Michael Tay of The Hour Glass is one of Asia’s luxury retail leaders and a prominent art collector

Profile


Michael Tay is the group managing director of luxury watch retailer, The Hour Glass. Appointed to his current role in April 2015, Tay first joined the company in 1999 as its business re-engineering manager and has also been its executive director since 2005. Tay’s parents, Dr Henry Tay and Jannie Chan, established the firm in 1979.

The Hour Glass operates multi-brand and standalone boutiques across Asia Pacific, in countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. The brands it carries include Rolex, Hublot, Tudor, Omega, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux, among others. The Hour Glass also has a property portfolio: it purchased two Australian properties in 2015 namely 192 Pitt Street, an 11,000sqft retail and commercial property in Sydney, and 201 Elizabeth Street, an 8,000 sqft retail property in Brisbane.

Tay’s time at The Hour Glass has honed his industry knowhow, as he built experience with various aspects of the business including the manufacture of speciality timepieces, greenfield retail development and wholesale channel distribution. The member of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie’s cultural committee is also an avid collector of art. He is a board member of the National Heritage Board, a member of the governing council for the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art and an advisory board member of Art Basel Cities. Tay is also an advisory council member of international humanitarian NGO Mercy Relief.

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The watch emporium celebrated its 40th anniversary in style with an exhibition “Then, Now and Beyond”, a collaboration between Tay, architect Sir David Adjaye and watch auctioneer Aurel Bacs. It featured work from notable artists and designers including Daniel Arsham, Marc Newson, and Nendo as well as specially commissioned timepieces from Audemars Piguet, Franck Muller, Chopard, TAG Heuer, Ulysse Nardin and more. 

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