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Articles from WATCHES (687 Articles), MEN'S JEWELLERY (153 Articles)











Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches

Men’s watches: catch up on new trends and demands

The relationship between a man and his watch is as strong as ever. EMILY MOBBS investigates how retailers can appease current demands in this oh so competitive market.

It’s a tale as old as time (pun fully intended): men have a strong affinity to watches. There is the trusty tie, the classic pocket-square and the smooth pair of shades but no other accessory seems to have the same hold over a man as the wristwatch.

A watch is the ultimate statement maker – a glimpse into the wearer’s character and style. While the power of the watch looks set to continue, demands change and retailers need to ensure they’re abreast of those changes to give themselves the best chance of securing sales in such a competitive sector.

Jeweller’s BaselWorld report in July can attest to the fact that there is no shortage of new models entering the local market so stores would be hard pressed to find a timepiece that didn’t appeal to their customer base.

John Rose, managing director of West End Collection, the local supplier for Daniel Wellington and Christian Paul, says the tide is turning in the looks department.

“Men are going for more of a slim, classic, minimalist look,” he states. “Oversized and bright-coloured watches are not as popular today as they were five years ago.”

David Faraday is another supplier who claims Aussie males are seeking a pared-down aesthetic. Faraday is the managing director of Hipp, which secured the local distribution rights for Dutch brands Oozoo Timepieces in 2015 and Dukudu last month.

“Oozoo Timepieces satisfies the huge appetite right now for fashion watches but particularly the desire for ultra-slim, ‘Scandi’, minimalist dials with classic leather straps,” he says.

John Wohler, owner of rural Victorian jewellery store John Wohler Jewellers, echoes these sentiments, explaining that the demand for understated watch designs can’t be denied.

Hipp
Hipp
Mulco
Mulco

“We have noticed the boom in plain, fashion-price-point watches – brands such as Oozoo, Uncle Jack, Christian Paul, Daniel Wellington and MVMT Watches,” he says.

One could be forgiven for thinking the minimalistic style of fashion watch would be more popular amongst the female demographic but Wohler begs to differ.

“We are finding the trend to be equal female/male in relation to sales and 40 mm/36 mm cases are popular for both demographics,” Wohler says. “With regards to the age groups buying these watches, it is everyone from teenage [through to] 70-plus; anyone who is following social media trends or is after a minimalistic watch at an excellent price-point.”

Not everyone is trumpeting minimalistic aesthetics and it’s important to note that the tastes of local male consumers can never really be neatly packaged into one strict category.

Ian Brookes, director of EverettBrookes jewellery store in Adelaide, states that watches with minimalistic designs don’t always perform particularly well for his business.

“I’m not sure if it’s the demographic that visits our workshop but we don’t seem to be moving a lot of our minimalist design watches. Excuse the pun but those Scandinavian-style watch sales are just ticking over, and sales are mostly for female models,” he says.

Instead, he reports strong performance in masculine styles: “Some of our brands have a strong masculine or industrial appearance, which really grabs the attention of most guys that come into the store.”

Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches
Hipp
Hipp

Social clout

Wohler’s earlier mention of social media is significant as many brands are leveraging platforms like Facebook and Instagram to engage with existing and potential consumers.

Rose says those that create strong social media presences help to align the market with their brands. One example is Daniel Wellington, which doubled its one million Instagram followers over the past 18 months to 2.2 million.

“Consumers often make their decision to buy before actually getting into the store because of social media,” Rose adds. “Strong influencers whose opinions are trusted can drive sales in retail stores.”

Online marketing strategies can bring people into bricks-and-mortar stores; however, Rose says it’s still up to retailers to close the sale “there and then” when consumers do enter.

Brookes states that social media efforts by watch brands offer huge benefits.

“Watches that we sell the most have a very strong social media presence,” he comments, adding that his men’s watch sales far outweigh women’s watch sales.

“We have one brand that the owners regularly take snaps of and hashtag, normally while on their retro motorbike or in front of their Audi or Lambo or yacht. The majority of our customers will tell us that they saw the watch on Instagram and want to learn more about it or just buy it straight away because it exceeded their expectations.

“It’s interesting too that many of the new and innovative brands have Facebook audiences that would be the envy of some of the larger, more traditional watchmakers,” Brookes notes. 

Wohler says the “greatest power” possessed by brands is social media.

Seiko
Seiko
West End Collection
West End Collection
West End Collection
West End Collection

“The brands have huge followings on Facebook and Instagram; they have connections with on-trend fashion and sports persons with the main focus on an affordable watch from $90 to $300,” he explains, adding that he believes customers are more likely to buy another watch than repair a damaged one.

“The trend of these watches will continue,” he predicts. “As we are seeing, especially in the Australian market, more of these brands are starting up online-only sales to keep price-points low and then expanding into retailer stores with the brand already established.”

Mulco is one watch business that has entered the Australian market via the online route and is now looking to branch into jewellery and watch retail stores.

With a presence in more than 32 countries, Mulco Watch Australia CEO Richard Ramos says he is confident that the range – comprising Swiss movement, bold designs and vibrant colours – will be embraced by Aussie men.

“Men have become much more confident in wearing colours and diverse styles,” he states. “Previously, they would avoid doing so to preserve their masculinity but the stigmas surrounding men and fashion have become much more positive in all aspects so they feel far more comfortable branching out their style.”

Ramos notes that initial customer feedback shows 70 per cent of customers in Australia are purchasing a second watch within two months of purchasing their first: “They loved the brand and are starting to be loyal to Mulco. It’s a very similar scenario to what has happened in other markets.”

