How this homegrown watch brand is changing the landscape of luxury watch retailing?

The wristwatch industry in India is a 10,000 Crore market out of which luxury wristwatches forms a percentage.
How this homegrown watch brand is changing the landscape of luxury watch retailing?
Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj

Bangalore watch company is start-up launched by two passionate entreprenures. Founders Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj left behind their tech-consulting careers overseas and returned to India to start Bangalore Watch Company™ in 2018 with a singular vision to produce world-class watches that tell stories from India. Bangalore Watch Company has shipped watches to online buyers in 32 nations. In an exclusive conversation with founders key insights about the startup venture shared. 

Nirupesh


What inspires you to launch Bangalore Watch Company? Also, shed light on your entrepreneurial journey?

Bangalore Watch Company™ was started out of a desire to produce world-class wristwatches that are inspired by our 21st century view of India. Each collection tells a story from India, be it our history, our aviation, or others. We worked in the tech industry for several years and lived overseas when we developed a particular interest in high-quality wristwatches. During a sabbatical in 2016, we explored the idea of starting a watch brand from India, so we quit our careers overseas and returned home to launch our brand in early 2018.

What is your assessment about luxury watch retailing in India. What kind of potential do you see for startup new brand?

The wristwatch industry in India is a 10,000 Crore market out of which luxury wristwatches forms a percentage. With rising disposable incomes, and people becoming more worldly, more and more people are commemorating important moments in their lives with a purchase of a luxury watch. The affordable luxury price segment where we play in, is observed to be growing 22% CAGR for the past five years. Our USP is that each watch collection is limited production, and tells a story from India. No watch company in this segment does what we do today, and we’re confident about the growth of the brand. Also, about 30% of our owners are overseas, so we’re really building a global brand.

What is the current distribution of Bangalore Watch Company? Going forward, what are the plans to scale-up the distribution?

Currently, Bangalore Watch Company™ watches are available for purchase directly via our brand’s website, and via TataCliq Luxury’s IndiLuxe platform. There is still a reluctance in India to make high-value product purchases online, so we are exploring various offline and Omnichannel approaches including retail.

Tell us about your product/ brand portfolio? Also, shed light on starting and exiting price range? Also, share the profile of your clientele?

Since launch, we’ve had there limited edition launches. The first collection was a Gentlemen's Dress-watch, the second collection was a Ladies Dress-watch, and the latest collection was an Indian Air Force inspired Aviation watch. The price points are between INR 39,000 and 53,000.

Who do you see as your competition?

We have placed ourselves in the affordable luxury segment which is ripe with multiple Swiss brands and other global brands. However, we’re very confident about the brand’s USP. What we really consider as a hurdle is the lack of education about high-quality watches in India, there is very little knowledge about what makes a high-quality watch special, and what makes high-quality automatic watches different from run-of-the-mill fashion label watches. This is a hurdle not just for Bangalore Watch Company™, but for the entire luxury watch industry.

 According to you, what are the major challenges of luxury watch retailing space?

We’re still a young brand that is growing as an online-only business. But the challenges in luxury watch retail are not different from that of any other luxury retail - it is the dearth of high-quality retail spaces, rising rents, and the changing consumer preferences in terms of where and how they’d like to make the purchase.

 What is your strategy to counter competition from brand such as Ethos and Titan?

Ethos is the largest luxury watch retailer in India. We do not compete with them.
Titan produces 15 million watches a year, their average selling price is about INR 2,000. Our average selling price is about INR 50,000. We don’t see them as competition.

At last, kindly highlight your growth plans?

The affordable luxury watches segment is growing at about 22% CAGR in India. In our second full year of operation we’ve observed growth rates that is orders of magnitude higher than this segment’s market growth. We are confident that this growth rate will sustain.

 

Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj
 
 
 
 
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