Professional Jeweler Archive: Spring Debuts: Color & Function

April 2004


Spring Debuts: Color & Function

New timepieces are attractive and fulfill the desire for sporty utility

Early debuts from Switzerland this year emphasize function over glitz. While diamond dials and bezels undoubtedly are a major feature on many of the debuts, several companies focus on case shape and color to attract buyers.

Most watch companies hold off until later in April to unveil their finery, so the utilitarian nature of these early debuts may be a nod to a lower “wow” factor inherent in their release now, before the major watch shows in Basel and Geneva, Switzerland. But it’s still valuable to note the trends:

  • Non-round and larger cases.
  • Chronographs with non-traditional dial designs.
  • Continuing development in the sport watch category, including more dive models, dual-timers and internal bezels set by an extra crown.

Unusual Cases & Straps

That’s not to say there’s no focus on fashion. Color is a major motivator at many sales counters this year, and watch retailers are likely to see this in straps. Advancing that agenda is a wider use of galuchat (sting ray) straps. Leonard and De Grisogono pioneered the look; others notably followed suit at the JA International Jewelry Show in New York City in January. Made in polished and rough varieties, these straps have been spotted on timepieces by Lancaster, Sven Anderson, Michele and Bill Blass.

Case shapes are taking on more fluid edges and wider dimensions. The new Hermès Berenia emphasizes a soft (and slightly wider) leather strap that loops the modified square case. Alfex doubles up its popular Bango model with two elliptical faces on colorful bangles.

– by Michael Thompson

The Hermès Berenia has a distinctive dial and supple calf leather strap. It’s available in two sizes and with various color straps. Suggested retail, $1,450. Hermès, New York City; (212) 835-6438.
The Alfex Two Time uses two quartz movements on its popular and colorful bangle. Alfex, New Rochelle, NY; (914) 235-6261,
The new Clerc CXX Scuba Chronograph is set for a dive. Clerc, New York City; (212) 355-1703,
Oakley’s new Blade model focuses
on strength, color and an unusual shape. Oakley, Foothill Ranch, CA; (949) 951-0991,
This Michele Deco diamond watch sports a galuchat (sting ray) strap. Michele, Miami, FL; (305) 650-9771,
Swiss Army’s new version of its multifunction Startech includes altitude measurements among many other functions. Swiss Army, Shelton, CT; (800) 442-2706,
Mondaine places a smaller version of its well-known dial on reversible straps for added color. Mondaine, Shelton, CT; (800) 442-2706,

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications