Share on:

Watch collector: Futuristic designs and unconventional individuals inspire this blockchain entrepreneur

Chng Kai Cheng, co-founder of DigixGlobal, is such an avid horology fan that he bought an office space to house his watches.

At the beginning

“I got my first serious watch, a 39mm Rolex Explorer, after I graduated from NYU and got my first job as a trader at HSBC. I was sent to London for training for a month, and I wanted to mark the occasion. I was this bright-eyed 24-year-old and I felt like I was on top of the world and finally part of this whole game of finance. In the future, I want to pass this Explorer to my son, who’s 18 months old now.”

Independent spirit

“My taste in watches is very dynamic and changes every few months. Right now, I’m into watches that look out of this world and nothing like typical three-handers. I got the Urwerk UR-220 (pictured) last September, and I like its rotating hour markers and retrograde minute display. Another reason I was interested in Urwerk was that I’d watched the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance, in which he was shown wearing watches from his collection, which is quite eclectic. He has an Urwerk UR-202S Full Metal Jacket and I thought: I have to get the UR-220 so I can be like Mike (laughs).”

(Related: CEO Wilhelm Schmid on why A. Lange & Sohne does not create special-edition watches for different markets)

Forward thinking

“Another Urwerk I have is the UR-100, which can show you the distances covered by the Earth’s rotation and revolution in 20 minutes. This was a former demonstration piece that had been worn by the founders on their roadshows. What’s also interesting is that I bought this on Urwerk’s website using Bitcoin. I first became interested in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology when I first started working as a currency trader. In 2014, I started two companies. DigixGlobal, an asset tokenisation platform using blockchain technology to represent physical gold with tokens, is one of them.”

Admirable ethos

“The De Bethune DB28 Black Matte (pictured) gets a lot of wrist time. I love the design, including its unusual floating lugs. What I like about De Bethune is that one of its founders, watchmaker Denis Flageollet, has stood by his design philosophy and vision for the brand for nearly 20 years, even when it went through difficult times. I wanted to support this company that is creating interesting timepieces.”

Time and space

“I’m starting a watch bar that will be ready next month. I bought a 640 sq ft office space at Clarke Quay Central, and I’m redesigning it, so I can display all my watches and invite friends over to have a drink. I wanted a private space where people can chat until the wee hours. There’s no commercial purpose to it.”

(Related: Why Vacheron Constantin only makes certain tribute models in steel, according to its style and heritage director Christian Selmoni)

Watches that best represent my collection

  • Watch collectors

    “RAYPUNK”: De Bethune DB28 Black Matte in zirconium

(Related: Avantist might be a luxury microbrand but founder Keeran Janin has major ambitions)