An Interview with Watch Expert Tom Chng
With Chinese New Year just around the corner, we suss out auspicious jewellery that would make thoughtful gifts for friends and family as well as stylish festive pieces for your personal collection.
What should one learn as a beginner watch enthusiast?
It is important to learn about one’s likes and dislikes. There is a sea of watches out there to be appreciated and loved, but we all have varying tastes and values. For most people, a good watch could be one of the biggest ticket purchase of our lives, and it is important to understand why it carries such a price tag, and the significance of a timeless mechanical timepiece.
What would you normally tell someone who’s new to luxury watch collection?
There are so many luxury watches in the market, where does one even begin? And what brands would be good to start with?
What is the first thing you look out for in a timepiece?
How do I determine whether a timepiece is worth collecting?
What do you find fascinating about horology and what started your love for watches?
Why should we invest in vintage watches?
What is considered vintage, and how do we upkeep the maintenance of one?
This is widely debated amongst academics and experts but I think an age of 30 years would be a good gauge. Tritium or radium dials would more often than not qualify as well. Treat the old guy like you would with your grandparents. With care, regular checkups and refrain from water contact.
What are the top five mistakes a horologist make when starting his/her own collection?
What are the most common misconceptions about watch collectors?
What’s your opinion on smart watches? Do you own one?
How would you describe the watch collecting trend in Singapore?
a. Do people in Singapore prefer to collect out of interest or do they seek out watches as an alternative investment?
b. Do people here prefer personalised watches/limited collection or branded watches?
Singapore is a unique market. Despite our small size and population, we are without a doubt one of the watch capitals of the world. We are a huge market and both for consumption and export of luxury watches. The community here is also very mature and experimental, making it a great starting ground for many artisanal independent watchmakers. The collectors here know what they’re buying, and are not afraid to buy into a promising brand early on. In many way, we are a trendsetting market for the rest of the world.
a. Definitely out of interest and culture. The luxury lifestyle is quite evidently ingrained in our society, and Singaporeans do believe that a good watch will demonstrate a certain level of sophistication.
b. I don’t believe there’s much of a correlation there, a good watch will always be a good watch, limited or not.