Making bespoke watches is a precision craft, says JWC Founder Gaurav Mehta
Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
India’s homegrown bespoke watch manufacturer, Jaipur Watch Company customizes watches to suit the imaginations of their customers. Its designs marry indigenous tradition with contemporary style to create distinctive timepieces with the core philosophy that “A timepiece should be the keeper of history”. Gaurav Mehta, Founder & CEO, Jaipur Watch Company, tells us more about the creating bespoke watches:
So, when and how did a kid obsessed with old coins and stamps get into watches?
While growing up, I was fascinated by ancient coins which spurred my hobby of coin collection. I collected a variety of coins ranging from various periods of the history of Indian coinage, which became extensive over a period of time. While I was collecting ancient coins, it was intuitively fuelling my love for watches. Having had a very deep connection with coins and watches, I decided to combine both the elements into a piece that was worthy of being an heirloom. Also, I always had a realisation that India had limited expertise with regard to fine watchmaking and the blend of all these thoughts and ideas led to the formation of the Jaipur Watch Company.
Bespoke watches are an unheard concept in India. When did you start manufacturing customised watches and how has it been accepted by the Indian buyers?
I started manufacturing customised watches since April 2015. With a strong belief in the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Jaipur Watch Company as a brand was built to cater the niche market of the Indian society. Believing in class and tradition that resonates with the Indian audience, the brand aims to be the most successful watch name in India. Our watches are a product of innovation, with a subtle hint of tradition, and therefore people have welcomed our way of presenting bespoke watches.
We make bespoke watches to suit clients’ expectations. Bespoke watches that are made exclusively for a client are, however, open to design replication on the insistence of the client. Numerous watch connoisseurs’ approach with monograms, coins and motifs of personal significance that they want to turn into heirlooms. We work with them in suggesting designs and concepts that effortlessly weave their personal elements into the timepiece.
The Hanuman (left) & Sai Baba (right) watch
Please explain the process of customising a watch?
The process of customising a bespoke luxury watch is indeed an art and involves a lot of time and effort. Each watch echoes a possessor’s characteristics and connotes its own story through the dial. After we get the design brief from the client, it is first conceptualised in the form of sketch, after which 3D model is made with all the details and rendering.
The 3D model is then used to create the end product using the state of art CNC machining. With special attention given to the intricacies of the design, the monograms are then casted in gold and silver while ensuring attention given to minimalistic positioning and placement of the movement inside the case, making it a perfect blend of the ancient and the modern.
The watches can be handcrafted in gold using the finest quality of parts and machinery. Manufacturing requires intensive care. The assembling is done in a dust-free environment with all the precautions required that results in high quality and precision.
After the dial, clients can choose from a select range of straps in a variety of genuine leather, or precious metals. The straps are created to compliment the watch dial and the concept discussed with the clients. The selected strap is then assembled with the watch by hand and utmost care.
The Jump Hour watch (left) and one that is musically engraved (right)
How much of a dent does a customised watch cause to a customer?
It varies from case to case. We are probably the only one in India which is making on order the custom 18 carat CNC Gold watches. Clients approach us with the designs/ vague sketches of what they want to create so for themselves. It can be a design, it can be their name, it can be some religious symbol or even some memorabilia which are close to their hearts. There are so many ideas and stories, and conversations that go on before we actually arrive on knowing what the client really needs. So, every unique watch has its own costing based on the creativity, elements, labour, time, etc., involved. The Gold watches start from around Rs two lakh and can go up to any extent, depending upon the level of customization and other technical aspects.
The Filigree watch (left) and the 3D printed one
Share the weirdest request you ever got for customising a watch.
We have had some really interesting requests, but each of these have made our journey interesting. over the years. If not weirdest, this was an incident that has certainly attracted our attention and we see it as one of the strangest one. There was a client who wanted to personify her love for flowers and glitter. She told us that she wanted a watch that looked like a flower, where the petal patterns looked like they were in motion when she wore the watch. So, we created an 18 Ct. gold watch with a reverse diamond setting or snow setting on the dial. Further, we lined the dial with petals embellished with diamonds baguettes and specially crafted curved hour and minute hands to epitomise the design. What makes this design unique is that the petals move with every movement of the wrist.
How big is the market for customised watches in the country and has it grown over the years?
The watch market in India is huge and there are many who not just love made-to-order watches, but are drawn by the fact that they carry, within their soul, a ‘piece of India’. When we started in 2013, the Indian market was dominated by Swiss brands. It still is but Indians are more open to innovation with independent brands such as ours. The Indian watch market at pre per cent of this market. There is a lot of potential for us to grow.