One quiet Saturday morning, Terence walked into the boutique and said he was interested in commissioning a custom watch. He told me he wanted watches of his hometowns which were Hong Kong and Oregon. He already had a Minase (Japanese watch with a design based off of the Hong Kong bauhinia), Jaeger-LeCoultre and Memorigin in China, but it was time to add an Oregon watch to his collection. We talked about what he had in mind as he pointed to styles and designs around the showroom that he liked. 

To my delight, he brought the other watches he had commissioned from MinaseMemorigin and Jaeger-LeCoultre. These were true eye candy! I have been making custom designs for years but it’s very, very rare to see and hold commissioned watches from another designer and company. What a treat!

I knew at that moment that I could begin to worry that my designs and style wouldn’t make the grade or I could believe in my abilities and like usual, do my best with what I know how to do. I could see this was an opportunity to innovate, try new techniques and reach a little further. To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only watchmaker in the US inlaying shell on watch dials and my goal is to be one of the best in the world at using shell on a watch dial. On this particular dial, I would be challenged to integrate his personality, likes and dislikes; something iconic in Oregon; and my style of using shell to bring “wow” to the dial. Fortunately, as I got comfortable, I remembered my materials and style are very different than other watchmakers and so I never felt in competition. This was right up my alley and I was excited to begin.

I created three prototypes, each very different in styling. One of Crater Lake and two of Haystack Rock. They were inlays, overlays and illustrations using shell and/or wood. When these were ready, Terence chose his favorite which was Haystack Rock in the sunset. Fortunately, that was my favorite too so I knew the watch would turn out great. Him choosing was a win-win because I wanted him to love his new watch and what better way than to have him choose which design he liked the best. As a designer, I was so happy that he let me design it in my style instead of forcing a rock into a hard place—no pun intended.

You can see all the pictures and read more about this commission from his perspective on

Learn more about having a meaningful and completely unique watch designed and produced especially for you.

Celeste Wong