By Sarosh Mody
Speaking from a watch collector’s frame of reference, one begins; usually, inspired by a patriarch, a mentor who we would like to mimic, titillated by the mainstream media or a celebrity endorsement, watch forms or by the so called style influencer, which we have no dearth of nowadays, over social media.
Trial and error, personal experiences, watch-groups and fellow collectors serve as catalysts to refine the collection and tastes; over the years, till the diurnal arrives where one to make some sense his collection.
A mental computation; at a glance, sets in a nostalgia, admiring one’s acquisitions from ‘my very first watch’, to the commercial luxury brands, to the 36-month vintage watch collection spree, to the independent artisanal watchmaking. Most collectors; at this given point are faced the dilemma of “what next”? Here is where the new age micro-Brands, boutique cliques – that produce a limited number of timepieces that quench the collector’s hankering.
On the global platform, there are quite a few makers who have made a mark. Ming, Baltic, Weiss, Unimatic, Laventure and Undone, to name a few. So, while the ethos of most of these brands is similar to the luxuriant independent watchmakers, the offerings of the micro-brands are much more approachable and frugal. Even though the micro-brand watches may not possess the superabundant finish or technique in comparison to the commercial luxury brands, they seem to be getting a lot of attention from the collector fraternity, nonetheless.
The limited-run production, concept design and the accessibility to the maker themselves, has the watch aficionados keeping a watchful eye on new releases by the micro-brands.
From an Indian perspective, apart from mass mainstream brands like HMT and Titan, we have not seen an industrial or any entrepreneurism in the dominion of “Made in India”, towards qualitative watchmaking. The erstwhile HMT incidentally, is now a hot commodity by Indian as well as a few international collectors, after the brand breathed it’s last in 2016.
In an endeavor to reclaiming its lost glory – post the HMT era, with home-grown micro-brand, we do see some young blood, who threw themselves into unchartered territory, not just for the sake of industry, but for the very passion for qualitative watchmaking. HORPA is one such endeavour of passion. Brainchild of Rajeev Asrani, the micro-brand came into existence in 2017, with the vision and aim to be an acclaimed independent watchmaker from India. “Identified, recognized and celebrated for its design and craftsmanship in the world of horology, HORPA is privileged to have found the best in the industry from India and claim with pride to be an Indian Creation. We strive to build timepieces that exude a quiet measure of time, while complementing the philosophy of excellence and passion” says Rajeev. A portmanteau of horology and passion; HORPA’s debutant watch, is the C1 – a contemporary chronograph in stainless steel case and bezel with fine polish and sand-blasted satin finish. The detail one needs to draw the loupe over is the hand-crafted three-layered skeletonised dial with lacquer and satin finished. Unlike most micro-brands that converge on male-centric oblation, HORPA’s Mystique and Pearlette offer sophisticated timepieces for women too.
Another India inspiration story is Bangalore Watch Co. Fascinated by the world of fine watchmaking during their time spent in parts of Asia, the husband and wife team Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj, returned home leaving behind their tech careers in Hong Kong to start an Indian origin fine watch brand in early 2017. “We don’t live in times when the know-how and was limited to specific brands or countries. Rather an entire industry of watch component manufacturers thrives and compete for businesses in different parts of the world” say the founders.
In a country where name and imagery have substantiated bragging rights for luxury consumers, it is only our patronage, that can keep alive these projects of passion. This would be the right time for us to peer into our own backyards, considering #vocalforlocal is the new mantra, to nurture talent, to possibly inspire a generation to come; who not only love to wear good watches, but also make them.
About the Author : Sarosh Mody is the founding director of Luxury Watch Works. Based out of Mumbai with a pan-India reach, his after- sales service workshop is authorised for 20 Swiss luxury brands by Group Richemont, LVMH and other noteworthy, independent watchmakers. With an industry experience spanning over two decades, Mody has led projects for watches and jewellery by way of advisory, media, retail and after-sales services. Explore more via https://www.luxurywatchworks.com/
Illustration: Krishna Nobis
Pictures : Bangalore Watch Co https://www.bangalorewatchco.in/