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Verve People
January 31, 2018

Pranav Saboo On Why Luxury Watches Are A Part Of His DNA

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photograph by Adil Hasan

Co-founder of Ethos Watch Boutiques, Pranav Saboo takes us through his fascination for timekeepers

What does luxury mean to you?
To me, luxury begins where needs end. It can mean different things to different people and comes at different price points. But, as far as our business goes, luxury is really about perfection and craftsmanship. It’s about the artist creating something so beautiful that it can be worn day after day for 25 years, and then can be passed on to the next generation. Having something like that is definitely luxury.

What was it like growing up with luxury timepieces around you?
When I was a child, my father was setting up factories as we were then into the manufacture of components. Later, I did an internship with him. I went to the factories and learnt my way around the systems. One of my earliest memories of being actively involved in the business is of actually sitting in front of a computer and looking at the orders coming in. Growing up in a family where watches were a large part of the business, conversations used to revolve around work and you sort of grew up knowing all about the industry — and that initial exposure has helped me a lot.

Do you remember your first watch?
The earliest timepiece that I wore was a Titan that my dad bought me when we were in our family home in Kolkata. My first luxury one was a Longines that he gifted me on my 18th birthday. On my 25th birthday, he gifted me a Rolex.

What do you love most about a watch?
That’s a tough one. Collecting watches is like collecting art. My personal collection includes those timekeepers that I have found distinctive and unique — they are pieces that I connect to. What I’m wearing today — the Oris 10 Day Power Reserve — is one of my favourites. It’s almost impossible for me to tell you which one I am most fond of, but all the brands that are exclusive with us, they’re there because I love something about them. I am a great fan of the movement — the engineering heart of the watch. The visual element is also extremely important to me. The history of the watch for me is one of the most beautiful aspects about it. For example, I love Rolex Daytona. It was made famous by Paul Newman — he’s the person who started wearing it. Why I love it is because it meets everything on my checklist: it has an absolutely incredible movement, the history is beautiful, and it sits so well on the wrist.

Would you look at a watch as an investment?
Both my dad and I are really big watch lovers, so we both have huge collections. In terms of indulgences and interests, I love to invest in photography. My dad invests in art. I have about 26 watches now that I’ve personally bought — ones that have not been gifted to me by a brand or anyone.

In terms of demographics, how would you compare men and women as buyers of watches?
There is a relatively greater spend on timekeepers by men — and that is a global trend. Watches are one of the most accepted forms of accessories for men. Women have a multitude of options — handbags, jewellery and other accessories. But, women have begun to understand the world of watches and are buying their timepieces based on what they like and not just what is trending. Men would choose a watch depending on the craftsmanship, technology, history and heritage. Women tend to appreciate the aesthetics of a timepiece — its visual aspects.

What excites you about developing your brand?
I want to differentiate Ethos from other retailers by bringing in brands that are niche and exclusive. For me, discovering a new brand, discovering what’s special about it, its history, its DNA, bringing it to India — that’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job. What also excites me is the fact that we differentiate Ethos from our competitors with these brands that are exclusive to us. This is probably the most enjoyable part of my job.

How are you planning to expand your brand online?
We launched ethoswatches.com a couple of years ago, when no other retailer in India had a strong web presence. The digital space is a crucial part of the watch-buying journey for a customer, as it enhances the whole experience. You can research a watch, sitting at home. If you want to feel it, you can call for 10 watches to be delivered to your house. We have a team of luxury watch consultants who can guide you through the process and help you curate a shortlist. We have completely integrated the click and brick ’n’ mortar model and that helps you save on time, even as you get the timekeeper you desire.

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