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July 2012 | Vol 1 | No 4 | Price R15.00

BaselWorld 2012 New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh*, Pune*


iNside Indulge

Impending Doom

T

his was a most splendid BaselWorld, even if the number of watches that made your jaw drop were few and far between. Still, there were many eminently buyable watches on display. And that is, after all, what matters. In fact, BaselWorld is gearing up to expand. Next year, visitors will be welcomed by reconfigured and expanded exhibition halls. In addition to the Swatch Plaza, one of the nerve centres of the annual event, there will also be an LVMH square. Everything seems nice and rosy. Yet, there is a sense of impending doom in the Swiss watch industry. Of course, no one from the industry will admit to this. But in the next 12-24 months, the mid-range brands may undergo a bloodbath. Unless there is an explosion in the supplies of Swiss third-party watch movements, several brands that currently thrive on supplies from makers such as ETA will suddenly find themselves in a fix. With the Swatch group deciding to reserve ETA movements for “family use”, many high-end brands have already begun investing in new suppliers and in-house production. But for smaller players, the future is going to be very bleak. Recently, the CEO of one major watch company told me that mid-range firms were left with two options. Either they could scramble for the few suppliers available in the market, thereby paying higher prices. Or they

could source from abroad and lose their “Swiss Made” status. Both options offer little comfort. Meanwhile, at the high end, business is booming. All the major groups have shown robust performances. The rich of the world are buying again. The only blip is perhaps the Chinese market. But even there, the general sense is that once the government transition in Beijing is complete, business will resume. From a product perspective, there has seldom been a better time to be a first-time luxury watch buyer. From Bulgari to Corum to Omega, brands have all unveiled excellent, elegant, uncomplicated timepieces that are comparatively easy to buy. Recently, Bulgari unveiled the new Octo men’s watch. It is probably the most surprising new launch I’ve seen all year. Instead of the complicated Octo we have all come to expect, Bulgari presented one of the best three-hand wristwatches you’ll see all year. The steel version is an absolute steal. In many ways, that watch is symbolic of BaselWorld this year and perhaps next year as well. Right now, the Swiss watch industry is all about elegant, high-quality timepieces that delights you with their aesthetic and functional efficiency. Good times indeed.

SIDIN Vadukut (Issue editor)

Contents Indulge July 2012 | Vol 1 | No 4

BaselWorld 2012 4| 9|

A selection of material innovations Timex’s Gary Cohen talks about his strategy to take the brand forward

10| Chanel’s Nicolas Beau speaks about 25 years of watchmaking and innovative pieces

12| A selection of the finest timepieces from BaselWorld 2012

14| Cindy Livingston talks about the

genesis of the Guess and Gc brands

16| How brands are diversifying and

investing their DNA in social projects

18| Joe Thompson talks about the launch of WatchTime’s India edition

19| Three limited-edition pocketwatches from three contemporary brands

20| The evolution of time zones in watchmaking

22| A profile of Bulgari’s booth at BaselWorld

B1| Walter von Känel talks about

Longines’s position in the Indian market

B2

| Demand for expensive watches is growing in India, despite a slowdown

B4| A collection of new timepieces that show movement on the dial

B5| A selection of watches from the lesser-known brands

Columns

6|

8|

Madhu Menon on the basics of the burger Joel Harrison on knowing the dram you drink

B6| Shashank Khare on

investing in watches

On the cover: omega co‑axial‑calibre‑8501

Mint Indulge Editor: SuKumar Ranganathan Published/Printed By Vivek Khanna on behalf of HT Media Limited, HT House, 18-20, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi-110001; Printed at HT Media Ltd presses at B-2, Sector 63, Noida, Distt. Gautam Budh Nagar (U.P.); Plot No.-6, MIDC , TTC Industrial Area, Near Digha Bus Stand, Thane Belapur Road, Navi Mumbai-400078. RNI Registration: Applied For; ©2012 HT Media Ltd, All Rights Reserved.


Product

Material

Difference Steel, gold and leather may still be the most popular materials you see on a luxury timepiece. But not for long. By Sidin Vadukut

T

sidin.v@livemint.com he fundamental mechanical principles that make a watch function have not materially changed for decades. In fact, all the refinements and improvements you see in watch calibres these days are more a matter of innovation than outright invention. Travel back in time, somehow, and present a modern mechanical watch to an ancient Swiss watchmaker in the Jura mountains. Chances are he’ll know exactly what is going on. He may be taken aback by the accuracy of modern manufacturing and the microscopic details that go into watches these days. But the innards themselves will seem utterly familiar. Which is not

entirely a bad thing. Indeed, you could say it is a testimony to the enduring legacy and durability of traditional watchmaking. Where real invention is taking place today is in the world of materials. From classic brands such as Breguet to debutantes such as HYT or U-Boat, watches are being crafted out of a variety of unusual and high-tech alloys, steel and synthetic substances. Each year at Basel, brands display the outcome of their research and development in the form of timepieces that are sometimes bizarre, often attractive, and always interesting. Many of these may seem outlandish today. But there is no telling which of these materials will capture the public’s imagination tomorrow. Indulge presents a selection of this year’s material innovations:

U-boat

Hublot

This young Italian brand has crafted a case out of naturally aged bronze measuring a hefty 46mm in diameter. The bezel and the back of the case are locked together by external tubing and a customized key that ensures water resistance.

Hublot, the true pioneers in materials development, launched new watches made from magic gold, a new fusion of 24-carat gold and boron carbide ceramic. The end product is an 18-carat gold alloy that is harder than most hardened steel. Hublot says it can only be scratched by a diamond.

Big Bang Ferrari Magic Gold

U-51 Chimera Bronze

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INDULGE | July 2012

Rado

HyperChrome Golden Horse Limited edition The bezel, side inserts and caseback in this piece are crafted from Rado’s proprietary Ceramos material. A unique platinum finish is achieved through final polishing with diamond wheels.

Omega

Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold Resting on the case is a polished black zirconium-based ceramic bezel ring with the Ceragold diving scale. Ceragold is a nine-step manufacturing process developed by Omega that is used to create ceramic components finished in gold detailing.


Product

Breguet

Heritage phases de lune retrograde 8860

HYT

H1

A reservoir system connected to the watch mechanism is located at the 6 o’clock position. While one below compresses, the second expands, and the other way round, resulting in the movement of a liquid in the capillary tube. The liquid then shows retrograde hours, minutes and seconds.

Romain

Jerome Space nvaders Yet another young brand with a reputation for limited-edition watches crafted from scarce, historic materials. This new watch has an integrated caseback embedded with fragments from Apollo 11. Also included is a medallion in proprietary moon silver alloy.

The dial centre is crafted from engine-turned mother of pearl. But hiding inside is a Breguet specialty: the flat balance spring and in-line escapement not in steel or metal alloy, but in that most high-tech of materials—silicon.


Column

Burgers Basics W e chefs are notorious for being interested in only highfalutin dishes, and not paying enough attention towards regular comfort food. To salvage our reputations, I thought I’d write a piece on one of the most wonderful comfort foods of all time—the burger. It’s incredibly simple and unpretentious, but that’s no reason you can’t elevate it from good to oh-so-awesome. A bit of food science and chef artistry can turn dull, hard, lifeless burgers (unfortunately, far too common) into lively, juicy treats. Let me begin with the history of the burger. Okay, let me not. This is a column on cooking, not on history. It’s more important to understand the essence of a burger. It’s just a seasoned ground meat patty placed between two halves of a bun. When you bite into a burger, you must immediately perceive the softness of the bun, the intense meaty taste of the patty that’s not obscured by a load of flavours, and the juiciness of meat that’s not cooked till it’s dry. Sounds simple enough, so why are there so many bad burgers? They haven’t understood that simple formula. If you don’t get those basics right, all the window dressing (fancy cheese, expensive meat cuts, strange condiments) won’t fix the problem. Let me take the elements in turn and explain how to make them great.

with flat palms till they are discs. With your right thumb, make a small dimple in the middle on the top of each one. This keeps them flat when they’re cooking. Salting is such an important matter that I’m giving it its own paragraph. Please do not salt the meat ahead of time. This is a sure way to destroy the juiciness of your burger. Salt it only just before cooking. Salt draws out moisture from the meat, making it dry. It also starts breaking down the protein in the meat, making it easier for it to ‘‘stick” together, but also killing that meaty texture you want. (The actual science is not important; just do as I say, will you?) And lastly, we need to cook these patties. Heat the living daylights out of a cast iron pan till it’s sizzling. If you don’t have one, use a decent stainless steel pan or fire up your grill. Don’t even look at aluminium. To the smoking pan add a very thin layer of vegetable oil (we’re grilling, not sautéing). Add your patties, making sure you don’t crowd the pan. Flip them over after two minutes and cook for another two. There, your meat is cooked to ‘‘medium” done-ness, which is what it should be. Let it rest for two minutes. When you cut into it, it should be pink in the middle, not grey (dry and dead), and not dark red (not cooked enough, so not safe).

