David Yong, 31
More than just a party animal, you could call David Yong the ultimate life of the party who’s sure to liven things up wherever he is. The CEO of Burma Teak Asia and a lawyer by training, he’s recently launched his own firm, DY and Associates. Yong loves his rides flashy (one’s a McLaren with a head-turning holographic wrap and embossed personal initials) and his timepieces even flashier: The 15-strong line-up of his includes tickers in various precious metals, several of which are gem- set or accented with bold dashes of colour.
Yong’s very first watch, however, was a far more modest Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner, which he purchased while studying in the UK. “I bought that one after earning some profits from trading in shares. My dad was a big Rolex fan and owns pretty much every Rolex model, and that’s how I jumped on the bandwagon.”
Fast forward to today, and Yong has graduated from his timeless Rolex sports models, now preferring an eye-catching Richard Mille, his favourite brand at the moment, or an otherworldly MB&F. He is currently waiting for the arrival of his latest acquisition, an MB&F Horological Machine No. 9 ‘Flow’ sporting smooth curves on its titanium case that recall mid-century sports cars and aircrafts. “My collection doesn’t really have a theme,” says Yong, “I just follow my heart. What I look out for is a distinctive, bold design. A ‘wow’ factor, which makes it stand out from the crowd.”
What is your view on vintage pieces? Or do you prefer to buy newer models?
Vintage models most definitely have their own charms, but I am still a bigger fan of new models with the latest designs. Having said that, I must admit that I am in the process of sourcing for a Paul Newman Daytona.
Why do you think mechanical watchmaking is still relevant in today’s world, with smartphones already replacing so many functions?
Mechanical watchmaking is an art, and different manufactures have their own distinctive styles and methods. You would recognise a Richard Mille from a mile away thanks to its bold design, just like how you’ll also recognise the Daytona, which is an absolute icon that has lasted through the years. The amount of effort and eye for detail that watchmakers place in their creations is another level of art, and people do appreciate that.
What’s the nerdiest thing you’ve done in your watch collecting journey?
I stayed up late at night watching videos and reading reviews of a particular watch that I wanted. The next day, I tasked my assistant to call up all my regular watch dealers in search of it!
Patek Philippe Nautilus
To quote Patek Philippe’s slogan, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.” Such a classic brand.
Richard Mille RM 055 Bubba Watson
This is my second Richard Mille and my first all-white timepiece. I was very apprehensive when I first bought it, as I worried that the white might stain easily. However, its striking design and colour makes it one of my all-time favourites.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual GMT-Master II ‘Batman’
For a frequent traveller like myself this watch is particularly useful for checking different time zones and is simple and classy looking enough for daily wear.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona
This is a yellow gold anniversary edition. The racing green dial is such a good representation of the brand. I fell in love with it immediately.
Franck Muller Vanguard
This is my ultimate ‘bling bling’ party watch.
Photography: Simon Sim
Makeup Keith Bryant Lee using Lancome
Hair: Edward Chong using Kevin Murphy
Location: The Grande Whisky Collection
A version of this story first appeared in Adore 2019 Magazine, now out in leading bookstores and on Magzter.