Turning back time

SOME things in life feel so natural that we abide by it with no questions asked. One such norm is the direction of our timepiece. For as long as any one of us can remember, the hands of our analogue clocks and watches have been moving in the clockwise direction. We have grown so accustomed to this that it simply did not occur to us to question it. One man, however, saw it differently.

"Why must it go clockwise? To me, there is no significant reason as to why it should be clockwise instead of anticlockwise," said Izham Fitri Ismail, founder of MEM Watches.

MEM Watches is a local watch brand that prides itself in being different by specialising in watches and clocks that are anticlockwise.

"We are more than just a brand because we are here to make a difference. Our products encourage you to try something new. Most of us are so afraid of changes – both in our self and in our environment – that we become complacent by staying in our comfort zone.

"I noticed that first world countries adapt to changes far more easily than us, and this is why our country is being left behind. Hence, if you dare to make a change, buy our watch. Even if it's just a tiny change from clockwise to anticlockwise, it is a start," explained the 27-year-old.

Moreover, he opined that MEM Watches is different because of the symbol that it stands for.

"The anticlockwise movement and our Arabic font are definitely our unique selling points, but more importantly we promote positivity. If you look at our products, they all have +Clockwise on their faces. This is because in order to change the world towards a positive one, we have to start with ourselves. And MEM +Clockwise is there to remind you of that."

According to him, wearers can feel the difference when they slip on the watches.

"When you wear our watches, you are replacing clockwise with anticlockwise and this will change you in regards to your routine and your mindset. You can use this unique feature to create conversation with others, or even use it as a pick-up line," Izham quipped light-heartedly.

Seeing as how change takes time, it is "normal for one to feel confused when they begin to wear MEM Watches. Some people adjust to the interface in a few hours, while others need a day or two."

Ever since it was launched two years ago, the brand has sold six million watches in total. Its impressive sales figure shows that Malaysians have indeed accepted these anticlockwise watches. It retails in 25 stores nationwide, is sold on online websites, and distributed to Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei.

Izham expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming support and noted that local consumers are receptive to homegrown brands.

"Malaysians are generally very supportive. Nonetheless, we can't just ask them to blindly support things that have no substance. If you can't deliver quality products at a competitive price, then there is no point. Give consumers a valid reason to wear your products proudly," he added. Therefore, the founder informed that MEM Watches is planning to grow the business even more.

"We are planning for a market expansion as we want to spread the business to more Asean countries, as well as tap into the European market. We have had foreign customers from Canada, Spain and United Kingdom so there is a demand for it in western countries."

Besides that, MEM Watches is also looking into developing anticlockwise watches with the date function because "as of now, there isn't any anticlockwise watch with date in this world. If we have the technological and monetary capabilities, we want to be the first to do it".

And they will do it – after all, when a brand is brave enough to defy convention, it's just a matter of time before they reach the pinnacle of success.