Madhu

Menon chef

The bun

Get the nicest, softest buns you can (there’s a joke in there somewhere) from a decent bakery. Don’t get ones that are too tall (won’t fit in mouth), too dry (will ruin the burger) or too fancily-flavoured (it needs to be like a blank canvas). Slice them neatly in half, lightly butter the insides, and grill them for just a minute. This gives the meat-facing sides a slight crunch, while still keeping the buns soft on the whole. If the lower half of your bun is not thick enough, it will fall apart when your thumbs dig into its middle.

The meat

Of course, this is the most important, and if you’re a true burger fan, the only meat that can qualify for a burger is beef. India’s religious sentiments have handed this role over to goat meat (commonly labelled as ‘‘lamb”), which is okay if you won’t have beef, but it’s a distant second. A mild meat like chicken simply doesn’t have the meaty flavour by itself, and needs the help of a lot of additional flavours, which, well, is not part of the essence of a burger. So you need ground (minced) meat. But you can’t just go to a store and buy regular keema. Minced meat for a burger needs the right ratio of meat to fat. I can hear the health food fans groan now, but it’s true. Burgers made with very lean meat will not be juicy or flavourful enough (I am amused at some chefs at five-star hotels offering ‘‘gourmet” tenderloin burgers, a cut that’s just too lean). Fat has many important roles. It carries flavours very well, far better than water. It provides that rich ‘‘mouth feel”. It slows down the cooking so the meat can get properly cooked to kill dangerous germs before it gets dry. You need an 80:20 ratio of meat to fat (some chefs even use 70:30, but that’s up to you). You also need meat from a part of the animal that’s been well-exercised, so it has flavour. The only way to get all these things right is to go to your butcher and get a custom mix ground for you. For beef, ask for the ‘‘chuck” or meat from around the shoulder. This has the right meatfat ratio ready to go. If that’s not available, meat from the ribs will do (though it has more fat). For goat (or what Indians call mutton), get meat from the shoulder, and ask the butcher to throw in an extra 5-10% of the weight in fat before grinding it. If you absolutely must use chicken, use only meat from the leg, preferably a large fatty one. Lastly, the meat must be slightly coarse, not too fine, or your patty will taste too pasty like baby food. All this work for just picking the meat? Where’s the cooking? Fortunately, a burger needs very little—just salt and some freshly ground pepper—for seasoning. No need for any onions, garlic, binders, or half the exotic ingredients in a supermarket. Take your ground meat and make sure it’s at room temperature. Add table salt and fresh (not the packaged kind) black pepper to the mix. Use between half and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt for each 200gm patty, so 1kg of meat should make five burgers. Around 200250gm is a good size for a burger patty. Smaller and you’ve got McDonald’s-size burgers. Larger, and the entire thing won’t fit in your mouth. Make a tight meatball between your palms, and then loosely pat them

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Cheese, condiments and veggies

For burgers, you don’t need any expensive cheese (not that you can’t use them, of course). Good old-fashioned cheddar slices, available everywhere, will do just fine. Just lay the slice on the hot burger patty when it comes off the grill and it will melt just enough to taste awesome without making a sticky mess on your fingers. You can also add other cheese such as blue cheese, Brie, or anything else that catches your fancy. Just don’t go overboard with it. Ketchup is a popular condiment, but I find it too overwhelming and avoid it. A light drizzle of mayonnaise works well to add a smooth mouth feel and mingle with other flavours. Or use Aioli (garlic-flavoured mayo) if you want to be more upmarket. There are plenty of other condiments that come to mind, but this column is about just a true-blue middle-class burger. What veggies can one use? I, in all my carnivorous savagery, do not like any veggies in my burger, but you more civilized folks can use fresh tomato slices, gherkins (pickle your own cucumbers; it’s cheaper), onions (I hate raw onions and prefer caramelized ones), mushrooms or even coleslaw. That awesome vegetable known as bacon also adds a great flavour to burger, as it does to everything. Assembling the burger

And finally, we need to layer the burger components right or you will have a disaster happening in your hands. First goes the bottom half of the bun. Do not put any veggies on top of this, please. They will get soggy, leak, and turn your bun into paste, making it come apart in your hands. Put your meat patty on top of the bun (with or without cheese). Then go your veggies. Another rule of making burger (or sandwich) is to never put one smooth ingredient on top of another, or they will all slide off from insufficient friction, which means your tomato slice might fly out of the back of the burger if you put it on top of smooth gherkins or over mayo. Lastly, add the lettuce, then your condiments. Top it off with the upper half of the bun. Eat it within minutes of assembling it. Cold burgers taste terrible. I hope you have enjoyed reading this occasionally pedantic piece on making amazing burgers. Space didn’t allow me to include more options here because I thought the basics were more important. In a future column, I might write about veggie burgers. (Who am I kidding? Like that���s going to happen!) I

Photograph: iStockphoto

Madhu Menon is a chef, restaurant consultant and food writer. He is on Twitter at @madmanweb Respond to this column at indulge@livemint.com


Column

Knowing Your Drink

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Photograph: iStockphoto

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INDULGE | July 2012

icture this: it’s mid-to-late afternoon, the working day is coming to a close. Overhead, there is a bright blue sky, the sun still beating rather hard, asserting its power and authority over a scorched land where even ants cower from the intense heat. In the distance, in one direction, rolling mountains stand statuesque like cricketers in the outfield waiting to be called into action. In the other direction, the land turns from rock to sand, tapering off as beach turns into the sea, seemingly discarding sunbathers, scattering them across sun loungers. In the middle of all this is you, perched high atop a hill, sitting in a comfortable chair on your balcony, a copy of Ruchir Sharma’s Breakout Nations on one side and a much-thumbed edition of Tuhin A. Sinha’s The Edge Of Desire on the other. Folded on your lap is a daily copy of Mint. While you gaze across the landscape, you can feel a thirst for something refreshing, yet with a kick. At this moment, there are plenty of options, depending on what one has at hand. At the right time, a bottle of cold (and I mean very cold) beer is fine. A Kingfisher or a Kalyani chilled can provide one of the best and most refreshing post-work drinks there is. Simple yet effective, a cold beer cannot be misdirected if the aim is to quench thirst after a long, hard day. However, we’re after something more classy, given the circumstances described at the start of this piece. Yes, beer has its place, but so ubiquitous is ale that if you really want to be premium, sit proudly in your manor and quench your thirst like a king, then you should probably reach for a spirit, and in this searing heat, my choice would be gin. Last month, I wrote of my conversion to gin. Whisky is still the king in my house—a regal drink, the Bentley of spirits. But gin is the delicate little plaything—the sports car to take out and have fun with, the Aston Martin of drinks, if you will. Over the next few issues, I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on drinking gin, starting with ‘‘confidence” this month—a big thing when drinking any branded spirit. When it comes to gin, I need you to be in agreement with me on one thing here: that not all gins are the same. Far from it; each gin has its own unique balance and blend of flavours, built around a core of juniper, which can vary wildly. I promise you, if you try Bombay Sapphire, Gordons, Beefeater and Tanqueray neat, side-by-side, you will have a revelation. The flavour profile of each of these has been carefully chosen so as not to be the same as their rivals. Spend some time with each of these brands. Once you have chosen the gin you like, then you need to remember the name. This is vital for three reasons: Firstly, you like it more than you like the other gin in the market. Secondly, howsoever you choose to drink your gin—and we shall come to it more next month— when you are in a bar, it is simply not good enough to order a ‘‘gin and tonic”, for example. If you order a non-specific brand of spirit at a bar, you may as well have changed in the dark and left in whatever selection of your (or your wife’s) clothes that was picked out at random.

joel

harrison

drinks consultant

Learn which brands you like and do your best to order them. If nothing else, it will show the bar staff that you have knowledge in that area and it will make it a lot harder for them to give you something cheap in the mix and hope you won’t notice. Asking a bartender subtly if they’re sure the gin in your martini is the standard Beefeater Original and not the Beefeater 24 as ordered will show them that you are not to be messed with. (FYI, if the answer is that the gin is the desired brand, you can always retort with something like: ‘‘Excellent, thank you, sir; I usually take it a little more chilled than this at home,” to save any embarrassment.) Thirdly, and probably most importantly, knowledge is key when visiting the house of someone you want to impress or assert your importance upon. Arriving at a dinner party at your boss’s house, if you are greeted with a cold glass of gin and tonic, it is fair to enquire, in front of the group, as to the origin of the gin. If the choice does not match your own, you can give a small sigh under your breath and, with great authority, casually utter a phrase such as, ‘‘Ah, an interesting choice, I’ve not had this gin for a while. Personally, I find the additional citrus elements in Tanqueray work for me in a G&T. But...this does seem to hit the spot for a first drink of the evening.” At this moment, you must take a sip and then wince ever so slightly as you swallow, no matter how tasty the drink may be. For those who can hear you, you have become a beacon of information; you have shown your depth of knowledge in a lesser-known subject and, if pressed further, you can simply retort with this get-out-of-jail-free quote: ‘‘Of course, it’s important to know what you’re consuming, as much as it’s important to know what you’re wearing. Now tell me about those cufflinks/earrings/shoes...” Instantly, you have diverted the pressure away from you, on to someone else and thrown down the gauntlet of ‘‘expert” for them to pick up and run with. These same rules could be applied to vodka (which has a much narrower flavour difference between brands), rum and, of course, whisky (the broadest of all the flavour profiles across the category and probably the most important spirit when it comes to understanding the flavour differences in the brands). So do go away and do your ‘‘research”, responsibly. And if you happen to bump in to me in a bar soon and enquire about the contents of my glass, I expect your response to be, ‘‘Ah, an interesting choice. Not what I would have chosen...now, tell me about those shoes you’re wearing.” I

Joel Harrison is a drinks writer and consultant and co-founder of the website Caskstrength.net He is on Twitter at @WeHeartWhisky Respond to this column at indulge@ livemint. com


Profile then be able to look at other strategic opportunities.

