Sunday, September 10, 2006

Watching The Time Industry Grow

In India, fifty years back, watches were timekeepers, status symbols and preservers of memories. Only the educated, the elitist and the affluent generally flaunted their watches - mostly smuggled from Switzerland. It remained more or less a male domain. The social practice was for the in-laws to gift a watch to their sons-in-laws irrespective of whether the wedding was of a rich-man or poor-man.
Today, from kids to the elderly, businessmen to common men, farmers to fashion designers - all put on watches and the gender divide has disappeared so much so that the feminine trend is to have watches matching every occasion and every sartorial style.During the era of nationalisation and public sector companies, HMT(Hindustan Machine Tools Limited) became a household name for watches. The company got technical know-how from Citizen Watch Company of Japan.They lost the dominant position when private sector companies made foray into the watch industry.
Watches made by Titan Industries are now hot favourites among customers irrespective of age, sex and profession. Their current production capacity is 10 million pieces per annum. They have exploited to the hilt the innate desire of customers to get more value out of products. Watches need not merely show the time; it better be a jewellery that can also give the time.The company has gradually penetrated the niche market of making jewellery. Last year, the jewellery segment contributed 53% and the watch segment 44% of the turnover of Rs1500 crores($330 million). It plans to attain a turnover of $1 billion by the year 2010.
Which industry it represents - watch or jewellery or both?

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