According to Ramos, the offering aims to break the paradigm of people wearing items that are “age appropriate”.

“People should focus on wearing something that expresses their personality and makes them feel amazing regardless of their age. We have had great success in challenging this status quo and spreading this positive message of self-expression across all age groups.”

Hipp
Hipp
West End Collection
West End Collection
Mulco
Mulco

Managing varying demands

Men remain savvy shoppers and Faraday states the importance of price as a sales driver in a fashion market cannot be understated.

“The real shift these days is that men view their watches as a fashion accessory much like women do,” he says. “The watch must match the look of the day and be in colours that coordinate with their clothes, shoes and laptop bags. They are to be worn for the season and then replaced with the next look. One of the consequences of this is that the watches need to be more affordable.”

Faraday mentions Dukudu as a prime example, a brand set to debut to Australian jewellers at the International Jewellery Fair on August 27 and to the European market on the same day.

He says Dukudu has been developed to “punch above its weight in the men’s category and really capture the imagination of fashion-forward guys and an even broader audience of men who will be attracted to the strong yet simple elegance of the watches”.

Seiko Australia group marketing manager Stuart Smith reminds retailers that not all purchasers of men’s watches are drawn to lower price-points.

“We have found the higher market segment is driving more business for us,” he says. “The introduction of new technology is always a catalyst to strengthen sales. Our GPS range ticks many boxes for the consumer – accuracy, practicality, durability, functionality and intuitivism.”

Smith adds that diversity in the sense of “having a broad range of good-looking designs to meet the broad consumer market” is a key driving point of sale for Seiko now and leading into the second half of 2016. 

“Seiko has a diverse range of case designs and calibres,” he says. “We have technology across all watch-making skills – quartz, kinetic, GPS, spring drive and mechanical.”

Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches
Mulco
Mulco
Hipp
Hipp

One of Smith’s main recommendations for effective selling is to sell the customer benefit rather than the product feature.

“This will instantly build relevance and consumer engagement,” he says, providing an example of elapsed time via the humble bezel ring. “An example of the daily benefit of this feature is to measure exactly how much time you have remaining on your meter when parking your car – by utilising the bezel, you avoid the risk of receiving a fine.”

In this situation, the salesperson would be using the watch to show how to rotate the bezel to measure elapsed time and it is the ability to demonstrate features like this that gives jewellers an advantage over online-only stores.

Bricks vs clicks

“How can bricks-and-mortar watch retailers best overcome online competitors?” asks Jeanette Sceats, managing director of Instyle Watches, the local distributor for Pierre Cardin.

“I believe every bricks-and-mortar watch retailer must be able to adjust the links in watches so the purchaser walks away with a watch that fits his wrist,” she states. “They must also set the time, remove any crown stopper and ensure the watch has an operating battery. It is imperative they understand and show the customer how to operate the watch, especially if it has a multi-function or chronograph movement. Online stores cannot offer these services.”

Adding to this, Ramos says, “If you can show the customer all of the intricate and exciting details about the watch they are more likely to be just as excited about it. We want retail staff to be more than just retail staff; we want them to become brand ambassadors, to take pride in the product and share their enthusiasm with the market.”

Faraday offers a reminder that men’s watches, just like jewellery, are very personal.

“People like to try them on, as wrist sizes and skin tones vary from person to person,” he says. “It’s not just a matter of what you like or which look you are trying to create. Rather, it is what looks good on you in proportion to your wrist size and your skin tone.”

Instyle Watches
Instyle Watches
Seiko
Seiko

These are all attributes Faraday says jewellers can use to close sales.

“Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to reinforce these exact points. Selecting a watch that looks right and feels right is like trying on a pair of shoes, a jacket, shirt or pants – it is infinitely better done in person.”

This comment is particularly on-point for the men’s watch category. Retailers are, after all, dealing with one, if not the, most important fashion accessory a male will ever own.

It’s not a sector that should be taken lightly and jewellers who are able to keep up with demand and ensure their salespeople have thorough product knowledge and service levels will inevitably gain the upper hand.

 

Breaking age barriers

Do demands for jewellers' watches vary according to age group?

“Men up to the age of 50 like the oversized trend for the 44 mm to 50 mm face size that has become popular, whereas the over 50s tend to go with the smaller face sizes like the Oozoo Steel range or some of the unisex styles in the 40 mm face size.” 
David Faraday, hiPP

 


“Younger men tend to like a variety of styles, from large, multi-function to all black watches and even the new slim classics with mesh bands. Older men tend to want classic styles or waterproof sports watches.”
Jeanette Sceats, Instyle Watches

 


“Our largest age group has traditionally been 25 to 44-year-olds but we have found a significant increase as older age groups enjoy finding unique pieces that are cool and refreshing. As a brand, Mulco aims to break the paradigm of people wearing things that are ‘age appropriate’.”
Richard Ramos, Mulco Watches Australia

 


“The demand for watches varies but more by consumer habits and interest rather than age. The consumer wants a timepiece that is practical for their lifestyle.”
Stuart Smith, Seiko

 

 


“The beauty of classic, minimalist design is that it is not age biased. This design trend cuts across all age barriers.”
John Rose, West End Collection

 











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Mobbs • Editor

Emily Mobbs is editor of Jeweller. She has more than 8 years' experience in trade publishing and reports on various aspects of the jewellery industry.

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Sunday, 22 September, 2019 11:47am
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