Singapore became an independent republic on 9 August 1965, making it one of the youngest states to become autonomous in the modern era.

Because of its exponential growth in wealth and prosperity, and thanks to being a commerce hub in Asia since the 60’s and 70’s, it also grew to become a ‘watch-loving’ society.

This thriving watch industry and local market adoption is in many ways a consequence of several factors.


Gardens by the bay. Source: Inhabitat


A significant one was Singapore’s global positioning as a safe port for goods trade between Western nations and Asia, implying a continuous stream of all types of tradable goods and the subsequent settling of businessmen and trading companies in the island.

In relation to the watch industry, retail shops proliferated as a result of the significant volume of timepieces re-assembled and exported to regional Asian markets like Thailand and Indonesia.

By the 70s, homegrown retail stores like Cortina and The Hour Glass took advantage of a constant flow of sailors, tourists, trade businessmen and military flocking to Singapore to acquire high-quality timepieces. These retail stores are still thriving in Singapore fifty years later.


A Global Watch Mecca

Initially, Singapore was positioned as a watch-assembly industry by importing movements, cases and other parts separately for local integration into complete timepieces to be shipped off and sold in Hong Kong, Indonesia as well as the local market.


Singapore in the 60s. Source: Pinterest


As a result of the Vietnam War in the late 60s, Singapore became a regional provider for a variety of goods to the American troops engaged in battle as well as off-duty soldiers visiting the island for rest and recreation. By this time, Singapore became the number 1 seller of Omega watches worldwide.

By 1973, Singapore’s prime minister Lee Kuan Yew facilitated the opening of a Seiko factory capable of manufacturing watch movements from raw materials. This factory continues to build and export Seiko movements as of today.


Source: SCWTA FB Page


Another milestone in Singapore’s positioning in the watch industry occurred in 1978, when Singapore’s Chamber of Watch Trade Association (SCTWA) staged their first trade show fair at the Victoria Memorial Hall and named it The International Watch & Clock Exhibition.

This pioneer watch fair showcased top brands like Patek Philippe among many others and drew an outstanding number of 80.000 visitors.


First Off-shore Seiko Factory in Singapore

As mentioned before, Seiko Instruments Inc Japan opened on the 12th of September 1973; their first overseas subsidiary in the manufacturer’s history. Located in the island’s northern Marsiling province, it had the capacity of producing movements and other parts from raw materials and further assembly up to finished timepieces.


Seiko Instruments Singapore. Source: SII Website


This Seiko factory, initially called Singapore Time Pte Ltd, still manufactures mechanical and quartz movements and other watch parts for export.

Seiko’s Singapore production plant is specialized in precision machining, surface treatment and injection molding for the manufacturing of watch components.

These watch components are produced and assembled in an automatic robotic assembly-line within an aseptic environment. The resulting watch parts are exported to provide assembly components to both their parent Seiko assembly plants worldwide as well as OEM market needs.


It's a reliable movement used in stopwatches. Source: Deployant


The first Seiko watch fully created in Singapore was the Caliber 88-5011/88-5141T, a high-precision stopwatch born around 1976.

Later, the Seiko 7002 watch manufactured in Singapore was considered unique because of its triple signed dial. This watch had the inscription “MOVEMENT SINGAPORE DIAL JAPAN CASED HONG KONG” in the lower part of the dial.

This rarity meant a tipping point in Singapore’s recognition as a high-quality origin since Japan and Hong Kong were both known for their high standard in manufacturing reputation by the late 1970s.


A Popular Hobby in Singapore

A 2021 global survey conducted by Knight Frank Consulting uncovered that wrist watch collection is the most practiced, passion-related investment among the rich in Singapore.

In some way, it can be considered similar to classic cars collection due to its intrinsic relation to human passion.


Some argue that Singapore is the most important luxury watch market. Source: Deployant


The research study titled Attitudes Survey 2021, surveyed over 600 influential people among private bankers, financial advisors, intermediaries and family business offices which combined manages approximately US$3.3 trillion belonging to the ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (UHNWIs) worldwide.

