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26 December 2012 15:49
Asian Invasion

The world of haute horlogerie sees an uprising springing from the Far East.

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A Seiko advertisement from the ’80s — a clear indicator that the Japanese have been in the biz a long time.

Bannes Lee was used to sticking out as the sole Asian surrounded by a bunch of Caucasians in classrooms in Europe. But this was not quite the case at Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (Wostep). When Style:MEN dropped by the institute in Neuchâtel for a visit last year, we noticed that the class of eight was a balanced mix of Caucasians and Asians.

“I was working as a polisher at Rolex and Bulgari in Singapore for five years,” says the 25-year-old Malaysian. “So that got me interested in watchmaking. I’m here to gain experience and hands-on knowledge.”

The Full Training course is spread over 3,200 hours, and costs approximately CHF46,000 per person. It’s a residential course during which the students earn a small stipend similar to what universities disburse...

Text Terence Lim

For the full story, read the January issue of Style:Men (#41).

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