Professional Jeweler Archive: What's Your Question?

November 2000

For Your Staff/Selling Timepieces

What's Your Question?

Our watch expert has the answers

Here are some questions I fielded when I took over “Ask the Expert” on for a month:

Q. What’s the best way to explain the features and benefits of a watch?

A. Incorporate the phrase “which means” into your presentation. For example, “This watch has a screwdown crown, which means it’s like a hatch on a submarine. It screws into the case and helps keep moisture and dirt out. You’ll be more secure wearing it in all conditions and circumstances.” When using this technique, try to have a series of catchy lay explanations for technical terms. For sapphire crystal, try “It’s an I-bump-into-almost-everything watch protector. Only a diamond offers a harder surface!” Make up your own creative ways to handle technical terms.

Q. I have trouble selling more complex watches such as chronographs. Any suggestions?

A. First try using the “which means” technique (explained in the answer above). Use easy-to-understand language. A subdial can become a “minute counter.” A chronograph can become a “sort-of stopwatch.” A rotating bezel can become a “special one-hour timer.” Once you understand the relatively simple functions a chronograph performs, you’ll be able to explain them to customers. Be certain you can demonstrate the features of these timepieces to any potential buyers.

Q. How do I answer the customer who asks “Should I choose an automatic or quartz watch?”

A. This is one of the tough ones! Supporting one without denigrating the other is the challenge. Determine the customer’s style first. How often will he or she wear the watch and for what? Let the customer know why and how the two watches differ. Does owning a more complex automatic watch appeal to the customer or would he or she prefer a jewelry-oriented, no-brainer watch? Explain the differences and ask a few well-placed questions.

Q. What’s the definition for the term “sweep second hand?”

A. Many wristwatches feature a “second hand” to mark the progress of 60 seconds. The hands are different on automatic, mechanical and quartz watches. On automatics and mechanicals, the second hand runs clockwise, fluidly “sweeping” around the dial. On quartz timepieces, the motion is a deliberate “click-click-click.” On chronographs, the second hand is in a small subdial on the main dial. It “sweeps” in its small circle either smoothly for automatic and mechanical watches or deliberately for quartz watches. The type of motion a second hand makes can be a good clue as to the type of movement in the watch.

–by Paul White, Watch Division director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN

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

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications