Last year, Options met Max How for an in-depth interview when he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of multi-brand watch boutique Kee Hing Hung (KHH) by his father. Started as a small trading firm, KHH has since evolved to become an authorised retailer for Rolex and Tudor, with two boutiques in Chinatown.

We recently made the trip back to People’s Park Complex, where the two boutiques are located, and was pleased to find the same affable, soft-spoken Max. He greets us with the warmth he shows to every customer who walks through the glass doors.

I remind him that when we last spoke, he had said that he would never fully retire and hoped to spend more time with the family. Does he still feel the same? His answer is yes, as he continues to grow and expand the business. He says: “I will stay on as for as long as my health permits me to. There are still so many things to do and learn in this lifetime. I sincerely hope I can be there to see Tron take over the business completely.” Tron is Max’s first-born son who has joined the business full- time after graduating in public relations and social media studies.

In fact, the father-and-son duo have found a common interest in golf and been spending a lot of time together. “Golf is now a way to spend more time with Tron and for us to learn the game together. Being such a new joiner to the sport, I am still on my way to earning my handicap,” Max says.

On the green, Max takes the opportunity to impart his business knowledge to Tron. He reminds Tron to never stop evolving and growing. The boutique, as a family-run business, has the advantage of making changes and decisions quickly and remaining as agile as possible in these challenging times.


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That agility came into play recently. As the pandemic continues, Max observes that the situation has definitely shifted consumers’ behaviour: Everything is mainly done online with a click of a button, and information, reviews and prices are easily available on the Internet. “But while the digital domain is booming, we still believe very much in the brick-and-mortar concept. There is something instinctively unique about the personal touch that you cannot find online,” he adds.

Keeping the personal touch

That personal touch is what draws the crowds back to KHH, whether to buy their first Rolex timepiece or their 10th. Putting online shopping aside, Max points out that one way to attract and get younger customers interested in Rolex timepieces and their rich heritage is by speaking the same language.

He says: “With the younger customers, we must understand what makes them tick. Whether they are here looking for a connection with the rich heritage of the brand or simply because they are intrigued by the reliability of the watch, our staff is always ready to adapt themselves to share more.”


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Tron concurs, adding that his focus is on social media, to be in constant engagement with customers. Family-run businesses tend to neglect the importance of customer service experience through social media, says Tron. His aim is to ensure 24/7 feedback to enquiries and comments via these channels as well as through well-thought-out engagement plans. He also ensures constant fruitful engagement via articles hosted on the company’s website.

“These articles aim to share nuggets of information on the brands and watches, and guide both new and seasoned collectors on their watch collecting journey. For those who are in search of the next watch of their dreams, the highly interactive content pages make it all possible through the click of a button,” Tron says.

We ask Max for some advice for those new to the watch collecting game. He replies that while there are no hard and fast rules on where to begin your collecting journey, you should always find a piece that speaks to you. “It could be an heirloom piece from your parents or a classic Oyster Perpetual, and even an Oyster Perpetual Milgauss purchased to mark a certain milestone. The most important thing is that it should speak of your lifestyle and personality, something that you can see yourself wearing and identifying with,” he says.

Passing the baton

It is these nuggets of good advice and knowledge that Max has amassed over the years that will be passed down to Tron. “By preparing him for every aspect of the business, his growth in the company is never limited to just a single dimension but all fractions of the business. Not only is he spearheading the social media aspect of the company and growing the business with Gen-Z, he is now also involved in the financial aspect to understand the complete ins and outs of running a business,” Max says.

Tron, who has worked at KHH for a year now, humbly admits that it has been quite an uphill challenge. Coming from a media background, he was not familiar with the process of managing a business. One of the best decisions he and his dad made was to ensure that he starts off understanding and delving into every aspect of the business from the ground up. “My father and the team have been essential in showing me the ropes. Until today, it has been a constant learning journey for me that has been equal parts tough and exciting,” says Tron.

How is it like working for his father? Max is a strict mentor, says Tron. “He treats me like how he treats any other staff at the boutique. Having worked on the business for so long, there is a certain standard that he is accustomed to and he ensures that all staff reflects that modus operandi,” says Tron.


