AWA elects Fischer as chairman

The American Watch Association (AWA) on May 10 elected Walter Fischer, chairman of Rolex Watch U.S.A, as its new chairman of the board. He succeeds Ronald Luino, elected last September to a two-year term as chairman, who left the post when his position as chief financial officer of Seiko Corp. of America was eliminated in April.

AWA also named the following officers: Efraim Grinberg, chairman of the Movado Group, is first vice president. Daniel Lalonde, president and chief executive officer of LVMH Watch & Jewelry, North America, is second vice president. Stacie Orloff, president, Corum USA, is treasurer. Michael Kaplan, president, Rocket Jewelry Box, is secretary.

“These are important times for the watch industry which is facing challenges in Washington on trade issues and in the states on environmental issues,” Fischer said in accepting the chairmanship. On the issue of button-cell batteries, specifically, he added that, “It’s essential that we continue to work with retail jewelers to prevent state legislatures from banning button-cell batteries in watches that contain trace amounts of mercury. Retailers are already doing an outstanding job of recycling those batteries.”

AWA also marked its 50th anniversary on May 10 at its annual dinner, held this year in New York City at the Hudson Hotel Rooftop Garden. The keynote speaker was Mark Shields of CNN’s Capital Gang.

AWA is an association of more than 50 companies in the United States engaged in the importation, manufacture, and assembly of watches, watch movements, and watch products sold here and in markets worldwide. Most of the principal U.S. watch companies are members of AWA.