The Mills officially opened at the end of 2018, becoming a new landmark that combines historical and cultural retailing, attracting a number of local brands in Hong Kong.
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The Mills is a revitalization project from Nan Fung Group scheduled for completion and actually completed in 2018. A destination consisting of a business incubator, experiential retail, and a non-profit cultural institution may be relatively unfamiliar to Hong Kong people; yet The Mills’ vision and history is a purely Hong Kong story.
It witnessed the manufacturing heyday in the 1960s, and now it carries the legacy towards a future of applied creativity and innovation. Visitors can explore the continuity of an authentic Hong Kong story, where themes of textile and industry are woven into experiences of innovation, culture, and learning.
Eoniq successfully raised funds for launching a project a few years ago on the Indiegogo crowdfunding network, which is for customers to make their own personalized unique watches at The Mills. Through engaging in different workshops such as designing automatic tourbillon, printing dial and burning blue steel pointer, customers may experience the watchmaking process.
In recent years, Swiss watchmaking brands have opened shops all over Hong Kong, however, the Hong Kong local watch industry has also had a glorious history during the 1950 – 1980.
Although local watchmaking has already faded out, Li Junguo (Quinn), one of Eoniq’s founders, decided to set up his own brand with two partners in 2014.
“I started building up the brand after I left my work at McKinsey since 2011. It is because I am interested in watchmaking, so I find some fine caliber factory online, and contact the French freelancer to help me ordering from France as the people from Swiss watch factory usually only speak in French,” he said.
After buying the caliber from the factory, the brand will assemble the watch according to the custom design of the guests.
In fact, Eoniq had opened stores in Sheung Wan and Tsim Sha Tsui K11 before, but the shop could hardly afford a monthly rental fee of 1 million HKD in Tsim Sha Tsui.
In terms of online sales, Eoniq’s customer profile is diversified and located in different regions, namely, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, the United States, and Europe.
“The Mills was interested in Eoniq, knowing that we were assembling the watchmaking on our own, and asked if we could make the watchmaking process transparent so that the visitors could see the process of watchmaking. Thus, we have been given a space on the ground floor at The Mills, which became our current flagship store.”
For the Automatic Tourbillon design workshop, customers can engrave their name, special phrase, signature or pattern on the watch. With the assistance of a watchmaker, guests can assemble the watch by themselves.
Guests can also add personal elements to the dial, such as handwritten words or patterns, and there is a traditional printing machine to allow customers experiencing the traditional printing method on the surface of the watches.
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“Our brand is getting bigger, so I hired more masters in watches, including a watchmaker who had previously worked in Omega. In addition to allowing our guests to design their own watches, we want to let more people understand the value of watchmaking.”
(Source: MP Deluxe)