Watches today are more of a style statement than a functional need. The market today offers a range of watches for all pockets, from cheap fashion brands in shopping malls to high end luxury brands.
According to recent estimates, the affordable luxury wristwatch segment holds the highest market share of around 44% in the premium wristwatch market in India. This watch segment mainly attracts the young urban population with higher spending incomes. It was expected to more than double in FY 2018 growing strongly at a CAGR of 23.3% in the 2014-FY 2018 period.
It is this segment that local micro-brands like Jaipur Watch Company, Horpa, Aiqon and others hope to serve. Among them is the Bangalore Watch Company which was launched in 2017 from Bengaluru.
It is one of the few micro-brands to take advantage of the Internet economy with a direct-to-consumer model replacing the traditional retail and distribution chain. Founded by Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj, the Bangalore Watch Company is a tribute to the couple’s love for the city they inhabit.
The husband-wife duo left their tech career in Hong Kong to pursue their passion for fine watchmaking. âWe have traveled the world and are particularly interested in the watch industry,â explains Nirupesh. They moved to Bengaluru to form the Bangalore Watch Company in 2017.
The two have a combined two decades of experience in technology spanning sales, quality assurance, solution design and strategy, as well as an eye for personal fashion that has enabled them to rapidly pivot into the watch industry. micro-brands. After more than a year of learning the trade, researching the best suppliers, designing and prototyping, last year they launched their first limited collection called Renaissance Automatic.
According to Nirupesh, the watch scene (the art of making clocks and watches) in India is that the market is bipolar. âThere are the luxury watchmakers on one side with their extensive distribution channels, and then there are the mass-produced brands in different segments on the other side,â he says.
The cost of these luxury watches starts from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh, while fashion brands fall in the range of Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000. âThere is a huge gap here. We would like to fill that with high quality watches by making them available online and bypassing the retail chain, âsays Nirupesh. This allows them to save almost 40 percent of the manufacturing cost.
Citing an example, Nirupesh says, âAt one of the biggest watch shows in Basel, Switzerland, retailers have to pay up front for the units (watches). The money that retailers pay up front subsidizes the cost of making brands. “
Watchmaking is capital intensive. So, to avoid this, in places like Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong, many micro-brands are emerging relying on the online retail strategy. Something that has worked well for the Bangalore Watch Company which is started and works thanks to the savings made by the founders.
Its Renaissance collection is a limited edition composed of 500 pieces each individually numbered. Each watch is priced at around Rs 40,000 and the two founders are delighted to ship them to customers around the world.
âThe fact that we are able to offer it at this price despite the craftsmanship and the use of premium materials (the crystals are purchased in Switzerland, the movement from Japan and the case from Hong Kong) is due to the fact that we save on retail and distribution. , says Nirupesh. Microfabrication takes place in Hong Kong but final assembly is done in Bengaluru.
Mercy says they don’t have a one hundred percent manufacturing plant in town because it was difficult for them to find suppliers who could supply world-class quality parts and the fact that a minimum order quantity is high for manufacturing partners here.
Although the founders were reluctant to disclose the cost of making the watches, Nirupesh said, âWe make mechanical watches, not ordinary quartz watches. So, for example, the latest generation caliber alone costs us over $ 70. “
The couple say that since they are primed, they seek to evolve in a linear fashion and not exponentially. âWe hope to sell all of our pieces from this collection and then move on to the next one. Now we do one collection per year, and once we do two collections per year, that will be a measure of our success. “