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Dials & Digits(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2002)

Vol 3, 2002

Product Features
HK Enterprise Internet

Product Features

Dials & Digits
Analog/Digital Watches

What Fashion Requires!
Trendy Watches

Time On The Table
Table Clocks

 

Dials & Digits

Analog/Digital Watches

National Ebauch Ltd creates wearable, multifunction timepieces, including a ladies model (right) featuring Swiss and Japanese components.

FASHION whims prevail in the watch market. Manufacturers constantly must anticipate the next swing of the fickle pendulum: sometimes toward digital, analog or even both. Combining digital and analog on the same timepiece can be popular as "the best of both worlds".

As always, there are many timepiece trends. Some markets, like India and the Middle East, prefer analog. Buyers from the US may dislike dials with Roman numerals, preferring clear markers on watch faces. The Chinese mainland is moving away from the gold-plated watches popular in the past.

Yet everything can change depending on what watch a popular celebrity wears and which styles appear in the next Hollywood blockbuster. Analog/digital watches can be a way to hedge by offering as much as possible on each timepiece.

Fountain Industries Corp, a maker of digital and analog watches since 1975, operates a 20,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland. Representative Amy Tsang says both analog and digital models are popular, but digital models have the lead because they are perceived as "sporty".

The company makes analog/digital watches priced at US$4.50-5.00 FOB Hong Kong. It uses the brands Fountain and Laser. Minimum order is 500-2,000 pieces for shipment after 3-6 weeks. Major markets are the US, Europe and Japan.

Since 1994, Ultratime (HK) Industrial Ltd has produced sports, quartz and TV-control remote watches, along with digital cameras and electronic games. Its factory is in Guangzhou, the largest city in the Chinese mainland's Guangdong province.

For watches, the minimum order is 1,000 pieces. Shipment to major markets like Germany, the US, Taiwan and Japan, is within 30 days. Raw materials are imported: plastic from Japan or Taiwan and movements often from Japan.

Marketing manager Sunnoon Chiu says buyers like analog and digital functions together to help people determine the time in other cities where they may conduct business.

"Digital watches have a more energetic appeal," Chiu says. She predicts a trend to place style and design first, with function and price as secondary considerations.

Ultratime's success is partly due to its willingness to closely follow market trends, not try leading them, Chiu adds.

The company's brands are Hua Hai and UAT. Its popular sports watch is unit priced at US$3.90 FOB Hong Kong.

Universe Watch Trading Co Ltd general manager Kenneth Wong noticed how when the movie Speed opened, G-Shock style watches suddenly became popular. Since the company's major markets are the US and the UK, Wong knows the impact cinema and the media have on his orders.

Universe has made quartz, analog and LCD watches since 1974 at a 100,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen. The company is ISO 9002 accredited.

"It is difficult to predict trends. For analog models, trends are set by the likes of image promoters and film stars. With digital, there are technical constraints, such as display or dial viewing area, battery life and watch size. Hi-tech features like MP3, cell-phone or camera watches are not always practical due to size, battery life and other restrictions," says Wong.

Universe's minimum order is 200 pieces for shipment within 40-60 days. The company uses brass, alloy, plastic and stainless steel from Japan, Australia and Germany.

"Unlike most companies, we are technically equipped in both digital and analog sections. We invest a lot in personnel and equipment. With these facilities, we can develop modules and complete watches ourselves. We also sell special featured modules to other watch companies," says Wong.

Twenty-four-year-old National Ebauch Ltd makes analog quartz and analog/digital watches in a 2,000-square-metre factory employing more than 170 workers on the Chinese mainland.

Minimum order is 500 pieces for shipment after 45-60 days. Major markets are Europe, the US and Asia.

"Users want analog and digital together to show different times simultaneously which is very useful to international travellers. While analog provides an easily read and aesthetic display, digital can offer such accurate and practical functions as alarm, chronograph and timer," says executive vice-president Lawrence Leung.

"On the whole, analog enjoys an edge because buyers can get high-quality and reliable analog watches at very low prices. Consumers like choosing from a variety of analog designs, rather than the digital watches that overfed the markets somewhat in the last few years."