Big Scale, Big Value

With a 28-year record of building international brands, Gary Cohen is hoping to replicate that success at the Timex Group. By Sidin Vadukut

H

sidin.v@livemint.com aving joined the Timex Group as president and chief executive officer in February 2011, this was just Gary Cohen’s second visit to BaselWorld. Cohen came to the brand with a stellar record of developing international brands and distribution networks. Some of his previous pet brands include Oral-B and Gillette’s phenomenally successful Mach3. Now Cohen and the Timex Group hope he will bring some of that flair and success to watches. Cohen spoke to Indulge at Basel. Edited excerpts: How different are watches as a category from all the other businesses you’ve handled before? Everybody says their category is different. I say what is great about Timex is its fashion, design and passion. People put their heart and soul into the product. There is an element of craftsmanship and artistry in it. For us, as more of a mass player, we have to be sensitive to heritage, but then fuse design, performance and technology. We are one of the few major brands that can actually bring design and fashion and performance and function together. Was there anything that surprised you when you joined Timex? An element of the business that struck you as unique? Just the sheer number of brands, competitors and watchmakers, and the amount of awareness about watches in general. I was into watches. I used to wear multiple watches, but I think I was totally surprised at just how many independent watchmakers there are, and how many watches and how many competitors there are globally. Strategically, what do you want to do with your brands? Do you want to create more Timex-owned brands? What is the strategy for the licensed brands? Well, I think as a benefit of being a global company with a broad portfolio, we are able to take advantage of the economic nuances around the globe So, for example, last year, we knew that Asia and the Middle East had a resurgence of the fashion luxury category in general. Many of our watches that were positioned in those markets did very well. Our mass brands didn’t do as well, but now some of the mature markets are coming back in terms of economic growth. The US seems to be getting

better, and so does Australia. We are also seeing our mass brands grow at the same time. It would be nice to have one year with every country and every part of our portfolio working to the top of their potentials. That would be the ideal year but the benefit of a portfolio is that we can actually balance the economic turbulence. Which one bodes well for you in India? We can apply those same principles in India. We have young consumers, and we have more mature consumers… Well, we are developing a product line for young consumers within the Timex family. We also are taking advantage of our broad distribution with the Timex line in style, and also starting to make statements with products like the Intelligent Quartz for consumers in that higher price point. As the department store channel in India is growing, we want to take advantage of that with our luxury brands— Ferragamo and Versace. So again, to have the benefit of a global portfolio in India…which is one of our most important and fastest growing markets. Have you changed the way things work at Timex? Have you brought in your own style to the way Timex functions? I am very focused on combination of passion and design. Passion, because the employee base that we have is totally committed to a category, totally committed to the brands, and my job is to make sure that I can build on that passion, infuse my own, and try to make the best watches we can. And then bring a little bit more of a global portfolio in terms of how we launch markets, how we attack the consumer segments. That is what my goal is: to get us ready to develop more new products faster, use our design capabilities, leverage our Girogio Galli design studios in Milan, and make sure that we can bring as many of those influences to all of our products as fast as we can. Will you be looking at creating new brands or consolidating the existing ones? I think it is going to depend on the market; we don’t really talk about our future plans in that area. We do have a pretty robust portfolio and my main focus over the next year or two is to make sure that we focus and grow the brands that I have inherited. They are like little children, they all have their own needs, and we need to make sure that they are all successful. We will July 2012 |

INDULGE

09

Have you become a more discerning watch consumer yourself now? Without a doubt. Have you become more sensitive to watches? Just the nuances of craftsmanship and handmade designs as I walk around and see some of the independent watchmakers that make one or two watches at a time. You learn a lot about the nuances and the intricacies of the category. As a mass player, our job is to maybe bring some of those design elements or some of that craftsmanship into our product line for the masses. I think we can do that very well with design or by bringing in some of our independent movements. To bring what I would call some of the higher technology to the masses at a very affordable price point. Something like the Intelligence Quartz, which has our own movements that can measure depth up to 60m, we can offer to the consumer for $185-200. You can’t get that in other product lines. How has the move to Timex affected your own lifestyle? I feel like I am on a plane all the time. Last year, I spent time visiting all of our facilities, getting to know all of the people in our company. We are a global company, we are a large footprint, and as I came out of last year, I needed to actually get up to our retail partners and try to meet as many of them as possible. For me, a good day is when I am on a retail visit, when I am tracking our employees, when I am trying to see how I can help them. I learn more when I talk to my own team about what they see happening in the market place. And they give me the best advice when it comes to new products or how to run the company. That is the benefit of having an engaged workforce. I


Profile

Chanel-ing

The Masculine Renowned for the J12 range of timepieces, Chanel this year celebrates a quarter century of watchmaking with some innovative pieces. By Sidin Vadukut

I

sidin.v@livemint.com t is tempting for brands to rest on their laurels. In the J12, Chanel has perhaps the most iconic and influential women’s watch design of the last decade. This year, Chanel pushed the J12 philosophy into new territory with a men’s timepiece. Nicolas Beau, international director of Chanel Horlogerie, spoke to Indulge about the rationale behind the new piece, the development of the new flying tourbillon limited edition, and the dominance of the J12 design. Edited excerpts: What is the philosophy behind your men’s watch this year? How important is that in your scheme of things? The J12 has always been in the spirit of a masculine watch, stolen by women, as always (laughs). So that’s the first answer. The second answer is that in Chanel, Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel, the founder of the company...she very often took things from the men’s fashion material that she would put into design for women. Tweed, for example. She was impressed by men’s fashion in England, so she took tweed, she took the jersey, which were used by British people for innerwear. She made dresses with that. And there has always been this connection between men and women within the Chanel brand. Although Chanel is a very feminine brand in watches because of the J12 range, we do have a men’s collection. Since men, in fact, want very specific features, we focus on those features. Which is why, for

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INDULGE | July 2012

example, we had some men saying that the shiny ceramic was a little too shiny for them. We were not so comfortable with ceramic. So we did matte ceramic, and we made the watch bigger. We adapted the watch to men’s demand, starting with the marine watch two years ago. We don’t very often see brands making tourbillon watches for women. So why did you choose to make the Première Flying Tourbillon for women this year? Is there a specific demand from women for high complication watches? I don’t know about demand because we never work based on demand. We create and we hope that people will enjoy those creations. We hope. So, in that particular case, we were not trying to make a tourbillon for women. This watch was made to mark the 25th anniversary of our watchmaking. And this design was our first. “Première” means “first” in French. We wanted to make a spectacular jewellery watch. In that particular watch, there was a camellia set in the dial. But

I don’t know about demand because we never work based on demand. We create and we hope people will enjoy those creations.

then, we looked at the watch, and we said, “It’s a nice watch, but what’s special about it apart from the fact that it’s a beautiful setting, beautiful diamonds?” It was missing something to be strong enough to celebrate this anniversary for us. So we said, “Why not have this flower moving somehow? Flying?” And then we said, “Okay. Let’s make movement for that.” And we loved the concept of making a tourbillon. So that’s quite a technical achievement to have this flower floating, levitating on top of the dial. Do Chanel’s other products have an influence on your watches? Is there a lot of give and take between watches, couture, and so on? No, no, no. They are all different divisions. There is a common spirit connecting divisions: the brand,

the philosophy, and the founder of divisions. But fashion is a shortterm activity. Things change every season. Watches are long term. You buy a watch for 10 years, and you want the value of the watch to remain. You need the service, you need the support. So you cannot design watches thinking in terms of fashion or seasons. Also it takes 18 months just to design a watch. So by the time you look at a fashion and design a watch to go with that fashion...the fashion is gone. Does that mean you are constantly thinking 18-36 months ahead of what is happening right now in watches? Always. Right now, I’m here with you, but next week I’m working on the 2014 collection. Is there a French approach to watchmaking that is different from the Swiss in terms of design and packaging? Well, first of all, most French...I’m Swiss and French so...I’m half and half... Swiss people who were mastering the technique were not so much mastering the design. And I think in the last 20 years, the influence of other cultures on the Swiss industry has brought a lot of innovation, particularly in terms of design. So it’s mostly the rigorous work of the Swiss associated with the creativity of other nationalities making a good result. The J12 is an iconic design. Is there a disadvantage of being dependent on one design? Does it give you enough freedom to innovate and design? The J12 is a vast collection. In fact, the J12 is not one collection, it’s three collections. No. It’s even four collections, if you include the Chromatic we launched last year. So we almost have four lines with different targets because matte is more masculine, white is definitely feminine, black shiny is more like for men and women. And so on. And we have other watches. Also the success of the J12 does not mean we are not constantly looking for new ideas. We are. And I think things are working out fine. I


Profile

The Lifestyle Story With a retail footprint in more than 100 countries, Guess and Gc have used an irreverent approach and an unabashedly fun philosophy of watchmaking to script international success.

