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What is Bangalore Watch Company
We are the world’s first Indian origin watch microbrand; We are also India’s first independent watch microbrand. We produce world-class watches in limited numbers, and present them to customers directly online. The brand Bangalore Watch Company™ is a unit of Island East Watch & Fashions Pvt Ltd established in January 2017 by Bangalore based couple Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj.
Who is behind the brand
Couple Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj founded Bangalore watch company in 2017, leaving behind their careers in the technology industry. They have a combined two decades of technology, consulting, and sales experience; have lived in Seoul, and Hong Kong and travelled the world. They’re passionate about personal fashion.
A boutique watch brand - why?
We started Bangalore Watch Company out of a singular desire to reacquaint gentlemen with fine watches of Indian origin.
Anyone that’s been to Hong Kong knows that it is a mecca for watches; during our stint in Hong Kong, we used to spend every weekend in the boutiques of some of the finest watchmakers in the world like A Lange & Sohne, Patek Philippe, Jaeger leCoultre, Vacheron Constantine and wondered why fine watchmaking never took off in India as it did in the jewellery industry. HMT, Hegde & Golay and today’s Titan are all great watch brands with a cult following but none of them are in the fine watchmaking league of the world.
During a Sabbatical from our tech careers in 2016, we traveled the world and spent time with family back home - all the while asking the big questions about what was next in life. During this time, we started researching on getting a watch brand off the ground, and slowly that research turned into a business plan.
In late 2016 we decided to quit our tech careers and moved back home. We set up our company in January 2017.
What are watch microbrands?
Watch Microbrands have three distinct characteristics:
They are owned by individuals that are passionate about watches, or personal fashion.
They produce watches in limited numbers every year.
They sell their watches directly to customers, bypassing the distribution and retail channels.
Some popular microbrands worldwide are:
connection to HMT’s legacy
HMT, Hegde & Golay are brands that evoke a strong sense of nostalgia in everyone that grew up in the 70s and 80s in India. HMT, in particular, has a cult following with watch collectors at home and overseas in the recent past after the announcement of their closure. That being said, HMT (or Hegde) don’t have a reputation for being a fine watch brand. While we look up to the legacy they leave behind, we’d like to be known as the first Indian origin brand to be creating fine watches out of the subcontinent, telling stories from India.
connection to Bangalore - Why the name?
We’ve called Bangalore home for the last 15 years. Although we spent our childhood in Chennai and Madurai, Bangalore has been home for all our adult life. Our first jobs were here, all our friends are here now. We’ve been in and out of the city moving to places like Seoul, and Hong Kong as our tech careers demanded, but Bangalore is where the heart is.
Also, Bangalore has, perhaps the most interesting associations to India’s watchmaking past: with HMT, Hegde & Golay headquartered here, and Titan’s majority operations being run out of here now, so there was no better way to identify ourselves than having our city’s name proudly tied to our brand.
Who are your investors?
We are 100% self-funded. We have invested a majority of our life savings into this passion project.
What is your first collection?
Our first collection is the Renaissance Automatic. It is a vintage inspired mechanical automatic dress watch produced in a limited edition of 500 pieces. There are six examples to choose from in the collection, each made with surgical-grade stainless steel cases, sapphire crystals, Citizen Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic decorated movement, Genuine leather straps, and intricate circular brushed dials. The collection opened for pre-orders in March 2018 and deliveries will begin May 2018.
Our Renaissance Collection are priced at INR 38,799/- (Approximatey USD 590).
We knew in the beginning that our debut collection will be a classic dress watch. We believe the Indian market is flush with contemporary fashion brands producing quartz watches in the price range of INR 5,000 ~ INR 20,000 (USD 100 ~ 250). But there are no Indian origin brands producing serious watches in the sub INR 65,000 price range (~USD 1000). Our opinion is that some Swiss and Japanese brands in that price range simply regurgitate collections from their overseas markets and reproduce them for India, often times with an inferior production quality. That second-degree treatment is something we couldn’t tolerate, so we wanted to come in and present to the gentlemen in India and overseas, a solid timepiece at an appetising price point, and with strong emotional connections back to India. Our Renaissance Collection does just that.
made in india?
We source parts from all around the world. Micro-assembly happens in our partner facilities in Hong Kong & Shenzhen, we bring them over to Bangalore for final assembly and quality check before they’re shipped to customers worldwide via FedEx from Bangalore.
We began taking pre-orders for our Renaissance Collection via our website in late March 2018. Patrons from all around the world have been placing orders for their timepieces, and we begin deliveries to our first set of customers in early May 2018. Our strategy is to continue sales through our website.
Between the two of us, Mercy has a heightened sense of empathy, it comes naturally to her. So it was only natural that she focuses on every aspect of our brand where the customer experience is involved. Our social media, the design of our presentation boxes, the delivery experience, are perhaps the most important aspects of our business, and Mercy takes care of them. I take care of strategy, product design, sales, operations, and anything else that falls between the cracks.
In the near term, we have plans to produce our second collection before the end of the calendar year; that collection would be a limited production too.
Long-term, we are telling a story. A story of how an independent brand is trying to reacquaint gentlemen in our country and overseas with fine watches of Indian origin. We believe strongly that gents today have the perceived generational necessity to buy the next new smartphone or that new LED television, but aren’t in a position to appreciate fine watches as an accessory. And we are trying to change that, one timepiece at a time. There is a larger purpose here, and a grand vision, and we invite people to be a part of that story.
Nirupesh Joshi Linkedin Profile
Mercy Amalraj Linkedin Profile
Brand logo, high-res product shots, founder photos available here.