NEW YORK -- A strong Christmas season for the fine watch business had vendors and retailers in high spirits at the annual North American Watch Corp. and Baume & Mercier parties here.
Executives from both firms, as well as specialty store and fine jewelry retailers, braved the fierce winter weather to attend North American's recent cocktail party at the Waldorf-Astoria and Baume & Mercier's dinner, dancing and entertainment at the Lotus Club.
Steven Magner, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of jewelry for Neiman Marcus, said fine watches had been leaders for him during the holidays.
"Our ladies' business in the $2,500-to-$5,000 range doubled over last year, and our sports watch business in the $1,500-to-$4,500 range also increased," Magner said.
James Clark, president of B.C. Clark, a fine jewelry store in Oklahoma City, Okla., said he had a record year with Baume & Mercier in 1993, and noted that holiday sales were up for him in fine watches, as well as all of his other merchandise categories.
According to Steven Kaiser, president of Baume & Mercier, his company's business was up 20 percent in 1993.
"The purpose of this event is to say thank you to all of our accounts for supporting us and helping us grow," Kaiser noted.
Efraim Grinberg, president of North American Watch, U.S. distributor for the Piaget, Corum, Concord, Movado and Esquire watch lines, said his firm's U.S. business was up last year, but noted that the recession in Europe and Japan continues to make business tough.
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia