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Product Showcase: Clocks and Watches

The Gift of Time

Nancy Mann Jackson

“There’s no other gift as precious as the gift of time,” says Mike Mikula, Special Markets Sales Manager for Swatch’s Tissot Group. And while you may not be able to offer high-achieving employees or special clients more hours in a day, giving them the gift of a clock or a watch can help them measure the time they do have – and most importantly, show your gratitude for the time they’ve spent with your company.

“The perceived value and meaning of a quality timepiece is greater than that of a simple cash or gift card reward – especially in today’s economy,” Mikula continues. “Economically, companies will get more value per dollar by gifting a quality timepiece. Clocks and watches carry with them the memory of an event, an occasion, or the marking of a place in time. Timepieces retain the ability to appeal to the masses, yet remain personal enough to be appreciated as one’s own. That’s the main reason watches and clocks remain effective as corporate gifts of choice.”

In addition to their lasting value as a token of remembrance, clocks and watches are also items that people actually use on a daily basis, making them welcome gifts. “A watch is a piece of jewelry, so it has more than just utilitarian value; it also has intrinsic value,” says Jim Keenan, Senior VP of Citizen Watch Company.

“Watches have become an accessory; not many people own just one watch any more,” adds John Costelli, VP Sales of Castle Merchandising, Inc. “You might own one watch for casual occasions, a different watch for formal events and several other watches to go with particular outfits or to express your personal tastes. Corporate gift givers realize that giving a watch will always be a welcome addition to the recipient’s wardrobe.”

So what are the hot timepieces for gift-giving this year? Here are a few suggestions.

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New from Bulova this year, the self-winding mechanical timepieces known as the BVA-Series 100 “combine centuries of mechanical timekeeping technology with a complex self-winding system to create a superbly accurate time machine, running seamlessly with no need for batteries or electricity,” says Adrienne Forrest, Assistant VP for Special Markets at Bulova Corporation. “With over 100 precisely calibrated working parts, including 21-jewel bearings, energy is transferred from the coiled mainspring to the balance wheel, marking each second. The on-dial aperture and transparent caseback let you view each step. Simply wind the watch, or let the oscillating weight of the automatic mechanism capture the energy generated with each move of your wrist, and time is set in motion.”

These self-winding mechanicals are among Bulova’s most popular items for men this year, and diamond cases are a special favorite for women. The Ceramic Collection is also popular, such as the 49-diamond Wittnauer, which retails for $1,295.

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Castle Merchandising, Inc.

This fall, Castle introduces NAUTICA men’s and ladies’ matched pairs, which John Costelli, VP Sales of Castle Merchandising, Inc., says are “perfect for corporate gift giving” because they’re easily decorated with a logo on the dial or engraved message on the back. “Their clean and timeless design make these watches that almost anybody would enjoy,” he adds. Another hot line: Castle’s GUESS Watches continue to be among the company’s top-selling timepieces for corporate gift use. The most popular include genuine diamonds on the dial, retailing for a reasonable $95.

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Citizen Watch Company

As the world turns green, Citizen’s sustainable Eco-Drive watches have become more popular than ever. Because they run on light-powered technology, these models operate on room light or sunlight and never require a battery. “The ecology movement has become so big, but even the most eco-sensitive people often do not recycle their watch batteries, and those batteries that get thrown in the trash can cause damage to the environment,” says Jim Keenan, Senior VP of Citizen Watch Company. “Even though our Eco-Drive watches have been around for 10 years, they’re now the fastest growing and largest part of our company. We are the green watch company.”

Some of the most popular Eco-Drive watches include the Serano diamond series for ladies and the Skyhawk AT, a multifunction watch for men that can include atomic timekeeping with radio-controlled accuracy.

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Movado Group

The Movado Group represents several brands of timepieces and therefore has several popular items to fit the tastes of almost any gift recipient. For example, new styles from Ebel include the ladies’ New Beluga in stainless steel or solid 18K gold and the men’s new 1911 Discovery Collection of chronographs. Another brand, ESQ, introduces men’s and ladies’ FUSION, which features “a fusion of many materials incorporated into beautiful chronograph watches for men in stainless steel and black rubber, and for ladies in rose,” says Joe Zanone, Senior VP of the Movado Group.

This year, Movado also unveils the ONO Moda Collection, which includes ceramic and steel bracelets made of two rows of circles, with the iconic Museum dial in black or white for women. And Lacoste, one of the company’s most popular brands, offers two new styles – the new men’s watch is an updated look from the Advantage Family, and the ladies’ watch is the new Lacoste Glam Twist with multi-colored bezel.

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One of the newest designs from Gucci is the Chiodo, a new design with a nail motif “based on the iconic square-head nail employed by Gucci since the 1960s,” says Michael Benavente, VP Sales for Gucci. The nail motif is featured as a decorative detail on round and square styles. “The Chiodo design represents Gucci’s intrinsic commitment to innovation with respect to its longstanding heritage,” adds Benavente. The design was launched in a watch series this year at the Basel Fair in Switzerland and is the latest introduction in the company’s “jewelry that tells time” series.

Another new addition to the Gucci lineup is I Gucci, a line of luxury LCD watches featuring a cool round white-on-black display set behind a sturdy sapphire crystal. “The LCD combines a small dot-matrix display showing the current mode, and a pair of segmented displays, which can show the time in two time zones simultaneously,” Benavente says.

For women, some of the most popular items are large watches, such as the “boyfriend watch” look. For men, Gucci’s new Pantheon collection brings a sporty look that’s available in a wide variety of models in both automatic and quartz versions. Benavente says the I Gucci series has been an enormous success with both men and women, and this fall the company will offer these models in three new colors – black, chocolate brown and gun metal blue.

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Tissot, the Swatch Group

One of the several brands of the Swatch Group, Tissot “prides itself on its track record of being Innovators by Tradition,” says Mike Mikula, Special Markets Sales Manager for Tissot Group. “From the innovative Tactile collection to the exciting Trend collection, Tissot has new and updated timepieces that will appeal to the tastes of all.” Offering what it calls “gold at a silver price,” Tissot has new additions to the Sport, Classic, Gold and Pocket collections.

Some of the year’s most popular items include the T-Race and T-TRAX watches, which are the official timekeepers and watches of NASCAR. “The popular Ballade III gentlemen’s and ladies’ styles have been updated with a new look this year,” Mikula says. In addition, the popular T-Touch watch with tactile technology functions – including barometer, thermometer, altimeter, compass, chronograph and alarm – remains a strong choice. “Tissot is also one of the few watch companies to offer a unique line of pocket and pendant watches for those looking for that something special,” says Mikula. “At Tissot, we’re proud of our proven track record in making excellence affordable.”

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Fall 2008

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