Tatler's Guide To Being Conversant: Carson Chan On Watches
Do you have to be rich to get into watch collecting?
The watch industry has changed tremendously in the past decade. Highend watch companies are offering excellent products at very reasonable prices. Ten years ago, you would purchase a single watch for HK$100,000. Today, with the same amount, you could start a small and interesting collection. One brand I’m fond of is Ikepod; the brand was founded in the ’90s by Swiss businessman Oliver Ike and Australian designer Marc Newson. Their watches are less than 1,000 euros.
Which are more collectible—vintage or modern watches?
With all the hype around vintage watches in recent years, it’s easy to believe only vintage is collectible, when in fact, both modern and vintage thrive in the collector’s world. Vintage pieces represent more in terms of character, storytelling and production numbers, but modern pieces are more interesting in terms of technological advancement, time display and material application.
What are the mistakes newcomers might make when buying or collecting watches?
I constantly hear questions like: “Which watch should I buy for investment?” or “Are there any watches that hold better value?” This is a common mistake. When you are starting out, there is no shortcut; you have to train your eyes and build up your knowledge in order to become a connoisseur. Much like in the art world, you rarely walk into a gallery and start off with an investment angle. Buy what appeals to you and spend time learning about its history and heritage.
Where can you go to get more information on watches?
I use the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s (FHH) website most. The FHH is a non-profit organisation and its information is always factual. And if you want to learn more about watches, the FHH is partnering with the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Productivity Council to offer watch knowledge certification courses and watch-making classes—the first in the world.
See also: Tatler's Guide To Being Conversant
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