The Lawn of the Upper House, Hong Kong: Mark Cho leans back in his chair, legs crossed, and lights a cigarillo. He’s wearing a sky blue, pinstriped shirt with a midnight blue, three-piece suit, which he’s accessorised with a gold pocket square and tie. “My wife bought me this lighter,” he says. Born and raised in London to a Malaysian father and Singaporean mother, Cho met his Japanese wife, Emi Saito, when he was studying at Claremont McKenna College in California before attending Brown University. Now 38, Cho shares two daughters with Saito, ages six and eight. “I keep them as far away from fancy stuff as possible,” he says, before admitting that he does enjoy buying his wife watches, despite her being “pretty low-key”.
Cho, who has a reputation for being polished and courteous, always appears to be thinking, or listening, until he breaks into a playful smile or laugh. He worked in real estate before co-founding, alongside fashion entrepreneur Alan See, Hong Kong’s menswear brand The Armoury in 2010, which expanded to New York City in 2013. Cho additionally brought his well-curated mix of international artisanal labels to London, when he purchased British haberdasher Drake’s, also in 2010.
A watch collector for more than 15 years, Cho’s parents gave him an Omega when he graduated high school, and he bought his own using his first pay cheque while working at HSBC in London. “On the way to work, I’d pass by this second-hand watch store as I walked through Pall Mall.” He landed on a steel Omega Chronostop from the 1970s, which had a grey dial and burnt-orange seconds hand.
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