Cham Gee Len

Starting young

“There’s a photo of me at three years old, and I’m wearing a watch. I asked my mum if she and my dad had bought it for me and made me wear it. She said, ‘No, we passed a watch shop and you refused to leave until we bought it for you.’ I’ve always been into watches. During primary school, when we were at shopping centres, I would hang out at the watch shops and tell my parents: ‘Go get your groceries first. You can come and pick me up later.’”


Haute-ing up

“I studied economics at the University College London in the late ’90s. That was when I really became interested in fine watches. I would pass these jewellery and watch shops in Old Bond Street, and I’d be looking through the windows. The shop that most caught my eye was Cartier because I liked the finishing of its watches. When I graduated, I bought myself my first serious watch – a Cartier Panthere in steel.”

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In the family

“One of the watches I brought along today is a hand-wound Omega De Ville from the 1970s. It used to belong to my mum. She gave it to me 10 years ago, after having it refurbished. I have a photo of her carrying me as a baby, and wearing this watch. I usually wear it for evening occasions, like when I attend SSO concerts.”


Lange love

“I’ve known since 2006 that I would one day get an A. Lange & Sohne watch. After working in investment banking for a couple of years, I went to business school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I was on my way home from the US when I saw a Lange 1 watch in a store window, and fell in love its clean, asymmetrical style. But I had no money to buy watches then because business school was really expensive (laughs). Last October, I saw this Saxonia Annual Calendar (pictured) at the Lange boutique. I bought it because I’d been wanting an annual calendar – and because I had been waiting for a Lange for 13 years.”


Female focus

“The way many watchmakers create ladies’ watches is rather lazy. They often take a men’s watch, make it smaller and slap diamonds on it. While I like my Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet, I’m aware that it’s a masculine watch every time I wear it. I wouldn’t pair with it with a dress unless it was very casual. A good example of a feminine watch that isn’t a cop-out is the Audemars Piguet Millenary. I don’t have a Millenary yet because most have diamonds, and I don’t like diamonds on my watches.”

(Related: Classic luxury watches for women)