Strap or Bracelet?

June 1999

For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces

Strap or Bracelet?

Know the advantages of each to help your customer choose

By Paul White
Watch Division DIRECTOR
Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN

A watch customer has to make plenty of decisions. Your knowledge about each part of the watch will help him or her make the decisions more clearly and with greater satisfaction. One area where you can help is with choosing a strap or bracelet for the watch. Let's look at how to approach the question and the advantages, disadvantages and uses of each type.

Ask Questions
How the customer plans to use the watch has a great deal of bearing on whether a strap or bracelet is the better choice. Will it be worn primarily for sport or dress? What dial color, metal and case shape does the customer prefer?

Traditionally, a business dress watch is presented on a fine leather strap. These watches often have a round, rectangular or tonneau shape and are flat and fairly thin.

Note to the customer he or she can change straps for special occasions and seasonal or wardrobe color preferences. With the first-time buyer, suggest this can be done with the ease of owning only one watch.

Sportier Skins
The leather strap is not strictly for the dress watch. Many sport watches, including many of the world's best-known heavy chronographs, are presented on a variety of fine leather straps. Recently, several high-end brands debuted synthetic materials to enhance style, strap longevity and comfort. Learn all you can about the strap options offered by your store's watch suppliers.

Sportier leather straps often are thicker with more padding and typically feature a folding deployant buckle. These straps are definitely designed to outlast the traditional lighter-weight luxury leather strap.

Multiple Sales
There are other good reasons to promote the strap watch, including that it's the look most preferred for the well-dressed gentleman. It's also a good way to suggest multiple watches, since a fine leather strap shouldn't be worn for sport.

If the customer is interested only in leather, explain that with a bit of care, it can exceed expectations for wear. The average lifespan of a fine leather strap used daily may be only a year. Let the customer know good-quality leather replacement straps with the manufacturer's imprint commonly sell for $100 or more.

If customers shy away from the leather strap because of what they perceive as the expense and inconvenience of having to change them periodically, introduce them to metal.

Metal Choices
If the customer lives in a warm humid climate, plays a lot of golf or intends to wear the watch under most conditions, then you may want to steer them toward a sportier watch with a metal bracelet.

All-purpose wear is the major appeal and selling point. But don't forget comfort, appearance and durability.

For your customer, be sure the bracelet and watch fit. Some metal bracelets have such a luxurious look they make the watch seem more like a piece of jewelry. A precious metal bracelet is fine jewelry, and often the sale can focus on its own beauty and comfort. This adds to the luxury appeal of certain timepieces.

Each month Paul White fills this column with tips for retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics, questions for Paul or specific examples from your store, write send them toProfessional Jeweler,1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102,

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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