Ahsan Merchant, after spending close to two decades as a management consultant and then a banker, finds himself as the new kid on the block in the world of watches.
Far from the boardroom presentations and excel spreadsheets, now it’s all about making an everlasting design out of a small space, which in his own words, people will see, understand, appreciate, value, and hopefully make part of their own watch collection for years to come.
By launching MEDINI WATCH COMPANY, Merchant is one of the few, who put their money where their mouth is – creating his own watch and his own brand.
The venture is completely self-funded, which makes his story even more interesting; this gamble of passion has really pit Merchant’s lifelong passion for watches against one of the most competitive industries out there.
“One must be offbeat to want to create a new watch company in this savage market and—to top it all off—make affordable timepieces that are well-built and well-spec’d.” declares Vincent Deschamp, founder of Mainspring.watch in his review of the brand and its creator.
But as Merchant puts it, this is all about the celebration of watch making.
“Let there be others, there have to be others, without them we wouldn’t be here either… there is always room for more in this great big world of watches,” he says.
A world which he describes as “everything that’s fun about accessorizing the abstract concept of time onto someone’s wrist.”
This is exactly the manner in which the founder has designed his brands customer journey and experience.
Based out of the Emirate of Dubai, MEDINI WATCH COMPANY offers watch buyers classic, understated, and elegantly designed watches.
Its watches are currently only available through the company’s website (www.mediniwatchcompany.com) and offers customers the unique experience of customizing pretty much every element of their timepiece, down to its packaging.
Growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, Merchant explained that his parents probably found it quite annoying to have a kid who was so interested in watches, especially nice ones.
Reminiscing, he explained: “My family had its collection of watches that I was strictly kept away from as a kid. They were probably worried why instead of playing cricket or studying I was more interested in figuring out the caseback of the last Constellation I saw on someone’s wrist. But noticing what people wore on their wrist is just something I could never stop doing. It was as much a habit as a hobby.”
Adding: “By the time I was in my early teens, all I needed to see was the crown and the bezel sneaking out from underneath people’s sleeves to tell which watch they were wearing.”
That love never stopped. He spent his twenties and thirties cultivating relationships with watch dealers and designers. After a successful professional career, his obsession led him to launch his own watch brand.
In conversation with WatchPro, Merchant explained how owning and purchasing watches he loved was fun, but didn’t quite fulfil his real appetite when it came to his love for watches. He wanted to create a watch in line with his ethos – simplicity, beauty and high-quality movement at a price point which was approachable.
With the above in mind, he set about designing, sourcing and making his own watches, and recently launched his first two: the Sovereign and the Celeritas.
“I took some ideas to a watch designer in London and worked with her to come up with the Sovereign. My journey really began with the design work for this watch. I spent a couple of years finding the right manufacturers that could deliver my vision. I went through a process of prototyping with multiple manufacturers and in the end was lucky enough to find one who I could collaborate with, and who could deliver.
“After a few prototypes and early feedback, we arrived at the Sovereign, which you can now buy today. Seeing a watch I had designed actually get manufactured and put into a wearable physical form, has probably been one of the most amazing experiences of my life and one which completely solidified my resolve to build this company.”
He continued: “The Celeritas was born out of this relationship with my manufacturer. The Sovereign was great, but as a brand and business, I wanted to make sure that all of our pennies weren’t resting on one design. Now, it is a great design and close to my heart – I have a first-child-type feeling if you will. But in terms of appealing to buyers that prefer a single workhorse watch, it wasn’t checking all the boxes.
“Here again I worked with a designer to bring together the classical elements of a 38mm chronograph that also featured a tachymeter. I was lucky enough to find the right name as well – Celeritas means Speed in Latin. It’s quite stunning – both functional during the day and perfectly dressy for night.”
Looking deeper into the MEDINI brand, the word comes from old Sanskrit script and means earth.
Merchant said: “The more I researched the name, I realised it captured that early feeling of knowing an entire world can be captured on your wrist. Telling time on Earth while venturing to appreciate it – what could fit better?”
When you head to the MEDINI website to buy a watch it is possible to customise the offering. Atelier de Medini, as the brand titles its watch customization suite, allows customers to choose from over a 100 different permutations of dial, strap, and watch pouch colours.
Each piece can viewed in detailed and in 360 degree shots, and you can even pick the colour of watch cover/pouch you prefer, from traditional brown/tan all the way to flamboyant red and pink. There are 8 watch cover colours to pick from, each made in high quality leatherette and secured by a solid brass zipper.
“I wanted to put the power of choice into the customer’s hand. Why are we restricted when it comes to such choices with traditional brands? After all the economics can be justified and what better way to really help you own and wear your watch? I felt the Atelier experience went along with my own inspiration of “why should I wear someone else’s design?”
It also took a while to get it right as the website is built on customized technology and gives a very generous feel to users whilst they create their own look. Inspired by the likes of NIKE’s NIKE ID customisable shopping experience, this experience is just as good as it allows the customer to really make a considered purchase and buy a watch which they feel is uniquely theirs.
This, alongside the clever branding, makes MEDINI WATCH COMPANY really stand out; making it a brand to watch out for in the coming months and years ahead.