These are some challenging times for all of us. As we are currently approaching a full month of the Movement Control Order here in Kuala Lumpur – the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone well. I know it’s been a heck of a month, and little did we know how much this pandemic would go on and affect our daily lives. Personally, it has been quite a chaotic month for us all here at Team Matick because the Movement Control Order literally kicked in just days after we wrapped up our GTG with Nodus.
Most of us are currently working from home as we speak, except for our resident doctor – KC, who is currently on the frontlines fighting the good fight. For me, work hasn’t slowed down at all, less time travelling to work means more time working. We’re all trying to adjust to the new norm, and hopefully we come out of this stronger, and as better human beings. But for now, we can only do what we can and pray that we pull through these unprecedented times. In the meantime, we would like to offer a little piece of distraction from all the unfathomable chaos that’s unfolding across the globe right now. So here’s a bit of the conversation I had last month with the team and Wes from Nodus Watches as we conclude our third edition of #TimeWellSpent GTGs with the good people of Front Room.
Take it easy, my dear friends.
For a closer look at the AvaMatick – click here.
Check out our podcast episode with Wes as well – here.
A big thank you to Terrence Yong and Cedric Hansen for providing some of your amazing photos for the site.
For Team Matick,
This conversation took place on 14th March 2020.
KC: So guys, we’re finally here: the event is over and we’ve crossed the finish line. Our little GTG is done and all the AvaMaticks have been delivered. I don’t know about you guys, but that was a hell of a ride. Without meaning to toot our own horn, this was an event with quite a lot of firsts for us, and I’m still stoked about pulling it off.
Wes: That was fun. Exhausting as hell but really fun. We’ve been all over the place for these types of things but Kuala Lumpur was definitely one of the highlights. I think its safe to say that I want to come back here every year.
Marsh: Oh man, I’m so exhausted, but for me, the excitement hasn’t worn off just yet. I heard some of our guests saying that this is by far the best GTG they’ve attended in KL, and that makes me really happy to hear, considering the amount of work and effort we had to put in for this. I think it’s safe to say that this is a mission accomplished. Well done, boys.
Vincent: I’m just glad everything worked out at the very end. I was working early in the morning and thought that I could come earlier too to help out. When I arrived at the Front Room I think I walked into quite a different surprise, given what you guys were doing at that time!
Marsh: Yeah I think you joined us right in the middle of a podcast recording session with Wes. That was quite an interesting experience, and a first for KC and myself. In fact, Wes had just recently published the episode on Long Roads (link here). My voice sounded like a complete potato, man.
KC: Ditto. Not looking forward to people on the internet confirming their opinions of me after listening to me run my mouth!
Vincent: Oh don’t worry about that, doc, I’m pretty sure it’ll be fine. The podcast aside, something that I noticed immediately as I entered the space was the stash of boxes right in the middle of the room. I was very excited when I realised that they were the AvaMaticks that we’d all been so excited about – all freshly packed, arranged, and ready to go home with their new owners. It was quite a sight for sore eyes.
KC: It was quite the spectacle indeed. Marsh had spent the entirety of the previous day running about to put the final touches. Right before you came in, and before we started recording the podcast, we had just sorted out all the boxes, placed the thank-you notes and Barton straps, and snapped a couple of photos. It was a pretty hectic afternoon. I think it’s safe to say that, as early as you came, you were still a bit too late!
Marsh: Speaking of which, this is also our very first time hosting a GTG in this brand new space by Front Room (a.k.a Seremban Cycle Trading Company), what do y’all think?
Wes: It was amazing. The space was really nicely lit during the day for our photoshoots, the ambiance was perfect for the event in the evening. The food was fantastic, even the pizza passed my New York test.
Vincent: I really love this new space, it’s really cosy with the soft lighting and overall decor. I really liked how the lighting was a little cool during the day and then gradually warmed up as the evening went on. The long table in the middle of the room just screams DaVinci’s “The Last Supper” as well.
KC: The new space was definitely a nice step up. While we’ve always loved the Front Room for its cozy and intimate space, we’ve found ourselves running out of room as our Time Well Spent community continues to grow. This new space is a lot bigger, yet Pete and Jo have worked their magic to keep the same ambiance and feel. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve found a great new home for our events, and I can’t wait for the next one!
Vincent: Oh by the way guys, I was quite busy with work in the days prior to the event, I believe you guys brought Wes around our little neighbourhood, tell me a little bit about what you guys did!
KC: Well it mostly involved a tonne of eating, drinking, shooting the shit, followed by more eating. Pretty much the quintessential Malaysian experience, if you ask me. But given the situation at the time, we were mostly erring on the side of safety, so that was pretty much all we did over the past 24 hours.
