Art Of Time Elevates Luxury Watch Shopping with TimeVallée's India Debut In Mumbai and Bengaluru

Art Of Time Elevates Luxury Watch Shopping with TimeVallée's India Debut In Mumbai and Bengaluru

THM Desk
30 May 2024 |
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Have you ever walked into a watch boutique abroad and instantly felt a sense of luxury engulfing you? Well, now you can witness this exact emotion right here in India with the launch of the TimeVallée boutiques in partnership with Art Of Time in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai (opening soon). A luxury watch-buying experience like no other!

But what exactly is TimeVallée? What does it offer to watch enthusiasts? How does it stand out from other multi-brand retail boutiques? To explore these questions, we spoke with Michael Guenoun CEO of TimeVallée, and Gaurav Bhatia and Bharat Kapoor, Founders of Art Of Time.

L-R: Bharat Kapoor, Michael Guenoun, Karishma Karer, Gaurav Bhatia
L-R: Bharat Kapoor, Michael Guenoun, Karishma Karer, Gaurav Bhatia

THM: India is a strong market for luxury watches given the growing appetite and aspiration towards such goods. Why did you choose Mumbai and Bengaluru to start your expansion?

Michael: The rationale behind opening a TimeVallée store remains consistent. We focus on creating value for our partners, Maisons in our portfolio who are also our partners, and clients. This fantastic location in Bandra, the heart of Mumbai, , presents immense opportunities to create value for all parties.

TimeVallée in Mumbai
TimeVallée in Mumbai

With a loyal community of watch enthusiasts here, we saw the potential to upgrade this Art of Time boutique into a TimeVallée. 
Additionally, we've observed the rapid evolution of Indian customers over the past three to five years. They're spending more, both internationally and within India. This presents a strong opportunity for us to build a solid foundation and accelerate our growth in the Indian market. That's where we are today – establishing a robust foundation with our partners to develop and accelerate the TimeVallée concept in India.

THM: You’ve had a strong background in the luxury segment. How do you leverage that expertise to expand TimeVallée in India

Michael: We now have 48 TimeVallée stores and our expansion is rapid - we're opening almost two stores per month. This expansion of TimeVallée goes hand-in-hand with the evolving landscape of luxury and watch/jewelry distribution. Today's clients expect more than just transactions; they seek emotion, excellent service, and a full-fledged experience.

TimeVallée Boutique

We clearly see an opportunity to support the Maison partners by developing the TimeVallée concept, which is not only architecturally beautiful but also offers a holistic experience through activations. We partner with diverse third-parties beyond the watch industry - like Mandarin Oriental Hotels for hospitality - to create synergies and curate unparalleled experiences for our customers.

With 20 years in the watch and luxury sectors, I've gained insights into understanding markets, customers, and the crucially important retail sphere. We've witnessed an evolution where staying relevant to clients is paramount. This drives us to constantly innovate our client journey, retail concepts, and every aspect of our approach. Continuous innovation is part of TimeVallée's core DNA.

THM: Considering your strong presence in other Asian countries, how do you plan to address each market individually and navigate the diverse cultural differences within each country, particularly India?

Michael: First and foremost, we are very cautious and selective with our expansion strategy for TimeVallée, as exclusivity is key. We do not plan to open 25 TimeVallée stores across India within the next two years. Instead, we carefully evaluate every single project proposal and decline many of them to ensure we select only the very best locations.

TimeVallée Boutique 1

Our approach is meticulous - we are cautious about the location as well as our partner . In India, Art of Time is our strong strategic partner. As mentioned earlier, creating value is paramount when undertaking new projects. Any expansion needs to be complementary to our Maison partners' existing distribution networks, if applicable.

We analyze various factors like retail availability, macro-economic and microeconomic conditions of the cities, and most importantly, leverage insights from our partners like Art of Time who have deep knowledge of the market. Their advice is invaluable in identifying the ideal cities and areas for developing new TimeVallée stores.

