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Thursday October 3, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday October 3, 2013 MYT 7:29:13 AM
by bervin cheongphotos by sam tham
Sharan Valiram looks for elements of quality and artistry when selecting his timepieces.
The three executive directors of Swiss Watch Gallery talk about the company’s journey, as the Art Of Time begins today.
WATCH lovers are in for a treat, as the Art Of Time opens its doors for business today.
The exhibition – organised for the third consecutive year by Swiss Watch Gallery (SWG) – presents what is arguably the most comprehensive collection of luxury timepieces in the country. Owned by the Valiram Group, SWG is well-regarded as a Malaysian regional luxury watch retailer.
For Art Of Time visitors, they can look forward to the latest limited and rare edition watches, high jewellery designs, grand complications and avant-garde pieces – some of which have not been unveiled before in Malaysia.
Held at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur till Oct 13, the 474sqm exhibition showcases timepiece brands in a luxurious and seamless shop-in-shop setting with each brand outfitting its own “salon” to stay true to its DNA inspirations. Participating brands are Cartier, Graham, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Tag Heuer, Tudor, Ulysse Nardin, Zenith and Vertu, the ultimate in luxury phones.
The Kuala Lumpur-born Valiram brothers, executive directors of the company (Sharan is the eldest, followed by Ashvin and then Mukesh), share their thoughts on SWG’s success and the exhibition at hand, as well as their personal views on time and timepieces.
I think in the last 12 years, since SWG was founded in 2001, we have continuously worked our way up to be amongst the foremost of luxury timepiece retailers in the Malaysian market. This is despite having to compete with some big companies that are based abroad.
This year is our year of investment. We’ve come up with a fresh blueprint for our stores that will carry us through for the next several years, with the idea of merging fashion together with luxury watches.
All of the stores will be retrofitted in due course, but a first glimpse of the new concept is set to be unveiled at the Swiss Watch Gallery boutique in Gurney Paragon, Penang – opening in 30 days.
It’s going to be a very inviting environment, with a lot of interesting elements. For example, we’ll have a fashion window, and not just a regular jewellery window, for a more curated style of displaying our timepieces.
With regard to this year’s exhibition, we’ve decided to stick with the name Art Of Time.
We think it’s only appropriate that we create this identity for an event that visitors can look forward to each year.
I personally see time as a precious commodity. It is a depleting resource. Once it’s gone, you’ll never get it back, and it cannot be replenished. It’s what you do with it that matters most.
Some of the key timepieces that I’m looking forward to at the exhibition are the Tank Anglaise from Cartier, Silverstone Skeleton Limited Edition Blue from Graham, and Portuguese Grande Complication from IWC Schaffhausen.
When Swiss Watch Gallery was started, nobody thought we would succeed. I would reckon almost everyone thought that we were destined to fail.
Not only did we succeed – we have also grown up rather quickly. You could say that we’re now at the same ‘table’ as the other big players in the industry. And in 12 years? We’ve got to where we are now rather quickly, too.
The difference with this year’s Art Of Time exhibition is that we have new participating brands.
The layout of it will be enhanced, too, and this draws from the new blueprint of our retail stores that you will see soon.
With regard to the brands, you not only have the likes of Cartier, IWC Schaffhausen, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Ulysse Nardin and Vertu – which have been with us since the first year, but returning ones from last year such as Graham and Tag Heuer. New arrivals include Tudor, Piaget and Zenith.
If you speak of quality timepieces, I think it means something different to each individual. To me, quality is about fine workmanship, plus aesthetic elements. I like a symmetrical, neatly organised watch – but of course, it has to be able to perform the function of telling time well.
I will be anticipating timepieces like Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Grande Tradition Minute Repeater, Piaget’s Emperador Tourbillon Exceptional Piece and Tag Heuer’s Carrera Calibre 1887 Chronograph – Jack Heuer Edition, at this year’s exhibition.
Swiss Watch Gallery started off very humbly. I initially worked behind the counter at our first outlet in Penang. I was merely selling watches to customers back then.
It was a very challenging industry to go into as there were a lot of roadblocks along the way. Nevertheless, we’ve gone through a lot of hurdles and milestones to arrive at where we are today.
From the initial opening at the Penang International Airport, we then established other boutiques. Swiss Watch Gallery is currently located at KLIA and LCCT in Sepang, plus other commercial spots like Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
For this year’s exhibition, we will have a watchmaker flown in to show the intricacies involved with crafting such fine timepieces. There are also nightly events, held in collaboration with our event partners for VIP guests.
When it comes to timepiece brands in general, I think it’s the different moments in life – when you’re at different ages – that make you appreciate a selection of different watchmakers.
Quality is vital in many aspects. Enginee-ring is one, where you have to make sure the technical aspects of a watch is good. However, don’t forget aesthetics, too – it has to look great on your wrist.
Among the highlight pieces in the exhibition for me are the Heritage Chrono Blue, Stranger and Academy CC Hurricane watches from Tudor, Ulysse Nardin and Zenith, and the Ti Ferrari phone from Vertu.
> The Art Of Time lifestyle partners include Tourism Malaysia, BMW, The Star, Glen Grant, Etihad, InterContinental Hotels, Maybank and HappeNings.
DURING the Art Of Time exhibition period, there are tailor-made preferential privileges for acquisitions made:
> Receive a special edition Swiss Watch Gallery watch box, watch and jewellery box, watch winder, double watch winder or a Tumi T-tech
> Additionally, receive a special gift with purchases when you present your Maybank Credit Card or BMW White Card
> Enjoy 0% instalment payment plan available with Maybank Credit Card
> To register for priority access, log on to www.swisswatchgallery.com.my.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, Art of Time, Swiss Watch Gallery, Valiram
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