Malaysian Bespoke Watches With Miniature Figurines Art

Author’s text: I often misread the time on analog clocks. I once rushed to get ready for school because I thought my IKEA wall clock read 6:50 a.m., when it was actually 5:50 a.m. Even as an adult I still question myself and should look longer to know that I am reading the time correctly.

So when I came across Weng Yan’s MCO-turned-business hobby, (Konnii) – besides being amazed at how its products looked – I wondered: how did they work ?!

Does it even tell the time?

A Breakdown on How Watches Work / Image Credit: Konnii

Speaking to Vulcan Post, Weng Yan explained how Konnii watches work. Each watch has 3 levels on them representing an hour dial, a minute dial and a backdrop to set the scene. The upper level shows the minute, while the second level shows the hour.

A figurine is used to represent time. “For example, I chose the dog’s head as the hour dial and a baby sheep as the minute dial. So if the dog’s head is pointing towards the 3 o’clock mark, and the baby sheep is pointing at the 30 minute mark, I know it’s 3:30 pm, ”he explained.

A quartz movement is used to keep the watch time accurate. As the miniature figures inside have a certain weight, Weng Yan is unable to use automatic and mechanical watch movements. This is because the weight of the object can interfere with the accuracy of the timing.

Quartz movement watches are also low maintenance, requiring only a routine battery change every few years.

In addition, he clarified that these were mystery dial watches, not intended to indicate the hour to the exact minute, but to provide an indication of the time. Weng Han also sees his products as a work of art, a conversation starter that you wear on your wrist.

“It’s a representation of a unique story that you wear on your wrist while retaining the timing functionality,” said Weng Yan. And that’s why Konnii watches retail for US $ 1,500 (approx. 6,181 RM), because they are also custom-designed for each customer.

His Customers have found it

Without even intending to market his hobby, releasing the aforementioned finished piece was how customer requests poured in.

“At first, I was not sure how to price the watch because it is a work of art. To be fair, the price of the first watches was based on customer offerings, ”Weng Han told Vulcan Post.

After being ordered for a sixth part, he found that customers were willing to pay between US $ 1,500 and US $ 2,000 per part. The complexity of each design is also factored into its cost and it can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks to create.

The Batman watch for his collection / Image credit: Konnii

To get a feel for what a client wants, he would chat with them online to find out more about their passions before recommending a suitable design. “For example, a father knew his son loved battle tanks. Therefore, he wanted to build a battlefield tank watch for his son, ”said Weng Han.

“This really turns me on because I hope the son will remember his father fondly every time he wears the watch I made.

Since its debut 2 months ago, Weng Han has received over 20 custom requests for Konnii watches from global customers. They mainly consist of men from UK, USA, Russia and a few from Malaysia.

The first custom piece he made for a client followed the theme of prosperity, with 9 koi fish swimming in a pond. It’s reminiscent of the first play he ever made that started it all.

His very first watch turned counterclockwise

Weng Yan’s inspiration for watch making came during MCO 2.0 while he was stranded at home and having a sleepless night.

He then decided to search online for watches he could gift his wife. As most of the timepieces seemed identical to him, his cart was abandoned.

“So I decided to create a unique watch myself. A truly personal watch. A conversation starter, ”he said. With a steady hand and a dormant interest in the arts, the entrepreneur dug up some crisp paint and brushes to begin his first piece.

It was a setting with two koi fish swimming in a pond, encapsulated in a 41mm diameter snow globe. The watch was completed in 3 days.

His first watch turned counterclockwise / Image credit: Konnii

“However, the fish were swimming backwards, as I had forgotten that the watch hand was moving clockwise. It’s quite embarrassing, but I think it’s the tiny imperfection that made me love the watch even more, ”he recalls.

When finished, his ideas snowballed. He wondered what other miniature models he could create to fit these watches, what other stories he could tell.

Too enthusiastic and determined while his family slept, he spent late nights creating other pieces ranging from a dog raising sheep to dinosaurs taking over the earth. He added that he had since purchased a new set of art supplies.

Weng Han is working on his craft while the world is sleeping / Image credit: Konnii

With the basic functions of the watch completed and sold, Weng Han plans to explore the mechanics of a better quality movement. He also hopes to improve the branding and packaging of the product over the next 2 years.

“I want to collaborate with big brands, influencers, artists and athletes to create a watch that they are proud to wear,” said Weng Han.

“In fact, I will be making the next famous Muhammad Ali watch during this triumphant boxing moment.”

Conclusion: Watches are intriguing on many levels, from their art of miniature sculpture, to mechanics in their functionality and the uniqueness of each individual. It is interesting to see such a rare product which is also functional and portable.

  • You can read more about Konnii here.
  • You can read more about other startups we’ve covered here.

Featured Image Credit: Weng Yan, Founder of Konnii

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Jothi Venkat

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