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Accessory Watches(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 02,2007)

Arm Candy


E & C Watch Enterprise Ltd's latest brass pocket watches feature an unusual square model and a round version with a new-look loop
Keeping accurate time has always been a watch's primary function, but for today's fashion-conscious consumer a timepiece has to be "arm candy" in its own right.

Not surprisingly, established and experienced Hong Kong watchmakers such as fashion-watch specialist The C'S Enterprises Co Ltd have wholeheartedly embraced the accessory watch trend.

One of the 14-year-old company's models garnering orders is a decorative bracelet watch made of natural freshwater pearls, hand-painted metal flowers and Swarovski crystals hand-stitched onto a fabric band.

The dial is mother-of-pearl and the quartz analogue movement is from Japan, director Cindy Lam notes, adding that the own-design is a hit in Italy, the UK, the Middle East and Japan. "One Canadian importer for a mail-order catalogue also recently ordered 500," she reveals, adding that the FOB Hong Kong price is available on request.

Lam says the design is more like a bracelet with a timepiece. "It comes in green, pink, blue, turquoise, amber, black and white, but we can produce it in whatever colour the customer likes."

The C'S Enterprises, which has its own C'S brand and works to both OEM and ODM terms, delivers minimum quantities of 100 watches per style per colour 60-75 days after order confirmation.

Lam predicts the trend in 2007 will still be for feminine designs, while Winmix Hong Kong Ltd marketing director Irene Kwong believes that black and white will reign as the colours of choice for bangle watches.

Kwong describes the brass PNP-plated bangle watches Winmix designed for the US market as "more fashionable and not like a watch at all".

The bangle features a semiprecious stone such as tiger's-eye, which forms the cover over the Japanese-movement watch and can be customised to any colour and shape. "We can also offer other stones like onyx, malachite and marcasite," Kwong adds, noting that the watch costs US$5 each FOB Hong Kong.

The OEM company, whose Swingy brand comprises 20% of its business, employs an in-house designer to work up ideas for clients. "We focus on mid-level to high-end products, since many of our customers are chain and department stores in this price range," Kwok explains.

Winmix produces 400,000 watches a month at an 8,000-square-foot factory in Panyu on the mainland, and delivers minimum orders of 500 pieces per model 45 days after confirmation.

Bangle and bracelet style watches are also popular items for premium and pocket watch specialist Wah Fung Gift-ware (Int'l) Ltd, which was established in 1993.

Recent accessory watches include a shimmering bangle model that comprises a quartz analogue, Seiko-movement watch set in a 40mm-wide glittering white, pink, black, sky blue and light green PU band with a press button closure.

"We can make the watch face in any colour or design requested, and since we major in premiums we can also print any graphic on the dial," claims marketing officer Dauza Chan, noting that the FOB Hong Kong unit price is US$2.80 for a 1,000-piece order.

Wah Fung's charm bracelet watch features a PNP-plated iron chain decorated with 4-5 charms in the shape of shoes, slippers, handbags, flowers, the sun and the moon.

The three-hand Seiko-movement watch has a zinc alloy case and a stainless steel back and is unit-priced at US$3.50 for a minimum order of 1,000 pieces.

Wah Fung's main customers are premiums houses. "We have a Canadian customer who sells to mega-stores with over 100 outlets, and a premiums house in the US has been our customer for more than10 years," discloses Chan, adding that past clients have included Disney, Marlboro and Standard Chartered Bank.

Wah Fung's 100-worker mainland factory in Shenzhen ships minimum orders of 200 or 500 watches, depending on style, to the US, Canada and Europe within 35-45 days of confirmation.

The classic men's watch accessory - the pocket watch - has proved a steady earner for E&C Watch Enterprise Ltd, a subsidiary of the E&C Group specialising in OEM and ODM pocket watches for markets in the US and Western Europe.

"About 60% of our business is with the US, 20% Spain, 10% the UK, and the remainder to other countries, mainly under OEM terms," explains marketing manager Margaret Ho.

Total monthly production is 30,000 watches at a 30,000-square-foot, 150-worker factory on the mainland that delivers minimum orders of 100 units 50 days after order confirmation.

E&C has two new pocket watch designs, both with brass cases and two-tone plating. "Model 84615TC-FW1 is our first stand-up model to feature a cover and a new, squarer shape," explains Ho. "Model 86F05TC-HXW1 is a traditional round shape, but has a new cover design and a new-look loop."

Pocket watches are priced at US$15-20 per piece ex-factory Hong Kong, depending on the movement. "We can fit any kind of movement into the pocket watches - mechanical or quartz - because we make our own cases," points out Ho.

"Quality is a main issue for our customers, who are mainly wholesalers for department and chain stores, and that is why they keep coming back to us."

They may not all be arm candy, but whatever the style accessory watches from Hong Kong are always fast-moving items for buyers worldwide.



E & C Watch Enterprise Ltd
Unit C9, 4/F, Blk C
Hong Kong Ind Centre
489-491 Castle Peak Rd
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2371-2773
Fax: 852-2959-3773
Web: www.ecwatch.com

Koon-Tai Watches (HK) Ltd
Rm 1501
Lee Wai Commercial Bldg
1-3 Hart Ave
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2723-7007
Fax: 852-2723-7002
Web: www.koontaiwatches.com

Prador Ltd
Flat M, 11/F, Blk 3
Camelpaint Bldg
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2407-7255
Fax: 852-2409-8883
Web: www.prador.com

The C'S Enterprises Co Ltd
Unit 310
Island Place Tower
510 King's Rd
North Point
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2880-0176
Fax: 852-2768-8938
Web: www.csent.com.hk

Wah Fung Gift-ware (Int'l) Ltd
Rm 1605, Blk B
Hi-Tech Ind Centre
491-501 Castle Peak Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2243-2390
Fax: 852-2243-2774
Web: www.wahfung.com

Winmix Hong Kong Ltd
Rm 2402
Tak King Ind Bldg
27 Lee Chung St
Chai Wan
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2889-4980
Fax: 852-2976-0268
Web: www.swingy.com.hk