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Fashion Watches See Reinvention

As consumers increasingly use their cell phones to tell time, watches have become even more of a fashion statement.

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Contemporary fashion watches are getting a makeover for fall, blurring the lines between functionality and fun.

Particularly as consumers use their cell phones to tell time, watches have become even more of a fashion statement.

Noting that this watch sector is “ripe for expansion,” Ali Soltani, president and founder of the California-based luxury watch manufacturer Ritmo Mundo, explained how the company’s new models from its Izod and Reflex brands can hold their own among well-known fashion watches.

“The [watches]…cater not just to a young audience shying away from watches but to young-hearted people of all ages, since the functionality…[can transition] from the nightclub to the golf club, from the beach to the gym and from chic fashion to sports fashion.”

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Izod, the PVH Corp.-owned brand that launched its first collection of timepieces with Ritmo Mundo last year, continues this fall with new lines of colorful men’s and women’s watches featuring three-hand and chronograph versions with sporty rubber, canvas, bracelet and leather strap options. The timepieces range from $75 to $300, and are currently launching at Macy’s and other retailers worldwide.

Also out from Ritmo Mundo is a collection of “slap bracelet” watches by its new brand, Reflex, which was introduced this year at BaselWorld and JCK Las Vegas. “When I came across a silicone slap bracelet, I thought how cool it would be to use it to make it a watch,” said Soltani. Inspired by the ubiquitous Eighties and Nineties fad, the brand’s sporty LED timepieces are fashioned out of environmentally friendly materials with a snap-curl silicone design that fits any wrist size. The watches, which retail for $150, are available now at ritmomundo.com and on Amazon.com next month.

Matteo Morandi, chief executive of ToyWatch, the self-described “anti-luxury statement” brand that claims Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Madonna as wearers, said, “For today’s modern, fashion-savvy woman, a watch speaks volumes about her style sensibility and who she is — almost as much as the handbag she wears and the car she drives.”

ToyWatch launched a new Central America-inspired Maya collection featuring hand-woven straps reminiscent of childhood friendship bracelets. The soft band comes in four color variations with a 40-mm. gilded gold case, an engraved backside and a white and champagne dial, retailing for $168 at toywatchusa.com and international retailers.

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