Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Kopi Talk! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this series, Kopi Talk is where I talk to fellow millennials/Gen Z (people 25 and under) about their love for watches over coffee. I realised that most of my peers either do not wear a watch (the “There’s the phone to tell time!” people), wear a smartwatch/fitbit, or wear a fashion watch as a fashion accessory to complement their outfit. Through this series, by talking to young watch enthusiasts who bucked the trend and continued to buy and love “proper” watches, I hope to show my generation why watches are still very much relevant to a number of us today.
22 this year, Glendon has nevertheless been into watch collecting for quite some time. His love affair with watches started young, with the Nixon Time Teller being one of the first watches he remembered wearing (almost daily) to secondary school. After being introduced into the world of mechanical watches by his friends, he started off by collecting Steinhart watches during his poly days. Eventually, Glendon moved into the realm of Swiss luxury timepieces. This is his watch story.
Glendon’s featured collection: Vintage Titoni, Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270, Omega Speedmaster (First Omega in Space), Tudor Black Bay 58, Rolex Explorer 2 Ref. 16570
His father’s watch – Titoni
The first timepiece that caught my eye was the vintage Titoni he was wearing when we met.
Let’s start with the vintage Titoni on your wrist!
G: This watch actually belonged to my father. When he passed about a year back, I found this at the bottom of his drawer while we (me and my family) were clearing out his room. It was quite dirty and banged up, so I sent it to get cleaned up. When it returned, I was stunned by how beautiful the watch looked! To me, this is by far the most sentimental piece in my collection. Curiously enough, I had never seen my dad wearing this watch before, and neither had my mom. My father wasn’t very well to do though, so this Swiss-made Titoni watch probably meant a great deal to him. I still wear this regularly – its smaller case dimensions fit great on my slimmer wrists. This watch reminds me of my father, and it is one that I will never sell.
The first Rolex – Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270
One of Glendon’s first significant watch purchase was the Rolex Explorer Ref. 114270.
This is quite an underrated Rolex model. Why did you get it?
G: I got this right before I entered the Army. Prior to this purchase, I was mainly wearing Steinhart watches, which as we both know are best known for their homages of Rolex models. I saw this Explorer Ref. 114270 listed on by a reputable second-hand dealer for a very reasonable price, about $4 to 5K SGD. I realised that the price difference between a Steinhart and a second-hand Rolex (of course, this was ~3 years ago) wasn’t as great as I imagined – might as well get 1 Rolex, rather than having 3-4 Steinharts! For me, the Explorer Ref. 114270 was perfect. It has the original 36mm case size (current models are 39mm), which wears better on my slim wrists. This watch evokes adventure to me – it was the first watch that went to the peak of Everest! Given that I was about to embark on a new adventure myself at that point of time (enlisting in National Service), I thought this Rolex Explorer made for a very fitting purchase.
From Everest to Space – Omega Speedmaster FOIS
Glendon’s appreciation of watches that accompanied extraordinary conquests continued with the Omega Speedmaster FOIS (First Omega in Space).
This is probably my favourite non-limited variant of the Omega Speedmaster. Lovely piece!
G: Haha, thanks. I was looking to branch out in my watch collecting after the Rolex Explorer, and of course the Speedmaster is a must-have in any watch collection. I actually got a Speedy Reduced prior to the FOIS. The price of the Speedy Reduced was really attractive (~$2K SGD), and I thought I could get a lot of the Omega Speedmaster DNA for very little. Unfortunately, the moment I tried to use the chronograph function, the hand on the Speedy Reduced came off. I read online that it is a well-known issue of the Speedy Reduced, and promptly returned it to the shop for a refund. In the process, I read a lot about the movement the Speedy Reduced uses, in comparison to the 1861 movement (which is based upon the legendary Calibre 321) that the FOIS and Speedmaster Professional uses. This really ignited my interest in watch movements. I’m currently an engineering student, so you can say I am really a geek about mechanisms! After returning the Speedy Reduced, I soon decided to pull the trigger on this Omega Speedmaster FOIS. Not only does it have a great movement, its slimmer proportions (as compared to the beefier Speedmaster Professional) suits my wrist better.
The cult classic – Tudor Black Bay 58
The watch that took Baselworld 2018 by storm – dammit, I want the Black Bay 58! Insanely jealous as I’m typing this…
I can’t believe you managed to get your hands on one of these! I think the BB58 is sold out completely at ADs currently, and I heard the waiting list spans months.
G: Yeah, I guess I was quite lucky! This was actually an impulse purchase, sort of. I was having a meal with some friends in town – we were celebrating the end of final examinations. After dinner, I walked into this random watch store at Orchard Plaza, and there it was – BNIB, and selling slightly below retail! I had my eyes on the BB58 ever since its unveiling in Baselworld 2018 – I love the slimmer proportions, and I appreciated the fact that Tudor actually went the extra mile to engineer a new movement just for the BB58, instead of simply recasing the same movement in a smaller case, as many other brands do. Unfortunately, whenever I tried to have a look at it at the ADs, it is always sold out. When I saw this available, I knew I couldn’t pass on this opportunity.
A white dial – Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570
To end off, Glendon’s most recent horlogical acquisition is this beautiful Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570.
Interesting – you got both the Explorer, and the Explorer II! Tell me more about why you decided to get this.
G: After my purchase of the Tudor BB58, I was actually looking to add a white dial watch to my collection. As you can see, my watches up till that point of time (except the vintage Titoni) all possessed black dials, so I wanted something different. I was actually looking at the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual in White (announced at Baselworld 2018), but couldn’t find it at any ADs, or second-hand stores. While I was searching for the white Rolex OP, this Rolex Explorer II showed up on my radar. It has both a white dial, as well as a GMT complication, which was something I’ve not yet collected. Most importantly, what intrigued me was the two-tone lume on this particular model. If you look closely, the bottom of the dial states “SWISS – T<25” instead of the usual “SWISS MADE”. The hands actually possesses Tritium lume, while the indices uses the usual photoluminescence. I thought that was very interesting, and thus decided to get it. Oh – I like the white GMT hand as well, which I think looks much cleaner than the orange hand found on the current iteration!
That rounds up this edition of Kopi Talk! I must say, Glendon has quite a respectable collection despite his young age. What’s even more impressive is that he saved up and purchased all the above watches out of his pocket. I asked him if he felt trepidation at making such hefty purchases, to which he replied no – he knows that he would be able to recoup his money if he were to sell. That’s some clear-headed collecting right there!
I love writing Kopi Talk, and meeting up with these young watch enthusiasts. It’s proof that young people are able to appreciate serious watches – not just Daniel Wellingtons and Apple Watches! The next edition of Kopi Talk will be published in May (doing a roundup of premium microbrands for next month) – stay tuned!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!