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The Great Indian Watch Market
Wrist Watches form an integral part of the personality of individuals in the present era. Earlier seen as a luxury item, they are now witnessing a fundamental change in perception, and are now gaining respect as an essential utility item. For the watch industry, time seems in its favour what with the liberalization of the Indian market coupled with the rising purchasing power of the young and consumerist Indians.
Indian watches market was for long dominated by public sector organizations like Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd. (HMT) and Allwyn (also famous for its refrigerators once upon a time!), and has now left the pioneers far behind or nowhere in market by private sector enterprises like Titan, Sonata, Ajanta and Timex along with foreign entities jostling for display space in the smallest of shops selling these products. Before the establishment of HMT as the dominant player in the Indian markets initially, the country was solely dependent on imports to meet the internal demand. However, establishment of HMT as the leading player in the wrist watch segment in the 1960¶s, changed the scenario. In post liberalization India, the market stood to witness intensive competition between foreign and Indian manufacturers like Timex, Titan, Movado, Longines, Rado, Rolex, Fréderique Constant, Mont Blanc, Swatch, and many others. Many watch makers have made significant inroads in the industry and others are in the process of establishing themselves, currently.
Being extremely brand conscious. The average growth in the size of the market is slated to be around 10 -15 percent per year. This data is significant indeed in view of the socio economic distribution of the Indian populace. The size of the watch market currently is estimated to be around 40 to 45 million pieces annually. More than 58 percent of the population is under twenty five and more than 80 percent of the population is below 45 years of age. and the rest of the demand is being met by the unorganized grey sector. despite the fact that the penetration of watches is the lowest. the estimated annual market size is around USD 195 million.Besides this. The organized sector alone contributes up to 30 percent of this figure. their tastes have evolved over the years and have gone beyond the realms of durability to choose in terms of aesthetics and elegance. Thus it is a buyer¶s market with multitude of designs that have entered and flooded the market place. compared globally. In dollar terms. buyers are extremely choosy about the brand and type of wrist watches they wear. . many watch companies are interested in setting up base in India. Looking into this fact and the long standing Indian tradition of comparing watches with jewellery and other traditional items.
around 20 to 25 watches are being sold for every 1000 citizens. sophistication and status. Thus there is enormous potential for growth of the industry in this untapped segment. and high priced watches. but they appeal to only a small category of the watch market in India. . namely low priced. benefits and types of watches. Others go for durability.A casual study of the watch market reveals that it is segmented on basis of multiple proportions such as price. the medium price range consists of watches in the INR 500-1500 range and the high priced watches come in the INR 1500 upwards range. economy and precision. The price of the watches is a major motive in the minds of the customer. technology. more than 90 percent of the watches were from the lower price ranges with international costs being less than 20 Euros. There are other higher categories as well such as the premium and luxury range. medium priced. According to a recent study. The lower priced segment consists of watches priced less than INR 500. Moreover. Accordingly. Some customers look out for features like fashion appeal. three segments can be identified here.
though India is still considered to be a difficult market to penetrate. Watch manufacturers are looking at a suitable mix to market their products ranging from exclusive retail outlets to display sections in malls and large departmental stores. due to reasons like price sensitiveness and its largely unorganized sector. Customers usually base their preferences and buying decisions on a variety of factors like price. aesthetic appeal and brand name. utility. Since the early 1990¶s. . Newer segments are also on rise such as ladies watches. while others prefer quartz watches. Indian customers are relying more on departmental stores and shopping malls to purchase their wants and needs. children¶s watches and gent¶s watches. However. The retail sector has just begun to boom in India. A combination of all these points ultimately forms the customer¶s buying decision that translates into the purchase of a watch.Many customers prefer mechanical and automatic watches. who are now looking forward to utilise these new outlets to reach out to the Indian masses. durability. In the end. This has come as a boon for watch manufacturers and dealers. with the right planning and the right partners and experienced collaborators. it is expected that both international and domestic watch manufacturers will do well in the Indian markets.
