Traditional jewellers are seeing a growth in their sales of watches, so this year the spring show at the NEC was renamed to encourage more watch exhibitors and buyers. Tom Milner, a watch expert and self-confessed watch “geek” was invited to take part in the panel discussion giving retailers new to watches advice about how to get started. The discussion was chaired by James Buttery, Editor of WatchPro magazine .
“Watch sales were 28% share of the total jewellery market in 2012,” says Julie Driscoll, event organiser for the show. “According to Keynote the market is set to grow further within the next four years. It makes sense for us to respond to this trend by speaking to jewellery retailers who currently do not sell watches”. James Buttery agrees “This is an interesting moment for watches here in the UK. There’s a vibrancy and sense of belief that anything is possible that has led to some innovative, exciting and distinctly British brand launches”.
Tustains has seen an increase in their own sales of watches over the last few years, with growing interest from ladies as well as the men who have traditionally collected them. Tustains have recently added Breitling to their list which also includes Omega, TAGHeuer, Bell & Ross, Tissot and Longines. Many of their watch customers return regularly to look at the latest models, as well as bringing their watches for regular servicing, valuation or a repair.
Other panellists were Lloyd Amsdon of Watchfinder and Claire Perkins of Stormbrand. The advice of the panel was to build a watch brand portfolio that matches the jewellery brands the retailer already stocks. The recent customer interest in fashion watches, for example Ice watch and Bering watches appeal for their attractiveness rather than for the precision mechanisms , were recommended as a good place to start. This approach has another advantage in that the investment cost in stock is realistic for the new watch retailer.