Think luxury, think watches, think sophisticated elegance that has stood the test of time and what springs to mind ? Tharaka Time House of course !
“Our store in Colombo Sri Lanka is recognized as an Official Rolex Retailer, as we only sell genuine Rolex timepieces” says Senior Partner of Tharaka Time House ,Tharaka Jayatissa, whose father Athauda Arachchchige Somasiri Wimaladasa Jayatissa opened his first Rolex outlet in 1973 .
Tharaka Time House is proud to be part of the worldwide network of Rolex-trained watchmakers, carefully selected for their uncompromising professionalism and expertise. “We follow the Rolex Service Procedure, designed to ensure that every timepiece leaving a Rolex workshop complies with its original functional and aesthetic specifications. This year we celebrate 50 years of matchless, timeless, elegance and superlative service, a tradition my father started and my brother and I continue”.
How did it all begin? Tharaka Jayatissa recounts that it was primarily an emotional rather than a business decision for his father who always had a great passion for quality watches and was the Chief Technician at B P De Silva’s. “Rolex were having problems with their agents at that time and my father having specialised in Omega watches wrote to Rolex in Geneva, saying that with his considerable experience as the Chief Technician for Omega, he would like to take over the Rolex agency”. Within a period of approximately one year, Mr Boilet from Rolex Geneva, together with Mr Ramsay who headed the Rolex operation in Singapore came to Sri Lanka and commenced discussions with Mr Jayatissa Snr. “They were completely satisfied that their prestigious brand would be in good hands and my father was given the go ahead”. The first showroom was opened on 4th November 1973 and was located on the ground floor of the Hemas building in York Street Colombo 1.
It was named after Mr Jayatissa Snr’s son Tharaka who was just two months at that time. “Rolex Geneva had so much confidence in my father that Mr Boilet sent all the service equipment free of charge”. During the probationary period Tharaka Time House handled the servicing and repair of Rolex watches. In 1979 they commenced importing and selling watches, starting with 15 pieces. “Our first watches were the Oyster Perpetual Date watch which sold for Rs 75,000/-. It was bought by Mr Hilmy Rauf, owner of Crest Gems. The Rolex 18 carat gold Day / Date watch priced at Rs 325,000/- was bought by Mr C.S.Abeysekere, owner of Supreme Traders, in 1981. Today the 36 mm Oyster Perpetual Day watch costs Rs 3.4 million, while the Rolex 18 carat gold Day / Date costs 15 million”.
Tharaka Jayatissa recounts how his father who underwent training both in Singapore as well as Geneva under Kurt Bruner, took a personal pride in his craft and came to work on a daily basis right up to his death on April 16th 2017 at the age of 79.
Tharaka Time House which is still located at Hemas building on York street , though now on the first floor, is privileged to have several long serving staff in their cadre. Their Main Technician Mr.Bandula Premalal has been with the company for 42 years while Mr Thushara Nanayakkare has been with the company for over 35 years and Mr Chandrasena of the accounts department for over 49years. “We consider ourselves blessed to have such loyal and faithful staff who have been with us through good times and bad and indeed it is a testament to my father and his people skills that they are still a part of our business and our family”. Tharaka himself was trained both in Singapore at the Rolex Service Centre 1998 , and thereafter in Geneva in 2000.
“Our clientele spans many generations and this gives us much joy and satisfaction. With regards to future plans and expansion, Tharaka Time House is presently constructing a state of the art four storey showroom in the vicinity of the Liberty Plaza roundabout, with each floor consisting of 1700 sq feet. “This building will be totally dedicated to Rolex with the servicing and showroom all under one roof and if all goes well it will be open for business towards the end of 2024 or early 2025”.
In December this year Tharaka Time House will introduce to the local market the new 40mm GMT Master priced at Rs 5.2 mill, the new 40 mm Daytona which is Rs 7.5 mil, and the new 36 mm 18 carat platinum Day / Date, which costs Rs 18 mil.
“Our business strategy which comes down from my father is to keep our customers happy and satisfied, giving them a quality after-sales service. My children if they wish to follow in the family business will be instructed that honesty is the best policy and that one should always persevere and strive for excellence. At Tharaka Time House we believe that a Rolex is an heirloom, a tradition that stands the test of time and beyond”.