Telum Talks To... Shannon Hartono, Editor-in-Chief, CROWN Indonesia
Shannon M Saputra, or better known as Shannon Hartono, has been in the watch industry for almost 20 years. She shared with Telum about her career to date, advice for novice collectors and the timepiece industry in Indonesia.
Tell us a bit about your role and CROWN Indonesia?
I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of CROWN Indonesia, a watch specialist magazine originating from Singapore, which we launched a few years ago here for the local market. Together with my team, we curate exciting news and facts about the wonderful world of watches, and publish the magazine on a quarterly basis.
You have been in the watch industry for almost 20 years, both in media and retail. Tell us a bit about your journey...
Back in 1999, I was working for a bank and met Time International’s CEO, Irwan Mussry, in a meeting when I was handling a project and approached him for a partnership. Fast-forward six months later, an opening was available at Time International, and the opportunity was just too good to miss. I was (and still am) a big fan of TAG Heuer, and the position was for its Brand Manager. Nearly twenty years down the line - in July 2020 - I’m still here and staying was easy because I simply love what I do. I love the job itself, the people I work with, and my boss is one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met so there was never any question as to why I would stay so long.
What kind of readers does CROWN Indonesia attract?
What we see is that CROWN Indonesia caters to like-minded watch enthusiasts who are genuinely interested in learning more about watches, wanting to understand what they are potentially buying, but don’t want to be caught up in fancy buzzwords. We keep our editorials easy to read and easy to understand, so we see a lot of beginner watch enthusiasts and newer watch collectors.
How would you like to collaborate with PRs?
I believe strongly in the power and influence that PR has; there is a lot of trust in the media and so I would love for us to be able to partner to share more about who we are and what we can do for our readers, and perhaps do collaborative projects together as well. There are so many opportunities to explore, and we’d love to explore them.
Would you define yourself as a horologist?
Ha! I am probably not a horologist, simply because that term seems to be associated with the knowledge and skill on a more scientific level and somehow suggests that I had professional training or went to school for Horology - which I most definitely did not. Let’s just say I’m a watch enthusiast. I think that’s a better fit.
What is your favourite watch to date and why?
In my line of work, it’s impossible to choose just one watch to be a favourite. I have many favourites for different reasons. For example, the Cartier Tank Française is one, because it has sentimental value - it’s the first watch my husband ever bought for me. I also love my TAG Heuer Carrera Jack Heuer 80th Edition because it was not easy to get, it’s a limited edition and it features all my favourite colours. The Rolex GMT-Master II Blue and Black bezel is also a favourite because it commemorates 15 years of working at Time International. My list goes on and on.
Thinking about someone buying their first watch, what is the most important thing they should consider before deciding?
My advice is always to try them on, and go for what you really like. To me, the sentimental value of a watch is far greater than any other value, be it investment value or trend or whatever else you may value it for. Try on a few watches that you visually like, then find out more about the brand DNA, the workmanship, the movement, and the after-sales care. Weigh all the pros and cons afterward, but always start with putting on the watches and seeing how it makes you feel.
What is the most misunderstood thing in the watch industry? What about the Indonesian watch industry?
Personally, I think one of the biggest misconceptions about the watch industry is that people think Swiss Made means the watch is 100% made in Switzerland. There are some that are, of course, but it’s not always the case. The Swiss law basically says that you need at least 60% of the manufacturing costs is generated in Switzerland, the movement to be encased in Switzerland, and the final manufacturer’s inspection to also be done there, to be able to put a Swiss Made label on the watch.
The Indonesian watch industry is still growing. I think our Indonesian consumers have a growing appetite and appreciation for quality watches, so we see more and more collectors each year, and getting younger and younger as well. There is a lot of potential here, as long as we’re not disrupted by external factors like economics or politics.