In this collector’s feature, I invited a buddy of mine Terence Chan to share on his watches and thoughts on watch collecting. A collector with a diverse collection of watches ranging from Indie Watch maker Atelier Wen to the Holy Trinity’s Vacheron Constantin.
The Collector’s View: “Watch_Miyagi” and his love affair with watches.
Meet Terence Chan, a watch enthusiast from Singapore. Having started out his watch collecting journey from a credit card catalog to now being allocated limited edition pieces from the “Holy Trinity’s” that many dream about, here’s how the @Watch_Miyagi (Instagram) “Wax On, Wax Off” his way into watch collecting.
1) How did you get into watches? When was that?
My journey into watch collecting was a gradual and intriguing one. It all started during my early teens when my father allowed me to choose an item from a catalog using credit card points. Among the available options, a Swatch Irony caught my attention. This rather ordinary beginning marked the initial spark of my interest in timepieces.
As I continued to explore the world of watches, I received a gift that played a significant role in deepening my fascination. It was a chronograph from Guess?, which, although a fashion watch, further piqued my curiosity about watch design and functionality.
When I began working and had the means to invest in more sophisticated timepieces, I took a different approach than many of my peers. While they aspired to own a Rolex, I found myself drawn to more unique and lesser-known brands. My journey took an exciting turn when I stumbled upon a Red Army Watches in Wisma Atria.
Inside the store, I encountered the captivating designs of Sturmanskie watches. The vintage aesthetic and history behind these timepieces resonated with me so much that I ended up with two watches that day. It was an impulsive decision, and, I had to tighten my budget and go on a ‘grass’ diet for the next couple of months as I had just entered into the workforce. However, those two marked the beginning of a more “serious” collection.
2) Can you briefly take us through your favourite pieces in your collection?
Selecting favourite watches from my collection is always a challenge, as each one holds a special place in my heart. However, if I had to choose 4 pieces from different categories.
Digital Watch: I grew up in an era when G-Shocks and Baby Gs were the epitome of cool, and they still hold that status today. The DW6900’s rugged design and durability make it an enduring favourite for me. My top pick is the iconic G-Shock DW6900, particularly the 2012 release G-Shock X Medicom Bearbrick collaboration. Despite its larger size, it’s a timeless classic that harks back to my youth when G-Shocks were the epitome of cool and I really do like Bearbricks.
Sports Watch: While this is definitely not a Sports watch but it comes from a brand synonymous with the category. I’m thrilled to share a timepiece that holds a unique place in my heart, a watch that once belonged to my father and has now been passed down to me. This Rolex 6694, acquired a year before my birth, may appear modest in size by today’s standards, but its stainless steel case has aged gracefully, displaying a charming patina on the dial.
What makes this watch particularly exciting and meaningful is the fact that it has been a part of our family since day one. It witnessed the passage of time alongside our family’s journey, and now, it’s found a new home on my wrist. The connection it holds to my father and the history it carries make it a truly captivating and cherished timepiece.
Favourite Brand: Currently, my favourite watch brand would undoubtedly be Vacheron Constantin, with the Overseas 4500v holding a special place in my collection. Back in 2019, when I was researching this brand, I came across mixed opinions from fellow collectors and online sources. While Vacheron Constantin undeniably produces breathtaking timepieces, some cautioned against getting into it due to concerns about resale value. Despite that, its unique case design, exquisite blue dial, and remarkable bracelet captured my heart, making it a standout addition.
What made this watch even more special was the timing of its acquisition—it arrived on my daughter’s birthday! This serendipitous connection between my cherished timepiece and a significant family moment makes the Overseas 4500v a truly unique and treasured addition to my collection.
Favorite Indie: Atelier Wen, where East meets West, their recent release Perception is a gorgeous piece that not only wears well but the dial is truly a work of art.
Painstakingly carved by China’s only master guillochéur, it is really a sight to behold.
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?
My approach to watch collecting is guided by my heart and personal taste. I immerse myself in the world of horology, watching countless YouTube reviews, participating in watch forums for insights, and exploring captivating watch Instagram accounts. This extensive research helps me make informed choices.