The study’s results indicate that the vast majority of Singapore’s rich families invest in collectible watches, while lesser amounts go to the like of art and wine investments, and or jewelry.


Tom Chng of Singapore Watch Club. Source: Today Online


The two internationally known auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, through their Asia-Pacific branch offices, agree that over the past decade, wealthy Singaporean families and individuals are increasingly partial to watch-investments and consider it a passion.

The Singaporean watch community has grown over the years and became more sophisticated and savvy about the international watch collecting market.

What used to be a popular hobby among European high class and Chinese aristocrats during the 19th century, has now become a thriving activity among rich Singaporeans not only in search of social status but also as a means of collecting technological, artistic and scientific craftsmanship.


Luxury Watches is undoubtedly a lucrative industry in SG. Source: Vulcan Post


Singaporean watch collection investors are not only interested in investing in legendary luxury brands like Rolex or Patek Philippe, but are also interested in thriving independent brands such as FPJourne, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, MB&F, Ludovic Ballouard among others.


Top Limited Edition Singapore Watches

Several watch brands have created limited edition models that celebrate Singapore’s status as a global watch market.

Here are a few of the most prominent models:


Patek Philippe Ref. 5167A-012 Aquanaut Singapore 2019 Special Edition

Characterized by a blazing red color on the seconds hand, on the minute markers over a dark dial, and its composite material strap – in Southeast Asia, the red color represents good fortune.


Source: GMT Post


This Patek Philippe watch had a production of only 500 pieces. The watch is water resistant to 120 meters, thanks to a stainless steel case resembling the modern, bold, and cleaned up aquanaut style.

The outer layer of the octagonal bezel with somewhat rounded corners includes an upward glossy silk finish. The neatness of the dial is improved with applied numerals on hour markers, with luminous hands.


Source: GMT Post


The Patek Philippe Singapore 2019 Limited Edition has a self-winding 324 S C movement visible through a sapphire-crystal case back. This transparent case back is also engraved with a "PATEK PHILIPPE SINGAPORE 2019" inscription.


The NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit Singapore

A pair of limited-edition watches born to pay homage to Singapore as a watch-fan country.

The Swiss brand Nomos issued two versions of the Zürich Weltzeit travel watch, an already fan-favorite from Nomos, specially dedicated to -- and only found in-- Singapore.


Source: Hodinkee


This timepiece is characterized by its unusual dial design of a large city ring, and a 24-hour home time indicator at three o'clock is being produced in a limited edition to homage Singapore's passion for watches.

These two versions have in common the highlighted red coloured Singapore inscription in the city ring (placed in between the names Bangkok and Tokyo) in replacement of the city of Hong Kong seen in the regular versions of the Nomos Weltzeit.

Also, a red dot, as a homage to Singapore's nickname: ‘the little red dot’ replaces the home logo at the three o'clock position found in the regular versions.

Finally, both versions have a red hand on the seconds sub-dial at six o'clock.

But what makes these two limited editions different from each other is that one features a salmon-colored dial and a brown leather strap resembling vintage watches from the past century.


Source: Deployant


Only 15 units were produced of said salmon version, making it the more limited of these two ‘Singapore limited editions’, and each unit is individually numbered X/15 in the back of the case making it a unique and exclusive piece.

The second Singapore Nomos Weltzeit features a more traditional silver colored dial with a black leather strap. Only 35 units of this silver dialed version were produced, with each unit also numbered X/35 at the back of the case.

As for its technical features, these two limited editions (only 50 units combined) share with their non-geographically specific siblings a 39.9mm case and an in-house caliber DUW 5201 movement.


The Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Special Edition

The centennial Swiss luxury watch brand Jaeger-LeCoultre launched a special edition watch to celebrate Singapore’s first 50 years of independence on August 9, 2015. Jaeger-LeCoultre named it the Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Special edition.

