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5 Watch Brands Your Customers Want this Holiday Season

As they become more interesting and affordable, watches are appealing to a younger audience.

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HONESTLY, IT’S AGAINST my better judgement that I’m even writing a “holiday” article as a staunch believer in giving Thanksgiving the attention it deserves. But because I am smart enough to realize that this battle is one I’m going to lose, I figured I may as well give in by writing something about watches.

Social media is largely to thank for the watch world being given a second chance. Not that it was “dead” by any stretch, but it did seem – prior to Instagram – that it was moving around a bit more slowly than it had in the past. Now, thanks to watch enthusiast groups, forum feeds, popular hashtags and even an interest in the vintage market, watches are not only sought-after again, but are becoming more interesting and affordable. That is making them appealing to a younger audience.

If your store doesn’t already carry the Crown or the Cross (Rolex or Patek Philippe), chances are, it could be a long time before it ever will, if you’d even want to go in that direction. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stock your store with more modestly priced watch brands that are having a moment right now.

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Here are five popular watch brands that you could get requests for this holiday season.

Doxa

DOWHATNOW? Yeah, people … Doxa. The Swiss watch brand has been around since 1889, and its watches have graced the wrists of both the famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and his son, dive legend Jean-Michel Cousteau. Doxa is “the diver’s dive watch”: understated, affordable and reliable. And while you may not recognize the name at first glance, chances are you have, at some point, seen older images of divers wearing a watch with a bright orange dial, and that watch was likely a Doxa.

Doxa’s new SUB 300T Conquistador – released recently as a tribute to the brand’s original model, which came out in 1969 – is available in six dial colors: the original orange as well as yellow, navy blue, turquoise, silver and black. The SUB 300T is water resistant to 4,000 feet (120 bar), has a 42-hour power reserve and retails for $1,890.

Nomos

While not nearly as old as the manufacturer listed above, NOMOS Glashütte has still put its time (no pun intended) into the watchmaking industry and has earned a solid reputation, particularly as a brand up against some of the more recognizable German watch manufacturers (*cough* Lange *cough*).

But one thing that distinguishes NOMOS is the crowd with whom its becoming popular. For example, Colin Meloy – front man for indie rock group The Decemberists – wears a NOMOS Glashütte Tangente Neomatik, and Colin Meloy ROCKS. So listen up, retailers: If you have millennial customers, look into NOMOS, because its exactly the type of watch the cool kids, who care about quality and value, want.

The NOMOS Tetra Plum is a new release and has caught the attention of both male and female watch wearers. The 29.5mm square case contains a stunning dial in a deep shade of violet, and the power reserve indicator lets the wearer know when the handwound DUW 4301 caliber movement needs to be rewound.

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G-Shock

If you’re a retail store that’s been in business for a long time, it might be hard for you to wrap your head around the fact that I’m telling you that G-Shock, or any Casio-related product, is a brand you should be carrying. Chances are you hear the word “Casio” and think of that scene in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles when John Candy’s character tries to entice a hotel manager to give him a room for “$2 and, uh … and a Casio.” But today’s G-Shocks are not the G-Shocks of old. In fact, they are worn and respected by some of the most recognizable watch personalities in the world.

The newly released GMW-B5000D-1 pays homage to the first G-SHOCK model DW-5000C, which was introduced in 1983. The original square design has been recreated with a full-metal shock-resistant structure, advanced functions and Smartphone Link. It’s a throwback, sure, but it sure looks cool.

Bell and Ross

Founded in 1992 by two childhood friends, Bell & Ross has spent the last 27 years building a solid reputation in the U.S. as an affordable, dependable and yet still fashion-forward watch brand.
With an Instagram following well over 300,000, and fan pages such as @bellandrossworld and @bellrosswiki, the brand has managed to reach a whole new community of buyers and collectors that swear by the manufacturer’s quality and have no problem singing its praises.

The brand recently introduced a limited edition watch exclusive to the Americas: the BR03-92 Diver Bronze Navy Blue in 42mm, retailing for $3,990 here in the States.

Grand Seiko

This might be one of those moments that call for the “#ifyouknowyouknow” hashtag, because if you’re a retailer that already carries this sought-after brand, then you already know why it has made this list.

I don’t think I really understood the draw to Grand Seiko until recently, when I was invited to emcee a watch competition at Little Treasury Jewelers in Gambrills, MD, during their two-day Time Out watch fair. Truly, I never saw so many Grand Seikos sold in one day. People drove from hours away and a handful even flew in for the event, but what stood out most of all was that everybody wanted to tell me about the watch they were wearing. It was astonishing to witness and it opened my eyes even more to Grand Seiko’s public appeal.

