Japan’s Watchmakers Focus on ‘The Bright Spot’

Some of the most noteworthy moves by top Japanese watch brands to expand their business, especially among young adult and female consumers, are occurring in the United States … but not quite in ways the parent firms in Tokyo had planned. The U.S. market is the most important and lucrative one for Japan's watches. In the words of Katsuaki Noji, president of Citizen Trading Co., which sells Citizen watches worldwide, it's "the bright spot for all of us"—especially in light of sluggish sales for Japanese brands elsewhere around the globe. The United States accounts for a third of Citizen's total watch business, 23% of Seiko's, and 20% of Casio's (which wants to expand that to 30%). Not surprisingly, then, Japan's watchmakers pay close attention to what happens here. Recent changes in Seiko Corp.'s worldwide operations, for example, are aimed at boosting the company's image—and bus
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