Man Of The Hours

A watch microbrand owner on the other timepieces that make him tick.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

A watch microbrand owner on the other timepieces that make him tick.


Audemars Piguet fan and co-founder of Vilhelm Watches


“I’ve always liked watches, but I only got into them seriously when I started working in IT, and many people around me were into watches. I started my brand Vilhelm Watches in 2015, with Elshan Tang, founder of Zelos Watches. We’ve been friends for a long time, and he’s worked with many watch brands. I come up with the design concepts, and he takes care of the manufacturing. Our watches are made in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and we use Swiss movements by STP and Sellita.”


“When I was younger, I was more impatient and impulsive, and used to trade watches a lot because of a love for trying different ones. Also, compared to cars, they require less upkeep and see less depreciation. After you’ve gone through that journey, you get a better understanding of what you like and don’t like. Now, I buy watches that I want to keep for a long time, and what I look out for is value, innovation and quality.”


“I got my Audemars Piguet (AP) 15202 (Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’ Extra Thin) and 15407 (Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked) in Japan. I often travel to Japan, and I’ve bought several AP pieces from a boutique there. With the 15202, my dealers managed to secure one for me after I told them I’d be in Japan for my ninth wedding anniversary last October. With the 15407, I had been promised a piece a year and a half ago, but because of the Covid-19 situation, timelines were uncertain. But I got lucky – recently, I sent them a text to ask if they might have that watch, and the next morning, they replied that they had just received their last piece for the year. Of course, I bought it.”


“The Vilhelm Prism Skeleton (pictured) is from my third collection. I want to offer intricate designs that are not just about a simple, round case. After the Elemental and Talos collections, which were inspired by my previous craze for oversized watches, I decided to create my take on steel sports watches with the Prism. I draw inspiration from watches I like, such as the Royal Oak and Bvlgari’s Octo Finissimo. It’s about taking various elements I like and doing my own take on them. Some brands simply copy a design and put their name on it. That’s just wrong.”


“I became interested in vintage APs about two years ago. I saw the AP Edward Piguet Perpetual Calendar Openworked (pictured) on my Instagram feed and reached out to the person who posted it. He turned out to be a dealer in the US. It was beautiful, with hand-engraving on the front and back. After I bought it, I went to AP to have it verified and I found out that the watch had been originally sold to a lady in Singapore, back in 1994. It’s amazing when I think about how it had been bought here, probably changed hands around the world and finally came back.”


My Reading Room


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak “Jumbo” Extra Thin in steel

My Reading Room


Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked in steel

My Reading Room


Audemars Piguet Edward Piguet Perpetual Calendar Openworked in rose gold

My Reading Room


Vilhelm Prism Skeleton in titanium

Photography VERONICA TAY

Art direction FAZLIE HASHIM