Watch Watch

Sector watch is ‘Custom Made’ for Colorado Jeweler

For a jewelry store that specializes in “active” designer jewelry, adding Sector Sport Watches was a perfect match

Until Sector Sport Watches came to town, Ice Mountain Jewelry in Crested Butte, Colo., focused on jewelry made in the store and by designers such as Carol Ackerman, Etienne Perret and Cornelis Hollander.

Recently, however, owner Brian Dale added the Swiss-made, Italian-designed Sector sport watch line.

It’s a perfect match, he says.

“The watch line mirrors the type of jewelry I sell,” says Dale. “I make active jewelry for active people – you won’t find traditional pronged settings in the items I make.” Except for the occasional stud earring, he specializes in contemporary styles with bezel-set gemstones, which he says are less likely to get caught on clothing as his customers hike up a mountain.

Tucked in the Rockies, Crested Butte is home to a world-class ski resort and hosts a year-long schedule of competitions for in-line skaters, skiers, paragliders, mountain bikers, kayakers and snowboarders. During the winter, in fact, the area’s population swells from about 1,600 to 8,000.

Earlier this year, Sector sponsored its third annual “U.S. Extreme Snowboarding Championships.” The event drew 135 of the nation’s top snowboarders, each competing for a chance at the world championships held each year in Alaska. It also drew thousands of fans.

Some may have seen Sector watches on display inside the Sector No Limits Center up the road from Ice Mountain Jewelry. Center visitors there can arrange any of a number of adventures, from ice-climbing to mountain biking to kayaking.

“With their opening the No Limits Center here last year, it seemed just the watch to have,” says Dale. “This town is filled with kids and adults who are amazing athletes; they know about the brand from the center and from Outside magazine,” he says. (Sector’s primary consumer advertising is done in Outside.)

Since adding Sector to the two stores

he operates in town, Dale is better able to serve ski season visitors, special events crowds and young locals who eye the mountains as they practice their sport of choice. “Sector’s serious sport image is clear to each of these groups,” says Dale.

Esprit to Add Jewelry Line

Egana chosen to create line to complement Esprit watches

Esprit International has granted a license to Egana International, New York, N.Y., to manufacture, distribute and market jewelry under the Esprit trademark throughout the world.

Egana, which manufactures and distributes Esprit watches in 31 countries, will produce fashion and costume jewelry for men, women and children, including pieces made with colored gemstones. The jewelry will debut this coming spring in Germany and next fall in the U.S., says Birgit Kelley, Esprit International’s managing director.

The jewelry will be marketed as a companion collection to Esprit Timewear. Egana has 22 internationally recognized brand names for watches and jewelry sold worldwide. The company licenses only seven non-apparel products.

“We look forward to marketing the Esprit jewelry collection in the United States, where the Esprit name is synonymous with a youthful, spirited and fashion-forward lifestyle,” says Don Chinery, executive vice president of Egana of Switzerland (America) Corp., the North American subsidiary of Egana International Holdings Ltd.

In the U.S., Egana markets and distributes five watches brands: Esprit, Stefanel Tempo, Pierre Cardin, Cerruti 1881 and Paolo designed by Paolo Gucci.

Stronger Dollar Spurs Swiss Watch Sales to U.S.

Germany and Italy are robust buyers after a depressed 1996

Swiss watch sales to the United States increased 15.8% by value in the first half of 1997 compared with the first half of 1996, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. In fact, the federation says sales to the U.S., Switzerland’s second largest market after Hong Kong, “broke new records in both absolute figures and growth rates.”

The drop in the value of the Swiss franc against the U.S. dollar and rising U.S. consumer confidence were the major forces behind the increase. Also important were sales to Germany and Italy, the fourth and fifth largest markets for Swiss watches. Sales in these two countries reversed a 1996 downturn with increases of 10% and 10.6%, respectively.

Leading the overall 10.6% increase by value in Swiss finished watch exports worldwide were increases in karat gold timepieces (up 4.1% by volume, 7.6% by value), steel (up 10.4% by volume, 32.8% by value) and karat gold with steel watches (up 1.4% by volume, 7.4% by value).

The federation says the rise in the export value of wrist watches is linked also to the increased market share of mechanical timepieces (which command 48.3% of the market by value).

