1 Dec 2000
Match-Making Momemts(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 04,2000)
Vol 4 2000
Time Stands Steel
OUTSTANDING design and skilful matching of thematic principles are vital when presenting matched men's and ladies' watches to discerning international customers.
Very distinctive! That's the immediate reaction to a stylistically matched pair of men's and ladies' watches from Evolve City Enterprise. The company offers alloy cases, solid metal bands, assorted dial-colour options, water-resistance, 30-jewel movements, screw-in crowns and many other features. Prices for its matched watches vary from US$3-10 FOB Hong Kong, according to manager Ng Wai Wing.
"We are principally in the business of OEM (original equipment manufacturing), and so we make according to our customers' own requirements and designs. Many of our orders originate from large wholesalers and importers, and we have to be flexible, but this is largely an assembly industry, so we are."
Founded in 1990, the company specializes in automatic mechanical and analog quartz watches. It makes 30,000 per month, has an order minimum of 500 pieces and can deliver in a brisk 30 days. Many of its customers are in Europe. The company sources brass, alloy and stainless steel in mainland China, where it has its factory.
Paired watches from Gafull Watch Ltd feature solid bands, square faces and analog dials. The 10-year-old company makes analog and digital watches and pocket watches at a rate of 10,000 pieces per month. The minimum order is 500 pieces, with a 45-day delivery schedule.
The company's major customers are in the EU and US. Necessary supplies of alloy, brass and steel come mainly from mainland China, where the company employs 80 workers.
According to Gafull Watch assistant manager Daphne Lam, "We make this type of watch for US$3-25 FOB Hong Kong, so we are happy to supply budget, middle and even top-end market clients. We have our own three-member, in-house design team, but also welcome OEM business. In fact, we supply famous companies, such as Warner Bros, with premium products.
"As a company, we put timely delivery and product quality at the top of our priority list, closely followed by price and customer service," Lam says.
Hanville Co Ltd has a different philosophy. "We concentrate on building up our Michel Renee brand name, which we supply to retailers directly or through our wholesale agents," says general manager Queenie Lau.
Design matters deeply. "We style for classic elegance, not temporary fashion, so our range is based on long-term styling. Our designers will adjust the styling slightly, as markets shift, but we prefer to offer a classic range," Lau says.
A stainless steel watch costs US$26 FOB Hong Kong, with a 3-micron, 23K gold-plated watch at US$28 and a rhodium-plated watch at US$26.50.
Formed in 1985, Hanville makes mostly quartz analog watches. The minimum order is 300 pieces per model, with a 60-day delivery period. Michel Renee watches appear across Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The company sources brass and stainless steel from Japan.
"We will continue to develop our brand name, and we look to increase sales by dealing with more agents in different markets," Lau says.
Paired titanium watches with Swiss movements from Welltime Watches & Jewellery Ltd each cost US$19 FOB Hong Kong. Founded in 1985, this company manufactures gift and premium watches, gift-set watches, pocket watches and clocks for insertion into other products.
With a minimum order of only 20 pieces and delivery in 25-40 days, Welltime makes an agreeable trade partner. It supplies markets across the Far East, the US and Europe.
"We take the position that since we can deliver an order of 20 pieces, then we should as a service to customers," says director Winnie Au. "Of course, we produce much more than you would think from that figure. Our production is actually more than 20,000 pieces a month."
Supplying mainly premium OEM markets, the company looks to continue a steady expansion, as it has done for years, but never, as Au says, at the expense of quality or customer relations.
Judging by the design treatment of paired watches, Hong Kong's reputation as home to some of the world's most versatile watch manufacturers is well deserved.
WRITTEN BY JOHN NEWSON
WATCH casings and bodies made from stainless steel are popular among Hong Kong manufacturers because the metal withstands the tests of time and changing trends.
Markpeak Ltd has made watches since 1981, always using stainless steel, titanium and brass. Business development manager Alex Chan says these watches are successful in key markets.
"We sell our stainless steel models to customers in South America, Australia, the US and Europe -- basically to most of the world's main markets," he says.
Markpeak's design team is based in Hong Kong and at its 300-worker factory in Shenzhen, mainland China. Both the company's office and factory are ISO 9002-certified.
One new model (MP199) is a unisex, stainless steel, three-dial, chronograph watch with a date function and stainless steel band, priced at US$32 FOB Shenzhen. A smaller model (MP200), for ladies or boys, is the 3H watch, also with a stainless steel band and date function, at US$16.50.
Usually, the minimum order for these models is 200 pieces, but this depends on inventory status -- the company buys base materials from Japan. Each month its Shenzhen factory produces up to 200,000 watches, with delivery taking 60 days after order confirmation.
"Our strength is in coming out with innovative designs on a regular basis," says Chan. "Producing attractive designs helps us find more customers."
Listed company National Ebauch Ltd has succeeded in the timepiece business for more than 22 years, making analog, quartz and LCD watches. A design team in Hong Kong creates all its products.
One new model for men (98055MS) has a stainless steel case and a band with bright, colourful faces. This model has a digital chronograph function plus LCD time/day/date display, and can withstand up to 10atm pressure. The price is approximately US$25 FOB Hong Kong.
"Since we've been in business so long, we're very aware of what overseas markets want," says sales manager Gary Kwok. "We normally focus on one or two higher-end models. By concentrating our efforts, we keep prices low and quality high. We have very tight quality control embedded in our production process."
National Ebauch makes 20,000 pieces of model 98055MS per month at its 3,000-square-metre, 300-worker factory in mainland China. It serves customers in the US, the UK, France, Italy and Brazil. The minimum order is 500 pieces, and delivery takes about 60 days.
