Ramprasad Sridharan, CEO & MD, Benetton India, Talks About Benetton & Timex India’s Debut Watch Line ‘Benetton Timewear’
Mr. Ramprasad Sridharan is the Chief Executive Officer & MD; Managing Director at Benetton India Pvt. Ltd since June 2021. He talks about Benetton’s collaboration with trusted watchmakers Timex India and their new ‘Benetton Timewear’ collection of watches available exclusively in the Indian market. The collection launch is scheduled in phases and the first drop reveals 42 watch styles across four pillars that embody the brand ethos of Benetton backed by Timex’s watchmaking legacy.
Tell us about your new tie-up with Timex and what was the motivation behind the creation of the Benetton Timewear line?
Benetton Timewear is one-of-a-kind collaboration, part of a licensing deal where Benetton India is at the forefront of creative inspiration stemming from the brand’s DNA of colors and social, while Timex India spearheads the overall designing, manufacturing and distribution. The collection embodies brand ethos of both Benetton and Timex with wide variety of styles, color options at democratic price points along with sustainable line of watches. In the phase I, we have created four pillars namely, social, iconic, sports and social which caters to men, women, children, younger GenZ and millenials.
For Benetton, introducing watches in our portfolio was much needed to be able to resonate with varied target groups – millenials and Gen Z. Indian watch market currently stands at INR 101 billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8 -10%. Watch penetration in India remains at 35% with more than 5% people owning multiple watches. We observed that market penetration in India is low, presenting us with an opportunity to fill the gap in the market. We found an ideal partnership in Timex as the brand is a global leader in watch making with heritage of manufacturing, uncompromised quality, craftsmanship and thoughtful designing.
Is this kind of a tie-up unique to India or has Benetton done similar tie-ups elsewhere?
This is one of a kind tie-up that Benetton as a brand has explored in India. We partnered with the best in the industry, Timex to offer the best to our consumers. Currently, we are closely observing market’s response to the collection. We are confident that Benetton customers’ demands and expectations will be met. We are looking to introduce second set of collection in the coming months with more styles and colors.
Is this the first time that Benetton has launched watches, or has it done it before?
Benetton globally is known for its apparel and accessories. There was a huge gap in our product portfolio with respect to watches. Our partnership with Timex, helped bridge that gap and provided an opportunity to offer newer experiences to our customers. This is the first time we have entered the watch category globally, with India being the first launch market. We will be introducing Timewear collection in the European market soon.
What is the USP of these watches? What makes them stand out as compared to many other watch brands that are targeting the youth market in India with their version of watches?
Firstly, Benetton Timewear is a complete embodiment of our brand’s DNA of colors, playfulness and eco-consciousness that comes alive in the four pillars of this collection offering modern designs and styles to young consumers like never before. We have played across the color board incorporating reds, blues, greens, black, pinks etc., ensuring no colors are missing. Secondly, our partnership with leading watchmaker in the world, Timex which has a lineage of craftsmanship, and thoughtful design has assured us of unparalleled quality, placing the Timewear collection at par with our competition, if not higher. Lastly, the ‘Social’ pillar is the hero of this collaboration. It appeals to consumers who are imbibing eco-consciousness as part of their lifestyle and are looking to buy more than just a watch. Watches in this pillar are designed to reduce the environment impact of batteries by requiring change only once in 10 years. The straps of these watches are made of natural cellulosic fibres that are vegan, sustainable, and 100% animal cruelty free.
There are four categories of watches in this collection, Social, Signature, Sport and Iconic. Can you tell us about each of them.
Targeting the elevated fashion segment in Indian with youth being the primary focus, Benetton Timewear features four pillars/categories – Social, Signature, Sport and Iconic
- Social – The hero collection features watches with a green soul, which have an extended battery life till 10 years and low power consumption which helps in protecting the environment and reducing battery pollution to an extent. The watch straps in this collection are made with a unique material – a ‘washable paper’ which is not only vegan and sustainable but also has high stitch strength, outstanding abrasion resistance and flexibility which provides a hard wearing, durable leather effect product. The product material is made of natural cellulosic fibres (no synthetic mix) that are treated to look and feel similar to leather. It is then needled with additives that allow it to sustain repeated washing, is extremely durable and also 100% cruelty free.
- Signature – Available in 13 styles and further sub categorized as Casual, Active, Iridiscent and Basic is the Signature pillar. The styles feature strap options in leather and silicone with dials in black, white and blue.
- Sport – The Sport category comprises of 9 unisex models in digital and ana-digital options. True to its category name, the references are chunky, sporty and colourful, available in silicone/plastitc straps in varied colors.
- Iconic – The Iconic range consists of 14 styles inclusive for men, women and kids, with lightweight straps made from PU. This range reflects the true color story of Benetton with playful, chic and contemporary models with a splash of color on both the strap and dial.
The Social has been described as an end-to-end sustainable category. Can you please elaborate on this?
Sustainability is at the core of Benetton’s initiatives and we are proud to have incorporated that in the Timewear collection. The Social pillar is the focal point in this collection and not only targets today’s generation but also the conscious consumer and sustainability advocates. The watch styles in this pillar use sustainable materials while celebrating the Benetton style in a subtle way.
How does this new line of watches fit into that strategy?
The Benetton Timewear collection has just been introduced in the market and this is the phase 1 of Benetton’s partnership and collaboration with Timex. A lot has been planned and is in the pipeline, but having said that it also depends on the consumption pattern for the watches and also the consumer’s response to each category created. Nonetheless since sustainability is in Benetton’s DNA our commitment to it will be at an all-time high throughout this partnership.