Let’s get real. Everyone looks on their watches as an accessory these days and not so much as a time-telling device. Now, people simply glance at their cellphones to check the time,” points out designer Masaba Gupta, in her signature forthright style, as we meet at her office in suburban Mumbai.
There is a palpable buzz at her workspace with details being finalised for the launch of her first store in Hyderabad, a rambling 3,000 sq ft bungalow complete with a cafe serving savouries from the House of Masaba, along with her designer ensembles. And within a couple of months, Pune and Delhi lasso in two stores by Masaba as well. At the moment, though, she is gung-ho about the collection of timepieces she has designed for Titan Raga.
“I have been a Titan fan for over 15 years. My mother (actress Neena Gupta) used to buy Titan watches every now and then, I remember, to earmark special occasions. That’s where I got my first watch from,” she says. So when the brand approached her to come on board, it was a virtual homecoming.
The brand symbolises classic elegance and sophistication, and has enjoyed patronage in the middle-aged segment for years. The challenge was to also draw in the younger spenders, without alienating the faithfuls.
“Each watch is like a piece of jewellery. I have designed the collection keeping in mind what I would like to wear myself,” says Masaba honestly. “So there are pops of colour, in hot pinks; there are dangling charms on Raga watches for the first time,” she says about the collection that spans over a dozen designs in the price range `7,500-15,000. And of course, the quirky Masaba touch is redolent in the textured knit of tribal patterns including motifs of elephants and pillars, with watches crafted in a brushed gold finish to give them a rugged organic touch.
The challenge was to work across categories to offer people a chance to wear Raga in a novel way. Creating wristpieces that every woman can even slip on with a saree and team with a tailored suit with elan, or wear out to a nightclub with her friends. “It has been a crazy veering of ideas. I actually went wild sketching and then many designs were tossed aside as we had to keep the functionality in mind,” she confesses. Like what? “Like no one will invest time fiddling with a tiny lock and key mechanism while wearing a watch. People will go for scratch-resistant finish, and no sharp edges. There has to be a pleasing proportion between the dimensions of the dial and the strap,” she says.
“I have enjoyed myself designing this collection.” And the mirth reflects in each carefully conceived piece.
Her favourite pick? “It has to be the wishing star watch!” she enthuses. “You know, I actually stack up multiple watches on the wrist at the same time. It looks so cool and is an instant conversation starter,” she laughs, getting back to her pulsating designs on the board with a toss of her gregarious mane. What’s next? “A bridal watch collection,” she retorts with a wink.