000 crore growing at average rate of 8% annually. This will also keep a check on the unorganized market that has been thriving significantly. 3000.to Rs. Overall 4. Indian consumer has more awareness of various brands available globally and willing to purchase in India. 2010 saw an impressive line up of over 100 national and international companies primarily from India. under the auspices of the Watch Trade Federation held between February 4th to Febaruary 7th. 15000 is growing at an exponential rate of over 20%. Taiwan and Hong Kong. 10. 500/. France.000 crore growing at average rate of 8% annually. . The 15th India International Watch & Clock Fair. With liberal imports since the last 10 years many international brands have set shops in India. 4000 to Rs. Due to increased international travel. The Indian watch industry inclusive of all product categories is estimated at over Rs. To cater to the price sensitive Indian market. The size of the organized luxury watch segment is around 3 % growing at around 20% annually. Switzerland. With more international brands foraying in Indian market to cater to the growing demand of fashion and luxury watch consumers. it has also created some challenges for local manufacturers. many luxury layers have tried to overcome price barriers by introducing various cuts in their margins to maintain competitiveness in retail market. Japan. 10. With the economy springing positive vibes. Delhi and Bangalore. High import duty and tax burden at various stages has pushed the price of luxury watches in India much higher than their international counterparts. The industry sources hope the Indian Government acts favorably towards imports duty which is hovering around 40%. The category of watches retailed in the price bracket of Rs.µSamaya Bharati¶. Chief organizer of the 4 day exhibition held in Mumbai after six years is likely to attract over 4000 dealers. After two years of recessionary clout the country¶s watch market is expected to grow at a brisk 9% -11% in the next couple of years. some even opening their subsidiary in the cities of Mumbai.5 crores watches are manufactured in a year. The highest share of watches retailed is around the price range from Rs. According to Hemal Kharod.The Indian watch industry inclusive of all product categories is estimated at over Rs. steadily progressing retail landscape and larger disposable income levels market insiders opine that Indian consumer is spurring the demand. wholesalers from all over the country and abroad.
brands with significant presence in the Indian metros now plan to woo customers through retail tie ups in these cities. . right planning and joint ventures in marketing hold the key to success for both domestic and International watch manufacturers. with customers relying more on departmental stores. Lately India is turning increasingly attractive for retailers. With the growing infrastructure in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Collaborations. multi-brand watch outlets and malls to purchase their needs.However local players still continue to dominate the Indian watch industry due to good manufacturing base and price points at which watches are retailed.
and the heritage of knowledge of the Swiss crafters (as well as their lower labor costs). the mysteries of which we imagine are overseen by a hoary Rumplestilskin. It is these that Florentine Jones intended to forge together in his vision of the International Watch Company -. the jets of steam and pillars of billowing smoke -these are the images brought to mind by the word "industrial. 2001 The clang and clatter of tireless machines." In complete contrast lies the silent and magical elfin aura of atelier handcrafts.Ruminations on the International Watch Company An Adventure in Retro grouch Heresy By Carlos Perez February 13. which then in .the awakening power of Industrial America.
the philosophy of simple and practical high-quality watches with robust. we find now that IWC is rather a different company than it was a mere 20 years ago.in time becoming a specialist of movements and case-work. It has nonetheless found success and indeed flourished.that would finally shake the solid foundations upon which it was built. reliable.mid-19th century were in the process of surpassing their neighbors in France. chronographs. While the company would change hands many times. Perhaps I am the only one who thinks of something different when I think of the brand "IWC. It was only the Great Storm of quartz -. and "sports" watches." .which IWC had a hand in creating -. Thus it was on the American model of industrial enterprise rather than the traditional Swiss cooperative of etablissage that IWC set out to manufacture as much of the complete watch as possible -. In its evolution as it adapted to survive. but in opening a current catalogue one finds that IWC is a primarily place of high complications. and accurate movements would guide and sustain IWC for well over a century.
I lost interest in IWC until I encountered the not-then discussed "Portuguese" and "Portofino" collections. The classic functional watch that served through peace and war has been replaced by the "sports" styled watch. to its long golden age of hand-wound and automatic wristwatches. with the idea of the "black faced Schaffhausen." but the sporty Fliegerchrono in the tale never satisfied this idea for me. . and the old classics are re-badged as "dress" watches. The legacy of the fine watch with timeless design and a robust and accurate movement is no more. Our modern dualism of categorized "sports" and "dress" wristwatches has blotted out and rewritten much of wristwatch history. daily-wear watch. and are largely considered effeteand useless. specialized "professional" or specific application watches have been dumbed down and swept into this new "sports" watch category. and its few signatures exotic works that stand out despite their lack of complication.and which were then the darlings of Time Zone. and neither did the new GST line when studied in person -. which eventually led me back to their predecessors and all that IWC once was.The IWC that I think of was arguably the premier house of the sensible. I think that IWC first entered my consciousness in a story by Chris Ingram. Likewise. From its unbroken heritage of pocket watch manufacture.
