Watch Wonderland is the watch retail concept that will change your expectations of a brick-and-mortar store forever. This chic and sprawling space doesn’t just sell watches. It also has an academy and a concierge. Gregarious and welcoming with a giant neon logo emblazoned across a wall, its vibrant interiors draws heavily from contemporary art and design. High ceiling and wide aisles encourage browsing and interaction. It’s the exact opposite of typical luxury watch boutiques with intimidating grand entrances and snooty judgey salesmen.
The brands retailing here are not your garden variety ones either. Watch Wonderland makes it a point to curate only brands that resonate with its identity: unique yet functional conversation starters with exceptional build quality. Being watch aficionados as well, the Watch Wonderland team scrutinises factors such as mechanical integrity, aesthetics, material distinction, longevity, and brand story before allowing a brand into its portfolio. It now carries 20 different brands, some of whom have made special editions exclusive to Watch Wonderland.
Apart from buying watches, Watch Wonderland is also a place for enthusiasts to convene with other likeminded people, as well as learn more about this fascinating universe. The Academy by Watch Wonderland offers watchmaking and leather crafting classes helmed by veterans and doyens of their craft. It also has a Watch Concierge where customers can consider bespoke leather watch straps, watch customisation, and watch repairs.
The great ambition here is to elevate the knowledge level of watch collectors in Singapore. High SES or low SES, everyone is welcome. Here are four micro-indie brands for the Singlish-speaking, hawker food-eating, and football-loving watch aficionado.
BRAND #1: GORILLA WATCHES
Founded by the one and only Octavio Garcia who was previously chief artistic officer at Audemars Piguet, Gorilla Watches came onto the scene in 2016 with automotive-inspired, contemporary-sized wristwatches. The American-born Swiss national has always been captivated by American muscle cars of the 50s and the designs translate beautifully. Coming from a haute horlogerie background, he’s partial to high-end materials like forged carbon, ceramic and the like. His first collection is the Fastback which sold out as soon as they were launched. Made in very limited quantities, new models are available at Watch Wonderland. Prices from $1,290
BRAND #2: CJR WATCHES
This Hong Kong-based micro-brand started life on Kickstarter in 2014. Founder Calvin Ng comes from a family of watchmakers and now the aerospace engineering graduate has found his own voice in the trade. CJR Watches now offers three collections: the bullhead oversized chronograph Velocita, the aviation-inspired regulator dial Airspeed, and the futuristic three-dimensional Commander. His designs blend originality with cutting-edge materials made at his family-owned watch manufacture in Hong Kong, which has supplied components to luxury watch brands for decades. Prices range from $790 to $1,200
BRAND #3: MELBOURNE WATCH COMPANY
There aren’t many watch brands from Australia, which makes the Melbourne Watch Company extra unique. Founded in 2013 by Malaysian-born Australian Sujain Krishnan, this artisanal firm produces classically styled timepieces inspired by the history, architecture and culture of Melbourne. The Flinders is its flagship and inaugural line but MWC has now released four additional collections: Collins, Carlton, Portsea, and Sorrento. Each of these timepieces exudes a different vibe but they’re all rooted in Melbournian sophistication. Prices from $500 to $1,000
BRAND #4: ARCTURUS WATCHES
Inspired by the great work of the most prolific watchmakers that ever lived, Arcturus is a Singaporean watch brand that balances bold concepts with classic designs. Its founder, Alexander Ian Loh, believes that great designs with no compromise on quality should be accessible to everybody. The brand’s first watch, the Arcturus LC-1, draws heavily on the Art Deco influences of the 1920s while a plethora of fine details form the dial. The core range is crafted from 316L steel but Arcturus also offers two special editions in silver and bronze. Price points to be confirmed.
Watch Wonderland is located at 3 Temasek Boulevard, #01-470/472 Suntec City Mall