29 Nov 2005
Perfect Timing(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 01,2006)
Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 2005
The annual array of watches, clocks, equipment, machinery, packaging, and parts and components drew 807 exhibitors from 17 countries and regions.
Some 662 exhibitors came from Hong Kong, while group pavilions from the Chinese mainland, Korea and Taiwan represented the largest contingents from outside Hong Kong.
Others swelling the ranks of exhibitors included France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Australia, India, Japan, Jordan, the Netherlands, Russia and Singapore.
"Hong Kong is an ideal sourcing site for watches and clocks," notes Anne Chick, senior exhibitions manager at the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), which organised the fair in association with the Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association Ltd and the Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades & Industries Ltd.
She says Hong Kong companies are well-known worldwide for their innovative products and high quality, as well as competitive pricing, prompt delivery and flexibility.
"The territory also has strong ancillary and support industries that have added to its manufacturing foundation," Chick says. "These strengths have helped Hong Kong's timepiece manufacturers create steady growth that saw total exports reach US$3.77bn from January-August 2005."
Overall, visitors from outside Hong Kong accounted for 43.7% of the total, a 5.7% increase over the previous year. "Taiwan, Korea, India, Singapore, Thailand, Germany and Malaysia rounded out the top 10 countries and regions in terms of visitors," Chick adds.
A total of 44 buying missions and 1,360 representatives of major department stores, wholesale markets and associations were also invited to visit the fair.
Typical of the enthusiastic buyers was Leon Esquenazi Hanono, chief executive officer at Mexican watch company Relojeria Le鏮. "We started our company in 1995 and for 10 years we have sold watches wholesale for our domestic market in Mexico," Hanono explained. "Now we feel it's the right time to create our own brand, so we're here at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair to get things rolling."
He scoured the exhibitors in search of complete watches, boxes, name tags - everything he needed to get his project off the ground. "This fair is gorgeous - it's huge," Hanono exclaimed, adding that he had found so many things that were just right for his business. "Would we come again? Definitely!"
His response was typical according to an on-site survey of buyers and exhibitors that found positive market sentiment across the board, with 80% of respondents indicating an outlook for 2006 that was as good or better than in 2005.
Respondents singled out fashion and luxury/jewellery watches as having the highest growth potential in 2006, and also cited jewellery/gemstone watches, slim designs, jumbo-sized cases, automatic watches and watches with sports functions as the product designs with the most potential for growth.
Many of these design elements can already be found in the brand names that have become a significant force in the industry in recent years as consumers set their sights on products distinguished by a certain style, quality and reliance on technology.
The Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair's Brand Name Gallery, a special section devoted to brands committed to style and quality, was established five years ago in recognition of this trend.
Exhibitor numbers at the Brand Name Gallery, a fair favourite that continues to expand in size and importance, rose by 34% compared with the previous year.
This year 86 brands from 13 countries and regions unveiled their collections of the latest in chic, luxurious and fashionable watches, up from 64 brands at the 2004 show.
Another highlight of the fair was information exchange and formal discussion about new trends in the timepiece business, Chick notes. "Topics discussed at the associated Asian Watch Industry Conference included a review of the development of Hong Kong's timepiece industry, an appraisal of the latest market developments in the watch business and a summary of current product trends," she observes.
Key areas of retailing and branding were also covered, with a look at the current and future development of Hong Kong and the mainland retail and watch-brand businesses.
Another strong drawcard was the display of the winning entries in the 22-year-old Hong Kong Watch & Clock Design Competition, which encourages design innovation among Hong Kong's up-and-coming timepiece designers.
Astute exhibitors and buyers alike will already be circling the dates for the upcoming Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, a not-to-be-missed event to be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from September 6-10, 2006.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
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