About a year ago, we interviewed Glenn Chiang, a fanatical watch collector based in Melbourne, Australia, on his horological journey. Thoughts of fine watches frequently occupy his mind as he continuously evaluates how to improve his already-excellent collection. We recently caught up with Glenn to see how his collection has evolved – a follow-up on the state of his collection, if you will. Knowing how passionate Glenn is for watches, we dared not underestimate how his collection (or taste) may have already changed, even in a single year. Before browsing further, we highly recommend that you read our first interview with Glenn to find out more about his origin story and collection from a year ago. We would like to thank Glenn for participating in this follow-up interview – and so without further ado:
The state of your collection during our interview last year was impressive, not to mention diverse – can you remind us of what was in your collection back then?
At that time, I had a Rolex Deepsea, Panerai GMT Ceramica 441, Hublot King Power Unico, Breguet La Tradition GMT, A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1, and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master GMT Tourbillon.
What has changed since then?
I have since sold the Panerai, the Hublot and the Lange 1. I purchased one of my grail pieces, the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk in yellow gold, at the start of this year.
Can you share with us the thoughts that have led to the evolution of your collection to its current state?
To be honest, my approach to watch collecting has shifted since our last interview. Back then, I was focused on building a diversified collection in terms of brands, functionality, style and materials. As a result, I purchased a lot of different pieces which were “nice to haves” but weren’t necessarily pieces that I felt any passion towards. Overtime, I found myself avoiding wearing those particular pieces in my rotation. Since then, I’ve decided to focus on quality instead of quantity and to resist buying those “nice to haves” and instead, to save and to concentrate on obtaining my grails instead.
This is why I have kept the JLC Master Tourbillon and Breguet Tradition GMT as they were both, at one stage or another, my grails.
You mentioned that the Zeitwerk in yellow gold is one of your grail pieces. Can you tell us more about the watch and what drew you towards it?
In my opinion, the Zeitwerk is the most interesting watch ever released by the German manufacture in that it is so typically A. Lange & Söhne yet so un-A. Lange & Söhne at the same time. I love how they have brought classic mechanical watchmaking into the 21st century with a digital interface. Not only is it the most legible watch ever made, underneath that clean dial is a highly technical and sophisticated movement. I think a lot of people think the idea of executing a jumping minute digital display is relatively simple. However, what they don’t realise is how difficult it is to generate, store and release enough power to instantaneously jump the time display discs (1440 times a day).
As most A. Lange & Söhne fans would know, the Zeitwerk was originally released in white gold, pink gold and platinum. What most people don’t know is that there was also a yellow gold version that was also released, for a very short period of time, between 2009 and 2013. The rarity of the yellow gold Zeitwerk and the fact that it is slightly more dressy compared to the white gold version were reasons that drew me to buying it. It was difficult for me to track one down, particularly a new one, but I eventually found of the only unused ones left in the world (in Taiwan of all places).
Have you experienced any seller’s remorse from the sale of your Hublot, Panerai or Lange 1?
I do miss the Hublot at times as it was such a fun piece. I loved the crazy size and aggressive style. It was like wearing a tank on your wrist. Of all of my pieces, that probably got the most attention. I’m now in the market again for something fun and a little less serious, for example the Hublot Atelier Not for Sale.
Also, I would definitely be missing my yellow gold Lange 1 if it wasn’t for my Zeitwerk.
Well as you know, I recently got engaged. My soon to be wife has very kindly offered to buy me a piece to commemorate the occasion and to wear on our wedding day. I’ve had a lot of fun choosing the possible candidates which have included the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down and Lange 1, the FP Journe Chronometre Bleu and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Duometre. But at this point in time, the two pieces leading the race are the A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 Moonphase and the Patek Philippe 5726. I think my slight preference (by a whisker) is the 5726. The reason for this is because I think that watch offers the perfect gateway into Patek Philippe. Not only is Genta’s Nautilus design absolutely iconic, the watch is also an annual calendar which, of course, is a complication that was invented by Patek Philippe. I also think it is the perfect daily wearer being stainless steel and a dressier sports watch. But who knows, I’m more likely than not to change my mind again at some point.
Other than that, I think my next serious piece is going to be a chronograph perpetual calendar from either Patek Philippe or A. Lange & Söhne. The two standouts for me are obviously the 5970 and the Datograph Perpetual. I know it’s an age old conundrum as to which one is better. I think I will have a hard time choosing.
Last but not least, do you have any sage advice for those who have only just begun their descent down the slippery slope that is watch collecting?
My three big tips for baby watch collectors are:
1. Resist the temptation of buying pieces that you think you like but don’t love. We all suffer buyer’s remorse at some point or another but it’s definitely more common when you are starting out and don’t necessarily know yourself what it is exactly that you love. It’s going to take some time so there is no need to rush. Be patient with your research and your decision making process.
2. Find a support group. A lot of people won’t understand this hobby and it can sometimes be a lonely road. But you’ll be surprised by how many watch enthusiasts there are if you just reach out and keep an open mind. One of the best decisions I’ve ever made is to get involved with the watch community here in Melbourne. I’ve met some truly amazing people and made some very close friendships through these communities.
3. Start an Instagram account. We all need an outlet to express our passions and Instagram is a great way to do that. It’ll also help you build some good connections within the industry and will help keep you up to date with the latest news. You’ll be amazed by how many strangers will actually recognise each other at a “GTG” anywhere in the world by their Instagram handles first.