Q: Have you always been’ passionate about watches and watchmaking?
A: I started working in a watch company named “Oris” after which I went to study in America. Since the beginning it was a combination of the technical aspect and the design. What really fascinated me was what happens inside (the watches). It’s the smallest thing that you can perceive with your eyes and you can still work on with your hands.
I have lived in Malaysia for five years, and I have to say, it reminds me a lot of Pakistan. Malaysia and Pakistan have a number of similarities, but the most striking similarity is the high level of individuality.
Q: Does the South Asian market have room for small investors?
A: Well it’s a global market. I think it’s a market of opportunities. It’s not a market that is saturated. CPEC opens new doors for Pakistan and will of course bring it closer to China. This really is a fantastic opportunity for Pakistan. I read some very interesting statistics recently. If you go back 10 years, you see the impacts of investments from the US compared to that China. China is providing healthy investments. It is more secure and with less downside, which is why investors are now more bullish about Pakistan.
I appreciate the opportunities here. When I get asked by my friends I tell them about investing in Pakistan and visiting Pakistan, because there is this kind of a mysticism about it. We should also know that Pakistan is a lot safer now. There is a platform here because of the Chinese and that will convince people to invest.
Q: Talk to us about the recent trends in Pakistani Market?
A: First of all, I believe in globalization. If there is a trend happening in the world, it’s happening here as well. If you look at social media, it is clear that is becoming a very strong player. That’s why I opened an office here 6 months ago, because I see many opportunities here I feel that more people should invest in Pakistan.
Q: Is it true that the stock market is not an accurate gauge for the health of the economy?
A: At the end of the day the market doesn’t solely rely on the stock market. It is also about consumer confidence or educated consumers along with the globalization. Consumers feel more confident to buy products here. There should be a strong domestic market for consumers, that is absolutely vital. They want comfort in life, that’s the ultimate goal, and I feel that’s happening in Pakistan. At the end of the day the stronger the retail, the more it shows in the market.
Q: What makes the Pakistani market tick?
A: Pakistanis have a very strong understanding and pride in their culture. So if you understand culture you understand the product, and Pakistanis appreciate good products. So I believe a time piece like “Sonraj” is a classic time piece, and Pakistanis understand that. Pakistanis are a very proud nation, so they are very patriotic in that sense. “Sonraj” does a lot of limited addition watches and it works, because people believe in the company and a very proud of it.
Q: What is it like working with Sonraj?
A: First of all, a lot of it is based on trust. I love Pakistan and I love visiting Pakistan. I see a great deal of potential here. So of course, the most important thing for me as a business person when I came from Switzerland was the professionalism. But what really impress me are how things are handled here, and the high level of creativity. The innovation and creativity at Sonraj is absolutely tremendous. It is an honor to be associated with a luxury high end product.
Q: Where do you see Pakistan’s economy in the next 5 years?
A: When I see all the numbers, when I see China, the connection Pakistan has with China, it’s a sure future. Pakistan need to capitalize on their advantages. It is important for the world to realise that Pakistan is on the rise, and therefore a fantastic place to invest.