Watches With Their Own Little Worlds


PARIS — What does a watch say about you? Mahmood Qannati would tell you, “Anything you want it to.” The goal of his Bahrain-based brand is to give clients a way for their wrist ornaments to convey whatever they wish.

“We make ‘wearable art objects’ that can tell the story of who you are or capture a meaningful moment in your life,” Mr. Qannati, founder and chief executive of Qannati Objet d’Art, said in an interview in April in Paris, where he was overseeing the final production of the company’s first collection. “We offer full customization because that, I believe, is the future of luxury.”

That collection, called Celebration of Time, was introduced earlier this month in Paris. It included six Quantum timepieces and six Eternity bracelets (prices on application), as well as a 13th piece that he plans to donate to a charity auction.

In early 2018, Mr. Qannati, a marketing executive in Bahrain’s capital of Manama who had no professional ties to watch or jewelry making before joining the industry, decided to create a company to make well-crafted objects that reflected his fascination for ancient civilizations.

On a visit to the Louvre museum in Paris in 2019, he discovered a stone-carved figure titled “The hero Gilgamesh overpowering a lion,” in which the ancient Mesopotamian king was depicted with a cuff on each wrist. “I realized that the concept of men wearing an ornament on each wrist had its roots in civilizations going back 4,500 years,” Mr. Qannati said, and it prompted him to include both watches and bracelets in his line.

On the advice of the jewelry influencer Katerina Perez, whom he reached out to on Instagram, Mr. Qannati began working with two French jewelry and métier d’art specialists: Frédéric Mané, a designer, and Jothi-Sèroj Ebroussard, a jeweler and sculptor. “No one needs a watch to tell the time,” Mr. Qannati said. “My objective was to show their absolutely top-notch craftsmanship.”

Some of the pieces, like the Gladiators Quantum watch, were topped with a flat glass, while others have domes, like the First Civilization Quantum and its matching Eternity bracelet, which feature two miniature white-gold figures of Adam and Eve, encircled by a gray serpent, reaching for an apple crafted of Oregon sunstone.

Other themes include the Jurassic era, Formula 1 racing and Bahrain itself, celebrated with the “Pearl of the Gulf” Eternity bracelet that notes the country’s pearling traditions with a tiny boat sculpted in brown silver sails on a blue sea of larimar.

The watches’ Swiss automatic mechanical movements are assembled by Regence Production, a watchmaking manufacture in Meyrin, outside of Geneva, and the straps are made by Atelier du Bracelet Parisien, known as A.B.P., in Paris.

Mr. Qannati said the collection could be viewed by appointment in Paris, and he also invited clients to propose their own designs. “This collection is the realization of a dream,” he said. “We hope to fill a niche for those in the luxury market looking for truly unique goods.”



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