A woman on a mission to inspire passion in watchmaking, entrepreneur Melika Yazdjerdi’s love affair with horology is going from strength to strength
Whether you’re a diehard timepiece connoisseur or a wannabe member of Dubai’s prestigious watch community, it’s likely you will have heard the name Melika Yazdjerdi. With almost 12 years at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons under her belt, plus her role as one of the leading forces behind Dubai Watch Week, her career trajectory spans multiple regions and sectors. However, Melika’s latest chapter looks set to be the most remarkable yet, having joined forces with renowned watch collector Hamdan Al Hudaidi to launch Ashfields Consultancies, the first luxury horology consultancy in the UAE, quickly followed by Perpétuel, a bricks-and-mortar destination designed to bring the passionate community together. “We started with our first client when our office was not even ready,” Melika tells MOJEH. “We used to meet him in DIFC at a different restaurant every time. It was so humbling and amazing, because here was someone willing to take a chance on us while we were still trying to figure out who we were.”
View this post on Instagram
Be it business or pleasure, when it comes to making big decisions in life, Melika strongly believes that trusting your gut is the key to success. “If I could give one piece of advice to my 18-year-old self, it would be to follow your heart and never – and I mean never – ignore your instinct. My intuition has always been the driving force behind every important personal and professional decision.” A mantra that has clearly paid off, she and Hamdan now count some of the world’s most exclusive collectors and global companies among their clients, who seek the pair out to work on everything from strategies and mergers to luxury experiences, all while running a space for customers to network, learn in depth about the industry and make purchases, not just of luxury watches, but jewellery, vintage pieces, art and other collectibles too. “One of the most important driving factors for our clients is access to information,” explains Melika. “Our collectors want to know about market trends, what the next big brand is, or how to diversify their investments. With our corporate clients, the main area of focus is strategy and brand development.”
Working out of DIFC in an office that stays true to the ethos of the brand – “a space that inspires, is inviting yet discreet and reflects a bright and positive atmosphere” – Perpétuel launched its first watch collaboration in December 2020 with French brand Baltic, creating a limited-edition piece in honour of UAE National Day. Additional partnerships were quick to follow, with plenty more in the pipeline for 2021 and beyond. “We have around five more collaborations, which will be announced soon,” Melika says. “One of the most exciting is a new concept I am working on that will change the way we view exhibitions and events; I can’t wait to announce it next year!”
View this post on Instagram
Proof that women really can have it all, while she may be a businesswoman at heart, Melika loves nothing more than spending her weekends at home with family, friends and her two “little furballs”, her Siamese and Norwegian forest cats, while keeping her mind and body well exercised. “I love yoga, meditation, core strength training and, of course, clean eating,” she says. “I’m very particular about where my ingredients come from since I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen – for me, cooking and baking are both zen moments.”
“You hear amazing anecdotes about entrepreneurs who follow their heart,” she says. “But it’s not until you begin your own journey that you discover you have the power to make your dreams come true – to wake up knowing that today is another day to follow your heart or one that could go down in history.” We’re sure Melika has plenty more of those days ahead.
How would you describe your day-to-day style?
I’m heavily influenced by ’40s and ’50s fashion – the elegance, class and impeccable taste. I love the layers, structure and shapes synonymous with that period, such as high-waisted trousers, double breasted jackets, A-line midi skirts and pleats. I don’t wear a lot of jewellery or accessories on a daily basis – I tend to stick to my watch and then one statement piece.
What staples could you not live without?
White sneakers and double-breasted jackets. You can pair them with anything and go from the boardroom to a night out and still look stylish.
Where do you shop?
Online or overseas when I travel. Seoul and London are my favourite shopping destinations, but I buy the majority of my wardrobe online as I spend a lot of time researching new brands or artisans.
Who are your go-to shoe brands?
It has to be Hermès for sandals, Gucci for loafers and Superga for sneakers – they are so stylish and never go out of fashion.
What’s the last thing you bought?
A Whoop strap [health monitor] to unleash my true potential!
What does a watch say about a person?
I think watches and shoes tell you so much; they reflect a person’s personality, whether they’re discreet, showy, a newbie or old-school just from these accessories.
Photography by Ausra Osipaviciute
Styling: Samineh Safavi