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What watches have to do with friendships, forums and Florence

Kelvin Ong, Paneristi and marketing director of an electronics firm shares his horological journey.

Lighting the way

“It was during National Service that I first got into watches. I was intrigued by the luminous displays of Casio watches during night missions in the jungle. But it was only later in 2000, when I was on holiday in Lucerne for the second time, that I got my first serious watch, a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Geographic. I wanted it as a memento of the trip. I liked it because it
suited my budget and wasn’t too flashy.”

Warming up

“I got my first Panerai in 2010 although I began lurking on Paneristi.com – a website started by Panerai enthusiasts – in 2005. Panerai was very popular then, and I was curious about the brand and its large watches. The Paneristi community answered all the questions I had. Over the years, through our exchanges in the forum, friendships developed. It’s great to see the members in person at gatherings, whether they are Singaporeans or from elsewhere.”

  • Kelvin Ong Paneristi

    “Classy”

    Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days PAM 672 in steel

In the family

“One of the watches I’ve brought is a ‘matching’ 5218-201/A from 1993. (Editor’s note: The Panerai Luminor Logo Pre-Vendome Ref. 5218-201/A is known as ‘matching’ when the tritium numeral and hour markers match the hands.) I bought it from a Risti in New Jersey, who’d purchased it from another Risti in North Carolina, who got it from a Risti in Phoenix. I know all the previous owners. After buying the watch, we mostly kept it in our safes. We joke that we’re just transferring the watch from safe to safe.”

Sense of identity

“I have two Panerai Singapore editions: the new Luminor GMT Ion Special Edition PAM 1177, which has a red GMT hand tip, a small seconds hand and a winding crown, as well as a Merlion engraving on the caseback; and the Luminor Marina PAM 432
Singapore boutique edition. It was released in 2012 when the brand’s Ion Orchard store opened. Its caseback has an engraving of the Singapore skyline. There are other editions made for Panerai boutiques in cities like Florence and New York.”

Spiritual home

“The Panerai Radiomir Firenze 3 Days PAM 672 is quite special to me. I was in Berlin for P-Day – an annual Paneristi event held in a different city each year – in 2016, and I went to Florence after that to collect it. For a Paneristi, going to the Panerai boutique in Florence is like visiting sacred ground, because it’s the historical home of the brand and where it first flourished.”

 

Grooming Atiqah Ho

Photography Phyllicia Wang 

Art Direction Fazlie Hashim

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