23 Sept 2004
Hong Kong Watches & Clocks
Hong Kong Watch Dial Fty Ltd
|Stylish watch faces are a forté of HK Watch Dial Fty Ltd|
Wristwatches may once have been solely for telling time but they are now part of everyday fashion and reflections of status - especially timepieces packed with up to 500 diamond pieces on a standard watch face.
"In recent years, precious stone watch faces have become trendy in Europe, and this has given us a chance to enter into this line of business," says HK Watch Dial Fty Ltd manager Raymond Wu.
The move is a logical progression for Wu, who has gradually turned the 24-year-old enterprise into what he claims is one of the "very few" Hong Kong watch face makers that specialises in making precious watch dials.
"The traditional European watch-making powerhouses used to mistrust Hong Kong watch producers," Wu maintains, "but we showed our client a sample we made and they were surprised at the quality."
Watch Dial has been making various precious stone watch dials and semiprecious stone dials, using such exotic materials as opal, mother of pearl and abalone shell, since 1996. European countries like Switzerland, Italy and France are the company's major markets, followed by the US and Japan.
The dials are produced at a plant in the southern Chinese mainland at Mission Hills, Guangdong Province that utilises advanced CNC technology.
Watch Dial employs designers from various disciplines like fashion, shoes and jewellery to maximise creativity, and also has a team of professional jewellery makers to guarantee good craftsmanship.
The company uses prong settings to mount the diamonds, which ensures they are more secure and maintains their lustre better than traditional gluing.
However, Wu admits that even with all the investment in hardware and software, manufacturing diamond-studded watch faces was very difficult initially.
"We once needed to set 200 diamonds in prongs on a watch face, and learnt that getting every one of them to reflect in a similar way was a hard effect to obtain," he recalls. "We also found that we could not allow for more than a 0.02mm discrepancy in the size of the diamonds, otherwise they wouldn't fit."
Having specialised workers accurately sort stones into different sizes solved the problem, while the introduction of a highly qualified QC team ensured a constant focus on the highest standards.
Wu himself takes "a few" quality/management courses every year, and is the driving force behind the pursuit of excellence at Watch Dial.
"There are sometimes as many as 30 steps in the making of a watch face," Wu explains. "Our QC team writes up guidelines and standards required for each of these processes and will then check all the procedures to make sure that the required standards are reached, which also helps cut wastage to a minimum."
Watch Dial is currently preparing for ISO 2000 certification, and is also contemplating making 18K solid gold and 925 pure silver watch dials. "18K gold is soft, so it is quite challenging to work with," adds Wu.
The company is also putting in a new order tracking feature on its website, which will be updated daily, so that clients can log on to check the status of their orders anytime of the day.
The website is an important marketing tool for the OEM/ODM manufacturer, which accepts orders of any size and normally delivers them in a month.
New clients are reaching Watch Dial through the website, augmenting its long-standing partners of 10-20 years who came to them via word of mouth or who learned of the company through the Hong Kong Trade Development Council's trade fairs and magazines.
Given its apt slogan - "a brand that stands for elegance, beauty, excellence and precision" - it should not be difficult for Watch Dial to continue to draw customers worldwide.
WRITTEN BY CAM CHEUNG
Hong Kong Watch Dial Fty Ltd
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