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Exploring the World of Watch Collectors in India

by Thomas Jentzsch on November 11, 2023

 

Watch collectors in India.

India may be a relatively small market for watch brands, with Switzerland exporting watches worth CHF 156.8 million to India in 2021. However, the past decade has seen a surge in watch collector and enthusiast groups in the country. These groups, such as Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI), RedBar Bombay, and TimeGrapher, have created a sense of community and passion for horology, providing a platform for discussion, knowledge exchange, and even organizing international meet-ups.

Key Takeaways:

  • Watch collecting has gained popularity in India in recent years.
  • Enthusiast groups like Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI), RedBar Bombay, and TimeGrapher have formed a strong watch collecting community.
  • These groups provide a platform for watch enthusiasts to connect, share knowledge, and organize events.
  • The emergence of watch collector groups in India showcases the growing interest in horology in the country.
  • Despite being a small market, India offers a vibrant and passionate community of watch collectors.

The Rise of Watch Enthusiast Groups in India

In the past decade, watch enthusiast and collector groups have gained significant popularity in India, creating a vibrant community of watch lovers. These groups provide a platform for like-minded individuals to connect, share their passion for watches, and exchange knowledge about the latest releases and trends in the watch industry. The Indian watch collectors community has evolved into a supportive network that offers advice, organizes meet-ups, and fosters a sense of camaraderie among its members.

One such prominent group is Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI), founded by Dr. Karan Madan, who identified the need for an Indian watch collectors community. With thousands of members from around the world, WEI has become the largest watch collecting community in India. Members engage in discussions about various watch brands, share their collections, and organize annual meets and international get-togethers to further strengthen the bond within the community.

RedBar Bombay is another notable watch enthusiast group in India. As the Indian chapter of the international RedBar community, it connects Indian collectors to a global network of watch enthusiasts. With over 100 members, RedBar Bombay hosts watch sessions, in-store events, and meet-ups with industry experts, providing valuable insights and opportunities for Indian collectors to expand their knowledge and collection.

Supporting the Watch Collecting Community

Watch enthusiast groups have played a crucial role in supporting the growth of the watch collecting community in India. These groups serve as an invaluable resource for both newcomers and seasoned collectors, offering guidance on watch selection, authenticity checks, and insights into the market. By fostering a sense of community and facilitating connections, these groups create an environment that encourages learning and exploration of the fascinating world of horology.

Indian watch collectors community

Table: Comparison of Watch Enthusiast Groups in India

Group Name Founder Membership Activities
Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI) Dr. Karan Madan Over 4,200 members Discussions, knowledge sharing, annual meets, international get-togethers
RedBar Bombay Punit Mehta Over 100 members Watch sessions, in-store events, meet-ups with industry experts

These watch enthusiast groups have not only enhanced the experience of individual collectors but also contributed to the growth and recognition of the Indian watch collecting community on a global scale. By providing a platform for watch enthusiasts to connect, learn, and share their passion, these groups have played a significant role in nurturing the love for horology in India.

Watch Enthusiasts India: Connecting Watch Collectors Nationwide

Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI) is the largest watch collecting community in India, with over 4,200 members from around the world. Started as a small WhatsApp group by Dr. Karan Madan, WEI has grown into a global community on Facebook, where members discuss watches, share knowledge, and build camaraderie.

The community organizes annual meets and even international get-togethers in places like Vietnam, offering members the chance to meet top vintage watch dealers, custom-strap makers, and other watch enthusiasts. As the largest watch collecting community in India, WEI serves as a hub for Indian watch collectors to connect, share their passion, and learn from each other.

The online nature of the group allows members to engage in discussions at any time, making it a convenient platform for watch enthusiasts with busy schedules. Whether it’s discussing the latest releases from luxury brands or seeking advice on vintage timepieces, WEI provides a space where Indian collectors can find support, knowledge, and a sense of belonging.

Watch Collectors in India

Benefits of Joining WEI:
Access to a community of over 4,200 watch collectors
Opportunities to attend international watch meet-ups and events
Exchange of knowledge and insights about horology
Discussions on the latest watch releases and trends
Networking with like-minded watch enthusiasts
Support and advice from experienced collectors
Exclusive access to watch-related content, reviews, and resources

“Watch Enthusiasts India has been a game-changer for me as a watch collector. It has connected me with other passionate collectors, given me access to exclusive events, and expanded my knowledge about horology. Being part of this community has enriched my watch collecting journey in more ways than I could have imagined.” – Ravi, WEI member

The Rise of Watch Enthusiast Groups in India

In the past decade, India has witnessed a significant rise in watch enthusiast and collector groups, contributing to the growing passion for horology in the country. One prominent community is RedBar Bombay, an Indian chapter of the international watch-collecting community, RedBar. Established by Punit Mehta, the group serves as a platform connecting Indian collectors to global watch communities and offering valuable insights and networking opportunities.

