Hello everyone! This week, I’m absolutely stoked to introduce TenTwo, a luxury watch subscription service based here on our sunny shores of Singapore.
In today’s world of sharing economy, luxury subscription services have been rising in popularity as people seek access to luxury, rather than owning luxury. This trend has led to the success of DouBaoBao in China (luxury handbag rental service) and ElevenJames (luxury watch rental service) in the US. TenTwo aims to offer anyone in Singapore the chance to wear a luxury watch on their wrist, all for the price of a gym membership per month. Are such luxury subscription services worth the hype? Let’s find out!
TenTwo – the Brand
TenTwo was founded late last year by the trio of Dan Kruimel (DK), Ronald Chew, and Dan Mills (DM). They describe themselves as “Three amigos from different corners of the globe brought together by a passion for quality watches.” Their vision for TenTwo is to “…create a community of like minded enthusiasts, linked together through enthusiasm for luxury timepieces. Available in Singapore, TenTwo provides subscription access to a collection of luxury watches featuring brands such as Rolex, Panerai, Tudor, IWC, Omega, Cartier and more.”
The guys at TenTwo first came up with the idea when Dan K was looking to purchase his first luxury watch. Dan M (having already been a seasoned watch collector at that point) lent him a Seiko MM300 to try for a week. Even though ultimately Dan K decided to go with another watch (more on that later!), he really enjoyed the experience of “trying before buying). After talking it through with each other, Dan K and Dan M decided to launch this concept for others, roping in Ronald (who is also a watch Instagrammer at @horologym) along the way. As such, TenTwo was born! For those curious on about the name, “TenTwo” actually refers to the position of the watch hands being set to 10:10. That’s when watches are viewed to be the most photogenic, and if you go into a luxury watch boutique (Hour Glass/Sincere/etc), you might notice that the hands of their watches on display are all set to 10 and 2!
In addition, TenTwo sees themselves more than a mere subscription service. Their mission is to cultivate a community of passionate watch lovers, and not – as Ronald puts it – “…about getting large numbers of faceless subscribers for us.” To this end, TenTwo strives to make their interactions with subscribers as personal as possible. Once you indicate your interest in the service, one of the aforementioned 3 amigos will personally meet up with you to share more about watches/TenTwo. Afterwards, once you’ve decided upon the watch you want to rent, they will meet up with you to pass you the watch, as well as to sign the membership agreement. Also, TenTwo is currently planning to hold events in the near future – get-togethers of watch enthusiasts, including both current subscribers and non-subscribers. To them, the community portion of TenTwo is paramount.
TenTwo – the Sign-up Process
When you sign up for TenTwo’s subscription service, you get to shortlist a few timepieces (their current collection comprises of 16 models) that you’re interested in! Depending on member demand, there may be a one or two month wait for popular models, however TenTwo always strive to match watches to member’s preferences to ensure you receive something you will be interested in. This can even lead to member’s absolutely falling for a watch they hadn’t previously considered!
As aforementioned, the 3 amigos of TenTwo try their hardest to form a personal relationship with their clients, based upon a shared love and passion for watches. Dan M (as pictured above) met me personally to go through with me the membership agreement, share a bit about TenTwo, and pass me the lovely Cartier Santos which would be the watch for my first month. Given that these are (high) 4 figure watches, the membership agreement serves to protect both TenTwo as well as the clients. As per the agreement, one would have to put down a safety deposit, to be fully refunded upon the end of your subscription period. TenTwo also clearly stipulate in their agreement the ramifications of damages to their watches. They classify damages into differing tiers: wear and tear, damage/severe damage, and total loss. Wear and tear is fine, so if happen to nick the bracelet or the case during daily usage, rest assured you won’t have to pay any additional fees. Damage and severe damage generally means damages which would affect the resale value of the watch, such as chips to the crystal, water damage, etc. In this scenario, repair fees will be deducted from your security deposit. Total loss indicates scenarios where the watch is somehow beyond reasonable repair, or is lost and irretrievable. In this scenario, you would have to recompense the market value (second-hand) of the watch you rented, which will be indicated to you when you receive the watch. Generally, I found the membership agreement easy to understand and well-defined, and given that Dan M is a lawyer by trade, he was more than competent enough in answering any queries I had about the agreement.
