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5 Watches I Wish I’d Seen in Basel

If you don’t know some of these brands, they’re worth checking out.

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FOR THE FIRST TIME in four years I decided to skip the costly out-of-pocket trip to the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair in Basel, Switzerland, instead using those funds to make a down payment on that limited-edition Rolls Royce I’ve had my eye on. But the fact I didn’t go doesn’t mean I didn’t want to go. On the contrary, as I clicked through the Instagram stories of my favorite watch brands and my journalist colleagues, I most certainly had that “FOMO” feeling, especially when I saw the sausages (because c’mon, there ain’t no sausage like a Baselworld sausage). So today, in spite of my absence, I’m going to bring you the best of Basel by highlighting five watches that I wish I’d been there to see.

(Note: If you’re looking to read about Rolex, Patek Philippe or Tudor in this article, you’ll be disappointed. Plenty of writers have written about the releases from those brands already, so let your fingers do the Googling if that’s what you came here to see.)

Frederique Constant’s Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon

Adding to their already successful and cost-conscious line of perpetual calendars, this year, Swiss watch brand Frederique Constant presented a limited-edition tourbillon version starting under $30,000 (which is pretty remarkable for a Swiss-made timepiece with complications such as these). The 42mm Tourbillon watch – which is available in both stainless steel and rose gold versions – contains the FC-975 manufacture caliber movement capable of providing a 38-hour power reserve while running at 4 Hertz with its balance wheel beating 28,800 times per hour. (And If all of that makes your head hurt, imagine what I’m feeling writing about it.) What’s special about the perpetual calendar aspect, for those who may not be familiar with the term, is that the watch not only recognizes the number of days in each month, but also displays the year and will automatically adjust itself for the leap year. A perpetual calendar will understand which months have 30 and 31 days, as well as know that there are 28 days in February unless it’s a leap year, in which case it will jump to the 29th. In simpler terms, this watch shouldn’t require any manual correction on the date for roughly 400 years if wound regularly, so if your customers are looking for something to pass down for several generations, this might just be the watch.

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Sinn’s 6012 Frankfurt Financial District Rose Gold Anniversary Watch

If you’re unfamiliar with German watch brand Sinn, there’s no better time than now to familiarize yourself with it. Founded in 1961 by pilot Helmut Sinn, the brand created the first “authorized” mechanical chronograph to be worn in space back in 1985. The reason I’ve used quotations marks there is because an unauthorized mechanical Seiko went to space about 12 years prior.

With so much coming out of Baselworld that left many of us kind of “meh,” I found Sinn’s releases to be refreshingly affordable and wearable — not to mention attractive. I was particularly smitten with the anniversary edition of their Frankfurt Financial District watch – the 6012 – which the company released in rose gold, limited to 50 pieces. The 41.5mm diameter rose and black watch contains the self-winding Sinn SZ06 movement with a 60-second scale for the stopwatch minute, moon phase, full calendar display, and sapphire crystal and case back.

Cyrus’ Klepcys Vertical Skeleton Tourbillon

This is the second tourbillon watch on this list, but it is vastly different from the first perpetual calendar tourbillon written about. While the mechanical concept of Cyrus’ Klepcys Vertical Tourbillon isn’t new – I first saw it in the flesh at the 2018 edition of Baselworld – the skeleton version of it is, and seemingly, it’s spectacular.

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Master watchmaker Jean-François Mojon set out to create piece showcasing the innovative mechanism driving the watch. The tourbillon cage, placed in the middle of the dial, is set on a vertical axis at a 90-degree angle, optimizing precision. This exciting watch exists in a world too often filled with releases that contain little more than new dial, bezel or strap colors, and at a time when younger audiences are noticing the lack of creativity among the Swiss brands.

Breitling’s Superocean 36 Watch

It isn’t often that we see a dive watch designed with women in mind. And I don’t mean when some brand has taken one of its popular dive watches, released it in pink and thrown a diamond bezel on it. I mean a dive watch that looks like a dive watch but maybe in a slightly smaller size. This year, Breitling managed to accomplish that feat with an addition to its Superocean family: the Superocean 36.

