You’ve probably stumbled across Tosaphon Chakrabandhu Na Ayudhaya’s Instagram account (@dunaliga) before—heck, you might even be one of the 8,800 people who already follow him. Even if you’re not an avid watch enthusiast, you can still appreciate the timeless beauty and craftsmanship of Tosaphon’s work. A self-described “lover of all things,” the 32-year-old spends most of his days repairing and collecting vintage watches and has grown a cult following with his photographs on social media (captured with his other prized possession, his Leica camera).
But how did it all begin for him? Before Tosaphon started fixing watches, he was regularly dealing vintage watches, buying and selling on the side. This experience taught him that 90 percent of the time, vintage watches come with problems; they either need to be serviced or have their parts changed. Out of fascination and frankly laziness—the watch guru admits he got tired of traveling back and forth to the repair shop—Tosaphon taught himself everything he needed to know about watches.
Today, he is among the lucky few who doesn’t call what he does “work.” His passion for the timeless art of watchmaking, coupled with a deep understanding of the market and its trends, have turned what was once a hobby into a full-time occupation. Through a series of Instagram and LINE messages, we asked Tosaphon all the hard-hitting questions (who doesn’t want to know what one of the country’s most popular watch Instagram account owners gets up to on the weekends?!).
Read our second installment of the คนText Q+A series to discover more about his life outside of work, as well as insights into the watch collecting world.
I always wake up at 5.30AM or 6AM in the morning, check the watch market, listen to some music, browse articles online, then play video games. And before breakfast, I like to experiment with my trusty coffee machine. You can do a lot if you are a morning person.
Never leave home without?
Bet you were expecting me to say a watch, but no, it’s my wedding ring. We’ve been married for 6 years and have been together for 12. It’s something I’m very proud of; being with someone for so long, you must master the art of consistency and learn how to control yourself.
If you’re not at work, we can find you at…?
If I’m not at the bench fixing or trading, I like to stay home, hang out with my wife and take her out for errands. She’s always exploring something new for us to eat.
Best thing you’ve watched recently?
The “Our Planet” docu-series on Netflix. I love watching stuff on deepsea and pre-historic creatures. Did you know that angler fish are only the size of a ping-pong ball?
Weekends and weekdays are the same for me. Sometimes, I won’t even know what day it is. You shouldn’t get too attached to the idea that weekends are the only time when good things happen or is the only time you get to do what you like. Good things can happen anytime and at any moment, and you can always do what you want to do if you organize your time well.
One hobby you have and one you’d like to pick up?
My latest hobby is making coffee and experimenting with the machine and grinder, and trying out different beans. The next hobby I’d like to pick up is aquascaping.
Your first watch?
I bought a fully gold-plated Rip Curl with my brother and friend in high school on a two-for-one deal and we split the cost. I felt like a gangster.
Watchmaking and repairing, a science or an art?
Definitely both. When the gears and wheels work in tandem without a battery, or the mechanism is driven by the tension of a spring and precise calculations, that’s science. But when these same gears and wheels are hand-decorated with engravings, carvings and polished for countless hours of work, that’s art. These decorations don’t do anything for the watch’s timekeeping function, but it speaks to the soul.
Number of watches you’ve repaired?
I’d say more than 400 pieces, which is actually not a lot compared to someone who works at a store.
Rarest watch that’s come through your door?
Patek Phillipe Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300 — Google it!
Hardest watch to say goodbye to?
I’ve never really had a hard time selling or letting go of anything. I’d sell the watches I wore on my wedding day in a heartbeat—for the right price, of course.
If you could only choose one watch brand?
That’d be a Rolex. It’s the easiest brand to sell and make money with. Every hardcore collector has a Rolex in their collection because of the brand’s great design and storied history that resonates well with buyers. Fun fact: They’re notorious for their marketing. I once watched an interview where watch brands were being compared to Rolex and the interviewee said “competing with Rolex is like looking at the sun with your naked eyes.”
Recommendations for beginners?
I always recommend watch brands like Seiko, Mido and Longines to new collectors. They have a vast selection of styles along with great brand history. Also, they won’t break the bank.
A lesser known fact about watches?
Watches are actually not a great investment; 95 percent of watches bought firsthand lose up to 20-to-70 percent of their value. It’s a fun hobby though, but you can only make a profit with an extensive understanding of the trends in the market.
The trend of buying from third parties?
People buy new watches from third-party retailers because they can’t buy them directly at the store; it’s a system created by the store to control demand and supply. Third-party retailers also sell used watches which are just cheaper than brand new watches.
Advice for your followers?
Today, information is everywhere, so find something you like and enjoy doing. Collecting isn’t something you rush into, but it takes time and understanding; it’s a process of learning who you are.