If travel restrictions have made it difficult for you to browse your favourite offshore boutiques in search of rare limited editions, you have our sympathies. But this could be an opportune time to beef up your accessories instead, especially when you can personalise them to the nth degree.
“We can adapt almost everything,” says Mounia Nasser, co-founder of luxury watch accessories retailer Misterchrono. “The only restrictions we have would be leather regulations. We do a lot of personalisation work on straps and we also do trunks and safes. We once sold a bespoke safe for approximately $40,000.”
With a flagship store in Paris, two more in Hong Kong, and one here in Singapore at Mandarin Gallery, Misterchrono has become a reliable source of beautiful straps, boxes and horology-related lifestyle goods ever since its founding in 2008. Remarkably, Nasser was just 23 and fresh out of ESSEC Business School when she started the business with her then-husband.
“It was driven by passion and not business concerns,” she recalls. “We were collecting watches, and it became difficult to store them all. So we started looking for boxes and winders but the only ones we could find were on Amazon – and they were ugly.”
As Nasser needed a job anyway, she created Misterchrono as a website, which led to physical stores opening up. She is best known for her RubberB straps for Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Panerai watches, as well as the Swisskubik watch winders. Her customers keep coming back because of her personableness. As Nasser trains and selects her staff, she always emphasises the value of human connection because she wants to “create a cocoon for watch lovers to gather and share thoughts and exchange tips on watch care”.
Some of her customers come by the store almost every week. “One of our team members attended a wedding of one of our customers, and they became good friends after that. We even hired two of our regular customers to our teams in Hong Kong and France.”
The current climate does not allow for Nasser to build relationships to the same extent, but she has admirably held down the fort and had no loss of stores or staff during the peak of the pandemic last year. “We’re fortunate that we don’t sell watches,” she says with a laugh. “When people aren’t sure they can continue to buy luxury items, they can still afford to accessorise them.”