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Articles from WATCHES (647 Articles)












Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin

Timepieces that make men tick

The men’s watch market is buoyed by timepieces targeting a modern male’s desire to be on-trend. EMILY MOBBS has the inside scoop on what’s hot.

How would one describe a typical male watch consumer in today’s market? According to local watch suppliers, this would be a man with a penchant for refinement, classicism and minimalism.

That’s right, minimalism. It seems big, bold and brash is officially out!

“Style in general has become more refined in the past few years,” explains Jeanette Sceats, managing director of Instyle Watches, the local distributor for Pierre Cardin.

“We have become aware of this and have adjusted a large range of styles to take a sleek, minimal shape. We find that not only are these on trend but also very wearable,” she states, adding that a large percentage of sales in the past year have been generated by watches with a minimal, classic style.

Pierre Cardin
Pierre Cardin
Thomas Sabo
Thomas Sabo

West End Collection general manager John Rose echoes these sentiments: “The changes in the male watch market have been very distinct over the past three or four years. The move back to classic, minimalist looks, which was initiated by Daniel Wellington five years ago, is still very much at the forefront of fashion.”

Rose, who holds the local distribution rights for Daniel Wellington, as well as other ranges like Christian Paul Sydney, says Aussie men are beginning to break the traditional notions that there must be a watch for day and a watch for night.

“It is now very on-trend to wear a dress watch for everyday wear,”
he states.

There is no denying that fashion watches have helped fuel sales during a period of global uncertainty in the market. Perhaps Duraflex Group Australia (DGA) watch division sales manager Jeff Rennie’s comments best illustrate the current climate.

Seiko
Seiko
Dukudu
Dukudu



“Men’s sales in the under $200 retail market have been experiencing double-digit growth,” Rennie says. “In the men’s lifestyle brand with products priced between $200 and $350, we are marginally ahead of expectations; in the retail sector above $350, this market sector is presenting much more of a challenge.”

Brands like Police, Roamer, Jag, Thomas Sabo and Sekonda fall under DGA’s portfolio and Rennie points to an increased desire to be fashionable as the main way in which the male watch consumer has changed in the past few years.

This is also Rose’s experience, who states men’s watch sales for his brands, including Daniel Wellington and Christian Paul, are “well up”.

“We have seen more than 30 per cent growth across these two brands over the past 12 months,” he says, adding, “I would attribute this increase primarily to the move by consumers from traditional functional brands across to fashion brands, as well as lower pricing allowing for men to own more than one watch.”

The fact that males now own multiple watches is probably not ground-breaking; however, it’s encouraging that the trend is strengthening.

“Some men still need simple and robust work watches but increasingly those same men are open to having other watches for making a statement about their good taste and fashion sense after-hours and on weekends,” explains David Faraday, managing director of Hipp, which distributes fashion watch brands Oozoo Timepieces and Dukudu.

 

SPORTING EVOLUTION

What is the current definition of a sports watch and what is the state of the sports watch market in Australia?

Krzysztof Jakubaszek
Krzysztof Jakubaszek

AJ Watch Repairs national brand manager Krzysztof Jakubaszek says sports watches are generally anything with a rotating bezel, stopwatch and at least 100 metre water resistance.

“Customers who actively pursue outdoor activities tend to look for specific items such as GPS units, compass, altimeter and barometer or specialty dive computers, and that is a totally different realm,” he explains.

Further, Jakubaszek believes it’s important to separate these sorts of timepieces from dress lines as they could overshadow the simplicity and elegance of some models with their bulkiness.

Stuart Smith
Stuart Smith

According to Seiko Australia group marketing manager Stuart Smith, there are common elements to a sports watch such as being rugged, swimmable and masculine but ‘sports’ as a classification means different things to different people.

He says that the concept is popular across all markets in Australia and functionality advancements lie in solar technology.

“Solar technology continues to improve in terms of being less noticeable on the dial layouts and having more effective energy consumption,” he explains.

Duraflex Group Australia watch division sales manager Jeff Rennie expands on Smith’s comments, stating that the traditional sports watch “as we know it” is almost obsolete.

Jeff Rennie
Jeff Rennie

“Historically the pedigree of the traditional sports watch was all stainless steel, chronograph and 100 metre water resistance,” he says, adding that brands like Garmin and Fitbit have taken the sports watch to another level. These brands are specifically targeting health and fitness with a whole new range of hi-tech features.

“In traditional watch brands there is still a healthy market for the sports watch; however, the purchase decision is based more on the aesthetics and design as opposed to functionality,” Rennie concludes.

 

Style files

According to Nils Rasmussen, managing director of Bering local distributor BYMR, the shift towards trend-based watches can’t be denied.

