Through Time’s Looking Glass with Omega

The year 2020 has been a rather unusual time in our lives, to say the least. On the one hand, the minutes seem to have dragged on for hours, while on the other, we now only have but a few days left till a brand new year! Before we mull over if “auld acquaintance should be forgot,” we reflect on time—past, present and future, with Aaron Chin and Roberto Guiati, in conjunction with the Omega Constellation Gents 41mm collection.

Industry

Aaron Chin

The Managing Director of Gamlite IT has been keeping the country in ship shape, by providing sound engineering analysis to help maintain critical infrastructure assets, such as transportation, telecommunications, energy and water supply, which are backbones to any modern society. While professionally, Aaron makes sure there are minimal to no disruptions for these essential services, on a more personal level, he is also looking to keep the citizens of the modern society in tip-top condition too.

Having adopted a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle for over four years now, Aaron has noticed a lack of accessibility when it comes to healthy and delicious vegan options in Klang Valley. While the year’s inconvenience has pushed back some of his plans to launch several plant-based, vegan restaurants in Kuala Lumpur, as well as a hotel development in Kota Kinabalu, it has not deterred Aaron in the slightest, as he has since adjusted his business models to launch his plant-based brands online, building more cloud kitchens to reach more people, who are looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their daily diets.

Now that 2020 is coming to a close, what has the year taught you as a person?

The one thing that 2020 has taught me is how little we actually need, in order to sustain life and find true, lasting joy within all of us. 

In terms of life in lockdown this year, how has the enforced isolation affected your perception of time?

I have heard people feeling a slower passage of time, however, my experience has been quite the opposite. I felt like the year had zipped past me at breakneck speed like never before!

If you knew how 2020 would pan out, how would you have spent your 2019 otherwise?

Probably not a blind bit of difference! Except maybe warning as many people as possible about the oncoming storm, so we’re all better prepared to weather the ensuing long winter.

Were there any big plans you had for this year that you couldn’t see through, because of the pandemic?

Well, several business plans had to be pushed back because of the pandemic: a hotel development in Kota Kinabalu, and its opening was postponed by at least 6 months to mid-2021; and earlier plans to launch several plant-based, vegan restaurants in Kuala Lumpur were also delayed until 2021.

“It’s important to instil a culture of learning and growing together, one that abstains from blame, and encourages everyone to take ownership of their work.”

As a business owner, what were some of the takeaways from this year’s challenges, when it comes to running and sustaining a business, while at the same time, turning them into opportunities to grow?

I would say that one of the key takeaways was to put more emphasis on building resilience in any businesses I’m involved in, rather than focusing solely on growth. The ability of a company to learn, adapt, pivot and change was being put to real tests during the pandemic.

How have you overcome the year’s challenges in expanding your business?

I’ve always believed in clear and honest communication with my teams at all times. I find that if you make an effort to create a safe and open environment for everyone to feel comfortable to share information and honest opinions without repercussions, you would be able to find solutions as a group faster without letting a problem escalate. It’s important to instil a culture of learning and growing together, one that abstains from blame, and encourages everyone to take ownership of their work..

Do you remember the first Omega watch you came across in your childhood?

I think it was an old Omega Seamaster Calendar that my dad used to put on from time to time. I remember it had a very clean dial—a timeless design, that was!

And now, here you are with the Omega Constellation Gents 41mm. How do you think it resonates with your personal style?

This watch came at a perfect time, when I’m personally transitioning from bigger watches (44mm-48mm) to smaller and dressier timepieces. At 41mm, it feels just right, sitting on my wrist. I like how elegant the watch looks with a suit and tie, but at the same time, it also carries an air of sportiness that wouldn’t look out of place with a more casual outfit. It has evolved to be a very versatile timepiece indeed.

What would you say is your philosophy in life, and how would you like to see it unfold further next year?

I’ve always liked the wisdom and simplicity of the phrase by Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh: No mud, no lotus. Lotus flowers will only grow in mud, and in the same way, it reminds us that it’s life’s mud that offers much-needed nutrients for our heart and soul to grow. I hope we all learn to be conscious of our daily actions—to face our sufferings, and dare to change for the better. Not to mention, to always find the strength to keep going, even though we may still be in the mud.

Industry

Roberto Guiati

Having been in the F&B industry for almost 10 years, the Chief Executive of PETRA Cucina has established the restaurants under the PETRA Cucina brand as destinations for authentic Italian food made from fresh recipes, and served on the warm platter of hospitality both Italy and Malaysia are known for.

