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)

Visit Talking Time for more stories from watch collectors and their prized collections of time pieces.