Leung anticipates more variety in designs for cases, dials and bracelets - until the powers of timepiece fashion dictate otherwise.

WRITTEN BY TONI ASTOR

Contact Details

Chung's Electronic Co Ltd
9/F, Rm 3
Wang Lung Ind Bldg
11 Lung Tak St, Tsuen Wan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2611-3000
Fax: 852-2611-3088
E-mail: info@chungs.com

Fountain Industries Corp
6/F, Flat A
75 Broadway St, Lai Chi Kok
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2776-7488
Fax: 852-2788-0675
E-mail: fountain@pacific.net.hk

National Ebauch Ltd
13/F, Shing Dao Ind Bldg
232 Aberdeen Main Rd
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2553-0195
Fax: 852-2873-6118
E-mail: nebauch@netvigator.com

Universe Watch Trading Co Ltd
22/F, Pacific Link Tower, Southmark
11 Yip Hing St, Wong Chuk Hang
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2814-9333
Fax: 852-2873-2690
E-mail: eddietse@universe.com.hk

Ultratime (HK) Industrial Ltd
Unit 508, Blk 2
Tak Fung Ind Centre
168 Texaco Rd, Tsuen Wan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2439-5688
Fax: 852-2439-9558
E-mail: hk@ultratime-hk.com


What Fashion Requires!

Trendy Watches

Firmode (Int'l) Co Ltd, a producer of 300,000 quartz analog watches each month, offers these four beaded models, all with alloy cases.

ADORNING wrists the world over, watches become fashion statements as well as essential accessories. This dual nature is reflected in the designs of modern watches, which offer multiple features while mirroring fashion trends.

Firmode (Int'l) Co Ltd is typical of many Hong Kong-based suppliers gaining a significant market share by producing a wide variety of watches with trendy designs.

The company makes a range of the most trendy ladies watches, says sales manager Sandy Lui. Its quartz analog models featuring alloy or stainless steel cases go mostly to US customers.

Established in 1983, Firmode has a 200-worker factory producing 500,000 watches per month in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. Unit prices are US$2.50-6.00 FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 200 pieces with a guaranteed delivery period of 45-60 days.

Yee On Gems & Jewellery Fty Co Ltd sets trends with its semiprecious stone watches. "Our watches and clocks are fashionable and elegant. We have an extensive range of jewellery-type bracelets for our LaFon-brand watches. These serve a twin purpose as fashionable jewellery and timepieces. Similarly, our clocks can adorn any table," says manager Ng Lap Fong.

The company's name reflects its origins in 1973 as a trader of semiprecious stones, pearls and fashion jewellery. Five years later, the product line expanded to timepieces.

Yee On's dials and bracelets are studded with semiprecious stones and pearls while the cases and parts are brass, alloy or stainless steel. The timepieces are made on the Chinese mainland where 3,000 workers cut and polish stones. Another 300 workers assemble the timepieces. Monthly output is 30,000-50,000 units, each priced at US$5-80 FOB Hong Kong.

Minimum orders are for 100-500 pieces, depending on models and designs. Shipment is after 30-45 days.

The trendy LaFon brand appears mainly in Japan, Europe, the US and Australia.

"Yee On's success is built upon our commitment to accepting feedback from customers. We believe in overcoming difficulties and never saying 'no' to customers," Ng says.

Tak Shing Hong Timepieces Ltd makes wide-band quartz analog and pocket watches. "Our wide-band, quartz analog models for ladies are trendy, fashionable and targeted at younger consumers. We follow no rigid colour scheme and reflect prevailing fashion trends," says director Kenny Kwong.

The company's Swingy brand features contrasting colours for dials and bands. "PU bands come in animal prints, denim, shiny black, yellow, red or any colour that buyers choose," Kwong says.

Cases are made of alloy with PNP nickel plating. Ladies bracelet and pocket watches are made of brass or alloy.

Established in 1979, Tak Shing has a factory in Panyu on the Chinese mainland exceeding 60,000 units per month.