With over 100 members, RedBar Bombay has organized watch sessions, in-store events, and meet-ups with industry stalwarts, fostering a sense of camaraderie among Indian collectors. The group’s engagement in the Indian watch collecting scene has helped enthusiasts expand their knowledge, share experiences, and appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry behind timepieces.

The Indian RedBar chapter has also played a crucial role in promoting the watch collecting hobby throughout the country, attracting enthusiasts from different regions and backgrounds. By bridging the gap between local collectors and the global watch-collecting community, RedBar Bombay has significantly contributed to the growth and development of the Indian watch collecting scene.

The Impact of RedBar Bombay on the Indian Watch Collecting Community

Founded with the aim of providing a space for Indian collectors to connect, learn, and explore their shared passion for watches, RedBar Bombay has successfully established itself as a hub for watch enthusiasts in India. Through its regular events and meet-ups, the group has created a vibrant and inclusive community, encouraging dialogue, collecting tips, and the exchange of expertise among its members.

“RedBar Bombay has been instrumental in expanding my knowledge and appreciation for watches. The events and meet-ups have not only allowed me to network with fellow collectors but have also given me the opportunity to explore new brands and horological trends,” says Anuj Patel, a member of RedBar Bombay.

The Indian RedBar chapter’s impact is not limited to Mumbai, where it originated. It has inspired the formation of similar collector groups in other cities across India, contributing to the overall growth and enthusiasm for watch collecting nationwide. By fostering a sense of community and camaraderie, RedBar Bombay has played a crucial role in nurturing and promoting the passion for watches in India.

RedBar Bombay, international watch-collecting community, Indian RedBar chapter

The Watch-Collecting Community in Kerala: TimeGrapher

Kerala, known for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, is also home to a thriving watch-collecting community. TimeGrapher, founded by Sohan Balachandran, has become a significant platform for watch enthusiasts in the region. With over 300 members in Kerala and 1,000 members across India through social media platforms, TimeGrapher has created a space for passionate watch collectors to connect, engage in discussions, share reviews, and form lasting friendships.

One of the unique aspects of TimeGrapher is its collaborative approach to watch collecting. The community’s members actively participate in designing and creating a watch called Nazhika, which showcases the spirit of watch collecting and the shared passion within the community. This collaborative effort not only showcases the creativity and talent of the members but also fosters a sense of ownership and pride among them.

“TimeGrapher has been instrumental in bringing together watch enthusiasts from Kerala. The platform has provided us with a space to share our knowledge, learn from each other, and indulge in our passion for horology. The collaborative project of creating our own watch, Nazhika, has been an exciting journey that has united us even more,” says one TimeGrapher member.

The watch-collecting community in Kerala, led by TimeGrapher, showcases the growing interest and enthusiasm for horology in the region. Through their discussions, engagement, and collaborative efforts, Kerala’s watch enthusiasts are contributing to the vibrant watch-collecting landscape in India.

TimeGrapher - Kerala's Watch-Collecting Community

Dr. Karan Madan’s Curated Watch Collection

Dr. Karan Madan, the founder of Watch Enthusiasts India, has an impressive and eclectic collection of timepieces that reflects his passion for horology. His carefully curated watch collection showcases a range of brands and styles, from high-end Swiss luxury watches to unique and limited edition pieces.

Dr. Karan Madan's Watch Collection

Among his collection, you’ll find prestigious names like Rolex, Girard-Perregaux, and Omega, representing the pinnacle of Swiss watchmaking. These iconic brands have stood the test of time and are highly sought after by collectors around the world. Additionally, Dr. Karan Madan also has a special affinity for Seiko and Grand Seiko watches, known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail.

One of the unique aspects of Dr. Karan Madan’s collection is his appreciation for independent watchmakers. He recognizes the artistry and creativity displayed by brands like MB&F and Sinn, which often push the boundaries of traditional watch design. These independent watchmakers offer something truly unique and different, capturing the imagination of collectors who seek out timepieces that stand out from the crowd.

“My watch collection represents my journey into the world of horology and the relationships I’ve built within the watch collecting community,” says Dr. Karan Madan. Each watch in his collection tells a story and holds sentimental value, making it a cherished part of his life. Whether it’s a vintage piece with a rich history or a modern watch that captures the spirit of innovation, each timepiece is a testament to his passion for watches and the art of mechanical timekeeping.

Nikhil Kamath: A Unique Approach to Watch Collecting

Nikhil Kamath, a renowned figure in India’s financial industry as the co-founder of Zerodha, one of the country’s largest retail brokers, has an eclectic and personal approach to watch collecting. His collection, consisting of about a dozen timepieces, reflects his diverse taste and appreciation for watches that hold personal significance.

