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HMT seeking to regain top slot with new range

A new range of over 300 watches is the company's answer to flagging sales resulting from competition.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 13:01 IST

HMT Watches, which calls itself the timekeepers of the nation, is seeking to regain the numero uno position it once enjoyed with the launch of a snazzy new range of over 300 watches in mid-March.

"The launch is aimed at helping us regain our lost position in the market. As a brand, we are still very strong in people's minds and so we hope that this new range will contribute to HMT again leading the watch market," HMT Watches managing director BL Kaul said.

Company officials revealed that the new range was the company's answer to flagging sales resulting from competition that offered greater choice.

The newly created retail distribution service of Godrej and Boyce's Prima division signed a deal with HMT Watches Ltd recently to have the national distribution rights of the brand with an ambitious target of selling five million watches in the first fiscal.

"We have signed an agreement with Godrej and Boyce to distribute our watches. They will have one main distributor per city and the target is to have distributors ready in 80 cities by the launch in March," Kaul said.

"They will have distributors in 200 cities in India by the end of the fiscal year and hope to sell about 4.5-5 million watches in the first year," he said on the sidelines of the International Watch and Clock Fair in New Delhi.

The public-sector unit has a combined installed capacity to produce 4.5 million watches in its three manufacturing units in Tumkur (near Bangalore), Ranibagh (Uttaranchal) and Srinagar.

According to the agreement with Godrej and Boyce, HMT will give the former up to two million pieces in the first year while attempting to sell three million pieces on its own from 32 exclusive showrooms, a number that is likely to go up depending on the response from the market.

"Initially we will provide our partners Godrej and Boyce with 100,000 pieces a month which will be upgraded to double that number by the end of the first fiscal," Kaul revealed.

"On the whole, the target is to sell five million pieces in the first year and to take it forward from there."

The company has announced three new line-ups in its new range of watches, Sona Quartz, InoxGold, Automatic and Chuz.IT, which is on display at the International Watch and Clock Fair here.

Sona Quartz is a 24-carat pure gold plated watch with a price range between Rs485 and Rs750. InoxGold is in non-oxidisable steel and gold dress watch with two-tone finish in the price range of Rs 1,250-Rs 1,995.

Automatic is an eco-friendly watch powered by hand movement in the price range of Rs1,500-Rs5,000.

Chuz.IT is a designer watch with circular, triangular and rectangular colourful dials and matching leather straps aimed at the younger generation with a scratch/corrosion resistant metal case in the Rs595-Rs995 price range.

The sales projection for the current fiscal is fixed at Rs1.15 billion. The company sold watches worth Rs200 million last year, sources revealed.

First Published: Jan 21, 2006 10:59 IST