My Three Watch Wardrobe: Interior Designer Mr Teo Yang
It’s nice to set yourself an idle challenge – and it’s even nicer to engage in a little fantasy shopping. That’s what we ask in our Three Watch Wardrobe series: can you pick three watches to satisfy your every horological need? Picking his ideal wristwear today is Mr Teo Yang, acclaimed interior designer, MR PORTER’s Style Council Member and no stranger to a fine watch.
Indeed, with a collection that takes in the likes of Vacheron Constantin, Cartier and Patek Phillipe, Teo Yang is quite the watch connoisseur. His interest was sparked not just by his aesthetic intuition as an interior designer, but in more traditional values, too. “In Korea, a classic watch is one of those things people have a huge appreciation for,” he says. “It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it’s a reminder to value time, and to remember the most special moments. People often exchange them before they marry.”
Accordingly, Mr Yang’s watches were all acquired at special moments, from leaving college to completing big projects. Not that this means they get too much wrist time while he’s working from his studio in Seoul. “When I work, I tend not to wear watches,” he says. “But I like having them around me, even if it’s just on my desk. After all, it’s not just a functional thing to help you read the time. There’s history and technology behind it. It’s a small object that’s guided people on their path – that’s inspiring.”
Piaget Polo Chronograph
“Sometimes, I choose watches by looking at my friends’ wrists. We’re always comparing watches, and one of my friends recently got this blue dial watch. I’d never really thought about a watch with a coloured dial before, but it looks so hip, and yet classic. That’s a distinctive statement in itself.
“This is a much more sporty watch, which I love. Street culture and casual style are totally mainstream now – everybody’s wearing hoodies and sweats, and this kind of watch works for that. But it’ll also be fine for a formal dinner or for travelling, which in normal times I do a lot.
“It feels very easy and relaxed, but when you look close, there’s so much joy in the details. It’s a circle, but not a circle, there’s different surfaces and finishes – those kinds of things are so hard to accomplish. That really gives me inspiration. There’s so much information in it, but it looks so composed.”
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921
“I have another watch from Vacheron Constantin – the Overseas in pink gold, which I wear on a rubber strap, and I love it so much. But the American 1921 is really something different. It’s a statement piece: it says you understand art and design, and you celebrate history and innovation at the same time. Sometimes, you don’t want to talk about yourself out loud, but little things – clothing, watches – come to really speak for you, and this is a great example.
“The tilted dial is something fun and different. There’s this theory that, back in 1921, it was designed for people wanting a very subtle way of looking at the time, without showing it too much. It’s a very elegant solution, and it brings gesture and how you present yourself into it: a very gentle, serene way to tell the time.
“I find the movement fascinating, too. As a designer putting big spaces together that tell a story, it’s inspiring to see that same thing on such a small scale – everything with its own purpose, but working together. You see just what people can accomplish.”
Panerai Luminor Due 3 Days Automatic Rose Goldtech
“I dress in black every day, and I love the contrast between that and the warmth and classicism of rose gold – white gold is just too cold for me. And a rose gold Panerai is something really special. You have the history of this brand, the fact that it was originally a diving watch with that mechanism to protect the crown on the side: it’s at the edge of being casual, but it’s still very luxury.
“This watch is 45mm, which is big, but I’m always amazed by the fact that when you put it on your wrist, it fits very nicely. That’s an amazing design challenge that they’ve accomplished – it plays with scale so well.
“A lot of my friends love wearing Panerai watches, and I think it has quite a young energy. The cushion shape with the round bezel protecting the dial is incredibly interesting, as are those big numbers. Every time I look at it, I honestly don’t quite know how to digest it all, but there’s so much fun to it.”