That Indians are price conscious is hardly a secret. By and large, Indians are conservative and look for high security and resale value when considering a high value purchase. However, when it comes to watches, there is an added dimension of social status too that becomes part of the purchase consideration.
Traditionally known to be fond of gold, Indians are seen to be opting more for steel, platinum and white gold. One reason for the changing preference could be the recent economic and political events. Since mid 2016, the Indian government has made Permanent Account Number (PAN) card identification mandatory for transactions above INR 2 lakh (approx. 3000 US dollars). This has had a direct impact on the luxury watch business. The demonetization of high value currency was another blow to luxury watch retailers, who were already reeling under the impact of the PAN Card rule.
Talking of the current trends, a quick survey of retailers here reveals the more popular high-end watch brands in India are Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Ulysee Nardin, Hublot, Cartier, Panerai, IWC, Bvlgari, Omega and Breitling. Among the hot-selling models we have Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, Rolex Datejust & Daytona, Breguet Reine De Naples, Bulgari Serpenti, Breitling, Super Ocean, Breitling Super Avenger, Omega Constellation, Cartier Ballon Bleu, Panerai Luminor, IWC Portofino and Portuguese. Discreet watch collectors are always on the lookout for limited editions of Audemars Piguet, Breguet and Hublot. These collectors are happy to indulge in skeleton watches as well.
An essential development was the automatic 1904MC caliber that premiered in 2011. A thin automated standard with 48 hours of power reserve, featuring the time using a subsidiary seconds dial @ 6 and also a date complication. Cartier made certain that it had enough differences compared to the majority of the foundation movements provided by ETA. The ‘Calibre de Cartier’ was the first watch that was powered with the 1904MC, but soon after Cartier started the use the grade as the base for various Chronographs and Perpetual Calendar calibers.The brand new Calibre Diver, which was launched last year, is powered with the 1904MC. It’s the first diver watch for Cartier and can be, believe it or not, the weakest Diver in the world. The case diameter is 42mm and the watch comes with a height of just 11mm. For a diver watch that’s quite flat, compared to for instance — the famous Rolex Submariner that has a height of 12,5mm or the Rolex Sea-Dweller DeepSea that steps 17,68mm. The sapphire crystal that’s 1.2mm thicker than that of the regular ‘Calibre de Cartier’ version, makes certain it can withstand the water resistance of 300m, that’s just like the Submariner and better compared to 100m water resistance of Panerai versions in precisely the same cost category.A watch that directly required benefit from the technology of this ID-ONE is the Astro Tourbillon Carbon Crystal which has been introduced in 2013, in a limited edition of 50 pieces. This new ‘Astro Tourbillon Carbon Crystal’ was released in a Niobium metal case, a lightweight and non-magnetic alloy, that resists corrosion, shocks and scratches also it’s the carbon escapement of the ID-ONE. This view is the Worlds first escapement adjustment-free and lubrication free tourbillon. If support on the motion can now be reduced to (almost) none, the sky will be the limit for the upcoming creation of Cartier’s tourbillon models.
Another finding is that women are buying more watches than men. Indian women like diamonds in their watches. They are attracted to either steel or two tone watches in steel and gold; and they tend to pick pink gold over the yellow or white variety. These watches go well with the Indian women’s style, since they are fond of jewellery. This explains the success of models such as the Serpenti, Reine De Naples and Millenary in this part of the world.
The Indian youth, on the other hand, prefers automatic watches in steel or with rubber straps, which is why Hublot is a favourite for this segment of buyers. The mature customer prefers quartz watches due to convenience of usage, while those in their 40s and 50s prefer a complicated watch in steel or white gold.