People & Watches

Core Value: How Delhi-based collector Mayank Barodia curates his collection of legacy watches

Part of the third generation to helm Delhi’s oldest watch boutique Gangoly Brothers, Mayank Barodia gravitates towards watches with a history, and those with minimalist, clean dials
Mayank Barodia, owner of Delhi’s oldest watch boutique, Gangoly Brothers in Connaught Place in New Delhi, understandably has deep ties with watches. The third generation to helm the store, Barodia grew up seeing his grandfather and father talk and discuss watches keenly, which set the stage for his interest in timepieces. Established in 1935, Gangoly Brothers also had the honour of being appointed the official watchmaker to the first President of India in 1953, and even today, Barodia has personally supervised clock servicing and restoration at places like the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Supreme Court of India; recently the team also restored a 100-year-old grandfather clock belonging to the Nawab of Pataudi, Saif Ali Khan, at the Pataudi Palace. Currently, the boutique deals in brands like Seiko, Citizen, Casio, Roamer, GC, and Guess Watches, amongst other Indian and international brands, apart from standalone Seiko and Grand Seiko boutiques in DLF Mall of India, NOIDA.

Mayank Barodia helms Delhi's oldest watch boutique, Gangoly Brothers

“I sell watches, I earn from watches, and I spend on watches. In short, I live for watches,” says Barodia, laughing. But what seems transactional is actually a personal and deep-rooted tryst with timepieces. Barodia’s personal collection spans 300-400 watches, including modern designs, vintage pieces, and those that he inherited from his grandfather. Hugely sentimental about his watches, he still has the clock engraved with his name that used to be in his room during childhood, and a Swatch Skin, which his father bought for him from Switzerland when he was a teenager.

Mayank's vintage Omega, Swatch Skin, and Must de Cartier

WatchTime India caught up with Mayank Barodia to talk more about his love for watches and take a look at his collection.

WatchTime India: What does your watch collection look like?
Mayank Barodia: I have few Rolexes, Omegas, an Audemars Piguet, some Longines, a Rado Diastar, two Zeniths, a Blancpain, Roamer, Bulgari, Favre Leuba, Enicar, several Seikos, and few other brands that are mostly vintage pieces. My watchbox is basically a mix of everything, including models like an Omega Seamaster, an Omega Dynamic, and a Rolex Datejust that I inherited from my grandfather. And being a collector, you need to have everything and enjoy wearing everything. The more, the merrier.

A part of Mayank Barodia's watch collection

WTI: Your favourite watches in your collection and why?
MB: It is difficult to choose one, but I can say that for me Rolex always has the upper hand. I like the gold Day-Date with a President bracelet, which belonged to my father - I really love that watch. And then I have a gold Longines Heritage that has Breguet style indexes. 

The gold Rolex Day-Date (left) and the Datejust (right) that Barodia inherited from his father

WTI: The watch from your collection that you wear the most?
MB: The Rolex Submariner and my Omega Seamaster, which I have been wearing since my college days. People often advised me to get it cleaned but to me each and every scratch on that watch has some fond memories attached.

The Omega Seamaster that Barodia has been wearing since his college days

WTI: What was your first watch?
MB: I don’t really remember it but it was a Jayco or an HMT - I had inherited it.

WTI: How would you describe yourself as a watch collector?
MB: I will always say that I love to go for history, I don’t like the new brands. If I want to buy a watch, I look for its history and the brand’s history. Also, I look for a dressier watch rather than a sporty one. My collection is filled with vintage and dress watches in 38mm or 36mm case sizes. I do have chronograph watches, but I rarely enjoy wearing them. 

The Audemars Piguet Jules Audemars

WTI: The one thing that you look at in a watch first…
MB: The dial, and then the indexes and the movement. These are the three things which determine if I like a watch or not. I don’t like bold and chunky watches. I am more into sober and clear dials that have beautiful indexes. I like watches that are between 39mm to 41mm, and I love to see the movement when the caseback is transparent. 

WTI: Do you have a favourite ‘hunt’ story?

MB: Truly, I don’t hunt watches. I look out for them, I wait for the right opportunity, and a right price. I have the patience to wait for what I want, and I think it's the right way. At the right time, the watch will come to you.  

Barodia's Rolex Submariner and Yacht-Master

WTI: So how do you typically buy your watches? 
MB: Through friends and references. I don’t go online to buy - when buying high-end stuff, you need to know the source as there are lots of duplicates in the market. I make sure I know where I am buying from, and being in the business, it is easier for me. 

WTI: Do you also have any set of rules before buying watches?
MB: Yes! Firstly, the watch has to be in pristine condition with papers, and come from a genuine source. Second, is the watch’s history, and the movement, which are important aspects to me. And, lastly, obviously the price. 

Ulysse Nardin Marine Chronograph

WTI: Do you tend to customise your pieces, before or after you buy them, in any way? Ever created your own watch?
MB: I don’t customise my watches. But I do buy when there are some group deals going on. There are 8-10 us friends who bought the same WMT watch. 

The WMT watch that Barodia and his friend's purchased

WTI: Do you also tend to sell and buy quite often?
MB: I only buy when I want to keep it 

WTI: The brands you like? 
MB: Zenith, Blancpain, Breguet - again I like watches with some history. I don’t like microbrands - I can wait to save more money and spend on what I truly want, rather than going for new watch brands. That’s my way of collecting.

Zenith Grande Port Royal V El Primero

WTI: How do you think you have evolved as a collector? 

MB: I have stopped buying impromptu. I have started waiting for the right moment to buy. Choosing one prized object is complicated enough; but building and evolving a collection over time is a labour of love and passion which  reveals something about the collector and his personality

A part of Barodia's watch collection

WTI: Your holy grail watches?
MB: The Patek Philippe 5712, the blue dial; and an A. Lange & Sohne moonphase.

MB: What do watches mean to you?

Few old watches from his collection

WTI: They stand for perfection and precision. Watches hold sentimental value to be passed down generations as cherished heirloom. Watches reflect who you are, your moods and are also a style statement. If I wear a white dial with a leather strap, it means that I am in a formal setting, while a chronograph with a steel bracelet is for a casual setting. For me, watches are everything. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is wear my watch. It's like oxygen for me. 

Images: Kritajna Naik

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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