Professional Jeweler Archive: Brand Bonus

August 2000

Feature


Brand Bonus

It may be time to cultivate new watch customers and more sources. Look to the established brands, then consider the many new ones entering the U.S


It’s time. For jewelers and consumers, the timepiece choices now available have never been more plentiful.

Established brands are introducing many interesting timepieces. And there’s a growing number of well-known overseas brands entering the U.S. The strong economy is one reason. More educated, sophisticated timepiece consumers is another. Nothing is more attractive to a watch supplier than an interested pool of potential buyers.

These buyers are searching for a statement for their wrists. As the most branded item in your store, watches are attached to an image that makes a statement, from status to high fashion.

Customers are attracted to these images from ads in magazines and on the Internet and from seeing timepieces on the wrists of friends and peers. Combined with a willingness to spend on gifts and one’s own wardrobe, this points to continued strength in timepiece sales.

Are you one of the jewelers who’s kept low or no watch inventory because of perceived low profitability? Are you one of the growing number of jewelers reconsidering that decision now that timepieces are the talk of the town?

Bottom Line

“Timepieces generate traffic and say something about your store,” says Steven Smith, fine-watch buyer for Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, West Bloomfield, MI. “The brand awareness and trust built by watch brands carries over to the retailer.”

Once a customer enters your store, your knowledge of timepieces should echo your image as the source for the product. If you stock brands with technical details that require explanation, training is critical. You also should employ a full-time watchmaker or ensure quick access to high-quality repairs.

Year 2000 Trends

Many of the timepiece trends seen this year incorporate technical breakthroughs (for complete coverage, see Professional Jeweler, May 2000, pp. 81 and 88; June 2000, pp. 103 and 118; and July 2000, p. 85 and 94).

Such cutting-edge appeal reaches a somewhat limited, though growing, audience of primarily male buyers. If you have customers who fit this profile, dozens of brands meet these needs.

Your attention to such technical innovations is crucial in cultivating higher-end watch aficionados as customers. You and your customer can look for mechanical and automatic watches with increased power reserves, a wider range of multi-timezone functions, GMT models and big-date features. In addition, see-through case backs have become more common as automatic and mechanical watches regain popularity.

Meanwhile, there’s been a surge in quartz watch variety also. Light-powered watches and other battery-free quartz models are available with power reserves measured in years rather than months. Several models retain power for up to five years.

Fashion

Fashion trends include double- or triple-length straps that wrap the wrist more than once. These are typically thin leather or colorful fabric. Yellow and rose gold – karat or plated – are inching their way into more watch styles for fall also.

Steel with diamonds on the faces and/or bezels should continue to dominate women’s watches, and expect to see more thin cases and bracelets with an early-1960s look.

For men, large cases (39mm-plus) continue to lead the way. Sport watches in particular will include rubber or composite material straps or dials. Also expect more rectangular cases.

– by Michael Thompson

This AS 5008 movement was hand-decorated and polished by Roland G. Murphy, a master craftsman, watchmaker and owner of RGM. His company makes about 250 handcrafted watches yearly. This movement gives life to an RGM alarm watch that retails for about $5,000.

RGM, Lancaster, PA; (717) 653-9799, www.rgmwatches.com.

Vacheron Constantin’s new Carée Historique features a rare tonneau-shaped mechanical movement visible through the sapphire case back. Made in pink or white gold, the dial features three levels, the numerals are applied gold and the buckle is karat gold. Production is limited to 600 pink gold and 600 white gold. Suggested retail, $11,200.

Vacheron Constantin, New York, NY; (212) 713-0707.

Roven Dino’s Diamante features 36 diamonds (about 0.33 carat) on the bezel and an 18k goldplated case and bracelet. Suggested retail, $950-$995.

Roven Dino Swiss, Pinebrook, NJ; (973) 882-6636, www.rovendino.com.

Baume & Mercier’s newest Gold Hampton Milleis features a power-reserve indicator for the new custom-made mechanical movement. Expect 42 hours of reserve power with a full wind. The face is a black or silver guilloché tapestry pattern. The hands, buckle and crown are 18k. Suggested retail, $4,500.

Baume & Mercier, New York City; (212) 593-0444, www.baume-et-mercier.com.

The Diamondtime from Bunz is available with three options for the upper part of the dial: with seconds, with date indicator or with a diamond. A steel bracelet is available.

Bunz Montres SA, Littau, Switzerland; (41-41) 250-3788, www.bunz.de.

The Rettangolo is new from Bulgari. The company’s first rectangular watch is shown in 18k yellow gold with crocodile strap. It’s available in a variety of dial colors, in all-steel or white gold, and as an automatic or automatic with power-reserve indicator.

Bulgari, New York, NY; (212) 315-9700, www.bulgari.com.

Girard-Perregaux introduces “ww.tc,” an automatic chronograph with world-time indicator. It features a crown on the left to operate the internal rotating world-time bezel. Available in yellow, pink or white gold, the timepiece is available also with a matching gold bracelet. Suggested retail with crocodile strap and yellow gold case, $17,500.

Girard Perregaux, Rutherford, NJ; (877) 846-3447, www.girard-perregaux-usa.com.

Festina’s Velocity has a digital speed meter that notes speed and distance for bicycle riders. The system uses a patented magnetic field transmitter Festina debuted in July during the Tour de France cycling race. Suggested retail, $495.

Festina USA, Nanuet, NY; (914) 623-8525, www.festinausa.com.

The Riva Sport Chronograph from Christian Dior comes with this rubber strap or a steel bracelet and is available with an automatic movement.

Christian Dior, Springfield, NJ; (800) 321-4832, www.dior.com.

Coinwatch offers this 18k yellow gold watch featuring a 22k dial with a diamond in the crown. Suggested retail, $2,499 for men’s size, $1,799 for women’s size.

Coinwatch, Las Vegas, NV; (800) 437-6272, www.coinwatch.com.

Pequignet now offers its famed Moorea with an Autoquartz movement. The steel watch with sapphire crystal has 100 days of running power when fully charged.

Pequignet, Beverly Hills, CA; (310) 278-8377, www.emile-pequignet.com.

Chopard’s Strada features 46 diamonds (0.7 carat) set into steel with a polished steel bracelet. Various dial colors are available.

Chopard, New York, NY; (800) 246-7273, www.chopard.com.

Bell & Ross now offers its Vintage collection on a custom steel bracelet.

PK Time Group, Miami Beach, FL; (888) 919-TIME, www.bellross.com.

The new Sector Expander 130 features a quartz chronograph with alarm, domed crystal and polyurethane strap. It comes with a black or white dial and is $350 suggested retail.

Sector Sport Watches, New York, NY; (212) 688-4500, www.sectornolimits.com.

Fedra International adds this sterling silver and 18k gold with platinum watch to its Air collection. Suggested retail, $1,979.

Fedra International, Rehoboth, MA; (508) 252-8000.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications