By  on February 25, 2008

Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, the new president and chief executive officer of the $700 million Timex Group, wants to build the firm's luxury offerings and raise its international profile.

"What attracted me to Timex was that it has one of the strongest portfolios of brands, and I believe that a global company with a strong portfolio from mass to luxury is a strong point," Hoejsgaard said. "Timex Group has been somewhat of a quiet entity and there is real opportunity to leverage the group's strength across all of its divisions to produce interesting partners and retailers."

In addition to acquiring the licenses for Valentino and Ferragamo watches last June, Timex is eyeing more potential licensees to solidify its portfolio.

"We are very focused on launching Valentino and Ferragamo licenses, but are thinking of plenty of others and with good reason," Hoejsgaard said. "But we want to secure this expansion in the luxury sector first and see that it is a success, and establish a good platform in building the luxury end of the business further.

"We are constantly looking at new opportunities, but we need to be very sure that potential new licensees will fit into our future," he said. "We need to look at global strength and become true masters of our portfolio strategy and have a bright future as a group."

Hoejsgaard is intent on growing globally, specifically in China and other emerging markets. The firm already has a major presence in India. Timex has 7,500 employees in the U.S., Brazil, France, Germany, the Phillippines, China, Israel and India.

The ceo, whose appointment was effective Feb. 11, had been president and ceo of luxury jewelry firm Georg Jensen. Previously, he was president of Paris-based Lancaster Group Worldwide Inc., a division of Coty Inc. Hoejsgaard reports to Timex chairman Anette Olsen.

The company, based in Middlebury, Conn., operates five units under the Timex name, two of which are devoted to producing luxury watches. The Timex brand is at the core of the firm, with a legacy of technological innovation. Timex features the Core and Classic models that put Timex on the map 154 years ago, as well as newer Expedition and Sport ranges. The collections retail from $50 to $150.Last October, the company began targeting Timex as a more lifestyle, trend-driven brand with the launch of its Diamond collection. "My jeans and heels watch" is the new tag line that seeks to bridge glamour with the function.

Each Timex Diamond watch is backed by a certificate of authenticity and adheres to Gemological Institute of America standards of clarity and color. The diamonds also stand by regulations established by the Kimberley Process, ensuring that each one originated from nonconflict sources. The Timex Diamond Collection retails for $125 to $325.

In addition, Timex Group created four licensing divisions. Sequel manufactures all watches under the Guess and Guess Collection labels, while Callenen produces all watches by Nautica and Echo brands. In the luxury sector, Vertime controls the licenses for Versace, Ferragamo and Valentino. The Ferragamo and Valentino collections are launching in April at the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair. Vertime's sales in 2007 were expected to reach 36 million Swiss francs, or $33 million at the current exchange.

The fifth division of Timex launched in October 2006 will oversee the brand's highest-priced retail offerings. The firm acquired the license for watchmaker Vincent Bérard and in 2008 will produce about 100 watches in the 50,000 euros price range, or about $74,000.

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