Vintage Watch Specialist – Tiong Bahru Market

Enicar Sherpa
Enicar Sherpa

I was chatting to my colleague Desmond and noticed that he was wearing a gold-fill ENICAR watch. Always liked ENICAR’s and I have been on the lookout for a decently priced Enicar Sherpa for years. Those that I have found in my price range have had pretty banged up bezels, which I think are impossible to replace given that the watches were not that popular.

The Sherpa was named after the 1956 Swiss Himalayan expedition to Everest which relied on Enicar timepieces. Many say that Enicar was the first watch ever to have been taken to the top of Everest and not the Rolex Oyster that Sir Edmund Hillary wore on his expedition in 1953. Unfortunately because the expedition was not documented properly, Enicar could not claim to be the first to the top.

Desmond’s Enicar belonged to his Dad and he told me he recently got it serviced and restored at Vintage Watch Specialist in Tiong Bahru Market and that it was running a little slow.

Had some time to kill this weekend and went to Tiong Bahru to see what I could find out. I have also been exchanging emails with Bamz on watch shops aside from The Bencoolen and Golden Landmark so this helped prompt my visit.

Met Mr. Tan the owner of Vintage Watch Specialist and had a chat with him. The watches he had on sale were a little lacklustre and reminded me of the overpriced, mid to lower end watches I used to be interested in when I first started out. (Mr Tan does have some interesting old currency for sale though).

Wanted to give him a chance to repair a watch to try him out and I was going to give him Dick’s Chopard to repair but (a) at about $60 for a service, his prices were a little steep and (b) he said he could only tackle a service but if parts were needed he wouldn’t be able to get parts for the Chopard’s ETA movement. I was quite surprised at this last comment but left it at that.

Vintage Watch

Tan reminds me if another watchmaker in Henderson Market. Just like him, he has a number of older timepieces for sale and is eking out a living doing third rate repair jobs. Not sure how much longer such shops will be around and it is kind of sad really.

Would I go back to Tiong Bahru Market or to Henderson Market to potentially buy something? Yes, I would if I was in the neighbourhood and  had time to kill but I would also have little hope of finding anything I would be interested in. Just like what I have experienced in Vietnam, the trade for these one-off shops in the heartlands is dying off. 🙁

2 Comments Posted

  1. Hi! I am looking for a “starter” hand-wind vintage watch and come across your blog. Do you think this Tiong Bahru vintage shop is a suitable place to get one? I happened to stay near it. What would be your recommendation? Thanks

    • Anais,

      I would NOT get it from the Tiong Bahru vintage shop if I were you.

      I hate to say this as these small watch shops re finding it more and more difficult to earn a living but his watches are severely overpriced, the workmanship on repairs is NOT fantastic and he does not have a good selection.

      I would try the Bencoolen if I were you.


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