The Japanese author Haruki Murakami once wrote, “You’re a distant star. Glowing, but your light is from hundreds of thousand years ago. Maybe you don’t even exist anymore. Yet sometimes your light seems more real to me than anything.”
No, this quote isn’t about astronomy, exclusively understandable by scientists, but rather, memory and its relationship with time. Unknown to many, the seemingly unquantifiable term we call “a moment” is actually a unit of time measured back in the medieval ages with a sundial, and is recorded to span approximately 90 seconds.
However, the moments we deem significant can often seem to last much longer — say the time spent waiting for the answer to a marriage proposal. Or perhaps the fruition of a prized piece of haute horlogerie that defies traditional odds and sets an elevated standard for fine watchmaking even today. As seen on the wrists of newlyweds and celebrity duo Jon Chua and Amanda Chaang, the TAG Heuer Monaco bears the prestige of several firsts — it’s the first square case chronograph that comes waterproof, and it’s the first luxury timepiece that comes unconventionally fitted with a crown positioned on the left. A radical notion implying that the Monaco doesn’t require winding, thanks to its automatic movement.
On set at T Singapore, Jon Chua and Amanda Chaang reflect on how time has shaped their relationship.
Though its design is not the only thing that imbues the timepiece with its longstanding newsworthy buzz and inimitable cool — having been associated with the “King of Cool” himself — Steve McQueen, and other acclaimed figures, the tale of the Monaco today is widely lauded as something of a legend both by industry insiders and the consciousness of popular culture. This story, however, isn’t about the documentation of the impressive timepiece through its established history, but about the personal trials and tribulations of a couple in love over the course of time.
Based in separate countries with careers centred around different media landscapes, the newlyweds began their romance with the towering obstacle of physical distance. Jon is an independent musician in his own right, and lead guitarist of the homegrown band The Sam Willows. On the other hand, Amanda is a television presenter and media personality with a considerable following from neighbouring Malaysia. Having to work around legalities like the length-of-stay dictated by visas to simply keep the wheels of their relationship turning proved to be a challenge during the early days of courtship. As Jon says, “[While] we could FaceTime each other… it’s different… communicating online and actually being [physically] there in person [with Amanda].”
TV presenter Amanda Chaang and musician Jon Chua, a married couple, who are both friends of TAG Heuer.
It goes without saying then, that the time they choose to spend dedicated to each other whenever one visits becomes naturally regarded with a heightened sense of importance. When asked about which one of the five love languages (acts of service, gifts, quality time, physical touch, words of affirmation) Amanda identifies with most, she replies without hesitation, “[Quality] time.” She continues, “I just like spending time with my loved ones. Even if it’s just [chatting] over a cup of coffee… until three or four in the morning. That’s how I show my love to those I am close to.”
For many, the highlights of a relationship are — contrary to popular depictions on the silver screen in the realm of romantic comedies — very rarely about grand gestures that require a show-stopping production. For Amanda, her favourite memories she shares over the course of the interview are about conversations she’s had with Jon about nothing at all on the many road trips they’ve gone on.
Inversely, Jon says, “The most daunting memory we [have] experienced together… was whenever I could count the number of days that I [had left] to physically spend time together with [her].”
While many might find it a challenge to identify a defining moment that one knows for certain that they’re in love, for Jon it was quite clear — a New Year’s Eve celebrated with Amanda. Although not for the reasons you might imagine. “We flew to America… to catch Drake live in Vegas, who showed up three and a half hours late. We were in a club and we [had] some alcohol. Amanda got too drunk and [started] puking just as Drake came up [on stage],” he recalls. “We were escorted out and they wouldn’t let us back in. That’s when I really knew [standing outside the club caring for her]. [I thought] oh my [gosh], I love this woman so much that I was willing to miss [watching] Drake who we flew all this way for.”
So, is there anything that still presents itself as a challenge for the couple? “Even till today, [the both of us] still experience culture shock [in each other’s countries],” Jon admits. But in all honesty, considering the bigger battles they have already been through, this comes across as something that simply spending more time together can fix and will likely give the duo plenty more to discover and love about each other.
Amanda Chaang wears the TAG Heuer Monaco in rose gold-plated steel and alligator leather strap, and Jon Chua wears the TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 in stainless steel and calfskin leather strap.
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