Building a Successful Watch Business

"Watches are an anathema. You must have them but they kill the bottom line," grouses an East Coast jeweler. Another agrees: "We only carry them as an accommodation to our customers." Such sentiments are held by many retail jewelers, and perhaps for good reason: One in three jewelers in a recent national JCK survey say watch sales represent only 5% or less of their business. But many other jewelers tell a different story: Two-thirds of the respondents said their watch sales rose (by a median of 10%) in the preceding 12 months. More significantly, one in five polled by JCK said watches provide 15% or more of their annual business, with many doing most of their watch sales in retail categories of $500 and up. For some, watches provide 25% to 40% of their business. So, what's the secret? Why do some jewelers' watch businesses soar, while others can't get off the ground? We solicited ti
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