India has moved ahead in almost all the verticals when it comes to global competition. From aero space to agriculture to infrastructure to military to textiles to financial markets to industrialization. India has rapidly grown in the last 2 decades in almost all the sectors but one sector which has always remained untapped is the Watch Market.
You go to any big Country in the World, they will have atleast 5 to 15 homegrown iconic brands who would be hotsellers in their own space due to their unique individualities and qualities. For a genuine watch lover, a brand makes a huge impact as they relate with the history of the brand, their founders, its quality, its making process, its after sales as well as its intrinsic value.
Go to U.S, there are atleast 50 micro brands who have made it big with their creativity and innovations. Their watches are often in the waiting list and big watch communities often support such small brands to the core. Go to Germany, there are atleast 15-20 homegrown brands including the very iconic Vostok which people are ready to buy in the grey and black markets! Go to Europe -the mecca of watchmaking, you will see atleast 300 to 500 watch brands and manufactures thriving with high quality state of the art setups delivering exquisite watches worldwide.
But when it comes to India, probably after HMT, no brand could make an iconic impact or attain that longevity or stardom which HMT did. Probably after HMT, comes Titan which again caters to the masses. Titan is often referred as the Maruti Suzuki of Watches in India where you will find watches starting from 2k and going up even till 30k for their ceramic ones!
There have been a few Indian brands like Maxima, Sonata & Fastrack but again they have been stuck due to lack of innovation and creativity mostly catering to the economy and budget friendly masses with chinese quartz movements. In last one century, sparing HMT and Titan, not a single brand has been made which might have made an impact in the Global Watch-making Industry.
More recently, it was good to see a homegrown brand called Ajwain rising through the ranks. The founder Vikram Narula once thrown out of the watch collectors community is now an ace watch maker with his timepieces often demanding a premium and a waiting time!
Hence, it is always commendable to see when someone takes that big leap and dares to introduce a homegrown make in India watch brand, because these are the people who end up becoming the torch bearers and the last hope to carry Indian Watch Market to the global scene.
One such newly launched Indian micro-brand doing the rounds is Argos founded by young Mustafa Channiwala (24yrs) & Husain Tohfafarosh (30yrs) started with a vision to remove the Chinese Quartz Domination and reinstate the old traditional art of mechanical and automatic winding watches which is steadily fading away. Also for the record, Argos watches are the most affordable watches in India at present with Swiss Made Movements which is itself a huge USP for genuine watch lovers!
The idea behind Argos watches (https://argoswatches.in/) was simply to give good quality and unique watches to the watch and time piece lovers who enjoy wearing these astonishing machines on their wrists. The watch market in India is flooded with watches which have Cheap Chinese made quartz movement which runs on battery and the old art of mechanical and automatic winding watches is fading away. This was one of the reasons to start Argos.
“We wanted to give accurate mechanical watches to the consumers along with the designs that they can cherish for years. The fashion watch brands keep their designs simple and minimalistic to match today’s generation trend and due to them all the excitement of having and wearing a watch has long gone and instead of something which a person loves and cares for, which is also a purpose of wrist watch, it has only become and accessory that matches the outfit. Along with this, our motivation was to also present an analog watch in this era of smart watches where everything has a screen attached to it“
In this first ‘Apollo’ series that we have released, we have created 12 variants of it. It has six dial colors- White, Black, Blue, Green, Red and Brown and it is encased in two Silver and Golden case along with the indices matching the case material and color.
The idea behind naming the brand Argos was because of the love of mythology of both the founders, Husain and Mustafa. “Since the beginning we grew up hearing tales of heroes and saviors and villains and destroyers which always fascinated us. And Argos is the name of a city located in present day Greece and that city is the oldest civilization in Europe which is still inhabited. The city of Argos is also mentioned in epics like Iliad and Odyssey by Homer but it was named as ‘Argolis’ during that era. Now a place where mythological epics were written and is the home for Greek, Roman and Latin mythology, the name Argos came naturally to us and both of us did not think of anything else after that“
The reason behind the name Apollo is because of the design of Argos’s first watch. Argos have incorporated perforated dial on the edges in the line with indices which gives a look of sunrays around the watch and in the golden case it looks quite prominent. And Apollo being the lord of Sun and Poetry, it was an apt name for to choose and incorporate in design, shared Mustafa (Founder of Argos)
“In this we have used a genuine Swiss Movement. The whole watch is powered by a FHF ST-96 movement which is a mechanical manual (hand wind movement where the spring inside has to be manually loaded by winding the crown on the right side of the watch) movement which has a power reserve of 48 hours. The FHF ST-96 movement is a true Swiss movement from its heart. It has a Nickel annular balance with a Pallet Lever escapement. With a yoke winding mechanism, it also consists a Fonto adjustment mechanism. The back of the watch is transparent to so that the movement can be seen and one can see how the watch is powered by the incredibly tiny part“
Argos was founded by Husain Tohfafarosh- 30yrs and Mustafa Channiwala-24yrs who also happen to be brothers in law. The whole journey was started by Husain when he got in touch with Mustafa and his younger brother Mohammed and they three started the marketplace for buying and selling new and pre-owned watches. This was back in October 2020 and this marketplace was launched in mid-2022. It is called ‘Watch Zeus’ (www.watchzeus.com). Here you can also see the name Zeus who also happen to be a mythological person from Greek myths.
Even before this entrepreneur journey for watches, Husain had a huge liking for watches and was a collector himself. But because he could not find a watch which he wanted in Surat, Gujarat (The resident city of theirs) the trio decided to solve the problem by starting this marketplace where the sellers and individual people like you and I can sell their pre-owned watches in India.
After getting a great response from this marketplace of watches, we decided to start our own brand and give the Indians a truly Indian made watch which exudes class, elegance and horology.
Here’s wishing Argos and its two young passionate founders all the very luck. Bombaynews.in wishes both the founders that this brand 50yrs down the line ends up becoming an iconic watchmaker representing India in the Global Scene!