From rare postage stamps to paintings, Jaipur Watch Company’s bespoke luxury watches are inspired by history

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Rare postage stamps, photographs, paintings and architecture… the Jaipur Watch Company explores bespoke luxury watches

Rare postage stamps, photographs, paintings and architecture… the Jaipur Watch Company explores bespoke luxury watches

A handmade watch with an image of Hanuman on the dial took craftsmen hired by the Jaipur Watch Company eight months. The artisans based in Jaipur are not traditional watchmakers; their forte is to engrave on swords and weapons. Another bespoke watch with a mother-of-pearl dial used a 200-year-old coin and an image of Shiva, with the dial hands designed as a trishul. Deity-themed watches are one of the highlights of bespoke watches from the Jaipur Watch Company. Rare coins, postage stamps, patterns, insignia and images ranging from personal photographs to architecture are incorporated into bespoke timepieces crafted with precious and semi-precious metals.

“When we launched our first collection in 2013, I learned that there was no other Indian watchmaker specializing in the luxury bespoke segment. Watch retailers would be reluctant to display watches made in India next to a Swiss collection because they felt the quality and aesthetics would not match.To some extent, we managed to break that barrier,” says Gaurav Mehta, Founder-Designer, Jaipur Watch Company.

Hanuman Watch

Hanuman watch | Photo credit: special arrangement

A first-generation entrepreneur, Gaurav saw in watchmaking an opportunity to reconcile his two hobbies, numismatics and watchmaking: results. One day while I was at my desk I received a British Indian coin in the mail that I had ordered. The part had a hole and I thought I could incorporate it on the dial. It was a rough experience; using an adhesive, I glued the piece to the dial. The watch caught the attention of friends and family.

A commerce graduate who went on to study risk management in the UK, Gaurav worked with an insurance company in London. When interest in watchmaking took over, he realized there was room for bespoke watches in India and returned to his hometown: “My father is a chartered accountant and many members of my family are teachers and doctors. Business was new ground, but I wanted to try.

The Jaipur Watch Company was established in 2013 and the first collection was promoted via a Facebook page: “Very few players explored social media marketing at that time. A gentleman from Delhi got in touch and wanted to buy two watches. It was the beginning.

A peacock-themed watch that uses a real peacock feather dropped into the dial

A peacock-themed watch that uses a real peacock feather dropped into the dial | Photo credit: special arrangement

The vocabulary of design has expanded over time. Couples are at the origin of requests for bespoke watches to mark special occasions, engrave a date (wedding, anniversary) with a photo or their names/initials on a background of precious or semi-precious metal. Think of a gold watch set with diamonds and a mother-of-pearl dial, with a personalized image or text.

There were other requests that posed design challenges, such as the incorporation of a small idol of Ganesha on the dial and the hands of the dial to be designed without piercing the idol.

Design inspirations also came from arts and crafts. Artists specializing in miniature pichwai paintings have helped render similar images on watch faces for the brand’s pichwai watch collection.

For a pendant watch, the company used a British India era postage stamp.

Requests also came from government agencies: “The government of Uttarakhand wanted specially designed watches for the panels of Kedarnath and Badrinath temples. For the Kedarnath collection we used a pearlescent background to reflect the snowy terrain and for Badrinath the design was inspired by the colorful facade of the temple. Many of our watches are steeped in tradition and are works of art.

Gaurav Mehta, Founder, Jaipur Watch Company

Gaurav Mehta, Founder, Jaipur Watch Company | Photo credit: special arrangement

Online orders through the company’s website (jaipur.watch) and social media pages continue to drive activity. The brand has stores in Jaipur and Delhi and retails in nine five-star hotels across India, in addition to recently partnering with Nykaa and TataCliq online.

Custom precious metal watches cost ₹2.5 lakh upwards, while made-to-order stainless steel watches start at ₹20,000. “In our stores, we plan to launch the concept of designing your own watch in 15 minutes,” says Gaurav. Plans are also underway to launch in West Asia, starting with Dubai.

Taking stock of the past two years, Gaurav shares that there has been a trend of revenge buying after the early stages of the pandemic: “Sales are better than the pre-pandemic years. We launched the Bagh collection in May this year and by mid-July 75% of the collection was sold out. A watch reflects the personality of the wearer and it is good to see the potential of luxury personalized watches growing.

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