When Princeton transplant Kun-Chi Wu calls to mind his childhood, he does not mention things like the first time he ever learned to swim or his first bike ride without training wheels – what he does recall is the shiny Rolex his father flexed on his wrist. But, Wu was to never touch the iconic wristwatch – father’s orders.
“So, I promised myself – one day, I would buy the same clock,” he said.
Growing up a young, curious boy in Taiwan, Wu discovered a fascination with all things mechanical. After inheriting a broken Swiss Made watch from his late grandmother, Wu spent his days thinking, “How can I fix this?”
His fascination later grew into a passion – acquiring an extensive collection of all types of timepieces in his adult years – from the most expensive luxury brand to the most simple, and practical ticker. Wu wouldn’t purchase his first Rolex from Hamilton Jewelers until 1999. But, he kept his promise.
Day in and day out, Wu studied these watches, and as time unfolded, he began to detect flaws in the different designs: Crystals on the more expensive clocks were quick to scratch if rubbed up against a rough surface, while the crowns on the clocks would dig into Wu’s wrists, causing him undesired irritation.
“I have sensitive wrists,” said the watch collector.
The glass on the clocks would cause a glare, making it hard to read the time – not to mention, a busy design was just as distracting.
Wu, who met his wife in Rochester, N.Y. after coming to America in the mid-‘90’s in hopes of saving a failing relationship with his then-girlfriend, would ultimately meet with fate.
His wife would later tell him, “Stop complaining. If you are an engineer and a designer, fix it.”
“That’s my wife,” the 14-year Princeton resident said of her tough love approach.
So, for the last 10 years, the Princeton local has been quietly working to re-design and perfect the luxury wristwatch.
On Aug. 30, 2011, Wu secured a utility patent for the world’s first and only concave crystal watch – the Sablier watch.
“Before the final design, I had three prototypes,” Wu explained.
“The most distinctive design characteristics of the watch are the patented concave Sapphire crystal, and its elegant wine bottle shape.”
Adding of his philosophy, “Time is most important to my life. When I have the time, I want to celebrate life with my family and friends over a glass of wine. The perfect wine requires perfect timing, just like a fine timepiece.”
Juggling many roles – a medical device engineer by day, watch designer by trade, and beloved husband and father to a 9-year-old daughter, Wu has found solstice in his Princeton location.
“I am very happy here in Princeton,” he said.
“The culture is very diversified. It is very quiet, and has easy access to New York City and Philadelphia.”
Wu can often be spotted in downtown Princeton, soaking in the beautiful weather, and working on his watch projects.
For a closer look at Wu’s Sablier watch and its unique features, visit www.sablierwatches.com.
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