What, This Old Thing?
Tatler Singapore|Oct 2020
What, This Old Thing?
Zoe Abelson grew up surrounded by luxury timepieces but she didn’t start collecting until she discovered the auction block
Annie Darling
Zoe Abelson lives for vintage watches. The 31-year-old collector manages the Instagram account @watchgirloffduty and is a senior client adviser at WatchBox, an e-commerce platform that sells pre-owned luxury timepieces. She’s based in Hong Kong and has worked in an industry that’s dominated by men for almost a decade. “People ask me what it’s like being a woman who works with watches, but I thrive in masculine environments,” she tells me. “My mom said, ‘You’re going to find yourself a husband within the first week.’” Ten years later, and Abelson’s still single. “I’ve not met a single guy who I’d like to date from this industry,” she laughs. “At the end of the day, watch nerds are watch nerds!”

Abelson’s authenticity is refreshing and much-needed in a world that’s known for its formality and (dare I say?) snobbery. When we first meet, she’s drinking coffee in the lounge of Tatler House, Tatler’s clublike outpost in Hong Kong’s The Upper House hotel. She’s in a one-shoulder black top, which she wears with white linen trousers and a dragon-shaped leather belt that belongs to her mother. On her wrist is a vintage stainless-steel Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Day & Night. “This is the first watch I bought for myself,” she says, “and I actually got it off Instagram.”


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Oct 2020