Cake from @ cakeac shares his story growing up in Thailand and finding his passion for interior design. Tidlos Craft had the great pleasure to interview Cake residing in Bangkok.
Cake, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: Where are you from and what did you study?
@cakeac: I’m from Thailand. I graduated from Bangkok University, majoring in Interior design. I have a passion for collecting watches, taking pictures, and working out.
Bangkok University, Photo Courtesy of Archello
TC: What were your initial jobs and what did they teach you?
@cakeac: Upon graduating from university, I began my first job at a small interior design company for a few months then I decided to work at another place I interned at. The latter company has taught me several things that the classroom never had, in terms of work ethic and so on.
TC: How did you end up in interior design and what do you enjoy about it?
@cakeac: In the beginning, I just loved drawing but I didn’t realize how it could be developed into a career. Until my friend asked me to attend an interior design class and it all started from there. I love when I realize my imagination and feel the most satisfaction when my clients love it. However, work can sometimes be very tiring when burning the midnight oil.
Cake’s Interior Design, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: What other hobbies do you have besides Interior design?
@cakeac: I have lots of hobbies, ranging from sports, music, fashion, shoes, and most importantly watches.
Cake’s Love for Watches, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Cake, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Cake, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: When did you get interested in watches?
@cakeac: To be honest, I’d never thought I’d be wearing a watch as I preferred bracelets. It wasn’t until I started working, I got to know a guy in my company who was a watch collector. He always told me intriguing stories and histories about each watch he owned. I was fascinated by these stories and began my watch collecting journey.
Cake’s Cartier Watch, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: Were watches important in your family?
@cakeac: Actually, there’s a vintage Omega watch I received when my father passed away. It will always stay in my collection.
TC: What was your first watch when growing up and what is the story behind it?
@cakeac: The first watch I bought was a vintage mechanical watch with a blue dial (no brand) which I ordered from Egypt. However, when I got this watch, it wasn’t working properly. It took me 2 months to get it fixed. Eventually, I couldn’t wait and decided to send it back to the seller.
Cake’s First Blue Dial Watch, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: What watches do Thai people like and why?
@cakeac: I can’t tell you exactly. Thai people, like others from overseas countries, have different tastes, preferences, and styles. Some prefer sport or dress watches. I believe everyone’s unique and it’s really up to their lifestyle and taste.
TC: Which watch holds special meaning to you and why?
@cakeac: The Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref.3796 I have. I wasn’t born in a wealthy family but worked hard to earn money. So this Patek reminds me of how much effort I’ve put in the past years. Another reason, in terms of design, it’s a pure “function-over-form” watch, aka *Bauhaus design. This Patek removes unnecessary details and leaves only essential ones for the sake of simplicity. I also apply this design rule to my work as an interior designer. I like contemporary designs in the sense that they’re easy to conceive but still unique in their own way. It’s also special to me because this ref. is similar to the OG ref.96 that sets the standard of a dress watch.
*The style of Bauhaus is commonly characterized as a combination of the Arts and Crafts movement with modernism, as evident in its emphasis on function and, according to the Tate, its “aim to bring art back into contact with everyday life.” Thus, typical Bauhaus designs—whether evident in painting, architecture, or interior design—feature little ornamentation and a focus on balanced forms and abstract shapes.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref.3796, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: What brands are you drawn to and why?
Since I’m a designer, what I firstly look for is aesthetic and shape over mechanical movement. It’s where Cartier comes to my mind as the brand created several iconic designs; for example, Tank, Santos, Tonneau, and so on. Everything appears to have strong characters. That’s why I love Cartier.
Cake’s Cartier Collection, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Another brand I love is Universal Genève. I bet many vintage geeks have heard of this brand. I’ve been researching Universal Genève and found it to be of such interesting history. For instance, Polerouter is a product line that came up with a Bumper movement in partnership with Scandinavian Airline System (SAS). Moreover, Universal Genève had developed the automatic Polerouter (Micro-rotor movement) to be more resistant to magnetic fields at the North and South poles. The Micro-rotor was then adopted by high-end brands to create their watches until today. Lastly, the overall design is really well put together based on my opinion.
