Supplier News

SECTOR EXPANDS IN U.S., OPENS OUTDOOR CENTER

When Jonathan Nettelfield started his new job as marketing director of Sector Sport Watches, he hit the ground running — at about 90 mph!

He wasn’t really running — he was flying down an ice-slicked Olympic toboggan run in Cortina, Italy.

He didn’t stop there. True to Sector’s “No Limits” credo, he also was placed in a rubber raft and tossed down a steep ski jump.

“I thought this must be some sort of initiation rite,” he says.

The trip was Nettelfield’s first experience with “No Limits,” the phrase that underlies Sector’s marketing activities worldwide and has made the brand the best-selling watch (by dollar volume) in Italy, its home base. It’s the same tenet that Nettelfield, as new U.S. marketing chief, will use this year as he plots Sector’s growth curve.

U.S. boost: The Milan-based parent company, Artime, plans to spend more than twice what it spent last year to expand Sector’s U.S. sales.

Many of the pieces of this year’s marketing efforts are already in place. Artime USA, based in New York, N.Y., has established sales offices in Phoenix, Ariz., and Chicago, Ill. But perhaps the most unusual aspect of the effort is the No Limits Center in Crested Butte, Colo. As a sports center, Crested Butte offers rafting, rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, paragliding and many other outdoor activities.

The sporting center opened this month to the public and in August will host winners of a Sector sales incentive program. Salespeople at an official Sector retailer who sell at least 10 Sector watches between April 1 and June 30 will receive a free trip to the center; those who sell 15 or more may bring a guest. Other incentives (a T-shirt or $25) are available starting with the sale of one watch.

The company also will promote its No Limits Sector Team, 24 athletes who perform a variety of physically demanding (and often world record-holding) endeavors. These individuals, whom Sector fully underwrites and manages, will be featured in promotions and advertising campaigns. Team members can be found paragliding into large craters, swimming great distances, climbing ice-covered mountains and crossing the globe on foot. They also star in Sector’s self-produced TV show in Italy (soon to be replicated for U.S. television) and in the brand’s point-of-purchase video displays and magazine. Biographies of the team members also are part of a year-long advertising campaign in Outside magazine in the U.S., says Nettelfield.

Sector also is producing a series of 30-minute television shows, and Nettelfield plans to set up a No Limits Association. All Sector purchasers will be enrolled when they buy their watch and fill out the registration card. These members will extend their warranty from one to two years, will be kept informed about the brand’s activities and products and will receive the magazine free of charge. They also will be able to buy No Limits heavy-duty outdoor clothing (already being sold in Italy) through the association.

The association also will provide retailers with demographic data about Sector customers. More than 400 retailers are connected to Sector via a computer network that tracks watch inventory for rapid reordering. The computer hookup also has a CD-ROM feature that allows the user to create his or her own Sector watch, to view Sector athletes in action and to make suggestions to the company.

ASSAEL & PASPALEY CREATE NEW VENTURE

Assael International Inc., New York, N.Y., and Paspaley Pearling Co. of Australia plan to form a pearl importing company that will open for business in January 1997.

Assael-Paspaley, located next to Assael offices at 580 Fifth Ave., will import South Sea pearls that Assael doesn’t already handle.

The company already has hired a manager and will hire more staff members in the next few months.

TAG HEUER TO HOLD CHELSEA ARTWALK

TAG Heuer will shine the spotlight on New York City’s Chelsea Art District as part of its launch of the redesigned 2000 Series watches.

“Chelsea Artwalk: Vision 2000,” scheduled for Sept. 27-29, will feature public tours of art galleries and studios in Chelsea, centered on W. 22 St. between 10 and 11 Aves. “This event emphasizes the design aspect of the new 2000 series,” says Fred Reffsin, president of Heuer Time & Electronics, the U.S. division of the company.

The redesigned watches feature a 12-sided bezel instead of the old round version. The studs that enable the bezel to be turned for diving have cut-off corners to accentuate their raised surfaces. In addition, the numeral 12 has been added for quicker reading and the dial rim is slightly inclined to add depth.

The watch retains all its sports performance specifications: water resistance to 660 ft., unidirectional rotating bezel, sapphire crystal, double security safety clasp, screw-in crown and luminous hands and markers. The series debuted in 1982 and now accounts for about 20% of total sales. The new line will retail for $800 to $1,295 (for a chronograph).

SEIKO RESTRUCTURES JAZ DISNEY DISTRIBUTION

Seiko Corp. of America restructured the distribution of its Disney-licensed timepieces, primarily through the addition of the Jaz Disney line to the Lorus distribution network based in Austin, Tex. The Disney line formerly was distributed from Seiko’s U.S. headquarters in Mahwah, N.J.

The Jaz Disney line will be expanded to include jewelry store chains, fine watch departments of major department stores and catalog showrooms.

Bob Kerch was named vice president of the Licensed Products Coordination Group. Kerch, based in Texas, will oversee coordination of all Disney product groups under the Seiko, Pulsar, Lorus and Jaz brand names.

SUPPLIERS ON THE GROW

Robert S. Fisher Co., Newark, N.J., is now the exclusive representative for William Schraft Designs. Schraft will continue to manufacture and distribute his Windows collection, but Fisher will manufacture and sell all other Schraft designs. Schraft is a winner of five American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards and a Diamonds International Award.

JFA Designs announced its expansion. The firm’s new address is 17791 Fitch Ave., Irvine, CA 92714-6019; (714) 263-9909, fax (714) 263-9910.

Andrea by Sadek, New York, N.Y., was licensed to create decorative accessories for the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation. The private, non-profit foundation owns and operates Monticello, which was Jefferson’s home. Sadek will produce adaptations of decorative artifacts at Monticello. The first, a set of four dessert plates in a parrot design, is scheduled to be introduced this fall. Andrea by Sadek, 19 E. 26 St., New York, NY 10010; (212) 679-8121.