THM: Are there certain guidelines to be followed by brands to be a part of TimeVallée?

Michael: We are extremely selective with our  Maison portfolio as well. As you can see, it comprises only high-end watchmaking brands. While we have received many requests from different brands, we make calculated choices aligned with the premium positioning of TimeVallée as a multi-brand luxury watch destination. Maintaining this upscale positioning is of utmost importance to us.

The Time Cafe
The Time Cafe 

Our portfolio is primarily driven by the prestigious Swiss watchmaking industry. However, we are open to making select additions like A. Lange & Söhne - the most exclusive German brand which we have introduced in a couple of our locations. But apart from this exception, the rest of our brand partners are Swiss-made luxury manufactures.

THM: How is TimeVallée different from Art Of Time?

Gaurav: When you enter a TimeVallée store, the difference from our previous retail experience over the last nine years is quite visible. It presents a totally new concept in terms of design, space allocation for each brand, and even the collections on offer.
Exclusively at TimeVallée locations worldwide, we will be offering certain limited edition timepieces that are available only here. This exclusivity is one of the key highlights, besides the curated brand mix. We've added two more prestigious brands from the LVMH group to our portfolio across India for TimeVallée.

Multiple factors come into play to create a distinctive TimeVallée experience. You'll notice a unified design approach across all the locations of TimeVallée in India, ensuring consistency. However, Art of Time will retain its own unique identity and aesthetic, different from the TimeVallée look and feel. Moreover, the collections at TimeVallée will include special limited editions created exclusively for us. These rare pieces will be arriving very soon, further elevating the sense of exclusivity.

THM: Did you have a say in which brands would be a part of the boutique in Bandra? 

Gaurav: For the Bandra location,  we already had most of the brands from our previous store here. It made sense to simply bring in Roger Dubuis from our South Mumbai boutique into the new TimeVallée concept. However, for Bengaluru, we actively reached out to onboard new brands like Bulgari and Zenith into the TimeVallée there.

In Chennai, there may be an additional brand mix beyond just the Richemont portfolio that we will introduce. Our approach involves carefully identifying brands suitable for each city based on what we assess will work well there. Most Richemont brands have widespread appeal, but presenting them in the right atmosphere with the appropriate collections is crucial, which we've achieved.

TimeVallée in Bengaluru
TimeVallée in Bengaluru

You'll get to experience this curation firsthand when you visit the new TimeVallée stores in Bangalore and other upcoming cities. We've established a compelling retail environment that is turning heads. The new TimeVallée aesthetics are definitely making the stores more attractive. We're getting excellent feedback from passersby who admire the fantastic appearance. Existing clients from places like Bangalore are already inquiring excitedly about what we're doing there.

THM: Apart from the premium buying concept, is TimeVallée also offering experiences to its audience? 

Michael: A significant part of our approach with TimeVallée involves not just the innovative retail concept itself, but also activations and experiences. We believe a purely transactional model is insufficient. To create compelling events and partnerships, we collaborate with different industries. A few months ago, we partnered with Concours d’Elegance and Oberoi to physically launch TimeVallée through a pop-up managed by Art of Time. This brought together shared values of heritage and expertise.

TimeVallée IWC Shaffahausen

Continuing such cross-industry collaborations to consistently curate events is very important for us. We ask every Maison partner at TimeVallée to not just provide an assortment, but also activations - be it watchmaking classes, travelling exhibitions or something else innovative.

TimeVallée in Bengaluru 2

We work all year-round with our brand partners, and sometimes third parties, to animate TimeVallée as a vibrant destination that appeals to diverse audiences. A key purpose is to bring the Swiss watchmaking industry closer to clients, recruit new enthusiasts, and showcase its beauty. It's about heritage and beyond for TimeVallée. Heritage encompasses the esteemed Maisons they represent, while 'beyond' signifies their constant drive for innovation. They are always striving to be creative and bring forth innovative ideas from one generation to the next.