last May, The top published a report on how five Singaporeans came together to create a trio of craft watches with enameled dials. The project was spearheaded by Lim Yong Keong, founder of local watch brand Feynman Timekeepers, and also involved the talents of enameller Charlotte Hoe, leather craftsman Ng Shuyi, Peranakan bead artist Raymond Wong and watchmaker Alvin Sim. The team made six parts for each of the three models – Peony, Lotus and Peacock.
After reading this article, watch enthusiast Melvin Lim was intrigued by their history and the efforts of this creative collective. He decided to add the Peacock model to his timepiece collection, which includes exquisitely decorated models such as the Chopard LUC XP Urushi Goldfish and the Patek Philippe World Time. Lim received his Feynman Coalesce ‘Peacock’ watch last December, so we asked him to share his thoughts on his latest acquisition and how it compares to the craftsmanship creations of the biggest names in fine watchmaking.
Why I decided to buy the Feynman Coalesce “Peacock”:
“It’s a watch with a lot of craftsmanship as well as our local culture. It features elements of the Peranakan culture, which are shown in the enamel work, as well as the beads on the leather strap.
Why I chose the Peacock model:
“The other two designs (Peony and Lotus) are more colorful, so I was trying to decide which to choose: should I choose something with more colors, since more colors in an enamel piece usually require more work? But when i looked at the Peacock dial, i realized that it had many subtle details. For example, the green elements have a gradient of shades. The peacock is also a majestic animal, so i ended up going for it .
Why I am a fan of watches with artistic decoration:
I have the Chopard LUC XP Urushi Goldfish (which features a Japanese urushi lacquered dial), and the Patek Philippe World Time and Chopard LUC XOS 1860 Officer, which have very detailed guilloché patterns. I love these timepieces because I can see the effort that goes into them. It is also about preserving traditional arts and crafts.
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How the Feynman Coalesce stacks up:
“With the Chopard Urushi Goldfish, my expectations are much higher because the decoration of the dial was carried out by a craftsman who creates lacquers for the Japanese imperial family. The company, Yamada Heiando, has been in existence for more than 90 years. Thus, the level of know-how is significantly higher.
“But what makes the Feynman Coalesce piece special is that you can clearly see the effort that goes into it, like how the enameller sought to represent the feathers of a peacock through different shades of green . Moreover, this watch is linked to the Singaporean culture, while the urushi is linked to the Japanese tradition. This one touched my heart because of its connection to the local culture.
What else I like about this watch:
“The bracelet and the case are also special. I don’t have any watches with such a strap, which must be a lot of work. Two people were involved in making the strap – one for the beading and one for the strap. The strap itself is already so well made; it is very comfortable on the wrist and I love it. That said, I’m a bit worried about wearing the beaded straps too much in case the beads get scratched, so I usually wear the non-beaded strap included with the watch (laughs).
“I’m also intrigued by its steel case. It looks quite rugged and sporty, especially with the crown that resembles the crown of a pilot’s watch. But although it contrasts with the classic dial design, they somehow complement each other.
What would have made this watch even better:
“What I love about this watch is that it is the result of the efforts of so many people. I would have liked the team to have a booklet or a short text on the contributions of each and the challenges encountered, so that collectors could better understand and appreciate their work.
“That said, another nice touch are the two boxes that come with the watch. One of them features an illustration done by a student at Pathlight School. It’s beautifully done with lots of detail. The other features a print of a Peranakan tile, from which Yong Keong took inspiration for the watches. It’s quite clear that even the boxes must have been carefully chosen. I told Yong Keong to keep me informed if they were doing other plays like that.
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