10 Dec 2008
Glittering Moments(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 01,2009)
Fashion Jewellery Watches
Hong Kong watch designers are losing no time in capturing female hearts with enticing and romantic fashions
Combinations of style, beauty and functions are admired through good times and bad, and there are perhaps no better examples than fashion jewellery watches.
"People always need to know the time, and they value things that are beautiful," explains Julie Mark, Marketing Manager of EC (Asia) Ltd, which offers fashion jewellery watches in distinctively feminine and elegant designs.
One popular seller is model EJ222-02, a fancy teardrop-shaped watch with a rhodium-plated brass case and bracelet sporting coloured Czech stones, which glitter around a mother-of-pearl dial fronting a Japanese movement.
"This watch does well because of its quality," Ms Mark says. "For example, the stones are set on the case and bracelet with a special type of glue that ensures they won't fall off easily."
Another hit is model EJ122-05, which features a Japanese movement enclosed in a rose-gold, ionic-plated brass case with glued-on Czech stones, a mother-of-pearl dial and a chain bracelet. "Buyers like this watch's unusual shape, style and design," Ms Mark remarks.
An antique look, meanwhile, is the selling point for model EJ427-02, which comes with a silver-plated brass case, Czech stones on the bracelet, a mother-of-pearl dial and a Japanese movement.
"This watch is very ornate, but the size and shape still fit comfortably onto anyone's wrist," advises Ms Mark. "It's for customers who want something different and outstanding."
EC (Asia)'s collection appeals to fashion-conscious women in markets such as the US, Europe and Asia. "These discerning end-users want to wear eye-catching fashion-jewellery watches for special occasions or to match their favourite clothing," Ms Mark observes.
"We have our own design team that comes up with extra-creative ideas. Our designers have a powerful marketing sense. They can catch the trends, and we always keep fashion in mind."
Noting current lacklustre market conditions, the manufacturer remains optimistic about long-term business prospects and stands ready to rise to short-term challenges.
"I think that business will become tougher," says Ms Mark. "But if our designs are outstanding and attractive, then buyers will still look closely. We expect they're going to want items that are more unique."
Quality control is also a priority at EC (Asia), she notes. "Our quality is among the best. We have in-house testing. Our inspection team makes quality checks at every stage."
Meanwhile, 925-sterling-silver and karat-gold watches are specialities of Art Style Enterprises Ltd, whose new creations include models AS2046 and AS2014.
"Both are rhodium-plated silver watches with hand-set cubic zirconia stones," advises Manager Jovi Chan. "The bracelets have jewellery clamps, and their length adjusts as links can be added or removed."
Model AS2046 has a diamond-shaped dial and a 12mm-wide bracelet. "It's fashionable, trendy and popular in both Europe and the US," Ms Chan says.
Model AS2014, on the other hand, makes a bolder statement. "This one is more dramatic with a dark, rectangular dial and a much wider bracelet. This model can be considered unisex - it looks as good on men as on women," Ms Chan explains.
Art Style is well aware of the importance of monitoring product trends. "We notice that our customers are looking for really fashionable jewellery watches," she adds. "Instead of classic styles, they want things that are trendy, perhaps with different shapes, colours, plating or kinds of stones."
The firm's design and quality control teams play leading roles at the company's factory in Guangzhou on the Chinese mainland, Ms Chan maintains.
Like many other businesses, Art Style is concerned about the global economic downturn. "Maybe demand will decrease," Ms Chan reckons.
"But we believe that even in bad times many people still like to buy things that will make them happy, and fashion jewellery watches fully qualify as products of pleasure."
She predicts that silver models may prove especially popular. "With gold prices so high, perhaps more buyers will choose silver, which is also a precious metal," she reasons. "Besides, some people will buy silver brooches or other jewellery and then look for the most appropriate fashion watches to mix and match, and they will prefer silver watches."
Presently exporting to Europe, the company hopes to expand sales into developing markets, "notably those in regions with rising wealth and a tendency to liberalise import policies", says Ms Chan.
Rather than specialisation, variety may be the concept that makes Ho Kit Enterprises Ltd tick. "We can use a wide variety of materials to make the latest designs, and offer a range of prices," says Manager Danny Lam. "It all depends on the customers, their needs and wishes."
Among best-sellers for the company are models HG3726 and HG3723, featuring brass cases, mother-of-pearl dials and Japanese movements. "They have many stones, typically imitation diamonds, around circular dials," Mr Lam notes.
"With multiple rows of stones, model HG3726 makes an extra-strong visual impact," he points out, adding that many of Ho Kit's fashion jewellery watches are ionic-plated in gold, silver or rose.
As required, Ho Kit relies on its own design drawings or those supplied by customers. "We always place a high priority on quality control," Mr Lam stresses.
Such exquisite fashion jewellery watches from Hong Kong clearly promise glittering moments for the hip and trendy.
TEXT BY JOHN CAIRNS