Titan watches: why being 2nd to market can be smart

Post by Prasad Narasimhan, Managing Partner for brandgym Asia, based in Bangalore.

Titan has dominated the Indian watch industry for three decades. Over this time, they have imagined & expanded the category of analog watches, enjoying a share today of nearly 60%.

However, storm clouds have been gathering over recent years. Analog watches face an existential threat from smartphone players, who have got the world hooked on touch-screen technology. And with Apple & Samsung wading in with mega launches of their smart-watches, many people have predicted doom for analog watch brands like Titan.

Titan’s recent entry with their Juxt range of smart-watches is hence interesting, both in terms of timing & product strategy. Is it smart for Titan to be relatively late to enter this new market segment?

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Juxt in Time 

The digital technology in Juxt, created by HP Inc., has been available to Titan for a while now. A launch was hence expected many months ago. And whilst they may have missed the opportunity to first to market, launching now has some advantages. Titan have let Apple & Samsung out-bid each other and in doing so create and grow the smart-watch market. Titan can now offer Indian consumers a distinctive and credible alternative, riding what will hopefully be a growing wave of smart-watch volume. In this way they reap the benefits of being a “second-mover”.

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Juxt-a-Positioning

Juxt is a clever marriage of the old & the new, the past & the future in one watch – a ‘smart-analog’ watch. Its is positioned as ‘India’s most stylish smart-watch’, with the proposition “Smart is now Stunning”. You can see the launch ad below.

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This consumer-first approach is different from the technology-first approach from Apple & Samsung. Juxt leverages Titan’s strengths in horology & design, instead of competing head-to-head on technology. It provides relevant connectivity, even as it stays true to the essence of classic watch making. In doing so, Titan is remembering and refreshing what made it famous.

 

Juxt-ifying this logic

Is this just smart strategy? After all, this is a world where just about everybody has a smartphone that tells the time. Juxt’s product logic reflects Titan’s deep understanding of the drivers for men buying fancy watches, which are centered on fashion & expression. It targets consumers who want smart capabilities in a watch, but still appreciate quintessentially classic designs for the following reasons:

(a) To express uniqueness

Watches represent just about the only man-jewelry that is universally appropriate. Watches help men distinguish themselves and stand out from the crowd.

(b) To express class

It is human nature to judge one another by our looks. Wearing a watch is one way that men express their personality, worth, value & style. Want to look formal? Professional? Serious? Playful? There’s always a watch than can express it for you.

(c) To express discernment

We run our day by our watches. When we wake up, when we leave for work, when we need to reach a meeting – our watches govern us everyday. It is natural therefore that watches are artfully designed. With art comes beauty, and with an attractive watch, you can take that beauty with you.

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Watch-Outs for the Future

Time will tell if Titan can hold their own in smart-watches against the global giants. It will be interesting to see how Juxt remains true to “Smart is now Stunning” proposition, building on Titan’s strengths in design & watch-making to add value in an unfamiliar world of technology & speed. By staying true, yet distinctive, rather than copying the tech-first approach of their rivals, Titan has a good chance of being as successful in the future as they have in the past.

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