Legend Lane Ltd does mainly OEM work using its own styles and concepts. "We have 5-10 designs on the go at any one time," says sales and marketing manager Elizabeth Pong.
The company's new products include a commemorative set of three men's watches. Each watch has a stainless steel case and a solid-link bracelet, plus an enamel dial in one of three colours with 925 sterling silver detail. The mechanism features genuine Swiss movements, and each watch has a stainless steel crown. The price for this set, model WMU778, is HK$3,280 (US$420) FOB Hong Kong, with no minimum order.
Legend Lane makes 20,000 completed timepieces per month in its 5,000-square-foot, 80-worker factory in Shenzhen. It uses stainless steel and brass for its casing and bracelets, along with Swiss and Japanese movements. The company sells worldwide, though its main markets are in Asia and Europe.
"We turn over new designs reasonably frequently," Pong says. "That's important in this business. Our customers know they can rely on us for top quality."
Crystal Electronic Enterprises Co Ltd uses stainless steel, titanium and brass in its watch bodies and bands. Model 6809GG11 (for men) is solid stainless steel, with the band 14.2mm wide. The movement is 5R21, and the watch is water-resistant up to 3atm pressure. A solid stainless steel, slim watch, model 5674GG4, is also water- resistant up to 3atm. Both models cost about US$50 FOB Hong Kong. The minimum order is 1,000 pieces.
Crystal Electronic produces for sale worldwide at its factory in Dongguan, mainland China. Delivery takes 60 days. OEM orders are welcome.
"Design is our foremost concern. All products are from our own designs," says marketing director Peter Lau. "We also concentrate on high quality."
WRITTEN BY CAROLINE BIEBUYCK
HONG Kong clockmakers are using imaginative designs and techniques to make timepieces that appeal to infants, young children and even teenagers.
La Fantaisie Int'l Corpn makes a range of self-assembly clocks, such as model LC 964, a stand-alone rabbit clock with removable body parts, priced at US$3 FOB Hong Kong.
"It is an educational toy," says Asian district manager Grace Chan. "Children can put the rabbit together with their own hands. They don't need any tools."
Chan says the clock is suitable for children aged six years and above. All products conform to the European safety standard, EN71. "The materials we use are durable, non-toxic, odor-free and recyclable," says Chan.
La Fantaisie's team of in-house designers specializes in creating OEM goods, which have been used in promotions by McDonald's, Disney, Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola. Minimum order value is US$10,000. Delivery time depends on order size, but averages 30 to 35 days.
The Gochi Radio, made by Dynasty Electronics Ltd, features one of the tiniest timekeepers on the market. Model 980S is the size of a key-chain, but has many functions including a lamp, digital clock and FM radio autoscan. It includes stereo earphones. The model costs between US$2.50 and US$3 FOB Hong Kong, depending on quantity.
Marketing manager Dennis Wong says the Gochi is competitively priced and gives stable quality. "We use ICs imported from Japan," he says. "We have a quality control department in the factory, which tests the materials used."
According to Wong, the Gochi is suitable as a premium and is aimed at the teenage market.
Dynasty makes a range of mini radios and digital recorders at its 700-worker factory in mainland China. Clock radios in other shapes and sizes, including miniature footballs and basketballs, are also available.
"The market is very competitive, so we come up with about five new designs every year," says Wong. The company also does OEM designs. It takes two to three weeks to manufacture a pre-production sample. Minimum order size is 3,000 pieces, with delivery time 30 to 45 days after sample approval.
The Melody Clock with Night-Light (model 13101), produced by Regal Enterprises Ltd, is ideal for children learning to tell the time. It is a quartz analog clock with four hands -- hour, minute, second and alarm -- and three dual-tone melodies. The clock incorporates a night-light suitable for nursery lighting and a dial light so the clock-face can be seen in the dark. The model, which is EN71-compliant, sells for US$9.75 FOB Hong Kong.
"We're aiming at children about five years old," says marketing manager Angel Ng. "They are attracted by figures on the clock-face, and they like animal noises made by the alarm."
Minimum order size is 3,000 to 5,000 pieces, depending on the model, and delivery takes 60 to 90 days.
Mon Fame Co Ltd produces cuddly toys doubling as clocks. Model PV2305C is a plush bear and a desktop analog clock with three hands. LCD models will soon be available.
The cuddly clock is suitable for children aged three years and above, says marketing executive Carmen Wong. "We use high quality components, including Japanese movements," she says. Different colours and sizes are available. "If a customer has his own designs, we can provide a pre-production sample in about two weeks," adds Wong.
The clock conforms to EN71 standards. The main market is the UK, although customers in Japan have shown interest in the product. Minimum order is 1,000 pieces per model. Delivery is 35 to 55 days after receipt of a confirmed order.
Alpan Products Ltd is one of the few companies licensed to produce a 3D radio-clock in the shape of Snoopy. The Snoopy Radio with Alarm Clock (model 2071) has AM/FM reception and sells for US$9.50 FOB Hong Kong.
"We designed this product with collectors in mind," says marketing executive Polly Wong. "The main selling point is quality. The capacitor and resistor are made in Japan, so reception is very good."
Different designs can be exported to the US, provided the customer holds a licence for the US market. "We can vary the design, but there is a minimum order of 10,000 pieces, and the cost of tooling must be borne by the customer," says Wong.
The company also holds licences to produce Garfield and Doraemon goods. Minimum order size is 540 pieces. When running stock is available, local delivery takes only two to three days, or one week for overseas customers. Otherwise, delivery time averages 45 days.
WRITTEN BY MAGGIE HOLMES
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