Volume Falls Worldwide

Even as the value of finished Swiss watches increased, the unit volume dropped 11% to 14.9 million pieces in the first half of 1996. This is due to sharply lower exports of plastic wrist watches (down 25.5% in volume), goldplated watches (down 7.4%) and base metals (down 3.4%).

Also sliding were sales to Japan, Switzerland’s third largest market (down 4.6% by value).

When watch parts, movements, cases and clocks are included in the total export picture, Swiss timepiece industry exports increased 7.8%. Movement exports fell 24.4% in volume and 23.5% in value.

Noblia, Main Sponsor of Star Class Race

Noblia Timepieces, Citizen Watch Corp. of America’s nautical-themed brand, has been awarded the title sponsorship of the 1997 Star Class World Championship sailing competition. The annual event is now named the Noblia

International Star Class World Championships. It took place this year during September in Marblehead, Mass.

The title sponsorship comes after Noblia introduced its Noblia Star Class watch collection. The collection has 21 models, including six new sharkskin strap versions. At the top of the collection is the Noblia Gold Star, featuring an 18k gold bezel and a gold star on the dial. Each is individually numbered. Retail prices, $595 to $2,500. Noblia, 1200 Wall St. W., Lyndhurst, NJ 07071; (201) 438-8150.

Face Up

Round the World

In its first big watch launch, Paris-based fashion house Celine has adapted its signature “Celine ring” to the watch’s bezel, buckle and bracelet.

The Swiss-made quartz watch debuts this month at the 110 Celine boutiques worldwide (six in the U.S.). The watch features interchangeable bracelets and straps and a domed sapphire crystal. Steel and goldplated models are available from $695 to $1,195 retail. The stainless steel bracelet model shown here retails for $975.

Swift Leaves Wittnauer Execs Move Into New Positions

Reynald M. Swift has left the presidency of Wittnauer International, New Rochelle, N.Y. Swift, who served as president for six years, last year led a management buyout from Westinghouse.

During Swift’s tenure, Wittnauer ceded the Longines brand to SMH of Switzerland, upgraded its core line and added Swiss luxury brand Universal Geneve, Swiss sports watch Zodiac and sport lines Adidas and Ellesse.

Swift has been replaced by a new Office of the President, a team composed of the principal investors in the management buyout. That team comprises Robert Coleman, chairman; Charles Watkins, vice chairman; and Lawrence Gorfinkle, director.

Coleman announced new positions for several Witt-nauer executives. Robert Sapienza is now senior vice president of sales and special markets; Frank Salzano is now vice president of operations and Felix Pagan is vice president and general manager of the company’s facility in Cayey, Puerto Rico. Phil Schwetz will continue as vice president of marketing and will be responsible for all advertising, public relations and promotional activities in the U.S.

Robert Mazzone, formerly senior vice president, will form an independently operating company, EXP Group Ltd., that will focus on expanding opportunities in the award and incentive market. EXP

will work closely with Wittnauer and will represent the brand in this category. Bruce Smellie will remain president of Wittnauer International, Canada.

Retailers can expect no changes in the firm’s operations, says Schwetz. Wittnauer expanded its consumer advertising budget and added numerous promotions with retailers during the past year, he says. For example, this fall’s magazine advertising campaign is seen in 35 publications, including Town & Country, Vanity Fair, Life, Essence, Elle and GQ. The primary focus of the full-page ads is the new Wittnauer Montego with diamonds.

Appointments

Marcia Mazzocchi joined the sales force at International Watch Co. She is responsible for sales and customer relations in the Western U.S. and special areas. Mazzocchi was formerly vice president of Tabbah and has held similar positions with Sector and TAG Heuer.

A.T. Cross named Jeff A. Davis to direct sales and marketing for its new watch division. Davis has overseen the launch of A.T. Cross timepieces in stores in New York City, Boston and Los Angeles this fall and will direct a national distribution of the watches in 1998. He previously was with Taramax USA, makers of Fendi timepieces.

Update

Gerald Genta and Daniel Roth, two Swiss luxury watchmakers, now say they will set up a joint distribution office in New York City. Horological Works, Greenwich, Conn., will not distribute the brands, as noted in the August edition of “Watch Watch.”