Professional Jeweler Archive: In the Pocket

February 2002


In the Pocket

Brides add pocket watches to the groom's catch

The bridal market typically means diamond jewelry and small gifts for the bridal party. But for retailers who sell pocket watches, a wedding often inspires an added sale: an engraved pocket watch from the bride to her groom.

“A pocket watch is an intimate gift because it can be engraved or a photo can be placed inside the cover,” says Michael Shapiro, president of Exclusive Time International, which sells Swiss-made steel, gold and sterling silver pocket watches by Aerowatch. “Brides see a pocket watch as an enduring and functional reminder of their wedding day.”

Retailer Perspective

“Pocket watches provide our stores with a year-round income from brides and from other gift sales,” says Paul White, head of the watch division at Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN. White added the Tissot line (which includes pocket watches) in the company’s two stores last year. Since then, he’s recorded a two-time sell-though of pocket watches annually, thanks in part to bridal gift sales.

Accordingly, Shapiro says pocket watches are good second-season sellers. “As soon as May arrives, we see the bridal orders start to come in, plus Fathers’ Day and graduation gift sales,” he says. A bride is more likely to choose a higher-priced pocket watch, typically starting at $500, adds Shapiro, who sells to selected fine jewelers. White agrees, noting his stores sell pocket watches mostly ranging from $300 to $1,000.

Train the Staff

Shapiro says a jeweler should first invest in training so the staff understands the unique aspects of pocket watches, including their history (rich in the U.S.), how they operate and the variety of decorative cases made. “A jeweler can make pocket watches a specialty that competitors can’t touch,” he adds.

• Exclusive Time International Inc., Flemington, NJ; (908) 788-0029,

– by Michael Thompson

Like all Aerowatch pocket watches, this model can be engraved.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications