Talking Time: This Collector Bought Two De Bethune Watches Within a Week

Lawyer Lim U-Shaun is a sci-fi and fantasy buff with a penchant for timepieces that tell stories.


“I first became interested in watches in 1997, when my dad bought a Rolex Lady-Datejust for my mum after saving up for years. In 2012, I bought my first watch, a rose gold Lange 1 by A. Lange & Sohne. I loved the asymmetrical design and the movement’s finishing. That was when I moved back to Singapore after 10 years in London.”


“The watches I buy must have a good story. When I saw the Urwerk UR-100 Electrum (a naturally occurring gold and silver alloy), I had to have it. I used to play Dungeons & Dragons during my school days, and electrum is used as a currency in the game. Secondly, the UR-100 has scales that show the distances covered by the Earth in its rotation and revolution. The circular engraving on the watch reminds me of the solar system and orbits, which completed the story for me.”


“Last year, I was at The Hour Glass at Ion Orchard and the sales assistant showed me De Bethune watches. The DB28 Steel Wheels Blue ‘The Hour Glass’ (pictured) caught my eye. It had a fantastical design accompanied by serious, classical watchmaking chops. I spent the night googling the brand and reaching out to strangers on Instagram who owned the watch. Within two days, I bought it. But – and this is the crazy part – because its blued titanium case scratches easily, I didn’t want it as a daily watch. Within a week, I went back to the store, and got my second De Bethune, the DB28 Special Edition. It is made from regular titanium.”

(You may also like: The Hour Glass’ online exhibition surveys artisanal watchmaking of the past 50 years)


“The Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tadao Ando Limited Edition (pictured) is the perfect collaboration. The watch has an angular, modern look with a monochromatic, sandblasted finish. And then you have these non-centred, Japanese Zen garden-style ripples on the dial. I kept visiting the Bulgari store for a year and a half to ask for it, even though it seemed impossible because it was a Japan exclusive. When the sales assistant finally managed to get one, he was so excited that he called me at 8am.”


“If I wore a tuxedo, the watch I’d wear with it is the Cartier Tank Cintree (pictured). With its rectangular shape and curves, it is the most elegant Tank. I also have the Santos-Dumont ‘La Baladeuse’. My mum took it off my wrist when she saw it, and has been wearing it ever since. She hasn’t liked a watch so much since the Rolex my dad got her. It makes me smile.”

(You may also like: Rolex Perpetual Planet Documentary Highlights the Earth’s Environmental Challenges)


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Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tadao Ando Edition in titanium.

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