Supplier News

SEIKO TO FOCUS ON DISTRIBUTION TO JEWELERS

As part of a restructuring effort, Seiko Corp. of America has streamlined distribution to concentrate on fine jewelers and fine jewelry departments. It also has lowered some prices 7%-10% and has phased out sales to several mass merchandisers.

The commitment to fine jewelers has been focused in three areas, says Larry Sussberg, vice president of sales. Those areas are chain and independent stores, full-line department stores and catalogs with an emphasis on fine jewelry.

Seiko took the steps because the watch market has “destabilized” in recent years as companies and brands increased, he says. That confused consumers and made differentiating between brands more difficult, he says. “[The changes] will redefine who we are,” he says.

As a result, Seiko is asking its retail customers to emphasize the strengths and differences of its Seiko and Pulsar brands. Sales representatives are outlining the efforts to retailers with a four-page flier that summarizes what makes each brand unique. The flier notes, for example, that Seiko watches ($125-$500 retail) have thinner movements, more stainless cases and higher grade leather straps and polishing finishes than Pulsar watches ($50-$325). Retailers also are reminded that a Seiko customer will spend more for better quality, while a Pulsar customer wants value for the money.

The 7%-10% price decreases affect an unspecified number of watches. Prices dropped $5-$10 for certain Pulsar models and $10-$25 for certain Seiko models.

Meanwhile, Seiko has introduced a new spring line of 18k and stainless steel watches priced from $850 to $1,450 in the company’s higher-end Lassale Couture collection. These are available to 300 selected retailers nationwide.

CITIZEN SPENDS $2.5 MILLION FOR ADS TARGETING WOMEN

Citizen Watch Co. of America Inc., Lyndhurst, N.J., will spend more than $2.5 million this year on a marketing campaign aimed at women.

The campaign – called “How the World Tells Time” – will feature advertisements of midpriced watches in trade publications beginning in April and in the May issues of consumer magazines Allure, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, In-Style, Ladies Home Journal, People, Redbook, Self, Vanity Fair and Vogue. The four-page color ad inserts also will appear in the magazines of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and in several Canadian publications. They are expected to reach more than 125 million women.

Highlighted in the ads are 30 best-selling midpriced women’s watches, including watches in the new Regent Sport, Paladion Sport 100 and Sculptured Jewelry Boutique collections.

The campaign, combined with Citizen’s season-long sponsorship of the America’s Cup, puts spring 1995 ad spending far ahead of ad spending last spring, says Peter Nicholson, vice president of advertising and marketing services. And it comes on the heels of a successful series of poster ads in airports – a first for Citizen. In December, Citizen placed two-page ads in Time magazine and created poster ads featuring the Time magazine logo with a Citizen watch in the place of the letter “i” in Time. The 3′-by-5′. posters were seen in 19 airports nationwide and in commuter rail stations in Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

PHOTO CONTEST WINNERS WILL RECEIVE WITTNAUER

Stock Car Racing magazine has invited amateur and professional photographers to submit their best racing photo for a chance to win a Wittnauer watch.

The promotion is called Wittnauer Racing Moment of the Month. For 12 months beginning with the February issue, editors will select the picture they feel captures the action and thrill of big-time, local or old-time racing. The magazine has reserved a page for each month’s winning shot, and the photographer will receive a Wittnauer Longlife chronograph.

TIMBERLAND SIGNS WITH TIMEX CORP.

Timex Corp., Middlebury, Conn., entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Timberland Co. to design and market a new collection of outdoor watches for men and women.

The new line will include high-performance outdoor watches targeting traditional consumers of Timberland apparel, footware and accessories. The watches will be available for this year’s holiday season and will retail for up to $200. Prototypes will be available soon.

SUPPLIERS ON THE GROW

Excell Manufacturing Co., Providence, R.I., bought the machinery, equipment and other assets of U.S. Chain Co., Hollywood, Fla. U.S. Chain’s operations were moved to Excell headquarters. Both companies specialize in 14k gold chain.

The British Jewellers’ Association has set up a technical library for its member firms. The library houses sales literature and other information on the latest equipment for manufacturing jewelers. U.S. manufacturers who wish to provide relevant information should contact David George, British Jewellers’ Association, 10 Vyse St., Birmingham, B18 6LT, United Kingdom; (44-21) 236-2657, fax (44-21) 236-3921.

General Gold Corp., Westbury, N.Y., expanded its factory operations by 50% and tripled its diamond-cutting and satin-finishing capacities. The increases are possible because of an addition to the company’s facilities in the Dominican Republic.

Alsten Co., a manufacturer of packaging and displays, moved to 520 Palisade Ave., Jersey City, N.J. 07307; (800) 526-3035 or (201) 798-5151.

The TerryBerry Co., a manufacturer of custom award jewelry in Grand Rapids, Mich., plans to open a new 8,100-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility in June in Rapid City, S.D. The new facility will employ 20 people and will not affect employment at the Grand Rapids headquarters. Chuck Baldwin, formerly president of Gold Lance, Houston, was named general manager of the new facility.

Precious Metals West/Fine Gold moved its Los Angeles factory operations to Ontario, Cal. The new 22,000-sq.-ft. facility will house the chemical refinery, alloy pouring, karating, sweeps pouring, and research and developing casting labs of the Fine Gold division. In addition, the recent purchase of a mill operation adds plate, wire, sheet and wire solder, and gold and sterling to Fine Gold’s capabilities. Precious Metals West will retain its headquarters in Los Angeles. The new telephone numbers for Fine Gold: (909) 923-4203, fax (909) 923-4086.

Progress Machine and Tool moved to 645 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, Cal. 90014; (213) 489-7262.