How India is shifting from Swiss brands to bespoke watches?

In an exclusive Gaurav Mehtra, Founder, Jaipur Watch Company sheds light on the growth strategy of the company.
Gaurav
Gaurav Mehtra

Kindly shed light on the journey of Jaipur Watch Company as far

With a strong belief in the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Jaipur Watch Company as a brand was built in the year 2013 to cater the niche market of the Indian society. Started initially as a Coin Watch Manufacturer we have evolved into various offerings. Believing in class and tradition that resonates with the Indian audience, the brand has the potential to be the most successful watch name in India. Our watches are a product of innovation, with a subtle hint of tradition. We aim to provide bespoke luxury watches to clients, which will remain as their family heirloom.

The growth is certainly a positive factor for Jaipur Watch Company. We fit in as India’s only fine watch manufacturer carving a niche for ourselves and creating timepieces that are worthy of being passed down generations as heirlooms and as collectibles or memorabilia.

What are your views on the luxury watch market in India? Kindly highlight few numbers to quantify the same?

When we started in 2013, there was no player nor was there a concept of a micro brand fine watch manufacturer in India. It was a new territory for anyone to explore. We took the leap of faith based on the confidence that there will be an opportunity for a unique offering and the risk has paid off. 

 Indian market has been heavily dominated by Swiss Brands when it comes to Luxury Watches. The Indian Watch market at present is approximated to be at a size of INR 10,000 Crore with a contribution of roughly 20% from International Brands.

Our Journey is just 6 years old in this market, but from our experience I can comment that the market has matured, there is space for newer brands and with the matured audience there is certainly a liking and appreciation for Indian Fine Watches.

How has the consumer behavior evolved in your segment?

Jaipur Watch Company’s watches will not be the first watch for a client, they are bought by watch connoisseurs, people who are intrigued by a fine Indian Watch and people who have a heart for Indian History.The second set of audience we cater to, are Clients who are looking for something personalized and one of a kind in the world – The Bespoke watches.

The market has surely matured, when we started we never dreamt that an Indian brand will be able to make a sale of a watch having a price tag of INR 20,00,000+ but we have experienced that, more than once in the last few years. This is a sign of a matured market. People are getting over the brand phenomenon and are definitely looking at something which is unique / personalized and carries “a piece of India” in its soul.

Kindly shed light on your current distribution points. Also going forward, what are the plans to scale up the distribution?

The sale from last year has increased by 250%, which I guess is a decent jump.  50% of my sales happens in the same circle. We had been restrictive for the first three years. We have operated through direct retail and through stores within hotels. In the coming years, we now want to enter into major cities and want to start tying up with trade partners. We want to test the waters.

5 years from now, I would like JWC to be perceived as a powerhouse, a prolific inventor and a manor house of unique timepieces. We are and will continue to craft pieces that unveil our fiendishly-difficult-to-make watches that chimes hours and minutes en passant like energy, to pieces that defy the myth of foreign brands. In essence, create watches that astonish the horological world and showcase a taste of India.

We have been a traditional watchmaker and have been using traditional ways of retailing as well via brick and mortar, as we are seeing more acceptability and more demand from various corners of the country and beyond India we are testing a unique proposition for a place where the client can design his own watch from scratch over digital mediums and based on that we should be in a position to reach audiences beyond brick and mortar stores.

What are the major challenges in your category?

When it comes to Bespoke watches, Crafting every watch is a meticulous process, as we aimed to create collectibles and heirlooms connoting a story and the mastery of artistry. Creation of each watch is a combination of multiple steps / parts. The challenge we face is the lack of ancillary industries offering components for fine watches. Moreover, since the product we offer is unique and one of a kind, it requires extremely limited quantity but superior quality of parts. Sourcing them at this quantity is an issue, thus we end up developing most of the products in-house, in order to create limited yet supreme quality products. Lack of quality infrastructure is a challenge that is a primary concern for domestic watch makers.

Ethos and Titan are the prominent names in luxury watch retailing category. Do you see them as your competition?

Well, the 2 names you have mentioned here are the largest in their respective fields. Ethos is the largest retailer for fine watches in India and Titan happens to have a 30% market share with approximately 15 million units sold per annum. We are very small and we come with a unique product offering, there is surely no competition among the 3 of us. But surely there is a possibility of alliances, which if ever happens, will be helpful for the entire market.

 

 

Gaurav Mehtra
 
 
 
 
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