Citizen Promotes Eco-Drive Watches

Citizen Watch Co. this fall is conducting the most intensive ad campaign in its history, to promote its newly style-conscious collections of Eco-Drive watches. Every two weeks from mid-September through early December, the company will launch a new Eco-Drive watch and an advertising effort to support it. The campaign represents Citizen’s biggest investment yet in advertising for the fourth quarter (the most important season for watch sales). The budget for the print portion alone (weekly magazines and national and local newspapers) is $6 million to $8 million, Citizen’s single largest commitment to print, say company officials. Altogether, the campaign is expected to produce some 1.2 billion media “impressions” (i.e., viewings by individual consumers). Eco-Drive will “be in the consumer’s eye throughout the entire [fourth quarter] season,” says Peter Nicholson, Citizen’s vice president of corporate communications.

The campaign focuses not only on Eco-Drive watches’ technology but also, for the first time, on their stylish design.

The technology captures natural and artificial light in a cell beneath the watch dial and converts it to energy that powers the timepiece’s quartz movement. Since the watches recharge continuously in any light, they never need a battery. Two of the Eco-Drive watches being launched this fall-one multi-functional, the other a fashion watch-are the first such watches to get long-life power reserves, an indication of the company’s “commitment to further developing the Eco-Drive Collection,” says Citizen president Laurence R. Grunstein.

Equally important, notes Nicholson, is the new emphasis on fashionable design, especially for women. “Previously, Eco-Drive was oriented toward men, but we’ve worked on the styling and developed a whole new design for Eco-Drive watches,” he says.

Exemplifying the new direction in styling is the Eco-Drive Silhouette Bangle Collection, which kicked off Citizen’s fall campaign on Sept. 11. It features polished adjustable bangles (with push-button deployment buckles) crafted from stainless steel and available in all stainless, gold-tone, or two-tone bracelets. Suggested retail: $195 to $225.

The Eco-Drive Skyhawk Flight Chronograph campaign followed on Sept. 25. The stainless-steel watch, says Citizen, is the first such aviator timepiece to be light-powered and Citizen’s first multi-function watch with a long-life (four-year) power reserve. Other features include time and calendar in 22 time zones, three alarms, countdown timer, a navigational slide rule bezel, and water resistance to 100 meters. Suggested retail: $395.

The Eco-Drive Elektra Collection (for men and women) appears twice, on Oct. 9 and Dec. 4. The line combines the appeal of diamond bezels with sculptured stainless-steel styling. The water-resistant series features sophisticated bracelets and distinctive dial treatments. Suggested retail: $250 to $350.

Modena ($375-$450 retail), an original, high-polish fashion line, opens its campaign on Oct. 23. In addition to styling, the line also offers consumers two more firsts, says Citizen. One is a five-year power reserve, the most extensive of any Citizen Eco-Drive line. The other is the first light-powered perpetual calendar chronograph ($450). Contact Citizen Watch Co. of America, 1200 Wall St., Lyndhurst, N.J. 07071; (800) 321-1023; www.citizenwatch.com.