Deep Ellum Watch Company Grand Time Wants To Grab Your Lifestyle By The Wrist.
When you walk into Grand Time's office in Deep Ellum, it becomes instantly apparent: This is not your typical workplace.
First off, there is no receptionist; you just kind of walk in, go to someone's desk and say you have an appointment or whatever. Then, an employee will probably direct you to their office's waiting area, which is basically a fake park set up with picnic tables and artificial turf.
This unique aesthetic that owners Amir and Shabeena Meghani apply to their office bridges over to the design of the watches they design here, too. Under the Grand Time umbrella, the Maghanis have created two brands — Breda, which is targeted to the 18- to 24-year-old, just-out-of-school demographic, and JBW, for the 25-plus crowd that's locked down more solid jobs. They also create private-label brands for retailers like Forever 21 and Jack Threads.
Regardless of the brand, these products celebrate creativity and being bold. That's on purpose: This mindset is something that the Meghanis say has helped them stand apart from their competition in the industry. To hear them tell it, none of Grand Time's competitors really have similar-looking watches.
“With Breda, I don't really see a lot of people competing in our space,” Amir says. “There are Timex and Casio, but those are like legacy, heritage brands that are not really celebrating fashion. So, really, brands celebrating fashion with watches under $100? I would say Breda is the only one really there.”
While Amir and Shabeena don't see a lot of brands competing with their wristwatch industry ideals, they do see competition from brands that target consumers with the same lifestyles with which Grand Time aligns its brands. According to Amir, Grand Time competes with “a lot of brands that are about sustainability and brands that are really talking to the consumer about transparency about where products are made and how they're made.”
Because Grand Time sees its own brands first and foremost as lifestyle and fashion brands, Amir and Shabeena say they may even eventually extend their product offerings past wristwatches and start more product lines, although they are careful to say that this won't happen soon. In the meantime, they want to continue to grow their current brands with just watches for now.
“Our vision is to build a house of fashion and lifestyle brands,” Shabeena says. “So they're going to naturally have a shared connection because they're under this Grand Time umbrella. Of course, if you have a house, there are different rooms, different kids, but it's still the same family. And that's really our vision, and we don't plan to stop with JBW and Breda. They're kind of like our first babies, and we're really working hard and have high aspirations for them.”
To be sure, the family's history in the watch industry is a long one, and it took a long time to move into the creative side of the wristwatch industry. The Meghanis'grandfather started selling watch bands in India in 1950. Later, their father, Akber, became the lead distributor for Casio Watches in Pakistan in 1984, then stopped when he moved to Dallas in 1990 when he joined his siblings' watch-trading business. In 2005, he started Grand Time. When Amir and Shabeena took over in 2007, they transitioned the company from trading to launching its own productions
Their branding efforts particular shine through on social media, where Grand Time's emphasis on simplicity comes to light. The Meghanis they want their brands to be quietly confident rather than shoved in in the customer's face.
“Today, consumers and young people do not want to be limited to one thing,” Amir says. “That's in the past. It's not like, 'You are in this clique' or 'You are a punk' and all the cliches that came with that. Those rules do not exist anymore. It's all about being the master of self-expression, being true to who you are and appreciating other people's creativity while expressing yours.”