How it started

“Many collectors start when they are quite young. I was exposed to watches a bit later in my career, around 2013. Before that, I couldn’t get my head around why someone would spend five digits or more on something that tells the time. But colleagues who were also watch enthusiasts were able to articulate to me how watch collecting is about design, aesthetics, finishing, mechanical artistry, brand heritage and so on. It helped me to justify buying my first timepiece, the A. Lange & Sohne Lange 1 Time Zone in white gold (pictured).”


National pride

“I’m half-German by birth and German by nationality, and I collect primarily German brands. However, I’m not opposed to other brands. It just happens that the brands I like have so far been German because I like design that’s classic and understated, and I relate to the history of a brand like A. Lange & Sohne. I also like Lang & Heyne and a small father-and-son watch company called Dornbluth & Sohn.”


Going platinum

“These days, I try to collect platinum watches. One of them is the A. Lange & Sohne 1815 Tourbillon in platinum (pictured), which I got in 2017. That was the year I started my family office, doing mainly commodities trading. I had a good first year and got that watch to reward myself. I like the nobility and heft of platinum. Some say it’s too heavy to wear throughout the day but I bicep-curl 10kg to 15kg in the gym, so I don’t feel a 200-gram watch [laughs].”


Horological heritage

“Aside from modern Lange watches, I also collect vintage models. The yellow-gold one I brought along for the shoot was from the 1930s. I found it in an antique shop in Berlin. It has a very classic design with a nice patina. But this watch, like many vintage gold watches, was made from 14K gold and the humidity in Singapore is turning it red. I have five vintage Lange watches right now that I wear only for special events because servicing them would take a very long time and be incredibly costly.”


Better together

“I’m part of the Purists group of watch enthusiasts. I find the community aspect of watch-collecting fun and enjoyable. It’s about sharing the passion, and talking and learning. It was especially important when I first started collecting as I learnt a lot from talking to other enthusiasts. People who like watches have a passion you rarely see in other collecting circles.”


(Related: Watch collectors share how their hobby has transformed in a time of tumult)


Watches that best represent my collection


(Related: Watch collectors: Tan Yan Ling’s boundless love for limited editions)