1 Sept 2003
Stainless Steel Watchstraps(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2003)
Men's Classis Watches
Stainless Steel Watchstraps
Travel Alarm Clocks
Trappings Of Success
Among the numerous stainless steel watchstraps produced by Ming Lee Metal-Lace Fty Ltd are these mesh bands in different lengths with different closures
The strap is undeniably one of the essential components of any watch, helping transform a humble timepiece into an elegant accessory. Stainless steel straps in particular have evolved in recent years to reflect both current fashion trends and traditional designs, with numerous Hong Kong-based companies successfully establishing themselves as manufacturers of good quality, well-designed stainless steel straps.
Take Ming Lee Metal-Lace Fty Ltd, which has been manufacturing watchstraps for two decades and has built a client base in Italy, Korea, Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland.
"We have been making stainless steel mesh watchbands in the last two years," general manager Ada Lai says. "Now we are investing in equipment to make imitation solid bands."
The company, which primarily makes watchstraps based on customers' designs, plans to set up an in-house design team next year as "customers from overseas are increasingly seeking new designs".
Ming Lee's range of stainless steel mesh and imitation solid bands uses stainless steel sourced from Japan and stainless steel wire from Korea. It makes about 100,000 pieces of the former and 70,000 pieces of the latter at its 500-worker, 7,000-square-metre factory in Kaiping in Guangdong Province on the mainland.
Ming Lee's range includes a 20mm mesh band costing HK$34 apiece, a 30mm mesh band priced at HK$11 and a solid band at HK$27. All prices are FOB Hong Kong. The company requires a minimum order of 300 pieces per model, to ensure delivery 30-45 days after the client confirms an order.
A mere youngster by comparison, Synergy Optima Industries Ltd was established in 2001 and produces stainless steel, genuine leather, PVC, PU, silicone rubber, nylon sheet and reptile skin straps.
The stainless steel straps are made of stainless steel wire, tubing, sheeting and rods sourced from Japan and the mainland. Production takes place at a 1,000-square-metre, 200-worker factory in Dongguan in Guangdong Province. While the minimum order size is negotiable, the company can deliver a consignment 30 days after an order is confirmed.
General manager Patrick Pong says the "industry is generally seeing increasing competition from mainland factories. Like many Hong Kong manufacturers, we are stressing quality to remain competitive."
The company's straps are sold under the Synergy Optima and Vidana brands to buyers in the US, the EU, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and South America. FOB Hong Kong unit prices for its stainless steel straps range from US$0.40-0.73.
The US and Europe, together with Japan and Australia, are also key markets for Yuen Sang Hardware Co (1988) Ltd, which has a five-decade history as an OEM manufacturer.
Marketing manager Molly Suen says the company's success is due to its emphasis on quality. "This has prompted Yuen Sang to consider the need for ISO certification in the near future," she adds.
Yuen Sang, which has a monthly output of 250,000 watchstraps, requires a minimum order of 500 pieces to ensure delivery 30-40 days after confirmation. FOB Hong Kong prices are available on request.
Stainless steel is sourced from Taiwan and Japan to manufacture the straps at Dan Shui in Guangdong Province, at a 14,400-square-metre factory that employs about 1,000 workers.
Japan is also an essential source of raw materials for Wing Wah Metal Ware Fty (Watch Bands & Watch Cases) Ltd, which specialises in both stainless steel and titanium watchbands.
"We are highly specialised in the production of watchstraps in the mid- to high-end range," says vice president Bob Wai. "Our emphasis on quality and exclusive designs, as well as prompt delivery and service, mean that practically all of our processes from design and planning to final production are done in-house."
Established in 1980, Wing Wah has three fully automated factories, two in Shenzhen on the mainland and one in Hong Kong, with a total workforce of 300.
The company's monthly production of 10,000 stainless straps is shipped to Europe, North America and Asia. Strap model 16662 is priced at US$3.80 apiece, while model S-89278 is tagged at US$4.80. Both prices are FOB Hong Kong.
Hong Kong (Int'l) Watch Band Fty has been making stainless steel, titanium and aluminium watchbands, bracelets and buckles since 1990. Its monthly output of 200,000 pieces is popular in major markets including Asia, Europe, North and South America and the Middle East.
Manufacturing takes place at a 10,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan that received ISO 9001 certification in 2001. Clients are quoted prices on enquiry, says general manager Amy Fan, adding that for a minimum order of between 100-500 watchstraps the company guarantees shipment 15-45 days after order confirmation.
According to Fan, the company, like many other Hong Kong strap manufacturers, believes that "good quality, strict compliance with a customer's instructions and prompt delivery are the keys to success".
WRITTEN BY ARAVIND VIDYADHARAN
Diamond Watch Band Mfg Co Ltd
8/F, Blk B
Che Wah Ind Bldg
1-7 Kin Hong St
Hong Kong (Int'l) Watch Band Fty
Flat 6, 12/F, Blk A
Goodview Ind Bldg
11 Kin Fat St
Tuen Mun, New Territories
Hung Hing Metal Co
Flat 8, 8/F, Blk A
Wah Shan Ind Centre
14-18 Wong Chuk Yeung St
Ming Lee Metal-Lace Fty Ltd
Flat A, 16/F, Blk 2
Kingswin Ind Bldg
32-50 Lei Muk Rd
Wing Wah Metal Ware Fty
(Watch Bands & Watch Cases) Ltd
Unit 905, 9/F
88 Lei Muk Rd
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