Created not just with divers in mind but also those who live an active lifestyle on both water and land, the Superocean 36 is a 36mm sport watch containing a ratcheted unidirectional bezel and available with either a light blue (my pick) or white dial with matching Diver Pro II rubber strap or a stainless-steel bracelet. Oh, and it’s water resistant to 200 meters, so clearly diving is still an option for your sea-dweller customers.

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Oris’ Diver’s Sixty-Five Bi-colour

Aside from the “Big Three” mentioned at the beginning of this article, the brand I saw highlighted most coming out of the 2019 edition of Baselworld was Oris. And while I have a personal connection to the brand (Oris and I joined forces on a children’s book that was released in Basel last year), its claim to fame this year has little to do with any Earth-moving releases. What Oris has is something most brands should envy: approachability. The company is hands-on – literally – which is almost unheard of in today’s luxury society. I’ve never known Oris’ North American CEO, V.J. Geronimo, to not reply to a message I’ve sent within an hour or so, and they are one of the best brands in terms of working with collectors’ groups such RedBar and Carolina Watch Club while still channeling their buyers through local watch retailers. So it’s nice to see them getting their due, and with releases like this year’s Diver’s Sixty-Five Bi-colour, it’s easy to understand why.

The Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five Bi-colour has a 40mm stainless steel case with bronze inlay ring and a stainless and bronze two-tone bracelet. The watch is equipped with the Oris 733 automatic movement, domed sapphire crystal and 38-hour power reserve, and it is water resistant to 100 meters.

If you are unfamiliar with any of the brands above, hopefully this list will shed a little light!

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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Where Did All My Profits Go??

Understanding cash flow vs. profit can affect how you manage your business.

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A COMMON COMPLAINT FROM retailers after the CPA has completed the end of year financials is, “Where is the money?” Often, they have reported a healthy profit (which also leads to a bigger tax liability to the IRS), yet their bank account never seems to reflect the profit the business makes.

It’s a common issue. Most store owners expect their profit to show up in the bank account — and that’s perfectly understandable. After all, profit is meant to be what you have left after paying your operating costs and vendors. Yet, rarely does it align.

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The reality is that cash flow and profits are two different things. Cash flow reflects the ins and outs of your bank account over a period of time. Profit is about your income and the expenses that relate to that income. That means the expenses don’t necessarily line up with when you paid them.

One of the best examples of this is the inventory you buy. For instance, let’s say Bob’s business does $1 million in sales for the year. With a keystone markup, Bob makes a gross profit of $500,000 from his business. After expenses of $400,000, his net profit is $100,000.

The bank account tells a very different story. Although the cost of goods sold is $500,000, Bob didn’t necessarily spend that much on inventory for the year. If he spent $600,000 on inventory purchases, he would have increased his inventory holding by $100,000. However, he didn’t sell the extra inventory, and therefore, it doesn’t pay for itself, but it will still come out of his bank account!

Timing is another important factor in paying vendors, too. Whether you pay your vendors immediately or pay the amount six months later, this will affect your bank balance, but it won’t affect your profit — the item is an expense when you sell it, not when you pay your vendor.

Your bank account can also be affected by assets that you buy. A new vehicle that is deemed a business asset may leave a hole in your bank account now if you pay cash, but as a business asset, its cost will be spread over several years to reflect when it is used. Your profit will look healthier than your bank account in this situation.

Of course, another factor to consider is personal spending. Withdrawing a good deal of money from your business account to support your lifestyle isn’t a business expense and won’t decrease your profit. It will, however, certainly lower the balance of your bank account.

It’s important to understand this difference between cash flow and profit so you don’t get caught spending money you don’t have.

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How to Create a Feeding Frenzy In Your Store

Limited-quantity special offers can do more than build short-term traffic.

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IMAGINE A VIRTUAL feeding frenzy of customers coming into your store to buy, right now.

Nice idea, right? But that’s not the sort of thing you can simply turn on or off like a faucet … or is it?

Actually you can, and it’s the perfect thing to create using email marketing and social media. The secret is to offer extremely attractive offers on extremely limited merchandise, and do it on a regular basis.

For example, maybe you offer an 18-inch strand of freshwater pearls with a regular price of $89 for just $27. Who wouldn’t want to buy that? Of course, many, many people would and will. But to get the feeding frenzy, you need one more element … urgency!

