THEY say timing is everything, more so in business. While it’s not clear whether having almanac timings handy would have made the Sensex bloodbath any easier to bear (or avoid), a watch being paraded before India Inc’s best at Davos aims to put a chronograph ‘panchang’ on high net worth wrists. Thanks to specially-designed components based on complicated mathematical calculations, the watch would be able to warn of impending ‘rahu kaal’ and also mark its actual duration.
Borgeaud Watches founding partner Marc Aeschbacher said while there has been great interest among the target audience, the watch will finally be available—after a debut at the Basel watch fair — around August or September. While the starting price would be around Rs 88,000 to Rs 1 lakh, further custom-made embellishments could see the top end model retailing for around $ 250,000!
Many Indian websites have panchang calculators and calendars (for a fee, of course!) and that means having at least a palmtop around to check for an approaching rahu kaal. Rahu kaal on wrist-top
BUT Mr Aeschbacher hopes to put that information on a wrist-top. And that’s a lot to put there as the panchang is based on complicated calculations based on Yog, Lagna, Nakshatra, Vaar and Tithi. The Borgeaud watch that achieves this via 27 mechanical movements has been patented while chronograph and tourbillon versions are being developed.
Nor is Borgeaud looking only at the crème de la crème gathered at Davos. “Cities classified as B are also a great potential market,” says Mr Aeschbacher, who has been looking at distributors in India. “As the watch would be equally useful to people in all professions from jewellers to brokers to realtors!” Even women are a special market they intend to tap, with a special ladies version.
Intriguingly, Sanjay B Mahashabde, a Maharashtra architect, currently shows on his website an ‘Auspi Watch’, which he says he developed based on the same principles. Though he patented it in 2004, he is yet to commercialise the concept. While the timepiece’s photos on his website show it is a clock rather than a watch, he told ET that the difference is that his invention is “person-specific, purpose-specific and place-specific”—and he wants it to be a “value-addition” to an ordinary watch for the average Indian, without being a “cost-addition”. He wasn’t contacted or consulted by the Swiss team, but then Mr Mahashabde says there are many people working on the same concept (including a gentleman in Delhi) as panchang offers a wide range of options—for both users and designers.
But the Borgeaud watch marks a watershed for Swiss watches for that country’s main industry has once again turned to India as a special market. Around a century ago, Swiss companies like West End and Anglo-Swiss Watches built their base on the watches sold in India and China.