AFTER A LONG HECTIC DAY at work, Hendi Widodo finds peace and relaxation by looking at his impressive collection of watches and sneakers, which he’s been amassing for approximately two decades.
Years ago, when he spotted a Richard Mille chronograph in ivory rose gold, he fell instantly in love with its elegant design and complexity mechanism. Soon after, he began collecting his first few Richard Mille pieces, followed by Patek Philippe models.
“I believe in good taste. The clothes and watches you wear, and the things you decorate your home with, are a reflection of who you are,” says the managing director of an Indonesian shipping company, who also manages his family-owned private investment holding.
“I don’t follow trends. I rely on my instinct to select the things I surround myself with. I look for the story behind them and read as much as I can before making my purchasing decisions.”
His watch collection today includes the Richard Mille RM65-01 automatic split-seconds chronograph, which features some of the most complex mechanisms to be invented by the luxury watch company. For instance, it has a pusher at 8 o’clock that allows the barrel to be fully reset without having to wind the crown.
He also has a Patek Philippe 5990 Nautilus travel time chronograph in rose-gold, which comes with push-button time travel and two-zone AM/PM indicators.
Occasionally, to spice up his outfit, he turns to his Richard Mille RM 020 manual winding tourbillon pocket watch in white gold, a chic rectangular-cased accessory with a 10-day power reserve: “It’s quirky and unusual. It takes me back to the glamour of past eras when men wore pocket watches and travelled in horse carriages.”
Beside watches, Mr Widodo also has a passion for streetwear. As a teenager, he used to carefully browse Japanese fashion magazines in bookstores, studying the hoodies, jeans and sneakers worn by the denizens of Harajuku. Even though he didn’t understand Japanese, the images were enough to convince him that streetwear would one day take the world by storm.
“Back when I started collecting streetwear, much of the culture was underground. It was hard to get the sneakers I wanted. And I certainly couldn’t get them in Singapore. So I often had to fly to Hong Kong to look for the designs I wanted. Or I had to get a Japanese translator to help me buy things on Yahoo! Japan Auction and and other sites.”
Today, almost every luxury label has embarked on collaborations with sportswear or streetwear brands. These “high-low” collaborations have made hoodies, jeans and sneakers – once thought to be anything but luxurious – a staple of high fashion. Indeed, social media platforms have only made these objects more coveted.
Mr Widodo’s collection of sneakers ranges from Nike Dunk SB Low Heineken (purchased in 2003) all the way to more recent hard-to-get models such as Adidas Human Race NMD Pharrell x Chanel (purchased in 2017).
He also has streetwear from cult brands such as Sacai, Visvim and Chrome Hearts, as well as quirky limited-edition collectibles including Chanel tennis rackets and a Louis Vuitton custom-made cup.
“It’s much easier to purchase sneakers and clothing these days. The younger generations can get the sneakers they want on sites like StockX and Grailed with one click of the mouse… All in all, it makes me happy to see how much street culture has grown globally.”
CUSTODIAN OF OBJECTS
Once a purchase is made, Mr Widodo takes pains to ensure that the object stays in good condition. He sees himself not just as an owner, but also a custodian for posterity.
He says: “I want to keep these objects in great condition simply because I admire the beauty of their designs. Someday, I want to be able to share these objects with my children.”
To this end, Mr Widodo maintains his possessions in climate-controlled rooms and cleans or services them regularly. Most white sneakers tend to turn yellow after some years. But his sneakers retain their pristine appearance even though he wears them out occasionally.
“Good design is soulful. Well-made products are timeless. I feel a strong connection with these products and I take pride in being knowledgeable about them.”
This article was originally published in Business Times.