There are quite a few things Singapore has in common with Switzerland: our countries’ flags are in the same colours, both are relatively small geographically yet are significant financial hubs, and even our national days are just over a week apart.
Horologically though, while we may have that wee bit of history in watchmaking (read more here), we’re nowhere near what the Swiss have achieved in this industry. Nonetheless, both countries and cultures have been merged in an extraordinary project paying tribute to Singapore’s history.
Renowned Swiss watchmaker Louis Moinet has partnered with Wealth Solutions Singapore, a local brand of a Polish company that specialises in creating luxury collectibles, and the Singapore Watch Club (SWC), a fast-rising community of Singapore-based watch collectors, to create a limited edition mechanical timepiece (above) that fuses the expertise of Swiss watchmaking with a touch of Singapore soul.
Available in 84 pieces (19 in rose gold and 65 in stainless steel (above), in reference to Singapore’s year of independence, 1965), the watches are given decorative touches that reference the past, present and future of Singapore. The country’s skyline is depicted by iconic buildings such as Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Singapore Flyer and the ArtScience Museum. Inside, it’s driven by the in-house Calibre LM45 automatic movement, beating at a steady 28,800vph.
Tom Chng, founder of SWC, shares his thoughts on the collaboration, as well as his hopes for the horological community in Singapore.
Tom Chng, Singapore Watch Club founder
How and when did the collaboration between SWC and Louis Moinet come about?
Singapore plays a very unique role in the global watch industry. We are one of the watch capitals of the world with a relative mature watch community. This is in spite of our nation’s small market and young age. The local collectors are very discerning; they know what they want and aren't afraid to explore, horologically speaking. You could say we set the trends, to a certain extent, which explains why we're such an important market for artisanal independent watchmakers. Louis Moinet is an excellent example. They recognise our tiny city state's significance and partnered with luxury experts, Wealth Solutions, to conceive this project. SWC came on board shortly after as the project consultant, to provide expertise on local trends. This all happened really quickly, about three months ago!
How was SWC involved in the design of the watch?
SWC was brought on to consult for the project, contributing to the initial concepts and adapting the timepiece to suit our local flavour. Being part of a group of avid watch collectors, we have an acute eye for detail. With National Day, we were thinking of ways to incorporate our identity as Singaporeans into what we love the most. You see this in the various elements of Singapore's unique history and culture in the watch.
What challenges were faced in the design or production of the timepiece?
The first challenge was to find the right balance of Singapore’s local flavour in this timepiece. Many brands have done such editions before, but we wanted something a little different. As a Singaporean, I understand that we are both patriotic and reserved at the same time. So to express our passion and love for our nation, subtly was the biggest challenge. I decided to stay away from the obvious inspirations such as the colour red, national emblems or even the word 'Singapore'. Instead, the design is a subtle nod to our past, future and present to resonate better with our discreet audience.
A close-up view of the Louis Moinet Metropolis Singapore Edition watch dial.
We decided to showcase the beautiful Singapore skyline with its most characteristic buildings against a black guilloche night sky. This artistic portrayal of local architecture illustrates the vitality and creativity of contemporary Singaporean genius. Over the skyline, you will find a crescent moon accompanied by five brilliant stars, which is in reference to the Singapore flag. The dial is partially open, allowing one to observe each and every beat of the calibre. This represents the passing of time, allowing us to reflect unto every second of Singapore's independence, and the tremendous perseverance and effort it has taken to get us this far.
How do you feel about SWC being a part of this project?
To be honest, I am honoured and flattered to play a role in the conceptualisation and materialisation of such a significant timepiece. The unveiling of the watch on our nation's birthday is the icing on the cake. It’s an absolute joy to have assisted in the conception of this timepiece and see it being brought to life by such highly skilled master craftsmen.
What hopes do you have for the local horological community and what would you like to see?
I'm really thankful for the vibrancy and harmony of our local community. Everyone's been really supportive of SWC and we hope to keep doing what we do, spreading the love of watches and providing a good platform for enthusiasts to share their passion.