Our very own special Instagram contributor located in Singapore and a well-rounded watch collector, @orangedial17 is very well known for his stellar photography as one of Asia’s finest collectors. Not only @orangedial17 is a good friend of ours but someone that we also admire from a watch collecting standpoint. A longtime contributor to The Rolex Forums, The Purists and Timezone, he is a watch collector that is easily recognized because he is either wearing his very unique Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chrono in 18K white gold with salmon dial or his 36 mm Royal Oak in Tantalum. Now, one way to easily find images from @orangedial17, other than the obvious hashtag search, is to simply look for that one unique watch shot hand pose that only him can strike. An avid collector of APs, JLC and Seikos, @orangedial17 has a very interesting journey. Now, you’ll hear straight from him all that he wants to share about this amazing hobby that brought us together in the first place.
When Did You Start Collecting Watches?
I purchased my first mechanical watch, the Seiko Diver SKX011J in 2005. I love this robust watch so much that it is still with me!)I began to read about watches in magazines and online forums. That was also the same year I started my online participation in watch forums using ‘orangedial’ as my nickname and forum handle.
How Long Have You Been Watch Collecting?
This is the 14th year of my watch collecting journey since the purchase of my orange dial Seiko SKX011J in 2005. The journey didn't start rosy due to other priorities in life back then, and it was only until 2010 when I acquired my first real luxury watch, a two-tone Rolex Datejust II with a black dial and Roman numerals. Although the watch is no longer with me, that fond memory of peeling off the stickers and putting it on my wrist always makes me smile with contentment.
What are your favorite brands?
Audemars Piguet is my all time favourite brand. I remember seeing some AP advertisements before I even know anything about watches, and those octagon-shaped watches had left a very deep impression in me that to me ‘these are the definition of luxury’. I soon learnt about the Royal Oak as I began my watch collecting journey and my interest in AP as a brand and its watches only grows deeper ever since.
Besides Audemars Piguet, I also love many other brands, especially Jaeger LeCoultre and Grand Seiko. I love Jaeger LeCoultre for its well-known technical superiority, innovation and elegance. To me JLC is the watchmakers' watchmaker!
As far as Grand Seiko, I admire their innovation and perfectionist approach to watchmaking. Their fully self-sufficient capability from design to manufacturing is also way superior than most other brands. It is most fascinating to know that Seiko produces almost all of their watch components in-house, including growing and harvesting quartz crystals for their SpringDrive and Quartz watches. Pretty impressive.
Which of Your Watches Do You Consider Special and Why?
All the watches in my collection are special and each of them has its own special little story. However, the most special one has to be my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jubilee Limited Edition ref. 14802ST —with a unique salmon dial—, which I purchased back in 2011. It was a very beautiful and rare watch completed with a special box made of oak wood. This watch was released to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Royal Oak. Unfortunately, I had to sell it after a year of ownership in order to raise funds for another more important investment at that time. The sale, although profitable, was a regretful one but it opened up more opportunities later for expanding my watch collection. I have gained two valuable insights from this decision: 1. It is OK to let go of a rare watch if necessary and 2. There are always better things waiting ahead, to mend your losses.
Can You List the Brands and Watches You’ve Owned In your Watch Collecting Journey?
Too many of them I can't really list down here! Feel free to peep into my Instagram @orangedial17 where I have posted most of my watches, past and present. I’ve owned every Seiko you can imagine, multiple references from Audemars Piguet, independent brands, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Patek Philippe and everything in between.
Why Do You Buy Certain Brands and Watches?
Because the watches appeal to me. I am a very visual person and I am always attracted to handsome watches that are classy and unique in design with a good wrist presence. A nice looking and beautifully finished movement will be the icing on the cake. Iconic watches such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, most Rolex sports models and some German and independent brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Grönefeld and H. Moser & Cie. have very strong design appeal that win hearts easily. As far as brands, I prefer watch houses with rich heritage, deep watchmaking prowess and innovative spirit.
Which is Your Grail Watch you Wish to Own One Day?
After all these years of watch collecting, I conclude that there is not really a ‘grail’ watch for me because I always discover new things and my taste evolves along this journey. I collect watches within my means, so I do not desire any uber expensive timepieces. I also prefer a simpler and more practical way of time-telling, so I don't fancy very complicated watches. I have been down the vintage path and found that I am not a big fan. So, is there any watch that I desire to own one day? Yes, of course. It is not a rare watch at all. A status symbol that I always admire but also always believe that I could find one easily when I'm ready for it. My ‘imaginary grail’ since the days I knew nothing in-depth about watches, a full platinum Rolex President Day-Date with an ice blue dial. There you have it.
How Many Times Do You Switch Watches During The Day?
As I try to rotate all my watches, I like to give each watch a little more wrist time throughout the day. Hence I hardly switch my watch during the day. Occasionally I will double-wrist.
If You Had to Keep and Wear Only One Watch From Your Current Collection to Wear for the Rest of Your Life, Which One Would That Be?
This is an easy and very short answer, tt will be my timeless Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Extra-Thin ref. 15202ST. Without a doubt.