Ultimately, I trust my own judgment and instincts when selecting a watch. I ask myself whether I’ll continue to wear and treasure the watch in the long run. Occasionally, I succumb to impulse buys, only to realise later that the initial fascination didn’t endure. It’s not that the watch is subpar; it’s simply that the initial connection didn’t evolve into a lasting one.
As my watch collecting journey progresses, I’ve transitioned from collecting everything that catches my eye to focusing on specific brands. It’s not a matter of other brands being inferior; it’s about forging a deeper and more meaningful connection with certain brands that enhance my collecting experience.
4) We understand that the VC 222 is your latest piece in your collection. Can you walk us through the purchasing process and what made you pick this piece?
The Vacheron Constantin 222 holds a special place in my collection, and its acquisition was a journey in itself. My interest in this timepiece began after I purchased the Overseas. As I explored what had inspired the design of the Overseas and how it had evolved from its first generation, I stumbled upon the 222.
In an era filled with stainless steel sports watches designed by the renowned Gerald Genta, the 222 exuded a unique character and aesthetic that captured my attention. Its limited availability added an aura of mystery and desirability that intensified my fascination.
I began scouring the secondary market for this elusive piece, but it proved to be a challenge to find one in good condition, not to mention the inherent risks of purchasing from unfamiliar sources. However, when online discussions started buzzing with rumors about a potential re-release of the 222 at Watches & Wonders in 2022, my excitement soared.
I wasted no time and promptly informed my wonderful sales associate to put me on the waitlist if the rerelease is true. I diligently followed Watches & Wonders updates, hoping for an official announcement and when it did, I wasted no time reminding my SA on my interest.
I had initially anticipated a lengthy wait, perhaps a couple of years, but the arrival was much sooner than expected. So imagine my surprise, when I was contacted earlier this year that the watch is here for me to pickup. It was a delightful and unexpected turn of events, and the Vacheron Constantin 222 has since become a treasured addition to my collection, embodying the allure of both its history and its timeless design.
5)What is currently at the top of your watches wish-list?
While I’m quite contented with my current collection, the collector’s itch always lingers, and I have curated a list of watches that I am eager to add, particularly from Vacheron Constantin. At the top of my wish-list is the Historique Corne De Vache 1955, followed by a vintage Reference 6694, affectionately known as the ‘Batman.’
Surprisingly, there’s another dimension to my wish-list that might catch some off guard. I’m particularly intrigued by Atelier Wen’s upcoming releases. I already own a couple of pieces from AW, and I can’t wait to see what other amazing stuff they are releasing. Their fusion of Eastern and Western influences, combined with exquisite craftsmanship reminiscent of traditional Swiss watchmakers, creates a compelling narrative. I’m especially drawn to the intricate rose engine-turned dials in the AW Perception model.
Writer’s Comment: Guess who is the model in Atelier Wen’s commercial that we see on Facebook… It’s none other than our Terence Chan, I guess we can certainly see how much Terence likes the brand.
6) What sage advice can you give to aspiring watch collectors who may be reading this now?
While I wouldn’t claim to be a sage, I’ve gathered valuable insights from my own journey as a watch collector. To those aspiring collectors who may be reading this, I’d offer this piece of advice: remember that your watch collection is a reflection of your personal journey, not someone else’s.
While it’s beneficial to watch reviews, read literature, seek opinions from friends and fellow collectors, and stay informed, the ultimate path you choose is uniquely yours. Don’t feel pressured to chase after the latest trends or jump through hoops just to fit in with the ‘in-crowd.’
Take your time on this journey. Your tastes and preferences may evolve over time, and that’s perfectly natural. Embrace these changes as part of your growth as a collector, and don’t be alarmed by them. Each watch in your collection should carry meaning and significance to you personally. In the end, it’s the stories and experiences behind each timepiece that make watch collecting a truly enriching pursuit.
Photo Notes: photographs not watermarked with the Deployant logo are courtesy of Terence or from official VC press material.