15 Minutes With: Erol Baliyan, Managing Director, Franck Muller, Middle East, Africa, and India

WatchTime India caught up with Erol Baliyan, Managing Director, Franck Muller, Middle East, Africa, and India, to understand more on how the brand is positioned in the country, and what its plans for 2024 are.
Established in 1991 by watchmaker Franck Muller and Vartan Sirmakes, Franck Muller Geneve rose to popularity with its avant-garde aesthetics and mechanics, and by reinventing the idea of traditional watch design. In India, its legacy has endured amongst watch collectors, inspite of the brand having a low-key presence. It helps that in the past two years, Franck Muller Geneve has unveiled two India-specific watches, both with its long-term retail partners. In 2022 came the Vanguard India Limited Edition watches made specially to celebrate Delhi-based Kapoor Watches’ 55th anniversary and commemorate India’s 75th year of independence. In rose gold and gold versions, the 150 pieces limited editions sold out immediately. And last year, Mumbai’s Rose The Watch Bar unveiled the 47-piece limited edition Vanguard Slim 'Men In Blue' collection, which paid an ode to cricket, and to India's year of independence 1947. It is also significant that the brand’s association with actor Ranveer Singh has sustained since 2019. 

Franck Muller Vanguard Men in Blue

Today, Franck Muller Geneve has a flagship store in Mumbai, and several retailers across the country, in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Kochi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. We spoke to Erol Baliyan, Managing Director, Franck Muller in the Middle East, Africa, and India, who has overseen the market for seven years now, to understand more about how the brand is positioned in the country, and what its plans for 2024 are. 

WatchTime India: How long have you been overseeing the India market, and in that time, how have seen the watch market evolve in the country?
Erol Baliyan: Over the years, I've witnessed a remarkable evolution in the watch market in India. Initially dominated by traditional watch brands, the market has undergone significant transformations inspired by changing consumer preferences and technological advancements. Overall, the watch market in India has become more dynamic, diverse, and competitive, reflecting the changing preferences and lifestyles of Indian consumers.

Erol Baliyan, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa, and India, Franck Muller

WTI: Can you give some insight into the growth of Franck Muller in India over the past five years?
EB: Franck Muller has expanded its presence by opening a flagship store in key Indian cities, such as Mumbai, which is known for their luxury market. The brand has also partnered with established retailers across India which have increased brand visibility and accessibility to consumers. Franck Muller has continuously created and hosted exclusive collaborations and partnerships to create buzz and drive sales in the Indian market. We have also has tailored our product offerings and marketing strategies to resonate with Indian tastes, preferences, and lifestyle choices while maintaining the brand's signature style and craftsmanship.

WTI: What are the most popular Franck Muller Geneve collections in India?
EB: The Vanguard Yachting, which appeals to those seeking a modern and sporty aesthetic; Vanguard Color Dreams collection for those who love vibrant and colourful designs; and Galet watches for those who appreciate classic yet distinctive timepieces.  

Franck Muller Vanguard Yachting

WTI: What is the target audience for the brand in the country?
EB: Franck Muller’s target market are those individuals who appreciate fine horology and seek to make a statement with their accessories. These consist of watch enthusiasts and collectors, high net-worth and fashion-forward individuals who have a preference for luxury, craftsmanship, and distinctiveness in their timepiece choices.

WTI: Franck Muller has an incredible legacy of complications. But what would you say the consumers are expecting from the brand today?
EB: Customers are expecting more innovation in design and technological advancements.  The brand continues pushing the boundaries of watch design with unique and creative timepiece collections. Franck Muller also continues to collaborate with artists and designers that result in limited edition or special edition timepieces that appeal to collectors and enthusiasts. These collaborations introduce fresh perspectives and unique aesthetic elements to Franck Muller's collections.

The 2023 Franck Muller Vanguard Crazy Hours Hom Nguyen

WTI: The watch market has become an incredibly crowded space today. What is the brand doing to get potential new consumers to experience its offerings?
EB: To stand out in the crowded watch market and attract potential new consumers, Franck Muller employs strategies to showcase its offerings and brand identity, like offering a unique design aesthetic that sets it apart from other competitors, expanding retail presence and partnerships that ensure accessibility to customers; organizing in-person events and experiences to showcase the collections, and engage to the customers directly and release more limited edition timepieces that cater to collectors and enthusiast.  

WTI: The India watch created in partnership with Kapoor Watches got great response year before last. Any such collaborations planned for the future?
EB: The India limited edition watch in partnership with Kapoor Watch Company was a huge success. We are looking forward to introducing more limited-edition pieces for India in the future, not only limited to the commemoration of special occasions but also those that feature the country’s symbols, colours architecture, and traditions. 

The two limited edition watches include a steel and gold Vanguard that's limited to 100 pieces, and a rose gold, limited to 50 pieces

WTI: Is the partnership with actor Ranveer Singh set continue for the foreseeable future? And are you looking at adding new brand friends?
EB: The brand’s partnership with Ranveer Singh started in 2019 and this fruitful partnership will continue for the years to come. Franck Muller is open to collaborating with more artists and celebrities in the future as the brand seek to connect with diverse audiences.

Brand friend actor Ranveer Singh. instagram/ranveersingh/

WTI: What can we expect from Franck Muller in 2024?
EB: Franck Muller will continue to adapt to changing market trends, consumer preferences, and industry dynamics and will continue pushing the boundaries of watch design. In 2024, we can look forward to the continuation of this trend with the introduction of new and groundbreaking and innovative designs, technological advancements and new projects and collaborations.

Images: Courtesy Franck Muller Geneve


Launched in 2012, WatchTime India is the result of a collaboration between America's most-read watch magazine, WatchTime and, India's leading media house, Malayala Manorama. With an aim to popularise and celebrate the evolving watch culture of the country, the publication is your one-stop destination for everything related to fine luxury watches. From the latest tests to reviews, to exclusive features on the history and horological heritage of some of the most spectacular watch brands of the world, the WatchTime India portal has a lot to offer. Stay tuned for an exciting journey, through the fascinating world of watches!

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