So we developed a line that was a little bit more classic, and yet had a little bit of fashion, priced over Guess, but under all the expensive brands, and it was very successful, especially in Europe and in Asia. So then what happened is Guess watches became more sophisticated and they turned into steel and pushed up against the Guess Collection product. About seven or eight years ago, we decided that we should convert Guess Collection to Gc and take the word Guess off all of it.

By Sidin Vadukut

I

sidin.v@livemint.com n an industry dominated by historical brands, Guess and Gc are merely blips on the watch market timeline. Yet both brands have a reputation for making fun, sexy timepieces at competitive prices and with a unique accessories approach. Cindy Livingston, chief executive of Sequel, the licensee for both brands, spoke to Indulge about the genesis of the brands, design inspirations and on emerging trends. Edited excerpts:

Why did you decide to remove the word Guess? Because Guess became higher level and it became more sophisticated in the design. And it got pushed up against Guess Collection, which wasn’t Swiss. So we took Gc and we pushed it up, and we converted it to a Swiss-made brand, sophisticated product. It’s the bridge-line, so when somebody grows out of fashion watches and they want something that’s a little bit more classic, it’s something they can wear all day long, but it’s still got a fashion flair to it. We look at the trends for the Gc brand from the high-end Swiss watch industry. So in the Guess brand, we look at trends everywhere—in fashion, in clothing, and cars and everything. But when we get to Gc, we look and see what’s happening in the high-end Swiss industry. So when black and rose gold became big a few years ago, we did Gc watches in black and rose gold. Man, did we sell them. It was just amazing. Now when young girls were craving for the Chanel ceramic white watch, we did ceramic at our price and we sold tonnes of it. And we are still selling tonnes of it.

Tell us a little bit about the history of the Guess brand. What was its genesis? Well, we started in 1984. So we’re really kind of the secondoldest fashion watch brand after Swatch. The company was started in Connecticut by a man named Mickey Callanen who is an entrepreneur. Nobody could get enough Swatch watches so he decided that he would do Guess watches. He got the licence from Guess, which was a young, hot clothing brand at that time. Swatch made plastic cases and we made a metal case. So that was the primary difference. They retailed in the beginning at $35 and we retailed at $38. It was just a basic brown case with lots of graphic logo dials and question marks, and all that kind of stuff with rubber bands. Very colourful, just like Swatch. When did you get involved with the brand? I wasn’t with the company when it started, but joined it about four years afterwards. And a year later, I thought maybe we could have an international business. So I kind of invented a job for myself in this company and declared that we would sell watches internationally. And I found that nobody was doing fashion watches other than Swatch. So I kind of just went around the world and...I really credit the success of our brand today to being attached to great distributors around the world who understood high-end watches. And we became their fashion brand in really the mid-to-late 1980s. By the early 1990s, we really started growing. Today, we do over more than $1 billion of retail in sales around the world. Through all this growth, has the brand remained true to its original vision? Absolutely. We’re in a hundred countries. This is the Guess brand and we stand for fashion. We love design. We design for young, sexy and adventurous people all over the world who really love accessories and products. We have an accessory mentality versus a watch mentality when it comes to Guess, and design drives everything that we do. How does that change your approach to the business compared with the other brands here? That you have an accessories approach and not a watch approach... I think that’s the secret to our success in Guess. Okay, we have a separate Swiss-made brand, that

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We design for young, sexy and adventurous people all over the world who really love accessories and products. I’ll talk to you about in a little bit. But you know it’s funny when I first went around the world and I showed these high-end watch guys my chronograph, they said, “Cindy, that’s not really a chronograph; a chronograph has to have a certain second sweep...” or whatever it was. And I was like “It’s a chronograph to me!” We didn’t really care. We cared about what the product looked like, and we told a lifestyle story, and we marketed it to different segments of young people. What prompted you to then launch the Gc brand, especially when Guess was performing so well? So about 15 years ago, we were sitting around a room, and we said what are all these young kids going to wear when they grow up? When they graduate from college and they’re going to a job and they can’t afford to buy a Rolex or an Omega or a Patek and all that stuff? And we decided that we would start a brand called Guess Collection. At the time, Guess watches were made in brass and we decided to make a line in steel for the European jewellers.

What trends are you seeing right now? Well, there are a couple of things happening in the industry. Three years ago, everyone was talking about steel. It’s not there anymore. Thirty per cent of my business is being done in black plating. We’re making a big statement in brown... so it’s moved away from steel. We have a big business in white, big business in black, in gunmetal, in the grey family, and now we’re going to do some really very cool things in bronze. So the colours change. It’s moved away from the traditional steel, two-tone in gold, and all that stuff. Also, small cases for women and ceramics are the big, important new stories for us. Does Guess ever involve itself with the clothing brand? Paul Marciano (co-founder of Guess) approves each one of our designs. So we work very closely with them. We also work very closely with the handbag, shoe and jewellery people because we try to do trends together. So we’re licensees, but one of the keys to Guess is when you go into their stores, it kind of looks like it’s coming from one place. So you know when you go to LV or go to Gucci and all that, all their stuff comes from one design room... That’s not how Guess is. We have our own designer, Gc has their owner designers, handbags have their own designers, but we have three meetings per year where we all get together and we say this is the detail we need to use, this is the print we need to use, this is the leather we’d like to use on one collection. So we work hard in trying to have a contiguous selection to an accessory customer, so we can look like one brand. I


Feature

Good Deeds,

Good Sense Rolex and IWC are just two of the brands that diversify and invest their DNA in social projects.

By Sidin VAdukut

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sidin.v@livemint.com

ate last year, on a somewhat nippy November evening in New York, a ballroom full of artists, journalists and New York cognoscenti assembled at the Lincoln Center to mark the conclusion of the latest edition of the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initative. The packed ballroom was an assortment of some of the finest exponents of art and sport on the planet. Steve Buscemi sat two tables away from Vijay Amritraj, while Margaret Atwood made small talk with the magnificently coiffed Wole Soyinka. They were all there, however, not for yet another awards ceremony, or to felicitate the already heavily felicitated. Instead, they were assembled at the New York Public Library to honour the next generation of artists. Six young men and women, all graduates of the Arts Initiative, had spent the previous year under the mentorship and tutelage of some of the most respected artists in the world. Visual arts protégé Nicholas Hlobo worked with Anish Kapoor, the London-based artist renowned for his monumental works of art, including the recent ArcelorMittal Orbit for the 2012 London Olympics. Other mentors for the 201011 cycle of the Intiative included composer Brian Eno and film-maker Zhang Yimou. Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex, told the media last November that the Initiative, started in 2001, has many goals. One is to both preserve and nurture traditions and techniques in various art forms. Another is to create global networks of mentorships, something that was impossible just a few decades ago before the advent of cheap transport and communication. With Rolex footing the bill for the year’s worth of travel and interaction, young developing artists, often without the means to do the globetrotting themselves, can now spend extended periods of deep immersion with established masters. For instance, in a previous mentoring session, film-maker Martin Scorsese not only interacted frequently with his protégé, Argentine film-maker Celina Murga, but also invited Murga to

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witness his work during the filming and editing of the film Shutter Island. And in August last year, Scorsese announced he would be the executive producer of Murga’s The Third Side Of The River. Anish Kapoor told Indulge that the mentorship goes beyond an established artist showing a younger artist how things are done. “We also just sat and talked about our philosophies. What is the poetic language of our art? We talked about not just the meaning of our art but also about the difficulties involved in bringing that art to life.” Projects such as the Arts Initiative do many things for a brand like Rolex. For one, it is a philanthropic project. Rolex is a closely held private company. Many people believe that much of Rolex’s considerable income is dedicated to philanthropic projects, with the Arts Intiative being the most prominent one. But initiatives such as these also help add to the brand’s public aura. For Rolex, it is a messaging masterstroke, connecting with both the world of established masters and the more dynamic world of the impetuous upstarts. In marketing terms, Rolex is straddling the world of the arrived and the aspiring, both key emotional segments. “We believe that the luxury

Working with the master: Anish Kapoor (left) and Nicholas Hlobo at Kapoor’s atudio in London.

