Hong Kong-based watch enthusiast Lung Lung Thun (32) also known as @lunglungthun is one of the regular contributors to our Collector’s Series, with her vast collection of beautiful watches. We’ve already discussed with her the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold Carolina Bucci. And today, it’s one of our all-time favourite watches that will be the centre of attention. Once again, we’re very pleased to see such a watch worn by a seasoned female collection, showing that beautiful watches have no gender. In this instalment of the Collector’s Series, all eyes are on her A.Lange & Söhne Datograph in Rose Gold, the early reference 403.031 – the non Up/Down, smaller edition with Roman numerals.
Frank Geelen – MONOCHROME – What is it you admire in A. Lange & Söhne?
Lung Lung Thun – The craftsmanship is second to none in my opinion. The movement, design, and finishing is so incredibly well done, I still find it astonishing that the brand hasn’t gained as much traction as it should have, but that is slowly changing. When I first got back into collecting watches in 2019, I used to walk pass the A. Lange boutique at Prince’s building in Hong Kong. I was always too timid to enter the store, but I recall feeling in awe of every piece they displayed at their window.
And why did it have to be this particular watch?
Many of the modern A. Lange & Söhne pieces that I would love to own are too big for me. I first saw the modern up/down reference through the boutique window, but I knew I couldn’t carry off the size, that’s how I decided to focus on their vintage pieces. It was an added bonus that the first generation Datographs had Roman numerals which I prefer over the modern stick markers.
I think with all luxury items, I try to find the best of that category. The Datograph has arguably the best chronograph movement and to me epitomizes fine watchmaking. I also enjoy the fact that the brand is less recognized than many other Swiss watch brands.
With some watches in my collection, the attraction slowly wanes with time, but with the Datograph, my appreciation has only grown stronger. The moment I saw the case back of this watch, I knew I had to own it.
Do you not care as much for the movement as for the aesthetics?
I often use cars as an analogy. The movement being the engine of the car, so to some extent it is something I think about before making a purchase. For this watch, the movement was equally appealing as the case and dial itself. The Datograph has arguably one of the best chronograph movements in the industry. Everything is hand finished and aesthetically, in my opinion can’t be beaten. It has all the elements that make my heart tick including the hand-engraved balance cock, jewels set in gold châtons, and Glashütte ribbing.
Can you tell us the current market value of the watch?
I purchased this watch before the hype around it, which is a collecting philosophy that I hope to continue, to collect with as little outside influence as possible. I do not remember the exact figure I paid, but I do recall it reaching around HKD 500,000 in the Phillips Geneva auction in 2020. More important than its value though, is that through this watch, I was introduced to the world of auction houses.
I first encountered the watch at a Phillips auction house dinner event. I was determined not to act impulsively, so I told myself that if I still could not get that watch out of my head in a few weeks, I probably should consider purchasing it. From that night onwards, the watch consumed me, the more I read about the watch, the more I knew I had to own it. I was lucky enough to find a piece from a store in Hong Kong.
Does your watch get a lot of wrist time?
Yes, I’ll never buy anything that I don’t wear. I rotate my watches every day and build my outfit around the piece I am wearing on that day. I do get reactions to it. Obviously with the watch being more recognized, thanks to the “Dufourgraph” phenomenon, most watch enthusiasts will do a double-take to make sure it is the first generation Datograph. My biggest joy though is when my girlfriends, who are not into watches, ask me bout this watch because they like the design of the dial.
How would you describe your watch collection so far?
In one word, loud. I know a lot of collectors have an affinity to one brand or perhaps an era, or a certain complication. I don’t regret not having stuck to a theme. It’s an evolving learning process for me, and I can’t wait to look back one day, and see how my tastes have changed with time.
Is there anything next on your list?
Of course, the list never ends. Since my last interview, I have finally moved into looking at vintage Pateks. This was something I had deliberately avoided doing for the longest time simply because I know once you start, the chase never ends.
Which other brands do you keep track of?
It never ceases to amaze me what MB&F will release, but smaller brands like anOrdain are doing great stuff, too. I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to sourcing, but I have learnt from my last two purchases that it doesn’t hurt to ask around through friends and the watch community on Instagram.
As cheesy as it sounds, I think I’ve “found my people” through watches. I’ve met some of my closest friends through this hobby. I love connecting with other collectors because it exposes me to many watches that I may have missed or haven’t had a chance to see in real life.
Is the watch world a man’s world, or do you think women are just as into watches as men?
I’m a true believer that life isn’t about what happens to you, but how you react. All the instances or people that have given me a hard time, I have just brushed off. I am grateful that I am in a position to enjoy this hobby and to be able to see and touch all these great pieces, I don’t really focus on whether I need to be treated or spoken to in a certain way. Like any hobby, it’s a way to relax and escape, so any downtime is really spent around watches, whether it be reading, meeting watch people, or browsing watches online. I am a very disciplined person by nature, so collecting watches has allowed me to express the other side of me that is very much romantic, impulsive, and illogical.