Dandy & Dapper

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 July, 2012, 12:00am


I'm hopping on a plane in a few days. Where can I get a metal watch strap fixed at short notice and maybe buy a new, different strap to change it every so often for different occasions? The watch might not be real. Will that cause problems?

Mr Dapper: This is one of those questions that makes me pause. It is not because I don't have an answer for you, but because I'm not sure where to begin. First, are you being coy or do you really not know whether or not the watch is authentic? In general, I would always recommend taking it to the watchmaker's official dealership for any refurbishments or cleaning. Even if you have to wait a few weeks or even months for the necessary repairs or desired strap, it's worth it. A simple internet search should yield the correct contact inform-ation. Haste makes waste, as they say, and more often than not, results in dissatisfying, temporary solutions. Finally, I cannot resist leaving you with a comment on ethics. Fake goods are, quite simply, bad. Don't buy them.

Mr Dandy: Are you kidding me right now? Hong Kong is full of awesome guys who will fix that right up and leave you with enough time to chill in the airport lounge and toast the cheap (if not always cheerful) services that Hong Kong still offers. They really are all over town, but in Central, look for watch stalls in little markets, such as The Lanes. Tony Chow sells and repairs watches from his great little shack and even sells metal watch straps for only HK$40 and up (12 Li Yuen Street West, Central, tel: 6419 6331). Sally's got lots in metal and other materials, too, including one we would have chosen for a little more at HK$100 (56 Li Yuen Street West, tel: 9659 2747). Although K.K. Tang at KK Watch & Clock doesn't have any metal straps, he totally charmed me into snapping up a stingray version for HK$180 and a leather one for HK$150 (1 Li Yuen Street West, tel: 9251 9868). I also love Wing Kee Watch & Clock for its extensive stock of preppy striped nylon, rubber, or leather watchstraps (HK$100 and up; Stall FP8, Pottinger Street, Central, tel: 9494 7923).

How do you keep your shoes dry in this season of torrential downpours? If you put them in the wardrobe when you get home they tend to grow mould. I've been looking for wooden (preferably cedar) shoe trees. I found plastic ones at the Japan Home Centre but I think they will not do justice to the fine leather of my shoes and also they will never biodegrade.

Mr Dandy: Dude, so close and yet so far! Japan Home Centre (Midland Centre, 328 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2805 2756) has just what you need, and so do others such as Sogo and Wing On. They're not shoe trees; they're dehumidifier things, which you used to only see in boxes but now come in every shape and size. Like ones made for shoes. I've seen charcoal insoles (HK$17.90 a pair); as well as shoe inserts made with charcoal (HK$18.50) or silicon (HK$17.90), which have companion boxes for shoe cabinets (HK$37.50). No point wasting tanning time on this! Check out www.japanhome.com.hk for locations and operating hours - some are open until 10pm all week.

Mr Dapper: Not so fast, Dandy. Such disposable, not to mention environmentally unsound, solutions are necessary evils in this the climate. Dehumidifying machines are unfortunately a must. Cedar and wooden shoe trees go some way towards battling humidity. I purchase mine from Church's (HK$720 and up; Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2536 0462) or Mayer (HK$300 and up; Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road, Central, tel: 2524 3317). However, additional precautions and climate controls are essential. I regularly open my wardrobe doors, especially while the air conditioning is switched on, to air out everything inside. Humidity is easily trapped in confined spaces. Therefore, although boxes are sometimes recommended and are a pleasingly tidy way to store shoes, they are ill-advised in Hong Kong.