a tiny glimmer of which we see in the design of the automatic Portofinos and small auto Portuguese. and the related calibre 88. it was soon adapted for use in the in the Mark IX military-specification wristwatch with an amagnetic escapement. While they are the most famous bearers of calibre 83. but in a further upgraded form with the addition of shock-resistance. calibre 83 was one of the most successful IWC movements ever produced. First introduced in 1930. Its elegant six-bridge design marks it as a transition between the refined pocket watch calibres of the day and the true wristwatch calibres to come. In terms of production volume. .Most obscured today is IWC's long heritage of hand-wound watches -.those based on calibres 83 and 89. It would again be used in 1943 forMark X. While a full accounting of them is far beyond the abilities of the author. these two wristwatches represent only about 1/10th of the total production of calibre 83 -. I will touch on a few of the most significant -. The legacy of these movements is as intimately tied to IWC's simple daily-wear watches as to their celebrated amagnetic military-specification watches.it enjoyed tremendous success in civilian form as well.
used solely in civilian watches of classic subsidiary-seconds designs akin to those of the calibre 83. As the most famous bearer of calibre 89. It was the center-seconds version. The success of the austerely styled regular production calibre 89 watches would carry them into the early 1990s. yet bears the elements of craftsmanship expected of high-grade movements. . The secret history of IWC's hand-wound watches represents a lost noble heritage with few peers in the industry. Calibre 88 would be produced until 1964. the Mark XI would be produced for approximately 30 years. Their related form is clearly defined by function.Its successors. and for me are more expressive of IWC's identity than the egoless purity of the wristwatches they built to military specifications.both by mechanical auto winding and by battery-powered quartz. Their timeless wristwatch designs reduced the form of the watch to its simplest and clearest terms. If less elegant in appearance than the 83. the 88 and 89 became simpler and more robust -. calibers 88 and 89 were introduced concurrently in 1946. Perhaps it is all moot however. as the sales of handwinds have been largely killed by automation -. I feel that their classic watches deserve at least equal esteem.better suited to military service and the rigors of day-to-day civilian wear than their predecessor. While I do not intend to detract from IWC's military watch heritage. calibre 89. that was selected for military use in the Mark XI introduced in 1947.
many vintage IWC pocket watches have lost their movements to "made up" Portuguese-style wristwatches.The most exotic family of IWC wristwatches are those based its large chronometer grade pocket watch movements. with a total production thought to be less than 500 units. In fact the oldest movements still produced by IWC are its pocket watch calibres 95 and 98. the manufacture of a similarly based daily-wear watch is one that apparently originated with IWC. first introduced in 1928 and 1936 respectively. and though they have been often imitated they have never been equaled. In the years that followed the limited production of the original Portugiesers. While the history of large pocket watch movement based instrument watches is a long and varied one (including IWC's own B-Uhren). A curious merging of this pocket watch tradition and IWC's growing wristwatch production. . the now famous and treasured Portugiesers were made for a few years in the early 1940s.
" it was based on the lepine-style pocket watch calibre 95 rather than the hunter calibre 98 (specifically calibre 9521). and the Pisa Portugiesers of 1997 in only 50 examples (calibre 9828). It is only now that we see what an automatic Portugieser truly ought to be.In the otherwise aesthetically-challenged 1970s. produced only in limited editions. with IWC's repetition minutes module adapted to calibre 95 (calibre 95290). . Nominally the first "Portofino.which they've only recently discontinued. While the "small" automatic Portugieser is the watch that reawakened my interest in IWC. with the new limited edition Portugieser 2000 and its automatic calibre 5000-.a movement which effectively may be the first automatic pocket watch calibre since the late 19th century experiments that followed the work of Perrelet and Breguet. in retrospect I find it more akin to a reinterpretation of the old calibre 88 watches in an automatic form (nothing to complain about!) than an authentic Portugieser. The true modern Portugiesers are a rare lot. the Portuguese Minute Repeaters of 1993 in only 550 examples. and is quite distinct from its Portugieser cousins (see image at top). The Jubilee Portugiesers of 1993 in only 1750 examples (calibre 9828). Its design is a tribute and a reflection of the long and unbroken IWC history of pocket watch manufacture. IWC began the production of the profoundly classical Portofino Moonphase watch -.