The company's wide-band watches cost about US$3.50 each FOB Hong Kong while bracelet models are US$2.50-20.00. Minimum order is 300 pieces per model and 1,000 per order. Shipment is after 30-40 days, usually to customers in the US, Europe, Japan or South Korea.

Kwong is proud of the company's "well acclaimed watch-manufacturing ability. We ensure our products are delivered to customers in good quality and on time. Our bracelet watches, pocket watches and trendy watches are in the medium range of the consumer gift market."

A sun-moon-and-star motif for dials, cases and straps is the most striking feature of Ming Chi Enterprise Co's line of quartz watches. The timepieces, featuring calendars and chronographs, are 3ATM water resistant and made of pure zinc alloy.

Established in 1990, Ming Chi has a 60-worker factory producing about 100,000 quartz watches per month in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland. Unit prices are US$2.50-3.00. The company ships 300-piece minimum orders within about 45 days, says manager Simon Tse.

"Our main markets are Europe and the Middle East. Clients rely on the quality of our materials, workmanship and designs," Tse says.

Contact Details

Artalie Co Ltd
4/F, Blk B
Wah Yuen Fty Bldg
12 Elm St, Tai Kok Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2789-8693
Fax: 852-2789-1655
E-mail: artalie@netvigator.com

Firmode (Int'l) Co Ltd
2/F, Wing Hing Ind Bldg
499 Castle Peak Rd
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2744-4371
Fax: 852-2745-4315
E-mail: firmode@netvigator.com

Gainfull Industrial Co
Rm 1403, Good Hope Bldg
612-618 Nathan Rd, Mongkok
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2388-9269
Fax: 852-2782-5238
E-mail: info@gainfull.com.hk

Ming Chi Enterprise Co
Rm 2820, Well Fung Ind Centre
68 Ta Chuen Ping St, Kwai Chung
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2481-1992
Fax: 852-2401-3483
E-mail: mcentco@netvigator.com

Tak Shing Hong Timepieces Ltd
24/F, Rm 2, Tak King Ind Bldg
27 Lee Chung St, Chai Wan
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2889-4980
Fax: 852-2976-0268
E-mail: tshwatch@hkstar.com

Yee On Gems & Jewellery Fty Co Ltd
Unit 4, G/F & Flats 5-8, Block A
Focal Ind Centre
21 Man Lok St, Hung Hom
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2334-3393
Fax: 852-2764-0802
E-mail: watches@yeeongems.com


Time On The Table

Table Clocks

Two Timestone-brand round table clocks from Longford Industrial Ltd share attention with a square-shaped model in the background.

SUPPLIERS based in Hong Kong invariably work against time to contribute towards full satisfaction of the world's nearly endless demand for a variety of attractive table clocks.

Among those developed by Longford Industrial Ltd is a line of spherical clocks with round dials and spots marking the hours. This range comes in soft polymer and different colours.

Model 1130 has a white body, orange face and white spots. Model 1132, in contrast, features an orange body, white face and orange spots.

"These clocks have a feel of the 1960s," says sales and marketing executive Rachel Li.

Longford also offers angular items. Model 3313 is a square metal alarm clock. "The design is elegant and minimal," Li says.

The company uses soft polymer and metal from Japan. Each model is powered by an AA battery and marketed under the Timestone brand. Minimum order is 1,000 pieces for shipment after 45 days.

"We design all our products. Therefore, all are unique," Li says. Most raw materials, including limestone and ceramic, are from Japan and Taiwan.

Longford's table clocks, branded Timestone or Tapas, cost US$3.80-7.50 FOB Hong Kong. The 14-year-old company produces on the Chinese mainland for sale mainly to Japan, South Korea, North America, Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Western Europe. It does a modest amount of OEM work.

Elite Industrial Ltd makes metal quartz table clocks, including some with alarm functions, as exemplified by the stylish model 83689 formed by two oblong metal sheets, one carrying a round dial. This product costs US$5.85 FOB Hong Kong.

