Sharing is caring!

A younger and rising collectors’ neighborhood, higher gross sales figures, and the entry of manufacturers similar to Seiko, Czapek and Bovet 1822 are serving to focus international consideration on India

A younger and rising collectors’ neighborhood, higher gross sales figures, and the entry of manufacturers similar to Seiko, Czapek and Bovet 1822 are serving to focus international consideration on India

In August 2020, watchmaker Jaipur Watch Firm launched the Leaping Hour watches. The timing — proper in the midst of the primary wave of Covid-19 — may have jeopardised founder Gaurav Mehta’s plans, however his firm ended up promoting 150 of the 200 stainless-steel wristwatches. “I used to be shocked,” says Mehta, 52, whose enterprise took a few months to choose up after the March 2020 lockdown. “I name it a case of ‘revenge shopping for’ [as people were splurging when the market reopened]. We added extra variants to the gathering to satisfy the rising demand, and now solely about 23 items are left.” Priced at ₹50,000, with a particular motion function for each time the minute hand struck 12, they’re out there on the model’s web site and Tata CLiQ.

Gaurav Mehta, founder, Jaipur Watch Company

Gaurav Mehta, founder, Jaipur Watch Firm

Mehta’s success got here due to the fast-emerging cult of watch collectors within the nation. To make the gross sales, he reached out to potential consumers by way of his high 50 purchasers and a community of watch collector communities, similar to RedBar Bombay, the primary Indian chapter of the worldwide group RedBar, Watch Fans India (WEI), and Horology Speak.

Jumping Hour Watch by Jaipur Watch Company

Leaping Hour Watch by Jaipur Watch Firm

Whereas India has three vital unbiased watch manufacturers at current — Jaipur Watch Firm, Bangalore Watch Firm, and Titan (HMT, whose watch division shut down in 2016, sells its inventory on its web site) — the demand for worldwide luxurious watches is rising amongst new and seasoned collectors. This is applicable to the massive manufacturers like Hublot and Omega in addition to the independents and micro-brands. The checklist of worldwide names who’re eyeing our market consists of Grand Seiko, Czapek, Girard-Perregaux, and Bovet 1822, says Preetika Mathew, editor of WatchTime India journal. “There’s information of extra manufacturers coming,” she provides.

Preetika Mathew, editor-in-charge, WatchTime India

Preetika Mathew, editor-in-charge, WatchTime India

The Indian market is large, exhibits information. Based on market and shopper information firm Statista, our income within the watch phase is ₹13,312 crore this 12 months. The market is anticipated to develop 10.24% yearly until 2026.

Rising the gathering

India’s watch communities — quite close-knit, with members becoming a member of solely by way of invitation or credible referrals — are a current phenomenon, however the numbers are rising. RedBar Bombay is taken into account one of the crucial reputed amongst them. Born out of 34-year-old Punit Mehta’s Bombay Watch Fans in 2021, it’s India’s first official chapter of RedBar, which claims to be the biggest watch collector neighborhood on this planet.

Punit Mehta, chapter leader, RedBar Bombay

Punit Mehta, chapter chief, RedBar Bombay

The official depend of the Mumbai chapter is slightly over 100 members who meet as much as talk about new releases, uncommon timepieces, manufacturers and private collections. Karan Anshuman, creator-director of Emmy-nominated present Inside Edge and of Mirzapur, is a member.

Whereas watch collectors are normally seen as older males, this pattern is altering, says Mehta. The typical member of RedBar Bombay is between 35 and 40. There are a handful of ladies too, like Karishma Karer, editor of Fingers On Time and co-founder of The Hour Markers, a media platform for watches. Mehta calls Karer a supporter of their neighborhood whose “steering and connections have helped us develop”.

