Revathi Kant, Titan’s Chief Design Officer, Unveils Insights on Her Unconventional Journey and Latest Watch Trends

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A watch is a timeless gift, apt for your sibling’s birthday or for your spouse on your wedding anniversary. I still have the silver analog Titan watch my parents gifted me on my thirteenth birthday. It is a timepiece I will always cherish. Titan is the go-to name when it comes to buying a watch and a lot goes into making it one of the most renowned brand that exists in India. Revathi Kant, the senior Vice President and CDO of Titan has spent decades honing her craft in the design space. She sat down with ELLE and revealed what it takes to lead Titan’s design decision.

ELLE: Could you please take us through through your journey as a woman leading the retail and consumer design space?

Revathi Kant: My journey in the retail and consumer design space has been quite unconventional. Despite earning a master’s in operations research, my career began in market research and marketing, spanning 15 years. The shift to the creative side happened organically, where I focused on crafting products that resonate with consumers. It’s fulfilling to influence the company’s creations across categories, even though my qualifications didn’t directly relate to design. Each experience served as a valuable learning opportunity, emphasising the importance of continuous learning and adding value where the company recognises it. Over my 33 years with the company, I navigated through various roles, from market research to international marketing, eventually heading the design division for watches. My goal has always been to make a meaningful impact on consumers’ lives through innovative and strategic design. Design, in my perspective, goes beyond aesthetics; it plays a crucial role in the company’s success, impacting the top and bottom lines, imagery, and overall profitability. This journey has been about embracing change, contributing to a dynamic field, and making design an integral part of our business.

ELLE: What are some key watch trends for this season that we should keep our eye out?

R K: You know, the watch market has seen quite a transformation lately, with analog and smartwatches taking the spotlight. At Titan, we’ve always been about analog watches – it’s our forte. But with the surge in smartwatches, we’ve embraced both worlds to cater to diverse needs. Interestingly, the perception of watches has evolved; it’s not just about telling time anymore. Smartwatches have made functionality crucial – measuring heartbeats, counting steps – it’s like having a mini-gym on your wrist! And you know what’s cool? It’s rubbed off positively on analog watches too. Now, a watch isn’t just a style accessory; it’s a blend of style and functionality.

Picture this: you’re off to the gym, rocking your smartwatch. But for that wedding or a special occasion, it’s back to a classic analog piece. We’ve noticed a fascinating trend in the analog segment, especially in the luxury realm. People are drawn to high-value watches that not only look good but pack a punch in terms of technology. Take our recent Diwali launch, the stellar collection – inspired by space, it’s not just eye-catching but loaded with top-notch technology and automatic movements. Craftsmanship is making a comeback, and we’re loving it!

Premium automatic and mechanical movements are stealing the show. Our portfolio has a variety, but what’s really making waves are these high-end watches – beautifully crafted, starting from 13,000 and going up to 1.5 lakhs. The focus is shifting from mere looks to style plus functionality. It’s not just a watch; it’s an experience. So, if you’re on the lookout for a trend, it’s all about the fusion of style, technology, and craftsmanship in the world of watches.

ELLE: Are more and more people seeing merit in customising their accessories?

R K: As you rightly pointed out, customisation has been around for quite a while, and it’s not just a new trend. In the case of jewellery, for example, it’s always been there. Let’s say we launch a beautiful collection, but someone comes in and wants different coloured stones or a slightly smaller size. That’s customisation too. We’ve been doing this for a long time. Now, in the higher-end market, like our brand Zoya, we take it a step further. We sit down with customers, grab an iPad, and together with our designers, we create unique, personalised pieces right there. It’s a process where we understand what you like, what you dislike, and we bring your vision to life.

And when it comes to highly customised watches, like the supernova you mentioned, absolutely, they can become heirloom pieces. We put thought, storytelling, and the finest materials into creating them. Take, for example, one of our watches inspired by a black hole. The dial is intricately designed to symbolise the way a black hole consumes everything. It’s a complex creation, both in design and manufacturing. Sure, it comes at a price, but for those discerning customers willing to pay, it becomes a truly special, unique piece. And we go even further with personalisation – engraving messages or signatures on the back cover, or customising the dial with initials. It’s all about making something exclusive and cherished, not just a trend but a timeless creation.

ELLE: Are people increasingly curating watches to match their wedding celebrations?

R K: Yeah, absolutely! So, you know, we’ve got this fantastic range called Nebula Watches, especially designed for weddings. These watches come in gold, and since weddings involve a lot of jewellery, Nebula watches are a perfect fit. People love wearing them, and they also make excellent wedding gifts – you know, when you want to give something special to the couple. We keep the Nebula watches limited in numbers because they cater to a specific audience with a unique design language. These watches are like jewellery, complementing the rest of your accessories. For men, especially when they’re all decked out in a full wedding outfit, we’ve noticed they prefer to keep it simple and classic. So, in Nebula, we have this elegant gold case paired with high-quality leather and a classical finish – just the right touch without overdoing it. Women, on the other hand, tend to go for more ornate options. It’s interesting to see these trends unfold – men leaning towards classic, women embracing a bit more flair. These are the choices we see people making, and it adds a personal touch to their wedding attire.

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