1 March 2003
Stainless Steel Watches(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 01,2003)
Stainless Steel Watches
Vaki Ltd's stainless steel three-hand quartz watches for men and women use Swiss/Japanese movements and are water resistant to 30 metres
Stainless steel watches, with their clean, surgical appeal, are the perfect complement to the "white look" in jewellery, which has been such a dominant trend worldwide in recent years.
At Pengelly Co Ltd, contemporary styling with square or barrel-shaped cases is in vogue for stainless steel dress watches and chronographs. Sales of stainless steel watches have been strong for several years, as improvements in technology and equipment have led to falling prices, reports general manager Alex Chow.
Pengelly manufactures 30,000 stainless steel quartz analogue watches per month, exporting them to Germany, Scandinavia, Belgium, South America, Australia and South Africa. Watches are priced at US$10-40 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Most are produced on an OEM or private label basis, although a small percentage carry the company's Pocalla brand.
The timepieces have Japanese or Swiss parts movements and are assembled at an 8,000-square-metre factory in Shekou on the Chinese mainland. Minimum order is 100-500 pieces per model, with 1,000 pieces per order. Shipments are made 75-90 days after order confirmation. Besides stainless steel, which accounts for 30% of total production, Pengelly also makes titanium, brass and alloy watches.
Stainless steel cases have overtaken brass to become the new benchmark of quality in the watch industry. "Before, people didn't know the difference between the two, but now they would rather pay more for stainless steel," according to Vaki Ltd's sales manager Alex Chiu.
Vaki manufactures 50,000-60,000 quartz analogue stainless steel men's and ladies' watches per month at its 4,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland, which is about 80% of its total watch production. These are priced at US$4-17 per piece FOB Hong Kong.
Chronographs with three sub-dials for hours, minutes and seconds, divers' watches and classic models for office or evening use are the main lines. Vaki sources stainless steel from Japan and the US and movements from Japan or Switzerland.
The OEM and private label supplier specialises in modern, understated European-style designs. "People don't want designs that look too busy," Chiu notes. Slim cases are this year's favourite, especially with Vaki's customers in the Middle East. The 11-year-old company also sells to Europe, Japan and the US.
Two-tone brushed and shiny stainless steel bands are another strong trend, along with dials in white, black or navy blue with Roman instead of Arabic numerals. "Pairs of watches for men and women are also doing well. Lovers like them," he says.
Minimum orders are for 200 watches, with delivery 75 days after order confirmation.
The growing demand for Ka Da Watch Co Ltd's stainless steel watches is a tribute to the firm's constant search for fresh designs and features. "People get bored with the same designs so we try to add more creative ideas," says sales manager Nicky Cheung.
New elements include a large date window under the 12 o'clock position and a small second hand above the six o'clock position on some models. Mother-of-pearl dials or gemstone settings around the dial and bezel are other features. Two-tone brushed and shiny stainless steel bands are popular, as are classic, elegant designs.
"Bands with simple links and watches with round dials sell best," Cheung adds. "Bigger dials and larger numbers are popular too." No minimum order requirement applies, and deliveries are shipped no later than 80 days after order confirmation.
Each month, 25,000-30,000 stainless steel watches are produced at ISO 9001-certified factories in Hong Kong and Shekou, which is about 30-40% of the company's production of timepieces. "We make higher end models, such as stainless steel, in Hong Kong. Our lower end watches are made on the mainland," says Cheung.
Quartz analogue watches have either Swiss or Japanese movements and sell for US$7-35 per piece FOB Hong Kong. About 40% of its output carries the firm's Calinda brand, with OEM and private labels making up the remainder.
Stainless steel watches in simple, classic designs are top sellers at Vecent (China) Times Ltd, which produces 100,000-150,000 such watches per month. "Stainless steel is about 15% of our total watch production," says Angel Yuen, assistant manager at the 13-year-old firm best known for its alloy watches.
Vecent added stainless steel watches to its line about a year ago and has seen demand rise. "We think it will keep on increasing," adds Yuen. On offer are 15-20 models for men and women priced at US$7-15 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Features include day, day/date or chronograph functions for selected models.
All have Swiss movements and are produced at the company's Hong Kong factory. Alloy watches are made in its Shekou plant. About 80% of the firm's stainless steel watches carry the in-house IL Vento brand. The remainder is OEM or private label orders.
Minimum orders are 300 pieces, with delivery 45 days after order confirmation. Major markets are Europe, the US and Canada. "We don't sell to every country in Europe yet, so we plan to develop that market more," says Yuen.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Ka Da Watch Co Ltd
Unit B9, 4/F
Hong Kong Ind Centre
489-491 Castle Peak Road
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Pengelly Co Ltd
Luen Wai Comm Bldg
93-97 Des Voeux Rd West
Skytime Jewelry & Watch Co Ltd
Aitken Vanson Centre
61 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Sun Tai Watch Co Ltd
Rm 1115, Blk A
Tonic Ind Centre
19 Lam Hing St
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Flat F, 14/F
Gold King Ind Bldg
35-41 Tai Lin Pai Rd
New Territories, Hong Kong
Vecent (China) Times Ltd
1 Minden Ave
Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|