We are pleased to announce the first of hopefully many in the “Time With:” series of posts. In this post we will cover our discussion with Adi Soon, Online Editor for Revolution and Editor-in-Chief for both the Revolution Asia and Australia print publications.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with Adi. However, it didn’t start off too well as we had planned to meet for dinner but due to an emergency in the office we had to re-arrange. Thankfully Adi was very accommodating and we met up late on a Friday night. Adi is a very down-to-earth person and I was pleased to see that we had so much in common. Above all, we share a passion for watches and travelling and this made for a very easy flowing conversation.

The one thing I learnt after learning from Adi’s experiences is that you don’t need to be a journalist to succeed in this area. True passion will always get you to where you want to be. It was obvious that Adi was very passionate about watches and his work. He never would have thought he would be where he is today, but alot of hard work and a little element of the stars aligning helped him to land his dream job. This year alone, he has travelled to Geneva, Zurich and Basel while still being able to come Australia three or four times as well. He always questions whether he is doing all this for work or pleasure, it is definitely both but I suspect for Adi, it is mostly pleasure. He really enjoys the opportunity to meet like-minded people and be immersed in all that a city has to offer.

We sat there examining and admiring each other’s watches. Adi pulled a surprise out of his hat by showing me the cheapest functioning tourbillon watch that he had ever come across (see this article on aBlogToWatch for details). Albeit, a China made watch, it was a very interesting piece. To my amazement, as I wound the watch I could then see the tourbillon spinning away. Admittedly, this is the first tourbillon piece I have ever held and hopefully the start of many more.my

It was obvious that Adi is extremely proud to be working for the largest luxury watch publication in the world (see this article from the New York Times) We could have have carried the conversation on into the early morning hours but we did the sensible thing and wrapped up otherwise Adi would have surely missed his flight home the next day.

I left that night with two things. Issue 3 of Revolution Australia (on shelves now) and also and a new friend. It was great to speak with another enthusiast and even greater to see where Adi’s watch passion has led him. Thank you Adi for making the time on your busy schedule, see you again when you are next in town.

Below is some specific Q&A we had with Adi that we think will be a very interesting read.

A Rolex Oyster Perpetual from your father is quite the gift at 13. Tell me a little about him and how he got you started in watches?
My father was very much into watches and I would remember many weekends when he would bring me to watch stores to hang out and chat with their owners. His first serious watch was a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date that he bought when he starting working. I loved this watch and he knew it, so he gave it to me when he wanted to upgrade to a Rolex Datejust.

I got this watch when I was very young and as a result, I was able to appreciate Swiss mechanical watch making at a very early age. I wore that watch every day, even while playing football, and I remember putting the watch in the freezer to test its cold-resistance capabilities. I had just seen a Rolex Ad for the Explorer 2, which had been used in the Artic. Naturally I wanted to see if my Rolex could survive the cold as well. After thawing it from the ice, it worked fine, and has continued to do so to this day.

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Adi’s first serious watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date from 1982

How did your career as the Online Editor and Editor in Chief for Revolution Australia and Asia come to be?
I would have never have thought that my interest in watches would lead me to where I am today. While I was living in London, I had been writing for ablogtowatch and after a few years I returned to Singapore to look for a job. Ariel Adams, my Editor at ablogtowatch.com recommended that I should go see Revolution, a watch magazine that I had known about during my time in London. I was interviewed by Revolution’s founder, Wei Koh and was hired on the spot.

Since then, I have had a tremendous experience in the world of horology, and am enjoying every minute of it.

What are some of your career highlights?
One of the best things about the job is the ability to meet all the people who have shaped or will continue to shape the watch industry. Brand Managers, CEO’s, legendary watch-makers, these are some of the people who I have had a privilege of meeting and having conversations with and all these interactions have been truly enlightening and fascinating.

Also, all the fantastic watches I get to see before the rest of the world. And I get to see them in person, not as a picture in a magazine or online. I have therefore gotten lots of hands on experience with the length and breadth of the watch industry, and have been truly privileged to do so.

Lastly, one of the best perks of my job is the amount of traveling that I get to do.  Because of the wide diversity of where watches are made as well as where they are sold, I have been invited to watch manufactures and watch events in many countries.

If you want to join me in this exciting line of work, please write to me at adi@revolutionmagazines.com I’m not kidding, a good watch writer is very difficult to find and if you have what it takes, contact me!

What are some of the downsides?
The only downside is being seduced so very often by many watches, and wishing that I could own them all. The frustration can be immense sometimes. Yet perhaps this is how it should be. Luxury should be painful. If it isn’t the desire isn’t worth it.

