A Watch Buyer’s Guide To Singapore

An island nation that's a major player in the market for luxury watches, Singapore is a regional hub for the watch industry and also a tastemaker thanks to its enthusiastic adoption of high-end, independent brands. We give you a rundown of the Singapore watch scene.

Singapore is one of the world’s major watch markets – in 2014 it was the eighth largest destination for Swiss watch exports – despite being an island nation with a population of just 5.5 million. The reason for its importance lies in two factors. One is Singapore’s position as a regional hub, with watches transhipped via Singapore to nearby countries. And more importantly for high-end timepieces, Singapore is the destination for wealthy individuals in the region. The financial and medical services in Singapore are a big draw, as is its highly developed shopping infrastructure.

A small country that’s big in watches

Consequently, Singapore is a major market for high-end and exotic timepieces, punching way above its weight. Independent watchmakers like MB&F and Urwerk count Singapore as amongst their most important markets. In fact, it would be fair to say that without Singapore, some independent watchmakers would find it hard to survive. Because English is the main medium of communication in Singapore, the media dedicated to watches in Singapore is active and connected worldwide. Timezone, the oldest watch forum on the internet, was originally set up in Singapore.


Most watch stores are clustered in two areas, visiting either covers most of what’s on offer. The best known is Orchard Road, a thoroughfare surrounded by shopping malls, but also a name for the general area that includes Scotts Road. All the major watch retailers are present in Orchard Road, as are most of the brand boutiques.

Ngee Ann City, ION Orchard and Paragon are the malls with the largest number of watch stores. ION Orchard for instance includes CartierIWCJaeger-LeCoultreLange, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Vacheron Constantin boutiques. All three are within 10 minutes walk from each other. (See the mall directory links at bottom.)

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was only opened in 2010, built on a reclaimed land. A massive complex that includes a casino, hotel, convention centre and shopping mall, MBS is the most expensive gaming property in the world. But with Singapore the second largest gaming market in the world after Macau, MBS quickly paid for itself.

One attraction of the mall is that high rollers can use points accumulated in the casino loyalty programme to shop. Because of its size the mall can be hard to navigate for first-timers, but MBS Shoppes contains a long list of watch stores, both multi-brand retailers and brand boutiques. Unlike the malls in Orchard Road, MBS includes entry-level and mid-range brand boutiques, like Longines, Tissot and Citizen, as well as the usual high horology names.

Marina Bay Sands, seen from across the bay. Credit Singapore Tourism Board

Multi-brand retailers

Singapore is home to three of the world’s largest watch retailers, with The Hour Glass, Cortina Watch and Sincere Fine Watches accounting for the bulk of luxury watch sales in Singapore. Singapore’s importance as a watch market is illustrated by their turnover: revenue leader The Hour Glass posted sales of nearly S$735 million (equivalent to US$452 million) for the last financial year, with half of that domestic.

Each of the retailers have stores in the main shopping districts, and each store typically has a strong selection of mid- to ultra-high end watches on display. This includes uncommon high-end independent brands. Cortina carries Hautlence, The Hour Glass has De Bethune, while Greubel Forsey can be found at Sincere. The flagship stores of each of the major retailers are worth a visit:

Cortina Watch at Capitol Piazza
15 Stamford Road
Capitol Piazza #01-77/78/79/80
Singapore 178906

L’Atelier by The Hour Glass
2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard #03-06
Singapore 238801

Sincere Haute Horlogerie
The Shopping Gallery at The Hilton
581 Orchard Road #02-17/18
Singapore 238883

A notable newcomer is Emperor Watch & Jewellery, which only opened its second store in Singapore in 2015. Though its presence in Singapore is minor, it’s an outpost of the retailer of the same name that is one of the biggest players in Hong Kong and China. In Singapore Emperor only carries Cartier, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Tudor. Though it is small Emperor’s size in Hong Kong means it’s no bit player, so its stores have an impressive array of watches on display.

Emperor Watch & Jewellery
581 Orchard Road #01-03/04
The Shopping Gallery at the Hilton
Singapore 238883

Notably, both Sincere and The Hour Glass have recently ventured into new retail brands specialising in entry-level and mid-range watches, reflecting the slower growth in demand for upmarket watches. Suntime and Watches of Switzerland mostly carry watches in the S$5000 and below segment:

Suntime by Sincere Fine Watches
391 Orchard Road
#03-08B Takashimaya Shopping Centre
Singapore 238872

Watches of Switzerland by The Hour Glass
290 Orchard Road
#01-19/20 Paragon
Singapore 238859

And specialising in affordable watches from offbeat independent brands is Red Army Watches. Founded as a retailer for Russian timepieces, it has since diversified and now carries quirky and unusual brands, including SevenFriday.

Krasnaya by Red Army Watches
2 Orchard Turn
Ion Orchard #B3-03
Singapore 238801

There are watch retailers that are mostly present in malls located in suburban areas, like All Watches and Vincent Watch. These retailers carry more affordable brands, like TAG Heuer and Maurice Lacroix.


Every single major watch brand, from A. Lange & Söhne to Zenith, has a boutique in Singapore. Most are located either in Orchard Road or Marina Bay Sands. Individual brand websites will list the location of their boutiques and retailers in Singapore. (A selection of brand boutique locations can be found at the bottom of this story.)

