Watch battle rages for mid-market brands


Retailers search for perfect solutions in the £199 gift watch space.

Watch brands are claiming to be enjoying their most successful ever year at IJL, with classic mid-market timepieces appealing most to retailers.

Wholesaler Since 1853, which debuted at the show last year with a single watch brand, is back this year with four brands. The main thrust for Peter and John Carmichael, brothers and co-directors of the company, is Torgoen, an American-owned watch brand manufactured in Switzerland.

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The brand is designed and positioned with a nod to sporting aviation, and should appeal to an active outdoor male customer. Michael Lockett, executive vice-president for Torgoen, who flew in for IJL, believes it is one of the best quality collections for its price point.

Since 1853 has already signed up around a dozen retailers since launching the brand in the UK three months ago.

Also in the IJL watch area is Classic Time, a wholesaler that is promoting its newest brand, Wenger. The latest Wenger launch, Squadron, also has an aviation twist – perhaps a trend that retailers should look out for this Christmas.

The Swiss-made watches are also competing at a similar price point to Torgoen, with £199 described by Classic Time director Terry Cordy as the sweet spot for retailers this season. “The watch market is very strong for retailers, but customers are moving away from lesser known luxury brands. Super brands like Rolex are dominating at the top end, but jewellers are looking for innovation and quality in the £100 to £300 range,” he said.


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