dunhill’ launches brand in America

dunhill’, the prestigious London-based men’s luxury accessories supplier, is re-launching its watch brand in the United States. Formal distribution in the United States and Canada begins in late summer.

The brand had a very limited distribution here a number of years ago. Now, however, dunhill’ is returning with gusto and the vision of a national network of fine jewelers as exclusive dealers, in addition to its own 10 U.S. stores.

“An integral part of our identity and history is our timepieces,” says Simon Critchell, president and chief executive of Alfred Dunhill Ltd. With this launch, “we are getting a lot more serious about [promoting] the dunhill’ timepiece.”

The watch brand launch in North America, announced in March, is part of “a global re-launch [of dunhill’] as a brand,” says Critchell. The challenge, he notes, is “setting a new luxury standard for 21st Century men.” This renaissance of the international men’s luxury brand includes a completely revamped product line, a new flagship store on New York’s Park Ave., and a new global ad program, including renewed focus on its classic “dunhill’ ” logo.

dunhill’, founded in Great Britain in 1893, focuses exclusively on luxury products for men, including (besides watches), pens, jewelry, ready-to-wear, accessories, leather goods and gifts.

It has made timepieces since 1903, when founder Alfred Dunhill patented a unique clock for motorcycles. dunhill’s innovative design approach produced unusual timekeeping items, including a key, a pencil, a money clip, even a belt buckle.

It produced its first wristwatches in the 1920s. In 1936, the brand debuted its first faceted wristwatch, now a iconic signature of dunhill’ design.

With the help of U.S. wholesale manager Worthy Bodey, formerly responsible for after-sale services for all of Richemont North America’s watch brands, and Michael Hoffman, senior vice president of dunhill’ North America, “we believe we can achieve great success through distribution with select jewelers across North America,” said Critchell.

The network will be “built slowly – starting with about 30 dealers the first year-so that down the road, in a few years, we have something substantial,’ says Critichell, formerly president and chief executive of Richemont North America Inc. where he was instrumental in Cartier’s expansion strategy of new retail operations in key target markets.

Key elements in dunhill’s watch distribution, say Critichell and Bodey, will be on-time deliveries of full and complete orders to retailers-“what they want [in their orders] when they want it,” in Critchell’s words-“comprehensive dealer support,” strong after-sales support and competitive pricing.

The watches retail for $750 to $3,850, with most sales expected to be under $2,000. Their designs are “classic without static [and] fashion free,” Critchell says, who adds it is, “a reinterpretation of traditional British values.” There are five lines: the new Dunhillion, a reinterpretation of its classic 1936 faceted timepiece,: the Dunhillion Citydiver, an oversized automatic “divers’ timepiece; the sleek ultra-flat dunhill’ Wafer; the dunhill’ RPM, inspired by the precision dials of vintage sports cars, and the dunhill’ d-type, also based on the design of a classic British racing car.