7 March 2005
Multifunction Watches(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 02,2005)
Playing With Time
"There is a strong trend towards people asking their watches to do more for them," observes director Ida Ho. "As well as the time they want to know the temperature, or other information concerning health or sports."
Ho claims one successful model in the OEM/ODM company's multifunction range is a digital watch, ideally suited for gift or premium purposes, which also records heart rate and assesses calories burnt during exercise.
"Another popular model is the Compass Watch, which is water resistant to 50 metres and features a 24-hour countdown timer, an EL backlight and a compass," she adds.
Two-year-old Chuk Yik accepts minimum orders of 200 watches, which it delivers to Italy, Germany and the US approximately 40 days after order confirmation. "We produce 5-10 new designs a month," Ho adds, "and plan to establish our own brand."
Similarly aware of the latest consumer trends is Tat Shing Industrial Co, which notes that people increasingly use electronic devices to organise their lives.
The 11-year-old company therefore has developed an advanced, flexible message watch, which boasts a sophisticated special events reminder system in addition to its dual time, auto-calendar, chronograph and independent schedule alarm features.
"The system allows three user-defined messages with schedule alarms and 15 characters for each message, one user-defined screen logo message with 23 characters and six preset event messages with specific dates," says manager Tony Lee.
Tat Shing also makes a compass watch and fitness watch equipped with an electronic pacer at its 1,000-square-foot, 80-worker factory in Shenzhen on the southern mainland.
The factory, which produces approximately 100,000 watches a month, accepts minimum orders of 1,000 units and delivers 45 days after order confirmation to markets worldwide.
Equally inventive is Chee Fat Industrial Co, which has developed an innovative design entitled the Tordicator - a high quality analogue timepiece with a built-in torch and emergency indicators.
"The Tordicator employs one of the latest super-bright white LEDs for the torch and two red LEDs for the indicators," explains marketing manager Jaman Lam. "Both are driven by a specially designed high-frequency, low power consumption IC with three simple push button controls."
The Tordicator is one of a host of plastic watches the 18-year-old company produces that are available in minimum quantities of 1,000 pieces for delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation to the US, Europe and Southeast Asia.
However, as Youngs Watch Co Ltd spokesman Avis Mak observes, fashion is often as important as function. "Our products are geared mostly to the needs of a youthful market," she states. "Young people like multifunction watches, but they also insist that they look fashionable."
The Changeable Top Ring LCD watch developed by the nine-year-old company's design team features a selection of different patterned bezels. "It is ideal for fashion-conscious youth, who also expect durability and high performance options from their watches," Mak claims. "The backlit water-resistant watch features a chronograph, dual time, an alarm chime, calendar, and countdown timer."
Youngs produces 600,000 units a month at its ISO 9001-certified factory on the mainland, which covers 100,000 square feet and employs 700 workers.
The company, which has its own Youngs brand, accepts minimum orders of 500 watches delivered within 45 days of confirmation to the US, Europe and Asia.
Sunway Int'l Holdings Ltd also believes in innovative design of the range of multifunction watches it produces in six ISO 9001-certified production plants in the mainland's Fujian Province.
"We have our own brands and we also manufacture on an OEM or ODM basis," explains marketing manager Teddy Chow. "Sunway is an established brand name, while Kenko is now establishing a reputation."
One of the company's latest designs includes a calculator, while others feature compasses and weather assessment functions. "We accept minimum orders of about 3,000 units per model, and FOB Hong Kong unit prices for basic models start at around US$1," explains Yip. "Delivery takes about one month after order confirmation."
One company whose products not only look good but are also extremely practical is Latitude Ltd, whose GammaMaster watch monitors exposure to harmful gamma rays.
Designed to warn people at risk such as doctors, pilots and the military when they are in danger of exceeding the prescribed safety limits, the GammaMaster costs US$150 FOB Hong Kong each.
However, Latitude also makes other hi-tech watches for special health and outdoor lifestyle applications, unit priced in the US$18-42 FOB Hong Kong range.
"The WindMaster can measure wind speed, and also act as an altimeter, barometer and thermometer, and is manufactured mainly for the marine market," explains business development director Ricky Law.
One of the 15-year-old company's latest and most advanced models is the Global NAV, which includes a watch, transceiver and PC-link, that receives and interprets signals from a global positioning system.
Latitude's digital, analogue, hybrid, sensor and stopwatches are manufactured at an ISO 9001-certified mainland plant that produces minimum orders of 1,000 units per model for delivery 30-45 days after order confirmation. "The US, Germany and Japan are our main markets," Law explains, adding that the company has its own LAtitude brand.
Showing, yet again, that when it comes to high-quality, competitively-priced watches that do much more than tell time, nobody does it better than the watch manufacturers of Hong Kong.
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Tat Shing Industrial Co