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‘Right Time To Enter India’

Kurt Hefti, global sales director, Bovet, talks to Smita Tripathi about the USP of the Swiss luxury watch brand as well as India as a market

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma


Kurt Hefti, global sales director, Bovet

Kurt Hefti, global sales director, Bovet, talks to Smita Tripathi about the USP of the Swiss luxury watch brand as well as India as a market.


Q: What distinguishes Bovet from other Swiss luxury watch brands?

A: The first is what we call the Amadeo system — an ingenious technique that allows you to convert your wristwatch into a pocket watch, or a table clock. For ladies, it can be converted into a necklace. Also many of our wristwatches are two-sided.

Second, Bovet is very renowned in terms of personalisation and decoration. We do miniature paintings on our time pieces, such as portraits of grandparents or children. These paintings are hand crafted by our artisans. We also do engravings, whether its flower patterns or initials. Third is the finishing. Bovet are 100 per cent Swiss made. We manufacture our movements entirely, including tourbillion hair springs which only 5-6 watch makers can do.

Also, we are very exclusive. We only make around 3,000 watches a year. Our vision is to grow in a steady but slow fashion. We don’t want to over produce.

Q: How important is India as a market?

A: In my opinion, India is an extremely important market and this is the right time for us to enter India as there are many watch collectors here, who are open to buy watches outside of what I call the ‘popular 10’ brands. We have been trying to find a right partner for the past 2-3 years. Finally, with Regalia Luxury — our partners in the Indian market — we have a vision for the Indian market.

Q: What is the vision?
A: We prefer one-on-one interactions with the watch collectors as it gives us an opportunity to showcase the brand to them. Bovet is a connoisseur’s brand and they like to spend time with it. We have had some meetings in India that have lasted 4-5 hours because there is so much back and forth regarding personalisation. It’s a bespoke approach. We are not looking at opening a store. Right now it’s all about interacting with the customer directly. May be in the future if we feel the time is right we may open a boutique.

Q: How competitive will be your prices in India?
A: In India our prices will be competitive. Generally one goes from the manufacturer to the distributor to the retailer to the end consumer. Here we are bypassing one of the three and so in spite of high taxes and duties, we are still going to ensure our prices are competitive. That’s why our phase 1 approach is the way it is.

Our pricing starts at Rs 12.5 lakh for the steel watch and then the price is only limited by your imagination. It will depend upon how much personalisation you want. Whether you want diamonds or engravings. In India, we have had maximum enquiries for our two-sided watches.

Q: Which are your biggest markets?

A: Our largest markets are the Middle East and the Russian Federation. They make up for 50 per cent of our sales. We are also popular with the royal palaces in the Middle East.

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