Timepieces costing lakhs of rupees must highlight the owner’s taste and personality Namrata Kohli
“A gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Saville Row suit,” said Ian Fleming, the British writer of the James Bond novels. A Rolex, Omega or Patek Philippe watch on a wrist marks luxury, success and taste.
Pop singer Ed Sheeran wears a Hublot Big Bang; actor-singer Selena Gomez has a Rolex Day-Date; and actor Brad Pitt is an ambassador for TAG Heuer Monaco.
“It’s the story behind the watch, the movement and complication in the watch and the history behind the model and the manufacturer which drives me towards my watch purchase,” said Vishesh Sahni, founder and CEO of WHITE, a Delhi-based events and brand experience company.
Sahni’s favourite watch to wear is Patek Philippe 5060/1A-001 Annual Calendar in steel. “It’s a perfect everyday watch which has all the necessary complications that you will use in a watch. It goes very well with my personal lifestyle and personality and ticks all the right boxes to be a luxury sport watch.” (Discontinued now, the watch costs around Rs 55 lakh.)
To know the time of the day, would you spend lakhs of rupees? Some would. Collectors say that finding a luxury watch they covet can be a challenge as demand has outstripped supply.
Rolex, Panerai, Corum, Grand Seiko, Omega, TAG Heuer, Jacob & Co., Urwerk, Rado, Longines are some popular luxury watches. You can shop for them at Ethos Watch Boutiques, Helios Watch store, Kapoor Watch Co., Zimson Watches, or buy online at Tata CLiQ Luxury and other websites.
Ethos Ltd. recently signed an exclusive India distribution agreement with the watch and jewellery brand Jacob & Co.
“One of the most talked-about watch brands, Jacob & Co., has garnered a lot of attention among watch collectors in recent years, with their high-complication timepieces and dramatic displays,” said Yashovardhan Saboo, chairman of Ethos, an India-based luxury watch retailer.
“India has a great culture and appreciation of fine craftsmanship and jewellery. We believe our timepieces will be loved by Indian clients,” said Jacob Arabo, founder and chairman of Jacob & Co.
Things to watch
Plan your first luxury watch. “First and foremost understand your typical lifestyle and what it may entail. Are you an individual who would wear the watch to the office? Would it be used more in a casual environment, and would one watch that fits both scenarios and has the versatility be more appealing?” said Dillon Bhatt, a collector and head of international business development at an investment consulting firm.
“Secondly, I think it’s important to know what function and form you prefer. Would you prefer a watch on a leather strap rubber band or a metal bracelet? Thirdly, setting out a budget and sticking to a budget is extremely important whether that be under $1000, under $10,000, or under $100,000 it would differ for each individual person and there’s no correct answer,” said Bhatt.
Bhatt advised first-time buyers to stay away from big brands and find value in the market. “Having the ability to pick up genuine deals when people want to sell will enable you to find great watches at very reasonable prices that will eventually come full circle and long-term increase in value.”
Avoid heavily discounted pieces, for they are probably not selling well. Never buy a piece second-hand even if it’s a good deal, for the authenticity is doubtful. Check social media handles of brands and join watch communities.
A luxury watch brand represents a certain value and aesthetics.
Consider Carl F Bucherer which sells watches for Rs 200,000 onwards. “The Swiss brand has been synonymous with excellence, innovation, and passion since 1888. The contemporary timepieces produced by Carl F. Bucherer combine unique design with the utmost precision and outstanding functionality,” said Uwe Liebminger, chief marketing officer and deputy CEO of the company.
As India’s middle class expands, it is buying premium watches that typically range from Rs 4,000 to Rs 50,000. A Kenneth Cole ranges between Rs 7,000 and Rs 15,000, with pair watches being priced around Rs 20,000. A Coach watch costs between Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000; Tommy Hilfiger for Rs 6,000 to Rs 15,000 and Anne Klein for Rs 6,000 to Rs 14,000.
Tommy Hilfiger is seen as an accessible brand. “With over 12 watches launched on a quarterly basis, ever changing styles that allow for a fresh look to choose from, and yet the distinct blue plating of the case and bracelet makes for a signature style from Tommy Hilfiger, there is always something new to see and pick,” said Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger India.
Police, which is known for its sunglasses and fragrances, has a portfolio of watches branded as bold and rebellious in design identity. Introduced in 2012 as rock fashion style, its watches were then priced a notch above competitors. In 2019 and 2020, the brand moved into higher price points as part a global strategy but this did not work for the Indian market. Police sells men’s watches in India in a price range of Rs 7,000-25,000.
Coach, a premium international brand for handbags and small leather goods, launched watches in India in 2018. Coach has a stronger recall than its key competitors, but its watches are yet to catch attention. “In watches, the coloured plated mesh bracelet with bold branding as part of its design language is the USP of the brand and wherein Coach is the only brand which offers a warranty on the plating too,” said a spokesperson for Coach in India.
Watches have become a style statement, a lifestyle accessory, and a technical marvel nowadays. Timekeeping is just an accessory.
Price Range (Rs)
Jacob & Co.
4,40,000 – 6,86,40,000
41,00,000 – 1,32,30,000
3,51,000 – 32,32,000
3,07,000 – 55,71,000
2,30,000 – 8,90,000
38,900 – 3,82,000