Lord Venkateswara watches launched
By Express News Service | Published: 22nd February 2013 08:11 AM |
Swiss luxury watchmaker Century and Rodeo Drive made a global launch of a limited edition of wristwatches with an image of Lord Venkateswara here on Thursday.
The watch, priced at Rs 27 lakh a piece, is made with 18-carat gold and is studded with diamonds and rubies.
It was launched amidst protests by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists who opposed use of the Lord’s image on a commercial product. But their protest was brushed aside by the watchmakers who termed it their social responsibility to donate a part of the sale proceeds to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) for dharmik activities.
“Pilgrims who want to carry the Lord to foreign shores and achieve success in their work can wear the watch. Let us not have too many apprehensions.
The TTD will be discreet about whom to form an alliance with. The company approached us for a good alliance,” explained LV Subrahmanyam, TTD executive officer.
On the charge that the Lord’s name was being commercialised, he said the TTD did not view it from a business angle as it did not need the sale proceeds.
“We have received 16 orders so far and the delivery will take at least four months as each watch is handcrafted. Only 333 pieces will be made available worldwide.
We do not want to be vocal about the donation being made by the company for a charity but are constrained to give a clarification as there are some misleading reports. We cannot confirm the percentage of donations being made towards it,” said Gowtham Udayshankar, director of marketing, Rodeo Drive Luxury Products.
In a press statement, the TTD said 33 per cent of the sale proceeds would be donated to the TTD-run Balaji Institute of Surgery, Research and Rehabilitation for the Disabled (BIRRD).