WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD LIKE? HAVE YOU BEEN ENTREPRENEURIAL OR PARTICULARLY CREATIVE IN YOUR YOUTH?
I grew up in a small town on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur and moved to Johor Bahru as a child. I consider myself lucky to be able to experience nature before urbanization and before the advent of the Internet age. I spent time catching spiders, tadpoles and fish in the river, and exploring the wildlife.
I studied at a small public school and excelled in fine arts, literature, and science. I was active in painting and music. I also loved to draw and color the Transformers and MASK cartoons – I could draw many characters from memory.
But I entered science because I was conditioned to think that it’s impossible to put food on the table with a career in the fine arts. So in short, I was creative as a kid but not an entrepreneur at all.
WHEN DID YOU FALL FOR THE FIRST TIME WITH WATCHES?
I started exploring mechanical watches in 2014, mainly focusing on the Hamilton, Oris and SevenFriday watch part designs.
Then my cousin introduced me to Grand Seiko and it blew me away. I have read articles and watched several YouTube videos on the mechanical intricacies and high level finishes of Grand Seiko. As an engineer and art lover, I was intrigued that the brand succeeded in combining both art and engineering in its timepieces.
Not only that, the company’s storytelling and values embody Zen and integrity, which sets it apart from other watchmakers.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST WATCH?
My first serious purchase was the Ball Engineer watch. My noob move ignored my cousin’s advice and chose the 45mm watch for my little 15cm wrist. I mistakenly thought that the value of a watch was proportional to the size of the case. I quickly learned my lesson.
Although I loved the watch, I sold it soon after because it looked ridiculous on my wrist. I started to study smaller watches and several brands to refine my future purchases.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WATCHES?
What attracted me to mechanical watches was first of all the weight. They feel so solid on my wrist that I was addicted to my lightweight quartz watches.
As a typical watchmaking geek, I quickly progressed to discovering the mechanical intricacies of what makes a watch work as well as the different movements, dials, materials, handsets, aesthetics, and heritage.