Titan Ads – The Gift of Time

I wasn’t planning on writing a piece on Titan advertisements until I chanced upon this ad that has Katrina Kaif in it and the time was perfect to remember my favourite Titan ads.

I have been married for the past 5 years. A love marriage, those gossipy aunties would add with relish, if you cared to ask. One of my friends wanted to marry a boy she has been in love with. Just this year she had an arranged marriage instead. Another friend is about to get married next month. Yet, another friend is looking at potential grooms and deciding whom to spend her life with. Then there is that friend who got married recently to her childhood sweetheart. And there are more I will skip mention of, for the sake of brevity. As you can probably tell, its the year of weddings, as we have perhaps reached that time in our lives.

And here was Katrina, looking ravishing, poised and graceful, assuring us that there is no pressure. That we are not running out of time. That we can choose for ourselves and marry when we find the one we want to spend time with. And as her words complete, strains of the euphoric Titan melody strum in, signalling the time for me to write.

It wasn’t until I started researching to write this article that I found I was wrong in assuming that the hands of the watch are always set to 10:10 to honor Abraham Lincoln, as that is when he died. Apparently, he died at 10:15 and that dispels this theory. It’s actually aesthetics that determine the hand position. Symmetry, a ‘smiley’ face and the framing of the company logo being key reasons in selection of the hand position. Well, for now I will continue to think of it as a tribute to the man who championed freedom, just like this advertisement does today.



This Titan Raga add is a brainchild of Ogilvy & Mather. A beautiful thought provoking few seconds that hopefully will help the company generate revenue and also bring that taste of liberation in women. In us.

The Titan ads I remember always seemed to focus on special occasions and unexpected surprise gifts. And not much has changed over time it seems. The videos, of course, are classier, and the message more subtle, but that tug at heart remains untainted over decades.

One of the company’s marketing themes has been to focus on the Joy of Gifting. Rajiv Menon’s famous ad showing a father and younger sister creating a perfect moment to gift the bride a watch, is one I clearly recall and like. I could not find the exact year this was shot, but I did find out that A. R. Rehman adapted the theme music.


Yes, the same Titan melody that has become a signature of the brand. It’s a piece from Mozart’s 40th concerto, 25th Symphony. No wonder it has a sense of the timeless in it. Often I close my eyes when these ads play and only listen to the sounds allow it to rejuvenate the spirit.

There is one more add I particularly recall that is along the same lines. An aging college professor about to retire, is bid farewell in style and with a lot of love. This ones hits home too, and not just for the music. Numerous Teacher’s day and farewell contributions have resulted in Titan watches as gifts. Despite articles like explaining how Rolexes are some of the best watches on the planet, many people still use Titan watches as gifts instead of them. From school to college and, actually, even at workplace one gifts a Titan, wishing the receipt happy times, perhaps. Most probably, you have received one (or even a few) too over the years. Their slogan often says it’s a gift of time.


Over the years with the influx of electronics and other ‘cooler’ gift options the company realised that it cannot just be about gifting. As far back as the early 2000’s a number of advertisements showed the watch being actually worn. Amir Khan has been a brand ambassador for Titan for a long time, but none of his ads stand out in my memory. Though, I do think in a couple of them he wears the watch and it speaks of the man he is.

My grandfather, mother and mother-in-law are a few people I know who can not leave the house without a watch on their wrists. But, recently I heard a young girl complain, what good is a watch? It’s a single purpose device. Making it expendable in the modern world. Am sure the company has more challenges to face as iwatches, fitbits and more new generation gadgets flood the market.

However for now, the ads only keep getting better. Here is my latest favourite add with a beautiful concept. A young entrepreneur meets his mentor and makes an offer he can’t refuse. The time has come for the boy to turn into a man. While watching this, I realized that the vintage ads by the brand are special because of nostalgia, but the new ones are actually trying new things and make for better ads. To be able to sell a range of watches priced above Rs. 10,000, while competing with foreign luxury brands, Titan has to be smart. With this new range of ads I think it manages to remain endearing and reach out extremely effectively to its targeted audience.

