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Timely treasure

   
Frank Low of Luxury Concepts poses with the limited edition Armand Nicolet timepiece for Starhill Gallery

The Peak Malaysia, Vol. 17. No. 7

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Make a privileged decision (as well as a stylish statement) and become the proud owner of one of just 15 specially commissioned timepieces crafted by Tramelan-based timepiece marque Armand Nicolet for the Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. Diana Khoo speaks to Frank Low of Luxury concepts on the novel idea.

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“It is definitely a milestone,” says Frank Low of Luxury Concepts Watches & Jewellery, the company that distributes Armand Nicolet in Malaysia, when asked about the recent collaboration between Armand Nicolet and Luxury Concepts to create a limited edition timepiece specifically for YTL Corporation’s Starhill Gallery on the occasion of the setting up of the world’s first-ever standalone Armand Nicolet boutique here. Watch enthusiasts certainly need no introduction to the Tramelan-based timepiece maker. Established in 1902, the Swiss watchmaker is known for its intricate watch components and fine attention to horological details, making it one of the most sought-after names by collectors and movement aficionados today.

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“Anyone can open a large watch boutique but, so far, no one has actually captured the moment in such a special way by commissioning a watch to mark a milestone in the brand’s development,” says Low. “Opening the world’s first free-standing Armand Nicolet boutique here in Kuala Lumpur at the Starhill Gallery is something big for Malaysia. Everyone, all over the world, will now know about the special Armand Nicolet Starhill edition, and this is a celebration of Malaysia’s success within the industry.”

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Launched recently at the annual Basel Watch Fair in Switzerland, the special edition timepiece naturally attracted the attention of the international press who have been keenly following the development of the watch industry in Malaysia. YTL Corporation Berhad Managing Director Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh, who Starhill Gallery is home to the best timepiece brands in the market, as well as being acknowledged as the ultimate destination in the region for fine watches, flew in personally for the launch. “It was an honour to have such an accomplished watchmaker like Armand Nicolet dedicating a timepiece to Starhill,” says the 52-year-old tycoon and corporate figure. “It is an honour and a tribute to all the work we’ve done at Starhill.”


   
Left: The Armand Nicolet boutique at Kuala Lumpur's Starhill Gallery. Right: Rolando Braga, CEO of Armand Nicolet, and Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh at the Basel launch

Only 15 pieces have been created, and what makes the timepiece so distinctive is the fact that it takes the brand’s historical UT176 movement (circa 1948) and completely revises its core by featuring a manual winding movement, a small second hand embellished with 21 rubies, blues screws, an elegant swan neck and a stylish black face. “The Starhill edition by Armand Nicolet is also special as it boasts a black dial and rose gold casing that is unique in the world,” adds Low. “Its rare vintage movement also contains a swan neck mechanism that is only found in the most expensive watches. Limiting it to only 15 pieces also fives it a level of exclusivity that is second to none, a fact that embodies the values and objective of both Armand Nicolet and Starhill Gallery.”


   
Armand Nicolet's limited edition Starhill timepiece

Retailing at a special price of RM48,800 (‘good value, considering the price of gold today,’ grins Low), seven of the 15 pieces have already been snapped up by aficionados. On whom the lucky owners are, Low isn’t disclosing, but he will say that they are “people who appreciate rare movements and who truly understand the value of such a timepiece,” it’s quite an accolade, not just for Luxury Concepts who mooted the idea, but also for Starhill Gallery, as it now bears the added recognition of being an icon of global luxury as well as for being an exclusive destination mall. With several international buyers already expressing interest in purchasing the remaining pieces, Low hopes that Malaysians, in particular, will take advantage of this rare opportunity to invest in something precious and rare that is directly related to a Malaysian effort, and generally take pride in all that it stands for. “This timepiece makes the first of many Malaysian impressions in the world of luxury watches. We hope this singles out the platform where Malaysians can collectively do something to take the next step forward in the exclusive realm of horology.”

 

The Armand Nicolet special Starhill limited edition is currently only available from the Armand Nicolet boutique at Starhill Gallery.



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