Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean article! On this “shiok” Sunday, I’m sharing my watch story – the personal (non-microbrand) pieces I own, and their significance. I hope this would be an interesting read. If not, I guess it’s just a nostalgic trip down the memory lane for me!
The above watches are not necessary expensive pieces, but all are timepieces that I hold dear to my heart for various reasons.
This is my watch story.
1) Eoniq Pinot Blanc
The Eoniq Pinot Blanc was my first mechanical watch, and was the one that started it all.
I bought the Eoniq Pinot Blanc 4 years ago, when I was 18. I remember chancing upon the Pinot Blanc on Indiegogo, and I was intrigued by the ability to put my own signature – in my own handwriting, not some generic font – on the dial of a watch. I still remember struggling with whether to pull the trigger on this purchase, as the watch cost a pretty penny (~S$300) back then, and I was an income-less JC student. Eventually, I couldn’t resist the appeal of personalising my own watch, and managed to save enough money for it. Interestingly, whilst I initially got the watch because I liked the idea of having my name on the dial, I grew to appreciate the mechanical movement beating inside. Prior to the Pinot Blanc, I’ve mostly been wearing fashion watches – Guess, Fossil, and yes, Daniel Wellington. I was mesmerised by the rotating balance wheel (visible due to the skeletonised dial) and although it was a cheap movement that stutters like hell (Miyota 8 series), this was the watch that opened my eyes to the world of mechanical horology. Due to its significance in starting my watch journey, I don’t think I’ll ever sell this piece.
2) Schaffen Signature Series
While the Eoniq Pinot Blanc piqued my interest in watches, it was really Schaffen that sent me down the rabbit hole.
A couple of years ago, I was looking for an internship. I happened to chance upon Schaffen, and was intrigued by its status as a local watch brand, as well as its line of customisable watches. I contacted the co-founder of the brand Nicholas, and worked out a deal whereby I would be a part-time marketing intern for the brand working from home. In exchange, the brand would provide me with my own personalised watch, which you can see above. I have to credit Nicholas and Schaffen for teaching me a lot about watches and the watch industry – it was they who exposed me to Talking Watches by Hodinkee, and explained to me the differences between a sapphire crystal and mineral glass, painted hands and blued hands, etc. I probably wouldn’t have this website today and be as into watches as I currently am if not for them.
3) HMT Vijay
This is a particularly poignant piece.
The HMT Vijay was my first vintage watch, as well as my first hand-wound watch. I bought this piece to reminiscence about a dear friend. His name is Vijay, and after 6 joyous years of schooling together, he had decided to continue his tertiary education abroad – he’s currently studying in the University of Pennsylvania, which people tell me is a pretty good school. I happened to chance upon this watch on Carousell, and seeing his name on the dial immediately brought to mind the many happy times we spent together. I’ll probably gift this watch to him when he graduates from UPenn next year. Till then, I wear this watch out whenever I miss his friendship and company.
4) Omega Geneve
The Omega Geneve was my first Swiss “luxury” watch.
I bought this for myself for my 21st birthday. Like most watch enthusiasts, I wanted to purchase a watch to mark the occasion, but unlike most watch enthusiasts, I didn’t have much money. I didn’t have the funds to get myself a Rolex, or even rich parents to gift me a modern Omega. I had a budget of just $500, but nevertheless I wanted to get myself something respectable, a watch that I would still wear proudly a decade later as I reminiscence about my youth. A dear watch collecting friend of mine, after hearing my predicament, suggested vintage Swiss watches as an option, specifically Omega. As I had already purchased a vintage, 36mm hand-wound watch previously – the HMT Vijay – I was open to a vintage option. By luck, I managed to find an Omega Geneve for cheap ($500) and in pretty good condition on Carousell, and I immediately pulled the trigger.
5) Xiaomi Ci Ga Design
I bought this because I thought it looked cool.
When I saw this watch, it immediately struck me as the antithesis of the Apple Watch. The case is undeniably an homage of the Apple Watch, but I loved how the transparency of the case and the skeletonised movement allows for mechanical watchmaking to be the star of the show. If the Apple Watch shows off the latest technological features, the Xiaomi Ci Ga Design watch reminds us of the enduring ingenuity behind mechanical watch movements. I happen to chance upon this watch at a great price during last year’s 11/11 sales, and it has been a fun piece to wear ever since.
This was my first impulse purchase.
I was having dinner with a friend in Marina Square, and walked past Passions Watches. Being a full-fledged watch geek by then, I had to pop in to have a look. I wasn’t planning on buying anything – most of the watches displayed were 4, if not 5 figures – but this Laco caught my eye. Laco is a brand more commonly associated with pilot watches, so I was immensely intrigued by a Laco dress watch, as well as its engraved bezel. I loved the printed Roman numerals as well – it reminded me of a Rolex Buckley dial. I asked the shopkeeper if she knew the model/reference, to which she replied in the negative. I tried to search the net for any mention of it, but nothing came out. The mystery of the watch, along with its inherent beauty, prompted me to ask the shopkeeper for its price. It turned out to be significantly less than I had anticipated, and I immediately purchased it.