After we got the formalities out of the way, Dan M presented the Cartier Santos to me. I thereby fell in love.
TenTwo – Cartier Santos
You guys know I love microbrands, but I was excited to see how luxury watches fared in comparison to them, and if the price difference is justified. While I still love microbrands (this website is dedicated to the coverage of microbrands afterall), I have to say interacting with these luxury pieces was really an upgrade.
Cartier is a brand I’ve admired for a long time, and when I saw their most iconic design in TenTwo’s collection, I immediately indicated it as my top choice. First conceived as a pilot watch in 1904, the main styling cues of the Santos has remained unchanged for over a century. That’s how enduring the design of the Santos is – it looked stunning over a century ago, and it still does now. In no way does the design of the Santos feel outdated in any way. Yes, over the decades dimensions have increased, movements have changed, subtle design updates implemented, but the design ethos of the Santos has above all stood the test of time. To me, that speaks to the strength of Cartier’s design language, which in my opinion exemplifies itself the best in the Santos and another horological icon, the Tank.
The dial of the Santos is simply beautiful. The use of Roman numerals (iconic to the French watch maison), bold lines, symmetry, hands of perfect length – it’s evident that great thought has been put to this design that has been refined over the decades. Ironically, it’s the subtle touches of the watch that holds my attention. I love the usage of bold lines (lines in greater thickness) to present 5 minute markers; I love how the words Cartier and Automatic balance the dial out; I love the lume on the hands (unusual on a dress watch); and I love the subtle Cartier detailing at 7 o’clock. Furthermore, the screwed bezel gives a sporty edge to an otherwise dressy dial. Nowadays, it’s hard to see screws on bezels as anything other than a Audemars Piguet design trademark, but here the bezel and its screws look completely at home on the Santos. There’s a reason why the design remained relatively unchanged for so long – don’t mess with what ain’t broke!
A trademark of all Cartier watches is the blue sapphire crown. It really adds a touch of elegance and panache to the Santos, and is incredibly eye-catching. Look closely at the above photo, and you would just be able to make out the faceted sides of the jewel.
Here’s some quick watch trivia: Cartier was actually the brand that invented the deployant buckle! As such, their deployant buckle is so satisfying to click into place. Also, the caseback is spartan yet somehow still elegant at the same time – a nuance that Cartier seems to have mastered in their design. God, I loved this watch so much.
On the wrist, the Cartier Santos sits like a charm. Due to the curvature of the lugs, the watch itself is incredibly ergonomic and do not slide around on the wrist. It feels like a perfect fit, and feels so damn comfortable. Wearing it out in a suit also made me appreciate the versatility of the watch. It’s sporty enough to be worn with shirt and jeans, yet also dressy enough to be worn with a suit and tie. I’ve seen numerous videos/articles of people touting the Rolex Submariner as the perfect one-watch collection. Nonsense – if I could honestly only own one watch, I’ll pick the Santos as it can be worn in almost all occasions and with nearly anything. Something I neglected to mention earlier is the angular nature of the case (pictured above). The angular lines are sporty yet elegant at the same time, with the beveled polish finishing defining the lines. As I’m writing this, I’m missing the Cartier Santos on my wrist so much. 🙁
TenTwo claims that they check the timekeeping of all watches after clients have returned them, so I put this claim to the test! The Cartier Santos I had actually keeps rather decent time, with an average of +5 seconds per day (see photo above). That’s relatively decent for an ETA movement! In my experience with the watch, I did not run into any movement or timekeeping troubles with the Santos.
