Last week we featured our exclusive interview with Andy Zhang (aka @a_zhangerator). This week we've got the infamous @horoloupe, featuring some pretty incredible pieces. Stay tuned for our follow-up interview in the coming weeks, too!
So, before we begin, we want to get an idea as to who @horoloupe really is. Can you give us a bit of a run-down as to who you are and what you do?
Name: Mr. 朱 (Mr. Zhu)
Age: Under 30
Occupation: Finance/Service Provider for Financial Institutions within Greater China
Passions/Hobbies: Whisky, cars, fashion, food, reading, philosophy, and of course, all things horology!
Marital Status: Single
Okay, let’s throw you into the deep end and just get into the nitty gritty. How did you get into watch collecting?
It’s actually pretty funny. My first watch-related memory actually goes all the way back to my days in Kindergarten. Our teacher was teaching us how to read time (which she shouldn’t have as we were too young!), and I was the only one in class that actually learned how to tell time. Immediately after class, my mother bought me a Lego watch and I was running around class for the remainder of the week teaching my classmates how to tell time. However, when I was in school, I was predominantly wearing quartz and digital watches such as G-Shocks and Diesel watches. I remember my first automatic watch being a Hamilton Face 2 Face, and it was the first watch that I saw online that had that “wow” factor that I look for. Ever since then, my collection started to grow rapidly. Went from Hamilton to Panerai to Audemars Piguet in the course of little over a year.
Awesome. Your collection is really quite varied. You’ve got a brand-new Daytona, a Richard Mille RM35-02, a couple of gorgeous Audemars Piguets and your infamous Nautilus 5711. What drives you to build such a versatile and diverse collection?
Thank you for your kind words! I don’t ever actively think of my collection in terms of diversity or versatility, but instead I build my collection based on buying what excites me, or in other words, what makes me feel restless and what gives me that “yearn & burning” feeling, much like the feeling you get when talking to your crush in middle school (lol!). However, if I had to pin it down, I think my general lifestyle and my interests drive me to collect the pieces that I own, which consist of more modern, luxury sports watches primarily placed on a metal bracelet as I feel that they are more versatile and wearable than watches on leather straps! Another factor is that Shanghai can get extremely hot and humid during the Summer, so a metal bracelet is more apt (I wear leather straps during the winter).
And you seem to have an eye for high-end fashion, too. Do you think that that influences your horological pursuits, and vice versa?
Yes, I do love fashion, whether it be suiting up in a Dior Homme suit or high end street fashion such as Givenchy, Gucci, Supreme, and of course, the infamous Yeezy’s. To answer your question, I don’t actually think my fashion sense influences my horological pursuits, or vice versa. However, what I do believe is that my fashion sense and horological sense should complement each other depending on my outfit (in theory, or at least I try). I do believe that horology and fashion is extremely different as the former is bathed in tradition, history, and timelessness (ironic, I know), whereas fashion is usually much more short lived in terms of trends.
Out of your current collection, what would be your absolute favourite watch? Tough question, I know, but our audience demands to know!!
Ah, tough one for any watch collector! It’s just like asking a foodie what their favorite dish is! In my current collection, I think I’d have to say either my RM35-02 or my Patek 5711 Nautilus. It used to be my Audemars Piguet Openworked Perpetual Calendar, but after wearing that piece avidly for years, it has sadly lost that spark that it once gave me.
Similar to Andy Zhang (whom I believe you know), you’ve seem to have developed a passion for Richard Mille. Can we expect @horoloupe to add any new RMs to his collection any time soon?
Yes, Andy and I are extremely good friends, and funnily enough, we actually first met in the Richard Mille Boutique in Shanghai a few years back. We both hated the brand prior to trying one on, but after seeing one in person, it led us into falling deeply in love with the brand. I do plan on adding a Richard Mille into my collection within the next year, but I’m not sure which piece yet! I’m hoping they release a few exciting pieces at SIHH next month!
What about outside of Richard Mille? Anything else coming in soon that you can tell us about?
Yes, I actually have a Patek Philippe 5712 in steel coming in the next few months and also a Tudor Black Bay Harrods Edition! Super excited for both pieces!
Big question now: what is your absolute grail. I mean money-is-no-object, ideal world kind of situation. What would @horoloupe say is his grail of all horological grails?
I would definitely choose either a Audemars Piguet Openworked Grande Complication Royal Oak or a full Sapphire Richard Mille RM56
Do you have any regrets with respect to the pieces you’ve purchased over the course of your collecting years?
Yes of course, and I’m pretty sure every watch collector has had regrets over the years (especially in the early years of watch collecting). However, I do not wish to disclose which pieces/brands I have regretted purchasing because everyone’s taste changes over time and who knows, maybe a once disliked brand might turn into the apple of my eye (much like Richard Mille hahaha).
You’ve recently added the incredible Rolex Day-Date 40 to your collection. What drove you to get this piece?
The Rolex Day Date was actually an extremely unexpected purchase! Prior to the purchase, I always told myself that I wouldn’t get a Day Date for at least another 10-15 years, as I feel like it’s a watch that belongs on a more mature individual’s wrist. However, after reading up on a plethora on both vintage and modern Day Date articles, it led me drooling over the rose gold anniversary edition Day Date released in 2016. Once I was hooked, I had to get it. Surprisingly, it’s one of my favorite pieces and I wear it at least twice a week
Are there certain brands and watchmaking manufacturers that you try to stay away from?
I tend to stay away from brands that are owned by conglomerate’s such as LVMH, Richemont and Swatch. I believe that the brand loses its true spirit and soul once it gets acquired by a group, as it tends to go towards a more commercialized way of doing business. However, with that said, there are still very respectable brands owned by groups that I admire greatly, like A. Lange & Sohne.
And what do you think about the independent watchmakers? Do you have a favourite?
I love independent watchmakers! I believe they are the only breed of watchmakers that have truly been innovating over the past decade or so. I absolutely love F.P. Journe, Urwerk, MB&F, Kari Voutilainen, Philippe Dufour etc. I do not have a favorite, but hopefully I will be adding one of these brands into my collection soon!
Okay, last question. Do you have any advice for our budding collectors and watch enthusiasts out there?
I get approached all the time by budding collectors asking for a good first proper watch and my answer is always unanimous: Rolex. Another piece of advice is to follow your heart when making watch purchases. Don’t care about what other people think, because at the end of the day, the watch is strapped on your wrist, so it only matters if you like it or not, whether it’s a micro brand from Kickstarter or a Patek Philippe Minute Repeater. Just follow your heart and the “burning” feeling (not heartburn hahaha, go to a doctor if you experience that!!) you get when looking at a potential purchase. That’s the feeling you need to look for when looking at a watch. It needs to get you excited and it needs to keep you up at night. That’s my advice.
Thanks for being on Haulogerie, it’s been a pleasure and a honour to feature you on our Interview with a Collector series!