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He adds that his father is a fair and encouraging leader. During discussions with the team, it is always the best decision that gets carried through and his father never shies away from admitting that another team member has a better idea. Above all, “he always preaches the importance of placing the customers first, and his vision gets reflected by every single one of us,” says Tron.

Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons Max has taught Tron is the importance of building a rapport between customers and staff. Tron notes that his father personally attends to many of the customers, many of whom are now his friends. Tron says: “It is almost as if he and the business have merged into one. And the best part about working with my father is the relentless support and availability he provides me. There’s never a bad time to ask him for advice.”

Looking ahead with anticipation

While the last 18 months has been a challenge on the global stage, KHH has expanded its retail space with a boutique dedicated to all things Tudor. The dealership of Tudor was taken over by KHH in 2003, and Max has no regrets about making that decision.

He says: “Tudor is perceived as Rolex’s bolder younger brother, with more modest price points than the Rolex watches, and yet has the standard of dependability for which Rolex is famous for.”

These factors made the decision of taking up the Tudor dealership an effortless one. Having already been an Official Rolex Retailer for 30 years then, Max saw an opportunity to expand the existing portfolio and target a different customer base with Tudor. KHH started representing Tudor in a corner of the Rolex boutique, before extending it to a Tudor standalone boutique in 2015.

For 18 years, KHH has been a Tudor Authorised Dealer and the brand has certainly evolved. Max says that while Tudor is associated with Rolex in the past — the winding crown from the early days of Tudor watches bears the Rolex crown insignia and is fitted with clasps with the Rolex signature — it has since come into its own.

Represented by the shield logo, Tudor now bears its own identity boldly, and every new product continues to elevate the brand. Tudor’s ongoing partnerships with like-minded celebrities and sportsmen ambassadors like David Beckham, Jay Chou, Beauden Barrett, and All Blacks have also launched the brand into stardom, making the ownership of a Tudor watch more desirable than ever.

Taking it to the next level

As Max continues with his plans to elevate the brands and KHH, he hopes that someday Tron’s sister Tammiann and brother Troy will also join the family business. “I would love for all of them to be involved in the business and take it to another level beyond what my father and I have achieved,” Max says. “But I also believe that they should have the freedom to pursue their own interests in life first. Troy has expressed interest in joining the business after his studies and I could not be happier.”


Max’s and Tron’s collection

Which was the very first Tudor watch you owned? What drew you to it?

Max’s first watch was the Tudor Prince Oysterdate 79280 from the year 1999; it comes in black with a white sub-dial. It was previously endorsed by Tiger Woods, and so has a special red “Tiger” word engraving on the top. I recently picked up golf, so wearing this watch definitely helps to project good “golf energy” for my weekly sessions!

What are some other watches in your Tudor collection? What are some of the qualities of Tudor that resonates with you?
Max shares with us one of his most recent acquisition, the Tudor Black Bay Ceramic — the first Tudor watch to have undergone a series of rigorous tests in order to achieve the status of Master Chronometer, awarded by METAS (Swiss-based Federal Institute of Metrology). This extremely robust watch was unveiled in May this year, bearing the words “Black Bay” and “Master Chronometer” on its dial. It also resembles the unique piece Black Bay Ceramic One which Tudor manufactured for the Only Watch charity auction in 2019.

Tron shares with us the Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18K that has caught his eyes. He says: “I fell in love with the piece upon seeing the watch first hand. I love the striking colour tone of both the gold and green that lends a uniqueness to this model. Another thing that stands out to me about this watch is how perfectly the green fabric strap compliments the gold watch case.”

Tudor’s key message is “Born To Dare” — I choose to live my life and grow my business by this motto. Life is about taking calculated risks and doing things boldly, just like what Tudor does.”

The Tudor Black Bay Ceramic, as with all Tudor timepieces, present the best possible quality at best possible price


PHOTOS: ALBERT CHUA/THE EDGE SINGAPORE; KEE HING HUNG