John Low’s father, a retired Warrant Officer wore a Tudor Ref. 76100 for the entirety of his military career and now. It is now the most important watch in John’s collection.
“My father was a one watch kind of guy,” describes John Low, a former Research Scientist. “He bought the Tudor on Christmas Eve 1985 and has worn it throughout the entirety of his 30-year career. It was only when he retired that the Singapore Armed Forces gave him a his and hers couples’ watch to wear with my mother that he eventually took this off his wrist.”
Widely issued to a range of military forces around the world, such was the success of Hans Wilsdorf’s vision – to develop affordable timepieces that are implanted in Rolex’s reputation for quality – that Marine Nationale Française (MN), and the US Navy (USN) would seek to supply elite units with them.
Even military men in other countries, with their modest pay cheques, would seek them out for their own professional use. And this is exactly what Regimental Sergeant (retired) Major Low Sang Lim did.
Joining the Singapore Armed Forces in 1965, two years before the inception of conscripted national service, Warrant Officers like Low were the pioneering soldiers of a newly independent nation who sought the robust qualities that Wilsdorf offered without breaking the bank.
John explained, “He had heard of Tudor’s legendary performance, he didn’t even consider other brands. That was the one he wanted”. He purchased it from Watch Palace, an established Rolex and Tudor dealer in Singapore still at its present location in Lucky Plaza today.
“When my dad bought the Tudor watch in 1985, his rank was Staff Sergeant, and his pay was around S$1000. The watch represented almost half his monthly salary. It was a princely sum for a man with a wife and three young children. But he decided that it was worth it”
“He shared with me that throughout the 36 years of ownership. It was the one watch that only left his wrist twice for servicing,” says John. Both father and son are particular about their watches and so John was surprised to find that close to four decades on, it was still COSC precise, comparable to his other newer Tudor watches.
“It’s impressive really, I recall my father coming home from military exercises covered head to toe in mud,” he said, “but the Tudor Submariner never left his side.”
Like Father, Like Son
“The thing is, I never considered Tudor before,” John confesses, “I grew seeing it as my father’s watch and sons usually want to distance themselves from their father, but as I grew older and matured, I appreciated the history behind the brand and soon found the appeal undeniable.”
Talking to his father about their mutual passions, it was within a span of a year that John ended up with a nice collection of modern Tudor watches including the Black Bay P01 based on a prototype proposed to the US Navy as well as the celebrated Black Bay GMT, Bronze and Harrods special edition.
“He was a man who didn’t like pomp and drama, so it was one evening as I was setting the table for dinner, he said: you like Tudor now I see. Then, he gave me his watch,” says John. “It was amazing that even after having been through hell and high water, only the crown and bracelet were damaged, and it was still keeping precise time!”
Inheriting a complete set with a pristine box, receipt, guarantee card, John is honoured to receive this heirloom, “I wear it sparingly and only for special occasions.” Originally manufactured with many shared components: the vaunted Oyster cases, crowns, tubes, crystals, gaskets, and bezel, provided the reliability, dependability, and guarantee of a Rolex but at a lower price.
Having retired in 1995, the legacy of Low’s generational Tudor Submariner continues with his son John, and in the new Black Bay series.
Watch Palace is located at 304 Orchard Road, 01-01/02 Lucky Plaza, Singapore 238863