This Sunday, the 2019 edition of ‘Gentlemen’s Bow Tie Raceday’ — an annual horse racing collaboration between Oriental Watch Company and the Hong Kong Jockey Club — returns to Sha Tin racecourse. As always, gentlemen attending the festivities on 20 October are being invited to wear bowties, whereas ladies can accessorise using bow-related elements. Under the auspices of this year’s campaign (‘A Gentleman in Every Man’), Oriental Watch Company have enlisted eight key personalities — including three-time champion jockey Mr. Zac Purton — to represent timeless gentlemanly notions of ‘honour’ and ‘legacy’. Supported by official tailoring partner Ascot Chang, these eight individuals (collectively dubbed the ‘Oriental Fine Gentlemen’) will be showcasing bespoke suiting and classic timepieces, with the goal of celebrating two acclaimed Hong Kong businesses.
In Hong Kong, watches and tailored clothing have a rich complementary association. The collaboration between Oriental Watch Company and Ascot Chang speaks to a deeper shared philosophy — one that prizes sincere, dedicated, detail-orientated customer service. Over the years, both companies have become an indelible part of the Hong Kong retail landscape: since its founding in 1953, Ascot Chang has expanded to a network of 11 stores (including branches in Mainland China and the U.S.); whereas Oriental Watch Company was among the first purveyors of haute horlogerie to tap the local stock market’s potential (the company listed on the Hong Kong Exchange in 1993).
Moreso than all that, both businesses are dedicated to those who pursue classic gentlemanly style. So whether it’s Hong Kong’s most comprehensive Rolex retail network, or the ideal handmade dress shirt, the impetus is the same: only the finest product that is beyond fashion.
The task of outfitting eight distinctly different individuals required Ascot Chang to embrace all of its bespoke expertises. The first challenge was to source a fabric that typified the excellence of British textiles. Ultimately, the brand’s tailors settled on a ”Super 150s” grade wool manufactured by Huddersfield — beloved for its excellent handle, drape and robustness.
Each suit then had to be crafted with details which would subtly reference the tradition of British horse racing. The ticket pocket — popularly thought of as an innovation conceived during the Industrial Revolution — was one such feature, taking inspiration in size and cut from the openings on equestrian jackets.
As with all of Ascot Chang’s bespoke clients, the Oriental Fine Gentlemen were each measured via a process of interim fittings, in order to produce the ideal garment. Over 20 measurements were taken to account for comfort, posture and body shape, in conjunction with extensive consultation on points of style. Actor (and ex-Olympic swimmer) Alex Fong, for instance, was advised to experiment with a double-breasted jacket — great for accentuating his wider shoulders and athletic build. The personalities who cut a leaner stride (e.g. Ascot Chang Deputy MD Justin Chang) were outfitted in 3-piece creations, lending the impression of a more generous, defined silhouette. Each garment was cut and sewn over the course of 30 hours, using traditional Shanghainese ‘Red Gang’ tailoring techniques. (Lapels, as an example, are affixed to the jacket using a V-shaped pad stitch — producing a pleasing, three-dimensional roll down to the jacket buttoning point.)
For finishing touches, the brand produced a small run of pocket squares, personalised for each of the ‘Oriental Fine Gentlemen’. These accessories featured hand-rolled edges, each wearer’s initials and a Godolphin horse head motif (inspired by the highly prized Arabian stallions of the same name). A clean and subtle flourish, they are the perfect way to add a personal touch to any raceday-ready outfit.
The Gentlemen’s Bow Tie Raceday event (sponsored by Oriental Watch Company) will be held on 20 October 2019 at Sha Tin racecourse.
To learn more about Ascot Chang, official tailoring partner of Gentlemen’s Bow Tie Raceday 2019, please Ascot Chang online.