Jaipur Watch Company
In 2013, Mr. Mehta glued one paisa — an old Indian coin shaped like a doughnut, complete with center hole — onto a watch dial, and suddenly friends wanted to buy it. So he sold his car and borrowed money from an old school friend, using the cash to start a business.
Today, Mr. Mehta, 38, has 14 employees, including a designer who translates his ideas and eight watchmakers in an atelier in Bangalore. It was shut for nearly three weeks in the spring as “staff members came down with Covid and we didn’t want to take a chance,” he wrote in a WhatsApp message. The operation restarted in May, and the entire team is back now.
The business has six collections, for men and women and with prices starting at the equivalent of about $200, as well as special editions, like a 43-millimeter gold-plated watch celebrating polo and Jodhpur royalty with a Swiss quartz movement modified to a jump hour disc. There also are bespoke timepieces, including a 40-millimeter 18-karat gold Swiss automatic called the Guilloché Watch, priced at around $7,600. (The brand sells 1,700 to 1,800 watches a year, Mr. Mehta said.)
The cases, dials, hands and leather straps all are made in India. Movements come from a range of suppliers, including Miyota in Japan as well as Ronda (quartz) and ETA (automatic), both based in Switzerland. The watches are assembled in the company workshop in Bangalore and shipped from its Jaipur office.
Mr. Mehta intends to test the United States market, using Kickstarter for the first time later this year to finance a 300-piece collection of rectangular stainless steel flip watches — six designs that will feature a vintage HMT hand-winding movement restored by his artisans in Bangalore. And next summer he plans to open the first brand boutique in New Delhi’s fashionable Khan Market, as, he said, 60 percent of the company’s sales are from that city.