The Concept Of Watch Wonderland

The store’s speciality: indie timepieces from micro brands, and a place for the watch community.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The store’s speciality: indie timepieces from micro brands, and a place for the watch community.

 Sugiharto Kusumadi, 42, an Indonesian who’s a permanent resident here, is not a new player in the local watch market. He owns Red Army Watches, a chain of stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia that sells mostly Russian timepieces.

But for his second act, which is possibly more game-changing, he wants to specialise  even more – not only with the kinds of timepieces he sells, but also with a space where everyone, not just the rich, can learn more about mechanical watches, attend workshops, and make bespoke pieces. “I want a place where brand owners, craftsmen and the watch community can get together and collaborate,” says Kusumadi.

Watch Wonderland at #01-470/472 Suntec City Mall doesn’t offer the usual suspects. What it does have is watches from micro brands – which don’t have centuries-long history; brands that are not famous (yet); brands that are hard to fi nd here and in the region; brands from countries not known for horology; and brands you don’t need interest-free credit card instalments for (prices are $200 to $3,000).

To keep things constantly interesting, “three to four new offbeat brands” are added every season to its existing base of almost 30. Each is tested for accuracy, finishing and performance.

And to keep enthusiasts coming back, Kusumadi has introduced two academies – one for how to make a watch, and one for how to make a leather strap.

There’s also a Watch Concierge service, which can customise and repair watches. It partners with local leather maker The J. Myers Company for bespoke leather straps. – RT

Watch Wonderland opens from 11am-9pm on weekdays, and 10.30am9.30pm on weekends. Cheap doesn’t mean lousy: The brands at Watch Wonderland are curated for their brand stories, mechanical integrity, aesthetics, materials and longevity. Styles range from fun and kitschy to serious and minimalist. Here is a selection recommended by owner Sugiharto Kusumadi:

From: Poland
USP: Designs are both sporty and dressy, and it’s one of the few brands to use rare aventurine in its timepieces.

1. Stardust, $1,190.

From: Japan
USP: Tough tool-quality watches – the brand produces timepieces for the Japan Self defense Forces. All its watches are in titanium and ceramic.

7. Marineman White, $1,190.

From: Australia
USP: Its simple but functional designs straddle dressy and utilitarian, and are unisex.
2. Carlton, $520.

5. Collins 38 Gunmetal, $739.

From: Britain
USP: Bringing wearable art to the masses with quirky designs through artist collabs. Its watches feature multilayer dials and unconventional ways of displaying the time.
3. The Promise of Happiness, $398.
4. Queen, $398.

8. Timewise, $328.

From: Switzerland
USP: Watches inspired by electricity, and which often feature visible wiring circuitry as their key design element.

6. Cable Z, $560.