Wristwatch for ISRO: The Bangalore Watch Company launches Apogee
The homegrown Bangalore Watch Company’s new collection is a stylish tribute to India’s space programme
The Olympics, and Neeraj Chopra, has given the country cause for celebration recently. But India’s space programme has been doing so for years. With its frugality, its ability to compete on the world stage, and now as a source of inspiration for a new line of watches.
The Bangalore Watch Company has launched its Apogee (the farthest point in a satellite’s orbit) collection, and co-founder Nirupesh Joshi explains how it comes out of a childhood spent marvelling at space flight. “We are kids of the 1980s; we grew up watching the Indian space programme grow from strength to strength — from the early satellite launches to later launch vehicle capabilities,” he says. “Especially, the last decade’s achievements. The moon missions and the Mars mission are as much an inspiration to us as they are to a billion people in India.”
Of course, space has always held sway with horology brands, and Joshi acknowledges that. “Omega makes watches associated with NASA missions, and many others make timepieces associated with the ESA [European Space Agency]. We believe the Apogee is the first watch collection by an Indian brand that is associated with the Indian space programme.”
Co-founders Mercy Amalraj and Nirupesh Joshi
Time and space
The watch, which comes in four variants, share the same technical details. The cases are machined out a single block of titanium, the movement is Swiss-made and automatic, each caseback has a 3D artwork of the Aryabhata satellite, and the final product is hand-assembled in Bengaluru. The 44mm convex case is designed in a retro ‘helmet’ style popular in the 1960s and 70s, and features two crowns. Where the models differ is in their dial colours, “each inspired by space”. So there’s blue, green and grey, in addition to the limited-edition ‘Extraterrestrial’ (50 pieces), featuring a dial made of meteorite.
“There are mostly two sources of meteorites in the world, one in Gibeon, Namibia, and the other in Sweden. The Gibeon region is now restricted by the Namibian government, but the Muonionalusta isn’t,” explains Joshi. “We worked with a group of meteorite hunters in USA to identify and source the rocks. These were then sent to Switzerland for grading and cutting, and then back to India for printing and final assembly.”
The Apogee caseback
The company, which has made timepieces inspired by cricket in the past, and has a range of Pilot watches as well, uses movements manufactured by Sellita, the Swiss manufacturer. The 4Hz movement has a 38-hour power reserve and Joshi says, “These movements are used by many established Swiss watch brands. No improvements were made except regulating them to factory recommended accuracy settings.”
Given that the Indian space programme has inspired the watch, the collection was launched online on August 15. “ISRO [Indian Space Research Organisation] is an inspiration. It demonstrates to us that it is possible to achieve projects of huge scale while still working with limited resources as long as you have a great team and your sights are set on the end goal,” Joshi concludes.
The Apogee collection starts at ₹68,000, on bangalorewatchco.co.in