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Bulova President Talks Watch Trends

It’s ‘one end of the spectrum vs. the other,’ says Jeffrey Cohen.

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HERE’S AN INTERVIEW with Jeffrey Cohen, president of Bulova. He talks about what’s trending and how other retailers can succeed with the brand.

What do retailers tell you they like most about selling Bulova?

Retailers enjoy the history and legacy and the name recognition that comes with the brand. The craftsmanship, innovation and technology have really resonated with our distribution partners. There are a lot of things going on with the brand. Retailers love the diversity; it appeals to a broad consumer demographic. Brand recognition is high in North America.

What do you offer retailers in the way of marketing, education and partnership in general?

The core co-op programs we do are customized and tailored to the retailers. Their needs and ability change from account to account. We’re currently in the midst of rolling out a very robust, first-time-ever Bulova education program, which is state-of-the art in training and education and will be accessible with any type of mobile advice.

What kinds of trends do you see in what is selling?

Primarily, classic collections are trending very, very strongly as well as the modern. It’s kind of one end of the spectrum versus the other. We’re seeing more ladies-size cases and we’re capturing that trend with the beautiful new Rubaiyat, which was inspired by one of our first ladies collections from 1917.

How does Bulova keep current on style and design?

We really look at what’s been in the past in our archives and try to enhance that. I make sure we are always relevant by studying the marketplace. We always look to our rich past, find timeless designs and try to modernize them for today. The Chronograph C that we introduced at Basel World has no lugs on the watch and the bracelet is built into the case. We also look for innovation and technology to introduce. The whole Curv chronograph movement is something I’ve never seen. People make curved watches, a small movement with a small curve. But this is actually curved like a Pringles potato chip and that’s never been accomplished before. It’s clean, simple and very futuristic in a certain regard.

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What is the key to keeping young people interested in timepieces in the era of the iPhone?

I think it’s certainly about technology, but that term is used very loosely. People want things that other people don’t have. They like customization, something that can be worn with a bracelet or a strap, for example. It’s all part of wardrobing. Young adults are wearing watches to wardrobe themselves more than ever.

Why should more retail jewelers renew their own interest in watches?

I think they are losing a lot of market share to other retailers if they are not selling watches. A brand like Bulova is a brand that is enhancing for a retailer and will drive traffic into their stores. Bulova spends money to market to the consumer. There’s something to associating a world-class brand with the jewelry that they have. You’re missing out if you’re not part of our company.

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