Nepali Times
Timeless Timex

Timex Group has been in the watch market since 1854. With outlets in 80 countries all over the world, the group launched its products in Nepal on 5 January, in cooperation with Him Electronics. Nepali Times spoke to VD Wadhwa, Senior VP of Corporate Affairs and Business Development at the Timex Group.

Nepali Times: Why do you wear a watch?
VD Wadhwa:
Watches are a style statement. The brand, the colour defines my style.

How is the luxury watch industry in Nepal?
The trend in South Asian countries was that the market was growing 30 per cent each year. But the economic recession, since September-October, decreased sales by 26 per cent. Yet because of the growing number of malls in Nepal, since last year, the luxury watch industry has boomed here.

Why did you choose Nepal to launch Timex at this point of time?
There are many reasons; Nepal is finally coming out of its political turmoil and it's the right time to start. Another is because retailing is now well developed. Not only are the displays in malls great but the distributers too do justice to the brand.

Also, remittances are crucial to Nepal's economy. Nepalis staying abroad, being familiar with the Timex brand, would like to buy Timex watches in their own country.

How are Timex watches different from others?
Our watches have many more additional features: indigo dials, heart rate monitor, data linker, digital compass, dual time, blood pressure monitor, temperature monitor and so on to suit every individual.

Who are your main customers?
Youth between the ages of 18 to 40. But it's not just the physical age! Timex watches are also for those who may be over 40 but still go to clubs and party and are young at heart.?

How useful are watches to those with trendy mobile phones?
Unlike in earlier times, when people bought a watch and wore it for years, people today change watches every six months or so. And being early movers, they want to be the first to pick the latest trends.

How are you controlling the grey market in Nepal?
There is and will continue to be a grey market in every country. But the only way to control it is to display your products well, and as widely as possible. We will also provide certificates to authorised distributors.

Why did you choose Him Electronics as partners in Nepal?
The Golchhas are serious businessmen and have gone full blast behind every new brand they have taken up. They are also very professional and have done justice to all their brands.

What is the global turnover of your watches every year?
A billion dollars. Including other brands of ours like Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Guess Collection, Ecko, Nautica, Opex and Vincent Berard.

What is the price range of Timex watches?
From Rs 1800 to Rs 20,000.

How are you promoting your brand here?
We are a long term player and believe that if the groundwork is good, business will happen. So we're penetrating the market as much as we can by learning about Nepalis' preferences and studying the market. Besides displaying watches and publicising through the print media and hoarding boards, we are associating with local events as well.

What are your future plans in Nepal?
In the next six months, we plan to have 150 Timex outlets in Nepal, including an exclusive Timex boutique.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)