My Watch Story: Yang MinxiangWritten by Alvin Wong
“I have unorthodox tastes.”
Yang Minxiang has a knack for turning passion into practical pursuits. As co-founder of Watch Wonderland, a multi-brand watch boutique (read about the shop here), he flies the flag for under-the-radar independent brands, being an avid collector of these marques himself. Even in his previous careers, first as an army regular in the reconnaissance unit, and subsequently as an entrepreneur in the F&B industry specialising in top-drawer whiskeys, Yang tells us that he has always delved headlong and wholeheartedly into his chosen paths.
As for his interest in watches, it goes without saying that Yang calls helming his own watch store “a dream job”. He started getting into watches as a kid, intrigued by what he calls “toys that could come alive”. Yang bought his first ‘serious’ watch about 10 years ago, and his collecting journey has taken him from vintage Russian watches to being a Seiko geek to the micro-brand enthusiast he is today. "Whether with music or fashion, I tend to stay away from mainstream brands. It is the same with watches."
Camy - Superautomatic
“We initially bought the watch for Watch Wonderland's vintage collection. I was actually in the midst of talking about the watch to a customer when it occurred to me that I really liked the watch. I told him that if he couldn't decide, I'd like to buy the watch for myself.”
Orodeus – OD1-2
"This is the first Singapore micro-brand watch that I bought. I've always been a fan of micro-brands but have never bought a watch from a local one. I got this about a year ago. I am fascinated by its design, which is inspired by the classic sci-fi movie, A Space Odyssey: 2001. I really appreciate the thought that went into the design of the case, which is takes its cue from retro TV-screen shaped cases."
Gruppo Gamma – Peacekeeper ‘Return To Base’
"This watch means a lot to me. I designed it in collaboration with Naoki (owner of the brand), and it is a prototype of a limited edition collection that we launched. Dials with eastern Arabic numerals are very sought-after, and what makes its more special is that it is done in a semi-California dial format. This watch is called the 'RTB' ('Return To Base') and it is really significant to me, as I was an army regular in my previous career."
Maison Celadon - Imperial Peacock
"This is a Chinese brand that is owned by a Singaporean, and one that is very proud of its made-in-China pedigree. At a time when there is so much debate about China-made watches, and the trumpeting of Swiss-made timepieces, this brand and watch really go against the grain. I am Chinese too, so it really resonates with me."
Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.