Bulova takes over Sligh clock business, designs; expands clock business

Bulova Corp. is significantly expanding its clock line, its business in higher-end clocks, and cultivating a new, growing clock market, thanks to an agreement with Sligh Furniture Co., which made and sold high-quality wall, floor, and mantel clocks.

Under the agreement, announced July 22, Bulova will take over distribution of fine clocks to Sligh’s several hundred retail clients, adding them to its jewelers-and-clock shop network. Sligh earlier this year decided to close its clock division to concentrate on its business in high-end home and office furniture.

Bulova will start providing clocks to Sligh’s customers, largely composed of specialty furniture and clock retailers, starting in 2006. It will also provide its sales and marketing resources to them. (Sligh—pronounced “sly”—will continue to provide service and repairs on Sligh brand clocks.)

The agreement gives Bulova Corp. exclusive rights to all Sligh clock designs. Since Sligh retains ownership of its trademark, any marketed by Bulova will carry its name and not the Sligh brand.

“Our agreement with Sligh gives us an opportunity to create an improved and expanded clock division,” said Herbert C. Hofmann, Bulova president and CEO. Bulova officials will work closely with Sligh during the transition, he said, and carefully analyze their product range and sales performance by model. The result will be an expanded Bulova clock collection, incorporating Sligh styles—including its grandfather clocks—that compliment Bulova’s best selling styles, “a line that reflects the best of both companies,” said Hoffman.

The “improved and expanded” Bulova clock line is expected to debut in October at the High Point International Home Furnishings Show in High Point, N.C.

The agreement effectively boosts Bulova’s international profile in the clock industry, say its officials, while solidifying its position as the only company in the world offering the full spectrum of timepieces for personal use, from watches to fine clocks for the home.

It also opens a new market for Bulova—furniture retailers, whose clocks-as-home-accessories business is growing—and a focus on higher-end clocks, such as keywind, long case and wall clocks.

“We are determined to offer Sligh’s customers the high level of product and service that has long been a hallmark of both of our companies,” said Hofmann.

Bulova, founded in 1875, is one of the world’s most recognized brands, reaching a wide range of consumers with its Bulova, Accutron, Wittnauer and Caravelle watches, and award-winning Bulova Clocks. A subsidiary of Loews Corp., the U.S. owned and operated company is headquartered in New York City, and has offices in Switzerland, Canada, Mexico and the Far East.

Sligh Furniture Company, a family firm established in 1880 and based in Holland, Mich., is well-known for its high-end home and office furniture sold. It has sold a range of fine clocks, though best known for its grandfather clocks, since 1968.