*In the early '50s, Universal Genève enlisted an unknown 23-year-old Gerald Genta to design a watch in honor of the newly opened "polar route" operated by Scandinavian Airlines Systems. The route opened up a quicker way between Los Angeles and Copenhagen, flying over the magnetic North Pole. It's often said that SAS elected to work with Universal Genève due to their known prowess in developing anti-magnetic movement technology and that the Polerouter watch was specifically developed to be impervious to the adverse effects of magnetism, though this is conjecture at best. The watch Genta designed was issued to the pilots and crew of these flights, and it went on to serve as the foundation for an entire line of watches under the Polerouter designation.
Universal Genève, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
I see Breguet as a piece of art from previous generations that have been passed down for many generations. Their attention to detail really impresses me. It’s like you’re wearing a piece of art on your wrist.
Signed Breguet, Retailed by Tiffany and Co., Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: Are you connected with the watch community in Thailand?
@cakeac: I stay connected with the watch community through Facebook closed groups, which are made for knowledge & opinion sharing, watch collecting experience, etc.
TC: What do you enjoy about the watch community in Thailand?
@cakeac: Thai people are very generous and open to exchanging opinions. It makes me feel welcomed by these collectors.
TC: What is your philosophy when collecting watches?
@cakeac: I collect what impresses me instead of others, simple as that.
Audemars Piguet, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Rolex Oysterdate Precision, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Rolex Submariner, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: What did you learn about yourself while collecting?
@cakeac: Financial management (especially when I want to buy another watch lol).
TC: How do you combine watches and interior design?
@cakeac: In terms of interior design, there are several factors to consider, including function, design, color-combos, and so on. All mentioned are the factors that contribute to my watch collecting decision, for instance when choosing a strap to match with the watch dial. (ex: A white dial and a gold case goes well with an orange strap)
Cartier Ballon Bleu (White Dial, Gold Case, and Orange Strap), Photo Courtesy of DeMesy & Co., Ltd.
TC: Is there a holy grail watch, one that you aspire to own someday, and why?
@cakeac: It would definitely be a Cartier Crash. Who’d have known that a watch, designed inadvertently, would turn out to be so gorgeous and interesting. It’s an art on the wrist.
*The Cartier Crash model design inspiration is said to be derived from a car crash.
Cartier Crash, Photo Courtesy of The Watch Company
TC: What advice would you give younger people who want to start collecting?
@cakeac: First and foremost, you have to find your own style of collecting. Don’t listen to others about how to collect. Perhaps, have your first 5 watches lined up and by looking at them you may be able to figure out your taste more clearly.
TC: What made you start your IG Account?
@cakeac: My initial thought was just to share my traveling journey with others.
Sleepless in Osaka, Cake’s Journey in Osaka, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Cake’s journey in Kansai, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Tokyo Palace, Cake’s Journey in Tokyo, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Cake’s Journey in Macau, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
Cake in Taiwan, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: What are your plans with your account?
@cakeac: To share more on my lifestyle, artwork, and watch collection.
Cake’s Watch Collection: Seiko Prospex, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: How do Thai people perceive foreigners and what do they look up to?
@cakeac: Thai people probably consider foreigners smart as they can speak their native language and English fluently. Also, they seem to have a lot of confidence while Thai people lean towards being considerate and humble.
Bangkok, Photo Courtesy of Thai Embassy
TC: What is something that you want foreigners to know about Thailand?
@cakeac: Thailand is a paradise of delicious food with the most distinctive spicy, sweet and sour flavors. It is also a land of smiles where people are friendly and kind. There are plenty of tourist destinations, temples, and festivals (ex: Songkran) to visit.
Street Food: Thailand, Photo Courtesy of Netflix
Songkran, Photo Courtesy of Lonely Planet
*Songkran – also known as the Water Splashing Festival – is a celebration to mark the start of the Buddhist New Year. Buddha images are bathed, and younger Thais show respect to monks and elders by sprinkling water over their hands.
Cake’s Photography of China Gate in Thailand, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: To wrap up our interview, what can people in Europe learn about Thailand and Thai culture?
@cakeac: Start with saying “Sa-wad-dee” (Greeting in the Thai language) and smile!
Cake, Photo Courtesy of @ cakeac
TC: Thank you for taking the time to share your stories. It was a great pleasure to learn about your watch collecting journey and the designer’s insight.
@cakeac: The pleasure was mine!
The interview has been edited for clarity and brevity. Visit Cake @ cakeac and #portfoliocake125, #photographybycake on Instagram to find out more about his creative work.