Along Orchard Road Credit Singapore Tourism Board


While watches were generally expensive in Singapore relative to other countries, for several years since the 2008 financial crisis, the trend has reversed itself, as both the Singapore dollar and local demand have weakened. As of 2015, prices in Singapore are generally more competitive than in the recent past, though some countries with sharply weaker currencies have an advantage.

Discounts are usually offered by multi-brand retailers, resulting in a “street price” that’s below the recommended retail. Unlike multi-brand retailers, single brand boutiques tend to offer little or no discount off the retail price. Additionally, tourists can get a consumption tax refund (more info below).

Boutiques do, however, compensate for the strict price policy with an increasingly array of other perks, including gifts with purchases and sometimes for really big ticket items, trips to Switzerland. And to further entice buyers into their own stores, watch brands are increasing the number of “boutique exclusive” models that available only at boutiques.

Secondary market

Singapore is a relatively large and active secondary market for watches, though one that is predominantly about modern watches. As in other countries, popular mainstream brands like Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Hublot, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Rolex and Omega are commonly encountered. But because Singapore is a major market for niche independent brands, it is not uncommon to spot an MB&F or Urwerk on the secondary market.

Singapore has strong intellectual property laws and enforcement, fake watches are not a concern. The usual caveats when purchasing used timepieces still apply, like condition, accessories, provenance and so on, but Singapore is a safe place to buy a used watch.

GR Luxury
333A Orchard Road
#03-29 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897

Horological Restoration Centre
304 Orchard Road
#02-102 Lucky Plaza
Singapore 238863

JW Horological Gallery
10 Anson Road
#02-88 International Plaza
Singapore 079903

Watch Link
14 Scotts Road
#03-79 Far East Plaza
Singapore 228213

As is expected for a country that is amongst the most wired in the world, there are also several reputable secondary market dealers that operate without a store.

Indonesian Watch Exchange Instagram @idwx

Kenneth Chen k.chen on Timezone

While Singapore is primarily about contemporary watches, there is a small but growing audience for the vintage stuff. One of the rare stores to specialise in vintage watches is Heirloom Gallery.

Heirloom Gallery
20 Upper Circular Rd
#01-37 The RiverWalk
Singapore 058416

And a new, Singapore-based platform, Luxglove, to list watches and other luxury goods will come online soon. Similar to 1stdibs or Chrono24, It was started by the founder of a similar platform that focuses on affordable contemporary art.


None of the international auctioneers like Christie’s, Sotheby’s or Phillips hold watch auctions in Singapore. Instead the main watch auctions in Asia take place in Hong Kong in the Spring and Fall seasons. However, each of the major auction houses typically have previews for their Hong Kong sales in Singapore. The schedule for such previews is available from the auction houses.


The big watchmaking groups like Richemont and the Swatch Group have service centres in Singapore, as do the major independent brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Chopard. Work on simpler movements is typically done locally, usually that includes complications up to a chronograph in complexity.

Returning a watch to the manufacturer offers the best assurance of a good job done, however, it comes at high cost and a long wait. For complicated watches it can take as long as half a year. All the three major local retailers have their own service centres as well, providing basic after-sales service for the brands they distribute. Complex repairs usually mean a trip back to Switzerland.

Singapore also has several independent watchmakers. JW Horological Gallery (a preowned watch dealer mentioned above) also offers servicing and can handle relatively complicated watches, but with a lead time of several months.

K2 Watch Company is a good option for simpler and more affordable watches; it’s also a retailer for Seiko.

K2 Watch Company
#03-K1 Tanjong Katong Complex
845 Geylang Rd
Singapore 400845

Taxes and tourists

Consumption tax in Singapore is known is a flat 7%. Known as Goods and Services Tax (GST), it is levied on business with a taxable turnover of S$1 million, which applies to nearly all watch retailers in Singapore. Certain retailers offer a GST refund for tourists, which can be claimed when leaving Singapore. As is the case in many other countries, the refund is slightly less than the 7% tax due to the fees charged by the retailer of the refund agency (Global Blue for instance).



A. Lange & Söhne
2 Orchard Turn
#02-05A Ion Orchard
Singapore 238801

Audemars Piguet
2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2M-207 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018972

2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-237 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018972

2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-237 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018972

391 Orchard Road
#01-33, #02-02 Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872

391 Orchard Road
#01-25/26/27 Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872

Franck Muller
2 Orchard Turn
#01-07 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

Harry Winston
2 Orchard Turn
#02-19 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

2 Orchard Turn
#02-06 Ion Orchard
Singapore 238801

2 Orchard Turn
#02-08 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

2 Bayfront Avenue
#B1-90A/B The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 18972

391 Orchard Rd
#01 – 34 Ngee Ann City
Singapore 238872

2 Orchard Turn
#01-11 ION Orchard
Singapore 238801

2 Orchard Turn
#01-18 ION Orchard‎
Singapore 238801

Patek Philippe
581 Orchard Road
#01-05/08 The Hilton Shopping Gallery
Singapore 238883

391 Orchard Road
#02-12A Ngee Ann City Tower B
Singapore 238874

Roger Dubuis
2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-241 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018971

435 Orchard Road
#02-40/41-44 Wisma Atria
Singapore 238877

TAG Heuer
435 Orchard Road
#02-34/35 Wisma Atria
Singapore 238877

Vacheron Constantin
2 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-238 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018972

8 Bayfront Avenue
#B2-200 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Singapore 018955

Mall directories

ION Orchard

Marina Bay Sands

Ngee Ann City

Updated August 27, 2015
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