Adrian posts to Instagram like a savage. You often don’t get to look at everything, liken it and comment on it. But I like his watches and his Photos. That’s why I’m really looking forward to the interview!
1. Adrian, please tell me and my readers something about you. How old are you, where do you come from, where do you live, what do you do all day long, your hobbies, . . .
Are you asking for my physical age or mental age? Hahaha… I am currently 42 years of age but mentally I act like I am 24… hahaha. Jokes aside, I am born and bred in this tiny little island country called Singapore and our government places a lot of emphasis on building a knowledgeable and skilled workforce due to our lack of natural resources since we are so tiny (literally a little red dot on the globe). An outcome of such a policy is that we manage to develop a fairly strong financial services center and I am working in one such financial institution that provides bespoke loan agency services to other institutions.
Seiko SRPB99 Padi Samurai
Due to the demanding nature of my job, my work pretty much takes up most of my time. Whatever precious little time I have outside of work is spent on taking loads of photos, posting on IG, FB, keeping fit and going to church ( in that particular order.. hahaha).
2. What was your first watch? And what’s the story behind this watch?
My first exposure to the world of horology is through my late father. Growing up, we didn’t have much. However through sheer hard work over many years, my dad managed to setup his very own accountancy practice. To celebrate this milestone, my dad bought a Rolex watch. It was a pre-owned steel manual wind Oyster Datejust with a simple black dial and baton indices. That was the first time I learnt about mechanical watches.
Sadly I am not able to find any pictures of this watch, which is why I started taking copious amounts of pictures of my watches so that I can look back at these pictures as the years passes by.
3. Have you always had a passion for watches, or how did the whole thing come about?
I only started collecting watches less than a year ago and it went full steam about eight months ago. Remember I told you that mentally I feel a lot younger than my physical age? Well, what I was trying to say is that I am not as mature as I should be when compared to my peers. Hence I made a series of poor decisions and compounded with sheer bad luck, I suffered a number of fairly catastrophic setbacks in my personal life. Through sheer determination, I managed to overcome these various hurdles. It was only after surviving yet another recent setback, I finally decided to follow what my late father did and went out to buy a pre-owned steel manual wind Rolex to lift my spirits. This is how I ended up with a manual wind vintage Rolex Precision (ref no. 6694) that is from the late seventies.
Rolex 6694 Oysterdate Precision
I hope that this watch may act as a form of a “lucky charm” to boost my luck to help me avoid any further catastrophes. It sounds terribly superstitious but being Asian, quite a number of us believe in something called “Fengshui”… which is the use of energy forces (essentially the five elements known as Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth) around us to harmonise ourselves with our surrounding environment. I have to get a steel watch because I require a lot of “Metal” in my environment to balance out the negative energy and it has to be a Rolex because of the iconic Rolex Crown logo represents a “Kingly” state of mind to help me make better decisions in life. However since this interview is about watches and not about “Fengshui” or “Superstition”, I shall not dwell further on this topic.
4. What watches have you had so far? And what story is there to tell?
Well, instead of focusing on specific watches, I will like to talk about the various brands I have in my collection. Essentially mine is predominantly a three brand collection namely Rolex, Sinn and Seiko.
I have two Rolex, which is the 6694 that I mentioned earlier and a two-tone Datejust which was a hand-me-down from my late father. The Rolex serves a very specific function whereby on days I need a boost or needed to feel lucky especially when dealing with certain difficult circumstances, I will wear my Rolex.
The Seikos are essentially my “playthings” whereby I wear them on weekends (especially on Seiko Saturday) and they also to allow me to connect to other watch enthusiasts and collectors because practically everyone has got a Seiko in their collection.
Finally let’s talk a bit about Sinn, which is a German watch brand that was founded by Helmut Sinn who wanted to make highly functional and purposeful watches with best possible design and quality materials. And considering the price point, I felt it offers amazing value for such quality time pieces. They are certainly a step up from my entry level Seikos.
5. What is your favourite watch and why?
This has got to be the toughest question of this interview. Frankly, I don’t have a favourite watch per se but if there is one watch that I wouldn’t sell, then it has to be my Seiko SRPA79J1 (nickname the Seiko Scallop).
Seiko SRPA79J1 – Seiko Scallop
This is one of the first two Seikos I ever bought (the other being the SBDC033 aka Blumo which I have since sold).