For brands such as Rolex and IWC, social initiatives help them connect with people who share similar values and priorities.

industry is all about selling dreams,” said IWC Schaffhausen’s Karoline Huber. Huber is director of marketing and communications at the highly respected German watchmaker, well known for its Portuguese family of watches. Huber spoke to Indulge shortly after the latest edition of the Laureus World Sports Awards held in London in February. IWC has been associated with the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation since 2005, when it came on board as a lead sponsor. The foundation, well known for its annual sports awards, brings together world-class athletes from all over the world to run sports projects in socially challenged parts of the world. In February, Laureus World Sports Academy chairman Edwin Moses told Indulge how Laureus chose these projects carefully, linked them up with champions, and then kept a close eye on them throughout the year. “Getting people to play sports, especially kids, can materially change the way they approach their lives.” Former Australian cricketer Steve Waugh told us how projects run by the foundation are especially important in countries where the native sporting infrastructure is quite poor. “I was lucky to be born in Australia,” said Waugh. “I had all the infrastructure and support I needed when I was growing up as a cricketer.” But in less-fortunate parts of the world, initiatives such as the Laureus projects can step in effectively. In December 2005, Waugh and fellow

Laureus World Sports Academy member Kapil Dev opened the Seenigama Sports project near Galle in Sri Lanka. The project was located in an area devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, and involved training boys and girls in nearby villages in cricket and other sports. For IWC, the association with Laureus made sense, said Huber. “As a company that enjoys international success, it belongs to IWC’s self-conception to take social responsibility. Hence, for us, joining hands with Laureus is much more than just an association. I would say it is a win-win situation for both of us, as Laureus can benefit from us as an international brand, and on the other hand, IWC will be able to support a worldwide effort.” Besides directly funding Laureus projects, IWC also launched an annual special-edition Laureus watch. “These watches act not only as ambassadors for good causes, but also a defined percentage of the sales goes into a financial contribution, focused on the activities of the foundation,” said Huber. For brands like Rolex and IWC, the Laureus Foundation and projects such as the Arts Initiative serve multifaceted purposes. They augment the brand’s international messaging. They help them connect with people who share similar values and priorities. And also they help the brands fulfill a social obligation, one that often gets lost in the glitz and glamour of luxury creation and consumption. I


Profile

India’s Time Has Come

The gold standard in international specialist watch magazines has now launched in India. By Sidin Vadukut

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sidin.v@livemint.com

or more than two decades, Joe Thompson and his team have produced arguably the most influential watch magazine in the world. With an unmatched reputation for editorial independence, WatchTime is where connoisseurs and collectors go for an honest, educated opinion. Earlier this year, WatchTime announced an Indian edition in association with the Manorama Group. Editor-in-chief Thompson spoke to Indulge about what this means for the maturity of the Indian market and how WatchTime is changing with the times. Edited excerpts: What brings the magazine to India? The market for watches in India is one that is traditionally seen as very mature but small. What are your impressions? I would say that views about the

Indian market are rapidly changing. The consensus among Swiss watch firms today is that India is on a path to becoming a major market for fine watches. The demographic data would suggest that the number of watch collectors and aficionados in India will grow significantly. We saw a similar development in the US over the past two decades. A quarter century ago, the level of sophistication about fine watches among American men was pretty dismal. Today, there is a thriving community of important watch collectors and aficionados in the US. These gentlemen (they are mostly guys) seek the kind of in-depth information about watches and the watch world that WatchTime offers. WatchTime has teamed up with The Week because the same dynamic is now occurring in India. Our sense is that the time is right for a special magazine in India devoted exclusively to watches. Give us a sense of the editorial philosophy behind WatchTime. What is WatchTime’s unique perspective that has made it the gold standard for writing about watches? That is our goal; I am not prepared to say that we have actually reached it. We are blessed to have readers who are extremely intelligent, extremely passionate about watches, and extremely well informed in general. WatchTime has to be as good as or better than any magazine or journal that they read. What we try to do is take an independent, analytical, journalistic approach to watches and the watch world. We specialize in original, indepth, analytical articles designed to both inform and entertain. Perhaps the best example is our

Nevertheless, it is common practice among American and European watch magazines. Often these magazines are owned by private entrepreneurs who have no publishing or journalism experience, and no sense of a journalistic mission. The magazines, and their editorial content, are focused almost exclusively on advertisers.

watch tests. Every issue contains at least two tests of watches conducted by our team of watch testers at Chronos, our sister magazine at our parent company, Ebner Verlag, in Germany. The tests are completely independent. We rate the watch on nine different criteria, give it a score for each one, and a total score on a scale of 100. We list pros and cons for each watch tested. WatchTime and its sister magazines put its advertisers to the test, something very rare in watch journalism. The tests, of course, are a reader favourite. Our editorial package is designed to offer articles that cover the surprisingly wide world of watches. The formula, in addition to the tests, includes corporate profiles, product trends, industry issues, watch technology, profiles of watch collectors and key industry executives, and watch history. For example, the first issue of WatchTime India has a story called “Voltaire: Watch Baron”, about Voltaire’s deep involvement with the watch industry late in life. Currently, what is the status of world watch editorials? Often one gets the sense that magazines, blogs and websites fall over each other to say nice things about brands. Advertising relationships explain some of this. Do you think there is enough independence, sophistication and nuance in the writing? Sadly, your observation is spoton. No, there is not nearly enough independence and enterprise in watch journalism today. Too many magazines ignore the canons of journalism. A perfect example is selling cover stories to advertisers. WatchTime doesn’t do it and condemns it: it violates the canons of journalism, cheats the reader, and allows brands to dictate what the magazine covers.

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Now that the luxury watch industry seems to have bounced back, somewhat intact, from the financial crisis, what do you think are the challenges facing the sector? Some people seem to fear over-dependence on China. Others just seem more cautious now, having been stung by the economy. The watch industry, particularly the luxury watch industry, has been on a wild ride over the past four years. The Swiss watch industry set sales records in 2008, collapsed in 2009, came roaring back in 2010, and set new sales records in 2011. But there are severe imbalances in the global network. China has rescued the industry, no doubt. Swiss executives are split about the current slowdown in growth there. Some think the situation is dangerous; others have confidence that the Chinese government will manage the situation, and growth, albeit slower, will continue for the near term. Also, while the big groups like the Swatch Group, Richemont and LVMH set sales records in 2011, Chinese demand is not lifting all boats. Some smaller luxury watch companies, particularly those reliant on the European and American markets, are still hurting. My own sense is that the wild ride, marked by dramatic swings up and down, is not over yet. And in terms of watches, what do you see that excites you in terms of a product? Briefly, do you see any emerging trends for the next few years? On the product side, I think the dramatic return to traditional, classical design that we’ve seen in the past two years has legs. The first decade of the century was marked by jumbo looks with cluttered, complicated dials. The zeitgeist seems to have changed. Chinese buyers, who favour classical design and are less enamoured of sports watches, are certainly a factor. But the dignified elegance of a threehand watch that simply tells the time matches the post-recession mood, I think. What is your vision for WatchTime globally and in India? Do you see the title evolving in terms of content and platform? The new publisher of WatchTime USA, Dominik Grau, is an expert on the new media sector of publishing. He is leading a major push by the magazine in multiplatform publishing and social media that we hope will make WatchTime a more global watch information resource. The print edition remains our flagship and we plan to introduce it in other global markets. But we are now developing and exploring ways to deliver authoritative information about watches through the Web, tablets, mobile phones and other new media. For WatchTime India, we will continue to work with Malayala Manorama, the publishing powerhouse behind The Week, to explore other opportunities in India. For now, the mission is to establish WTI, under the leadership of Neha Bajpai, as India’s watch authority. I


Product

New Vintages

Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

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Jaquet Droz Pocket Watch Ivory Enamel

From the catalogue: ‘‘This model, designed in 1785, transcends the generations and is the inspiration of our flagship model—the Grande Seconde Enamel. Featuring an ivory or black Grand Feu enameled dial, the Jaquet Droz Pocket Watch pays tribute to the unchanged philosophy.” >> Manual-winding mechanical >> Power reserve: 40 hours >> Haute horlogerie finishing

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It is both ironic and somewhat delightful that the Swiss watch industry thrives on anachronisms. In an age when watches run for years on a single battery, or for weeks on just a few morsels of sunshine, brands continue to make watches that must be manually wound every few days. And connoisseurs clamour to buy these pieces. This year, three brands renowned for their contemporary wristwatches took this anachronistic trend one step further. Each of them brought out elegant, limitededition pocketwatches. Brief profiles:

Tissot Pocket Watch 1920

From the catalogue: ‘‘The straight hands and line indices with the Arabic number 12 standing at its index give it a contemporary facet with a circular zone providing the piece with depth and elegance.” >> Swiss made >> Mechanical movement >> Mineral crystal >> 316L stainless steel case with see-through case back

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Longines Lépine 180th Anniversary Limited Edition

