25-Year-Old Watch Collector Shoyo Kawamura Turns Passion Into Profession

In recent years, more and more young collectors are actively engaging in watch auctions, coming as a rising force in the market. To better understand this group of emerging collectors, we talked to Shoyo Kawamura. The 25-year-old watch enthusiast started collecting watches at a very young age and currently works as a Cataloguer at Phillips’ Watches. Speaking of his passion for watches, Shoyo said, ‘Timepieces are very sentimental to me. It’s something that you can always wear and keeps you company.’

On the day of the interview, Shoyo Kawamura wore a Richard Mille RM 67-01, one of the slimmest Richard Mille models available in the market today. It has the iconic tonneau shape case made out of titanium. ‘It’s very light in weight. I can wear it on any occasions, and I wear it literally every day. I can wear it while I am wearing a suit and it would fit under my cuff. Or I can wear a t-shirt and still look sporty with it,’ said Shoyo.

The Richard Mille RM 67-01 that Shoyo wore on the day of the interview

The first wristwatch that ignited his passion for timepieces…

Shoyo: My passion for timepieces started at a relatively young age. I still remember the first experience I had. My father took my brother and me to his friend’s boutique, where we bought our first wristwatch – a TAG Heuer Formula 1 model, boy size with a rubber strap. That experience ignited my passion for timepieces.

Shoyo: My passion for the timepiece developed further when I was at age 16. Unfortunately, what I have acquired since my first experience was lost due to a robbery. I had to rebuild my collection and I decided to focus on my collection on Patek Philippe.

The TAG Heuer Formula 1 (online image)

Reasons for collecting Patek Philippe…

Shoyo: It was from my father. He told me that it would never lose value. I got to admire the intricate craftsmanship of the manufacturer. I am also a fan of their traditional aesthetics.

Patek Philippe Ref.130 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch

The most important watch in his collection…

Shoyo: For me, the most important watch was my stainless steel Patek Philippe Reference 130, which is a vintage chronograph from the early 30s. I first discovered this wristwatch from John Goldberger’s book ‘Patek Philippe Steel Watches’. I found this piece in his book and I decided to go for a hunt. The hunt lasted for a year until one popped up in an auction.

The reputable watch collector John Goldberger

His dream watch…

Shoyo: My dream watch would be Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph by the reference 2499 and the first series. Because 2499 is one of the most important references ever produced by Patek Philippe. It’s an element that combines both traditional and modern watchmaking perspectives. It’s also one of the most beautiful looking watches that’s ever been produced.

Patek Philippe Ref.2499 perpetual calendar chronograph wristwatch

Turning his passion into a profession in the auction industry...

Shoyo: For me, I’ve always that auction houses are a great place to learn about your passion, especially for collectables. My father has always wanted us to learn about the value of things and not to take things for granted.

Shoyo won the bidding for his client

Covetable watches in the market…

Shoyo: I think most would tend to agree that models from the blue-chip manufacturers, especially steel sports models are high on demand with a long waiting list growing on a daily basis from the boutiques. Last season in spring, when we held the thematic auction of sports watches in collaboration with an Asian curator Blackbird for the first time, we achieved a 100% sold sale. That was the first in Asian Watch auction history.

The thematic auction of sports watches curated by Phillips and Blackbird Automotive Group

The sale achieved a sell-through rate of 100%

Watches for good investments…

Shoyo: I see tremendous value in 5 digits reference Rolexes ranging from the mid-80s all the way to the late 90s. These models are undervalued. What’s important is that collectors are still able to find them in new conditions in the market, which are still accompanied by a full set of accessories with the affordable price ranges compared to what’s in production today.

Rolex Ref.16700 GMT-Master launched in the late 1980s