The Cartier Santos was actually my first luxury watch that I’ve worn for an extended period of time. Interacting with a luxury watch, wearing it out and about nearly everyday was quite an experience. If not for TenTwo Club, it would probably have taken me a few more years in order to attain the financial capability to own a Cartier watch. Also, while I’ve always loved Cartier as a brand (it’s one of my top 5 favourite brands along with JLC, H. Moser, Roger Dubuis and A Lange & Sohne), I always felt the Santos was a bit too bulky, too squarish, and lacking the elegance evident in Cartier’s other lines such as the Tank or the Drive. This experience with the Santos has completely changed my mind about the Santos line – I honestly did not expect myself to like the watch as much as I did. Even now as I’m writing this, I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms from parting with the Santos! Interacting with the Santos has utterly convinced me that Cartier’s design ethos resonated with me, and I’m now determined to own a Cartier timepiece in the near future. I actually went to browse for Cartier timepieces online – and found a listing for a Cartier Tank Solo XL (with in-house movement) for $3K SGD! What do you guys think, is it a good deal? Let me know in the comments below!
TenTwo – Tudor Black Bay Bronze
After returning the Cartier Santos (very reluctantly), I got my next watch for the month – the Tudor Black Bay Bronze. I see the Tudor Black Bay Bronze as the watch which started the brass/bronze craze (amongst microbrands and lower-tier luxury houses such as Oris), and thus was stoked to finally interact with one personally. Furthermore, the Black Bay was the watch that co-founder Dan K (upon recommendation by fellow co-founder Dan M) bought as his first luxury watch, so that was an added incentive for me to try on the Black Bay in person!
Tudor is a brand that has rose to the limelight in recent years. After decades of being seen as the “poor man’s Rolex”, and languishing on bottom shelves of ADs, the interest in Tudor has rekindled largely due to the popularity of one design – the Black Bay. Introduced in 2012, the design won the Grand Prix d-Horlogerie de Genève (Horological equivalent of the Oscars) a year later, and served as the spark and fuel that rekindled the brand’s popularity. The Black Bay – alongside with a massive marketing campaign that included the signing of ambassadors such as David Beckham, Lady Gaga, Jay Chou and the All Blacks – turned the brand’s fortune around. Launched in 2016, this particular variant is perhaps one of the most recognizable bronze icons today, and definitely one of the most sought after. Out of stock in ADs nearly worldwide (definitely for Singapore), even second-hand pieces tend to fetch a premium. I was excited to see if the Tudor Black Bay Bronze was worth the hype.
One look at the dial and it’s easy to see where the appeal lies. The applied gilded indices exudes it own sort of charisma, and complimented with Tudor’s signature snowflake hands, makes for a stunning combination. The mocha bezel complements the chocolate dial and the tan strap as well, and when paired with the bronze case, makes for a particularly rustic and vintage look. The color combination here, from the gilded indices and brown bezel, to the bronze case and tan strap, just works extremely well together. There have been multiple bronze dive watches released before by luxury brands (such as the Panerai “Bronzo”), but none in my opinion managed to pull it off as well as Tudor did here. Well done Tudor!
The early versions of the Black Bay had Tudor’s iconic rose on the dial – when Tudor upgraded the Black Bay to their proprietary in-house movement, the rose got replaced by the shield on the dial. Yet, being termed the “Heritage” Black Bay, the model pays homage to Tudor’s history with an etching of the rose on the crown. In addition, seen from the side the bronze is beautiful. As the watch is not new, the bronze has already picked up its own patina, giving the watch a worn, aged look – in a good way! The Tudor Black Bay Bronze really made me understand the appeal of bronze as a case material, especially in dive watches.
Similar to its elder brother (Rolex), the caseback on the Tudor Black Bay Bronze is relatively spartan as well, with just some relevant information inscribed on the caseback. Despite the caseback being made of stainless steel, Tudor went the extra mile to have it plated to mimic the look of bronze, something I feel microbrands can learn from as I really like how it kept the color integrity of the watch intact. In addition, you might have noticed that the watch comes with the original Tudor leather strap. Indeed, for the Cartier Santos the strap was original as well, so be assured that you will be getting the watch in its original condition (including strap) when you sign up with TenTwo!
