The temporary retail concept (open to the public until late May) celebrates a handful of “historically significant” watches, principally from Rolex and the venerable house of Audemars Piguet. Moreover, each hails from the personal collection of Austen Chu or Ivan Hon — two big names in the zeitgeist of horology.
It’s only been open to the public a few short months, but Belowground (a new retail/cultural destination in the belly of The Landmark) has already played host to a diverse lineup of retail partners. To date this has included: a Japanese design firm, leading international gallery, and local designer toy artist. Now, the hybrid retail space is getting its first watch-themed pop-up, for which it’s enlisted the expertise of two emblematic figures from the world of #Watches. Entitled ‘Time Capsule’, this newest addition to the Belowground directory has the look & feel of an archival sneaker edit — and that’s no accident.
Orchestrated by AP collecting heavy Austen Chu (better known by his online sobriquet @Horoloupe) with assistance from local Rolex collector/educator Ivan Hon, Time Capsule’s central emphasis is on connecting buyers with a mixture of vintage and pre-owned watches that have been selected for their quality, complexity, and historical import.
According to Chu, the pieces which made it into his and Hon’s final edit are all “timeless heirlooms that can tell stories beyond [their] current generation” — a lateral reference to the fact that some of them were even sourced from his or Ivan’s own private collections.
To talk shop for a moment, the watches themselves are a robust mixture of the classic and cult-y, straightforward versus complicated. For fans of the Coronet, there are various 4 and 5-serial iterations of the GMT-Masters and Day-Dates that have made Rolex a household name up for grabs; though the most desirable pieces are almost certainly those Royal Oaks sourced in conjunction with Wristcheck — Chu’s own platform for trading certified pre-owned (‘CPO’) opening later this month.
For a taste of what’s to come, you’ll find radical, apocalypse-proof evocations of the original Offshore collection (i.e. the Offshore ‘Survivor’). Or how about the elegantly compact Ref. 25920: to date, the only Royal Oak AP has ever produced with an annual calendar. Pieces such as these go a good deal beyond the rubric of hype, and are at the heart of explaining why Belowground have chosen to partner with Hon and Chu. From one community, to another.
Originally opened in December 2020, Belowground is the latest retail/lifestyle concept from Hongkong Land (developer behind other premium sites like Basehall and the Landmark shopping complex). Intended to ‘bridge’ the space between traditional retail and contemporary culture, the sprawling 6,000 sq.ft. space is currently home to an eclectic mix of music, apparel, vintage memorabilia and casual dining courtesy of Rollin. For information about upcoming events, you can visit the official Belowground Instagram.
Horoloupe’s Time Capsule is located inside the Belowground annex, operating from 11am-8pm daily.
Belowground, Basement, Landmark Atrium, 15 Queen’s Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, email@example.com