Gaurav Mehta, has given India its first homegrown brand of bespoke watches. His Jaipur Watch Company’ clocks a Rs. 3 crore turnover and makes customized watches.
Gaurav Mehta of Jaipur is the founder and director of Jaipur Watch Company, which allows customers to customise their own timepieces with ancient coins, postage stamps, and hand painted images. The company also produces timepieces with calligraphy or jewel embellished dials.
Gaurav says, “I was one of the fortunate few who were able to turn my passion into a business, but the luxury watch category, which is dominated by foreign brands, was not an easy one to get into.”
This industry is dominated by large worldwide brands with substantial marketing budgets. With Rs 30 lakh, Gaurav founded Jaipur Watch Company in 2013.
He was able to raise the funds by selling his BMW automobile and borrowing from friends. The company is now debt-free, with an annual revenue of Rs 3 crore. Because the Jaipur brand does not have a showroom in Jaipur, one must go to the company’s office.
Around 70-80 of the timepieces on show are from the HMT brand. He owns 300 HMT timepieces in his collection. His table is adorned with a handcrafted pocket watch. His fascination with watches began at a young age.
Gaurav had his first pair of watches constructed by a Hong Kong watchmaker. For the sake of experimentation, he inserted it inside his watch dial. It caught people’s attention wherever he went. Friends even pleaded with him to make one for them.
Gaurav took a risk by getting into luxury watches in 2013. He was living in Jaipur with his combined family at the time, running a family entertainment business that he eventually sold. His father is a Chartered Accountant, and his family is well-established.
So, at first, he focused on study and collaborated with renowned numismatists and watchmakers to master the trade. Gaurav claims that he created the first pair of watches and had them produced by a Hong Kong watchmaker.
Currently, the company produces 1800-2000 watches per year, which are offered online and through retail locations in specialised hotels.
Gaurav adds that the city of Jaipur is a brand in and of itself, which is why he chose the name ‘Jaipur Watch Company’ for his timepieces. While employing antique coins, he obtains authenticity certification from well-known numismatists. Prices rise when the watch is totally handcrafted.
Even though it is made of steel, a handcrafted watch can take up to six months to complete and can cost more than Rs 3 lakh.It took four months to create a watch with hands shaped like Tanpuras. The painters who completed the sculpture are descendants of those who embellished the weapons of the Jaipur kingdom’s kings.
Gaurav shows why the hand-painted dial with pichwai painting costs Rs 15000, the Peacock feather one costs Rs 35000, and the silver watch costs Rs 55000 while displaying some of the unusual watches. Gaurav has sold watches ranging in price from Rs 15,000 to Rs 24 lakh.
The Rs 24 million watch was designed for a client and features gold and diamond diamonds studded in the shape of a flower on the dial. His personal favourite, though, are the watches constructed from old coins of King George VI. He’d made a collection of 35 watches out of these.
For the past two years, he has been collecting rare coins of the king for another collection. He has created a collection of 50 watches using antique coins from Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II.
According to Gaurav, collecting antique coins requires a lot of effort, which he obtains through collectors, antique shops, and auction houses. However, custom-made timepieces do not always have to be pricey.
On their website, the Jaipur Watch Company offers custom-made timepieces starting at Rs 20,000 under the category ‘create your own watch.’ Anyone could go online and select the colour of the dial, watch hands, straps, and numbers to be written in their preferred script, as well as write their name in the size, colour, and font of their choice. The timepieces would be produced and delivered to the customer’s home.