The Star, November 2, 2016
Watch and Jewellery showcase A Journey Through Time is set to honour the rich tapestry of Malaysia's icons and home grown talents.
By Bervin Cheong
There is something to be said about building a brand that lives on. For Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh, it involves hard work and the notion of never giving up – which has led to the success that is A Journey Through Time (AJTT).
Dubbed as Malaysia’s premiere watch and jewellery showcase, it celebrates art and craftsmanship, as well as highlighting an appreciation for high fashion, fine food and world-class entertainment.
“It was born in 2007 from a passion we shared for the finest timepieces and their heritage. Over the decade, we have been blessed to see the event and Starhill Gallery grow to become icons of luxury shopping,” Francis explains.
According to him, AJTT was founded on the likeness of Baselworld. The international event, held in Switzerland each year, is considered as the most important marketplace and trendsetting show for the world’s watch and jewellery industry.
“Baselworld is targeted at distributors and retailers. Our event is more for the consumers. It’s for them to view some of the new watches here. That said, brands have gone further by unveiling special watches for AJTT,” he adds.
Also present during this interview was his son Joseph Yeoh. Joseph is seen to be the person who will eventually take over the stewardship and bring AJTT to greater heights in the coming years.
“For the past two years, I have been more involved in the operations. I’ve also been given more creative freedom. I’m excited to carry it on. And we’re really looking forward to the next 10 years,” Joseph states.
“I always had a passion for retail, and I would like to think that I received that from my father. He enjoys the creative elements of watches and horology, and I feel that has really driven him to continue pushing AJTT to the limits.”
The theme for this year’s AJTT is “Legacy and Icons”. Running from Nov 4 to 13 at Starhill Gallery, it looks to honour the best of Malaysia’s artistry. Visitors to the showcase can also expect a gathering of traditional and contemporary designs – all on one platform.
Joseph reveals that Malaysia’s very first and only watchmaking company, Masa Horlogerie, is making its debut at the event. This will see the unveiling of a timepiece drawing inspiration from the history of the legendary Taming Sari.
“It is a first for our country. As a Malaysian, I’m very proud of it. To actually adopt Swiss engineering and use it to produce our own Malaysian timepieces, now that’s something to shout about.”
Malaysian-born Simone Ng of Singapore-based Simone Jewels will also showcase her stunning collections for the first time in Malaysia. Her success is seen as an inspiration for all jewellery designers in Malaysia.
AJTT is set unveil contemporary songket dresses by iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes too. In this, Rhodes honours the richness of the Malaysian textile with her modish designs.
When asked, Francis says that the key to keeping AJTT going is the involvement of the younger generation. He sees his son as just the right person for the job. After all, social media platforms must play a part in keeping it alive.
“They have to start using digital means to draw attention. When it comes to the young people, they need to be reminded on the stories behind the different brands and timepieces. It’s a matter of making people more aware.”
Presented with the support of Malaysia’s Ministry Of Tourism And Culture, AJTT is also expected to bring its 10th anniversary celebration to life with an expanded calendar of exclusive offerings.
The best of local and international fashion houses will collaborate with renowned watch and jewellery brands in shows and exhibitions, with added culinary experience for guests offered.
Francis notes that there are indeed a lot of big timepiece showcases that take place in Kuala Lumpur these days. He reckons that the occurrence is a good thing for everyone in the industry.
“It’s great to be mimicked. The more people know that Malaysia is a watch centre with all the great brands, the better. It creates jobs, it creates activities. It also gives consumers a choice.”
Joseph thinks it is a sign that there is market for luxury watches and jewellery here. He is happy that different events are sprouting up in the footsteps of AJTT over the years, and sees it as a result of the successful model they have created.
“I think this is something that we will continue to do over the next 10 years. Whether watches or fashion, or whatever more we plan to include, we want to be that platform to spearhead others to follow suit,” he adds in conclusion.
Visit www.ajourneythroughtime.com.my for more information, plus updates from the showcase.