Seiko SBDC033 Blumo
I picked the Seiko Scallop because it’s the oddest watch in my collection and it’s not the best looking either. It has an ungainly size of 48mm (lug to lug). I changed the shroud to a brass shroud which makes it look even odder. And design wise it looks like the love child of a Seiko Monster and Seiko Tuna. It doesn’t even keep good time (gains more than 20secs per day) so everything is wrong with this watch. But yet it holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of all the imperfections I have within myself and somehow with each passing day, I have learned to deal with these imperfections. Sorry if this sounds too philosophical to your readers but it is what it is. No one is perfect, no life is perfect, hence dealing with imperfections is an important part of staying happy.
6. If money doesn’t matter, what watch would you buy?
I haven’t really thought about this question until you asked it. If I have to be forced into giving you and your readers an answer, then I have to say it’s got to be the Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. I had the privilege and luxury of seeing one up close alongside a couple of Richard Mille and somehow the elegance of the Patek just overshadow the RMs although the RMs are terribly expensive watches too. This sort of gave me an insight on what sort of watches I will be going for if I ever had that type of money. Patek Philippe 5270 Perpetual Calendar Chronograph
7. Where do you buy your watches? At the jeweler’s, department store, online, . . . and why there?
This is a great question and I do get my watches from a variety of different places and sources. However one notable merchant that I will like to point out is Mr Eric Li from The Hour Boutique (a physical stall) for his extremely professional and friendly service he gives to all his customers.
Margins from watches are getting lower and physical store owners are facing stiff competition from online retailers. Watch buyers are a lot more informed as well in terms of pricing amongst rival stores. Despite this, Eric still maintain a very polite and positive approach and works hard to bring in a wide variety of watches across different brands at reasonable prices that caters to different budgets. And no matter how cheap the watch may be, Eric still extends his best service to his customers. Hence you get to enjoy the same great service whether you are buying a Casio G-shock or an Omega Speedmaster. This is something I find to be very commendable.
8. You’re from Singapore. How do you get there to buy SINN watches? What is the story behind this?
Thank you for taking notice of my Sinn Watches. All of my Sinn watches thus far are pre-owned pieces bought mostly from the previous owners themselves. The only exception was a Sinn 756 which I bought from a use watch dealer. In fact that was my first ever Sinn watch and I wasn’t even shopping for one at that time. I was looking at the Speedmaster Man On the Moon watch but I wasn’t so sure if I was ready to pay that much for a new watch. So I visited an used watch dealer that I had dealt with previously to see if there was a used Moonwatch on sale. It was then I saw the 756 on display at his store front. So I asked to try it, he offered me a great discount and the rest I will say is history.
I went on to buy another two more pre-owned Sinn watches (103 and U1) from the owners themselves after negotiating a great price for them. The reason being Sinn is not a highly sought after brand in my country and there isn’t a big demand for them, which makes it great for people looking to buy (but will be a pain for those looking to sell).
Sinn 103 ST ROBERTO
Sinn U1 SDR
We do have a local AD for Sinn watches in Singapore and I did place an order for the new Sinn 104 with the anthracite dial through the AD, only because this is a version that is released by Sinn in Oct 2018 and I will not be able to find a pre-own one in the resale market. Sinn 104 ST SA I A anthracite dial
9. You love HDR photography. What exactly do you photograph with and what fascinates you about it?
I enjoy playing with HDR photography because it creates a very impactful image that is both distinctive and unique. It is not to everyone’s taste because it may come across as being too artificial or even looks dated (old-fashioned).
However I am fascinated by the output as it represents the way all of us view things, often with a fair amount of distortion whereby we over emphasise on a certain area only to neglect other parts. Most of the time it is because we are too eager to put ourselves in good or favourable light. Even if we say we don’t care about what other people think, the actual fact is that we really get bothered by it. Again I apologise if I am being too philosophical.
Seiko SRP581 K1
Sinn 103 ST ROBERTO
What else would you like to say to my readers?
I guess I have said a lot (perhaps even too much) and in summary, I am just a run-of-the-mill type of guy without any exceptional qualities or features. Hence I am really thankful for the opportunity to do this interview and hopefully you find it interesting to read my lengthy replies. If you have seen my IG feed (which I hope you have or will be something that you will do after reading this interview), I enjoy posting about my watches.
Seiko SRP44 Turtle gold
Instead of conventional wrist shots, I try to make it interesting by infusing my watches into various activities or environments that I come into contact with. I hope you find this style of presenting my watches interesting and do show your support by following my feed. Thank you!!
Here you found Adrian on INSTAGRAM:
Adrian with Seiko SRPC25K1
Thank you Adrian for the great interview. And should I ever be in Singapore, I’ll stop by and you show me your watches live, show me your city and we’ll go out for a tasty meal. I’m looking forward to that…. 🙂