7) Mido Multistar
The Mido Multistar is definitely one of my favourite vintage watches.
I have always been a fan of Mido – their watches pack a lot of vintage charm. Unfortunately, Mido doesn’t seem to be that popular a brand here in Singapore, which was probably why I managed to snap this vintage Mido Multistar for cheap. I loved the faceted applied indices, as well as the day/date complication at 3 o’clock. I also appreciated how – even though this model was from the 70s – the design of the Multistar is still present in several of the modern Mido timepieces today. It’s a watch that simply oozes underrated charm, and I absolutely adore it. Very happy that I’m able to pick this up.
8) Orient Sun and Moon 3
The Orient Sun and Moon is by far my favourite design from the underrated Japanese watch maison.
I vividly remember lusting over an Orient Sun and Moon whilst I was in army – it was the Orient Sun & Moon 65th Anniversaty Edition, which I thought was incredibly chio. Unfortunately, being just an NSF then, I didn’t have the funds to make the purchase. I was elated when Orient announced the Orient Sun & Moon 3 last year, which comes with several specifications upgrades. I managed to find one of the grey market (Carousell) for cheap, and have been loving it ever since. Come on – the Orient Sun & Moon 3 looks much more expensive than its $300 price tag would suggest! It’s full of texture and depth, and I love the Art Deco design of it. Currently one of my favourite dress watches.
9) Swatch Singapore Tale
Given that Wah so Shiok is dedicated to shining a spotlight on local brands, when the Swatch Singapore Tale came out I knew I had to get it.
For those who are unaware, the Swatch Singapore Tale is designed by local artist Tan Zi Xi, and it pays tribute to Singapore’s most iconic landmarks, symbols and food. I immediately connected with the watch when I saw it, and purchasing it was a no-brainer. I love the white/blue aesthetics of it, which gives off the impression of the watch being ceramic/enamel. I’ve also always wanted a Swatch, due to the brand’s role in saving the Swiss watch industry from ruin during the quartz crisis – there’s a reason why the conglomerate is named the Swatch group. A very fun piece to wear during the weekend.
10) Longines Heritage 1945
Probably my most treasured watch in my current personal collection.
Ever since the Longines Heritage 1945 came out, I have waxed lyrical about it. I wrote about it in one of my earliest articles, as well as in an article for a particular watch group. Probably my favourite watch from Longines, the Heritage 1945 not only looks great, but has a tremendous back story as well. Ben Clymer (founder of Hodinkee, as we all know) posted a picture of a vintage 1945 Longines timepiece that he personally owned on his Instagram page. Longines saw it, essentially freaked out, and requested to see the watch. Ben Clymer sent his watch over, and not too long later Longines contacted him again, informing that they would be doing a faithful re-release of his vintage piece. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that this may be the first case of a vintage watch getting a re-release because of an Instagram post! I personally love how the slender blued hands pops on the textured copper brushed dial. In addition, the sunburst sub-dial gives the watch a nice contrast in texture. I was lucky to be financially stable enough to purchase this for myself for my 22nd birthday. A whole lot of class, for not a lot of money!
11) Hamilton Khaki Mechanical
One of my more recent purchases, I simply fell in love with its pure white dial.
I’ve always wanted a Hamilton – the brand is full of heritage, and their watches are full of value. I was actually eyeing a Hamilton Khaki King, but when the white dial version of the Khaki Mechanical was announced earlier this year, my heart was sold. I mean, look at it – it’s stunning! I love that the Khaki Mechanical is a model with historical significance (it was the model that American soldiers wore during the Vietnam War). I also appreciated the new H-50 hand-wound movement that can be found in the Khaki Mechanical, which provides a stunning 80 hours of power reserve. Paired with a leather NATO strap, the watch simply looks incredible. My current go-to everyday watch.
12) G-Shock GA-2100
I must admit I fell onto the hype train for this one – but in a good way!
When it was launched, the G-Shock GA-2100 created a frenzy amongst the watch community due to its likeliness to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. People started calling it the “poor man’s Royal Oak”, and bought it in droves. I was actually on the fence about its design, and went to check the watch out at an AD. What sold me wasn’t the Gerald Genta influences of its design, but rather how light and thin it felt on the wrist. I recall thinking: “This must be how Nadal feels like when he straps his Richard Mille on during a tennis match.” Since purchasing it, it has now become my exercise watch – I really appreciate its lightness and toughness when on the tennis court.
That sums up my personal watch story! After a recent meeting with a bunch of young watch enthusiasts, I realised that I never really shared my watch story and how I got into watches. Hopefully, this article showcases my personal taste in watches, and made this an interesting read!
Writing an article such as this feels vastly different from my usual microbrand watch reviews, and I thoroughly relished the chance to show you guys what my taste in watches is like. The next watch that I’m eyeing is a Nomos Club Ref. 701 – can’t wait for that timepiece to join my collection (hopefully) before the end of the year!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!