The 160-year-old showroom on Anna Salai has come a long way
CHENNAI: In 1927, when Rolex Company introduced its first waterproof watches, it devised a technique to market them. It presented a fish bowl to its dealers and asked them to place the watch in water to demonstrate that it was waterproof.
“It clicked and today about two-billion dollar worth of Rolex Oysters are sold annually,” said Pradipta K. Mohapatra, Chairman of Coaching Foundation India, talking not just about the popularity of the watch brand but the dealer, P.Orr and Sons’ readiness to popularise new models.
Speaking at the opening of the refurbished outlet of P.Orr and Sons on Anna Salai on Wednesday, he took a trip down memory lane, giving a glimpse of the history of the watch showroom and why it was the “romance of those days” for many.
From catering to several generations of shoppers, the 160-year-old showroom that deals in a large number of brands and services watches has come a long way.
Their “connect with consumers” was one of the hallmarks why this dealer of watches continues to be the best for watch manufactures as well as customers, said senior executives of various watch companies. “While it marketed to the rich and the mighty, it had many affordable watches too. A gold (Rs.45), silver (Rs.25) and nickel-silver watch (Rs.10) were some,” said Mr.Mohapatra. He showcased his collector’s piece – a 10-rupee watch, which is around 80 years old.
Hemu Ramaiah, co-founder of Shop 4 Solutions, who did the interiors for the showroom, said the challenge was to connect every room and bring the feeling of space. “It was a building with many rooms, all in solitary splendour. There was no air-conditioning, so we also had to ensure the ducts were concealed as well as the beauty of the Indo-Saracenic structure retained,” she said.
A vintage collection of famous Swiss watches and clocks was also inaugurated.
Bhaskar Bhat, Managing Director, Titan Industries, launched Titan Nebula Greece collection, which is based on Greek architecture. G. Kannan, Managing Director, Timex Group India, launched Timex SL Series Chronograph watches.
Isamu Kawaguchi, Managing Director, Citizen India, launched Citizen Radio Controlled watches and Head of Sales and Marketing of Seiko Niladri Mazumder showcased Seiko Direct Drive Moon Phase watches.
Manikam Ramaswamy, Managing Director, P.Orr & Sons, and the third generation owner of the store, recalled the growth and marketing strategies of the showroom.