New Faces To Watch

100% SWISS-MADE AT A LOWER PRICE

Dynamic Time International is introducing Joss Watches of Switzerland to the U.S. and Canada. Dynamic is an Ontario, Canada-based subsidiary of Global Syntek, Charlotte, N. C., which owns a wide range of technological firms.

Joss made a name for itself last year when it introduced 100%-Swiss-made fine watches created with advanced production techniques that lowered costs enough to compete in the $200-$300 (U.S.) price range. Until now, that end of the market has been dominated by largely Swatch and watches made in the Far East.

Joss watches have steel cases, quartz movements, diamond accents, genuine sapphire crystals, mother-of-pearl dials and water resistance to 30 meters. Many models are 18k gold plated.

Joss says its breakthrough involves a robotic, high-speed production line that makes the watch cases. “Our commitment is to return much of the watch industry to Switzerland and produce a new standard – the 100% Swiss timepiece – at world competitive price points,” says Joss Production Director Pierre Andre Joss.

Although distribution in the U.S. only just started, Joss has made considerable marketing inroads. It is negotiating to be named as a watch sponsor of the new Swiss Pavilion at Disney World in Orlando; it also was named the official watch of Edelweiss, the new Swiss airline.

The Joss Diamond model, pictured here, is currently available in a wide range of styles and strap colors. New models to be introduced later this year should include a solar watch, a chronograph and an automatic version.

Joss Watches, Dynamic Time International, 8111 Yong St., Suite 109, Thornhill, Ontario, Canada L3T4V9; (905) 771-8993.

SWEDISH WATCHMAKER ENTERS U.S. MARKET

Swedish manufacturers are known for cars like Saab and Volvo, but Time Innovation AB, the sole Swedish watchmaker, hopes its Sjoo Sandstrom line will add watches to the list. The designer line is now available to jewelers in the United States.

Created with the clean, uncluttered look that Scandinavian design is known for, the watches are hand-crafted with screw-in casebacks, sapphire crystals and water resistance to 100 meters. The cases are made with solid Swedish stainless steel. All watches come in Swedish birchwood gift boxes.

The line, founded in 1992, has two collections: Classic and Exclusive. The Classic line features the Automatic (men’s) watch and the Lady (shown), a quartz watch. The Automatic version is equipped with a ball-bearing movement, 28,800 vibrations per hour and 25 jewels. It has a stainless steel bracelet and black or brown leather or lizard strap. Retail is approximately $1,200 depending on strap. The Lady comes only with a strap, either lizard or leather, and retails for $1,050.

The Exclusive is a special edition; the firm will make only one type each year. This year’s is a women’s design called Spectrolite. The quartz watch has a dial made of spectrolite, a stone found only in the south of Finland which reflects a spectrum of colors from pink to deep blue. Retail is $1,600.

ScanCraft Inc., P.O. Box 93075, Southlake, TX 76092; (817) 488-4653.

CERRUTI ‘CASUAL CHIC’ FROM EGANA DEBUTS

Followers of fashionable men’s clothing well know the name Nino Cerruti. His designs have earned him a position in Europe as a master of “casual chic” tailored clothing. His work also has been used in Hollywood, where he did costume designs for movies such as Sabrina, Fatal Attraction and Pretty Woman.

Now Egana of Switzerland (America) Corp. plans to introduce Cerruti 1881 watches to the U.S. for fall; one model is shown here. The line, which is inspired by the designer, combines Swiss craftsmanship with the classic elements and simple lines of Cerruti designs.

Egana took over the design, production and marketing of the brand in 1994 and has achieved strong popularity in Europe and Asia. The U.S. collection will include 18k gold and steel watches priced from $500 to $3,500.

The launch of Cerruti 1881 follows the “re-launch” of another Egana brand, Pierre Cardin watches (see Supplier News, page 446), and last year’s debut of Egana’s North American subsidiary.

Egana of Switzerland (America) Corp., 390 Fifth Ave., Suite 500, New York, NY 10018; (212) 244-9200.

GIVENCHY UPGRADES WITH NEW DISTRIBUTOR

Another designer name high on the list for consumer recognition is Givenchy. In recent years, watches bearing the Givenchy name have been sold at discount stores in the U.S., while both higher-end sales and image are accorded to Givenchy perfumes and accessories here and to Givenchy watches abroad.

Now parent firm LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) wants to raise Givenchy’s profile and image among U.S. watch buyers. To that end it asked Jacques Benedict, the Swiss maker of Givenchy watches for Europe, to hire Marigold Watch Co. of New Jersey to take over North American distribution of the watches. (The previous agreement with Jan Bell Marketing was terminated last December.) Jeffrey Golden, a former senior vice president of North American Watch Corp., heads Marigold.

“This is not the old Givenchy watch,” Golden explains. “We are going to distribute a Swiss watch in ten different styles with prices ranging from $125 to $650.”

Marigold already has run a test market of the new Swiss-made Givenchy watches in Hawaii. Sales were strong, says Golden, exceeding forecasts by 40%.

The watches are made to appeal to fashion-conscious men and women ages 20 to 40 who look for products from major fashion houses. These buyers already likely are familiar with London designer John Galliano, whom Hubert de Givenchy recently appointed to add fresh appeal to all Givenchy fashions. Givenchy himself retired last year.

Also under the new distribution agreement, Marigold will sell watches with the brand name MCM, the luxury leather goods maker. These watches will have a higher price range and a narrower market than the Givenchy line. Givenchy watches for the U.S. debuted in Basel in April and can be seen this month at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas. Distribution is set for fall.

Marigold Watch Co., 7 Hampton Ridge Court, Old Tappan, NJ 07675; (201) 722-1070.