Some collections are too good to keep to yourself. Such is the case of Panerai aficionado, Eng Tay, an Manhattan artist with a collection so good that Panerai’s CEO, Angelo Bonati, invited Tay to show his collection at Panerai’s new Design District boutique.
The collection includes many mid-century and World War II era time pieces that, while distinctly Panerai in their designs look markedly different from their newer incarnations.
So the artist packed up paintings, sculptures and his beloved collection of vintage Panerai watches and came down to Miami to wow Magic City collectors with the rare watches. Watches on display included a Type A Radiomir Panerai with Rolex movement, dodecagonal bezel and case back, made in 1940, a Type D Kampfschwimmer with a Rolex movement made in 1943/1944 as well as a Type E California Dial with Rolex movement, made in 1944. Watches from the 1950s included two Marina Militare editions made in 1955, a Fourliner, from sometime after 1956 and an 8mm Type A Radiomir Panerai with Rolex movements made in 1953.
“When I first saw a Panerai, I thought it was too big,” said Tay moving his wrist around. “I was used to smaller ones, then I tried wearing it, and I fell in love,” he said, adding that it was due in part to the light weight. During the event he was hovering proudly over his collection, excited to show it to other lovers of history and time pieces.
“Some of the bands are original, but most have been replaced,” explained Tay to one attendee, “they don’t last as long as the watch itself.” In addition to his watch collection, paintings of Tay’s adorned the walls and his sculptures dotted the outdoor patio where sun streamed in and live music played.
Photography by G. Villota Photography