2 March 2009
Few products so precisely and appropriately match their maker's brand name as the highly creative and imaginative designs produced by Artistic Watch Mfy Ltd.
"We serve a niche market among the wealthy and upper middle-class," explains Marketing Director Anthony Cheung. "Many members of the royal families of various Middle East kingdoms and sheikdoms stand out from the crowd by wearing our watches."
They particularly favour the firm's exclusive designs, he adds. "They usually seek our paired watches so that a princess or sultana's watch is a smaller and more feminine version of her husband's."
Having experienced great success in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and neighbouring regions of the oil-rich Middle East, Mr Cheung is now eyeing another country with a fast-growing upper-class - India.
"India is going to be the big new market for luxury items," he predicts, noting that lots of buyers from India will be attending the HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show in March.
"I'm confident they'll be signing many lucrative deals," Mr Cheung says. "We're told that the market there is all cashed-up and itching to buy the very best in luxury watches and jewellery."
He should know, as Mr Cheung and his father, Alan Cheung, have been members of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show Fair Organising Committee since 2002 and more recently both have acted as judges for the Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show.
"The main drawback to being judges is that we can't enter our own products in the competition," he laments. "But we see it as a rightful contribution to the growth of the industry."
Artistic Watch also has long-standing markets in Europe, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia as well as a couple of newly prosperous countries in South America like Brazil, while Russia is also growing nicely. "The economy there is simply booming," Mr Cheung observes.
However, he is "forgetting" about the US market for the present given the current economic turmoil. "How different it was just a couple of years ago," Mr Cheung recalls.
Then, the company pulled off its biggest single sale in 29 years in the luxury watch business. "We sold 30,000 pieces of one model with the Home Shopping network in Florida in a fortnight!" he exclaims. "Now all we can hope for is that eventually the American market will bounce back with all that help from President Obama."
What is certain is that Artistic Watch, which was founded by his father in 1980 and has always specialised in high-fashion luxury watches, will survive and prosper.
The company's catalogue includes ever-popular lines like the Alan and Anthony line. "My father and I contributed most of the innovative design ideas to that collection," Mr Cheung confides. "From the very beginning our focus has been on a really good product, company reputation and price."
He values good relationships - not only with clients but also the 300 staff at the company's factory in Long Hua in the Bao' An district of Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
Ultimately, Mr Cheung remains optimistic about the long-time future of the luxury watch market. "I look forward to more than half of our watches being set off by real diamonds - no wealthy buyer or his wife can resist the attraction of a fine watch that is beautifully decorated with the sparkle of genuine diamonds!".
TEXT BY GEOFFREY SOMERS