Marking The Hour With Gaurav Bhatia & Bharat Kapoor, Founders at Art Of Time On Bringing TimeVallée Boutiques To India

THM Desk
26 Mar 2024 |
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Luxury watch retail boutiques serve as more than just mere storefronts. It’s no longer just about selling timepieces, they are about curating experiences and cultivating a sense of belonging within a discerning clientele. From the meticulously designed interiors to the attentive staff members who are well-versed in horology, every aspect of the boutique is crafted to evoke a sense of luxury and refinement and we’re talking off none other than “THE” address in Mumbai (currently) for a luxurious experience of the watch world - Art Of Time.

Art Of Time BoutiqueFounded in 2015 by passionate entrepreneurs Gaurav Bhatia and Bharat Kapoor, Art of Time is India's multi-brand concept store. Their vision was to immerse clients in the rich tales of craftsmanship, heritage, and legacy behind the world's finest watchmaking maisons.

Art of Time offers an unparalleled shopping experience through its unique "shop-in-shop" boutique concept housing prestigious brands, staffed by highly trained watch experts providing exemplary service. Their e-commerce platform further extends this curated luxury experience via white-glove delivery nationwide. As a paradise for horology enthusiasts, Art of Time curates a diverse assortment spanning classic and contemporary timepieces from the most coveted marques globally. Their inspirational large-format multi-brand destination set new standards, garnering acclaim from brands, clients and communities alike for delivering a luxury experience on par with International benchmarks. With an extensive portfolio, Art of Time has prospering boutiques across Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. They continue expanding to meet the growing appetite for curated luxury watches among India's discerning connoisseurs.

A muti-brand destination for watch enthusiastsHere is their journey so far (2015-2023):

2015 : The first Art Of Time in Bandra, Mumbai
2018 : Art Of Time expands to Nepeansea road, South Mumbai
2022 : A Montblanc boutique in Pune, Maharashtra
2022 : A Montblanc boutique in Chennai EA
2022: A Montblanc at Chennai’s Palladium
2023 : An IWC Schaffhausen boutique in Mumbai
2023 : A Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique in Mumbai

And here’s what we can expect in 2024

● 03/2024 : TimeVallée by Art of Time boutiques in Mumbai and Bangalore.
● 08/2024 : A TimeVallée by Art of Time boutique in Chennai.
● 05/2024 : A Panerai boutique at the Mall of Asia in Bangalore
● 05/2024 : A Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique at the Mall of Asia in Bangalore
● 09/2024 : A Leather goods boutique - Montblanc & Serapian

We caught up with the dynamic duo, the founders of Art Of Time (AOT), Gaurav Bhatia and Bharat Kapoor on their journey so far and the way forward.

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Bharat Kapoor and Gaurav Bhatia

THM: From 2015 to 2025, take us through the journey?

AOT: It’s been a rollercoaster ride. While we're witnessing all the new luxury boutique concepts emerging in Mumbai, redefining the retail landscape wasn't the original intent when we made our move. Truthfully, back in 2015 when conceptualizing our flagship, we had doubts - questioning whether the ambitious scale was too grandiose for the market at that time.

An inside look of the boutiqueHowever, it was also evident that luxury brands were starting to view India with renewed seriousness. They were investing in local teams, senior leadership was making frequent visits, and even niche marques were entering the market. The brands realized the potential and were willing to allocate resources accordingly. Our decision to move first and create an unabashedly luxurious, large-format retail destination proved catalytic for the entire industry's growth trajectory in India. The striking, opulent store design raised the bar and redefined consumers' expectations of how luxe timepiece shopping should be experienced. The word "move first" is quite apt - by being pioneers, we landed strong with a world-class luxury environment tailored for this market. Alongside our expansion phase, brands took notice of what we were offering and the clientele it attracted.

THM: What was the reason for Art Of Time to bring TimeVallée in India?