From the catalogue: ‘‘Fitted with a manually wound mechanical movement (L878), Longines Lépine 180th Anniversary Limited Edition recalls the first pocketwatches produced by Auguste Agassiz.” >> Limited edition, 180 pieces >> Manually wound mechanical movement >> Longines calibre L878.4 >> 17 jewels >> 18,000 vibrations per hour >> Power reserve: 40 hours


Feature Photograph: iStockphoto

Zoning Out

Over the last century and a half, watchmakers have come up with ingenious ways of solving a peculiar time conundrum: What is the time somewhere else? By Sidin Vadukut

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sidin.v@livemint.com recisely ascribing a date or even a broader time span of months and years to horological inventions and innovations can be a difficult thing to do. There is little documentation that can prove beyond dispute which watchmaker in which city of Europe invented which fundamental part of the watch mechanism at what time. Indeed, one of the phrases that appears most commonly in any history of watchmaking is “simultaneously invented by both”. For instance, credit for the invention of the balance spring in the mid 17th century is given to both Robert Hooke and Christiaan Huygens. Both men claimed credit at the time and the dispute has remained unsettled ever since. Meanwhile, the balance spring is at the heart of the every modern mechanical watch. And so it is with watches that tell them time at two, or more, different places simultaneously. When did the first watchmaker decide to add that extra hand or an extra mechanism to his watch? Most histories of watchmaking say that Charles-Félicien Tissot, founder of the Tissot brand, made and sold the first dual time zone pocket watch in 1853. The official Tissot history confirms this. And this seems to make sense if you look at the history of time zones. The first official time zone in the world was established in Great Britain on 1 December 1847. Till

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then each city in the UK, and indeed in most of the world, had its own time based on local sunrise and sunset. However, with the advent of widespread railway connectivity in Great Britain, local times became messy to handle for railway companies. While railways lines ran on London time, station masters in individual stations had to use company-issued tables to convert local times in each city to London time. By the middle of the 19th century, railway companies began to realize the merits of standardizing the times at all railway stations and synchronizing them to Greenwich Mean Time in London. As the time at railway stations often served as a standard for the surrounding villages and towns, soon all of Great Britain began to move to GMT. According to one estimate, by 1855, 95% of Great Britain had shifted to GMT. It would still take another 25 years before Great Britain would declare GMT as the national time zone. In fact, the first country to adopt a national time zone is believed to be New Zealand, where, in 1868, official time for the entire colony was set at 11-and-a-half hours ahead of GMT. The concept of national time zones and standard time intervals began to proliferate all over the world through the latter half of the

19th century, propelled by railway and telecommunications links. In many countries, standard national times would remain an open issue till well into the 20th century. In India, for instance, a unified time would be adopted only in 1955. In any case, the development of time zones and the pioneering pocket watch by Tissot signified a new challenge for watchmakers. Since watches were an essential accoutrement for travellers and navigators, manufacturers soon began to wonder how they could accommodate time zones into their devices. The easiest way was to include two independent movements into the same watch, each capable of being set independently. This way, the wearer could set one watch to home time and the other to whichever time zone he was travelling to. This early iteration can be seen not only in vintage timepieces but also in much more modern watches such as Jaeger Le-Coultre’s Reverso Duo line. Another simple but timeless method of showing a second time zone is the GMT style of dial. Here, an additional hand, concentric with the regular minute and hour hands, shows the second time. In some models, the GMT hand works on twenty-four rotations and time is read off a 24-hour bezel. In other models, the GMT hand jumps in one-hour or 30-minutes increments when adjusted, making it easy to set. This year at BaselWorld, a number of brands launched superb GMT watches including Seiko and Omega.


Feature

The gold standard for GMT watches, however, is the Rolex GMTMaster II originally developed in 1955 for specific use by airline pilots. Later it became the official watch of many airlines. The association with Pan American World Airways would serve as inspiration for one of Rolex’s more memorable print advertisement campaigns. This year at Basel, Rolex unveiled a further iteration of the second time zone display in the form of a 24-hour off-centre disc. Presented on the flagship new Sky-Dweller piece for 2012, the new display is perhaps the most unambiguous display possible, with the second time zone read off an indicator triangle. For travellers who juggle time zones frequently, yet another refinement of display is the inner or outer ring labeled with the names of several cities. The simplest execution of this design is in this year’s new Breitling for Bentley GMT V8 piece. First convert your home time to the 24-hour format. Now simply rotate the bezel to align the name of your home city (or corresponding time zone) with the corresponding converted time on the outer 24-hour markings on the dial. For example, if it is 3.00pm in Hong Kong right now, simply rotate the bezel till the label for Hong Kong is aligned with 15. Voila, the other cities are now all aligned with their respective current times on the 24-hour markings. A more sophisticated execution of this system is that made famous by Patek Philippe in the brand’s legendary World Time watches. In 1950, renowned watchmaker and world-time expert Louis Cottier designed the first dual-crown World Time for Patek Philippe. Five years

later, the brand began selling the Reference 2525 based on Cottier’s original design. Here one crown was used to set the time and another one was used to set two inner rings: one with city names and other with the 24-hourcum-day-night indicator. Once set, the watch would then automatically update times across all the cities, requiring no further settings. Other modern interpretations of this design include Vacheron Constantin’s critically acclaimed Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time that displays all 24 hourly and 12 half-hourly time zones on a single dial complete with disc and sapphire crystal day-night indicator. The most striking execution of the city disc at BaselWorld this year was Breitling’s Transocean Chronograph Unitime that combines a world time function with a 1/4-second chronograph on a new, in-house B-05 calibre. Step away from mechanical movements and into the digital realm, and suddenly you leap ahead

in terms of not only accuracy but also automation. Seiko unveiled the new Astron GPS Solar this year that combines a conventional second time zone subdial, at the six o’clock position, with a radical new way of automatically setting the time on the watch. The Astron GPS is capable of connecting to GPS satellites, much like a mobile phone, to first locate the watch on the planet, and then set the time on the watch based on the corresponding time zone. In other words, the Astron will take care of both determining where you are and what the right time for that location should be. All you need to do is point it at the sky and press a button. And it does all this with a mechanism that runs on solar power. Today, the discerning watch buyer can choose from a variety of world time and GMT watches—from the latest in Japanese technology to the finest refinement of ancient methods. Indeed, there is enough choice to buy one for every time zone. I

July 2012 |

INDULGE

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Feature

Booth Profile Bulgari’s booth at BaselWorld has always been one of the most popular venues at the event. With dramatic architecture and tasteful displays, the booth stood head and shoulders above its usual boxy counterparts in the main halls. However, 2012 will be the last time Bulgari presents from this hall. Next year, it will move into the revamped main halls as part of the LVMH family. A brief profile of a legendary space: Write to us at indulge@livemint.com

When was the booth built? In 1992.

How long does it take to design each year’s presentation?

Several months, starting from the conceptual definition of the environment to the set-up of the various elements.

How big is this space? Around 6,000 sq. m.

How many rooms and sub-spaces does it have? A huge number of sales rooms, three press rooms, exhibition space on the lower and upper levels, a restaurant, and a wide lounge and relaxing area.

How many staff members operate the space?

An average of 300 staff the stand. These include staff, logistics, services, technical, PR and worldwide staff.

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July 2012 | Vol 1 | No 4

New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chandigarh*, Pune*

Indian Buyers Are

terms of support, customer service and distribution.

Quite Mature Longines entered China years before it became the sensible thing to do. But can it replicate that success in India? By Sidin vadukut

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sidin.v@livemint.com

alter von Känel, president of Longines, was an officer in the Swiss army for many years before becoming one of the most wellknown and outspoken managers in the Swiss watch industry. He spoke to Indulge about the position and the development of Longines in the Indian market. Edited excerpts: How was India for you last year? India is not an easy market, but despite governmental barriers, high taxes and duties, we are doing very well there. We will continue to develop and open new stores in India during the next years and keep working with this market following our three key words to success: continuity, consistency and focus.

How did you cope with the economic crisis? And, more recently, with zooming commodity prices? So far we have to say, we are among the lucky ones who have felt the difficult times, but are not strongly affected by them. We are even proud to say that so far the results are rather good. Our only measure is to keep a close eye on our expenses. We are also happy to be part of the Swatch Group which is a key factor for our success. Our aim is to maintain our leading position within our price segment of 1,000-4,000 Swiss francs. With our pillars—elegance, watchmaking tradition, sport and heritage—Longines proposes a wide and well-balanced offer of watches that have a strong legitimacy of coming from our long history.

There has been some progress in retail now in India. There are many riders attached to permits. But it is improving... Each country has its own rules and you also have to consider the history behind the policies. We have been present in India for many years now. The first Longines watch was sent to Madras in January 1878. We are also working with Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, who is our ambassador of elegance since 12 years. Also, India is a fast growing market when it comes to watches and we can meet a lot of watch lovers there. So I think we will go on in this successful way. You’ve been in India for many years. Do you see greater competition now? More evolved competition? Longines designs and sells high-range watches. We certainly aren’t alone in that segment but we strive to give our products a peculiar character, the aesthetic refinement we all know as “elegance”. Be they glamourous ladies’ watches, traditional designs or sports-spirited models, there’s always something about a Longines that spells elegance. We aim for timelessness and believe in a long-term strategy.

