Watches are moving status symbols wearers can take with them.
For many years the coveted retirement gift was a gleaming, gold watch. These days, watches aren’t reserved just to mark the end of a career but to recognize all the achievements throughout a well-lived and accomplished career.
In addition to years of service, companies often include watches as one of several gift choices in sales incentive and safety awards programs. For example, the State of California recognizes 25-year employees by letting them choose a gift from 10 choices including watches, crystal and other traditional gifts. A watch is selected 40 percent of the time and no other item draws more than 10 percent.
The best way to sell watches is to think of them as wearables, says Mark Abels, MAS, president of Tulsa, Oklahoma, supplier SELCO (UPIC: SELCO). “You can wear a watch every, single day, you can wear a different one every day and people tend to collect and keep watches.”
He also believes watches have a higher perceived value than many wearables and, except for a wedding band, a watch is the only piece of jewelry most men wear. “Watches are the most watched wearable,” he adds.
In 2009 distributor sales, watches, as part of the product category comprising recognition products, trophies and jewelry, were 3.61 percent of total sales of $15.6 billion. Sales were up slightly from 2008 when they were recorded at 3.23 percent.
Abels also likes to say watches have trophy value. “People will wear a watch that’s cool or makes a personal statement about them, or is something they have earned. A watch has to capture their imagination in one way or another,” he says.
1. Fossil’s Stella Watch (style ES1967) gets its clean, modern look from the white resin bracelet and case. Clear crystals accent the bezel and three blue mother-of-pearl subdials add function to fashion.
2. Making extraordinary accuracy elegant in both its simplicity and its superior design, Bulova Precisionist is the world’s most accurate quartz watch with a continuous sweep second hand. Included in the Precisionist Champlain Collection is this high-performance design (style 96B131) in stainless steel with curved crystal, multi-layer black carbon fiber dial, continuous sweep second hand, calendar, luminous hands and markers, screw-back, screw-down crown, locking fold-over buckle with safety lock, and water resistance to 300 meters.
3. The Jorg Gray Signature Watch is fashioned for men and women with a 37/27 mm case cut from solid steel, two-tone gold and silver finish, stainless steel bracelet, high precision Japanese Quartz movement and scratch-resistant mineral crystal at 12 o’clock position.
4. The Imprinted Prism Dial Watch with high-polished two-tone finish reflects the time and your client’s brand in bright style. Prism dial backgrounds are available in dozens of complimentary colors for use on any S&S watch in the new catalog without an extension on the 10-day production schedule.
5. Make time to have fun with the Color Combo Slap-On-Watch Gift Set. Choose analog or digital styles with two-color silicone bands available in gray, red, blue, light blue, green, orange, purple and white. Packaged in a sleek, black tuck box with die cut foam insert.
6. Classic in any context, the Decker Chronograph Watch seamlessly goes from work to the gym to an evening out. Available in a variety of styles and colors including black and white bands with coordinating dials and a stainless band with blue sunburst, white or green dial.
7. Timeless styling and simplicity mark the Men’s Museum Watch from Movado. It features a silvertone round case and matching stainless steel bracelet with deployment clasp, black museum dial and mineral crystal. Swiss quartz movement that’s water resistant to 99 feet. Matching ladies model available.
8. The men’s Technica Onyx Two Tone Watch is stunning yet subtle with its two-tone black IP plated and stainless steel case with matching IP plated stainless steel adjustable bracelet. Available in a choice of dials: black, blue, champagne and silver. Stainless steel back, rotating bezel and luminescent hands. The date window at 3 o’clock position is also available as is a matching ladies style.
9. Standing seven-and-a-half inches square, the Milan Wooden Case Table Clock (style B2027) features an ebony veneer pattern with mahogany stain, polished chrome inlaid accents and wraparound glass lens. An engraving plate is included.
10. Just in time for the holiday season is Logomark’s Retro Transparent Desk and Wall Clock with metal face and two-tone metal trim. A one-color/one-location imprint is included along with a gift box.
11. New Field Chronograph Timepieces take their cue from classic military styling and show date and military time. The luminous hands tell time even in the dark. Available with a brown leather strap or stainless steel bracelet.
12. Telling the time is crystal clear with the Empire State Clock. Its compact size fits perfectly on a small sidetable or writing desk. Crafted of optic crystal, the clock measures 3-1/2-inches high by 3-inches wide by 1-1/8-inch thick.
It’s Time To Ask For The Business
Because watches are almost always used for internal recognition, the place to start for sales is not with the marketing manager—which is a connection most distributors have—but with the human resources and operations managers. HR is most likely to handle service awards (such as anniversaries); operations will handle safety awards (recognizing accomplishments such as most days worked without accidents). Ask your company contact to help you get to the right person and make the introduction. If your client is a small company and you are meeting with the CEO, ask if the company runs service awards and safety awards programs for employees. It’s an easy question to ask and could open up a new pool of business.
What To Watch: White Hot
In the 2009 Oscar-nominated movie for best picture, The Blind Side, Sandra Bullock started a watch frenzy when she wore an oversized, white watch in her role as Leigh Anne Touhy. “She made the white watch famous,” says Doug Smith, special markets/premiums for Richardson, Texas, supplier Fossil (UPIC: FOSS0001), adding that it follows other hot retail trends such as white sunglasses and white belts.
Another trend in women’s styles are oversized watches—aptly called boyfriend watches. But for men, watches are getting smaller. “They’ve been big for five years; now men’s watches are downsizing,” Smith says. “For Fossil’s target audience we might have sold everybody who wants a big watch and we’re big enough to start a trend.”