Model 84392-11, another metal quartz alarm clock, is shaped like a watch and priced at US$4.65 FOB Hong Kong.

"The designs are elegant and clean. They are suitable for office use by executives," says business development officer Gary Wu. Each runs on a button cell.

Elite Industrial uses Japanese movements. Although some metals are sourced on the Chinese mainland, brass is imported from overseas.

"We design most of our products and do a little OEM for familiar customers who request it," Wu says.

Most of Elite's table clocks cost US$2-5.50 FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 500 pieces per design for shipment within 25-30 days. "We deliver on time," Wu stresses.

Established in 1997, the company sells worldwide, albeit mostly to Europe and the US. It has a massive 8,000-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.

Among the hottest designs from Silcon Electronics Co Ltd is model G125, an aluminium world-time table clock in silver tone and with a sweep movement.

"There are two discs, showing local time and world time," says marketing manager Pandora Tsang. Hands indicate local time while that in major cities of the world appears on a rotating ring.

"If a customer wishes, the clock can feature time in any city not covered by the original model," Tsang says.

Movements come from the Chinese mainland. Minimum order is 250 units.

Model G142 is a classic clock with a German skeleton movement set in a glass case and on a brass base. Roman numerals on a metal ring indicate the hours.

"There is an option for a bell at the top to ring each hour," says Tsang. Minimum order is 100 units.

Each unit of both models runs on one AA battery.

Founded in 1979, the ISO 9000-certified Silcon Electronics engages mainly in OEM work, but also some ODM, at its 400-worker factory in Shenzhen. Its major markets are the US, Europe and Japan. The aluminium and brass come from Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Shipment is 40 days after order confirmation.

Wing Fung Metal Works Mfy has created a classic-look golden-coloured clock. This brass rectangular timepiece, model BYW-4, has a handle at the top and alarm function. It operates on one AA battery and costs US$7.50 FOB Hong Kong.

The company also creates clocks with a modern feel, including a series with soft iron tubes bearing clock faces. "The tubes twist in all directions. You can twist them into the shape of a flower or anything else," says chairman Yip Sau Wing.

Model BY916, a simple version with one tube and one round dial, costs US$3.80 FOB Hong Kong. Model BY920, at US$5.80, has three tubes ending in a round clock face, a round thermometer and a round hygrometer. Both tube models require button cells.

Wing Fung makes table clocks with brass, other metals and marble from South Korea, Japan and the Chinese mainland. They are generally unit priced at US$2-8 FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 500 units for shipment within 30 days.

This supplier can produce more than 100,000 table clocks each month at its 300-worker factory in Weiyang on the Chinese mainland. The US is the major market, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Canada.

"We offer products of our own design, or customers can provide their designs for production," Yip says.

WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE

Contact Details

Artfield Mfg Co Ltd
13/F, Universal Ind Centre
19-21 Shan Mei St, Fo Tan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2698-5388
Fax: 852-2695-0075
E-mail: info@artfield.com.hk

Elite Industrial Ltd
17/F, Unit B, CDW Bldg
388 Castle Peak Rd, Tsuen Wan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2157-7707
Fax: 852-2157-9280
E-mail: gary@master-win.com

Longford Industrial Ltd
26/F, Coda Designer Centre
62 Wong Chuk Hang Rd
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2866-2298
Fax: 852-2861-0041
E-mail: longford@longford.com.hk

Peace Mark Ltd
12/F, Unit 3
Cheung Fung Ind Bldg
23-39 Pak Tin Par St, Tsuen Wan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2411-1212
Fax: 852-2413-6332
E-mail: mkt@peacemark.com.hk

Silcon Electronics Co Ltd
6/F, Rms C9-10
Hong Kong Ind Centre
489-491 Castle Peak Rd
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2744-0810
Fax: 852-2786-1902
E-mail: pandora@silcon.com.hk

Wing Fung Metal Works Mfy
Unit 1132, Shing Yip Ind Bldg
Shing Yip St, Kwun Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2382-6469
Fax: 852-2718-2003
E-mail: info@wingfungwatch.com.hk

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