A commemorative look through time at the legacy of Cortina Watch

From left to right: Switzerland ambassador, Frank Grutter; Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore, Tan Chuan-Jin; Anthony Lim and Raymond Lim. Photo: Cortina Watch

From a small retail boutique family business opened by Anthony Lim – a watch salesman with a passion for luxury Swiss Watches – in 1972 in Singapore, Cortina Watch is now a public listed enterprise.

This year marks the company’s 50th anniversary as one of Asia Pacific’s leading luxury watch retailers and distributors.

To celebrate, Cortina Watch threw a grand gala night at Ritz-Carlton Millenia in Singapore where it traced its history from its humble start to its current growth with over 40 boutiques in the region, including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Taiwan and Australia.

The company has remained consistent throughout the years upholding its values of trust, loyalty and reliability.

There were also several commemorative events to celebrate the milestone in 2022.

Amongst them were Patek Philippe’s travelling exhibition which showcased some of Cortina Watch’s collection of unique dome clocks and both past and present anniversary editions from the Swiss watchmaker, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape exhibition and “Happy Sport – Tale of an Icon” exhibition with Chopard.

It was followed by the Singapore Heart Foundation’s (SHF) third wellness facility – the SHF-Cortina Watch Heart Wellness Centre, unveiled in August and the Franck Muller exhibition in September.

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Several collaborations came about with eight brand partners for an exclusive celebratory edition timepieces.

This included Patek Philippe, Cartier, Chopard, Blancpain, Franck Muller, H. Moser & Cie., and Tag Heuer. The result was 16 limited edition models presented as part of the golden jubilee festivities.

At the gala, key management personnel of the company’s longstanding brand founders sent personal congratulatory messages, while some flew in for the festivities.

Jeremy Lim, CEO of Cortina Watch and COO of Cortina Holdings, said the success of the company was due to the strong foundation laid by its founder and the passion and dedication of its staff.

“Had it not been for our chairman Mr Anthony Lim, who made a bold decision to start Cortina Watch 50 years ago, we probably would not be here today celebrating our golden jubilee.

“In our business, trust and passion are always key to our success. And it is the trust that has enabled us to build longstanding relationships with all our brand partners and business associates.

“Cortina has gone through many ups and downs over the past 50 years, including many recessions and adverse economic situations, not forgetting a pandemic that has made everything even more challenging.

However, we have steered through these challenges because of our dedicated and passionate team of employees.”

The company has seen customers who have been with them from the start and some have even gone onto building multi-generational relationships. Cortina Watch’s founder and chairman, Lim, also expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards these dedicated staff: “Our employees are a part of our family. We cherish them and their efforts in lifting the company up. Our success is theirs. Loyalty is a two-way street – we need to be as devoted to our staff, partners and customers as much as they are supportive of us.”

Raymond Lim, CEO of Cortina Holdings says, “I think the role of the retailer today, at least from my perspective, is to have an active role in helping brands develop their presence in our markets.

This effort entails a lot of trust on all sides: the brands, our customers and ourselves. Trust is what has shaped our work and success, from 1972 till today.”

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In addition, Cortina Watch has always been committed to giving back to the community and championing social responsibility.

Donations in the form of cheques totalling SGD$1.62mil (RM5.26mil) were also presented to several organisations, including the Community Chest (for AWWA), Singapore Heart Foundation, Ren Ci Hospital, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

SGD$1mil (RM3.24mil) was channelled through Community Chest to AWWA Ltd.

AWWA provides early intervention for preschoolers, education and integration support for children and adults with additional needs, social assistance for vulnerable families, and care services for seniors.

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