Nikhil Kamath Watch Collection

Kamath’s collection spans a wide range of brands, aesthetics, and functionalities. It is a reflection of his values and the stories he finds in each timepiece. Vintage watches, like a 1920 LeCoultre, hold sentimental value for Kamath as they remind him of a bygone era in trading. On the other hand, contemporary models, such as the F.P. Journe Octa Lune, captivate him with their design and craftsmanship.

Each watch in Kamath’s collection tells a unique story, reflecting his personal experiences and interests. For instance, his 2018 Blancpain Villeret dress watch symbolizes the rich heritage of the mechanical watch industry. From Panerai to Franck Muller and IWC, every watch in his collection carries its own distinct appeal and significance.

Individuality and Storytelling in Nikhil Kamath’s Watch Collection

Nikhil Kamath, the co-founder of Zerodha, India’s largest retail broker, approaches watch collecting with a unique perspective. For him, watches are not just timekeeping devices; they hold personal significance and tell stories that resonate with his values and experiences.

In Kamath’s diverse collection, each timepiece represents a specific era, theme, or memory. From vintage treasures to contemporary marvels, his collection showcases a range of brands, aesthetics, and functionalities.

“Every watch in my collection has its own distinctive story,” says Kamath. “I believe that watches are not just objects; they are symbols that reflect who we are and what we value.”

“Watches have always fascinated me, not only for their craftsmanship and beauty but also for the stories they hold. Each time I glance at my collection, I am reminded of special moments in my life,” Kamath explains.

Kamath’s collection includes watches from renowned brands like Panerai, Franck Muller, and IWC, each chosen for its unique design and personal significance. He appreciates watches that evoke emotions and remind him of specific periods in his life.

Nikhil Kamath's watch collection

Section 9: Nikhil Kamath’s Appreciation for Independent Watchmakers

Nikhil Kamath, the co-founder of Zerodha, one of India’s largest retail brokers, has developed a deep admiration for independent watchmakers in his watch collecting journey. These horological artisans captivate Kamath with their craftsmanship, unique designs, and distinct choices that push the boundaries of traditional watchmaking.

“I find independent watchmakers like F.P. Journe and De Bethune incredibly inspiring. They dare to be different, creating timepieces that are truly exceptional,”

says Kamath.

To Kamath, F.P. Journe exemplifies masterful craftsmanship and beauty in their watches. The intricate details and precision of F.P. Journe’s Octa Lune watch have captured his attention. The watch features a moon phase indicator and a meticulously finished movement, showcasing the brand’s commitment to excellence.

De Bethune, on the other hand, appeals to Kamath’s sense of exploration. With their avant-garde and experimental designs, De Bethune pushes the boundaries of what a watch can be. These timepieces not only tell time but also serve as expressions of artistic ingenuity.

The Artistry of Independent Watchmakers

Independent watchmakers like F.P. Journe and De Bethune allow collectors like Nikhil Kamath to appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship behind each watch. These brands craft timepieces that stand out from the crowd, pushing the boundaries of traditional watchmaking and creating truly exceptional pieces that captivate the hearts of watch enthusiasts worldwide.

Independent Watchmakers Signature Features
F.P. Journe Masterful craftsmanship, intricate details, exceptional precision
De Bethune Avant-garde designs, experimental aesthetics, artistic ingenuity

These independent watchmakers inspire collectors like Nikhil Kamath to embrace the unique and explore the unconventional. Their timepieces not only tell time but also serve as wearable works of art, reflecting the creativity and vision of their creators.

Nikhil Kamath's Appreciation for Independent Watchmakers

In the next section, we will delve into Nikhil Kamath’s personal connection with his watch collection and discover the stories behind his eclectic timepieces.

The Role of Watches in Nikhil Kamath’s Life

In the world of watch collecting, timepieces go beyond their functional purpose. They become symbols of personal values and reminders of significant moments in one’s life. Nikhil Kamath, co-founder of Zerodha and an avid watch collector, understands the deep connection between watches and personal significance. His eclectic collection reflects his unique approach to watch collecting, where each timepiece tells a story and holds a special place in his heart.

Watches and values

For Kamath, watches are more than just objects of desire; they are reflections of his values and aspirations. Each watch in his collection represents a specific period in his life or resonates with a particular theme that holds personal meaning. Whether it’s a vintage Rolex that symbolizes a bygone era in trading or a contemporary timepiece that represents his fascination with war history, each watch tells a story that goes beyond its aesthetic appeal.

