THE LAKESIDE ATELIER PART I - Consultation
Updated: Sep 25, 2019
“I should have turned left onto Yuan Ching Road. I have to perform a U-turn now,” he said in bewilderment to her. “Don’t look at me, the GPS did not indicate to turn left,” she replied.
We have driven to Jurong – a residential town not known for luxury and craftsmanship – for an appointment with Ren Yi, founder of Solitaire. He reckoned it was time to elevate the leather strap of his Seiko SARB033. Getting lost in Jurong and subsequently being uncertain if we had legitimately parked in the Condominium were certainly not part of the plan.
He texted Ren Yi and waited at the carpark lobby. A couple of minutes later Ren Yi intriguingly appeared - dressed coolly in a Thom Browne sweatshirt, ripped jeans, New Balance sneakers and carrying nothing more than a sapphire blue clutch. Whereas he was starting to heat up in his made up summer suit (we had a wedding lunch earlier). Ren Yi nonchalantly sat us down, whipped out a well-worn leather chart and took us through the variety of leathers and threadings.
“Let me know what you want.” Ren Yi is a straight talker and wastes no time in getting to the basis of what makes a luxury watch strap - sourcing from the best tanneries, using the finest tools and techniques available and most essentially, customisation.
“I use leather from the same tanneries as Hermès. The lining (Zermatt leather) and threading (‘Lin cable’) are the same as Hermès. Hermès produces the best leather products,” Ren Yi emphasises.
The Seiko SARB033 is a dress watch and with a lack of imagination he opted for a navy blue circular alligator top with black threading. After placing his order, he cheekily asked Ren Yi if his Gucci bi-fold wallet – a gift he got from his cousin for his 21st – could be patched up. “No. This one cui (unusable) already,” Ren Yi replied without remorse.
“I also throw away Hermès before.”
It seems luxury, just like the best things in life, do not last forever and we are to enjoy them while we can.