The Collector’s View: Serene Chua and her love for milestone watches

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In this collector’s feature, I have the honour to invite a close friend and fellow Banker Serene Chua to share on her love for horology and how her time pieces is part of her legacy planning. We were honoured to have her as the first lady (whose not a writer/contributor) to be featured on The Collector’s View.

The Collector’s View: Serene Chua and her love for watches

Meet Serene Chua, a banker in Singapore who is known for her love for Jewellery and Watches. She usually graced on magazines such as Tatler and Prestige sharing about jewellery, women empowerment and family. Little did we know that she actually have a meticulously curated collection of watches that range from the latest Swatch X Blaincpain to the Holy Trinity, each with their own story to tell.

1. How did you get into watches? When was that?

I started collecting in the early 20s when I began working. There is a natural inclination to watches as I have been in private banking for almost 2 decades. Being punctual is essential, & a good timepiece which has great design, form & functionality is important. I believe that a watch is an expression of an individual’s unique personality, taste & style.

2. Can you briefly take us through your favourite pieces in your collection?

Currently I have 14 timepieces. The earliest one I purchased was my Tag Heuer when I was just starting out at work.

The brands amassed over the years also comprise Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Franck Muller, Chopard, IWC, Van Cleef & Arpels & recently Swatch.

I love each timepiece for a different reason. However my heart goes particularly to 2 favourite pieces.  Namely the Singapore limited edition Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce in raspberry red and the Audemars Piguet ROO in black with diamonds.

For Patek, the brand goes back to 1839 with 184 years of Swiss heritage. It is known for its commitment to craftsmanship, mastery of watchmaking & producing quality timepieces. Ranging from standard to complicated pieces with tourbillions & minute repeaters. The brand certainly has held its value well among collectors, & it’s one of the most sought after. For the Singapore limited edition Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce in raspberry red – I do love the classic design, diamond bezel & ultra sporty rubber strap.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore chronograph was a piece I bought 12 years ago, when holidaying in Milan. Classic black with a black dial & diamond bezel.

I like it because it is iconic, elegant & sporty. Concurrently bold yet feminine. It can be dressed up or down, & worn for a casual lunch or a formal dinner. It pretty much ties in with my lifestyle & personality.

The brand heritage since 1875 & the attention paid to artistic excellence, innovation & horological technical mastery are also big draws for me.

3. What is your approach when it comes to buying a watch for your collection? Do you buy with your heart or do you curate?

These are some of the factors that influence my purchase for a timepiece:

Design & Aesthetics
Horological technical mastery
Leaving a Legacy

Having said that, I buy with my heart most of the time. If there is a special connection with that watch upon first sight, odds are I will buy it. Buying a watch is kind of like buying an art piece, every piece is unique & u need to feel passionate & have a special connection to it. Something that sets the heart aflutter…

“Lost time is never found again”

Benjamin Franklin

Life is one big adventure. As we move forward in life, we should celebrate little milestones. Purchasing a watch that you’re passionate about can create much excitement. Be it starting a new job, celebrating your birthday, getting married, having children, a promotion etc. I believe that your very own watch collection & that love for horology can be passed down for generations to come. Every watch tells a different story, in a different chapter in life.

This is the best way to commemorate milestones, build a legacy & create beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

4. We understand that you have been purchasing alot of Moonswatches and Swatches.  Swatch X Blancpain is your latest piece in your collection. Can you walk us through what deviated you from your usual pieces and start collecting Swatches?

Marking a new chapter with something fun & wearable is the reason for embarking on my Moonswatches / Swatchpain phase. I have been in private banking for almost 2 decades & had a recent change of roles. With such an interesting luxury-mass collaboration, accessibility & affordability, I thought it was exciting to pick up some pieces that I could wear for work, travel & play. I purchased 4 moonswatches for myself, & bought another 4 to give away to loved ones. Interestingly this timepiece is always a great conversation starter.

The latest Swatchpain collection caught my eye because it honoured the first true divers watch – The lengendary Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. I thought it was really cute to wear  watch with a strap that was inspired by the nudibranch, complete with Sistem51 movement. The strap colours closely follow the sea creature. Comfortable & versatile, I wear this to the office on certain days & mix it around with the other luxury watches I have. The best of both worlds 🙂

5. What is currently at the top of your watches wish-list?

Photo courtesy of Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet all-yellow-gold Royal Oak Selfwinding Chronograph with 1017 ALYX 9SM, from the designer Matthew Williams.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Luce in white & rose gold

Photo Courtesy of Hublot

Hublot – Classic fusion Takashi Murakami black ceramic rainbow

6. What sage advice can you give to aspiring watch collectors who may be reading this now?

Carpe Diem! Seize the day & make sure u have a good timepiece to ensure that u are always on time. “Better 3 hours too soon than a minute too late” – William Shakespeare

Set a budget every year to set aside for purchasing timepieces, read up on your dream watch, celebrate milestones in life by buying a watch that tells the story in that special chapter. Consider leaving a legacy via your watch collection that contains precious & wonderful memories that will last for generations to come…


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