Realising his dream

“I first realised timepieces could be objects of art and beauty when I was 15, and happened to flip through a magazine lying around at home. I came across a full-page advertisement for the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711, and its beauty just went straight to my heart. Years later, when I was in my mid-30s, I saw a pre-owned 5711 in a store window while window shopping with my wife, who was then my girlfriend. After a discussion with her that lasted less than 10 minutes, I bought it.”

“GRAIL” Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711 in steel
“GRAIL” – Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711 in steel

(Related: Shaun Djie is a collector of classics across eras)

Forward planning

“Way before my 40th birthday last year, I already knew I wanted to make a purchase that was fitting for this milestone. The A. Lange & Sohne Datograph (pictured) in a 39mm rose gold case with a black dial—also known as the Dufourgraph because (master watchmaker) Philippe Dufour owns one—had always ranked very high on my list. It had long been discontinued, but I would look out for it. When I was 37, I came across a pre-owned piece for sale. Even though it was three years early, I bought it. I didn’t tell anyone about it; I just kept it in the safe and took it out occasionally to wind it. It was only on my 40th birthday that I finally brought it out in the open.”

“CLASS” A. Lange & Sohne Datograph (Ref. 403.031) in rose gold
“CLASS” – A. Lange & Sohne Datograph (Ref. 403.031) in rose gold

Leaving a legacy

“My first expensive watch, which I bought a few years after I started working, was a Rolex Explorer II. When my wife was expecting our daughter, I wanted to get our child a watch, and I decided to get the steel and gold Rolex Submariner with a blue dial. I plan to pass it to her when she’s 21. Although my daughter is just three years old now, I have tried putting it on her wrist, and I think she’ll be able to wear it well. (Laughs.)”

(Related: Talking Time: Watch collector Eric Chua has an eye for proportion)

Independent spirit

“In 2019, I bought the De Bethune DB25 Power Reserve in white gold (pictured). I like the brand’s philosophy. It’s avant-garde and daring, with a lot of technical competence. Independent brands like De Bethune have always been on my radar because I’m drawn to their entrepreneurial attitude and independent spirit. They were a major inspiration when I decided to start my own watch brand, which I’m launching soon.”

“AVANT-GARDE” De Bethune DB25 Power Reserve in white gold
“AVANT-GARDE” – De Bethune DB25 Power Reserve in white gold

A dream manifested

“Starting a watch brand has been a topic of conversation between my wife and I for the past 10 years. During the pandemic, I re-evaluated my life, and I thought, why not put this idea into action rather than just keep bandying it about? My brand is called Tennet, so I will always remember the tenets behind it: creating mechanical watches with design excellence, and which are honest, provide good value and help to recapture the joy of watch-collecting for customers.”

(Related: #WatchYaGot: Watch collector Nop Srinara on why he was drawn to the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic 10th Anniversary)