Malaysian Entrepreneurs And Omega Partners Aaron Chin And Roberto Guiati Talk About The Year That Was, And What’s To Come

The year that was saw a severe disruption to life as many knew it. But for a brand like Omega, founded in Switzerland in 1848, the notion of time takes on a larger frame. The following introduction of Omega Malaysia’s newly announced partners delves into some important lessons learnt from bona fide alpha males who embrace challenges and keep going. Omega Malaysia’s partnership with entrepreneurs Aaron Chin and Roberto Guiati sees them donning the 2020 facelifted Omega Constellation Co-Axial Master Chronometer Gents 41mm fitted with the durable in-house Calibre 8900. 

For both of these personalities, their Malaysian experience is a telling one of their ability to respond and their mental fortitude. Chin’s business interests range from the Gamlite IT infrastructure asset management, the hugely popular Kyochon Korean fried chicken chain to an upcoming boutique hotel in his hometown of Kota Kinabalu, plant-based online brands, “cloud kitchens” and other F&B franchises in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Guiati is Senior Vice President of Petra Group and Chief Executive of Petra Cucina with Zenzero Restaurant & Wine Bar, Luce Osteria Contemporanea, and the latest edition Roberto’s 1020 which debuted last year in Bangsar Shopping Centre with a menu of pizzas and pasta. 

Both these men understand time the way Omega might, viewing it from a macro lens and letting life’s lessons become the reference to adapt, evolve and triumph.

Earliest Omega Memories  

Aaron Chin: I think it was an old Omega Seamaster Calendar that my dad used to put on from time to time. Very clean dial, timeless design.

Roberto Guiati: Moon Landing of course. That campaign is still vivid on my mind. 

On The Constellation Gents 41mm 

Aaron Chin: This watch came at a perfect time where 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, 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.

Roberto Guiati: I’m very proud to be partner and associated with such a respected brand. Omega has been around for so many years and respected even more. Reputation, long lasting reliability, consistency and innovation are principles that I respect a lot and resonate with me in my daily conduct.

And now the 41mm is the perfect size for me.

The Year That Was

Aaron Chin: 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 six months to mid of this yaer, earlier plans to launch several plant-based, vegan restaurants in Kuala Lumpur were also delayed until 2021, to name a few.

Roberto Guiati On the business level, we managed to complete our projects, even though with some delays. On personal level, we had trips to Europe planned and sadly they had to be postponed. 

From left: Aaron Chin, and Roberto Guiati

Life In Lockdown

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

Roberto Guiati: I always tried to be positive, seeing opportunities in these times of uncertainty. I wouldn’t say it changed me, I adapted on both business and personal level. Trying to get the best out on these ever-changing situations.  

Time In 2020

Aaron Chin: I have heard people feeling a slower passage of time, however, my experience was quite the opposite. I felt like the year zipped past me at breakneck speed like never before. 

Roberto Guiati: It was tough at first, the idea of limited liberty was hard to grasp, but like I said, I quickly adapted. And frankly it was a quiet period that I actually enjoyed, I needed to slow down. Appreciating what we have rather than what we want.

Rewinding The Clock To 2019

Aaron Chin: If I knew how 2020 would turn out, I probably would not have lived 2019 so differently. Except maybe warning as many people as possible so we’re all better prepared to weather the storm and its ensuing long winter.

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

Challenges Ahead

Aaron Chin: One of the key takeaways from 2020’s challenges 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.

Roberto Guiati: 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions, many people I know experienced loss; myself too, I lost my father and not being able to travel to Italy and stay close to my family was hard. But then you realise there are so many people who really care about you, that sometimes we may take for granted. Friends, my family here in Malaysia, my colleagues at PETRA Group, my teams at the restaurants, they were all amazing and supportive. All of this pushes you to do even better. Focusing on work, not being able to travel much, gave me time to come up with new ideas. And as I say if you stay positive and open, opportunities appear. They are always out there. 

Overcoming The Odds

Aaron Chin: 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 become bigger than it needs to be. It’s important to instil a culture of learning and growing together, and remember to abstain from blame, in order to encourage everyone to take ownership of their work.

Roberto Guiati: I adapted, as well all my teams, they are great, and they understood and accepted the little sacrifices to make sure all remained employed and when your team is strong and carry the same vision, you can achieve a lot. Likely our business models were successful through the lockdowns. We managed our operating and capital expenditures well for the existing business and new ventures.

New Year Ambitions

Aaron Chin: I’ve always liked the wisdom and simplicity of a phrase by a Zen Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh that goes, ‘No Mud, No Lotus’. Reminding us that lotus flowers will only grow in mud. And that in the same way, it is the mud, or challenges, that offer much-needed nutrients for our hearts and souls to grow. I hope we all learn to be conscious of our daily actions, face our sufferings and dare to change for the better, and always find the strength to keep going, even though we may still be in the mud.

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



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