Singapore is famous for its rules. Importing chewing gum for resale is illegal. So is jaywalking. Possessing live rounds (e.g. ammo) or drugs will get you the death penalty. And don't even THINK of peeing in an elevator; that's illegal too! Some of the elevators in this city/state have automatic urine detectors. If you pee in the lift, the lift stops, authorities are summoned, and you go to the slammer. In my 44 years I've peeed in a lot of unusual places, but never once in a lift. I'm still wondering what I've missed.
After landing in Singapore,
I made my way to the Singapore Marriott Hotel, located in the heart of the shopping district on Orchard Road, probably the site of more high-end watch shops per square meter than anywhere else in the world. Shortly after my arrival in Singapore, I was met in the hotel by my friends,
Feder Haus and Mycroft (TC).
We walked over to a local bar fronting on the sidewalk, ordered a pitcher of beer, and chatted up the evening. All present were wearing Lange watches, and given that Pete is the self-appointed dictator of the Lange Owners Group, an unofficial meeting of the L.O.G. was held. Be forewarned that alcohol is very expensive in Singapore; a pitcher of beer holding approximately 4 glasses costs about thirty or forty Singapore Dollars, roughly $20 US or more. And it's not the best beer I've ever had, either!
The next morning I was met by Feder and we went around looking at watches. Pete took me to his favorite watch shop, Sincere Watches in Lucky Plaza, where I met his favorite watch pusher,
Wilson is only in his early twenties, but he has become Mycroft's and Feder Haus' favorite watch salesman due to his kind, friendly, and accommodating manner. Sincere carries many fine brands ranging at the low end from Raymond Weil and Omega, to Patek Philipe and Lange in the stratosphere. Buying a watch in Singapore from Wilson is a very civilized experience. First they offer you Chinese or other teas, and then Wilson starts bringing out the watches! While I was there with Pete, Wilson had well in excess of $100,000 USD worth of Lange and Patek Philipe watches out on the counter at any given time, and he never felt any urgency to put watches back into the case after we looked at one. The result was that you could compare the watches and go back and forth, picking up ones you had ruled out earlier to be certain your initial judgement was correct. I found Wilson to be exceptionally patient and helpful, even accommodating a couple of unusual requests.
After spending more than an hour with Wilson, I still couldn't make up my mind, so instead I decided to buy one of everything. While Wilson was packing up the $300,000 USD worth of watches I'd just purchased,
Pete and I (on the right) met Sutjahjo and TC
for lunch at an Indonesian restaurant where we had a variety of different dishes ordered by Sutjahjo, our most accommodating host for the lunch. The food was very good and enjoyed by all. During lunch we discussed a number of watch and Timezone related issues. By coincidence, all 4 of us wore Lange watches, so I guess this was another unofficial L.O.G. meeting! Unfortunately, TC was off to a (well-deserved) holiday in Phuket Thighland, and Sutjahjo had other plans, so this would be the last I would see of them on my visit. One thing I noticed was that our Singapore watch contingent generally doesn't like to walk much! Distances that could easily be covered more quickly on foot seemed routinely to be traveled in an air-conditioned car, rather than be subjected to Singapore's nearly ever-present high heat and humidity! Singapore is only a short distance north of the equator, and has a warm and humid climate year round, with quite a bit of rain.
After lunch, Pete and I went back to the shopping malls were we looked at some clocks and watches, and I bought a pair of sandals. One person we visited was
Alvin Lye of Timeantiques
Alvin specializes in vintage watches, many of which are listed on his website (www.timeantiques.com.sg). I've dealt with Alvin a couple of times and always been pleased with his service.
CONTINUE TO PART TWO OF ARTICLE