Marsh: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. It’s funny how this is actually our first time meeting Wes in person, but it felt like we were just hanging out with an old friend. We had a lot of great local food, great beer and great conversations. I’ve learned a ton about Nodus, as well as the brilliant minds behind the brand. Such a shame Cullen wasn’t here with us!
KC: Well, he’s with us in spirit. And I did send him pictures of Wes with food, just to keep him apprised.
Marsh: I’m sure that made him feel a little better about not being here, and not jealous at all (laughs). Anyway, Wes, what was your favourite dish here in KL?
Wes: I’m actually quite familiar with the food in the region as I grew up for part of my life in Singapore. My childhood favorite has always been mee goreng, but I was actually more taken by the banana leaf place we went to. The Nasi Lemak was also very memorable, but I can make that stuff at home. The curries at the banana leaf place was next level though, so was the food coma. KL, in general, was a great time. The city is awesome, and the location we were at was super convenient. Driving around and seeing the different neighborhoods was awesome. In some ways it reminds me of Singapore, but like an old Singapore from my childhood days. And of course, the event itself was the highlight. I have been friends with you guys and many of the people who came to the meetup but haven’t met anyone in person. It was great to finally put a face to the names. I’m super impressed by the community you guys have built over the years. This event went off without a hitch and it seems like everyone had a great time.
Marsh: Thanks man, that really means a lot to us. For what it’s worth, edition 3 had a very different vibe in comparison to the first two events. I felt like this GTG had a little bit more excitement and energy, thanks to your presence and enthusiasm.
KC: Yeah, I completely agree with you. Wes’s passion for the brand and what they stand for really shone through, which was something that people picked up on instinctively. I think there were quite a few Nodus converts that night! Anyway, Wes, since this was your first time in KL and joining us at #TimeWellSpent, what did you enjoy most about the evening?
Wes: Watching everyone get their AvaMaticks was quite special. As an online brand, we don’t often get a chance to see people actually receive and unbox their watches. We do go out and hand-deliver around LA and also throw parties, but seeing this thing unfold on the opposite side of the world was certainly something to remember. The food was fantastic, the beer was even better, and the company was the best.
Marsh: Speaking of watching people get their AvaMaticks, it’s funny how Pete suggested I man the “re-size station”; I had a lot of fun just helping our guests resize their watches so that they could wear them right away. I think that made a great photo opportunity as well as a chance to share an intimate conversation with the new owners about their new watch. Seeing the excitement manifesting on their faces was pretty cool and gratifying.
KC: Absolutely, in fact I think there were some great photos of you in action. You know what they say, you fake it ‘til you make it, right?
Marsh: Dude, you know that’s not the case here, pun intended. (laughs).
KC: Don’t I know it! So while the first AvaMaticks started trickling onto the wrists of our guests, we kicked off the night with our usual small speeches. As is customary, Pete went first by going over the house rules, addressing the do’s and don’ts for the night. I was also roped in for the first time to give a safety briefing of sorts for the night. As Wes often says, we live in freaky times, and I think we all felt it was important for us to put everyone’s health and safety before anything else.
Marsh: Yeah, these are weird times, man. Not sure about you guys but I was so stressed out, given all the uncertainty of the times we’re currently in. In the days just before the event, we were starting to see a second wave of infections, so we had to take extraordinary measures to ensure everyone’s safety at our event.
KC: Absolutely, there were quite a few rules that we had to implement for the evening. For starters, there were no handshakes or hugs; we all resorted to elbow bumps instead. I think it might have started off a little awkward, but it was good to see people get into the swing of things: I personally received quite a few overenthusiastic elbows by the end of the night! And while we’ve always stressed the importance of being careful with other people’s watches, we really had to step it up this time by ensuring everyone sanitised their hands both before and after handling anyone else’s watches. As Wes would say, these are freaky times we live in, and the speech I gave just revolved around the array of safety precautions we implemented for the evening. You guys got to give all the fun speeches though. (laughs)
Wes: I feel like I’ve been dodging corona bullets all of 2020 so far, starting in Europe, then to the US, then to Asia. I’ve gotten really lucky, landing in cities where the situation is either under control or the virus hasn’t hit yet. This thing very easily could have fallen apart, but as I always say, we roll with the punches. Everything always works out. I can’t begin to tell you how many times Cullen and I have had close calls on deliveries, travel plans, and everything in between, but at the end of the day, we are still alive and kicking. I know how important this thing was for Marshall – I could feel the anxiety emanating from his body – and really, I’m just thankful not only to you guys but also to everyone who came out and maintained the safety precautions that we set in place, especially because I had another stop to make on the tour.
