Jeremy Lim: CEO of Cortina Watch on giving back

Following the recent unveiling of the Singapore Heart Foundation – Cortina Watch Heart Wellness Centre, Jeremy Lim, CEO of Cortina Watch, talks about how the company gives back to society.

How did Cortina Watch come to support the Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF)?

We’ve worked with SHF for maybe 10 years or so now and it’s on Cortina Watch’s list of beneficiaries. It started when our chairman, my dad Anthony Lim, had a heart problem and Dr Low Lip Ping, who was the chairman of SHF at the time, was his cardiologist. Dad’s been well and healthy since and that’s how Cortina Watch’s affiliation with SHF began.

Tell us about the special timepiece created for SHF and the surprise naming of one of its centres after Cortina Watch. 

For our golden jubilee this year, we collaborated with eight of our partner brands to create commemorative timepieces, one of which was the Happy Hearts Cortina Watch 50th Anniversary Edition by Chopard. I thought it’d be meaningful to have a watch created for a charitable cause and this piece was perfect for a tie-in with SHF. Happy Hearts is an apt name, and the five dancing diamonds within symbolise our 50 years. We donated the net proceeds of $200,000 from the sale of the 50 special-edition pieces. When SHF decided to name their third wellness facility at Bukit Gombak, SHF-Cortina Watch Heart Wellness Centre, it was a pleasant surprise. We didn’t expect such an acknowledgement.

Tell us more about Cortina Watch’s other charity initiatives – are you doing anything special for your golden jubilee?

Every five years since our 20th anniversary, we’ve donated a total of between $400,000 and $500,000 to various schools, hospitals and charitable organisations to celebrate another milestone achieved. However, we thought we should up our game and give more this year as it’s Cortina Watch’s golden jubilee, so we’ve tripled our donations to $1.62 million. In addition to donating to SHF, we pledged at our gala last month to donate $1 million
to AWWA – a social service agency serving the needy and underprivileged across various life stages, through Community Chest Singapore over two years. About $460,000 has been donated to 13 other charity organisations, such as the Singapore Clock & Watch Trade Association, where I’m appointed president; Singapore Kwangtung Hui Kuan; Ren Ci Hospital; Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital; Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and more. As we’re Hainanese, our chairman is involved with several clans, associations and schools, including Pei Chun Public School and Yuying Secondary School, which were both founded by the Hainanese community.

Are there any charities that you have an affinity for personally?

Yes, I have certain affiliations that are different from our chairman’s. I believe in giving to less privileged children, so I’m very supportive of Kids Horizon Appeal and the Lutheran Community Care Services (LCCS). Perhaps it’s because I have kids too, which is why I’m skewed towards this area. However, instead of donations, we support these organisations in other ways, such as buying a table at a fundraising dinner, a golf flight for our clients or sponsoring some gifts should they need any. Occasionally, when we receive flyers for funds, we support these charities. A yearly budget of smaller amounts has been set aside for such initiatives. We don’t make donations for publicity, but we do what we can to give back to society.

This story first appeared in the Dec 2022 issue of Prestige Singapore.

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