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Watches, instruments for expressing one’s personality

New Delhi, Feb 18, 2024
At Titan, the core design philosophy centers around inspiring people through innovative and captivating designs. To create a meaningful impact through design and inspire individuals to pursue their highest aspirations, it is crucial to continuously gather insights from people, experiment with fresh and innovative ideas, and harness the full potential of design.

Good design seamlessly blends handcrafted techniques with new emerging technology, creating a contrast between two spaces that excites people’s imagination.

Importantly, most of the watches at Titan are carefully polished and put together by hand, celebrating the human touch in a world inspired by technology.

Mahendra Chauhan, Head of Design- Watches, Wearables, and Accessories at Titan talks about the brand’s core design philosophy for watches and wearables.

Read Excerpts

In your role, how do you anticipate and integrate emerging trends in watch and wearable design? Can you give an example of a recent trend that Titan has successfully incorporated into its products?

Chauhan: The Titan design team employs a robust process for trend identification, delving into megatrends and micro trends. Megatrends encompass larger scenarios shaping our world, such as sustainability or wellness. On the other hand, micro trends are derived from megatrends and define the style treatments of fashion products.

At Titan, we pride ourselves on establishing and leading watch trends rather than merely following them. As a design team, we actively engage in national and international fairs and design weeks, absorbing and infusing new ideas into material and technology spaces.

Our latest collection, Titan Stellar, is a great example of turning exciting concepts into exceptional products at Titan. It captures the spirit of human exploration, aligning with the significant trend in popular culture as space travel becomes a reality.

Sustainability is a significant concern in today’s world. How is Titan addressing this in the design and manufacturing of watches and wearables?

Chauhan: Titan adopts a holistic approach to sustainability that extends beyond the products themselves. A noteworthy achievement is that eighty percent of the energy required by our factories in Hosur is sourced from wind energy.

We uphold a commitment to water conservation by recycling water in our campuses and factory setups, actively contributing to our goal of achieving carbon neutrality. Additionally, a majority of our products crafted in brass utilize recycled brass blanks.

In a stride toward greener practices, Titan watches now feature more sustainable straps made from materials like khadi, apple, pineapple, and bamboo. Notably, Fastrack has launched the REVIVE collection, showcasing watches with straps made from recycled ocean plastic—an innovative and forward-looking step towards environmentally conscious timepieces.

How does Titan leverage consumer insights to inform its design process? Are there plans to offer more personalized or customizable options in the future?

Chauhan: We build every design story and collection on the foundation of consumer insights. Following the double-diamond design model, we emphasize consumer insights and ideation before implementing prototypes, ensuring a thoughtful and consumer-centric design process.

We maintain a robust idea feedback system that includes consumer panel reviews and feedback at every critical stage.

While we value consumer feedback at Titan, we also firmly believe in providing consumers with novel and delightful experiences. Our design process is focused on offering creative and innovative product offerings that go beyond traditional consumer requirements.

Titan is a well-known brand in India. Are there any plans for expanding your watch and wearable lines to international markets? If so, how will the designs cater to different cultural preferences?

Chauhan: Titan has a global presence, with a strong foothold in the Middle East and Far East countries. Titan products are readily available online in the USA as well.

We launched specific collections tailored to the needs of different audiences by studying their preferences. Our robust international business team assists in converting insights into desirable products for various regions.

A recent example is the Marhaba collection, designed with Emirati tastes and preferences for the audience in the UAE.

Collaborations and Partnerships: Does Titan have plans for any upcoming collaborations with designers or tech companies to create unique watches and wearables?

Chauhan: Certainly, Titan regularly collaborates with design houses, having partnered with Masaba and Tarun Tahiliani in the recent past, and various design-led studios and companies to infuse fresh perspectives into watch design.

We will continue to explore collaborations with the plethora of talented designers in India based on brand synergies and design ethos.

What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities in the watch and wearable industry today?

Chauhan: Watches and smart wearables complement each other seamlessly, with the challenges of one presenting opportunities for the other. While wearables are now being positioned as fitness devices, watches are fast becoming fashion statements that help in expressing your individuality and personal style.

Watches convey a sense of taste, whereas wearables offer multifunctionality for enhanced efficiency. A significant challenge for the watch industry is attracting the younger generation (Gen Z) as their focus has shifted from analog to digital watches.

Our goal is to bring the focus back to analog watches with designs that resonate with younger audiences. We continue to analyze and implement the trends of today in our upcoming designs to cater to the needs of consumers.

Future of Watch Design: Looking ahead, how do you envision the future of watch design and functionality?

Chauhan: Watches serve as instruments for expressing one’s personality, and we anticipate a larger trend toward analog and mechanical watches in this realm. Mechanical watches, by the virtue of being handcrafted and battery-free, are more sustainable and driven by human energy.

They epitomize watch horology in its purest form. We see a larger trend towards premium, luxury watches featuring key functions such as power reserve, tourbillon, minute repeater, and perpetual calendar.

Finally, what advice would you give to young designers aspiring to work in the watch and wearable industry?

Chauhan: Watches hold a special place as one of the oldest and most personal fashion accessories. They’re not just about telling time; they become a part of us, expressing our identity and personality.

Not many products effortlessly combine practicality with style like watches do. The watch industry values craftsmanship and the art of making watches, all while embracing new technologies. It’s a lively and ever-evolving field with a promising future, especially for young designers who have exciting opportunities ahead.(Agency)

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