Our Expansion Strategy Depends on a Strong Sense of Place: Michael Guenoun of TimeVallée

CEO Michael Guenoun speaks to GMT India about what shapes TimeVallée’s expansion plans in India and what customers can expect in the coming months
Our Expansion Strategy Depends on a Strong Sense of Place: Michael Guenoun of TimeVallée
March 22, 2024
Our Expansion Strategy Depends on a Strong Sense of Place: Michael Guenoun of TimeVallée

Luxury multi-brand destination TimeVallée’s spirit rests on the harmonious coming together of heritage and contemporary luxury. TimeVallée’s entry to the Indian market last year, via a digital platform launched in association with Tata CliQ Luxury, was met with great success. Now, the multi-brand concept store is all set to expand its physical presence in three Indian cities. GMT India caught up with CEO Michael Guenoun to learn more about TimeVallée’s expansion on Indian shores.

Interview with Michael Guenoun, CEO of TimeVallée

GMT India: TimeVallée’s journey spans almost a decade now. What has it been like?

Michael Guenoun (MG): Our aim is to develop the best possible retail experience while also supporting the brand equity of all maisons whose products we proudly showcase. We started out in China, almost ten years ago. Since then, we have expanded at a rapid scale; we currently have 42 TimeVallée stores across the world.

Our first physical store in India will open its doors shortly in Mumbai, in partnership with Art of Time. This will be followed by stores in Bengaluru and Chennai. However, our journey in India began last year, when we launched our online platform in association with Tata CliQ Luxury. Thanks to its huge success, we have decided to accelerate our physical presence in the country. The future looks promising and we’re super excited about it.

GMT India: What has the Indian market’s response been like to TimeVallée’s online presence?

MG: The decision to launch the online platform did not happen by coincidence. Over the past decade, we have observed the evolution of Indian customers and their growing interest in luxury. After carefully monitoring data of customers’ buying habits and preferences, we noticed the growing appetite for luxury watches and jewellery, and a strong desire to purchase products locally. Keeping this in mind, we decided that it was the right time to launch TimeVallée in India, and based on the platform’s great success, we decided to expand our physical presence in the form of stores.

GMT India: While shopping for timepieces online is convenient, stepping into a physical store has a charm of its own. How does TimeVallée hope to facilitate a harmonious co-existence of the two platforms?

MG: In terms of the client’s journey of purchasing timepieces, it’s all interconnected. While some people may browse through watches online and then go buy them at a store or vice versa, some others may just walk into the store and make a purchase. At TimeVallée, it’s about the important connection between the physical and the digital, a concept that makes for a great addition to the watchmaking ecosystem, while also appealing to the younger generation.

Mechanical watches are not programmed for obsolescence, and we pride ourselves on offering services that also cater to repairing beautiful timepieces, so that they can last for a very long time. It’s not just about offering customers the chance to buy wonderful new timepieces from iconic Maisons such as Vacheron Constantin and Cartier, it’s also about ensuring that watches bought ten or fifteen years ago are also cared for. Thus, our platforms—both online and physical—are created not only for purchasing new watches, but also to provide other crucial services such as repair and authentication.

GMT India: When are the three new boutiques expected to open doors to the public?

MG: Between April and early May, the first one will be launched in Mumbai, followed by Bengaluru and Chennai. By the end of 2024, we should have all three boutiques up and running. We have many surprises in store for our customers in order to elevate their shopping experience at TimeVallée.

GMT India: Can we expect India-exclusive offerings from TimeVallée in the recent future?

MG: India is a very important market, not just for TimeVallée but also for luxury watchmaking and jewellery. Each market is different, and it is very important for us to ensure that our development stays relevant and specific to the Indian market. I am certain that, based on the response to our three upcoming stores, we will learn more about the market and its expectations in terms of products and services. We will, then, adapt accordingly.

Our strategy depends on a strong sense of place, meaning that we do not want to copy-and-paste a strategy that may have worked elsewhere in the world. There is a strong link between the world of luxury and art, artisans and culture, and combining that with a sense of place is crucial for us to ensure that we answer clients’ needs and desires. At the end of the day, what we do is create emotion that translates to the creation of products. To sum it up, I would say that there is a very, very close connection between India and our work, and the brand portfolio that we showcase.