No matter what, as long as the signature tune remains the same I will always watch the Titan ads and miss the fact that my phone has replaced the watch on my hand.



Video Credits to all Uploaders.


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  • Reply
    indrani robbins
    September 15, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    love marriage, haan… you bad bad ladki. teehee, what would gossipy aunties do without such thins to get a life over.

    thanks for writing about titan… i was looking at some ads the other day and came across the name of suresh mullick. memory triggered. big big name in advertising, stalwart of ogilvy and mather, from those days when my world attracted really off beat people with keen sensibilities. he was the man who thought of and created mile sur mera tumhara (the line was written by piyush pandey), a team wrote/art directed/produced, but it was his knowledge of music that drove him to the idea… rajiv gandhi had wanted a series around national integration with a positive looking forward feel. suresh mullick engineered a very very well loved piece called the freedom run, then this one where his knowledge that there’s one raga which is the same in carnatic and hindustani classical… bhairavi… became the starting point of ek sur, the mile sur mera tumhara piece. the vivacious third movement of mozart’s 25th symphony in g minor was also chosen by him for titan (i just read the titan story, to confirm), i think i had heard somewhere that xerxes desai, titan’s first md, the man who practically created that brand also liked the music a lot, fond as he was of western classical. and though i heard the 3rd movement wherever i could find it, i didn’t hear the piece, but it’s all over the first movement… m was just 17 when he wrote it, sigh.
    there, you can hear it. amadeus has special memories for me.. and my mother bought my husband a titan watch when we got married, she wanted something special for her jamai, not the usual usual hmt… the only other brand available then. years later she bought me a titan too. i don’t wear watches, but i don’t give it away either. oh, the titan commercials were never my kind of thing, but the music… lovely lovely.. all those clever adaptations. and titan did change the perception of the watch in our minds. poor hmt, how it struggled. i remember they came up with a pretty hideous “and watch” campaign.

  • Reply
    rhea sinha
    September 21, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Finally am here to reply. Thank you for that youtube link Indi di. At around 2:00 the Titan music plays. It’s actually almost an exact copy isn’t it? Xerxes Desai sounds quite the visionary. I don’t much like the old Titan ads or any of the Amir ones, but these newer more subtle ones are nice. And the music of course is lovely.

    A lot of the ads I search for all end up being brainchild of Ogilvy. I guess they sync well with a particular kind of sensibility. In fact its quite a coincidence you mention mile sur. That was one of other pieces I was thinking of writing. There is a new version they tried with contemporary ‘stars’ (‘Stars’ being the keyword), that didn’t touch the heart at all. But the original version , when it would play on Doordarshan, would always give me goosebumps, event though I was a kid then.

    Your mother gifted Jacob a watch? It’s quite the special gift for a groom. But, most of it is the thought, that such is gift is special and has to be cherished for a lifetime. I feel that about expensive pens too.

    • Reply
      indrani robbins
      September 21, 2015 at 8:49 am

      yes, a watch for the bridegroom, along with gold/diamond kurta buttons and gold/diamond ring… what the bengalis give the son in law at the wediing apart from a trousseau with clothes and other stuff.
      suresh mullick was quite a man, joining ogilvy when it was still called benson’s i think in india back in the late sixties. one hardly hears his name now, the ra ra of the current times cuts out the sound of the past. the freedom torch, mile sur, and one more, i think called desh raag, were all his work. he appointed teams working on them… but the idea was his… extremely knowledgeable in music, i read.

      • Reply
        rhea sinha
        September 21, 2015 at 10:50 am

        I remember desh raag too. Same person you say? nice! With Mtv coke studio these acoustic instruments are coming back, and their sound is heavenly. I do wonder who learns to play all this these days..

        • Reply
          indrani robbins
          September 21, 2015 at 4:24 pm

          i believe mtv coke studio pakistan is better. sigh, atif aslam is deadly there. yeah, same suresh mullick.. a depth and poise in those pieces. we don’t see that kind of thing any more. our ads have really become rather flat. also very politically correct western sentiments expressed. while we are adding western mores and ideas every day, something remains indian… i don’t find that in our adds any more… either the western thing or a too self conscious, look at me i am indian thing…

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