11 March 2008
Sparkling Style(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 02,2008)
The ultimate adornment for men or women, a watch is frequently the major piece of jewellery in these times of self-expression
Styles may come and go, but consumers the world over know that there is only one manufacturing centre when it comes to watches that make truly personal statements.
As an internationally recognised trendsetter in both the jewellery and watch sectors, Hong Kong is naturally the first choice for buyers of jewellery watches keen to stock up on sure-fire sellers.
One of the leading producers of fashionable jewellery watches in Hong Kong is QPF Ltd, claims Managing Director L.C. Siu. "We are extremely successful in markets such as Germany and the US, where our Ingot watch series with unbreakable mineral glass is popular," he says.
As the name reflects, the Ingot series consists of pure gold and platinum ingots that are used on the face to create a classic-style watch that looks as good as it works.
The innovative series has proven popular in many countries, although Mr Siu admits that Eastern Europe and Russia are difficult markets to penetrate.
Overall, however, he is confident that the jewellery-watch sector will remain buoyant for the foreseeable future. "The industry trend is towards good quality at a higher price," Mr Siu observes.
Focusing more on the younger generation is Shuffle Industrial Co, which is a major manufacturer of what the company describes as "fashion watches".
Both eye-catching and functional, these PU and alloy watches feature Japanese movements and are especially popular in Europe. "In fact, 60% of our sales are to European countries," Managing Director Ken Ng says. "European markets favour our watches because we offer a large range of items, and release new models each month."
However, he admits that the mid-sized firm's Shuffle brand is not popular on the Chinese mainland. "The mainland market is difficult to penetrate because China likes big-brand watches," Mr Ng believes. "However, I believe the trend for fashionable watches will continue, and may unite with other jewellery or fashion items."
Beautifully designed, high-quality ladies' jewellery watches, many featuring tiny stones, are the forte′ of New Mind Co. "Our most popular models are the ladies' stainless steel watch collections," confirms Marketing Manager Janet Yan. "All our products are our own design, and Europe is our most successful market."
New Mind has its own Jarc brand, which Ms Yan believes will make its mark in new markets in future, notably Asia. "Within the next 12 months, I believe both Japan and Korea will open up to luxury jewellery watches and we will be taking this sector seriously," Ms Yan predicts.
A relative sector newcomer is five-year-old Prador Ltd, which is already making quite a name for its innovative creations. "The Chip and Fashion designed for consumers aged 25-40 is our most popular model," says Managing Director Christy Pei.
She believes the firm's success is due to its "strong sense" of taste and style, reflected in its lead- and nickel-free watches. "North America is currently our most successful market, where we are strong in fashion watches," Ms Pei observes.
She says Prador is cost-effective and consumer-friendly, but anticipates increasing competition in future. "Higher quality-standard requirements will intensify the competition," Ms Pei admits.
Crystal Electronic Enterprises Co Ltd offers a number of attractive fashion watches, including model 8R65BKBKK30 - an IPG analogue ladies' watch with a stainless steel and ceramic band featuring Swarovski crystals on the bezel, an MOP dial, and a double-pusher butterfly buckle.
"We specialise in sophisticated mechanical watches," says spokeswoman Doris Lee, adding that the movements come from China and are of "extremely good" quality.
She believes the demand for watches as fashion accessories is fuelled by the ubiquitous use of mobile phones. "The time is always available on the mobile phone," Ms Lee observes. "But if a lady wants to make more of a fashion statement, she will choose a watch with an elegant, trendy design."
Crystal Electronic's most popular models feature Swarovski stones, as well as extensive use of ceramics. "Our biggest market is undoubtedly the US, although parts of Europe are also good," Ms Lee adds.
Imitation jewellery watches are the speciality of Wealthy Industrial Co, whose M1851 bracelet model is its most popular line according to Marketing Manager Angela Yeung. "The design is simple but it is a typical jewellery watch," she avers.
The brass watches are particularly popular in the US, but Ms Yeung insists that Wealthy Industrial isn't resting on its laurels and continues to develop new lines. "A new slim white model with more small stones will be developed in the next 12 months," Ms Yeung promises.
There is clearly strong demand for fashion watches in the US and Europe, and Hong Kong jewellery watch manufacturers should therefore be the only stop for busy buyers seeking the sparkling styles that are sure-fire sellers worldwide.
TEXT BY JEFF HESELWOOD
Crystal Electronic Enterprises Co Ltd
Year Established: 1980
Year Established: 2006
Year Established: 2003
Year Established: 1994
Year Established: 2005
Wealthy Industrial Co
|Year Established: 2000
Major Product Categories: imitation jewellery watches
Brands & Certificates: -
Minimum Order: 100 pieces per item
Monthly Production: 15,000 pieces
Delivery Time: 40-55 days
Factory Size & Location: 1,000 square metres-