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Adrian and I met for a chat at Cicada, a new restaurant at Clarke Quay, in the middle of a working weekday. The place was bright, and décor absolutely fantastic – a little oasis in the midst of a historic warehouse district.
I’ve known him for several years now. Athlete, watch collector, and champagne aficionado, Arian Ong is a serious entrepreneur, and a hands-on family man.
We are still in the midst of Covid regulations, and most people have learnt to live in the ‘new normal’. Father of 3 wonderful girls, he’s gleaming as we talk about life these days - “Since the start of the Covid situation, I have been doing more outdoor activities with my kids – cycling, swimming or even playing at the park more often. I have also been hosting friends at my home more often – while keeping the group small and intimate. The ‘new normal’ has worked wonders for me! It has definitely enabled me to spend more time with my family and my kids, and also connect with my friends at a deeper level. It has forced me to have a better work/life balance, which has worked out well”
Adrian is wearing a smart casual A.B.C.L. printed Kapok shirt, with Herringbone officer trousers, paired with a beautiful set of Berluti tassle loafers - perfectly apt for an afternoon tipple. “At work, I am rather formal. Long sleeved shirt, rolled up, and pants.” Outside of work, he chooses to either dress up, or dress down, depending on his mood “There are times I prefer clothes having a tighter fit, while other times, I enjoy a loose fit. I also have a small collection of Christian Louboutin’s and other sneakers which go with my outfit on weekends when I head out to town. I love the fun colours and designs.”
He’s a serious watch collector, and very knowledgeable on the intricacies of timepieces. He’s sporting a Patek Phillipe 5740 – The Nautilus Perpetual Calender in White Gold, an extremely rare timepiece, something he knows about in detail. “Collecting watches is my weakness! I have a huge passion for watches and have since made many new friends around the world, who share the same passion, and exchange information and knowledge of exceptional timepieces. I have collected watches for many years but only got into it seriously over the past 3-4 years. I am a huge fan of Patek Phillippe and Rolex in particular, but going forward I will embark onto the collection of Indie brands, something which I very much look forward to.”
He speaks about the intricate details of watch mechanisms, the level of precision required in the manufacturing of delicate components, and the beautiful finishing of these pieces. He explains his love of watches – “Very similar to fashion, being able to connect yourself to a special piece and express yourself with that special piece is most important in watch collecting. Something which is of value to you might not be of value to someone else. It is something very personal and engaging at the same time. So I feel that it is very important to select a piece based on your passion and love for that particular timepiece rather than focus on the value.”
I’m sure he knows what he’s talking about – after all, Adrian helms a company which is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, and manufactures intricate, high performance parts for some of the most complex and advanced machines and systems in the world. He knows a thing or two about stringent quality standards and the efforts required to achieve them consistently.
Speaking of self-expression, he says “I have always believed that men have the easy way out in terms of fashion. We can get away with a nice t-shirt with jeans, or even a shirt and jeans for slightly more formal occasions – paired with a nice pair of shoes and a nice watch. I do not only wear branded outfits. The most important thing for me, is that clothing is comfortable, fits well and has great design. Something that can express your mood for the day is very important.”
Adrian believes in subtle elegance, and looks extremely satisfied with his personal delivery of A.B.C.L. garments from Mr. Square. “Quality and comfort over reckless branding – anyday” he quotes, as we head out to carry on with the day. Catch you next time Adrian!