Independent spirit

“I’ve always been in business and have started several over the years – and always with partners. It began in 2007 when I started an LED lighting business with my dad’s friend and another guy. In 2016, I finally started something on my own: Standard Engineering. It has a few subsidiaries that I share with partners but I’m the majority shareholder. A few years ago, I realised the business was doing well and that’s when I started getting into fine watches.”

Going strong

“The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph ‘Panda’ (pictured) was my first when I started collecting. It has been through a lot with me. I wear it to office meetings, to construction sites, at weekends and so on. It has fallen face down on tarmac ground before. I was putting a stroller into my car boot when it hit the watch clasp and came off. After that, aside from some dings that could not be polished away even after I sent it for servicing, it has worked just fine. Those dings? I don’t mind them at all as they are like battle scars that tell a story.”

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Etched in time

“My childhood friend Kelvin Leow is an award-winning tattoo artist who did Joseph Schooling’s Olympic rings tattoo. In 2015, we started The Standard Tattoo. He now runs his own studio called Tooth and Nail. I don’t have any tattoos myself, although I have come close to getting one on several occasions. My mum doesn’t like them [laughs]. The Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu Titanium White (pictured), made in collaboration with Swiss celebrity tattoo artist Maxime Plescia-Buchi, brings back many memories and symbolises my love for art and design. This is like my tattoo.”

Twice as nice

“When I visited Patek Philippe’s Watch Art Grand Exhibition here in 2019, I took just one photograph. It was of two Nautilus Chronograph Ref. 5980 watches, one in steel and rose gold and the other in full rose gold. I like the Ref. 5980 in steel and gold (pictured) because it’s the only two-tone watch in the current Patek Philippe collection and I’m a sucker for two- tone pieces. I also like its heft in comparison to other Nautilus models.”

Loud and proud

“I love sports, speed and cars. I am also into go-kart racing, so I generally like big and sporty watches as well as chronographs. But I also like bling and I have a few diamond watches. I’m definitely more hiao (Hokkien for vain) than my wife.”

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Highlights of my watch collection

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