Watch collecting is synonymous with men, yet there is a growing group of active female collectors like Lung Lung Thun. Born in Singapore and based in Hong Kong where she runs a securities brokerage firm, Lung is often browsing for various pieces inclusive of vintage from Audemars Piguet (AP).
Her first watch was a Chanel J12 after graduation from college in Britain. In 2016, during one of her visits to Kowloon, Hong Kong, she found a vintage AP in yellow gold with an annual calendar and moonphase. The love for AP grew in 2018 with a frosted gold AP limited edition designed in collaboration with the Florentine fine jewellery designer Caroline Bucci.
But, what do women want in a watch, and, do brands know and understand what women desire? Do all women want pieces that are feminine in design? It will be refreshing to know this information from a female collector.
You have a preference for Audemars Piguet . What is your view on Rolex?
I was never really drawn to Rolex, but with AP, it was love at first sight. I liked the history and vision of the brand, the people, their watch designs, and the fact the royal oak’s design was somewhat masculine which mirrors my personality well. My first AP was a chronograph offshore for ladies in purple.
How did you develop your taste in watches and are there specific pieces you prefer?
Women generally view watches as accessories, therefore, you need several pieces to match your outfits or shoes. I like precious metals such as rose gold.
I went through the phase of Daytona etc and I got it out of my system. Now, I purchase with direction, with clear direction. For women who want to collect watches, stick to your direction and your taste, always.
AP and A. Lange & Söhne are high on your list. of desirables. What is your preference?
I don’t follow a theme when it comes to collecting. I like to see how my taste has evolved through the years. However, the pieces I like are usually in yellow gold and my favorite complications are perpetual calendars, or at the least I love a piece with a good moon phase.
I love AP, especially the royal oak, it is masculine and sporty looking but you can still make it look feminine by making a few changes. But there is a lot of history that can be traced back and you can understand how the shape and design have evolved. It still keeps the traditional element which is the shape but still maintains the tradition.
Lange is a reflection of me diving deeper and understanding movements, having in depth insights on watchmaking.
I also like the philosophy of MB & F.
Most of your pieces have busy dials. Do you have pieces that do not have busy dials?
I have always been drawn to loud pieces. I prefer to dress simple and let the watch do the talking. To me, watches don’t only tell the time, they are also a piece of art. I like the idea that it’s challenging to fit so many details onto a watch but yet balancing it so it still pleases the eye.
How is the evolution of the local collecting scene during COVID compared to before COVID?
I am very lucky to be in Hong Kong because people love watches here. You would think that sales would slump or perhaps the auctions wouldn’t do well, but nothing has changed. The waiting lists for hyped watches continues. I do however miss having huge get togethers with my watch collector friends but thankfully we can still connect through whatsapp group chats (for watch clubs) during COVID.
What is your impression of retailers when dealing with female collectors? Also, what is your view on watch advertisements and targeting women?
There has been a huge shift in customer experiences in the past year. Retailers are listening to female clients more and taking note of their preferences and creating events that are both interactive and educational.
Advertisements speak to women and men differently. For us women, we need to feel the advertisement, it needs to resonate with us. There is a huge need for the advertisements to become more diverse and feel real, to become relatable to women of various regions and backgrounds.
What is the future of Hong Kong (HK) as a watch hub with the current political challenges?
I don’t think much will change, if you look at the recent HK auction turnout and results, COVID and the political climate have not deterred the enthusiasm of the collectors here.
However, you can see that the mainland Chinese are starting to shop more within their own country, and relying less on purchasing from Hong Kong.
What is your opinion on the new watch hub being created on the island of Hainan?
I love that, I have always welcomed competition because I think it spurs innovation and pushes everyone to work harder and to deliver more. This is good for collectors. I also think that watches have become increasingly hard to access, and having more channels for people to enjoy the hobby is only better for the industry as a whole.
Looking at the watchmaking industry, what would you wish would change?
It would be great if they had prototypes for people to try in the store, to give them the feeling and decide if they want to be on a waiting list rather than purchase it and wish you did not. Also, I tend to find that the marketing at the moment is highly confusing, it is not clear. Patek has a clear communication that makes sense in terms of handing over to generation.
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