‘Rooting’ for Success

Watches have hands, faces, cases, and movements. Did you know they have roots, too? You will, as more mid- and luxury-priced brands focus their merchandising on what many call their "watchmaking roots"—origins, achievements, and vintage products. This focus on the past—reinterpreted for 21st-century marketing—is one of several strategies upscale watch companies are using to stay profitable and singular in the competitive U.S. watch business. They're also redefining their images, boosting marketing dollars, refurbishing signature timepieces, and even tweaking logos. "We exist in a crowded market," says Tsutomu Mitome, chairman of Seiko Watch Corp. "There's a need for a distinctive approach and a need for innovation to focus the brand and expand distribution." To support these strategies and boost sales, many watchmakers are limiting their dealer networks to retailers committed

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