Nobel Watch eyes IPO

Nobel Watch Co., a supplier of mid- and luxury-priced watches, is planning to become a public company, say company officials. According to chief executive officer Israel Genuth, the five-year-old New York City firm-a division of Nobel International-will launch an initial public offering “much earlier” than 2003.

While the firm is financially secure, Nobel needs the large amount of money an IPO can generate to improve its visibility and efficiency, says Genuth. ”We have a healthy cash flow,” he told JCK, ”but to contend with larger competitors, who spend millions on advertising and name recognition, we need more funds for advertising,”

Before its IPO launch, Nobel will give shares to all ”qualified” authorized dealers of its watches. ”Our dealers are our partners,” says Nobel president Barry Fink. ”This plan offers them the opportunity to succeed and expand with us.”

Since its announcement, the company has received a number of requests from independent-and some chain-jewelers who want to become dealers and gain a share in the company’s future. A ”careful screening procedure for all new authorized dealers” has been set up, says Genuth. The company currently has about 120 dealers and may increase to a maximum of 180.

More details on the IPO and any changes in product and/or organization (including a new board of directors) will be released in coming months, say Nobel officials.

Nobel Watch sells high-fashion stainless-steel watches ($249-$575), and-new this year-18k gold watches, with and without diamonds ($1,200-$6,000). It also prides itself on ”efficient service, which is our number-one priority,” says Genuth.

Contact Nobel Watch Co., at 32 Broadway, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10004; (800) 662-3595.