The Old Watch Store, Ayer Rajah


I like going to independently run stores. I would in a heartbeat go to an independent cafe than a Starbucks, I like going to craftspeople making their own journals, and visiting independent bookstores (with one exception in Singapore).

I got my watch repaired from this gentleman in an old watch store in Ayer Rajah. He’s been in the watch business for 38 years. We shot the breeze while he fixed my watch.

I asked him if there was anyone taking over from him, the next generation, so to speak. I expected him to say no. He said yes. I asked him if it were one of his kids. He said no. I was intrigued but he didn’t seem to want to elaborate.

We continued to speak while he went about operating on my watch. After he was done, he evidently had time (pun intended) and wanted to speak some more. Among other things, we spoke about how he started the business near the ten-mile junction area and he had moved to Ayer Rajah 18 years ago.

As we spoke, I noticed that his shirt resembled the mechanics of a timepiece. He was very well groomed but had one errant fingernail which evidently fell into his blind spot. That nail on his left pinkie remained long and untrimmed.

He started talking about some watches he was selling. He also sold some random knick-knacks in the marginally eclectic store. Looking at me, he decided that I would like a set of four old tea or drinking cups from Beijing. The cups had figures of a couple with the woman partially undressed in each – think karma sutra goes to Beijing. I’m not sure if I should have been flattered or not.

Anyway, he put a loupe over his right eye, attached to his head with a makeshift wire strap, and proceeded to examine each of the cups. Satisfied that there were in good condition with no hairline cracks, he offered to sell me the set of four for S$100.

I politely declined.

This is going to be my go to gentleman for my subsequent watch repairs.

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