Nrupesh Joshi and wife Mercy Amalraj, both 37-years-old, had great tech careers which took them across the world on work. Tired from the common routine, the duo took a breathe and began exploring options on what to do next. It was then, they decided to follow their mutual shared passion for watches.
Earlier, Joshi, who worked in Hong Kong as director of services for Akamai, would tour boutique watch shops with Amalraj. From A Lange & Sohne, Patek Philippe, Jaeger leCoultre, Vacheron Constantine, every luxury watch available in the world was there in the boutique shops but the duo wondered why there was none from India.
“HMT and Titan are all great watch brands with a fashionable following but none of them is in the fine watchmaking league of the world,” this thought regained Joshi.
Joshi and Amalraj decided upon themselves to launch a Made in India Watch brand and became entrepreneurs in this process. Both call Bangalore their home where they worked for almost two decades before Joshi’s job took them at places across the world. Once they made up their mind to take the entrepreneurial dive, they decided it had to be from their comfort place in Bengaluru and thus launched the Bangalore Watch Company in 2017.
They named the firm Bangalore Watch Company as according to them Bengaluru has perhaps the most interesting association to India’s watchmaking past with big brands like HMT, Hegde & Golay headquartered there, and also, Titan’s most operations are being run out of the city now. “So there was no better way to identify ourselves than having our city’s name proudly tied to our brand,” said Amalraj.
“Our small and affordable brand was brought in existence with singular desire to reacquaint gentlemen with fine watches of Indian grounds,” said Joshi, who is also head of design of the firm. “There are no watch brands in the country today that produce high-quality watches, that try to tell tales from India. Bangalore Watch Company does that, and that is very unique,” he claimed.
Watch brands in India are divided largely in two categories: Swiss watches in the range of Rs 60,000 and above and the affordable range starting from Rs 2,000 and below. A segment in between is with fashion brands—primarily separated by brands in apparel that also make watches—such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Esprit, and others that are available between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000. Bangalore Watch Company calls itself the bridge-to-luxury segment with watches priced at Rs 35,000 and below Rs 50,000.
Microbrands are gathering heat over world and just like the tribe of luxury watch enthusiasts, there are a growing number of microbrands in the watches category too. What sets this category apart is the immense love of the watch and its fine workmanship. They are manufactured and sold directly to customers online and there is no offline transactions or any showrooms, thus cutting the unnecessary money required for watch showrooms or for the distribution. The watches come with two-year guarantee.
Their first collection, ‘Renaissance Automatic’ focussed on men, taking inspiration from the erstwhile HMT Janata watch which was launched in the 60s. Though only 500 pieces were made, the collection of six automatic watch models had many buyers from across the globe. It is priced at Rs 38,799. “To our surprise, a lot of women purchased it as they loved it and many prefer large watches,” said Joshi.
The Renaissance watch collection comes in two variants: a standard 40-millimeter diameter case made from surgical grade stainless steel, and a rose gold-plated stainless steel case variant. On the front of the case is a domed sapphire crystal, while the back has an exhibition case, whereby one can see the movement made by Citizen, Japan inside the watch. “The stainless steel case comes from Hong Kong and the crystal from Switzerland. We source leather and a few other small components from India,” said Joshi. The final assembly is done at a contracted watchmaking facility in Bengaluru. The quality of watch is given specific attention.
The company is working on its second collection which is solely targeted at women. It is an exclusive women’s collection with a limited edition of 500 watches and besides leather straps like in the first collection, will also have steel bracelets. It will be out in May.
Via: First Post