by Meher Castelino
Wearing a watch to match your clothes is a luxury but Ice-Watch the brand from Belgium has solved the problem by offering nearly nine collections in more colours than seen in the rainbow to the Indian fashion followers. The collections will include Ice-forever, Ice-Love, Ice-Chocolate, Ice-Chrono Party, Ice-Glow and Ice-Chrono Electrik with each group having a variety of colours and designs.
Launched in 2007 in Europe by Belgian entrepreneur Jean-Pierre Lutgen, the name ‘Ice’ was inspired by the environmental concept and the ecological problem in the world with Global warming, purity and transparency as the theme with the first collection that was launched by the brand being transparent watch cases to resemble ice.
The brand made a quiet entry into the country a couple of months back through stores and online sites and will launch officially in December 2013 with a big bash that could be at Sunburn in Goa with Asia’s youngest DJ Shaan as the brand associate.
“We were delayed since we were looking for the right distributor which we found in Ganga Watches Pvt Ltd and although we are a late entry in India we are all set and will soon reach the top very fast,” assures Didier Kinsoen, Director, Belgium, Ice-Watch. Aimed at the 25-40 years buyers as well as people who are young at heart, Ice-Watch which touched a sale of Euro 400 million in 2012 is sold in 110 countries selling 10 million watches. While the price is between Rs 5,000-15,000 it is the luxury of changing one’s watch as fast as one’s clothes that has made nearly 30,000 followers per day ardent fans of the brand that has a very ornamental Swarovski crystal embellished model too.
Everything about Ice-Watch is unconventional from the designs, colours to the distribution plan, which will be through stand-alone stores, kiosks, duty free shops at airports, on board airlines, e-commerce sites like Myntra, Flipkart and Jabong which are used like retail stores. “The E-commerce portals abroad act as retailers for us and get us a lot of exposure,” adds Kinsoen.
Going the celebrity way is also a favoured path for the brand with singers like Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj and many more including Formula One race drivers, international champion cyclists displaying the brand on their wrists. “We are in talks with Indian celebs and also trying to find out about the psyche of the Indian buyers. We seem to connect with music and sports as well as stars so the Bollywood route interests us.”
Advertising plays an important part for Ice-Watch which has already released press ads in Mumbai’s Mid-Day and the budget of 15-20 per cent of the turnover is reserved for adverting and promotions. Often compared with Swatch or Guess in its colours and style the brand is confident that competitions do not exist. “We don’t have to match or watch any brand. They have to match us,” reveals Kinsoen, who is gung-ho about the launch of the brand which will be something to watch out for.
“We will change the concept of fashion watch retailing in India. The acceptance of a silicon watch in India is going to be very difficult but we will make sure it happens.”
Kinsoen sees the Indian luxury market growing by 25-30 per cent annual for brands no matter what the economy is, when he adds, “I don’t’ see luxury not growing in the country.”
Following the unconventional promotions path like the tie-up with BMW in Europe, the brand hopes to have one with Indian cars in future. Another angle is targeting the youth through youth magazines, festivals, sponsoring college events. “No watch brand is reaching out to the colleges we want to bring the luxury of fashion watches like Ice-Watch to the youth of India. Every week or every month Ice-Watch has something happening on our website for the youth. Our tagline is trendy – “Change You Can” which promotes colours and vibrancy of life. We have different applications on the site which can be down loaded for Ice-Watch.
Listed among the top 200 brands in the world on Facebook with 4.7 million fans, the brand is planning on moving up the price ladder in future. Available on all social media like Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, Didier Kinsoen states that more exciting plans for India will be revealed after March 2014 when 100 outlets will be added to the brand’s list.