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Watch Collector - Crazy Rich Watches

Watch Collector Crazy Rich Watches

The reel and real watches of “Crazy Rich Asians” star Pierre Png.

Have you watched the 2018 movie “Crazy Rich Asians” directed by Jon M. Chu that is based on the novel of the same name written by Kevin Kwan? Why do we ask? Well, for watch enthusiasts who have seen the romantic comedy, perhaps a memorable scene will be the moment when the attractive Gemma Chan, who stars as Astrid Young Teo, gifts her husband, Michael Teo, played by Singaporean actor Pierre Png, a watch. Why? While female viewers would have probably noticed the abs on the very fit bare-top Pierre Png as he handles the gift, watch connoisseurs would have identified the said timepiece as a Rolex “Paul Newman” Daytona even though it appeared very briefly in the movie. It was a Rolex “Oyster Newman” reference 6263 in steel with a white dial and black sub-dials — the so-called Panda dial with a market value then of USD500,000.

Crazy Rich Watches

Film Crazy Rich Asians © Warner Bros. Pictures

The “Mark 2” dial states “Rolex Oyster” beneath the Rolex crown logo hence the “Oyster” nickname, and as highlighted by Christie’s watch specialist Eric Wind, it was among the last “Paul Newman” Daytona watches made. The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona in reel life was a real piece on loan from a collector from Singapore and a client of watch expert Eric Ku. At the recent Seiko flagship boutique opening in Singapore in August 2019, we managed to catch up with Pierre Png, who was there to officiate the opening. Seizing the opportunity, we asked him about his experience with the Rolex Paul Newman during the filming of “Crazy Rich Asians”.

Crazy Rich Watches

Rolex

On set I had to hold the watch in my hands while making out with my ‘wife’ [Gemma Chan] who had just given it to me. My hands were actually trembling not because I was starring opposite the beautiful Gemma but because I had a Rolex worth half-a-million dollars in my hand. The stress was not between her and me but the holding of the watch,” Png recollects with a laugh.

Interestingly, the Rolex Daytona is no stranger to Png who currently owns not one but two such examples — one in steel and another in rose gold. Why did he acquire the Rolex Daytonas? “When I first saw the Daytona, it spoke to me because I would like to think I am an active and sporty person. The Daytona best represents me. Next thing I knew, I landed a role in the movie “Crazy Rich Asians” and they decided to show the wealth of the [Young] family by way of a gift, a Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona, from Astrid to her husband Michael, the character I play. Now what are the chances of this even happening?”

A Patek Philippe Aquanaut reference 5167 in steel sits in Png’s collection as well. “I was sold by the advertisement: ‘You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.’ Although I have no children, I like the story and the brand’s slogan, the images and the vision. I chose the Aquanaut because it looks elegant and nice. It is a suitable piece for the day and for evening wear,” Png explains. Learning that he owns an IWC Galapagos came as a pleasant surprise. “Being a diver, I knew this was a special project [supported by IWC] in terms of conservation. That is why I purchased this IWC Galapagos.”

During our conversation at the Seiko boutique in Ngee Ann City Singapore, we also shared what we knew of Seiko with Png. What eventually resulted was the addition of three limited edition Seiko timepieces to his now growing watch collection: a model exclusive to Seiko’s trusted distributor Thong Sia known as the Prospex “Sea Grapes” as well as both models of the Prospex Mobile Suit Gundam watches — the SLA031J1 Char’s Zaku and SLA029J1 Mass Production Type Zaku.

Crazy Rich Watches

Prospex Marinemaster Professional Char’s Zaku II SLA031J1 © Seiko

When I discover a watch I like, I will read up on it and ask around. It could very well mean something. The watch must suit my style. I give my bit of history to the watch. Like the “Sea Grapes” and Gundam watches will always remind me of you [points to me and smiles] and this whole Seiko experience. It is your fault,” Png declares. We both erupt in outright guffaws and I feel extremely guilty as charged. Welcome to the zany world of watch collecting, Pierre — you crazy rich Asian.

Crazy Rich Watches

© WorldTempus / Timmy Tan

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