They are symbols of elegance and prestige and embedded in them is a lasting sense of luxury and a timeless legacy. Exceptional timepieces studded with diamonds, many of them hand engraved and crafted to perfection, from some of the best watch houses across the globe kept watch enthusiasts busy at the ‘Watches & Luxuriance,' presented by The Hindu at Hotel Taj Coromandel here on Sunday.

Amid discussions on the secret signature of watch brands visible only in oblique light, numerals, crisp engine-turning of dials and their discreet decorative details, visitors and watch connoisseurs walked along the exhibition, exchanging views on times and fashions. If it was indulging in exploring the world of luxury, it had to be with leisure and that is what the enthusiasts did.

“A watch is an accessory that reflects your mood perfectly,” said Sonika Jain, a business woman. Many visitors, watch collectors themselves, discussed how the tradition might purely depend on the whims of the owner. Reminiscing his days of collecting watches, S. Madhu, an artist, talked about Favre Leuba watches that held much resemblance to alarm clocks.

And while the watches that blended sensuality and vigour in contemporary style were widely praised, the display of rare watches by Pradipta K. Mahapatra attracted a lot of attention.

Indian themed timepieces, funky and youthful in look, with one of them sporting images of M.G. Ramachandran with different-coloured hair also evoked curiosity. The dashboard clock for Rolls Royce, HMT military watches, watches with stingray leather straps and Reverso watch launched for polo players were part of the display too. “The tradition gives a unique sense of spanning places, eras and generations. Besides every watch collected has a story to tell,” said Anshuman Azra, a 72-year-old watch collector from New Delhi.

“These are things you don't buy only for yourself but to hand it down to generations,” Sushanth D' Cruz, a businessman and watch enthusiast from Chennai and a proud owner of a 110-year-old Lemania Omega collection.

If Breguet could boast of having an impressive clientele including Queen Mary Antoinette, Winston Churchill and Napoleon Bonaparte, Cartier watches resembling sophisticated jewellery pieces were an attraction too.

The Rolex watches that many would identify with easily with their consistent display of designs and signature crowns drew attention. Apart from Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Omega, the other brands present at the event were Rado, Longines and Raymond Weil.

The price of the watches ranged between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 75 lakh. Mureliraman, technical director, Jain groups, would not mind spending a fortune on watches. “Exclusivity is what we all seek, not many would have this,” he says, flaunting his Raymond Weil Mozart series watch.

Appropriating the mood of the event was the wine from the vineyards of Maipo valley in Chile presented by Brindco, next to an eclectic mix of nuts, fruit and cheese cake. Adding to the opulence of the event were the luxury sedan Audi A8 and sports car Audi R8 that were displayed under the luxuriance section of the event. The Taj Coromandel was the hospitality partner for this event.

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012