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Timex: Staying true to its core belief

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Images Business of Fashion interacts with Deepak Chhabra, managing director of Timex Group India, the US-based watchmaker

Helped by higher demand that now needs fresh capacity-enhancing investments, India has outpaced Europe as Timex Group’s second-largest market by revenue. The US-based watchmaker, which has a manufacturing at Baddi, on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, plans to increase its capacity for both domestic and overseas sales, harnessing the unit’s potential as a sourcing hub.

The company, which is the official timekeeper for Gujarat Titans, produces watches under its own brand Timex and also other premium fashion brands including Versace, Guess, GC, Nautica and Salvatore Ferragamo, among others. Recently, it announced the acquisition of Mumbai-headquartered premium watch retail brand, Just Watches, for an undisclosed sum. As part of this deal, Timex India will be taking over all the physical stores of Just Watches along with their e-commerce platform To find out more, Images Business of Fashion interacted with Deepak Chhabra, managing director of Timex Group India. Edited excerpts of the interview.

How does Timex see India as a market for watches?

The Indian watch market is highly competitive and expected to grow at a double-digit CAGR over the next few years owing to the adoption of product innovation, newer use cases for watches and fashion trends, and the upcoming consumer segments like working females to broaden category target customer base. With the higher internet penetration and increasing adoption of e-commerce, online retailing is becoming a strong distribution channel. With clear signs of category premiumization, we can see vertical specialist MBOs are also emerging as an important channel for consumers.

A watch is now a fashion accessory that is a critical part of dressing up and adds a dash of style to your wardrobe. We are also seeing new consumption trends in the category. Brands introducing collections keeping in mind Indian cultural context and consumer in mind are helping create the culture of multiple watch ownership. In addition to that, while we are seeing category moving towards premiumization, the growth isn’t driven by only Tier-1 cities, but tier 2 and 3 cities as well.

Based on current and future market trends, Timex is actively pursuing opportunities to expand its business growth through the introduction of new products, the right positioning and being available where the consumer is. As a brand, we are committed to delighting our consumers at every interaction point.

Please tell us about your pricing strategy and position in the market.

While the category is clearly showing signs of premiumization and we can see the same reflected in the pricing strategy across brands. However, Timex will always stay true to its core belief of making premium watches with superior craftsmanship at affordable prices. We will continue to leverage upcoming fashion and consumer trends to deliver a product that makes the brand relevant across age groups. We position ourselves as a premium and aspirational brand, yet affordable.

Which product category generates most revenue in India? What are your best-performing watches here?

Basis the latest data trends, traditional watches make the most revenue in India. This segment is also expected to grow in the coming years as well. However, one cannot ignore the dynamics being impacted by the introduction of smartwatches in India. Timex has a lot of great performing watches across different consumer cohorts and different occasions; be it for work, a casual dinner, festivals, or a gift to a loved one. Our collections like Fria, Q, Marlin, and Waterbury are very well known to all category lovers.

Brands are beginning to open manufacturing facilities in India. What is your position and how much do you source from India?

Our factory in India at Baddi (on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana) is a core part of our global manufacturing strategy. While the brands are beginning to open manufacturing facilities in India, Timex has been doing it for more than 15 years now. We have a robust vendor base for quality components in India. We are also working towards developing vendors to increase the share of Indian sourcing in our global collections as well.

The Baddi factory is mostly producing for India and we are continuously looking to expand our capacity on the production side in the country. We have more than doubled our capacity in the last ȃ ve years. Currently, we have the capacity to produce 3 million watches and are further planning to increase our production to meet the consumer demand.

You have collaborated with Gujarat Titans – where do you see this association going?

Gujarat Titans are the defending champions in the IPL this year and Timex is the leading watch-making brand, therefore, our association signifies the partnership of two champions coming together. We also believe that for India, Cricket is not a sport but an emotion. Hence, the collaboration has acted like a thread for us to connect with a wider audience base wherein the appeal of the sport is higher, and the reach is wider in a short period of time. The partnership has also helped us to align our brand with the emotions, values, and excitement associated with the sport.

The brand has further developed the Timex x GT collection to cater to the needs and preferences of Indian consumers who are passionate about cricket. The Timex x GT collection has been designed with a specific focus on the Indian market, where there is significant enthusiasm for cricket.

With e-commerce channels booming in India, what market share are you eyeing as you have a strong presence both oȸ ine and online?

While the e-commerce channel has boomed in India, the brick-and-mortar channel has also seen a strong resurgence post the pandemic. We expect the overall traditional watch category to grow in India in the high single digits and as a brand are hoping to gain market share in the segment. We are also seeing smartwatches as an incremental opportunity.
For us, online has shown significant growth in the past 2-3 years in line with general industry trends driven by Covid. However, we see the trend of omnichannel coming up in a big way. Hence, it will be all about the seamless integration of both channels and delivering a consistent experience across them. Hence, a disproportionate focus on either will not be our strategy. Our focus will be to be available wherever consumer shops.

Tell us about your expansion plans. Where do you see Timex Group in the coming 5 years in India?

Keeping in mind the latest category trends, we see a huge opportunity for growth in the market for our entire portfolio; be it our Core brand Timex and the several successful franchises under it or our strong licensed brand portfolio. We will continue to strengthen our product portfolio and expand our reach to serve our consumers better. We will also enhance our brand positioning to stay culturally relevant to Gen Z and millennials. I am very optimistic regarding Timex Group delivering sustainable business growth over the years.

This article first appeared in IMAGES Group’s Business of Fashion Magazine June 2023 issue

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