In your career, has there ever been anything that has really surprised you about the watch industry (good or bad)?
It’s not so much a surprise, but more a revelation. In many circles, people cannot comprehend how one could spend the price of a car or house deposit on a watch. To many, a watch is just a tool to tell the time. However, it is more than that. It is a collection of many pieces that come together to become an fine example of craftsmanship. It also is a statement piece. Much like people buy fancy cars, art or anything else for that matter, there is no reason why a watch is any different. Watches are pieces that stir emotion and therefore, and therefore you cannot put a price on them, or justify their value.

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 The Jacob & Co “Billionaire” that Adi saw at Baselworld this year

What is on your shopping list these days?
I am still a very big fan of the Lange 1, particularly in white gold. However my career tends to distract me from things on my shopping list. Through my travels and the many watches I see, the list is always changing and I am always coming across opportunities that I just can’t pass on. As a result, the Lange 1 has become a little elusive, however it still remains firmly on my list. Particularly, the new Lange 1 introduced this year at SIHH. It is a watch that will be another market leader for the next 20 years, and one that I will acquire before I die.

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 New Lange 1 launched at SIHH 2015

Can you tell me about the watch that got away?
I have none. The world of watches is ever changing and continually interesting and there is always something new to admire. And if not, I only have to wait awhile for a new horological fever to take hold.

I noticed that you recently acquired a Bell and Ross BR 03-94 Black Matte Ceramic Chronograph. Can you tell me about why you chose this watch?
My interest in ceramic comes from its ability to resist scratching, which is the bane of every watch owner’s experience. I had it in my mind already to get a ceramic watch, but did not know which one out of the relatively few options available on the market. Yet one day, I met my friend Graeme Goldman of Lion Brands here in Australia, and he shoved this particular Bell & Ross in my hands. What can I say? It was love at first sight!

Combining ceramic with the iconic square case design of Bell and Ross and an immensely readable dial, this is a watch that has everything going for it. Graeme gave me a good price as well, which pushed me over the edge. For more on Graeme Goldman and Lion Brands, see this Revolution article.

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Bell and Ross BR 03-94 Black Matte in Ceramic

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We at Watchonado get asked this very often and wanted to get your thoughts, what is your personal recommendation for sub-$10,000 watch and why?
This is a difficult question to answer, so I’ll refine it this way. I’ll assume this sub $10,000 watch is a first watch, and potentially the first one of a long journey.

My answer: Get a Rolex. You can find a few new models under 10K as well as many more in the pre-owned market. Whether it’s a Submariner, Explorer, Datejust, I say, just get one and get the need for a Rolex out of your system. Why? It will persist and knaw at you if you don’t.  There is a reason why Rolex is such a powerful name in watches, as their products are reliable, and retain value over time. Plus if you stop liking watches along the way, you’ll still have a fine, reliable watch that will serve you well till the end of your life.

My everyday Rolex is an Explorer 2 16570 with Polar White dial. I wear this when I want to have a nice watch, but don’t really care that I have a watch, (if you know what I mean). Works well and I love it.

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Adi’s Rolex Explorer 2

What are your thoughts on the Australian watch community when you compare it those in Singapore/rest of Asia?
The passion is similar, but the only difference is perhaps the variety of what is available. This is slowly changing as I have observed. Australia is one of the bright sparks in the watch industry at the moment, having had continuous growth over the past few years when larger and more established markets have seen marked slowdowns. More brands have started to see Australia as the new place to go, and as such, greater diversity in products is coming, as well as more support for watch events and advertising. This can only be a good thing.

As Editor of Revolution Australia, I have been in a good position to see all this, and I am very excited to be part of the wave. 

A lot of people think digital is the way forward, how important do you feel the print publication is?
Digital presence is important but in the watch industry, the print publication is equally as important. Digital is good for creating buzz and letting people know about what’s new. Yet the watch industry is all about luxury, and luxury is about weight and substance. Nothing can substitute the feeling of buying a watch, and receiving a big beautiful box with all the goodies inside. That feeling of substance extends to every part of the boutique experience, including the big heavy catalogues that watch lovers love to collect and pore over.  Print embodies these qualities precisely and that is why, for luxury watches, print will never die.

I know people who collect Revolution magazines and keep them for reference; you can’t do the same with a webpage. It is not the same.

In this world where there is so much content, what do you recommend upcoming bloggers to make them stand out from the crowd?
Visual content seems to work better these days and it is good photography that is the foundation upon which a successful website is built. Design, or how good it looks is what attracts us to a watch in the first place, and good photography allows this to be shown more effectively.

The next thing is to have a unique point of view. Some websites are extremely technical in the presentation, some focus on value, some focus on how choosing the right watch is part of a clothing ensemble. All are valid points of view, given the diversity of how we interact with our watches, yet what your website is all about, should be clear to those who respond to it. In fact, you should be able to sum up the purpose of your website in one sentence and keep to it over the run long. People want to know what they are going to get, and if they can get it from you reliably, you’ll build up a good audience.