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Our Vision - Basel 2017

Conversation

SEIKO

IN CONVERSATION WITH NILADRI MAZUMDER, PRESIDENT,


You took over as president in a very uncertain global market. How do you assess your journey so far?

It has been difficult and challenging thanks to the overall atmosphere. But, we have grown in high double digits. The growth has not been as fast as the years before, but there has been growth. One of the reasons for this is that the brand has always had substance. Our products have never been sold because of hyped up stories. Those who buy Seiko watches, know that they want to buy only Seiko. The demand is from want. The brand is strong as far as trust grows. Most importantly, we have a great team. To have an Indian team handling Indian operations totally for a Japanese company is rare. It is the team that has pulled it properly. Our team has been with us for the last ten years. We are also very passionate about our job. We have also done a lot of new products. Another thing that makes us special: we think local and act global. We are the only company that makes products only for India, such as the Lord collection, specific to taste of Indian consumer. We design many of the products that sell in other countries.

Is Seiko going the hi-end way? The new collections, namely the Presage seem to be heading in that direction.

We started off in India with an average price of 10,000 rupees per watch and now this figure is 27,000. Recently, we have been seeing that the Grand Seiko has been selling very well here. We have not even had advertisements for it! We sell it only from our boutiques and now we will take it to some of the stores. It is coming as a new brand and we have to look at it differently. It will be marketed differently. Watch connoisseurs prefer it. For them, they already have the other popular brands.

With respect to the Indian market, do you believe that the move of demonetization has in any way affected your sales and market? How do you see it impact the future?

It has affected the industry. A watch is a very discrete product. You can buy a piece, and others won’t know. It was always easy to buy luxury in cash. Watches were used for gifting. Cash was used for that. That definitely will get affected. But in the long-term, as economy grows, it is good. We are still growing. A lot of the Indian mentality also has to change. We have many billionaires. The market will keep growing. There is no limit to our growth. We can grow at this rate for the next 30 years at least!

The complete interview is in Hours & Minutes on pg no. 8 in the BaselWorld 2017 - A Speical Report.