Bangsar concept store for watches and coffee – Health Guild News


I am an avid smart watch user because I like to have a phone extension tied to my wrist. But if it’s not a smart watch, it should look sleek, like a statement piece that’s good enough as an accessory with any outfit.

Instead of just having a versatile watch, Mirzan Meer is trying to cultivate a culture of watch collectors in Malays. To do so, it has opened a concept store that functions as a clock gallery while duplicating itself as a cafe in Jalan Telawi, called Vernacular shop (Vernacle).

“The mission is to reclaim the art of collecting watches that we believe has been lost both to the aggressive marketing of luxury watches and to the convenience of smart watches,” Mirzan told Vulcan Post.

Time travel

Mirzan grew up knowing about watches, as his family has been in the trade since 1958, and this meant that they would attend jewelry and watch fairs in Hong Kong, Belgium and Switzerland in their youth.

In 2018, he joined Time Zone, a watch distribution company, and is now its director. Realizing the wide variety of watches he found in Time Zone, he eventually founded his own multi-label watch store, The Clock Library (TWL).

TWL catalogs several watch brands in alphabetical order, which are then retailed online and through Vernakular, an extension of the brand.

Marathon and Bravur Watches / Image Credit: Vernakular Store

Working directly with designers from each brand, such as Bravur, Ice-Watch, Timex and Greyhours, the products come from Belgium, France, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Japan and Australia.

According to Mirzan, his education has perfected his instincts to choose watches for TWL and Vernakular. He is able to identify quality, creativity and modernity in both design and craftsmanship. In addition, it favors passionately built independent watch brands.

Coffee time

Located in Bangsar, Vernakular stretches for 82 square feet with a split interior design concept when you walk in.

On the left, white is painted from floor to ceiling to mimic a gallery, which houses the watches of its parent brand, TWL. It also has enough real estate for pop-ups and has hosted Re {me} dy, a spare for health and skin care.

To the right of the store is its in-house café, PeepCoffee, which has designated seating areas for dinner guests and takeaway guests.

When I visited the store a month ago, it seemed like a great meeting place for the crowd of millennials from Bangsar and Generation Z.

For the last year since Vernakular opened in October 2020, the store has only been operational for a total of 7 months due to blockages, but has still been able to gain popularity relatively quickly. Perhaps it is due to the use of social media by the team and the privileged location of the store in Bangsar.

Turn coffee drinkers into watch collectors

Mirzan shared that the biggest challenges it has faced in getting Vernakular up and running have been similar to the financial problems most companies have faced during the pandemic. This includes covering the rent for the 5-6 months that were closed since the launch.

All his efforts were focused on selling watches on his own site, along with markets such as Zalora, Lazada and Shopee.

“Shopping feeling [for the watches] it has been very inconsistent and if it weren’t for a long-term strategy, we might not have opened the store at all, ”Mirzan confessed.

Now, with the economy recovering, I was curious to see if Vernakular saw more customers visiting his cafeteria or clocks.

Some of the cafeteria cakes / Image Credit: Vernakular Store

“I would say coffee has more regular traffic, but the watch store has a higher sales value,” shared Mirzan, who also added that many customers who visit the coffee shop have also become watch customers. “It’s balanced and so I can say the mission is on track.”

Because Mirzan intends Vernakular to simply act as a physical gallery of clocks and drive traffic to TWL, he told Vulcan Post that he has no plans to expand his concept store. So if you’re ever in Bangsar, stop by, as this is likely to be the only Vernakular store you will ever see.

Bangsar was a strategic choice

Bangsar is known for its influence on the culture and style that has attracted many creatives to the area. Therefore, this makes it a convenient place for Vernakular to channel traffic to its parent company, TWL.

Mirzan also added that more than a commercial space, he hopes to use Vernakular as a community space through programs or workshops with local artists and creators.

In terms of business sustainability, it looks like the cafe will likely be the anchor that will attract customers to visit the store. Once there, they can browse the watches sold by the brand, which can range from 299 to 17,000 RM.

So it makes sense that while Vernakular’s ​​sales may be inconsistent, each high-value product can help keep costs down for the most part.

That said, Mirzan’s experience in Time Zone is an advantage when it comes to running his own store, as he has more observational data on watch buying trends in Malaysia.

Right now, Time Zone distributes between 50K and 60K watches a year, so there is a chance that TWL will reach the same numbers if it is built and working properly. But first, Mirzan’s most immediate plan is to officially launch Vernakular soon.

  • You can find more information about Vernakular Store here.
  • You can read more about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: The Vernakular Store Team

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