We caught up with Terence Low, a Deployant friend and Singaporean watch collector and lover of all things related to horology. Terence is also the founder of The Watch Club Asia (TWCA). He shares with us his passion for watches.
The Watch Whisperer: Terence Low on The Collector’s View
Terence started his career in financial industry in mid 90s as a Futures Dealer. He went on to start an IT distribution business with offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. While the business is still operational, Terence is in semi retirement since early 2010. These days he is more likely to spend his days on all things horological and keeping his strong passion alive. He says it helps to keep him sane throughout.
And in 2019, he decided to setup TWCA… as a payback and contribution to this industry and community whom gave him so much over the last 30 years. TWCA is a non profit watch club operating as social and community service. Since its inception in 2019, the club now counts some 5,000 members from US, Europe, Australia to most South East Asian countries.
How did you get into watches? When was that?
I remember I picked up the interest in watches when I was still in school. My uncle was a prominent watch dealer and owned several pawnshops and I used to follow him on his meetups.
Can you briefly take us through your favourite pieces in your collection?
There are really too many pieces collected over the last 30 years. So perhaps I chose only those pieces that have played crucial roles at important milestones of my life and spent much time with me last 25 years 😆…
Gerald Genta Golden Jubilee of Thailand ⁃ 50th Anniversary Celebration of His Majesty King Bhumibol
As a big fan of GG, one of worlds most famous designer… this is certainly one of my favorite from GG. The dial with Thai royal crest, is certainly one the best dial work I have seen. Beautiful.
And Thailand is one of my favourite countries. So what else can I ask for. This watch has the best of both. I am currently based in Thailand, and this was my regular watch for events from about 2000 to 2010.
I relate well with this watch. Maybe it personifies a character I would want to be 😆. I really love it. Its fun, its cool… with its smooth, pebble like case. The movement features a linear retrograde jumping hour. It is worn like a driver’s watch. A watch that I liked to hold, rub.. and makes me forget all the troubles. Peter’s write up on this watch sums up exactly why this watch appeal to me. 😆. Last but not least, this watch was also conceived, from RJ’s collaboration with another of my fav designer, Monsieur Alain Silberstein.
In the years 2018-2020 where I was busy doing migration and relocations, this watch was my constant companion. It helped relieve much stress. Serious….. this watch never fails to put a smile on my face.. . I wanted it so much, that I spent much time and effort to get it. Perhaps, hearsay, but I understand that this is the CEO’s watch, No X / 99 😆… 🤔
Girard Perregaux 1966 Chronograph
Most who know me well, know.. I love all chronographs. This is a model ticks almost all the boxes for me. Good size, 40mm diameter and 12 mm thickness, certainly hits the size sweet spot.
Very nice crystal blue dial, with bold tachymetric scale really blows me away. In house GP auto movement, with very nice finishing. Geneva striped bridges, perlaged and gold rotor… what else can I ask for, for this price. This watch gotten much of my wrist time, especially the last 10 years, where I spent much time away from Singapore.
This has got to be one of my favorite watches. And probably the one which has spent the most time with me. From a maker or master.. whom I shall call a friend. I bought it at its launch in about 2000.
I truly feel this watch… almost like my personal traits and character. Serious, quiet.. yet there is certain fun side I show to my close ones. This watch, appears like a simple 3 hands watch, but on close inspection.. you will notice all the crazy details 😆. I will let the pictures do the talking since Peter has covered and done a review on this model.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 7234 Singapore Edition
In my view, a collection of watches will not be complete without at least one Patek Philippe. Frankly, I am not a big fan of regular PP sport watches, but I do like the Pilot Travel Time. At its launch in 2015, I found the Ref. 5524 to be too big for me. Perhaps the Ref. 7234 which was released in 2018, which has a case diameter of 37.5mm is a suitable candidate.
So I was delighted that in 2019, Patek released a light blue limited edition Ref. 7234. This was in conjunction with Singapore Watch Art Grand Exhibition. I knew there and then that I had to have this in my collection. I truly like the size, the weight, the feel.. and most important of all, its usefulness as a travel watch.
I don’t wear big watches, but this is an exception. I always feel special when I am wearing the minute repeater. Something only you know when you activate the slide. Like Peter once told me, “its soft but clear audible to your own self … just like your personal alarm clock.”
From the outside, the watch is simple and understated with its classical look. It features a simple creamy, white dial with embossed Arabics. And turning over, we have 95290 IWC base movement. This is based on the Cal. 95, a traditional pocket watch movement from IWC that was produced for many decades. I am a big fan of old movements, and well.. this is also the reason why I have a special place for this big guy 😆. I can stare at the movement for hours, beautiful bridges, nice layout and well finished within my expectations. And best of all… we have hidden hammers (gong), under the dial… like a well hidden secret known only to you.
What is your approach when it comes to buying a watch for your collection? Do you buy with your heart or do you curate?
Yes .. being a watch lover since young, I still buy with my heart. A good example is the recent Sarpaneva x Moomin which I ordered recently, with an expected delivery in March. At the same time, I also plan, curate and allocate funds for watches. So the approach is really a combo of buying with my heart, and yet same time…I curate and buy those pieces already in my plan list.
What is currently at the top of your watches wish-list?
I would list 2 of them:
What sage advice can you give to aspiring watch collectors who may be reading this now?
😆… no no no, just sharing. No sage advice. Today… we see some very crazy prices and developments. Totally unprecedented. Nothing like what I have seen in last 30 years.
So my advice is: Do not be influenced by friends and social media. Buy what you really like… within your means. But do all the homework and research needed. And if the watches happen to appreciate in value later on… just take it as bonus 👌🏻. At the end day, buying and wearing what you truly love will certainly bring a smile to your face, and also motivate you to do well in life… at least that’s what is all about for me 😉
All photographs were taken in our studio, and the grounds of the building. Fujifilm GFX 50S II with Hasselblad HC 4/120 Macro with H Adapter G. Watch photographs are lighted with our usual Profoto strobes. Outdoor photographs in natural light.