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SC Fong

Passion IWC

Text — Hanspeter Künzler Photos — Tim Wong Date — 24 May, 2011

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Titanium. That was it. The magic word for a magic metal. Song Chau Fong – or SC Fong, as he likes to sign his numerous postings in the IWC Collectors’ Forum – loved Titanium. Ever since the 1950s, when the Americans and the Russians simultaneously discovered this metal’s manifold uses in the construction of high-performance military jets, the super-strong and silvery Titanium stood for the latest in hi-tech glamour.

It happened in 1986. SC Fong had recently purchased his first “nice” watch. Now there was another premiere. He held his first Titanium watch in his hands. It was an IWC Porsche Design SL Quartz watch. “After that,” he says drily, “I started collecting watches.” His next treat to himself was two Pilot’s Watches on the same day, both Ref. 3741 Fliegerchronograph, one in steel, the other in gold. There followed more Titanium watches, including all the Porsche designs. He is also a fan of IWC diving watches and owns the complete set of Ocean 2000s, amongst them – as he proudly points out – the very model the German Navy uses. Today, Fong is perhaps one of the world’s most enthusiastic collector of contemporary IWC Big Pilot’s Watches and owns several other rare IWC pieces besides.

What makes his collection especially interesting is its exceptional breadth and depth. However, Fong is much too modest a man to trumpet his own glory. “Most other collectors buy one of each model,” he says with a glint in his eye. “I’m stupid enough to buy the same watch nine times. I’m like a stamp collector. I try to collect the whole series.”

I don’t buy my watches for the safe. I regularly wear every watch that I own

—The Big Pilot’s Watch from Sc Fong’s large collection of IWC watches also suits his pet dog Jun-Jun
Big Pilot's Watch

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Fong – the scion of a family of renowned restaurateurs with a history of first class restaurants in Macau and Hong Kong going back sixty years – had always been fascinated by all things military. In his youth, he glued together hundreds of Airfix model airplanes, tanks and other military equipment. Marriage, two daughters and thirty-odd years’ employment with the same company never managed to break his boyish collectors’ spirit: “The only thing that changed was that I began to buy the models ready-made when I got married,” he admits. “I no longer had the time to assemble them myself.” Collecting watches, however, caused no problems at all. SC Fong’s wife, who runs her own textile business, is an even more avid watch collector than he is. “She actually has more watches than I. Over a hundred. This is the reason I can buy a lot of watches myself. My wife allows me to!” His elder daughter, aged 27, has been stung by the bug, too. Hers is a collection of Swatches going into the several hundred. A Fong family holiday will never be short of a few watch shop visits and a souvenir or two.

SC Fong has recently taken early retirement from his position as the head of production in Asia of an educational publishing group because – as he quips – he wanted to spend more time with his dog. Jun-Jun is an elegant, six-year-old golden retriever. She will be familiar to all readers of the IWC Forum where she makes frequent appearances, sporting SC’s latest acquisition around one of her fine paws. Every morning, SC drives into the hills behind Hong Kong for an hour-long walk with Jun-Jun. Suitably awoken and refreshed, he will then spend three or four hours at the computer, perusing a large variety of watch collectors’ sites and forums all over the world. One of these, an IWC forum in Chinese, he moderates himself. This forum has an astonishing 15,000 members.

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Every watch tells a story – about its origin and age, personality and character, tradition and culture, and not least about its owner.

Aquatimer video Screenshot
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Swiss National Day
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The sculptor-designer is a phenomenon. Even if you are not at all design literate you will know him by reputation. His name has become a synonym for severity.