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India Luxury redefined

Mumbai and New Delhi played host to some major events organised by watch brands in November. Our correspondent Anita Khatri reviews a busy month on the Indian watch scene.

It was an unexpected view what unfolded before my eyes when I entered the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi. I felt transported to Europe as the ballroom got transformed into a beautiful Roman garden. Inspiring images of bejewelled Bulgari celebrities from past and present conveyed the history of the 130-year-old luxury brand. Today part of the LVMH Group, Bulgari was founded in Rome in 1884 as a single jewellery shop and progressively imposed itself with its magnificent jewellery creations, emblems of Italian excellence. The event was a royal success with more than 400 elite guests including Bollywood celebrities Sonam Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, fashion designer Anamika Khanna and Sriji Arvind Singh of Mewar.

The event, which celebrated the launch of a new Bulgari boutique in Emporio Mall, saw an exclusive collaboration between the luxury maison and the renowned couturier, Anamika Khanna. In the intimate fashion show high jewellery pieces were paired with the unrivalled couture designs by Khanna. That the brand was serious about its Indian chapter was evident when Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO, Bulgari Group, explained that the brand will absorb the additional burden of taxes to ensure that the Indian customer pays almost the same price as his counterpart anywhere else in the world. “We don’t want Indians to stop buying Bulgari pieces when on a holiday but in having standardised pricing, the idea is to create local demand for the latest Bulgari novelties. In retail, we have noticed that 80 per cent is local demand while 20 per cent is travel. Travel retail is more of an impulse buy. We want to encourage the local demand in India. Each Bulgari piece offers a rich history and we want more and more Indians to get to experience this luxury.”

I couldn’t resist asking him about the brand’s experience in manufacturing high jewellery and watches. “We do find the experience of dealing in high jewellery pieces less complex as all is in-house manufacturing, once one procures gold and precious stones. In the watch industry the dependency on the outside world is higher as there are many components to be insourced.” In a candid conversation, Lucia Silvestri (Creative Director, Bulgari group) confessed that she is enamoured by India, and that she often visits Rajasthan for sourcing precious stones. In fact that’s how the Musa collection was born.

 

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November was a ‘happening’ month in the Indian luxe calendar marked with high profile launches and events. Michael Kors opened a boutique in Mumbai and Carl F. Bucherer chose the same city’s Palladium Hotel to introduce its newest ladies collection, Pathos, to the Indian market with friends of the brand actress and model Lisa Haydon and ace photographer Atul Kasbekar.

TAG Heuer’s new brand campaign ‘Don’t Crack Under Pressure’ was unveiled by its recently announced brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor at the Buddh International Circuit, New Delhi in style as Kapoor made an airborne arrival on the race track in a Paramotor, truly living the 'Don't crack under pressure' mindset.

 

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Officine Panerai, the world renowned high-end Italian watch brand, unravelled a spectacular new collection of coloured straps in alligator, consisting of 11 variations, designed to meet the tastes of both a masculine and a feminine clientele. The Officine Panerai alligator strap is a perfect synthesis of simplicity and high quality production.

Here’s raising a toast to more such glam events…

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