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Right timing

A watch designer’s job starts with a detailed insight mining exercise, trend study and analysis, lots of iterative sketching, ideation, concept refinement.

education Updated: Mar 28, 2012 18:23 IST

The lowdown
A watch designer’s job starts with a detailed insight mining exercise, trend study and analysis, lots of iterative sketching, ideation, concept refinement. This is followed by concept detailing, idea presentation, idea sharing and group presentation, group interaction, concept short listing, detailed technical drawings, watch prototyping and production drawings. The industry is growing at a rate of 8% every year. Watch designing is a highly creative profession. You have to conceptualise different micro components eg dials, straps, case, movements to suit your watch requirements in terms of form, size and weight. All this designing is preceded by a thorough understanding of the consumer’s insights and and segmentation. It also involves integration of technology with respect to watch movements, functionality and form . You also need good knowledge of material, manufacturing, finishes and above all latest fashion trends, as watches are primarily considered style statements

A watch designer’s job is not a 9 to 5 job; it is a 24x7 creative process. A designer is always thinking of new ideas. S/he does not know when or how the next big idea will strike. Idea triggers are all around. The day is packed with design presentations, meetings, factory visits, mentoring new designers, working with other designers, meeting clients, and of course, spending time with family, swimming, meeting friends...

The payoff
A designer in watch industry can grow from the entry level to design director. While starting out a designer draws around Rs 5 lakh to Rs 6 lakh per annum, while a senior designer gets around Rs 8 lakh per annum. A design manager makes around Rs 16 lakhs an annum. If you are able to create your niche then money is no issue at all – you can charge premium

* Creative spark
* Attention to detail
* Sense of form and proportion
* Knowledge of materials
* Love for miniaturisation
* Ability to learn and relearn
* Observant and an open mind
* Need to respect people you design for, understand the customer
* Ability to analyse and resolve things

Getting there
One needs to have a basic design aptitude. A design degree always helps. There are no specific watch designing courses in India, but some good courses in Europe exist. So ideally if you have a flair for design you should take up a degree course in product design, industrial design or accessory design after Class 12. Many watch designers also opt for post graduate degree in design after engineering or architecture as this gives them additional specialised design knowledge

Institutes and URLs
* National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, www.nid.edu
* National Institute of Fashion Techology, various centres www.nift.ac.in
* Creative Academy, Milan www.creative-academy.com

Pros and cons
* There are no specific watch designing courses in India
* As a designer biggest satisfaction is to see your products in the market
* There is good recognition and reward for success
* This field is niche, so chances of absorption are limited
* If you are able to create your niche, then money is no issue

Watches are fashion accessories and will never die out. People will always buy them despite cellphones also showing time Mahendra Chauhan, senior design manager/ team head, Titan Industries Ltd, Bangalore

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