Jewellers are battling with experiences and holidays as people are now marking special moments and milestones in their lives with memories.

In an exclusive interview with out sister publication, WatchPro, the managing director of family-run jewellery retailer, Pragnell, said he believes the greatest competitor for the jewellery industry is experiences and holidays.

It used to be that people would purchase a piece of jewellery or a watch to commemorate a milestone, but now that money is being used on making memories. But, jewellers can fight back.


Charlie Pragnell shares: “I think our greatest competitor for the watch and jewellery business is experiences and holidays because people are marking the moments in their lives with memories. Our job is to make sure that watches and jewellery are a better option because they don’t change while the memories of holidays can fade and change over time.”

He continues: “Think about the occasion of becoming married. Tradition dictates that you preserve that memory in two or three specific ways. One, you have a great big party with your friends and family. Two, you have rings as a permanent marker of the memories of that occasion. And three, you go on honeymoon. All three create memories but only one remains a permanent embodiment of the occasion.”

Because of this analogy of a wedding, while the experience and holiday markets create a challenge for the UK jewellery industry, Charlie Pragnell believes the sector has every reason to be optimistic.

He explains: “That’s why we can continue to be very optimistic about the long-term future of the watch and jewellery business, because people do want to mark memories with special objects. It’s been that way for thousands of years and I don’t think that’s ever going to change. People are concerned about the replacement of watches, for example, with electronic devices, but you introduce me to somebody who feels an emotional attachment to a mobile telephone. People don’t get emotionally attached or embody memories in an electronic device of any kind.”

Pragnell says the key in keeping the milestone marking market in the industry is to offer the best advice to customers, and an exceptional customer experience.

The editor of Watch Pro likened Pragnell’s service to the wand shop in Harry Potter, where people walk into its stores and find something that is the absolute perfect fit for them.

By offering the perfect fit, people will keep coming back for more, and celebrating more occasions with watches and jewellery.

That’s exactly what our role is,” Prangell says about the Harry Potter wand shop reference. “The people coming to us learn what’s best for them so that they are better informed to make their decision. Of course, the customer makes their decision, but it’s our job to fully inform the customer as much as we possibly can to make sure they make the right decision. If they do, they are much happier with whatever they’ve bought than they would be if they don’t quite buy what they want, so they value the relationship they have with us better for the long term.”

He concludes: “Usually people come to us for a special occasion. By making sure that what they buy is the best article possible for them to mark the occasion or desire, the memories that it embodies are better preserved and better observed.”