The foundations of the Indian space programme were laid in the late 1960s and in just over 50 years, India has become a name to reckon with in the world of space technology. This feat has, of course, inspired many young scientists across the country but who would have thought it would become the inspiration for a watch company as well?
But that’s exactly what the new collection of the Bangalore Watch Company (BWC) is all about. Paying tribute to five decades of India’s space exploration efforts, the company has launched, Apogee, a limited edition collection of automatic watches. Indeed, if you’re looking for a watch that has a story to tell, time to tell the time from these.
As Nirupesh Joshi, Founder, BWC, explains, "We are perhaps the first Indian brand to venture into a space-centred series. That’s because we have been thoroughly fascinated by the Indian space programme since childhood. Its achievements related to the development and application of space science and technology deserve accolades and applause. So naturally, the idea of launching space-inspired watches was with us all along."
It wasn't easy, though, and the company sought assistance for this from the best in the world, the Swiss. "We worked closely with manufacturers in Switzerland for grading and cutting, and then they were brought to India for printing and final assembly. Because of the rarity of the material and the challenges in manufacturing, we could only make small batches at a time," says Joshi.
An Apogee is the farthest point of a satellite’s orbit and with this watch collection, BWC has taken itself to its farthest point with design, materials and construction. There are four watches in this collection - Deepspace, Horizon, Supernova and Extraterrestrial.
While the technical aspects such as a titanium case, Swiss automatic movement, sapphire crystals with cases in grade 2 titanium, the caseback artwork in all four watches remain the same, they are uniquely distinguishable through the dial colours.
Deepspace has a grey dial and is inspired by, well, deep dark space. Horizon, with its blue dial, is inspired by views from a low earth orbit. Extraterrestrial is inspired by meteorites and the green dial of Supernova is inspired by supernova explosions observed in space.
The dials have a fumé effect, with deep colours that evoke and support the space theme. Slightly above the 6H date window is a lat-long position. This is of Sriharikota, a barrier island off the east coast of India, ISRO’s current site for all satellite launch vehicles.
These dials from the Muonionalusta meteorites have unique patterns that were formed due to millions of years of slow cooling in space. As it is a pattern impossible to reproduce on earth, no two watches from the collection are alike.
So, was it challenging to find the material for this collection? "Meteorites are outer space rocks, and they mostly burn up when entering earth’s atmosphere, but some make it through. Muonionalusta Meteorites, which were discovered in Sweden, can be procured through private entities. Our team worked with a group of meteorite hunters in the US who helped us identify, source, grade and choose the rocks. We found meteorite rocks that suited our requirements and were sent to Switzerland for works related to grading and cutting," says Joshi.
It’s a commendable collection, no doubt, but what makes it even more commendable is the fact that BWC is a fairly young company. It was founded in 2018 by Bengaluru couple, Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj, who gave up successful careers in tech-consulting abroad to create world-class, affordable luxury wristwatches in India. The best part is that each collection tells stories inspired by 21st century India.
(Prices start at Rs 68,000, and the watches are available for purchase from the Bangalore Watch Company website and can be shipped worldwide)