Our strategies in the fields of product development, marketing and pricing are matching the needs of the customers in India. So for the time being, there is no reason to change anything or to worry about our market position. No company can last as long as Longines without altering and maturing. But the passage of time has only confirmed the pertinence of Longines’ initial areas of interest. Last but not least, we benefit from the efforts of the Swatch Group in

One final question. You’ve seen the Indian customer for so long. The general impression is that they are very sophisticated and well informed. What do you think? The Indian customers are quite mature; both design and technology are important to them. On the one hand, our elegant range that includes Longines PrimaLuna, La Grande Classique de Longines and Longines DolceVita sells well, and, on the other hand, the watchmaking tradition pillar that includes The Longines Master Collection as well as the latest The Longines SaintImier Collection evokes many enquiries. (Sent via email.)


Feature

Photographs: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

By pradip kumar saha

T

pradip.s@livemint.com

he Indian luxury watches industry has witnessed stellar growth in the past couple of years. If we look at the numbers, the market for expensive timepieces has grown at a steady rate of 20-30%, almost three times the pace of the overall time wear industry. Indian consumers have seen a major shift in their mindset and attitudes over the last few years. “Wristwatches have made the shift from being mere timekeeping devices to a fashion accessory. A watch is seen by its wearer as a reflection of his/ her personality, a style statement,” according to the Whitepaper on Indian Time Wear Industry published in December 2010 jointly by The All India Federation of Horological Industries (AIFHI) and Technopak Advisors Pvt. Ltd. The report goes on to say that watches play an important role for men which is equivalent to a jewellery item for women. “New age consumers aspire to buy different brands and upgrade to higher price segments,” it says. And that attitude is reflected in the further break-up of numbers. If one has to break down the segment into entry-level, mid-range and the highend luxury watches, the growth rates for the last year are 15-20%, 8-10% and 30-40%, respectively, according to Parvinder Singh Taneja, general manager, Kapoor Watch Co., a chain of luxury and premium watch stores. “Growth certainly has been more robust in the segment than any other retail category, keeping in mind that prices of luxury watches have increased around 10% in the past year or so,” says Chandigarh-based Yashovardhan Saboo, founder of Kamla Dials and Devices Ltd (makers and exporters of dials) that runs Ethos Summit, a chain of luxury and premium watch stores. Saboo also says that lot of people are discovering that buying watches in India is cheaper than buying watches elsewhere. This, he says, is because of the sharp decline in the value of rupee against the US dollar. The rupee has fallen more than 20% this year against the dollar and is one of the worst performers among major currencies. “That’s the reason brands are not able to force down the complete appreciation in prices. They are only increasing their prices here by 8-10%, while in other countries, they are

B02

INDULGE | July 2012

The Future

Is Expensive

Despite various signs of a slowdown in the Indian economy, demand for expensive watches has been growing at a steady pace of 20-30%.

increasing rates by around 20%. Which makes buying watches in India (in dollar terms) cheaper than anywhere else in the world,” says Saboo. As a result, almost 70% of Ethos buyers at the duty-free airports in Delhi and Bangalore are foreigners. Another reason, say retailers, for the robust growth in India is the slowdown in China. Says Anil Madan, director, Johnson Watch Co. Pvt. Ltd, another chain of stores that sells luxury watches in Delhi and the NCR, “Because of the recent lag in China, companies are discovering that there is much greater scope here in India.” But there is still a lot to be done, say the retailers. For, as a part of the R10,000 crore luxury industry, the contribution of the luxury watches segment is a paltry 5%. THE NEXT STEP The next thing to do will be to make the shopping experience a better one, says Saboo. “We, as retailers, have to understand the legacy of the brand, know the why and how of a brand to help our customers choose a particular watch,” he says, adding that “there has to be an emphasis on getting in touch with the customers over the Internet and providing post-sale services.” For Johnson, which has 12 points of sales in capital and NCR, it is more important to mark their presence in other parts of the country. “Pan-India presence is important. It’s logistically impossible to travel every time to Chennai, for example, to sell a watch to one of our clients.” CHALLENGES But the sector is facing various challenges such as high import duties and varied taxation. “We are eagerly waiting for the GST (goods and services tax) to kick in as soon as possible,” says Saboo, adding “that would make life so much easier.” Also, there is a need for quality retail space. There are few malls and, therefore, their rentals are too steep,

Key Market: A customer checks out watches at a showroom in New Delhi.

according to the retailers. Taneja of Kapoor Watch mentions the need for a regulatory body as well. “There is a cut-throat competition and some retailers are offering enormous discounts, sometimes to the extent which is not sustainable at all. This kind of price cutting is extremely crucial and it is hampering growth.” “To check that,” he says, “we need to sit together and appoint someone who can ensure fair-pricing.” Taneja explains: “There is varied discount that retailers give in India, which is sometimes as much as 20%. (If you go to China, it is around 10% and in Hong Kong, it is only 6-7% and they wouldn’t go beyond that.) That leaves us with a margin of a mere 3-5%, which is not sustainable. We need to have at least 10-15% margin to stay afloat and do business properly.” The issues of foreign direct investment restrictions on single brand retail and the grey market are also areas of concern. CONSOLIDATION But despite the challenges, the retailers remain upbeat. The economic slowdown seems to have no effect on

the demand for high-end timepieces. “It might eventually have some impact (even then, I am sure there will be factors to cushion the impact), but so far there seems to be none. In fact, it looks like it’s more on paper than anything else,” says Saboo. Growth in disposable incomes and rising number of high net-worth individuals coupled with growing brand awareness is also going to help the industry. “What you will see next is the consolidation phase,” says Saboo. “You will see lesser number of brands per store, but there will be more extensive range per brand. There will be lot many brands, greater visibility, lot of stores will be coming up and the weaker players will be weeded out.” In terms of trends, the retailers say unanimously, mechanical watches will rule. There is a shift to the classical design. Another trend will be growing demand for sporty and semi-formal watches and multiple ownership for various occasions. People will also start experimenting with the lesser-known brands. “All in all, we will be getting closer to the global urban trend,” says Saboo. I


Product

Chopard

Happy Sport Oval

Ulysse nardin

DIOR

Alexander the Great— Minute Repeater Westminster Carillon Tourbillon Jaquemarts.

VIII Grand Bal Plume

Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde

Chronology In

Motion Watches are often judged by the movements inside them. But an ingenious collection of new timepieces boasts movement right on the dial.

Rolex

Sky Dweller

B04

INDULGE | July 2012

Louis Vuitton

Tambour Spin Time Regatta

By Sidin Vadukut

T

sidin.v@livemint.com raditionally, expectations from the dial of a premium watch have been functional at worst, and decorative at best. While elegant watches boast of simple if well-made dials crafted from enamel or lacquer, more expensive ones flaunt combinations of materials such mother of pearl, precious metals and even paved diamonds. But irrespective of what the dial is made of, one thing is common for most of them: they are almost always static. Expectations from most of the dials are limited to, in most watches, serving as a backdrop. And on the odd occasion when the “service” side of a watch is allowed to flash a bit of drama, the excitement comes in the form of exposed mechanism or a

FENDI

Precious Pave Crazy Carats

tourbillon. But now several watch brands are beginning to question this status quo. Why shouldn’t the dial of a watch be allowed some panache of its own? Why can’t the front of a watch exude some glamour without depending on the movement? This year at BaselWorld, several new timepieces combined high-quality watchmaking with dials full of life and whimsy. This included freely moving diamonds in Chopard’s Happy Sport Oval, a front-facing rotor crafted out of goose feathers in Dior’s new VIII Grand Bal Plume, and a smorgasbord of dial elements on Rolex’s new Sky-Dweller. Each watch features an innovative, often audacious, twist on the traditional watch dial. Indulge presents a handpicked selection of BaselWorld’s finest faces. I

Harry Winston Opus 12


Product

Think Different Fed up of lining up to buy the same brands as everyone else? Time to try some newer manufacturers. By Sidin Vadukut

M

sidin.v@livemint.com

ake no mistake about it. Rolex, Omega, Patek and Seiko all make some of finest watches in the world. Thousands of blogs, hundreds of books, and a worldwide network of retailers will all help you pick and choose from the finest timepieces made by the most well-known brands in the world. But what if you want to wander off the beaten logical path? Experimenting with some lesser-known brands not only adds interesting new diversions to your

watch collection, but many younger, experimental brands offer great value for fantastic, inventive products. Stray from the hallowed corridors of BaselWorld’s main halls and you can find outstanding brands such as MK II and Lum-Tec that have cult online followings for their unique pieces. Unfortunately, most of these brands have vastly smaller marketing budgets than the big names and just getting to hear about them is a challenge enough. No need to fret though. Let Indulge do the hard work for you. The next time you are in the market for a new watch, why not choose from this selection of brands that are going to be all the rage soon. But not just yet.

