Moroccan entrepreneur Omar Chaoui has just launched Magana, a high-end watch brand inspired in part by Morocco. It’s a rare initiative in the exclusive and highly competitive world of watchmaking. We wanted to find out more.

You may already be familiar with Hisham Oumlil, Farah Amrani, Fayçal Karem, or Kenza Berrada. In our series on Moroccan entrepreneurs, today we’re talking about Omar Chaoui, the creator of Magana, a brand-new high-end watch brand. Born in Kénitra, raised between Casablanca and Khouribga, and educated in Tangier, this 100% Moroccan profile piqued our curiosity. Based in Dubai (where he has been living for 24 years), Omar Chaoui initially pursued a career in luxury watchmaking before venturing into entrepreneurship. After two attempts in the tech industry and luxury product resale, he ultimately returned to his first love. With Magana, the Moroccan entrepreneur aims to create a modern and inspiring watch for what he calls « urban nomads. » The first model pays homage to his Moroccan roots, particularly the city of Fes. We’ll tell you all about his journey, his vision, and his product.

His journey?

After a Moroccan childhood, where he received education in various public institutions, Omar Chaoui joined his mother, who had remarried and relocated to Dubai. There, he began a career in high-end watchmaking and successively joined various houses such as Baume & Mercier, Harry Winston, Roger Dubuis, and De Grisogono. Throughout his experiences, he worked in different areas of watchmaking (except for production) and gradually climbed the ranks within the watchmaking industry. Above all, he developed a deep knowledge of his product – luxury watches – which he admits to having « fallen in love with » during his very first visit to Switzerland for training. In 2019, he became a member of the highly prestigious Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix Academy.

Approaching his 40s, he felt that it was time for him to make a move and venture into entrepreneurship. He first created DynaLux Consulting, a company specializing in data collection for major luxury houses. Then, he took a detour into luxury product resale with a new company named Anfa Time. Following an assault during a trip to Paris, he reflected on his life. « I realized that if I had died at that moment, I wouldn’t have left much of a lasting legacy for my children. That’s when I told myself: focus your efforts on building something that can outlive you. » The Moroccan entrepreneur then pondered on what he truly knew how to do, and that’s when the idea of creating his own watch brand came to him.


His vision?

To create a watch, one must have something to share. Omar Chaoui ponders, « How can we offer a watch with a unique design, high quality, beautiful complications, at an affordable and fair price without claiming to be artisanal high watchmaking? » He then reflects on the distinct identity of the United Arab Emirates and derives three fundamental values: culture, solidarity, and consideration. Quickly, the Moroccan entrepreneur knows that he wants to cater to « urban nomads. » In other words, men and women who are city dwellers, active, curious about other cultures, and love to travel.

Another crucial point is that this target audience « has awareness, » according to the founder of Magana. They have a consciousness of time. « As we age, we become more aware of how we spend our 1,000 waking minutes each day. What I want is that every time you look at the watch, you become aware of how you invest your time. » I want the watch to tell them, « Take the time to do something you love every day. »

His product?

Launching a watch brand in 2023 requires a solid foundation. Fortunately, through a twist of fate, the Moroccan entrepreneur meets an expert in Swiss watch production and forms a partnership to design his product. At Magana, there isn’t a permanent collection per se; instead, watches are released in successive drops on the brand’s website. Each drop consists of 212 watches (a nod, once again, to Morocco). Throughout the year, four drops will follow, aligned with the brand’s aforementioned values. For example, in 2023, the first watch created corresponds to the « culture » value and pays homage to the city of Fes (the ancestral hometown of the founder). The next watch will take us on a journey to another ancient city, Istanbul…

But let’s focus on the very first watch in the collection. It has been crafted with a Japanese automatic movement. Its case is made of stainless steel, and the extra-resistant sapphire glass is treated with anti-reflective coating. The level of finishing is appreciated, with a polished-mirror effect on the screws, polished-mirror on the sides, and satin-finish on the lugs. Attention to detail is evident, with the number of units engraved on the back and the logo engraved on the crown. The Magana watch appears to be an ideal daily companion. All that’s left is to try it on…

Price : 15 000 DHS approximately

Picture (c) : Omar Chaoui

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