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One of the most stunning examples of the brand’s emphasis on elegant design combined with its commitment to produce quality mechanical timepieces has to be the Grand Seiko SBGA211 (also known as the “Snowflake”) from the Heritage Collection. Powered by Spring Drive, Grand Seiko’s unique caliber, the Snowflake has a 72-hour power reserve that is tracked by the power reserve indicator on the bottom left of the watch’s perfectly textured white dial.

As honorable mentions, I’d also recommend looking into brands like Oris, Hamilton and Bremont, as those are three watch companies continuing to find their strengths among younger watch enthusiasts.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Barbara Palumbo is a watch and jewelry industry writer, journalist and speaker. She manages the blogging websites Adornmentality.com and Whatsonherwrist.com.

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The Most Important Part of Your Sales Presentation Happens After the Sale

Go the extra mile for your client if you want to see them again.

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HOW DO YOU FEEL about a movie that ends poorly? No matter how good it was before then, a weak finish leaves you feeling dissatisfied.

Jewelry presentations are the same way. Clients tend to remember the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds more than the middle of your presentation. And yet, all too often after the purchase is made (or repair taken in), the salesperson turns and walks to the back, allowing the client to leave the store on their own.

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The way out is as important as the way in. We have to treat the client as a guest who is coming into our home for one of the most important events of their lives. Not only that, but the client should feel even more important walking out than they did when they came into the store.

When everything is done, always walk the client to the door. Open the door for them, give them two of your business cards, and ask them to give one to a friend.

Even when you have other clients waiting for you, always walk each one out. Others will see this service and expect the same. Many times as you’re walking the client out, they will stop and look into a case they didn’t look into on the way in. This allows you to start another presentation, put something on a wish list, plant a seed for a later purchase or even put something on layaway.

Selling on the way out is easy. The client is now in a spending mood, and obviously they love you or they wouldn’t have given you their money already. It also allows you to give suggestions about service and other events you have coming up.

Sometimes, the client may have other important things they want to talk about on the way to the door. They’ll start by saying, “By the way…” This allows you to build rapport, get information that allows you to do more effective clienteling, and become even more of a friend.

So make the client feel that your store is the most awesome place to shop. Not just because of the merchandise, but because there is not any other place to shop in their area that compares to the professionalism, politeness and experience that your team delivers.

People get ho-hum service everywhere — but don’t let it happen in your store. It’s up to us to break the cycle. Make the exit even more awesome than the entrance. And remember: Always thank them for coming in!

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That Weird ‘Diamond in a Diamond’ Isn’t for Sale. It Will Go Here Instead …

Alrosa revealed the find in September.

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RUSSIA’S ALROSA DIAMOND mining company announced Thursday that the curious “diamond in a diamond” revealed on social media in early September has been added to its collection of rare finds — and is not for sale.

In early September, Alrosa surprised its Instagram followers with a video that seemed to show a tiny rough diamond moving freely in the cavity of a larger one (pictured above). The caption read, “A diamond in a diamond? We couldn’t help but share this very special find with you.”

At the time, Alrosa wasn’t quite sure what to make of the phenomenon. Nobody at the mining company had ever seen anything like it. Five weeks later, Alrosa scientists confirmed that both the host and smaller crystal were diamonds.

They named the double-diamond “Matryoshka” because its strange configuration is reminiscent of the popular Russian nesting dolls. The specimen, which weighs only 0.62 carats, was discovered in Yakutia at Alrosa’s Nyurba mining and processing division.

Matryoshka joins Alrosa’s ever-growing collection of diamond wonders. These include crystals that resemble a soccer ball, a Valentine heart, a skull and a fish.

Interestingly, some of Alrosa’s most unusually shaped diamonds have come to light at the most opportune times.

Credits: Diamond images courtesy of Alrosa Diamonds and via Alrosa/Instagram. Soccer ball image by Pumbaa80 (Self-published work by Pumbaa80) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons.

For instance, an Alrosa discovery in July of 2018 had us wondering out loud if Mother Nature was a World Cup soccer fan. Just three days prior to the Russian national soccer team’s exciting quarterfinal match against Croatia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, Alrosa discovered a diamond that looks amazingly like a soccer ball.

In February of 2019, Alrosa revealed a 65.7-carat rough diamond that had an uncanny resemblance to a Valentine heart.

“Diamonds of a distinctive shape that resemble some object or symbol are extremely rare in nature,” Alrosa’s deputy CEO Evgeny Agureev said at the time. “Most rough diamonds are octahedron-shaped or do not have a particular shape at all. The appearance of a heart-shaped rough diamond, especially on the eve of Valentine’s Day, seems to be a symbolic gift of nature not only to our company, but also to all loving couples.”

