Cartier, the legendary watchmaker-jeweler, is looking at the Indian market with keen interest. The company has announced the launch of its Tankissime range, and is considering its first exclusive outlet in the country. Cartier has been available in India since 1998.
Interacting with reporters, Igor Baschet, Area Sales Head - India, Cartier, said, “There is definitely a positive trend in India and the market is growing. The market is small now, but has been growing at the rate of 30 to 50 per cent over the last two years or so. We expect at least the same growth in the next three years.”
Cartier is presently available through 15 multi-brand outlets in eight cities, and the highest level of response has been from Delhi and Mumbai, according to the spokesperson. Besides these two cities, the brand is present in Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
“I cannot give a specific timeline, but maybe some time next year, we will open a boutique store of our own. It will be either in Mumbai or in Delhi,” Baschet said.
The Cartier range starts at Rs 75,000 in India, and the first rung comprises gold-steel watches. While this is understandably the most popular range in India, its offerings go up to a mind-boggling Rs 44 lakh. The company and its retailers try to absorb the cumulative duties and taxes (of around 40 per cent), it is said, ensuring that prices here are as close to world prices as possible.
Helvetica, the premium lifestyle boutique, is the official agent for Cartier in Chennai. Ashok Doshi, MD, Helvetica, said, “Generally, it is the offerings in the Rs 1-Rs 2 lakh range which sell here the most. We would like to see how clients react to the high-end jewellery range, because they have not been exposed to it in India. The trend is positive though, and in the coming years, we see the demand increasing.”
He added that the profile of buyers has “definitely changed” in the last two years, and that buyers of premium watches are getting younger. Admittedly, a major challenge was to get people to buy premium lifestyle products in India.
Japan is the biggest market for Cartier, followed by the USA. There have been Indian influences for some time on the designs of the Cartier range, informed Baschet, adding, “We find that Indian women are looking for very feminine designs. So we are sure that the Tankissime range will be received well. It is more of jewellery than a watch, and in the Indian market, especially in the South, there is a strong culture of gold jewellery and craftsmanship.”
‘The Patiala Necklace', a story on the $25-million piece made by Cartier for Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, was among the most “successful and popular” programmes chosen by Discovery channel while celebrating its completion of 10 years in India. And for the princes and princesses of the booming Indian economy, Cartier is among the most luxuriant ways to tell time.