Ones To Watch: Hong Kong's Top Watch Collectors
Watch collecting isn't just about an object—often, timepieces hold special meanings and tatler_stories for their owners. We asked six of Hong Kong’s most ardent watch collectors to nominate their favourite piece and tell us what makes their chosen timepiece so special:
1/6 Winston Koo
“This Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe Flyback Chronograph Black Ceramic is one of my favourite watches as I happen to have been wearing it when my two children were born. On a few occasions, it has also served as a chew toy for them! It certainly holds many fond memories for me. I had a friend source this watch for me in Spain, where it was initially released and had yet to make its way to Hong Kong. I like that it’s discreet and, even at 43mm, it has a smaller profile and is very comfortable and light on the wrist.”
Winston Koo is executive vice president of product design and development in his family business, UCP International, a leading manufacturer of faux botanicals and home decor.
“I have three Patek Philippes: a 1958 dress watch from my grandpa; an Aquanaut, which I bought for myself; and the piece I’m wearing is a Patek Philippe Grand Complication Perpetual Calendar Ref 3940, which my dad gave me a couple of years ago for my birthday. I love watches because I find it fascinating that such small objects can contain so many tiny complicated parts, such as this one, which has a moon phase and a perpetual calendar, but I love them even more when they are given to me by family and loved ones. It’s the legacy of the watch that makes it priceless.”
The co-founder of digital creative agency Indicube, Antonia Li develops websites and branding for a wide variety of clients, including Lily & Bloom, Buzz Concepts, Estée Lauder and Mr Porter.
3/6 Denise Lo
“My dad gave me this Piaget Limelight Love Letter fully diamond-set watch five years ago for my birthday. I misplaced it once—I forgot where I had kept it—but when I moved homes in 2015, I found it in an empty tin in a corner of my walk-in closet. I was so happy I took my best friends out for dinner to celebrate. I love this piece because most watches I see that are set entirely in diamonds are thin and small, while this one is a good size. I like the width and how it’s a secret watch so it looks like a bangle unopened.”
A lawyer turned top executive, Denise Lo has worked for a number of luxury brands, including Chanel, Roger Dubuis and Richard Mille, and is now the regional vice-president for Christian Dior Couture Asia-Pacific.
4/6 Carson Chan
“I tend to keep all the pieces I’ve purchased over the years. Every piece has a special meaning—a piece I bought when my first child was born, a piece I bought for myself after I graduated from university, a piece my father gave me. It’s almost an impossible task to pick a favourite. It’s like asking me which of my kids is my favourite, but if I have to pick one now, it will be this H Moser Endeavor Perpetual Calendar Funky Blue. It's minimalist, possibly the cleanest perpetual calendar timepiece out there today, and can be adjusted forwards and backwards without the risk of damaging the movement.”
The head of the Greater China mission for the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), Carson Chan was previously the managing director and watch specialist for Bonhams Asia Pacific and general manager for Richard Mille Asia.
5/6 Esther Ma
“My husband gave me this Cartier Baignoire watch, which he bought on a summer business trip to Paris. His boss was with him, and he was buying a Cartier for his wife and insisted that my husband buy one for me too. They both ended up getting these great presents. My husband never usually buys jewellery or accessories for me, so this came as a pleasant surprise. I love everything oval-shaped and black and white, so I was instantly drawn to this piece, and the satin band was a bonus.”
The founder of PR company Prestique and sports education company Harvest Sky, Esther Ma supports various charities, including the Chi Heng Foundation, the Academy for Performing Arts and the Changing Young Lives Foundation.
6/6 Emily Tang
“I’m wearing a Vacheron Constantin Métiers d'Art Lady Kalla timepiece. I think it’s a very classy jewellery watch and will never go out of vogue. Also, it represents an excellent investment in terms of complications, design, workmanship and heritage. Although Vacheron Constantin has a long tradition of making complicated watches, I was attracted by this watch's distinct and daring aesthetic.”
Emily Tang serves as group vice-chairman and executive director of Prince Jewellery & Watch, a company founded by her husband, Jimmy Tang.