Fashion Watches See Reinvention

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

View Slideshow

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

This story first appeared in the July 30, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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.”

RELATED STORY: Capitalizing on Contemporary >>

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.

View Slideshow