“There is definitely a shift to a more trend-oriented watch,” he says, stating that the style du jour features coloured straps and classic dials. “Bering continues to push the colour trends with black and rose gold combinations, blue cases and mesh straps. Bering has always been renowned for its classic, minimalistic dial designs.”

Colour is also making waves for Pierre Cardin.

“Gold and silver watches (cases/bands) have always been strong sellers; however, our coloured leather bands are starting to make their mark,” Sceats explains.

It’s not just bands either. AJ Watch Repairs national brand manager Krzysztof Jakubaszek is excited about the current shades of dials.

“What impresses me are the coloured dials that are coming back. Browns, greys, greens – there is a real move to stand out from the rest,” he says.

Jag
Jag
Rose & Coy Australia
Rose & Coy Australia

AJ Watch Repairs distributes watches including Atlantic, Alfex, Tacs and Akteo and Jakubaszek states that while men like their timepieces to be water resistant and somewhat durable, he has noticed a rise in males wanting dress watches for special occasions.

“Atlantic is one of the companies that not only caters to thick, everyday bulky watches but also the smart dress watches for that special moment,” he adds.

Aesthetics are a driving force for the modern male watch consumer but that doesn’t mean technical aspects should be disregarded. Jakubaszek says fashion and functionality each come into play.

“It’s a bit of both,” he states, adding, “Most men do want to know what’s inside. They still consider the Swiss movement to be better and worth the money and they aren’t wrong in thinking that.

“Fashion still has an influence but at the lower end of the economic scale; consumers with more money demand a cleaner, sleeker, sophisticated look that you only get at higher prices.”

Fashion and function

Seiko Australia distributes Seiko, Pulsar and Lorus watches. Group marketing manager Stuart Smith suggests that technical specifications are important but are just one element driving purchasing decisions.

Smith states that a watch needs to have good design characteristics to be a successful seller, and he explains that water and solar capabilities continue to offer strong market appeal.

“The strength of Seiko is its reputation for quality, accuracy, reliability and range diversity. Again the releases in 2017 deliver these core values,” Smith says, adding, “Look out for [Seiko] Presage in this season’s release, an affordable range of quality, mechanical timepieces in contemporary designs and stunning dial executions.” 

Bering
Bering
Lorus
Lorus



The latest Presage collection, launched at this year’s Baselworld watch and jewellery show, is inspired by a cocktail bar and places glamour and style at the forefront.

“This series of mechanical watches has only previously been available on the Japanese domestic market,” Smith told Jeweller shortly after Baselworld. “Since its introduction in 2010, the series has developed a cult following on the world’s blogs, forums and websites.”

Rennie also believes that aesthetics reign supreme when it comes to making a final purchasing decision.

“Aesthetic trends are now key, absolutely,” he says. “Of course the technical aspects are critical for high-end luxury watches but, more often than not, the final decision-maker is based on aesthetics for many customers – for fashion watches, it’s all about seasonal trends.”

So what are the latest men’s watch designs and features that Rennie is most excited about?

Police
Police
Atlantic
Atlantic

He says while minimalist styles are strong in some specific regions and territories, his team is experiencing a resurgence in more detailed designs throughout other regions: “For Thomas Sabo, the over-sized crown featuring iconic design codes such as the skull with a monochrome palette for men
and the forthcoming Jag range will recapture the true essence of the Jag brand – stay tuned!”

Sceats highlights a new fashion-forward, unisex range with a chic minimal finish as well as the rose gold accents in the latest Pierre Cardin collection as current standout features.

“I love the accents of rose gold throughout our latest range,” she says. “This hue, set next to a navy coated metal, in my opinion is the epitome of urban class.”

Rasmussen also points to a focus on blue, along with solar capacitors, as strong design features for Bering, while Faraday notes a return to rectangular watchcases over at Oozoo.

According to Rose, the popularity of a dress watch for everyday use is exemplified by Rose & Coy Australia, a local watch business that launched in July and is distributed by West End Collection.

“Our new Australian brand Rose & Coy emphasises this trend with a collection of watches that feature a traditional, minimalist dial structure on a case that is only 4.2 mm thick and a strap with highlighted stitching and modern colour variants,”  Rose says.

In a market overflowing with fashion-conscious men wishing to own multiple watches, suppliers and retailers must be quick to keep up with trends and releases.

As Faraday notes, “All retailers and wholesalers are challenged these days by the lightning pace at which fashion is cycling in and out. Retailers would do well to align themselves with suppliers and brands that are nimble and offering new models and styles regularly to satisfy this new reality in consumer demand.”

The male’s wrist is taking centre stage and it’s time for the industry to come to the party.




















Wednesday, 15 August, 2018 09:02pm
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