While the Tudor Black Bay Bronze looks good on the wrist, it was perhaps a bit too big and chunky for my wrist at 43mm. Unlike the Cartier Santos, the Tudor just didn’t “sit” as well and feel as natural on the wrist. I think this is the core of what TenTwo provides – not just a service for you to find out what fits you, but also to find out what doesn’t fit you so that you don’t splash a ton of money on a watch that you will later regret. Honestly speaking, if I had the financial capability (read: 5K in spare cash) and was looking for a nice watch, I would probably have bought the Tudor Black Bay Bronze due to its exclusivity as well as branding (as aforementioned, Tudor is a brand on the rise). After interacting with it for a month however, I realised that unfortunately, the watch just didn’t resonate with me as much as the Santos did due to its dimensions.
What truly astounded me about the Tudor Black Bay Bronze (admittedly, even more than the design) was the timekeeping stats of the watch. I knew Tudor’s in-house movement was chronometer certified, but I really didn’t expect it to be this good! 0 seconds variant per day, 0.0 ms beat error, 310 degrees amplitude – those are the best timekeeping stats I’ve seen in a watch thus far. I actually double-checked to ensure that the timegrapher was working properly! The accuracy of the movement really amazed me.
Nevertheless, though the Tudor Black Bay Bronze wasn’t love at first sight like the Cartier Santos, I really grew an appreciation for its features over time. While the 43mm case is too big for me, I think the smaller 41mm (non-bronze) variants of the Black Bay or the new Black Bay 58 collection may be perfect for me. To be honest, after interacting with the Black Bay Bronze for a month I actually found that what I liked about the watch wasn’t the bronze case material after all. What I appreciated about the Tudor Black Bay Bronze was firstly, that gilded dial with the snowflake hands, secondly, the incredibly accurate calibre, and lastly, the affordability. A regular variant of the Black Bay can be found for resale for around 3K, which is a great price for such a watch in my opinion! With the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, TenTwo allow me to learn and refine about my own watch buying preferences. In a sense, interacting with the Tudor Black Bay Bronze has been educational.
Conclusion: so is TenTwo “shiok” or not?
I definitely enjoyed my time with TenTwo. Wearing the Santos made my heart sing, while interacting with the Tudor Black Bay Bronze was an educational experience for me as I figured out what I liked, and didn’t like in a watch. I think TenTwo is perfect for two groups of people: firstly, watch lovers who are looking for an affordable avenue into the world of luxury watches, and secondly, people who are trying to figure out what their first luxury watch should be and are essentially using TenTwo as a “try before I buy” service. Ultimately, I applaud TenTwo for lowering the barrier of entry of luxury watches in an era where the prices of said watches are skyrocketing. With TenTwo, one can now wear a Rolex/Cartier/Tudor/IWC/Panerai/Omega on your wrist without having to spend a huge fortune! If I could make a suggestion for improvement, TenTwo’s current collection seems to have a heavy emphasis on tool watches. Being a fan of dress watches, I would love to see some dress watches added into the mix as well! A JLC Reverso, Grand Seiko “Snowflake”, or Chopard L.U.C XPS would be great.
If you would like to try TenTwo’s service out for yourself, TenTwo has generously offered a special promotion for my readers: a 6 week trial of TenTwo for $299, which will include one watch rotation at 3 weeks. (Valid till 17 June – perhaps a present for Father’s Day?) Essentially, you get to try out 2 luxury watches over a period of 6 weeks, all for the price of a Daniel Wellington! All you have to do is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Wah so shiok TenTwo Promotion” and you will be eligible! My advice: Use this trial to test the service and the watches out for yourself. In addition, if you have been eyeing a luxury watch for yourself (especially one that is currently in TenTwo’s collection), this 6 weeks trial is a great way to ensure that you won’t be making a costly mistake. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with TenTwo – hopefully you guys will too!
View TenTwo’s complete collection of watches here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
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Nigel Gomes, @the_lone_cadre