Cecil Purnell

What: Swiss brand that makes tourbillons and nothing else. Why: High-quality tourbillon watches made with 100% Swiss components by a brand that is eager to be taken seriously. Perfect for the first-time haute horology customer. And it has a presence in the Indian market. How much: R95

lakh-4.5 crore

Where: http://www.cecilpurnell.com/

Braun

Nomos Glashütte

Why: Watches that stand up to Braun’s legendary design history. Extremely elegant, minimal designs executed in extremely affordable packages.

Why: The watches combine German craftsmanship with a purist Bauhausinspired design. And all watches come with one of Nomos’s eight in-house calibres.

How much:

How much:

What: Manufactured by UK-based watchmaker and distributor Zeon under licence from the famed Braun brand name.

£100-500

Where: http://www.braun-clocks.com/ watches

What: A high-end watchmaker established in the legendary Glashütte region of Germany in 1991.

Botta-Design

What: Botta-Design has been designing watches for brands such as Junghans, Bestform and Watch People since 1986, before setting up their own brand 12 years ago. Why: Botta has received a boat-load of awards for its superbly designed watches that are part art object and part instrument. It is particularly wellknown for their spectacular one-hand watches. How much: €300-700

Where: http://www.botta-design.de/

£1,000-2,000

Where: http://www.nomos-glashuette. com/

Lum-Tec

What: Family-owned American watch brand that makes high-quality, masculine timepieces at affordable prices.

MK II

What: Starting as a small watch parts seller and customizer, MK II is now a cult American brand specializing in custom and Swiss-made watches.

Why: Rugged, well-finished watches with excellent night visibility, thanks to a special eight-layer application of super-luminova material. All made in limited editions.

Why: Extremely high quality watches, made in small batches, all inspired by great watches from the past. Currently, the brand makes less than 1,000 watches a year. But at scintillating price points.

How much:

How much:

$500-1,300

Where: http://www.lum-tec.com/

$1,300 onwards

Where: http://www.mkiiwatches.com/

July 2012 |

INDULGE B05


Column

Too Many Investment Complications

10,000,000

Breguet Audemars Piguet Vacheron Constantin Rolex

Jaeger-LeCoultre Omega Patek Philippe

Price in US dollars in log scale

well in one’s backyard. This niche group depends primarily on auction houses to buy and sell, where transaction costs are substantial. Top auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s charge a buyer’s premium of 20% or more on top of the hammer price for items up to $1 million. The premium drops above $1 million, but is still substantial at 12% of the hammer price. Not only is there a buyer’s premium, but a seller’s commission as well, which can go as high as 20%. A seller also needs to pay for packing, shipping, insurance and other fees. Thus, to break even, a watch must appreciate by as much as 44% in one cycle of buying and selling at an auction. With transaction costs proving such a massive drag on performance, returns are unlikely to be high. It looked bleak, but I wasn’t giving up yet. A way to reduce transaction costs is to buy new limited-edition watches. I only needed to prove that returns from new watches have beaten those from traditional assets. Unfortunately, data on original prices paid decades ago is hard to come by. But as luck would have it, just such an estimate became publicly available last month. The peerless Fullerton-Graves collection went under the hammer in June. The collection was started by Henry Graves, a US banker, at the start of the 20th century and continued by his grandson, Reginald Fullerton, until the latter’s death in March 2012. It contained some unique custom-made watches including the famous Henry Graves supercomplication that sold in 1999 for a record $11 million at a Sotheby’s auction. Chart 2 shows the average annual return of four watches for which the original price data is available. The data was a fatal blow to my argument. Intuitively, illiquid assets should beat returns provided by liquid assets by a handsome margin. Here, even the best-case scenario of an 11.06% return barely beats those from equity markets. Moreover, returns should also beat inflation, not only Consumer Price Inflation, but also watch price inflation. After all, if one can’t even buy a comparable new watch after selling an old one then it wasn’t a very good investment to begin with. Chart 3 shows that some of the watches failed to even achieve this requirement. In the chart, a steeper line indicates better average annual return. Only the Patek Philippe 2497 beats both watch price inflation and equity returns. Based on the 2497’s performance, I could clutch at straws and argue that watches are an investment. But in the final analysis, I knew my friend was right. Investment in watches is difficult to analyse systematically, and returns are too uncertain and unpredictable. Further, they do not compensate adequately for the risk unlike other collectibles and illiquid assets. Therefore, collecting watches should be about a display of taste and feeling good, not an investment pursuit. I

Shashank Khare is a London-based investment professional, learning from the capital markets what they didn’t teach him at IIM, Ahmedabad. Respond to this column at indulge@livemint.com

Original price and year of purchase; sale price (without buyer’s premium); average annual return

Patek Philippe Pocket Watch

Patek Philippe (Ref 1436)

$62,080

$552,080

$1,100(1949)

6.61%

100,000

1,000

10.27%

1920

1940

1960

Source: Christie’s, Sotheby’s

INDULGE | July 2012

1980

2000

$1,500(1947)

$1,000(1951)

8.50%

11.06%

$302,080

Auction results

2020

Equity (US)

10.80%

Chart 3: Returns on watches barely beat more liquid assets 100.00

$870(1946)

Patek Philippe custom- Patek Philippe made Wristwatch (Ref 2497)

10,000

Year of manufacture

B06

investment professional

Chart 2: Comparative returns on watches from the Fullerton-Graves collection

1,000,000

100 1900

Khare

10.00

1.00

$602,080 Gold

(5.95%)

Note: Equity and gold average annual return is from 1946-2012 Source: Shiller, NMA, Sotheby’s, author’s calculations

CPI Equity Gold PP 1436 Watch inflation PP 2497 PP (Pocket Watch) PP (Wrist watch)

Historical value of $100 across assets

0.10

19 46 19 52 19 58 19 64 19 70 19 76 19 82 19 88 19 94 20 00 20 06 20 12

Chart 1: Prices paid by buyers at selected auctions in May-June 2012

Shashank

Value (in log scale)

A

Patek Philippe? So you’ve stolen college fees from the next generation,” wryly remarked my scientist friend. He does not understand watch aficionados. To him, the epitome of watchmaking is the Casio G-Shock synced by atomic clocks. Since looks, prestige and psychological uplift associated with brands are alien to his unidimensional metric of evaluating watches, I tried a different tack. I wasn’t paying more for timekeeping inefficiency, it was an investment. He wasn’t very convinced by my thesis that expensive watches are collectibles and should provide returns similar to other alternative assets. It didn’t impress him that Sotheby’s sold a Patek Philippe for nearly $3 million last month, nearly five times its estimated price. I thought this was a sure-fire way to make some money and a ₤£100 bet was on. ‘‘I can buy another G-Shock and prove that a man with two watches is just as sure of the time” he smiled. As I analysed data, my argument began to look tenuous. Luxury watches, like luxury cars, rapidly depreciate in value as soon as they are bought. Most watches can only be resold for 40-80% of their original price. And this is for top-end brands, not the Timexes and Casios that have little, if any, resale value. Barring limited-edition releases, continual supply ensures prices of second-hand watch do not rise above those of new watches. Long-term returns may accrue but are inherently unpredictable, and may not be related to the initial investment choice. For example, a discontinued model that is featured in a top grossing film can suddenly experience a demand spurt. This is more akin to a lottery than an investment. Therefore, my focus shifted to limited-edition watches, or those with rare attributes such as unique complications or prior celebrity ownership. These offer a better investment potential since their limited supply combined with the cachet of owning one usually leads people to pay inflated prices. For example, a Patek Philippe 2499 recently sold for $2.75 million at a Christie’s auction this year. Another of the same model sold for just $314,000. The multi-millon dollar difference is a result of a combination of rare traits. The pricier watch was from the first of only four series of 2499, in pink gold rather than the usual yellow gold, and lastly, its case was completely different from other watches in the first series. This seemed a promising avenue to explore to make my case. However, I soon realized that the simple model—’’check rare attributes, buy, hold, sell” was difficult to translate into practice. Watch collections are a display of personal taste, and are motivated by fashion and prestige rather than value. This is true even for limitededition watches or those with rare attributes. If something catches a wealthy collector’s fancy then prices can reach astronomical levels. As illustrated in Chart 1, prices paid by buyers have very little to do with age or brand. The scatter plot appears random and contradicts the intuitive view that older watches should sell for higher prices. Even watches of the same brand made in the same year can differ in price by a few hundred thousand dollars. The niche nature of watch collecting poses another big problem. Compared with collectibles such as stamps and coins, the watch collector base is largely confined to a limited number of wealthy people. Spending a few million dollars on wristwatches is easier if one has an oil

Note: Watch price inflation is estimated using Fullerton-Graves data and currently prevailing prices Source: Shiller, NMA, USA, Sotheby’s, author’s calculations



Mint Indulge - July 2012 Issue