Divine inspiration convinced two former colleagues in finance to invest all their savings in a watch brand dripping with Hindu symbolism. The collection made its debut at this year’s Baselworld watch fair.
Two years ago, London-based financial analyst Shivani Masrani was looking for a new beginning. It was around Christmas and her company was undergoing restructuring (because of which she was eventually made redundant). She was thinking about the future when an idea came out of nowhere.
“In moments of despair when you’re looking to change your direction in life you seek for guidance,” she told swissinfo.ch. “What I received was the idea of watches with stones touching the skin”.
Two years on the idea has transformed into a watch brand called Shiv Timeless that made its debut at Baselworld - the world’s biggest watch fair held annually in the Swiss city of Basel – this March.
“Our first collection is a tribute to the God Shiva, Goddess Shakti and the start of creation,” says Masrani, a Gujarati whose grandparents are from India.
The first prototypes have been produced by watchmakers in Switzerland’s watchmaking hub in the Jura mountains. Prices vary from £30,000 to £120,000 (CHF37,460 to CHF149,837) depending on the gem stones and customisation required.
The watches are full of symbolism. Triangles, crescent moons and tridents represent Shiva, one of the most important and well-known deities in the Hindu pantheon. However, the main selling point is combining watches with gem stones.
“I wear a yellow sapphire ring and that is how the idea came about. People can wear a watch containing the gem stone they’ve been recommended,” says Masrani.
According to her partner Nikki Maan, they’ve received interest from a big Indian retailer they do not wish to name at this stage. However, the watches are not specifically targeted at the Indian market.
“The tradition of wearing auspicious or healing stones is not just an Indian one. People from Europe and elsewhere have also expressed interest in our concept,” says Maan.
Maan quit her job as a sales consultant in the same company to join Masrani in her venture. So far, the pair have invested close to £250,000 of their savings in getting the concept off the ground.
“Our family thinks we are crazy but appreciate all the work we have put into realising our dream,” says Maan.
The pair hope their belief in a different kind of watch pays off. They have no previous experience in the watch industry.
“One can never know the outcome but we hope to inspire other people who believe in something that they should take a step forward and maybe things will work out,” says Masrani.