calibre 85 was really the definitive automatic movement of IWC. Like its hand-wound watches. 854. the automatic winding system that sill bears his name is yet unparalleled even in our "high mechanical renaissance" (ThomasM). While technically not the first.the simple and uncompromising definition of functional timekeeping. .calibre 85.Much of the technical merit of calibre 5000 is taken from a lineage of calibres which I personally consider the peak of IWC's in-house movement manufacture -. and the then-new possibilities in water-resistance. the movement evolved mechanically from calibre 85 to 852. and to its highest and final form calibre 8541B (shown below). IWC's automatics initially followed in their long-established and decidedly austere design aesthetic. Designed by IWC's Technical Director Albert Pellaton. 853. that arguably the greatest work of IWC as a wristwatch manufacture was created: The Ingenieur -. But it was in 1954 when this movement and style were finally combined with the amagnetic properties of the old Mark series. Introduced in 1950.
it was set apart by the "lightning bolt" logo -its symbol of electromagnetic defiance. IWC formerly demonstrated its technical prowess by dedicating its best minds and putting its best efforts into improving the basic. in terms of real-world accuracy and reliability.A gentleman's alternative to the milspec Mark XI. a true professional¶s watch. It was finally discontinued in 1975 as it. . As the vanguard and living symbol of IWC. and the Aquatimer. becoming the paragon of an old design and manufacturing philosophy best summed in their motto Probus Scafusia. it was continually upgraded and refined over the 21 years it was produced. and survived by the other bearers of calibre 85: The Yacht Club. Rather than put its creative and developmental efforts into exclusive and showy (but prestigious) complications. functional watch in real and useful ways. was replaced with a Gerald Genta redesign as a luxury "sports" watch. the reputation of a manufacture of high-quality practical watches lies in turn in the average performance of its products. While the status of a prestige brand is borne primarily by its most exclusive high-ticket complications (the "prestige" of which trickles down to its "entry level" offerings).the real Destriero Scafusia. Thus for me it will always be the original Ingenieur that is the standard bearer of IWC -. an elegant and braceletted "sports" watch.
In 1541. . independent craft: watch making. the forerunner of the modern self-winding watch. variations of the new calibre 5000 will no doubt serve in annual or bi-annual limited editions for some years to come. Geneva was already exporting more than 60. The centuries were rich in inventions and new developments. with rumors of a B-Uhr styled model for 2002. for the first time.. probably a resized and simplified redesign of calibre 5000 or a thinner successor to the 8541B discontinued several years ago. one of the founders of the famous Patek Philippe watch company. pendant winding watches were invented by Adrien Philippe. Watch making in the Jura remains indebted to a young goldsmith called Daniel Jeanrichard (1665-1741). the first to be established anywhere. reforms implemented by Jean Calvin and banning the wear of jewels. who. While it has been said that it will only be used in "dress" watches at first. who knows? Perhaps one day the classic Ingenieur may live again. forced the goldsmiths and other jewellers to turn into a new. introduced the division of labor in watch making. At the same time began the production of complicated watches and the introduction of special features such as the perpetual calendar. In 1770. In 1790. and watchmakers created in 1601 the Watchmakers' Guild of Geneva. Genevan watches were already reputable for their high quality. One century later and because Geneva was already crowded with watchmakers. In 1842. The Swiss watch and clock industry appeared in Geneva in the middle of the 16th century.The future for IWC appears brighter for the IWC retro grouch than it has in some time. the fly-back hand and chronographs. many of them decided to leave the city for the receptive region of the Jura Mountains. By the end of the century. There have also been promises of a new smaller automatic calibre. Abraham-Louis Perrelet created the "perpetual" watch (in French "Montre à secousses").000 watches. While I do not expect that there will ever be a return to IWC's glory days of hand-wound watches.