Karishma Karer, editor of Hands On Time and co-founder of The Hour Markers

Karishma Karer, editor of Fingers On Time and co-founder of The Hour Markers

Down South, Chennai has a powerful watch neighborhood. Stylist and watch fanatic Osman Abdul Razak is planning to begin Madras Watch Store (with a buddy) for neo-vintage and art-deco timepieces. The rarest items he’s noticed within the metropolis embrace a Nineteen Forties Zenith Computerized Bumper motion, which was handed down three generations, and a 1957 Rolex Oyster Royal with a textured chevron dial in cream with uncommon hour markers.

Essential days

The pandemic’s affect has been a ‘double-edged sword’. Although on the outset, lovers stopped shopping for, Mehta says that, on the similar time, their curiosity within the finer particulars grew. They turned extra inclined to studying and gaining information earlier than making a purchase order. The neighborhood additionally tailored effectively on-line. “A variety of manufacturers arrange reside Q&A periods on Instagram to satisfy model founders and have them reply questions. We additionally moved to webinars the place specialists talked about particular matters,” he says.

And what about watch information? For Mathew, the digitisation of stories didn’t have a direct impact on editorial construction. “Print didn’t change a lot. We’re nonetheless doing in-depth tales and critiques, however the on-line area has turn out to be extra dynamic. So, we rush with tales on-line,” she says.

In the meantime, the newest information from the Federation of Swiss Watch Business is exhibiting promise in India. In January and February, the worth of Swiss watch exports to the nation grew from ₹175.7 crore (in 2021) to ₹196.1 crore — although it’s not but near the 2020 determine of ₹225 crore.

Model conscious

Swiss watchmakers are additionally taking an curiosity in India (globally, we had been the twenty fourth largest importer within the first two months of 2021). RedBar Bombay has organised many periods for its members, from a chat with Maximilian Büsser, the founding father of luxurious model MB&F, to at least one with model director Christian Selmoni and CMO Laurent Perves of Swiss producer Vacheron Constantin.

Indians aren’t simply shopping for Rolexes and Omegas. “The net area has launched watch nerds to many new, unbiased manufacturers like MB&F, Ming, Genus Watches, and Kurono Tokyo,” says Mehta. For these whose pockets aren’t as deep, the mainstream selections are restricted to Tissot, Rado, Seiko and TAG Heuer, says Nirupesh Joshi.

Nirupesh Joshi and wife Mercy Amalraj, founders, Bangalore Watch Company

Nirupesh Joshi and spouse Mercy Amalraj, founders, Bangalore Watch Firm

His model, Bangalore Watch Firm, produces a couple of hundred to a thousand items a 12 months. They’re identified for watches that commemorate Indian aviation and area exploration. “Our bestsellers are our MACH 1 [inspired by the Indian Air Force], and Apogee watches. The limited-edition Apogee Extraterrestrial has a meteorite rock recovered from Scandinavia. All 50 items, priced at ₹1.7 lakh every, had been offered in a couple of days after its launch final August,” he provides.

MACH 1 by Bangalore Watch Company

MACH 1 by Bangalore Watch Firm

The craze for ‘restricted’

Whereas improved tech and the affordability of smartwatches have seen their recognition rise in India, Mumbai-based retailer, Artwork of Time, observes that this has not considerably impacted the posh watch business. “One is extra more likely to put on a superb timepiece to an occasion than a smartwatch. Luxurious watches are like items of artwork, handcrafted and handed down generations and might be ticking lengthy into the long run,” says the corporate’s head of communications, Disha Sawhney.

Dr Karan Madan, founder, Watch Enthusiasts India

Dr Karan Madan, founder, Watch Fans India

What’s altering, nevertheless, is the obsession with restricted version fashions and the way social networking platforms are serving to shut the hole in acquisition. Final November, Dr Karan Madan, who based WEI, posted a photograph of Seiko’s Alpinist Mountain Glacier, which was solely out there in Europe, on the group’s Fb web page. A member of WEI who lives in Norway instantly acquired in contact and requested the Delhi-based diabetes specialist to pay for the limited-edition watch and have it delivered to his residence. “He then despatched it along with his brother who was coming to India a month later,” he concludes.


Leave a Comment