Steven Ho – horology collector, storyteller and curator behind Instagram page @perpetual_horology, founded in early 2020 when the lockdown brought together his two passions: watch collecting and photography – finds joy in showcasing the beauty of time. He takes us through his collection and wish list
IWC Pilot Chronograph Ref. 377714
My initial foray into watch collecting began with the IWC Pilot Chronograph, a choice heavily influenced by my admiration for John Mayer, my favourite artist since my teenage years. In the early 2000s, Mayer often sported a Big Pilot watch and frequently mentioned IWC in media interviews. Consequently, the brand made a significant impact on me, and I’m grateful to have embarked on my watch-collecting journey with such a renowned brand. This particular timepiece also played a pivotal role in my collaboration with the IWC Hong Kong team, leading to the creation of the watch photography class. As such, the IWC Pilot Chronograph symbolises the inception of both my watch collecting and watch photography experiences, ensuring it will always hold a cherished place in my collection.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 56143
Another interesting timepiece in my collection is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Acquiring this watch came with a fascinating story, as I purchased it from a Japanese collector who specialises in vintage VC/AP watches. The collector aimed to sell his watch to an authentic watch enthusiast after losing an A. Lange & Söhne timepiece to a scammer who paid with a counterfeit check. The 56143 is a 33mm “mid-size” quartz watch from the ’80s, featuring the iconic “Audemars Piguet” font. At that time, a 33mm watch was considered “mid-size” or “boy-size” and remains an unconventional choice for men by modern standards. Through extensive online research and engaging conversations with other watch owners, I eventually decided to purchase the watch and have loved it ever since. Though it has the smallest case size among all the timepieces in my collection, it is also the thinnest and one of the most comfortable to wear. Its sleek design allows it to slide under the cuff seamlessly, making it a perfect fit for both formal occasions and everyday use.
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Ref. 82172
The Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle is the newest addition to my watch collection. In the past, I mainly collected sports watches but always sought the perfect dress watch for formal occasions. As a watch photographer, I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to see and handle some of the world’s rarest and most prestigious timepieces. Throughout my years of collecting, I discovered that designing a dress watch is quite challenging. A traditional dress watch should be slim, understated, elegant, and feature a simple dial and precision movement polishing. In contrast to sports watches, dress watches offer less space for design creativity. Numerous iconic dress watches are available in the market, such as the Patek Philippe Calatrava, Breguet Classique, and A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up & Down. However, the Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle ultimately captures my heart, ticking all the right boxes. It showcases an elegant case design, with a 38mm diameter and 8mm thickness, achieving a perfectly balanced aesthetic. The manual-winding Cal. 4400 movement exhibits exceptional polishing, further emphasising the exquisite nature of this timepiece.
F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance
Owning an F.P.Journe watch has always been a dream of mine, with the ultimate aspiration being the possession of the F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance. As I delved deeper into the intricacies of watch collecting, I, like many collectors, became drawn to the realm of independent watchmaking, and in this arena, the legendary François-Paul Journe undoubtedly stands out as one of the finest. The Chronomètre à Résonance takes inspiration from the scarcely utilised horological phenomenon known as “resonance.” This concept relies on two oscillators that synchronise when in close proximity, as their vibrations are transmitted through the air or a solid medium. The esteemed watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet first explored resonance in his 18th-century pocket watches. A symbol of modern haute horlogerie, the F.P.Journe Chronomètre à Résonance masterfully blends traditional craftsmanship with inventive engineering. As a result, it is highly coveted by collectors, solidifying its reputation as a true work of horological art.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Chronograph
A collector friend once shared with me a piece of wisdom: “If you want to experience the pinnacle of A. Lange & Söhne’s watchmaking, the 1815 Chronograph is the timepiece that embodies the very essence of the brand.” It boasts what could be considered the most exquisite mass-produced movement ever made. Whenever I have the opportunity to photograph it, I am continually amazed by the movement’s beauty, its layered components, unparalleled polishing and the exceptional attention to detail characteristic of German watchmaking. All of this is skilfully encapsulated within the 39.5mm case and the impressive calibre L951.5. As a highly coveted piece among collectors and enthusiasts, the 1815 Chronograph epitomises the precision, artistry and technical mastery that define the essence of A. Lange & Söhne’s renowned watchmaking expertise.
Simon Brette Chronomètre Artisans
The chronomètre artisans was released in 2023, marking the debut timepiece of independent watchmaker Simon Brette. It even earned a place as a finalist for Best Men’s Watch at the prestigious GPHG 2023 awards. Recently, the GPHG held an exhibition showcasing its award finalists, and I was fortunate enough to be the only photographer in Hong Kong to have a private shooting session featuring some of the extraordinary timepieces. Among the watches on display, some stood out for their exquisite dials while others boasted breathtaking movements. The Chronomètre Artisans, however, was among the rare few that excelled in both aspects. With only 12 examples crafted and a half-decade-long waitlist preceding its official launch, the Chronomètre Artisans has quickly established itself as a rising star in the world of independent watchmaking. To own a Simon Brette watch would truly be a dream come true.
Also see: Jonathan Crockett’s watch collection