Watch Out for Jewelry

August 1998

Precious Metals:News

Watch Out for Jewelry

Watch companies such as Audemars Piguet, Cyma/Glenn Corp. and Movado are introducing jewelry and other products

Watches typically don't share a brand name with jewelry unless the name is Cartier, Tiffany or Chanel. But that's changing. Taking a cue from such high-end companies, a number of watch suppliers are now going to market with lines of specially designed jewelry.

One of them, Audemars Piguet, introduced three 18k gold collections to the European market in April. The collections complement the company's watches, but it's clear they're intended to do more.

Open New Markets
"We wanted to reach a new public," says Elizabeth Schnebelen, product manager at Audemars Piguet headquarters in La Brusse, Switzerland. "Audemars is well-known among men and people who love watches, but not so well among women, despite the fact that we make a lot of women's watches. This is because most of these are bought by men for their wives."

The company believes the allure of jewelry accessories – rings, bracelets and earrings – will expose the brand and designs to a new audience of younger, affluent women who buy jewelry for themselves. Schnebelen says the three collections (the largest, Royal Oak, is geared toward ages 25-40, the Carnegie to ages 40 and over, and the Charleston to the Asian market), are selling well to the sophisticated women the company had hoped to attract.

Early marketing efforts show women are often attracted to Audemars Piguet jewelry without any knowledge of the company's watch lines. Aiming for a wider audience, with an eye toward entering the U.S. market, Audemars Piguet will introduce another jewelry line designed around a new woman's watch at Christmas. "It will be a luxury line, but with a lower price," says Schnebelen.

Rings from Audemars Piguet's Royal Oak collection.


The Cyma Family
At Cyma Watch/Glenn Corp. in New York City, president Hugh Glenn is interested in exclusivity for the line of watch-related jewelry he introduced at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas in June. Atypically, Glenn eschewed a brand-name link. His 40-piece, 18k gold jewelry line is available only in the 800 jewelry stores across the U.S. that sell Cyma watches. However, it won't carry the Cyma name. "The name I had planned was the Sequoia Collection by Cyma," says Glenn. But when he showed the line to some of his jeweler clients, they told him some customers might be confused about what the company makes – jewelry or watches. So the line, created by a De Beers design contest winner, is simply named Sequoia. Glenn says customers will have no trouble seeing a Cyma family resemblance though.

"My concept was to make jewelry sets where there would be a necklace that would match the watch. We'll also have new watches to match the jewelry," says Glenn. "It's a collection, so what's important is that it has a unified look."

Sequoia is primarily earrings and rings, says Glenn, but it also includes necklaces, bracelets and pendants. With expected retail prices ranging from $550 to $3,000 (plus a "few exceptional pieces priced $5,000 to $8,000," says Glenn), the line is aimed at customers 40 and over. Glenn is considering an upscale-magazine consumer ad campaign to reach them.

From the 18k gold and diamond Sequoia collection, available from Glenn Corp.


Museum Pieces
Perhaps the most ambitious jewelry introduction from a watchmaker is Movado's. In April, the company introduced a line that includes bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings and cuff links inspired by its signature Museum watch. It also introduced a line of decorative objects for the home plus a line of personal and desk accessories inspired by the Museum watch and the Movado concept of "always in motion." In all, the company introduced some 500 new products, representing 1,400 new designs.

"The company was interested in extending the Movado name to include more of a total lifestyle aesthetic," says Dana Glazer Gers, vice president of public relations.

The complete collection, however, will be available only in Movado's two retail stores in Short Hills, NJ, and White Plains, NY. A Movado store scheduled to open at Rockefeller Center in New York City this fall will carry the collection also. Glazer Gers could not say whether the collection might be offered to independent retailers, but says retailers who sell Movado watches will benefit regardless.

"Our stores are designed to enhance the image of the watches," she says. "The idea is to build brand awareness."

Prices points on the collection range widely. The jewelry – available in platinum, 18k gold, sterling silver with diamonds, pearls, precious and semiprecious stones – costs $100 to $10,000 retail.

Movado's jewelry line takes design cues from the company's distinctive Museum watch.


– by Richard L. Carter

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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