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Prime Premiums(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2001)

Vol 4, 2001

COMPANY PROFILES

Prime Premiums
Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd

Quality Counts
Castlewood Int'l Ltd

 

Prime Premiums

Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd

After nearly 30 years in the timepiece industry, Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd offers models to satisfy most needs.

INTENT on continuing to thrive, Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd has made some production changes. Although previously creating its own movements with Swiss imported parts, the company has turned to Japan and Switzerland for ready-made quartz analog movements. In-house production has expanded to encompass LCD watches.

"We now develop a full range of watch products," says director Nelson Cheng.

Established in 1953, the Wing On Cheong Group also has projects in the real estate, finance and securities sectors in Hong Kong, Japan and Canada. It began developing timepieces 29 years ago.

Only since 1996 has the watch division really fixed its sights on the premiums sector. "With our strong company background, we have the ability to be competitive in that market and grab a substantial market share," says Cheng.

Wing On Cheong's greatest premiums triumph came in 1998 when the company developed a World Cup watch for McDonald's, resulting in an order for 17 million pieces. The magnitude becomes clear when considering that average monthly production at Wing On Cheong's 500-worker factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland is one million LCD watches and 300,000 QA watches.

Along with McDonald's, the watch-maker's premiums customers include KFC, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Carlsberg beer, Marlboro and various car producers.

While maintaining its niche in premiums (with about 45% of its models aimed at this sector), Wing On Cheong strives to adjust perceptions. "Many people misunderstand the premiums market. They believe it is a low-end market, but that is not true. It is a market demanding high quality," Cheng says.

Detailed knowledge of design development is vital for success in premiums. With this reality firmly in mind, Wing On Cheong has launched a new watch collection with cases to fit all types of movements, be they analog, digital, chronograph or three-hand. Two leading models (MS 001 and MR 001) sport brass cases, stainless steel case backs, PU plastic straps and 3ATM minimum water resistance. They are both priced at US$16-17 FOB Hong Kong.

"Our new collection is best described as multi-purpose and sporty," says Cheng. The focus is on the many electronic touches.

Materials for these models, as for most Wing On Cheong creations, come from Japan, the Chinese mainland, South Korea and Taiwan. Minimum order is for 500 pieces, with shipment about 30 days after confirmation.

Each year Wing On Cheong launches more than 1,000 new designs from a prolific team of four product designers and two graphic designers. "Our designers have a lot of freedom. We give them topics, and they experiment," says Cheng.

Staying ahead in business often requires an extra touch, something Wing On Cheong provides with its after-sales service policy. A comprehensive one-year warranty is offered.

"After-sales service is especially important in the premiums market, much more than for OEM projects," says Cheng.

WRITTEN BY TAMARA CHEUNG

Wing On Cheong Watch Industries Int'l Ltd
24/F, Wing On Cheong Bldg,
5 Wing Lok St, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2543-0303
Fax: 852-2850-4145
E-mail: wocwatch@netvigator.com
Web: www.wocwatch.com


 

Quality Counts

Castlewood Int'l Ltd

Castlewood Int'l Ltd, a specialist in high quality and innovative clocks and other elegant desktop items, plans to launch a new line of titanium travel clocks.

CASTLEWOOD Int'l Ltd is one of a new generation of companies building a strong reputation as producers of high quality and innovative clocks and other desktop items for the world market.

To clients, the name Castlewood Int'l conjures up an image of elegance, innovation and extraordinary designs integrated with the right materials, according to director Thomas Yuen.

Thomas Yuen founded the company with his brother, T.S. Yuen, in 1992, initially manufacturing high quality stainless steel bracelets for the high-end market. The brothers were soon making their own line of brass clocks to supply some of the biggest names in the industry and whom they are still supplying today. Elegant desktop stationery items, such as holders for pens and paper, were later added to Castlewood's production capabilities.

"Our original strategy was to start high end and diversify to mid-range and low-end products so that we could maintain quality. If we can manage quality control, then the prices of our products can compete with products of average quality," says Yuen, adding that the firm counts high-end brand names from Japan, Europe and the US among its clients.

Having a keen knowledge of market needs is also important. "You have got to be market-oriented and know what the customer wants. Our designs are classic but with modern elements, " says Yuen.

Another key factor is good workmanship. "Even if an idea is good, you have to be able to work up the idea into a product that is close to the original concept. And for that you need skill and workmanship."

Castlewood started with just three people in its Hong Kong office and this has grown to 10 employees, while its factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland has expanded from 100 to 1,000 workers. In 1996, the manufacturing side of the business moved into a purpose-built factory to cope with the company's rapid expansion. The company plans to build a 100,000-square-foot factory on the mainland in the coming year to expand capacity and diversify production to include such items as watch and clock cases.

Castlewood devises its concepts in Hong Kong using an in-house design team and European and local designers and engineers to turn a concept into a product that is feasible to manufacture. The materials used are metal alloy and plastic or a harmonious combination of metal, plastic and wood.

Castlewood's next move is to launch a new line of titanium travel clocks which it believes will appeal to executives looking for good-value, lightweight quality items.

"There is no secret to our success," says Thomas Yuen. "It is a basic philosophy that you have to provide quality together with fresh and original ideas. If you can provide good designs and manage your manufacturing to keep product quality high, then you will succeed. The integration of these is vital to keeping companies more competitive and able to survive in this economic climate."

WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG

Castlewood Int'l Ltd
Flat 3, 20/F,
Cheung Fung Ind Bldg,
23-39 Pak Tin Par St,
Tsuen Wan, New Territories,
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2402-8260
Fax: 852-2415-7861
E-mail: cwood@netvigator.com

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