The emotional connection Kamath has with his watches is a testament to the power of these timepieces as symbols. They serve as daily reminders of personal achievements, milestones, and the values that Kamath holds dear. Each watch is carefully selected, not only for its craftsmanship and design but also for its ability to evoke emotions and memories. Kamath’s collection is a reflection of his individuality and the meaningful experiences that have shaped his life.

The Watch Collecting Hobby During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on various industries, and the watch collecting community is no exception. With travel restrictions in place and limited opportunities for in-person interactions, watch enthusiasts have adapted to new ways of indulging in their hobby.

During the pandemic, many collectors turned to online platforms, watch websites, and resale sites to stay connected to the watch market. With more time spent at home, collectors like Nikhil Kamath took advantage of the lockdown period to study trends, explore new releases, and expand their knowledge of the watch industry.

While the pandemic did cause some minor fluctuations in watch prices, the desire for watches and the passion of collectors remained strong. In fact, the online watch market saw a surge in activity, with collectors taking the opportunity to buy and sell watches from the comfort of their homes.

Although watch enthusiasts missed the experience of attending watch fairs, in-person auctions, and meet-ups, the community found solace in virtual events and online forums. These platforms allowed collectors to connect, share their latest acquisitions, and engage in discussions about watches. It also provided a sense of camaraderie and support during a time when physical gatherings were not possible.

watch collecting during the pandemic

“The pandemic encouraged me to explore the online watch market and connect with other collectors from around the world. While I miss attending watch events in person, the digital platforms have opened up new opportunities for learning and sharing my passion for watches.” – Nikhil Kamath, watch collector.

Despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, the watch collecting community has proven to be resilient, adapting to the new normal and finding innovative ways to continue their passion for horology. Whether through virtual events, online discussions, or exploring the vast online marketplace, watch collectors have shown that their love for watches transcends physical boundaries.

Conclusion

Watch collecting in India has witnessed significant growth in recent years, fueled by the rise of enthusiast groups and communities. These platforms have provided watch collectors with opportunities for knowledge sharing, engaging discussions, and valuable networking. Dr. Karan Madan and Nikhil Kamath, as individual collectors, have curated exceptional and diverse watch collections that reflect their personal tastes and deep passion for horology.

Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the watch collecting community has demonstrated resilience, driven by a shared love for watches and the desire to connect with like-minded enthusiasts. During the pandemic, collectors like Nikhil Kamath turned to online platforms, watch websites, and resale sites to continue indulging in their hobby. By studying trends and exploring the watch market, collectors have remained engaged and dedicated to their passion.

The growth of watch collecting in India is a testament to the enthusiasm and commitment of collectors across the country. With the emergence of enthusiast groups and communities, watch collectors have found a vibrant and supportive community in which they can share their knowledge, exchange ideas, and build meaningful connections. The future of watch collecting in India looks promising, driven by the collective passion and dedication of these enthusiasts who continue to explore the world of horology.

FAQ

What are some popular watch enthusiast groups in India?

Some popular watch enthusiast groups in India include Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI), RedBar Bombay, and TimeGrapher.

How did Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI) start?

Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI) was started by Dr. Karan Madan after he noticed a lack of Indian watch collectors online.

What is the largest watch collecting community in India?

Watch Enthusiasts India (WEI) is currently the largest watch collecting community in India, with over 4,200 members worldwide.

What is RedBar Bombay?

RedBar Bombay is an Indian chapter of the international watch-collecting community, RedBar, connecting Indian collectors to global watch communities.

What is TimeGrapher?

TimeGrapher is Kerala’s only watch-collecting community, bringing together watch enthusiasts from the region and creating a space for discussions and engagement.

What kind of watches does Dr. Karan Madan collect?

Dr. Karan Madan has a diverse watch collection that includes high-end Swiss brands, micro and independent brands, and a special affinity for Seiko and Grand Seiko watches.

What is Nikhil Kamath’s approach to watch collecting?

Nikhil Kamath has an eclectic approach to watch collecting, focusing on watches that resonate with his values or remind him of certain periods in his life.

Which independent watchmakers does Nikhil Kamath admire?

Nikhil Kamath particularly admires independent watchmakers like F.P. Journe and De Bethune for their craftsmanship, unique designs, and idiosyncratic choices.

What is the significance of watches in Nikhil Kamath’s life?

For Nikhil Kamath, watches hold a deeper meaning beyond their aesthetics and functionality, symbolizing his values and reminding him of specific periods in his life.

How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect watch collecting?

The pandemic disrupted the watch collecting industry, with watch enthusiasts turning to online platforms and marketplaces to indulge in their hobby due to travel restrictions and limited in-person interactions.

What has remained strong during the pandemic in terms of watch collecting?

The desire for watches and the passion of collectors have remained strong during the pandemic, despite minor fluctuations in prices caused by the global situation.

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