In 1967. Since then. the first water resistant wristwatch. the first electrical watches being introduced later in 1952. thanks to the researches and new technologies introduced by reputable watchmakers such as Frederic In gold and Georges Léchot. craftsmanship. Swiss watch making industry has always been in a position to answer the many technological. the Centre Electronique Horloger (CEH) in Neuchâtel developed the world first quartz wristwatch . etc. major technical developments followed without interruption: LED and LCD displays. tradition. Its traditional round shape was generally adopted in 1960. etc. the thinnest wristwatch in the world. economical and structural challenges it was confronted with. In 1926. The increase of the productivity. the interchangeability of parts and the standardization progressively led the Swiss watch industry to its world supremacy. . the smallest or the most expensive watch in the world. The end of World War I corresponds to the introduction of the wristwatch which soon became very popular. Its exceptional dynamism and creative power have made it a state-of-the-art industry. quartz wristwatch without battery. Since more than four centuries now.the famous Beta 21. Swatch.The Jura Mountains with its various watch making centers The mass production of watches began at the turn of the 20th century. high technologies and permanent innovation have allowed Swiss watch making industry to keep its leadership in the world watch market. the first quartz watch. the first selfwinding wristwatch was produced in Grenchen. and the many inventions or world records in its possession are so many evidences : the first wristwatch. Because or thanks to the different crisis it had to go through.
made of gold and decorated with precious stones. seems a veritable antique The Swiss watch industry today The watch and clock industry. has only one market: The World. costing several million francs. or almost so : from quartz fashion watches for a modest price to mechanical masterpieces. what is no less surprising. Swiss made timepieces are to be found in all the countries of the globe. . Switzerland's third largest exporter after the machine and chemical industries. the first quartz movement for wrist watches with analog display. It is this wide variety and its worldwide vocation which together have ensured the survival of the industry over the course of centuries. to suit all pockets.Compared to today's quartz movements (left). And. the Beta 21 model (right).
by comparison with its foreign competitors. However.000 in 1984. to a lesser extent. who put the final product together. The average number of employees per company has remained constant. the industry has also developed a vertically integrated structure in which watches and clocks are sometimes made entirely by the same company. a figure which has remained stable over the last thirteen years (40. wood.000 in 1970 to a little over 30. plastic or even high tech ceramic? Are your more attracted by a sober classic appearance. The great majority of watch companies are small sized companies (employing less than 100 people) while a very little number (less than 10) are each employing over 500 people. in this case called a "manufacture". Would you like a mechanical watch (hand wound or automatic) or a quartz watch (with analog or digital display)? Do you prefer a diamond-set watch of precious metal or one made of stainless steel. as in 1970. craftsmen and sub-contractors supply movements and external parts to assemblers called "établisseurs". During the 1970s and early 1980s. is its ability to offer the consumer a genuinely comprehensive choice of products.000 employees in 2004) while the number of companies decreased from about 1. a sporty look or a fashionable and trendy design? Whatever you want. technological upheavals (appearance of the quartz technology) and the difficult economic situation resulted in a reduction in the size of the industry : the number of employees fell from some 90. the Swiss watch and clock industry has always had a specialized horizontal structure in which suppliers. Products One of the great strengths of the Swiss watch and clock industry.600 in 1970 to about 600 now. at just under 70 people per company in 2004.Structures Historically. you will always find something to satisfy you amongst the products of the .
Better still. Europe 33%. during the last five or six years. breaking its own records in exporting each year and going from 4. But what is the situation now. one of the brightest stars in the Swiss economic firmament. the watch industry is today.3 billion francs in 1986 to 17 billion in 2008. With their worldwide reputation for quality and styling. Markets and Competition While the Swiss watch industry is present all over the world (it exports nearly 95% of its production). the most serious of these being the Japanese and Hong Kong producers.and the top fifteen countries represent over 80 % of these exports. as it was yesterday. In Short According to a number of economic analysts.Swiss watch industry. Asia and Oceania take 47% of Swiss watch exports in value.. thirty years later ? Having successfully completed its structural reconversion. the Swiss watch industry was moribond in the middle of the 1970s. having missed out the electronic revolution and being strongly affected by the economic crisis.. it has taken the leading position amongst the country's most successful industries. They have many competitors in the markets. And if you prefer an alarm or other type of clock to a wristwatch. it does not carry equal weight everywhere. . you will have difficulty in choosing from amongst the vast range of models offered by the Swiss manufacturers of this type of product. Americas 19% and Africa 1%. Swiss watches are not however the only ones to compete for the favours of customers.
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