Time Goes Public: Interview with Nelson Lee of Singapore Watch Truthful

Singapore Watch Truthful co-founder Nelson Lee

In recent times, Singapore has turn into well-established as one of many world’s prime export markets for watches, boasting a few of the world’s most engaged fans and collectors. As curiosity in horology continues to blossom right here, it’s inevitable that tastes develop past superficial curiosity within the typical prime producers. It is just pure that an urge for food for classic timepieces and unbiased watchmakers is burgeoning. In recognition of the more and more various tastes in Singapore, Ali Nael and Nelson Lee started the Singapore Watch Truthful (SWF), with the purpose of serving to set up Singapore as a regional hub for watchmaking and amassing. Since founding the Truthful in 2017, it has grown, mirroring the island’s development as a watch export market: from initially being the watch element of the posh pageant Jeweluxe to turning into a standalone occasion, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).

This yr’s occasion, happening at Resorts World Sentosa from 2-6 October, is about to construct on the success of final yr’s, with each STB and RWS persevering with their assist. Focus-wise, SWF can even proceed to closely characteristic unbiased watchmakers, while that includes extra appearances from prime manufactures, amongst different shows of watchmaking savoir-faire. Watches will stay the central points of interest however this present is not only for collectors; there can be one thing for everybody as SWF demonstrates how and why stunning watches are central to Singapore’s cultural panorama.

In our current chat with pageant director Nelson, he mirrored on the story of SWF so far, and the brand new experiences attendees can anticipate to look ahead to at this yr’s version.

Does the world want one other watch honest?

NL: Sure – particularly one which is ready to bridge the geographical distance between Switzerland and the area – not simply when it comes to bringing watchmaking experience to Singapore, but in addition with the ability to collect regional curiosity in a single place. There have been stellar examples of such occasions up to now, however there hasn’t actually been one that’s constantly held on an annual foundation.

Furthermore, given how Singapore has cemented itself as a prime export marketplace for Swiss watches, there undoubtedly is native demand for such occasions to be held in Singapore, which final yr’s SWF proved. So, it wouldn’t be a lot that the world wants one other watch honest, however extra that the area wants an annual watch honest in Asia to look ahead to every year – one which caters to native pursuits, and that is ready to kind a degree of convergence for the perfect of horology and devoted aficionados within the area.

A key focus of the SWF is that we’re all the time trying in direction of the long run – this underlines our dedication to showcasing a wide range of unbiased watchmakers yearly, which stems from our perception that these independents characterize the way forward for watchmaking, as an example, Krayon and L’Epee 1839…

Why has it taken so lengthy for there to be a standalone watch honest in Singapore?

Nelson Lee (NL): To start with, I imagine it’s solely up to now 5 or so years that widespread curiosity in unbiased watchmakers and classic amassing has begun to solidify and take off. As with the remainder of the world, the worth and attraction of watches solely actually entered the mainstream consciousness in the course of the COVID interval of socio-economic volatility. Within the years since, tastes have solely developed and diversified to incorporate appreciation for the wonderful work of unbiased watchmakers. The SWF has all the time primarily targeted on unbiased watchmakers and classic amassing – areas the place we felt demand was concrete, and a platform on which we might showcase how far watchmaking has come, and the way it might develop, by the juxtaposition of timeless classic items with the best craftmanship and avant-garde innovation that up to date watchmaking has to supply.

By way of practicality, it was solely in 2023 that we have been capable of safe the assist of a second key companion, Resorts World Sentosa. Even then (and the assist of STB since 2017), although we’re extra motivated by ardour than by revenue, the fee issue will not be one thing that may be simply ignored.

How is the SWF enhancing upon the success of final yr’s occasion?

NL: In 2022 and 2023, the panel discussions spotlighting ladies who accumulate watches – carried out by TickTock Belles’ Stephanie Soh and Deborah Wong, amongst others – proved to be extremely popular. We see this as a mirrored image of change throughout the collectors’ demographic – the place ladies at the moment are keener to create an area for themselves in what’s a historically male-dominated sphere, so we’re undoubtedly retaining that and bringing extra partaking views from our feminine collectors.

Apart from the varied watch panels and plenary classes, we’re additionally trying to ramp up the interactivity of the occasion: by new, on-site, immersive audio-visual pushed launches and dinners, in addition to a brand new interactive exercise pushed by watch knowledgeable Carson Chan, maybe higher recognized on social media by his IG deal with @watchprofessor.

By way of a extra hands-on expertise, there can even be a strap-making workshop carried out by grasp craftsmen, which we hope will spotlight the innovation and complex craftsmanship of an oft-underrated side of watchmaking.

We’re additionally trying to herald two extra established worldwide watch producers, so as to add a distinct dimension to the craftsmanship and innovation experience that the unbiased watchmakers will carry.

For extra on the 2024 version of Singapore Watch Truthful, click on right here.

For extra on the most recent in luxurious watch reads, click on right here.

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