Holiday Season is Looking Bright For Watch Sales

Reprinted from NATIONAL JEWELER
By Melanie Kletter
Assistant Editor

Cartierís Tank FranÁaise is among the luxury watches expected to be popular this holiday season.New York - Watches are poised for an excellent holiday season, according to an informal spot-check of retailers conducted recently by National Jeweler. Increased watch advertising, more licensed watch brands, and an increase in watch retail outlets are all contributing to what is shaping up to be a booming watch season.

Among the items predicted to be hot this holiday: colored dials, steel and other white metals, luxury watches, and menís chronographs.

"I think it will be a good season for luxury," said Paul Hackworth, a watch buyer for Nordstrom. "I think Baume & Mercierís Hampton will be very strong, as well as Cartierís Tank FranÁaise. Also, two-tone watches continue to be very popular."

"Steel continues to be very strong, and I am also selling a lot of white gold watches," said Jennifer Halter, watch buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. "Cartierís Tank FranÁaise has been amazing. Gucci watches are very big. We are just delivering Alfex and [Giorgio] Armani to our stores, which I also think will do well this season."

Ray Grenon, watch specialist for Boston retail store Alpha Omega, said watch sales at his store are "better than ever," due to a strong economy and increased advertising.

"From our end, itís never been better," Grenon said.

Grenon predicted that colored dials will do well this season at all price points because they appeal to a younger consumer. The new watch lines from renowned writing instrument makers Montblanc and A.T. Cross also are doing well at Alpha Omega, namely because of name recognition.

Retailer Hank Siegel of Hamilton Jewelers, Princeton, N.J., said people are returning to trusted names and styles.

"I think we are seeing a return to classic jewelry and classic styles," he said. "I think Rolex will continue to be strong as well as Patek Philippe, Baume & Mercier and Cartier. Basically, our watch sales have been very strong and I am very optimistic about continuing that."

Mati Weiderpass, president of watch retail chain Watch World, predicted that licensed brand Armani will be successful this year, as well as some of the other new licensed watches.

"Overall, I think watch sales will be excellent because there are so many new lines, and watch manufacturers have become experts at marketing new products," he said. "I think the watch market will continue to expand."

Tourneau Executive Vice President Anthony DíAmbrosio said he believes it will be a very good season for watch sales.

"People today are more conscious of the total packaging of their image, and watches are starting to play a significant part in that," he said. "We have noticed an increased attraction to the sports watch category and also colored dials at all price points."