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What's Your Watch Story? - Daniel Chua

Updated: Mar 28, 2019

In March's edition of What's Your Watch Story, we speak to certified wrist pervert Daniel "Horogenie" Chua to find out more about the stories behind his watch collection and how his passion for watches came about. Famed for his innovative shots on Instagram, Daniel is able to successfully capture some very aesthetic shots to showcase his current loot. Check out the rest of the interview below!

Watch Chest - A shot of my collection

Hi there, could you give a brief introduction of yourself? What was your very first watch and how did it come to possession? Hello, I’m Daniel and I’m currently a 3rd year student in Polytechnic, studying Banking and Finance. I freelance in web design and creative content currently. Like many of us, my first watch was the ubiquitous Casio G-Shock. It was a 12-year-old birthday present and first my “real” watch. As mobile phones were banned in school, it allowed me to keep track of lesson schedule and stay on top of things. It also provided ‘entertainment’ during periods of boredom! Unfortunately, I misplaced that G-Shock in school.

How did the passion for watches come about and what is it about watches that draws you to them?

My interest in timepieces was sparked – like many of us – by the ubiquitous Casio G-Shock. I can’t attest to being interested in watches before as the “cartoon-cum-fashion” timepieces (think Ben 10 and Spiderman) I wore only managed to excite me for a while before being relegated to the pile of regrettable purchases.

The ubiquitous Casio G-Shock. Ultra-technical and cool

Like many Japanese products, the G-Shock looked technically cool. I don’t recall the exact model I had, but it featured a digital display with analogue hands. Never mind the myriad of ‘professional features’ – I didn’t understand how to use them and I’m sure many of us are guilty of that too. It was just fun to play with, pushing buttons which made the display light up and hands move. But what I found to be most impressive was its withstanding durability: from physical education class to accidentally dropping it every now and then, it never once failed.

So the saying goes – details create the big picture. I’m a person fascinated by mechanical objects, thus watches were a natural gateway – I found the mechanical heartbeat to be rather ‘magical’, for lack of a better word. Furthermore, it was also the heritage side of things. Thus, watches with a longstanding history and story; ‘cult watches’ such as the Rolex Submariner and Omega Speedmaster Professional (hesalite only!) really tickles my fancy.

Tell us more about your very first luxury watch. How did you decide on that piece?

My first luxury watch is a Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34mm Ref. 114200. I bought it brand new from an authorised dealer and it’s a permanent piece in my collection.

Whilst looking for my first luxury piece, I nearly acquired a pre-loved Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570. It had an affordable price tag and was value-for-money (how times have changed! Though, the latter is still true.) But as it was going to be my first nice watch, I decided to do it properly and go for a new piece instead, not wanting to risk buying a lemon. After all, a Rolex is no small change.

To be honest, I purchased the Oyster Perpetual as I was intrigued by it. The way its blue dial shimmered and sparkled under light – still beautiful and love at first sight. And need I mention its simple and symmetrical 3, 6, 9 “Explorer” dial layout – functional yet minimalistic. Reminds me of a quote from Philippe Stern: “Simplifying a watch is a difficult task”. Indeed: it’s easy with make a watch appear simple, but a daunting task to combine both traits.

This watch is no safe queen: every surface has a mark/scuff as a result of daily wear. While some eek at the sight of scratches, I feel that it adds character to the watch; recording memories and time spent with it. Even though I don’t wear it as often as I used to, it still occupies a special spot in my collection.

What is your favorite watch in your collection? Could you share with us the reasons for that choice?

Interestingly, I always gravitate towards a brand’s “entry level” offerings. Current favorite piece is my Rolex Submariner Ref. 114060, which is the entry level offering in the Oyster Professional range. In my opinion, it’s the perfect watch ever made. Solid, tough and practical – qualities I’d associate with the evergreen Sub. The fact that its design has not deviated much even after 66 years of continuous production says a lot.

Before acquiring the 114060, I seeked for a 14060M with 2-liner dial. However, I couldn’t find the right watch for the price I was willing to pay. At that point, the watch market – especially for Rolex – was starting to pick up steam, with stainless steel model availability becoming an issue. I was lucky enough to be offered the 114060 after only 3 days from a local authorized dealer.

Perhaps the most prominent reason for my choice was due to the no-date dial. Again, I reiterate my obsession for heritage and history; the very first Submariner did not have a date. Furthermore, as the watch was worn in a rotation with other pieces, not having a date meant less hassle of setting it. In addition, its ceramic bezel is striking, from the way it catches light and changes color from deep black to grey. Finally, the Oyster bracelet with Glidelock clasp is arguably the best in the industry: its ridiculously comfortable and always a pleasure to have on the wrist.

What will your next watch acquisition be?

As I write this, I am actively seeking for a Rolex Explorer II ‘Polar’ Ref. 16570. I actually bought one, albeit with a black dial, but sold it shortly to fund the Submariner. After which is a Rolex Daytona Ref. 116500LN, which I’m hoping to acquire through my AD. (If you can’t tell by now, I’m somewhat a Rolex nerd.) Long term grail is a H. Moser Endeavour Perpetual Calendar and Patek Philippe 5170P (blue dial with diamond indices). But the ultimate grail is – and some might call me out for this one – an RM 69 Tourbillon (it’s the horological qualities I’m after!).

Thank you Daniel for the interview, it was a pleasure having you share your watch stories. If you like what you see, head over to Instagram and make sure you give him a follow! Apart from that do let us know who you want to see in the next episode of What's your watch story.

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