WatchWorld

Citizen Recharges Image with New Ad Campaign

Citizen Watch, the leading seller of mid-priced watches in jewelry and department stores, is recharging its image with a new slogan and ad campaign, its first in seven years.

“We needed to refocus the brand image and say what it stands for,” says Peter Nicholson, vice president of corporate communications. “We also wanted to go to the next level and create excitement again.” Also propelling the change is intensifying competition in the mid-price areas from other Japanese and Swiss brands.

The old campaign—“Citizen. How the World Tells Time”—built name recognition and helped move the brand from third place in the market seven years ago to first place now. But after seven years the campaign was getting stodgy and familiar.

The new, fast-paced ad campaign, by Deutsch Inc., an innovative U.S. advertising agency, is based on months of research among consumers and retailers. It stresses styling and Citizen’s role in sports sponsorships and performance timekeeping. The campaign is built around the tag line, “Citizen. The Current Time.” Prestigious sports, fashion, and entertainment events serve as backdrops for the TV and print message that Citizen is a premium brand whose timepieces help define today’s lifestyles.

The new campaign kicked off in September with TV ads during U.S. Open tennis coverage and returns this month with TV and print ads.

Watch Marketing On the Internet

More brands these days are using Internet Web sites as marketing tools. Here are some recent additions:

Bulova Corp. launched its new site (www.Bulova.com) in September. The site provides a review of Bulova’s watch and clock collections, a locater that directs consumers to the nearest Bulova retailer, a guest registry, and the opportunity to win a Bulova watch. Its most innovative section lets visitors download a fully functioning time-and-date clock into their computers. Created in the image of a Bulova product, it operates off the computer’s own system clock. The clock remains on the user’s desktop, appearing on screen whenever the computer is turned on.

Itching to wind a virtual watch? A fully working Java version of the Frederique Constant Yacht Timer is now available on the Frederique Constant site (www.frederique-constant.com/yt), the first on the Web with a working virtual watch. Visitors can play with all its functions—for example, starting a countdown. The virtual watch functions like a physical one with a click of the mouse on the watch’s knobs. Large and small online versions are available. The small one is for those with a slow Internet connection.

Frederique Constant is distributed in the United States by the International Time Group LLC, 141 Summit Ave., Upper Montclair, NJ 07043; (973) 233-9223, e-mail: itg@frederique-constant.com.

North Eagles, a Swiss watch firm that makes automatic military watches, has signed an exclusive agreement with Selecte.com, a Web supplier of luxury merchandise (www.selecte.com), to market its North Eagles Mach 3 limited-edition chronograph in the United States. The stainless-steel watch honors those select pilots who have flown three times the speed of sound, or Mach 3. The series is limited to 2,145 watches, one for every mile per hour in the speed record established by the famed SR-71 Blackbird aircraft on March 6, 1990, on its 64-minute flight from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. Suggested retail for the watch is $2,500.

Black Eagle watches were developed to specifications of the Italian Parachute Brigade and have been used by military personnel around the world. The line includes men’s chronographs, diver’s watches, quartz watches, and carbon fiber watches. Prices range from $150 to $1,320.

Contact Selecte.com, 821 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; (800) 804-3872, or Chronotime Inc., U.S. distributor of North Eagles Watches, at 600 S. Livingston Ave., Livingston, NJ 07039; (973) 994-2753, fax (973) 994-2844.

Festina Reaches Out to ‘Gen-Xers’

Festina, a leading sport watch brand, is using important marketing opportunities to reach the young adults of “Generation X.”

Three brands under the Festina USA banner—Festina, Jaguar, and Calypso—will be prizes on special programs of “Jeopardy” next year aimed at the 18-to-35 crowd. Festina will award a watch to each contestant in exchange for two 12-second promotions each week. The first series will be a “Back to School Week” in September, followed by a “Teen Tournament” and a “Tournament of Champions.”

“We select merchandise based on desirability,” says Taylor Kelsaw, prize coordinator for “Jeopardy.” Kelshaw adds, “The response to Festina products in the past year has been overwhelming.”

