Watching the Trends
SINCE THEIR INCEPTION, watches have always been important fashion accessories. Now, however, with the rise of new time-telling devices like cell phones, computers and even music players, watches are more defined by how they serve personal style. Below, a few timepiece experts from our industry give tips on how to best incorporate fashion into watch promotions by explaining a few current style trends.
"The trend that we have seen just in the past few months is there [are] more of the big watches," said Vi Smith-Schulmeier, MAS, president and COO of S&S Time, Tulsa, Okla. "It's like wearing a clock on your wrist." She added that the face diameter on such watches could be as much as 2" or 21⁄2", and that larger rectangular faces were also popular. "I don't think it will last, but it's something that's been happening for the last six months."
The larger-faced Voyager Watch from Leed's also features a stainless-steel case and bracelet, water-resistance up to 100 feet, and Japanese quartz movement. (866) 533-3724
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BACK TO THE FUTURE
Trevor Gnesin, owner and president of Tustin, California-based Logomark, agreed that bigger faces on watches were a trend that, while popular now, would not last. "In the next year or so, I think we will start to see thin watches again," he said. "Not small, petit watches, [those with a] big face but much thinner. A more elegant type of watch."
The Citizen Eco-Drive Watch from Bonica Precision captures this elegance with a thinner, simplified body. It features a stainless-steel case with a silver-toned front, leather strap and mineral-glass crystal. (877) 220-8463
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The Rainbow connection
Color may be the next big trend in watch face ornamentation. "We're getting more colored dials, lots of colored dials, and even some colored straps," said Smith-Schulmeier. She explained the colors in question covered a bright and diverse range, from basics like reds and blues, to more specific shades like chartreuse. She added that the popularity of bright colors was not limited to ladies' styles, but was common across all sport watches.
Showcasing S&S Time's new Prism dials, the company's QuarterMaster Watch comes with brown or black straps and polished, oversized time markers. The prism dials are available in a wide selection of face colors that can be matched to any client's branding needs. (800) 880-3232
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In the watch world, "complications" are extras on the watch face, like exposed gears or date windows. Features currently popular in retail, they don't always translate well to the promotional world. "Whether it's a timer or a date window, it doesn't leave a lot of room for the imprint," said Mark Abels, owner of Tulsa, Oklamhoma-based Selco. He added, however, that is is possible to mix the two. Abels related how Selco's Pére de Temps line learned to marry ornate complications and branding by imprinting in unconventional locations, like on the reverse side of the face glass, inside on any exposed machinery of the watch, or even replacing the Pére de Temps logo.
Castle Merchandising's Nautica Men's Chronograph Watch illustrates Abels' point, showing a watch with three chronograph timers, a date window and room for imprints. (516) 292-4143
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SHAPING UP NICELY
Smith-Schulmeier mentioned a popular trend in watch bands that surprisingly didn't involve styles in leather or steel bracelets. She described a style of watch band where a shaped PVC or rubber strap tapers down from the lug connections on the watch's case. "That's been real popular," she said.
The WC6340 Unisex Watch from Logomark features the tapered strap that Smith-Schulmeier describes. The watch also features flat mineral crystal, Japanese movement, and is water-resistant. (800) 789-4438
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A TOUCH OF CLASS
For watches meant to straddle casual and formal styles, Abels recommended a two-toned silver and gold bracelet. "Two-toned [watches] people tend to wear more often, whereas a gold watch tends to be more dressy, so you get less use out of it," he said.
Sporting a two-toned band, the Alliance from Victorinox Swiss Army features Swiss analog quartz movement, a steel case and bracelet, and sapphire crystal. It is water-resistant to 330 feet, and is available in 38 mm (shown) or 28 mm case diameters. (800) 243-4066
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Smith-Schulmeier described some of the award watches S&S Time has done for events like the Liberty and Rose Bowls. She said the end-buyers for these events really want popular name brands like Seiko, Guess or Pulsar, and aren't so interested in private label items. S&S Time then customizes the dials from the name-brand watches for the event, like for the Liberty Bowl, where the company created raised and polished logos on a Fossil watch for each school.
Fossil's Men's Classic Sport watch is similar to what's seen on the wrists of NFL fans whose team has just won the Super Bowl. The watch features a folding back clasp, stainless-steel case and bracelet, and is water-resistant to 100 meters. (800) 699-9580
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TIME FOR WORK
Selco's Pilot series is a collection of watches that Abels described as being well-suited for the workplace. He described the watches as being a good mix of modern and traditional styles, and added that the watches had a nice weight to them. "They just fall into that [niche where] somebody in the office can wear it, somebody in the plant can wear it … that kind of styling is what's really popular, and it hits a good cross section of people."
The Esprit Medallion Watch from Selco, a specific watch Abels pointed to from Selco's Pilot line, has a Japanese quartz movement, is water-resistant to 10 ATM, and has a stainless-steel case and bracelet. (800) 947-3526
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