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NOBODY IS GOING TO ARGUE that the king of moderate to inexpensive watches is
Timex, the lion-hearted watch firm that has broken all sales and style records for several decades now and is still going strong.  Timex offers a huge line of watches consisting of many different collections, one for just about every taste you can image.

From the clean round-faced Easy Reader watches to the multi-functional Timex Ironman series, Timex has a watch for everybody.   The firm is important in traditional watches, but it is also a leader in innovation and technology.  And the rush to be first continues…

Right now, Timex is putting forth an exciting new Timex Originals Collection featuring embellished formal crystal timepieces such as the Dress Crystal and the Ladies Bracelet watch with Swarovski Crystals.  The crystal surround bezels are on round-faced watches and come in various styles, including the popular mixed metals.   

On the functional plane, Timex is an Olympian player.  The firm has watches that do almost everything but brush your teeth! Some big functions: GPS features and heart monitors.

But…you may feel a little too status conscious to wear a Timex, in which case, we recommend that you simply review the phenomenal functional benefits the watches offer. Or, even better, think again, because these are anything but cheap timepieces. Presidents have worn them, so have CEOs of major corporations.  President Clinton is one outstanding example of just how impressive the Timex consumer list can be!




                                                    Luxury Sector

OF COURSE, LUXURY WATCHES as a group still continue to lead the industry in trend setting. And while 2010 was a blazing year for the recession, luxury watches generally escaped the worst of the purge. Sales of Dior watches, which go for $1,000-500,000, picked up considerably in the first 9 months of 2010, and the company says it is now devoting even more space to watches in Dior boutiques internationally.

“Demand for watches across Asia, and particularly in China, is very strong,” Sidney Tolendano, Dior president said.

LVMH’s watch and jewelry group has been enjoying the same kind of enthusiastic consumer in recent months with sales up 29 percent against 2009.  The spurt has emboldened the firm to increase its marketing considerably in the USA, especially, with brands like Tag Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith.

The high-end Swiss brand Omega is equally bullish on the upcoming year.  “We believe in the U.S.,” president Stephen Urquhard said.  “The time is right to get a foothold here.” 

    –And as European luxury brands expand their presence and power in the United States, look for them to have even greater design influence on all lower priced watches selling here.

                                                     Black Watches

GQ MAGAZINE, THE ARBITER of edgy styles, says black and other dark colored watches will reign supreme in 2011. That means black face, black case, black strap – yes, exactly what Batman would choose.    “It’s time to get in touch with your very dark side,” the magazine suggests. 

GQ also points out that from leather strapped styles to  military designs, the newest watches tend to be classy, traditional, and versatile, but in no way are they boring or “I’ve seen it before.”.

Many of the new watches are strongly jewelry inspired.  Embellished watches with a mix of precious and semi precious gemstones are hot, especially with couture brands.  And across the luxury sector, the trendy move is toward rose gold. It replaces yellow gold as the important look for the upcoming year, for those who can afford gold, that is. 

At the opposite end of the scale, chunky oversized watches with a distinctly masculine look are uptrending, especially with women who buy watches for themselves.  These watches often sport super tech features, such as solar power and multi-chrono functions. 

Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst for the research group, The NPD Group, says that one of the biggest challenges facing the watch industry is the problem of dealing with other time-telling products that are continually coming into the marketplace. The cell phone, he says really put a damper on the watch industry. In today’s world, if you want to grow a business, you have to have innovation and technology as part of the equation. “Basics maintain sales, but innovation drives growth.”

                                           Hot Competition

TIMEX PRESIDENT Adam Gurian takes a positive view on the new competition, saying it poses an opportunity. “Technology is coming to the wrist,” he says. “Gurian points to the firm’s phenomenally successful Ironman line, which includes GPS technology, as an example of how a company can overcome competition with innovation. And this is just the beginning, he contends.  “As the world of connectivity develops, we’ll be able to have your watch talk directly to your computer using Bluetooth technology.”

   –Wow!  This is Dick Tracy for real!

But technology innovation isn’t all consumers want. They are also looking for cutting edge style. Color is a big point here, especially when the watches can then shine as fashion accessories.    Gurian says that in all price points and categories, pieces that have been most successful are those that can be used to make an accessories statement. 

Next year, he says, expect more fashion, and a lot of color. The firm is already promoting colored bezels on its watches; look for orange or blue, the leading trendy colors now.

Fendi is another firm recognizing the power of fashion. The company recently introduced a remarkably creative timepiece called Crazy Carats Watch.  It has a rolling mechanism that allows the wearer to change the colors of the semiprecious stones on the watch’s face. Feeling like yellow? Roll it on!  Right now, the watches retail for a high $2,400 to $1,500, but just wait!  You’re sure to see variations on this color theme popping up in much less expensive watches soon!   



Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

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