One of the greatest things about social media is its rich seam of photos posted by amateur watch lovers all over the world. Ronald Chew is one of those folk, and we can’t get enough of his feed, which is jam-packed with shots of watches – belonging both to him and his network of buddies. Get on board.
NAME: Ronald Chew
OCCUPATION: Personal trainer, military reservist and watch guy
Time+Tide: How do you keep busy?
Ronald Chew: I’m a personal trainer, and have been teaching since 2008, and like any other physically fit male Singaporean, I’m also an NSman – a National Service Man. We were soldiers who have served two years of national service – in my case in the Army, but it also includes the Navy, Air force, Police and Civil Defence – and are on a 10-year reservist cycle.
T+T: How do you unwind?
RC: Pumping iron. Apart from that, looking at watch reviews on YouTube and scrolling through photos of watches on Instagram sets my heart racing – but it’s relaxing at the same time. Meeting fellow watch collectors over coffee is also another part of unwinding for me.
T+T: What’s your daily watch?
RC: My daily beater is the Rolex Submariner, which was a present to myself for my 30th birthday. The Sub is meant to be worn as a Sub: it’s a tool watch. It’s meant to be banged around, though I don’t deliberately abuse it. It’s also such an iconic piece that has to be in any watch collection. The design has proven to stand the test of time. And if I had to have only one watch for the rest of my life, this is it.
The other tool pieces in my collection are:
- Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 30th Anniversary Limited Edition (ref 3560)
- Seiko SKX007
- Seiko SCED035 aka “Ripley’s” Limited Edition
- Casio G-Shock DW5600E
- Casio G-Shock “King” GX-56
- Bremont Supermarine S500BL
All of these are utilitarian pieces. I don’t normally plan which watch to wear – it’s based mainly on my mood – except for my Speedy on Tuesdays. Ha ha!
The Omega Speedmaster Professional, aka the Moonwatch, is another iconic piece to have in a watch collection. My Speedy is also known as the “Stealth” Limited Edition. The dial looks like any other regular Speedy, but flip it around and on the caseback is the Apollo 11 embossed with the words, “Hello Houston, Tranquillity Base Here, The Eagle Has Landed”.
The Seiko SKX007 is a classic that has been around since 1996. In my opinion, it’s the best bang-per-buck mechanical dive piece anyone can get. At its price point, you get yourself an ISO certified dive watch, an in-house movement, a day-date function, etc.
The Seiko SCED035, commonly known as “Ripley” among collectors, is a reissue of the original ref 7A28-7000 worn by Sigourney Weaver in the movie Aliens in 1986, and is limited to 3000 pieces sold only in Japan.
Casio G-Shock, the ultimate tool watch. This particular reference – DW5600E – is a classic G-Shock, sharing similar DNA to the very first G-Shock from back in 1983. I got this watch on the last day of my OPS Deployment in September, to celebrate the end of our 9th reservist cycle in the Army.
G-Shock “King” GX-56, was given to me by my girlfriend, who’s now my wife, one Valentine’s Day. This was my daily beater during the early years of our courtship.
The Bremont Supermarine S500BL is my first independent watch. I won it at an Instagram contest #CrownMoment, held by @CrownWatchBlog. It’s a very robust watch, with a Helium escape valve and a depth rating of up to 500m. Its Trip-Tick stainless steel case construction is rated at 2000VH, nine times harder than 316L steel. The movement is also protected by a Faraday Cage, making it anti-magnetic.
T+T: You’re in the military, and clearly have a love for tool watches. Which do you think is the best?
RC: A tool watch has to be legible, day and night. It’s got to be a diver (at least 20ATM). And most importantly, it’s got to be able to withstand a beating. All these sound familiar?
The best tool/military watch there is, is the G-Shock. I have huge respect for it, and it’s significant to the history of watchmaking. But let’s put that aside and talk mechanical. My Rolex Submariner has been through three cycles of the Army reserves so I’ve worn it for missions, field exercises, firing range, OPS – you name it. My reasons for doing that are that I want my legacy to be on this watch; I want to make it my very own Mil-Sub; I want it to be my own vintage Sub; I want to have many stories to tell with it in the near future; and I trust that my modern (neo-vintage) Sub is more durable than the Mil-Subs issued back in the ‘60s.
My Sub has also become a part of me. It has been through many ups and downs. Celebrating life, milestones, weddings, and so on, as well as disappointments, like mourning the death of loved ones.