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August 1999


Regaining the Clock Niche

With attention to service, some jewelers work to sell more clocks

Too often a consumer enters a retail jewelry store to buy a fine clock but leaves disappointed. With no clocks in stock, the jeweler loses a sale and the customer leaves unsure about returning to what he once considered a full-service jewelry store.

Retailers and manufacturers agree: consumers don't know where to buy fine clocks.

Visibility and Reputation
Many jewelry retailers feel clocks are more work than they can handle; most of them say they don't have the personnel to explain, sell or service clocks.

However, retailers who maintain a fair-sized clock assortment report strong add-on business with new customers and expanded opportunities for a corporate-gift business. Even retailers with a small clock collection report healthy corporate or wedding gift sales.

As a result, many well-known watch companies – often those that distribute only through jewelry stores – have addressed this demand by launching or expanding clock collections.

For many years, brands such as Howard Miller, Cartier, Tiffany, LaCross-McCormick, Linden, Seiko, Bulova and Jaeger-LeCoultre have been among the largest fine clock suppliers to fine jewelry stores. This year, brands including Coach, Swiss Army, Breguet, Gucci, Wenger and Movado have added or increased their clock collections. Particularly big this year is the travel alarm clock,which many watch companies are introducing for the first time.

In the Niche of Time
Ironically, it was usually a sidewalk clock that beckoned the consumer into fine jewelry stores in decades past. As many of these retailers pulled out of the clock business, department stores or furniture stores, travel stores and luggage stores split the business – leaving consumers confused and in need of a single source for fine clocks. This now-fractured market opens up opportunities for independent jewelers.

The sidewalk clock doesn't always mean the jeweler carries fine clocks, but perhaps, as some retailers suggest, the niche is just waiting for jewelers to claim again.

– by Michael Thompson

From U.S. clockmaker Howard Miller, the Michaels mantle clock is finished in oak and has a Millennium inscription available only until the end of this year. Suggested retail, $485.
Howard Miller, Zeeland, MI; (616) 772-9131.



Wenger's Standard Issue Travel Alarm clock features a self-standing case, luminescent hands and ETA Swiss quartz movement. Retail, $165.
Wenger, Orangeburg, NY;(800) 431-2996,

The Millennia desk clock has a multifunction dial with moonphase indicator and month/day/date indicators. Suggested retail, $250.
Bulova, Woodside, NY; (718) 204-3534.





Clock Sales Tips

  • Include clocks in your corporate gift and bridal packages.
  • With fine clocks, emphasize service.
  • Advertise "We sell clock keys." The key customer likely knows good clocks.
  • Be sure clocks in the store are working and on time.
  • Place a light on wall clocks in the store or window during the evening. This makes them easy to see from the sidewalk or road.

Source: Claude Guyot, Swiss Time, Portland, ME

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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