Luxury watchmakers upbeat about Indian market

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India has evolved as one of the major destinations for luxury products, and the luxury watch market has a sizeable share of the country’s overall luxury market. The rise in disposable income, coupled with growing brand consciousness of the urban elite, has led to strong demand for luxury watches.

Expressing confidence in the growth potential of the Indian luxury watch market, Manuel Emch, CEO, Romain Jerome, Swiss watchmaker, says, “The luxury watch market in India is growing at an average of 20 per cent per annum. India has, in fact, become one of the top 25 countries for Swiss watches. And in the next five years, it will become one of the top 15 countries for us.”

According to Emch, despite an impressive growth rate, the luxury watch market in India is not devoid of challenges. “There are a lot of entry barriers and the infrastructure cost is high. Although high import duties on luxury goods continue to prevail, India’s policy of liberalisation and deregulation has improved its image as an attractive destination for foreign investment. So, India is a very lucrative market for us, it is a very dynamic economy,” he said.

Another Swiss watchmaker Harry Winston, which has been present in India for the last 10 years and was available through its exclusive dealer Jot Impex, is upbeat about the potential that the Indian luxury watch market holds for it.

The company opened its first EBO in India at DLF Emporio, Delhi, in 2008.

Marc Antoine Abadie, regional director, Harry Winston, says, “Right now, we have one store at DLF Emporio, Delhi. Although the response to the store is good, we still want to consolidate our position in the country before growing any further.”

On the problems being faced in India, he says, “As the luxury watch segment is a niche segment, the problems attached with it are also specific – high rentals, excessive duties, discerning customers looking for price parity.”

Both Romain Jerome and Harry Winston won laurels at the recently held Watch World Awards 2010.

– Shubhra Saini

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