Three high-fashion Italian timepieces are being introduced into the U.S. market by DOMUSHora Inc., Miami. Two of them—Officina Del Tempo and Buti—are already offered to top U.S. jewelers and fine department stores. The third—Momo Design—will debut at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas in June.

Four-year-old DOMUSHora of Italy opened its U.S. site in 2002. The Milan firm is led by three Italians in their 30s from the fashion and watch industries. Davide Murdocca, president, is an international watch dealer who has collected watches since he was 10. Umberto Cipolla, vice president, operates eight clothing stores in Milan. Murdocca and Cipolla co-own DOMUSHora. Florentino Fernandez, a watch retailer in Italy, is the manager, overseeing sales training, customer service, and brand development with retailers.

American Michael Pucci, who has 20 years’ experience with watch brands in the U.S. market, is the U.S. sales manager and director of marketing. The company’s intent here, Pucci told JCK, is to offer “brands with distinctive Italian design, which fill holes in the low end of high-end watches and meet the criteria of design, quality, and value.”

  • Officina Del Tempo ($335 to $5,800) is DOMUSHora’s own brand, sold in 44 countries. It debuted in Italy in 2000 and in 2003 in the U.S. market, where it’s offered by a number of top jewelry stores. The company is aiming for 500 to 700 U.S. doors. Murdocca’s goal is to make it “the number-one high-end fashion [watch] brand in the most prestigious [U.S. jewelry] stores.
    “Its trendy, cutting-edge designs and use of color were developed by DOMUSHora in consultation with a consortium of Italian fashion designers who want to reassert “Italy’s heritage of watchmaking and its design expertise in watches and jewelry,” says Pucci. “We meet regularly with them to discuss new styles, trends, and color,” adds Cipolla.
    The Italian-made watches (20,000 annually) mainly use Miyota movements, though some models and limited editions have Swiss ones. Most are made of surgical-grade stainless steel, with vivid-color straps (gel, leather, stingray) by Morellato, a leading watchband manufacturer.
    Though created for men, its smaller models appeal to women, too. So, Officina Del Tempo targets both sexes, with several lines, styles, and sizes, with and without diamonds. Collections include Marrakech 2 (chronograph, automatic, or quartz movements); Agadir (quartz); Tonneau (women’s quartz models); and Tangeri, launching in the U.S. market later this year.

  • Buti ($6,000 to $36,000) is a limited-edition line (150 to 200 of each model) created by Italian designer Tommaso Buti. It debuted in Italy in 2002 and has been selectively distributed to high-end U.S. jewelers since mid-2004. DOMUSHora aims to have it in 50 to 75 stores by 2007.
    Some 4,000 are made annually in a former Officine Panerai plant near Florence, Italy, including its signature Black Gold watch ($36,000). All have diamond markers, and many use titanium with gold to keep down price. About 10 percent are women’s automatic models. All use Valjoux movements, which DOMUSHora modifies. It expects to have its own movement in two years.

  • Momo Design ($350 to $3,000) is the watch line of the internationally renowned Milan design center, also known for its eyewear, sportswear, helmets, steering wheels, and car-design work.
    The watches will be targeted here at many of the 500 to 700 U.S. stores carrying Officina Del Tempo. “There’s nothing like [Momo Design] in the entry level of high-end watches that’s distributed exclusively and not mass-produced,” says Pucci. About 5,000 of the stylish, high-tech racing watches are produced annually in Milan.