‘The times, they are changin;’ Bob Dylan’s lyrics, sung more than three decades ago, still hold true. Time, metaphorically and literally, has undergone a veritable metamorphosis; the definition of a watch has evolved over the years from a functional timepiece to a fashion statement. Capitalizing on this trend, LVMH has launched Christian Dior’s International Spring 2004 collection – the ‘Dior Girly’ range – in India. In a scintillating fashion show at Taj Mansingh, brand ambassador Yana Gupta, accompanied by models Sapna and Indrani Dasgupta, unveiled the feminine pink-and-white range.
Is the Indian market ready for such niche, luxury watches? “The Indian market is very promising and Christian Dior watches and accessories have been very well received here. With Indians arriving young in life on the economic front, the market for luxury watches is buoyant. The Indians are now considering watches a fashion statement and they are no longer apologetic about paying a premium for a classy watch. And with Indian consumers savvy to international trends, I’m sure ‘Dior Girly’ will soon become the fashion rage in India,” Ravi Thakran, Managing Director, Asia-Pacific, LVMH Watch & Jewellery tells exchange4media.
“We see India as a leading country for luxury watches; it is a perfect market for Christian Dior as it represents tremendous growth opportunities,” corroborates Valerie Lachaux, CEO, Christian Dior Watches. “The young, working generation that has growing purchasing power is our target clientele. Additionally, well-heeled Indians buy over 200,000 high-end timepieces each year, most of them Swiss-made, during sojourns abroad. We are planning to target this jet-setting class and shift their buying habits towards India. The pricing policy that we've implemented for India is the same as in Dubai or Singapore or anywhere else in the world. So there will be no economic reason for Indians to buy watches abroad.”
With premium luxury watches flooding the Indian market, how are offerings from the House of Christian Dior any different? “We train our staff about the brand per se and what it stands for, so that potential customers get the complete Dior experience when they step into any of our outlets. We take a lot of care to ensure that our retail outlet in the Capital or in Crossroads, Mumbai or even Switzerland provides the consumer with the same brand experience. Where India is concerned, we are working very closely with Indian fashion and with trendsetters like Czech model Yana Gupta,” says Lachaux.
Priced between Rs. 30,500 – 44,000, the ‘Dior Girly’ range includes ‘Malice Dior Girly’ and ‘Chris 47 Steel’. While the former has a pink trotter Dior butterfly strap and a white mother of pearl dial, the latter comes in two strap designs – one with the butterfly and the other with a plain pink trotter Dior strap. All dials are made of polished steel, lacquered or sun-brushed with ultra-resistant scratchproof sapphire glass and interchangeable bracelets.
LVMH is determined to counter the grey market by bringing the latest products to the Indian market at the same time and at an equal price as the global markets, and by offering after-sales service at all its points of sale in India. “We have a fair price policy for India to match international prices, and in some cases we have even bettered international prices,” says Thakran.
The target consumer for ‘Dior Girly’ is SEC-A female clientele looking for young, fashionable and original timekeeping products. Yana Gupta says, “I’ve always admired Christian Dior for its elegance and sophistication since my early modeling days. To be chosen to represent the brand is like a dream come true.”
Christian Dior is present in 31 points across 14 cities in India. Can we expect more launches from LVMH in the future? “We are never in any hurry to launch brands; our policy is to first establish a particular brand, create its success story and then move on to launching another brand,” hedges Thakran.
Some of the luxury brands getting aggressive in India include Rado, Omega, Longines, Corum, Jaeger LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier, Tag Heuer, Christian Dior, Cartier, Technomarine and Raymond Weil.