Talking Time Galven Tan

A hobby best shared

“I’ve always fancied watches. When I first started working in 2004, a good friend showed me a pre-owned Rolex Submariner. It was a regular one with a black dial. I bought it with my first salary and it’s still one of my favourites. A few years ago, the same friend came across this IWC Pilot’s Watch Double Chronograph ‘Top Gun’ (pictured), which he didn’t plan to get. I liked it at first sight because I thought it was unusual, so I got it instead. Later, he bought one as well – now we have the same watch.”

Forward planning

“Most of my watches are Rolex sports models. Even though I don’t sell them, I like watches that hold their value over time. This is important because, like the Patek Philippe tagline says, you’re holding on to the value of your watches for the next generation. That’s what I intend to do in future – divide my collection for my sons, who are now nine and four.”

(Related: Watch spread: Tread the line between fine and casual with the classic chronograph)

It’s a date

“The date display is very important to me. When I want to check the date when I’m writing a cheque or signing a document, I’ll look at my watch rather than my phone. I have a Rolex Yacht-Master II, which doesn’t have a date. I thought I could live with that because I like its unusual dial, but I get frustrated when I look at it for the date and it’s not there. So I wear it on the weekends instead of regularly.”

Car or calendar watch

“The Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Ref. 5205G-010 (pictured) was my first significant watch at that price level. The year 2014 was a good year business-wise and I was thinking of buying a Mini Cooper S with manual transmission as a fun second car. But my wife didn’t like to drive then, so a second car would have been purely for fun and I would have probably been sick of it after a while. My brother-in-law said: ‘Why don’t you buy a watch instead?’ That made sense.”

Signs of the time

“I generally like watches that are practical and hold their value. The Panerai Luminor Sealand ‘Year of the Dog’ (pictured) is probably an exception [laughs]. But I like the design and it has personal meaning for me. I got it for my wife, who was born in the Year of the Dog, for Valentine’s Day in 2017. She’s not into watches and literally rolled her eyes at me and said: ‘What use would I have for this?’ So I kept it and sometimes take it out, wind it, look at it and put it back. I also have the Monkey edition because my younger son’s Chinese zodiac sign is the Monkey. I’m looking for the Rabbit and the Horse for my older son and myself, respectively.”

(Related: This is Richard Mille and Yohan Blake’s last watch together)

Watches that best represent my collection

(Related: One of our favourite dress-watch collections welcomes new blue-dial models)