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HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2011 Fair Review
Tantalising Timepieces

Offering multiple functions and wow elements in style is a hot horology trend that was revealed at the 30th edition of the world’s biggest timepiece event.

The HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2011 played host to more than 700 exhibitors from 12 countries and regions displaying trendy and innovative designs.

Showcasing some of the brightest and best of the fair was the Brand Name Gallery, which featured 110 brands from around the world — a 20% increase over last year. The zone included the exclusive World Brand Piazza that displayed luxury pieces from horological heavyweights such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard and Piaget.

Hong Kong company Jacques Farel brought its innovative designs to the Brand Name Gallery, launching a new range of fun wall clocks for children at the event.

“It’s no longer just about telling time, customers are demanding something more,” said Jacques Farel Director of Sales and Marketing Joanne Nixon. “Watches are seen as fashion items while clocks are home decoration pieces and everyone is looking for a brand.”

The company’s brightly coloured 3D PVC clocks feature dinosaurs, pirates, princesses and flowers — designs that would brighten any child’s bedroom — as well as a silent tick so no little angel will be kept awake at night.

Jacques Farel’s children’s range also includes mother/daughter coordinating watch sets for special occasions, SOS watches with a discreet area inside the strap to write an emergency contact number, and Sunday-Monday watches with interchangeable features for each day of the week.

Also exhibiting at the Brand Name Gallery was Japanese firm Alive Tribe Inc, trading as Alive Athletics, with its on-trend Big City Metal series of watches for men and women featuring bold Japanese characters on a large dial under coloured glass. The watches have found fans in Japan as well as Korea, Australia and Europe.

“We are looking for a new distributor in Asia,” said Alive Tribe Sales and Marketing Director Keiichiro Yoshikawa. “Our designs appeal to the younger crowd and we collaborate with artists and other brands in order to produce unique timepieces.”

Hong Kong LED products specialist Windix Industries Ltd was attracting attention with novelty items, such as alarm clocks featuring a barking dog or a singing bird, in response to market demands for timepieces that stand out.

“Our customers tell us they want functional but trendy items they can display on their desks or to add style at home,” said Windix Marketing Manager Jowie Kwan.  “We have seen strong sales in Europe and Japan with almost 50,000 pieces sold last year.”

The Pageant of Eternity, one of the fair’s highlight zones, was home to exhibitors specialising in high-end complete watches such as S. Weisz Uurwerken B.V., a Dutch manufacturer and distributor of branded watches.

“We have our home brand of Danish Design Watches, which we export to more than 60 countries, as well as holding the licence for Jacob Jensen,” explained the firm’s Export Manager Evelyn Fernandez. “Jacob Jensen watches appeal to a niche market while Danish Design Watches has more than 900 models with a wider appeal.”

Genco Industrial Co (HK) also enticed buyers to the zone with an extensive range of fashion watches. Working with OEM and ODM, the company claims to have produced timepieces for big names such as Avon, Walmart and Hallmark and gift premiums for Coca-Cola, Jaguar and Tang.

These clients increasingly require a high level of transparency in the companies they deal with and Genco is no exception. “We are proud to have participated in a social audit and able to assure our clients of our commitment to fairness in the workplace,” explained Director Lavin Kaliandasani.

To complement the timepieces, a section of the fair was given over to packaging, which also saw new and innovative designs.

Wai Shing Products Development Ltd presented its range of plastic packaging for watches and jewellery, taking the mundane as inspiration and turning the ordinary into attractive display boxes in the shape of a light bulb, T-shirt, ice cube or transport container, many of which can slot together for added flexibility.   

“These designs are eye-catching at retail level and also space-saving for display and can be colour-coordinated as desired,” explained Wai Shing Project Manager Benny Lau. The company has a firm presence in Europe and is finding new markets in Brazil and Mexico.

Buyers in search of ideas found plenty of inspiration at the fair. “I’ve found many items that I was looking for and have seen so many other items that have given me even more ideas. It’s been a great experience,” enthused first-time visitor Michelle Arndt-Russell, Director of New Zealand retailer and distributor Pronto Clock Co Ltd, who was sourcing clocks for his home market.

As such, it’s no wonder the world looks to Hong Kong time after time.