With the fine dining Italian cuisine at Zenzero, and Luce’s accolade for “Top 10 Pizzerias in Asia” as part of the Italy-based 50 Top Pizza Awards—not to mention, the latest addition to the family: Roberto’s, launched just a few weeks ago in Bangsar Shopping Centre, Roberto and his teams at the restaurants have elevated the country to the next level in the F&B industry, taking their successful businesses to other cities.

Now that 2020 is coming to a close, how do you think the year has changed you as a person?

I always try to be positive, seeing opportunities in times of uncertainty. While I wouldn’t say it changed me, I have adapted to the circumstances, professionally and personally, as I try to get the best out of these ever changing situations.

In terms of life in lockdown this year, how has the enforced isolation affected your perception of time?

It was tough at first; the idea of limited liberty was hard to grasp. However, like I said, I adapted to things quickly, and frankly, it has become a quiet period that I actually enjoyed. I have also learned to slow down, and appreciate what we have, rather than what we want.

If you knew how 2020 would pan out, how would you have spent your 2019 otherwise?

Probably the same way, trying to grow my business, and spending quality time with my family and friends.

Were there any big plans you had for this year that you couldn’t see through, because of the pandemic?

On the business level, we managed to complete our projects, despite some delays. On the personal level, however, we had trips to Europe planned that had to be postponed unfortunately.

“I always say that if you stay positive and open, opportunities will appear; they are always out there.”

As a business owner, what were some of the takeaways from this year’s challenges, when it comes to running and sustaining a business, while at the same time, turning them into opportunities to grow?

This year has been a rollercoaster of emotions. Many people I know have experienced losses, including myself; I lost my father, and it was hard, not being able to travel to Italy to be with my family. But then, you realize there are so many people, who really care about you, and who you may sometimes take for granted: my family and friends here in Malaysia, my colleagues at PETRA Group, my teams at the restaurants… They are all amazing and supportive, and they push you to do even better. Focusing on work, while not being able to travel much, has given me time to come up with new ideas. I always say that if you stay positive and open, opportunities will appear; they are always out there. 

How have you overcome the year’s challenges in expanding your business?

When your team is strong and carries the same vision as you, you can achieve a lot together. We adapted to the changes this year. We understood and accepted the little sacrifices we need to make, so everyone can keep their jobs. It was fortunate as well that our business models were successful through the lockdowns, while managing our costs and opex well, not to mention, the capex for new ventures.

Do you remember the first Omega watch you came across in your childhood?

The Moon Landing, of course! That campaign still resonates vividly in my mind today.

And now, here you are with the Omega Constellation Gents 41mm. How do you think it resonates with your personal style?

I’m very proud to be partnered and associated with such a respected brand. Omega has been around for so many years. Its reputation in long lasting reliability, consistency and innovation are principles that I respect a lot, and they resonate with me in my daily conduct.

What would you say is your philosophy in life, and how would you like to see it unfold further next year?

I aim to be a good person. I want to do good, and I want all the people around me to be as positive, dynamic and forward looking as I am. This is how we are at PETRA Cucina; we want to grow by doing good. We strive to help, and we are very proud of the fact that even in these troubling times, we are able to hire Malaysians and support businesses with our expansions. 

Omega Constellation Gents 41mm

The Omega Constellation timepieces have long been a symbol of exquisite precision, and timeless style. This year, the watch collection further reflects its bold and sophisticated spirit with the Omega Constellation Gents 41mm pieces that not only capture the Constellation’s most famous design traits beautifully—the iconic claws, and the half-moon facets at either end of the case; but also carry some of Omega’s finest and most advanced watchmaking materials integrated into the designs.

Available in stainless steel, 18K gold or a combination of both, the Roman numerals are in either OMEGA CeragoldTM or LiquidmetalTM, complementing the bezels that are almost all crafted in polished ceramic—a replica of the original Constellation Manhattan 1982 with shiny sapphire glass. The bevelling along the edges of the case and claws has provided the Constellation Gents 41mm collection with a more slender look, and the crown, subtly reshaped, for added style. Besides that, the hands have a slimline update, whereas the new indices take their inspiration from the Manhattan skyline, most notably the triangular facets of the Freedom Tower.

Most of the new 2020 models are presented with anti-bacterial rubber lined leather straps, and a decorative metallic link that connects each side of the strap to the case. The models are also possible for an overall metallic look, when paired with any bracelets from the Omega Constellation 39mm collection.

The sapphire crystal caseback offers a view of the Omega Master Co-Axial Calibre 8900/8901 inside, working a Master Chronometer that is certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) at the industry’s highest standards of precision, performance and magnetic resistance.

For more info, on the Omega Constellation Gents 41mm, please click here.

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