19 Feb 2004
Hong Kong Watches & Clocks
Oro Time Ltd
Among the highlights from Oro Time Ltd is this analogue watch with floating liquid insert (top)
Premium and private label watch manufacturer Oro Time Ltd has come a long way in a relatively short time, having begun operations in 1989 with only "three or four" employees.
"Today, we have more than 30 people in Hong Kong and a factory on the Chinese mainland with about 600 staff," proclaims marketing manager Chester Au.
"Manufacturing occurs almost exclusively on the mainland, but we still have an assembly line in Hong Kong to deal with very rushed orders."
That kind of flexibility in servicing customers is one of the qualities that has set Oro Time apart from many of its competitors, and accounts for the way a host of household names such as Mercedes Benz, Lexus, Starbucks, RCA and Yamaha have used Oro Time watches for their promotional campaigns.
"We target different types of customers for whom we develop different kinds of products and packaging," Au explains. "We do private label manufacturing, and we're working extensively in the premiums industry."
The company's hi-tech, high-efficiency approach to its business is perfectly exemplified by a state-of-the-art website, on which three case histories illustrate the company's "IEI" approach to customised private label watch manufacturing. "IEI stands for Invasion, Evolution and Inheritance," explains Au, "and the system offers customers three distinct options according to need."
"Invasion" refers to the selection of a model from Oro Time's library of in-house designs that suitably reflects the quality of the brand name to appear on the face. Oro Time simply adds the logo, an approach that has worked perfectly for Mercedes-AMG GmbH, which chose in-house model 1279SSR-CH.
"Evolution" involves enhancing the value of the watch by adding elements of brand identity through a range of production techniques, such as embossing, debossing, engraving and custom moulding.
For outdoor products brand Jack Wolfskin, Oro Time produced a watch with an embossed leather band, an engraved buckle, crown and back plate, and a custom-moulded second hand and case bezel, as well as the essential imprint on the dial face.
The "Inheritance" process starts from a completely fresh idea and is intended, says Au, to give the customer "the feeling of working with their own in-house watch department".
Nothing less would do for AUTOart, a leading manufacturer of professional quality die-cast scale model cars, for whom Oro Time's design team came up with the idea of incorporating a brake disc into the watch design.
After the client approved the original concept, preliminary sketches were submitted before proceeding to technical drawings, and a special branded tin box was designed to pack and present the finished product.
"We do a lot of customisation work," says Au, adding that the company has identified a number of areas of design and production specialisation geared to lifestyle preferences.
Auto watches and accessories are devised to reflect the design identities of different automobile brands, while the Adventurer range has a tough military look. Similarly, the Glamour range is more self-consciously dressy; while Classic watches are eminently suitable for day or evening wear.
"We try to provide a series of services for our customers, some of whom ask us to develop different kinds of packaging and sometimes also to design the catalogue for them," Au explains. "We try to provide a one-stop solution service."
Production levels vary, but are generally 15,000-50,000 units per month, with the busiest period usually falling between September and December.
Au notes that Oro Time mostly uses quartz analogue movements but can make mechanical watches. "We don't do very low-priced watches because we are at the quality end of the industry," he adds. "We use all Japanese movements and we make middle to relatively high priced watches - the lowest would be around US$2 and the highest about US$50 FOB Hong Kong."
In terms of export markets, Oro Time's clients are split roughly evenly between Europe and North America, which each take about 40% of the company's production, while the remaining 20% is spread between Japan, South and Central America and Southeast Asia.
For a good overview of the company's capabilities Au recommends visiting its sophisticated website, designed by Oro Time's in-house web designers.
"Of course, we can't put everything on the site, but you can go onto it and see something of what we have to offer," Au concludes. "Customers can go into this website and then make an enquiry, so it's a very useful tool for us."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Oro Time Ltd
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