Among luxury watch aficionados, Jimmie Tay is a personality who has both elusive and enduring qualities. He seems elusive because he travels the region extensively. Every week or so, he spends time in a different Southeast Asian city, be it Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hanoi or his home base of Singapore, and enduring because he has been connected to the luxury watch world since he was a child.
These days, a lot of his travel is for Buben & Zorweg as managing director for Southeast Asia and Australia. But even before his partnership with the German maker of ultra-luxury watch winders and watch safes, he has had a long love affair with timepieces.
In many ways, it was inevitable. Tay is the nephew of the founders of leading Asian luxury watch retailer, The Hour Glass — Dr Henry Tay and his wife Datuk Dr Jannie Tay. The young Tay worked at The Hour Glass for 11 years — from 1994 to 2005. During that time, he helped oversee operations in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.
But his first encounter with the business of luxury timepieces began many, many decades before that. His grandfather was the man who planted the Tay family in the watch business, before the start of World War II.
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