Know Your Product

May 1999

For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces

Know Your Product

More answers to basic questions. We move on to the sapphire crystal

By Paul White
Watch division Director
Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN

Customers who know something about watches usually expect a sapphire crystal today. This can help the watch salesperson – there's less technical talk and more sales talk. But you still need to know watch product terminology and features, including something as increasingly common to fine watches as sapphire crystals.

Sapphire Crystal
Though most customers have heard the term "crystal" in connection with a watch, some aren't sure what it means. Some confuse it with the dial, others think it's something inside the watch. Consumers often refer to the crystal simply as the "cover" or the "glass."

To avoid a potentially embarrassing question, tap gently on the crystal and tell the consumer "the watch comes with this sturdy sapphire crystal." Ask the consumer if he or she has ever owned a watch with a crystal that was easily scratched or broken. If it was scratched, was it hard to read the face? If broken, were the hands and face damaged also?

Point Out Benefits
Mention that sapphire is the second-hardest gem after diamond and that the crystal, cut from man-made sapphire, is hard and far less likely to scratch or crack with routine use.

If you have a plastic-crystal watch nearby, compare the two. Say that many sapphire crystals are glare-resistant thanks to single- or double-sided coatings. Demonstrate this under indoor lights if the customer seems to consider it a critical point.

Of course, not all watches have sapphire crystals. Several major fine watch brands use hardened mineral crystals that often are nearly as durable as sapphire. If a customer is interested in a watch with a brand-specific mineral crystal, point out manufacturers use these to allow easy polishing and removal. If scratching occurs, you or your repair person can quickly bring back its transparency at a lower cost than replacing a sapphire crystal. Likewise, the cost is lower if a replacement is needed.

Man-made sapphire (top) is cut, beveled, curved if needed and polished before being placed in a watch (bottom). Rado goes through 40 steps to create its crystals.

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

 Missing Anything?

Here's a list of topics covered in Paul White's column since February 1998. If you're Web-wise, the columns can be found at's Timepieces Archives.

"Selling Your Watchmaker's Image," February 1998

"Building Relationships," March 1998

"Building Supplier Partnerships," April 1998

"Merry Month of May," May 1998

"Size Up the Customer with Key Questions," June 1998

"Answers to Showcase Questions," July 1998

"Automatic or Quartz?" August 1998

"Create a Watch Wardrobe," September 1998

"Selling to the First-Time Buyer," October 1998

"Selling to the Watch Maven," November 1998

"Holiday Sales Tips," December 1998

"First Watch Sale: A Blueprint," January 1999

"Know Your Product/Screw-Down Crown," February 1999

"Fight Discounters with Value & Service," April 1999.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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