In this case, the urgency is manifested in the form of an extremely limited supply. “But I only have 17 of them, and when they’re gone, they’re gone!”

But why would you want to do this? I mean, let’s say you bought those pearls for $12 a strand. Well, selling 17 strands at a profit of just $15 a strand makes you a whopping $255. Hardly worth the trouble, right?

Well, consider this: When you do this regularly — at least once a month, and once a week is better — you can predictably expect the following:

  • You will virtually eliminate opt-outs from your email list. People will stay with you forever, not because they want or need any one thing or things, but they’ll be afraid of missing the one screamin’ deal they do. Research proves this to be true.
  • You’ll very likely see an increase in email opens.
  • You’re likely to see an increase in your social media engagements in the form of page likes, comments, etc.
  • You’ll finally be able to track social media responses directly to specific posts; no longer will you have to guess if your social media is working. You’ll know … and how well.
  • You’ll have customers walking in to buy. And that makes upselling and add-on selling much, much easier. If your sales team is well-trained, that li’l $27 sale turns into your average ticket or higher.
  • Perhaps most important, you’ll be training your customers on how to be your customers. You’ll be delivering the message that, in this relationship, they’re expected to buy from you.

Obviously, to make “feeding frenzy” marketing work, you need to buy right. Make it part of your trade show routine to visit the closeout booths to find such deals. Buy unusual numbers of the items you want to make your feeding frenzy offers (17 of these, 22 of those, 8 of another thing, 31 of something else).

It’s also important to keep the price points low. You can have something with a $200 value or more, but you’ll want to keep the “deal” price under $100, and under $50 is best. This has to remain an “impulse” buy that virtually any and every customer can appreciate.

And once you’ve mastered the art of the feeding frenzy offer, start making more compelling offers to your customers for those bigger items for bigger occasions. You’ll see your traffic, sales and profits skyrocket.

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David Geller

What You Can Learn About Turn from Clothing and Furniture Stores

Hint: Turn more, earn more.

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THERE ARE REALLY only three important numbers in a retail store: gross profit dollars, inventory on hand, and inventory turn. So who’s better at managing money among these three retailers?

Store                         Gross Profit %
Jewelry                      42.6%
Furniture                  45.0%
Clothing                    46.5%

Darn close, aren’t they? The grass isn’t so green on the other side after all. Or is it?

Let’s look at inventory turn, which means how many times a year an item sells. (These numbers are from stores doing “pretty well.”)

Store                            Turn            Days in the Store
Jewelry                   1.4                       260
Furniture               3.5                       104
Clothing                 4.3                       84

A clothing store won’t keep a shirt/suit/jacket/blouse in the store more than three to four months. They will heavily discount it at that point to get it out the door; they don’t just “squash” merchandise closer together to show more like jewelers do.

Furniture stores work the same way. They have a natural problem: available floor space. The biggest reason for high turn in a furniture store was told to me by a furniture store owner: “Where am I going to store an extra 100 mattresses?”

Clothing stores get rid of their merchandise every quarter. Furniture stores get rid of their inventory every four months, and a good jeweler turns their merchandise a little over once a year. But most jewelers I meet have had their total merchandise for two-and-a-half to four years! This causes terrible cash flow and piles of debt.

If you buy jewelry in January, it should sell at least once by Christmas; that would be a turn of 1.0. If it stays until after Christmas, discount it or give a spiff to the sales staff to unload it, or even return it to your vendor and exchange it.

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If it is still there in 18 months, scrap it. That’s what clothing and furniture stores do.

Let me show you the money-making power of turn. All three stores are going to buy an item for $200. For a jeweler, this might be earrings; for a clothing store, a nice jacket; and for a furniture store, it might be a chair. In the table below you can see the cost, profit margin in dollars, and what that brings in for total product dollars in a year.

Keeping an item long-term is a detriment. Even if someone buys it three years from now, you should have had that $207 in profit for each of the three years, totaling $621 brought into the store (not the measly $163.35 you would make by holding it three years).

When it’s over a year old, most things need to be disposed of and replaced. Maybe your customers just aren’t buying what you have in stock. Change that!

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