This Jaeger-LeCoultre Singapore’s edition is the second specific Grande Reverso watch after the Grande Reverso Ultra Thin launched exclusively for the London market in 1931, featuring a green lacquer dial.


Source: Revolution Watch


The Singapore’s limited edition homaged the strong bond between the Swiss watchmaker and Singapore’s faithful market by the opening a boutique store in the luxury shopping district, on Orchard Road.

This Singapore Grande Reverso edition brings an exclusive dial covered in a pattern of silver-toned guilloché Clous de Paris. The hour markers are featured in black arabic numerals with a complementary display at the 6 o’clock position.

Also, it features a unique night-day dial with a dividing horizontal line linking the hour markers 6 and 18 that helps to visually separate the hours of night or day time.



The stainless steel case measures 46.8 X 27.4 mm with a thickness 9.14 mm and can be flipped over to reveal the map of Singapore with its characteristic red and white flag colours.

The 1965-2015 inscription below the map homages the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, being this detail the most compelling feature of this iconic Jaeger-LeCoultre wrist watch. It also features a black alligator leather strap.

The Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Limited Edition produced up to 50 units and could only be purchased first-hand at the Jaeger-LeCoultre flagship boutique in Singapore.

This luxury wristwatch is powered by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s proprietary hand-decorated mechanical automatic winding Calibre 967/B with a 42-hour power reserve. The inner movement consists of 200 parts crafted and assembled manually.


Panerai Luminor GMT ION Singapore Limited Edition PAM 1177

A decade ago, in 2011, the Italian brand Panerai launched a limited edition of its Luminor GMT (dual time zone) pilot watch to accompany the opening of their exclusive luxury Panerai boutique in Singapore.

This limited edition of the Panerai Luminor GMT ION, the PAM 1177 was conceived as a variation on the existing PAM 1033. It features a 44 mm case with details in red as a reference to Singapore's national flag and also features the country’s national emblem on the back of its case.


Source: Watches by SJX


Another unique feature of the PAM 1177 is its red crown matching with the other red colored details of this Panerai exclusive watch. Singapore’s national symbol can also be found imprinted on the strap.

This red-themed identity is rather simplistic, though interesting enough to stand out from most blue-themed sports wrist watches, making it look appealing compared to some designs Panerai traditionally offers.

The Panerai PAM 1177 Singapore Limited Edition was offered first hand slightly (7% more) over the price of a standard Panerai PAM01033, though the in-house caliber P.9010 inside the PAM 1177 is perhaps one reason why the price was a touch higher.


Creating Your personal Limited Edition by Modding your Seiko Watch

Watches can be used and enjoyed as a daily driver or it can be an heirloom piece, or maybe even a financial investment. At namokiMODS, watch lovers will find a wide range of Seiko mod parts to rebuild or customize the watch of their dreams, or parts that you’ll need for your Seiko modding business.

Many watch brands allow their timepiece modification but the brand best known for modding is Seiko. We have loads of parts in our catalogue, and offer top quality parts to both modders and custom watch lovers.

We have a complete catalogue of both aftermarket and  Seiko mod parts - from dials, hour and minute hands, bezels, cases and more to intervene or ‘edit’ your watch to suit your needs and desires.


Enjoyment and Investment

Singaporean investors may find their inspiration in their love for horology, in their emotional connection to a timepiece, or even as an investment for future speculation. It’s not at all surprising – fine art has simultaneously been a source of enjoyment and a viable investment for as long as we can remember, and watches can be seen the same way.

Whatever your tastes, there will always be a watch out there for you - or we can help you make your own. Watch modding is a lot of fun, and the parts we sell at namokiMODS are extremely high quality. Not only SKX007 mod parts, but many other kinds as well!

Please take a look at our extensive catalogue, and think about which watch means Singapore to you!

October 04, 2021 — Jeremiah A

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