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DW Special: Will Indian jewellers be selling anticipated Apple iWatch?
Will Apple iWatch find takers alongside fashion jewellery in India? Diamond World tried to find out.
By: Diamond World News Service
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May 19 2014 3:15PM
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Reference: 9143  

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Apple – the name says to all. It stands for the best in the world of technology. So when we heard of the possible launch of Apple iWatch into the wearable technology/jewellery segment, we got thinking. Will it find any takers in India, wherein jewellery holds more of a sentimental value than the combination of jewellery and technology?

Smartwatches as they call it are ‘smart’ meant to make your day-to-day professional life easier. It will be difficult for iWatch to find its footing amongst the fashion jewellery. There is only talk of a possible launch of Apple iWatch, though it has not been confirmed by the company. As Saurabh Gadgil, Managing Director, P. N. Gadgil Jewellers Pvt Ltd, puts it, “The iWatch is still in the speculation stage; hence, it is still too early to comment on this. However, I don’t think it is going to affect the jewellery industry in any way. Apple’s iWatch is a luxury accessory in the tech space where as jewellery in India is regarded with a sentimental value that no other luxury product can match.”

Though the Apple products and fashion jewellery are meant for certain high strata of society still the main hurdle for iWatch in India is that it will be looked at as a gadget and not as a fashion accessory. “Even though both the products cater to a class of people that indulge in luxury we wouldn't be comfortable selling 'iWatch' along with our jewellery. The only possibility is that we can launch a diamond or gemstone studded casing for the watch in gold or platinum,” says Ishu Datwani, Founder, Anmol Jewellers.

In India, there is a trend of 9 to 5 jewellery preferred mostly by working professionals especially women; even these professional women will prefer diamond or gemstone studded watches. The iWatch or for that matter any other smartwatch loses its grounds in the fashion appeal segment as they are square and boxy as they cater to the technology need of the wearer more than the fashion appeal. When asked about if the high-street jewellers in India will be comfortable sharing their space of fashion jewellery with the anticipated iWatch, most of them were wary of the thought. Calling it a difficult positioning, Saurabh Gadgil said, “It will be difficult to position a watch as a high-end fashion product along with fashion jewellery. Most jewellers won’t be comfortable with this however, a gold plating and diamond or gems studded on the product will make more receptive alongside jewellery.” While Nirav Jhaveri, Store Manager, Mahesh Notandass, rejected the idea by saying, “No, though watch is considered as a jewellery but it still comes in a different segment as compared to fashion jewellery. Fashion jewellery is all about diamonds and gold so it won’t be practical for the jewellers to sell iWatch with it.”

While Indian jewellers seem skeptical of selling the iWatch along with the fashion jewellery, they are confident that the Apple iWatch will be well received by the Indian buyers and it will not have any effect on the sale of fashion jewellery. Sangeeta Boochra- Founder and Director of Sangeeta Boochra (a brand of Silver Centre) said, “We don’t think Apple’s foray in wearable technology will have any effect on the jewellery market. Even if they foray into iWatch and manufacture jewellery watches, it would not be of any affect to the jewellery industry or a game changer as they are very good in what they do: bringing the latest technology and making life simpler. Commenting on the Apple’s mastery over the technology Ishu Datwani said, “Now-a-days consumers are receptive to new trends and are open to experiments. Thus, it will be well received by the Indian buyers, specially the affluent and young buyers as they are very tech savvy and want to show one-upmanship by being the first one to acquire the latest gadget in the market.”

The talk of possible launch of iWatch is still in the speculation stage. Will it be a success or not, only time will tell.

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