How a Malaysian retailer carved out its title within the nation’s horological scene


A very good, well-made watch is deemed an heirloom as it’s one thing that appreciates with time – given the proper care and a focus, in fact.

The identical may be mentioned of Swiss Watch (previously generally known as Swiss Watch Gallery), the Valiram-owned luxurious retailer that has efficiently made a reputation for itself throughout the thriving Malaysian horological scene.

This 12 months, it’s celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Govt director Ashvin Valiram describes the journey as one thing that’s not uneventful.

“It has been enthralling, it has been thrilling. It has been one with a variety of tears, however a variety of enjoyable and studying too. It’s an evolution, a maturation – and has all of the substances of an incredible story,” he factors out in an interview.

“So, we’re very excited to now look again. What if we had not planted the ‘seed’ again then? There won’t be a Swiss Watch immediately. We now have constructed it into the foremost Malaysian-owned luxurious watch retailer.”

Ashvin sees the Swiss Watch journey as an evolution, from one boutique in Penang, to now multiple stores throughout South-East Asia. Photo: The Star/AZMAN GHANIAshvin sees the Swiss Watch journey as an evolution, from one boutique in Penang, to now a number of shops all through South-East Asia. Photograph: The Star/AZMAN GHANI

As it’s, the corporate presently gives greater than 50 of the world’s distinguished luxurious manufacturers and watchmaking icons.

That quantity is a good distance from the assortment of 16 manufacturers it began with. The very first Swiss Watch boutique opened on the then newly renovated Penang Worldwide Airport on April 4, 2001.

The enterprise (and wonderful development) is a results of laborious work by Ashvin and his two brothers, Sharan and Mukesh. Twenty years in the past, they had been seen as “inexperienced younger boys” – effectively, not anymore.

They’ve proven that with the proper enterprise acumen and keenness, magic can occur.

Learn extra: 2021 Watch Novelties: Rolex pushes boundaries with new designs

Within the intimate dialog that befell on the Swiss Watch boutique in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Ashvin reminisces concerning the expertise.

“A reminiscence that stands out is the day we gained the tender to open that first boutique in Penang,” he recollects, including that it was a matter of getting to show themselves.

“Once we entered the enterprise, we had been tiny. There have been different larger Malaysian watch corporations round.”

In accordance with him, the Swiss Watch journey is certainly an evolution – and never a revolution.

“A revolution to me entails a variety of carnage,” he says, on how they’ve targeted on doing it the proper method.

“We needed to evolve and take sluggish and regular steps. Construct the model’s relationships. Join with our clients, one by one. Actually construct that complete ‘engine’ as a way to get the place we at the moment are.”

Valiram opened a second Swiss Watch boutique at Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport in 2002. This was adopted six years later by the one in Pavilion KL.

Transferring past multi-brand boutiques, the group additionally efficiently opened numerous standalone specialist boutiques: Rolex and IWC Schaffhausen at Pavilion KL in 2007. It took over Rolex in KLCC two years later, as effectively.

The first Swiss Watch boutique opened at Penang International Airport on April 4, 2001. Photo: Swiss WatchThe primary Swiss Watch boutique opened at Penang Worldwide Airport on April 4, 2001. Photograph: Swiss Watch

In 2010, a flagship Swiss Watch boutique in Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa opened.

The corporate additionally partnered with Panerai in 2019 to open the primary standalone boutique in Malaysia, plus it unveiled the Cartier boutique in Resorts World Sentosa amid the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.

With the newest opening of a multi-brand boutique in Bangkok in September 2021, you possibly can say that Swiss Watch has certainly expanded its regional footprint.

“Wanting on the Valiram group as a complete, our grandfathers already had companies round Asia (earlier than Swiss Watch). So for us, it was not alien to have the ability to broaden across the area,” Ashvin says.

However to him, it’s nonetheless a giant feat.

“Once we began in Malaysia, we had been one retailer in an airport. Now, we’re the dominant retailer within the nation.”

A grand celebration

Swiss Watch’s twentieth anniversary will likely be marked in a momentous method. Operating from now till Oct 31 at Pavilion KL, the Artwork Of Time exhibition is again to captivate guests as soon as once more.

This signature occasion is one thing that the corporate is thought for. Some would even name it kind of a deal with for watch fans.

With headliners like Arnold & Son, Bell & Ross, Breitling, Graham, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin and Zenith, the 2021 version gives an immersive glimpse into the thrilling watchmaking world.

Artwork Of Time debuted in 2011 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Swiss Watch. Now, it’s celebrating one other decade of the posh retailer’s longevity and success – particularly within the wake of lockdowns easing.

“We’re extremely happy with our heritage and what we’ve constructed. We’re making an attempt to place our greatest foot ahead and we need to put a brand new narrative on the market. So we’re celebrating, we’re reconnecting with our associates,” Ashvin feedback.

The Arnold & Son Luna Magna Gold is among the timepieces on showcase during the Art Of Time 2021. Photo: Swiss WatchThe Arnold & Son Luna Magna Gold is among the many timepieces on showcase throughout the Artwork Of Time 2021. Photograph: Swiss WatchFor this 12 months, the occasion has remodeled Pavilion KL’s concourse space right into a 4,273sq ft of latest and immersive gallery.

It pays homage to the centuries of expertise that goes into the artwork of watchmaking, with this 12 months’s exhibition design taking inspiration from the Piazza Del Campidoglio of Rome in Italy.

The long-lasting piazza is an architectural achievement bordered by three buildings, which makes use of intelligent phantasm tips in perspective and notion to make the house appear extra excellent than it’s. It has been recognised as one of the crucial stunning squares on the planet.

Artwork Of Time’s model consists of 5 elegant and personal cubicles that tapers outwards. Every uniquely designed sales space invitations buyers to peruse the dear timepieces at leisure.

As Ashvin places it, a watch is commonly tied to an individual’s feelings. And that’s how timepieces are supposed to be appreciated.

“You need to bodily really feel it. You could contact it and all that – attempt it on and see the way it seems to be in your wrist. Finally, that’s the kind of connection folks have with their watch.”

With reference to how the watchmakers themselves have persevered throughout the pandemic, he stays grateful of their persevering with partnership.

“Our watch companions have been extremely supportive. Regardless of not with the ability to journey to our a part of the world, they’ve continued to assist us.”

Learn extra: 2021 Watch Novelties: Beautiful and unique horological creations

As for the timepieces, anticipate an impressive assortment which embody the Arnold & Son Luna Magna Gold, Graham Chronofighter Classic Emergency Gold 2021, IWC Portugieser Fixed Drive Tourbillon Double Moon and Jaeger-LeCoultre Dazzling Rendez-Vous Moon.

Guests will likely be guided into gaining a deeper understanding of excessive complication items. They’ll additionally uncover the synergy between sports activities and timekeeping, and even how watchmaking has its ties to aviation.

“Two years in the past, the world was turned inside out and the wrong way up (by Covid-19), and we tailored. Once we all needed to work at home, we did it. Once we all needed to store on-line, we did it,” Ashvin feedback.

“We’ve been locked down (on and off) for nearly two years. Now, we’re excited to convey this exhibition again. We need to really feel alive once more. We would like to have the ability to do the issues we take pleasure in essentially the most. So come and share that pleasure with us.”

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