Precision timing for trader

Staying on top of the markets and foreign exchange movements is key for jewellery business owner and watch dealer Adil Iskander – who sources luxury watches from dealers around the world.

Adil Iskander at his Adnan Jewellery shop in Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
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Adil Iskander moved to Dubai from Iraq in 1975 with his parents, two sisters and six brothers. After school he would help in his father’s jewellery shop, which was located in Deira. Forty years on, 47-year-old Adil is running his own successful jewellery business, Adnan Jewellery, located in Jumeirah Beach Residence, along with an online marketplace for watches, Timepiece360. He lives in Al Warqaa with his wife, Cherry Bahramain, and two sons ages 19 and 12.


I usually wake up early. As a Muslim, I have to rise for my prayers. In the winter time that’s at 6.15am, but in the summer I wake at 5.30am. After prayers, I take my youngest son to school. When I come back I have breakfast and watch the news for an hour, as I like to catch up on current affairs.


Then comes preparation for the day ahead – once I’m trading it gets very busy, so it’s important I’m on top of my game. I check my emails and messages. Usually, my Timepiece360 partners Khaled and Khalil have inundated me with messages regarding client queries, so I focus on these and consider how to meet our customers’ needs. I also check foreign exchange movements, currencies and the price of commodities before leaving for the jewellery shop. I do this because as a commodities trader it can really affect the business and how much money we make or lose.


My driver picks me up from my home in Al Warqaa and takes me to the store. The shop isn’t just a jewellery store; it’s also where we hold the watches that we buy and sell through Timepiece360. Once I arrive, I undertake all the necessary banking activities before opening up.


The doors open and customers from all over the world come to browse our luxury jewellery items – Europeans, locals, holidaymakers. Meeting so many different people is one of the perks of the job. Our Timepiece360 customers usually arrange an appointment, so we have many scheduled meetings throughout the day. The watches we sell vary in value from Dh10,000 up to Dh190,000. The high-value watches are typically sourced upon request. My favourite brands are Patek Philippe and Rolex. Most customers who come in are ready to buy because they’ve seen the product online, researched prices and have already asked us questions over the phone or email – by the time they come to the store, they know what they want.


In between serving customers, I source watches requested by clients using our dealers based all over the world, from Europe to the United States and Canada to the Far East. There’s a real art to the watch trade, according to how, where and when you source. We buy our watches according to the market. So at the moment, because the euro is currently down, it’s a good time for us to buy from the continent. Sometimes you make money but sometimes you lose, and the situation can change at the drop of a hat – it’s important to keep on top of the market. After we’ve sourced a watch, we arrange delivery. We send products to customers all over the world, and for Dubai-based buyers who can’t make it to the shop, our driver delivers their new investment.


There is no definite time for lunch because our trading day is so hectic, and customers always come first. When we do eat, we either go somewhere along JBR or order something in to eat with the staff while having a catch-up.


It’s time to talk to watch dealers. I am always building relationships, sourcing globally and trying to predict what people want so that we have it before anyone asks for it. Watches are a great business to be in. The only thing that’s certain is that from the minute I arrive to the minute we close up I’m on my feet, working hard. The other day we made three big sales – one customer even came all the way from India.


We close and the driver takes me home, where I can finally breathe out. In the evenings I enjoy time with my lovely wife. Away from work, I like to dabble in the kitchen and try to fit in some swimming sessions during the week. I work hard six days a week, come rain or shine, but Friday is the day I dedicate completely to my family. I typically make breakfast, then in the afternoon we spend time with the extended family. I always answer my phone, though – after all, you never know when a serious investor is going to make that all-important call.

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