Credits: Diamond images courtesy of Alrosa Diamonds and via Alrosa/Instagram.

Alrosa noted that a 24-carat, skull-shaped stone was unearthed prior to Halloween in 2018.

In August of 2019, the company posted to Instagram a photo of a rough stone resembling a fish. It had been discovered back in 2002, and was revisited to help promote the firm’s ecology efforts, which include releasing hundreds of thousands of fish into the rivers near its mining operation in Yakutia.

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Upping the Game: Why Dubai Watch Week is the Perfect Example of How to Run a Fair

A key factor: There’s no pressure to buy or sell.

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WATCHMAKING CLASSES TAUGHT by Swiss masters. Luxury hotel rooms at the new Waldorf Astoria. Daily gourmet breakfasts. Seven limited-edition timepieces being released. Three-course lunches in a Cipriani pop-up. Thirteen education panels featuring world-renowned speakers. An international press squad representing over 45 media titles. And Jean-Claude Biver dropping knowledge and signing books. Any one of these would be enough to raise the level at most watch-related trade shows or fairs, but when you combine them and place them into a setting like Dubai, the result is almost unfathomable. Unless, of course, you lived it, which is exactly what I was privileged enough to do just over a week ago.

For the third year in a row, I was invited by the team at Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons and Dubai Watch Week to attend a horological event they were organizing. Two years ago, it was to visit the third edition of Dubai Watch Week in Dubai as a member of the press. Last year, it was an event they were holding in London in collaboration with Christie’s Auction House called “Horology Forum.” I was asked to be one of five panel moderators for that event; an honor which I never thought could be matched. That is, until this year when again I was invited by DWW to moderate the final panel, entitled “Hot Potato.” Each of my experiences has been extraordinary.

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The No. 1 characteristic that separates Dubai Watch Week from any other watch fair (or jewelry event, for that matter) is that there is no pressure to buy or sell. In the U.S., the closest we have to that experience is the American Gem Society Conclave, which I’ve often compared to Dubai Watch Week on an education level. But in terms of pulling in a worldwide audience that includes watch brands, retailers, collectors, journalists, scientists, speakers and skilled artisans, there is no other fair that can hold a candle to this one, and the other watch fairs know it.

In 2017, I left Dubai thinking to myself that I had just left the most organized event I’d ever attended. In my mind it was flawless, leaving very little room for improvement, and yet when I stepped onto the impeccably pristine grounds of the DIFC this year I was flabbergasted. It was not just grander from a visual standpoint, but the program itself read like perfection. Panel topics at the “Horology Forum” covered everything from how smart watches are affecting today’s watch sales, to what really happens when you’re put on a waiting list for a watch, to how women come to power in fields largely dominated by men, to how industry outsiders (like award-winning actor Aldis Hodge and quantum physicist Michael Biercuk) are finding their place in the watch community. Attendees were also treated to events held in the “Creative Hub,” where several watch brands discussed their histories and where some even released new limited-edition timepieces in conjunction with Dubai Watch Week. Watchmaking classes were taught in a separate pop-up venue, as well as classes on watch design, dial painting, engraving and more. Christie’s even had its own auction room on premises where one could attend talks on topics such as the restoration of timepieces and why vintage Patek Philippes are so sought after. And, because DWW gets it, there was a children’s program. Yes … an actual children’s program! Because let’s face it, kids will eventually determine the success of the watch industry, both as future buyers and as future artisans, so why not teach them how special watchmaking is now, right?

As the days turned into nights, the festivities didn’t slow down. There were cocktail events by Tudor, Grand Seiko, Ulysse Nardin, HYT, Bell & Ross, Roger Dubuis, Girard Perregaux and others. Oh, and if you tired of any of those, Chopard pretty much had its own nightclub set up, complete with a well-known Dubai D. J. and plenty of industry personalities.

These days, as an almost-47-year-old woman, I feel that the older I get the harder I am to impress. I’ve done a lot in my life, and I’ve seen even more, so when something comes along that is special – truly special – I sit up and take notice, and often will do my best to tell the world about it. This is exactly what Dubai Watch Week makes me want to do. Everyone from their smiling security guards, to their wonderful public relations and press teams, all the way up to Hind Seddiqi – the director general of Dubai Watch Week – went out of their way to make sure that every person in attendance was taken care of, and that everyone had an experience unlike any other. Hind and her entire team succeeded in accomplishing that, yet again, which makes me wonder how the 2021 edition could possibly get any better. Although, seeing what the DWW organizers have been capable of so far, I’m sure it will be otherworldly.

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