1999 Watch Forecast: Sales Gains, Growing Pains The U.S. watch market at the close of the century is one of vast potential. In light of the Asian economic collapse and slackening sales in Europe, the American market now takes on greater significance among watchmakers. The prospect of a watch renaissance here hinges in large measure on growing consumer sophistication as watches move into the mainstream of fashion sensibility. As that trend progresses, industry observers believe 1999 will see solid growth in U.S. watch sales, particularly among automatic watches. And yet, a number of thorny issues complicate an otherwise promising picture. Price competition continues to eat away at retailers’ profits. The quality of after-sales service is spotty. Product proliferation breeds growing confusion among consumers. Distributors bemoan the lack of support from overseas manufacturers. Overdu

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