Platinum Finds its Time
Austern & Paul debuts a new line of timepieces
Though platinum is used primarily in jewelry, it also has found a place
in time. Timekeeping, more precisely.
Austern & Paul, a jewelry and watch manufacturer in New York City,
has accommodated retailers' requests with what may be the first full line
of platinum timepieces in the U.S. "We've done so well with platinum
jewelry that expanding our watch line with platinum seems natural,"
says Steven G. Orgel, coowner of the 105-year-old company. "Platinum
is the real white metal," he says. "It's pure, the finish is bright
and when customers feel a platinum piece, they notice the luxury."
The company is well-versed in the luxury watch market. Karat gold watches
already comprise about 40% of its sales, most under the Austern & Paul
brand. It's also well-established as a maker of gold and diamond private-label
As the company's primarily upscale independent retailers know, most watchmakers
reserve white-hot platinum for limited-edition or other commemorative designs.
And though several companies feature one or two platinum models in ongoing
lines, this is the first time a full-line assortment that can be reordered
and customized is available.
As a U.S. manufacturer, Austern & Paul makes its own hand-polished
bracelets and cases, sets all its diamonds and services all its client's
repairs. "Part of our flexibility is our manufacturing ability here
in New York," says Orgel. "We can quickly fill a custom order."
Movements, most dials and crystals are Swiss-made.
Austern & Paul offers more than 30 platinum watch styles. Many feature
bracelets that complement the company's karat gold and platinum jewelry.
Strap models without diamonds start at $950 retail. At the higher end, a
watch with 12.7 carats of diamonds is $35,000. All watches sell with full
keystone prices, and no minimum order is required.
- Austern & Paul, New York, NY; (800) 221-2066
Austern & Paul's new platinum watch line includes this model featuring
a cushion-shaped case and 1.44 carats of diamonds in the bezel and markers.
This platinum model has 1.8 carats of diamonds and two additional leather
straps in a leather travel or storage pouch. Keystone, $4,000 with diamonds,
by Michael Thompson
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.
U.S.-Made Time Still
Despite competition from major Swiss and Japanese watch companies, U.S.
timepiece production and design are flourishing in certain market niches.
The movements may be Swiss or Japanese, but the design, marketing and
often assembly and full manufacturing of these watches are done in the U.S.
This month's focus on the watches of fine jeweler Austern & Paul,
New York City, is the first in a series on U.S. watch manufacturers and