Being a fitness instructor as well an army reservist, Ronald’s collection tends to focus more towards utilitarian pieces, however somewhere in this beefy and chunky collection of his lies classiness and beauty that can be appreciated by many. Today Ronald resides in Singapore where he’s focusing on his career as a fitness instructor constantly motivating others to better themselves, let us dive in his passion for watch collecting and take a look at some of his pieces and learn more what they mean to him, welcome to episode 41 of #wristalk.
Watches to me, are more than just telling the time. They accompany us through life’s journey.
– Ronald Chew (@horologym)
How it all started?
I’ve always been a watch guy since young. Back then, we didn’t have mobile devices, and I rely heavily on my wristwatch to tell the time. Even to this day, I do turn to my wrist for the time even though I am using my mobile phone.
The watch bug seriously bit me back in 2013. It was also the year I got married. Like all Wises, I have to have a nice wedding watch. I started reading up on watches from sites such as Hodinkee, ABTW, Worn & Wound, etc. I bought what most collectors would frown upon – a Franken watch, I was young, reckless, and still a novice at the time, but needless to say I loved it.
I got the Tiffany & Co. watch off from eBay. This piece was conceived from a pocket watch. What attracted me was the enamel dial, the Red “12”, the Breguet numerals, the sub second dial at 6, etc. All these attributes to what a classic dress watch should be. And so, the Tiffany & Co. was on my wrist when we took our wedding vows.
What was your first watch?
I can’t remember exactly what my first watch was, but it is definitely some cheap quartz watch from the night market.
But if I were to relive my childhood all over again and have a say for what my first watch would be, I’d definitely pick any of the quartz pieces in my current collection. The Casio Marty McFly, the “Legends of Zelda” by Nelsonic, the Swatch Kamasutra, or the Seiko ‘Aliens’. I bet I will be the coolest kid in school.
What do watches mean to you?
My watches meant a lot to me. Each and every one of them tells a story. Watches to me, are more than just telling the time. They accompany us through life’s journey. They are probably the next closest thing to me, apart from my family and friends. And that’s how I see them.
What is the focus of your collection?
Working as a Personal Trainer has its limitations. I definitely can’t do dress pieces. My choices for watches are pretty much focused mainly on sports pieces. Iconic and Classic pieces to be exact. My watches got to be able to withstand a beating.
What was the last watch you bought?
The latest addition to my collection is the Bremont Supermarine S500BL. I did not actually buy it. In fact, I won it from an Instagram contest #CrownMoment, organised by @CrownWatchBlog just last month! Awesome isn’t it?
Which is your favourite watch in your collection?
Easy! My favourite watch has got to be my Rolex Submariner, ref 14060. It was my 30th birthday present to myself. It has gone through many ups and downs, so much so that it has become a part of me. My fellow collector friends will always associate me to the watch.
The Sub has gotten so much wrist time and has even gone through Military Training as I am a Reservist with 3 cycles. It has gone through some tough training as well! Field camps, physical fitness tests, live firings, and most recently for my OPS Deployment. You guys can call me crazy, for all I care. My Sub is never meant to be a safe queen, and I wear my Sub like how a Sub is meant to be worn. It’s a tool watch after all. Or perhaps I should call it a MilSub instead.
Could you tell us about the most interesting piece you ever owned/found?
I’ve actually have a watch in my collection with an interesting-borderline eerie-background story to it. I’m pretty sure it will freak most people out, if not, all. Alright, here goes…
So.. My grandfather passed away on September 14, 1965. This watch (a.k.a the Ruko Super) was strapped on to his wrist when he was buried, right up to early 2000 when his grave was exhumed. My grandfather’s badly beaten up watch then sat in my Dad’s drawer for the next 14 years, before finally getting it restored in 2014. It has since been in my possession, and I do wear it occasionally, especially during family gatherings.
What is the dream watch?
My dream watch would be the classic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, ref 15202 40th Anniversary Boutique Edition. I’ll let the photo do the talking on this one. Cheers!