Watch You Wearing: Dr. Rolando Hortaleza

Dr. Rolando Hortaleza is one of the most successful businessmen and visionaries in the Philippines. He founded beauty and personal care juggernaut Splash Corporation in 1985 and sold the same to Wipro Consumer Care in 2019 for an amount which is estimated to have reached up to P11 billion. Today, Dr. Rolan is keeping himself busy with his new hotel venture near Tagaytay called Hortz Hotels and Resorts. Other than that, he continues to guide his children Alfonso, who manages their financing company Prime Global Finance Corporation, and Alexone, who manages their FMCG business which primarily involves the Barrio Fiesta condiments business.

Watch Journey

“I don’t consider myself to be a watch collector” says Dr. Rolan. Despite this statement, his history with watches have been nothing short of breathtaking. 

Dr. Rolan says that he did not grow up with an affinity for watches. He shares that his first recollection of purchasing nice watches was when Splash Corporation started to make some profits. “I purchased three Rolexes with the President bracelet. One in gold, one in two tone, and one in platinum.” Not long after, Dr. Rolan was attracted to the slim formal watches worn by other businessmen who he looked up to. This resulted to him purchasing several Patek Philippe watches, including the iconic Calatrava.

Up to this point, Dr. Rolan said that he still did not feel any personal connection with his watches.

Connection

Dr. Rolan sporting a Panerai Slytech PAM 225 while with his sons Alexone (Left) and Alfonso (Right).

The first watch brand which Dr. Rolan felt a connection with was Panerai. He loved the size of the Panerais, especially those in 47mm cases. He then started purchasing limited editions of Panerai both locally and abroad. Among the highlights of his collection are his Panerai Bronzo and his Panerai Slytech PAM 225.

Now in the large watches, Dr. Rolan then purchased an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Edition. He loves the look of the watch and the aesthetics. But due to the weight of the watch and due to him wanting an uncommon watch, Dr. Rolan started to look for another watch brand which could be more adapted to him and his lifestyle. 

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Dr. Rolan’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Michael Schumacher Limited Edition

The search for a sporty watch which is light and which is more uncommon than an Audemars Piguet led him to purchase his first Richard Mille. He instantly fell in love with the watch and the brand. Dr. Rolan even shares that everytime he is in Geneva, Switzerland, the sales team in the Richard Mille boutique offers to clean his watch. The first Richard Mille of Dr. Rolan is the RM011 Felipe Massa. The RM011 is a great watch for Dr. Rolan. However, he noted that the watch was difficult to fit under his cuffs whenever he would wear long sleeves and a suit jacket to a meeting. “I would have a hard time fitting the watch inside my cuffs. So I looked for the slimmest available Richard Mille.” This brought him to purchase the RM67-01 RG, Richard Mille’s slimmest watch. 

Dr. Rolan’s Richard Mille RM67- The slimmest Richard Mille watch.

Just last month, Dr. Rolan added his third Richard Mille watch, the RM28 diver’s watch, to his personal collection as he has recently started to enjoy the seas through swimming, diving, and yachting.

Richard Mille RM28- Dr. Rolan’s latest acquisition.

Given this history of impressive timepieces, it is hard to believe Dr. Rolan when he says he is not a collector. 

Factors in Buying a Watch

Dr. Rolan keeps in mind two things, among others, when buying a watch: 1. The watch should not be mainstream; 2. The watch should be functional and apt for his lifestyle.

Dr. Rolan shares that his principle of being unique is reflective even during the time he started Splash Corporation. At that time, beauty and personal care products were not yet as relevant as they are today. Splash Corporation started the fast movement to beauty and personal care products. This philosophy of being unique continues to his selection of watches. He shares that his son Alfonso and other people were convincing him to purchase the sought-after Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5711. But he didn’t feel attracted to the watch and thus he did not purchase. Dr. Rolan has no regrets on not purchasing the Nautilus even if the prices have gone up at least five-fold.

As to functionality, Dr. Rolan believes that a watch can also be a tool to help you through your life. As he started to love the outdoors and the adventures it brought, Dr. Rolan shifted from the more formal Patek Philippes to the more casual Panerais and Richard Milles. In fact, his latest Richard Mille RM28 will accompany him to his adventures in the water.

Dr. Rolan still has so much more ahead of him. Time is on his side. Dr. Rolan is now enjoying mixing business with pleasure. Like his continuing quest to develop new businesses, we expect Dr. Rolan to continue his journey with more precious timepieces.

Watch Manila

Dear Fellow Watch Enthusiasts,

I formally established Watch Manila on April 25, 2020, right at the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). I have been planning to work on this passion of mine for a few years prior to the pandemic but the demands of being a lawyer did not give me the adequate time for this. During the first hard lockdown, I realized that we should not be consumed by negative thoughts and energy. Instead, we should continue appreciating the beautiful and the good things in life. This is why I decided to devote and carve some time for Watch Manila. To my eyes, watches are truly beautiful and are works of art. Whenever I’m appreciating watches, good energy flows inside of me.

Ever since I was young, I have been a student of horology. I still am. The reason why I gravitated toward watches is because of my appreciation for time. The best way to remind a person of time is through a watch. Time is one of the few things money cannot buy. There is a time for work, time for rest, time for family, and time for everything. In all those moments, the only thing constant is that time is important and can never be recovered once it passes by.

The pandemic has reminded all of us again about the importance of time. Healthy today, gone tomorrow. That is how fragile our lives can be. The best thing to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased appreciation of everyone for devoting time to the important people and things in our lives.

Watch Manila gained recognition for the identification of the watches of business tycoons. I decided to focus on these people as I believe that their choice of watches were conscious choices. Most (or all) of them did not simply stumble into a store and bought the shiniest one. The watches they wear constantly remind them that as business tycoons, they are given greater responsibilities in the sense that their decisions may impact thousands of lives.

As I end, I hope I can make people appreciate and value time even more through the beautiful watches featured in Watch Manila.

Today only happens once. Tomorrow will be a different day. What happens today can never be redone. So let’s make every moment worth it.

I hope that you continue to join me watch the watches here at Watch Manila.

God bless to everyone!

Atty. Siegfrid S. Suarez

Founder, Watch Manila