Vincent: You may have been used to the experience, but we surely weren’t! I gotta admit, it was a pretty touching moment when you delivered your speech, Marsh. The Matick Blog has come a long way for sure. The fact that we got such an amazing opportunity to work with Nodus has definitely helped elevate things to a whole new level. And let’s not forget the food on the night; it was delightful, with pizzas, rolls, meatballs, etc; all prepared by our friends at The Front Room & Kneady Baker, Pete and Jo! And the entire menu was named after Nodus’s product line-up, past and present! Pretty clever, I would say.
Marsh: Thanks for your kind words, Vincent. And yes, we started the site sometime around 2015, and it definitely hasn’t been an easy journey. We faced lots of challenges and growing pains along the way, and struggled in ways most people wouldn’t imagine nor understand. But you know what, running the site for this long now has made me realise the beauty and the joy of just being present and involved with the process. I have a lot of faith in the team and the good people we surround ourselves with, people like Wes and Cullen are a great representation of the community we are a part of. You know, this whole watch thing for me, personally, as corny as it may sound, but it really is a labour of love, man. Anyway, edition 3 of #TimeWellSpent was definitely, at least in my books, the best GTG we’ve done so far.
KC: Absolutely, it was a genuinely fulfilling evening. That said, I was really glad to see such a wide spectrum of watches on display again. Besides the Noduses that were obviously there for the night, we also had everything from Seiko 5s to a Laurent Ferrier, oh and a Ressence too. Seeing that happen always warms my heart. The founding principle behind Matick and TWS has always been a coming together of passion. And a passion for watches transcends price tags; there’s as much space on our “sexpiles” for a G-Shock as there is for a Patek Philippe.
Marsh: Exactly, I’ve said this a million times but I’m not afraid to say it again. This is what it’s all about. No pretentiousness and snobbery, just an evening of great camaraderie, company, watches, food and beer. It’s just everything we stand for, and I’m very sure for Nodus as well.
Vincent: As I’ve mentioned earlier, this was my very first time joining everyone here at home since returning from the land down under, and it was definitely an enjoyable experience. It was also an eye-opener for me to see the community that The Matick Blog has built over the past couple of years. I truly enjoyed the night and meeting everyone I had heard so much about. I think I’d go so far as to say that it was much more enjoyable than the meetups I’ve had back in Melbourne. Everyone was so closely connected, sharing their thoughts and experiences on watch collecting, which then translated into having conversations about everything else under the sun as well. On top of that, both Wes and I were finally able to put faces to names for all the wonderful individuals from the online watch community, or should I say faces to Instagram handles (laughs).
Marsh: I’m just happy and relieved that everything fell into place at the very end. The delays and shipping issues we faced really had my blood pressure going at some points. I’m not sure if our attendees were aware of the issues and anxiety attacks we had to put up with just to get their watches shipped over (laughs).
KC: Yeah, we encountered some delays with the shipping process, but I’m glad they came through at the very end, literally at the very end. That’s probably a story for another time though; it’s a tale that deserves its very own article!
Marsh: But man, it’s been a heck of a ride. I think we should take this opportunity to give a huge shout out to our main bosses – Pete and Jo, for being so generous in allowing us to host such a great event at their humble little space. Also we really couldn’t pull this off without the help of their dedicated team.
Wes: Yeah, Pete and Jo were great. Honestly, I haven’t had this level of hospitality that they showed. They really went out of their way to make sure that the event went well and that we were all comfortable. The free flow of Tiger beer really helped. I really hope we can turn this into an annual thing. As this company grows, the importance of community grows with it. This trip has reaffirmed to me that we are a community-building company that just happens to sell watches. Your vision for Team Matick is in perfect alignment with our mission for Nodus. Ultimately, these are just watches, but it’s the community that makes the world a bit of a nicer place to live in. Also, if I can get my annual fixing of nasi lemak, teh tarik, and tiger beer, that would be nice too.
Marsh: I’m happy you feel that way, man. We can’t wait to have you back again next year, and be sure to bring Cullen along for the ride!
KC: Oh man, let me know in advance: I’ll need to steady my heart, and prep my liver, because we gon’ drink to the ground! More seriously though, I think I speak for all of us when I say this was one of the highlights of the year, and we’d absolutely look forward to a part 2 of The Matick Blog x Nodus Watches next year.
Vincent: Same here, definitely down for more of anything Nodus and of course beer. Bring it on! See you guys soon.
Marsh: Cheers guys. To hell with the virus and wear your watches in good health, and see you next year, Wes! (fingers crossed)
*sounds of beer bottles shattering into pieces*
’til next time, Wes.