AOT: Expanding into other cities is a long-coming strategy for growth. Our track record speaks for itself - this approach has allowed us to successfully enter new markets time and time again. However, the key point is that our methodology for tackling new cities has been carefully honed and optimized. Currently, multiple retailers in metropolitan cities are losing ground with major brands. An opportunity presented itself and after careful consideration, we now position ourselves as the premier destination for luxury watches by creating an unparalleled shopping experience through the TimeVallée concept. TimeVallée allows customers to fully immerse themselves in the world of each brand through multisensory storytelling and experiential retail spaces. This unique brand universe provides an environment that simply cannot be replicated online or at standard brick-and-mortar stores.

IWC Schaffhausen boutique by Art Of TimeTHM: Coming to the watches, have you seen a shift in watch materials and buying patterns in the recent past?

AOT: Over the past couple of years, there has been a shift in watch preferences, though gold pieces still in demand, men and women are gradually gravitating more towards steel watches. However, there remains a dedicated clientele for gold, especially in certain markets like Chennai. We anticipate the tastes in Chennai and Bangalore will differ notably from Mumbai. Chennai, in particular, is expected to have a stronger focus on gold watches. As a result, our product assortments will be tailored differently across these cities to cater to local preferences.

Omega watches on display at the boutiqueIn terms of sizing, the trend is moving away from larger 47mm cases that were popular for the last couple of years. We are witnessing more sales for 42mm and 40mm ranges which have broader appeal as compared to larger dials. That said, some brands like Panerai still require carrying their signature 44mm sizes as that constitutes their core collection. But for most marques, the 40-42mm sweet spot for case dimensions is prevailing.

Overall, we are witnessing a shift towards more classic, thinner dial designs over the chunkier styles that spiked in demand temporarily. This aligns with insights from our existing Mumbai client base. We already have a sizable client base there with a notable preference for yellow gold pieces over steel. Gold watches, especially yellow gold, resonates strongly in that market. So while overall trends can be observed, catering to nuanced local tastes remains crucial, especially as we expand to new regions like Chennai and Bangalore.


THM: What in your opinion is the current watch trend amongst GEN-Z?

AOT: We've witnessed a challenge in engaging the younger generation as they've embraced the digital age. It's evident that from around 25 years old onwards, individuals start earning their own income and making independent purchasing decisions. Interestingly, we've had numerous clients who had been wearing digital watches for 5-7 years, claiming they would never opt for a traditional luxury timepiece. However, many from this demographic have eventually made their way to us, starting with an entry-level steel piece like a Cartier Santos, a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, or a 40mm Panerai as their first "real" watch. From what we've observed, Cartier did hold considerable sway over Gen Z initially before the recent Reverso boom emerged as the coveted piece for this cohort over the last year or so.


That said, our overall sales indicate a healthy mix across brands. Even the Swatch Group marques like the Breguet Tradition and Reine de Naples have performed well, especially dressier ladies' pieces. Omega has remained an aspirational first luxury watch for many young buyers as well.


THM: Do you notice a differentiation in preference within Mumbai itself given you’ve had a boutique in South Mumbai and one at Bandra?

AOT: Absolutely, we observe distinct segregations in tastes and desired aesthetics even within different areas of Mumbai. In town (South Mumbai), it seems like Omega has almost become ubiquitous - an aspirational brand that most people have already experienced or owned at some point, handed down through generations. It's the watch our parents likely had during their time. As a result, there's a certain "been there, done that" sentiment around Omega specifically in the town areas. Clients come in looking for something novel, something divergent from what they've already been exposed to within their social circles. However, in our Bandra store the brand still holds that covetable, aspirational lustre.


Art Of Time is not just a destination for luxury watches, it is truly a cultural and horological landmark that is putting India squarely on the global map. The insights shared by Gaurav and Bharat here provide merely a snapshot of their accomplishments to date and offer a glimpse into their ongoing expansion strategies in India. With multiple TimeVallée boutiques set to open and their boutiques gaining momentum, it's evident that the journey for Art of Time is just beginning.