models, like the Rolex Daytona, their tastes have diverged as they progress in their watch-buying journey. His simple taste in clothing notwithstanding, the older Tan enjoys flashy, gem-set timepieces such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with rainbow sapphires set in the iconic bezel and a beautiful pave diamond dial. Jackie has recently found himself drawn to smaller, classic watches, such as the 37mm Vacheron Constantin Les Historiques Chronograph in yellow gold and the vintage-inspired Audemars Piguet Remaster01.
Says Tan senior, “To me, watches are worth the investment because of the craftsmanship and time that goes into making them. Now, collecting is also a bonding activity I can share with my son.”