“This is an ideal way to introduce new product and to get our marketing strategy across,” says Phil Schwetz, Festina USA co-owner. “We get great response and comments at the shows. We also get sales referrals, such as a Fortune 500 chief executive officer who now owns a Jaguar watch.”

Festina watches are a regular prize on “Wheel of Fortune.” The popular TV game show recently taped a promotion at the Tourneau Time Machine store in New York City featuring letter-turner Vanna White and Tourneau executive vice president Anthony D’Ambrosio for shows in November. The winner will select a Festina wardrobe of watches worth up to $3,000 from Tourneau.

Festina, long associated with sponsorship of men’s athletics and Team Festina in the Tour de France, recently sponsored its first women’s bicycling team. Festina DMS, a team of four women, this summer completed the “Race Across America,” a speed-and-endurance race of 3,000 miles, in six days, 22 hours, 12 minutes.

COSC Endorses Breitling Collection

Breitling, the century-old Swiss firm known for high-quality timepieces, is now the only watchmaker with chronometer-certified movements in all of its watch models. After extensive testing, the prestigious Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) endorsed Breitling’s entire collection of watches, including five new chronometers. COSC tests every timepiece during a rigorous 15-day process.

In related news, Breitling USA Inc. has signed an agreement with “Young America,” the New York Yacht

Club’s America’s Cup challenger (www.youngamerica.org), to produce a special-edition “Young America” timepiece. It’s a customized version of the Breitling Aerospace watch, with the “Young America” logo and techno-shark design. The watch will retail for $2,200. Watch sales benefit the NYYC/Young America challenge for the most prestigious award in yacht racing.

Bulova Repositions Caravelle Brand

Bulova is repositioning its Caravelle brand to reach young, fashion-conscious consumers and first-time watch buyers. A print campaign launched in September puts young adults in surreal imagery that plays with the notion of time. The women’s watch ad shows a young woman coming through what looks like a curtain of watches from Caravelle’s fashion bracelet collection. The men’s ad, with the tag line “eye on time,” features a young man in a field peering through binoculars at repeated images of Caravelle’s new chronograph.

“We know young people today see and interpret images differently than consumers in other age groups, and we want to grab their attention,” says Francie Abraham, Bulova vice president of marketing. “Also, our new Caravelle designs capitalize on Gen-Xers’ tendency to view watches as fashion accessories.”

Bulova has sold watches for 125 years. Caravelle brand, which was originally introduced in 1962, retails for $50 to $125.

Two Rival Brands Strengthen Global Marketing Presence

Two rival brands of Swiss-made military-style watches have bolstered their global marketing presence.

Precise International, the U.S. importer of Wenger Swiss Military watches and the Genuine Swiss Army Knife by Wenger S.A. of Switzerland, has been renamed Wenger North America (Wenger N.A.). The change is an important step in globalizing the Wenger brand, according to D. Thomas Abbott, chairman of Wenger N.A. There will be no executive or staff changes, says Abbott.

Wenger N.A.’s address and phone number remain the same: 15 Corporate Dr., Orangeburg, NY 10962; (914) 365-3500.

Swiss Army Brands Inc., Shelton, Conn., markets and distributes Swiss Army Brand Watches and other products. It has acquired the watch-related assets, including trademark rights and watch inventory, of S.A.W. Company S.A. of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, an international competitor. Under the agreement, S.A.W. will change its name to Horoswiss S.A., adopt a new logo, and focus on its private-label business. Swiss Army Brands will purchase watches in the future from Horoswiss S.A.

The acquisition eliminates confusion in markets in which the two competitors overlapped. The deal also strengthens the trademark rights of Swiss Army Brands, broadens its global business, and provides an additional manufacturing resource for its watch products, says J. Merrick Taggart, president of Swiss Army Brands.

Swiss Army Brands Inc., 1 Research Dr. , P.O. Box 874, Shelton, CT 06484-0874; (203) 929-6391.