1 Sept 2003
Men's Classis Watches(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2003)
Men's Classis Watches
Stainless Steel Watchstraps
Travel Alarm Clocks
|SII Enterprises Ltd's rugged zinc alloy chronographs with leather straps or stainless steel bands are water resistant to 5ATM|
Classic styles are evergreen, says Jerome Kwok emphatically, and the director of Nicole Electronics Ltd is certainly in a position to know. His company manufactures a wide range of watches at its 6,000-square-foot factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland, shipping around 200,000 a month to customers worldwide but mostly in the European Union.
"We also do some business with the US," he explains. "We manufacture watches from very basic models right up to chronographs - the demand for chronographs is still there, but because FOB Hong Kong prices start at about US$15 each the quantities are not that high."
The greater part of Nicole's production comprises stylish but more basic quartz analogue watches at FOB Hong Kong prices ranging from US$5.20-6.00 for minimum orders of 500 pieces, delivered 30-60 days after confirmation of order. The company does mostly OEM business, but also manufactures for its own Nicole brand, which is now well established in Europe.
Although he concedes that the 20-year-old company has had some tough times in recent years, Kwok attributes its success to an insistence on quality. "All our watches have stainless steel cases, genuine leather straps or metal bands, and either Japanese or Swiss movements," he adds.
His views are echoed by International Timers Ltd marketing manager Jimmy Wan, whose company makes high-end analogue quartz watches using brass or stainless steel cases for customers in Australia, the EU, the Americas and Africa.
"People are looking for something classic - simple, elegant watches that make a statement about the wearer and never go out of style," says Wan, adding that most customers at the moment are looking for an "integrated" approach to watch and band.
The company's range of classic watches fitted with stainless steel bands starts at US$17.45 FOB Hong Kong with deluxe models costing US$19.25-19.75 for minimum orders of 100 pieces per model delivered eight weeks after order confirmation.
"We do more metal bands than leather," says Wan. "We have our own Intima brand, which is now quite well established in the US, and also do a lot of OEM work."
Intima watches are very much in the European tradition, and include dress watches, sports watches and models suitable for both business and leisure wear. The company currently manufactures more than 400 watches (based on 120 different cases) at an 850-square-metre facility in Aberdeen on Hong Kong Island.
Design and production values are also watchwords at Comtech Watches Co Ltd, which has been making stainless steel, brass and titanium wristwatches since 1993, primarily for European markets.
According to managing director Catherine Chan, the company specialises in slim, elegant watches suitable for dressy occasions, and can produce up to 180,000 per month at its ISO 9001-certified mainland factories in Shenzhen and Poling.
Comtech has its own Carly, Rex and Denmark brand names available for minimum orders of 100 pieces delivered in 40-80 days depending on styles and materials.
SII Enterprises Ltd also made a point of earning the ISO 9001 certificate for its factory in Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta, where the company has been making moderately priced, mid-range timepieces since 1999 for customers in the US, Europe, Japan, the mainland and Saudi Arabia.
"We make watches under our own J.Springs brand name, but also do OEM and private label business," explains marketing executive Jane Chu. SII Enterprises' sporty but sophisticated chronographs utilise stainless steel, brass, zinc alloy and Japanese movements and are available with either leather straps or metal bands.
FOB Hong Kong prices vary according to the size of the order, which must be of at least 500 pieces, delivered within 75-90 days after order confirmation.
The Middle East is also a major focus for Sundick Watch Ltd, which also does business with other key markets including the US. "Other major markets are in Europe," explains general manager Polly Mak.
"Obviously the recent problems in the Middle East have had an effect on business, but I think the market has remained relatively stable even if the general economic situation means it isn't growing."
Classic elegance is the keynote for Sundick's range of high quality stainless steel quartz analogue watches, some of which have square faces giving them an art deco look.
"In terms of the look there is more demand for metal bands worldwide, but in Europe some customers prefer leather straps," Mak adds. "Usually we make our watches for customer brand names, but we also have our own Sundick brand."
The same insistence on quality evident in the design is reflected in the Swiss movements. FOB Hong Kong prices start at US$22 each for a minimum order of 300 pieces per model delivered 50 days after order confirmation.
Real style never goes out of fashion, and in this respect Hong Kong's versatile watch manufacturers certainly have time on their side.
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Comtech Watches Co Ltd
Units B-D, 15/F, Blk 1
Wah Fung Ind Centre
33-39 Kwai Fung Crescent
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Nicole Electronics Ltd
Well Fung Ind Centre
68 Ta Chuen Ping St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
SII Enterprises Ltd
5/F, Phase II
200 Tai Lin Pai Rd
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