By  on August 6, 2007

The fine watch business is ticking away and Links of London is getting in on the action.

The 16-year-old English jewelry firm is launching a fine watch collection this fall, offering styles for women and men. It will bow in October at Links of London stores.

"It seemed like a completely natural next step for us," said Annoushka Ducas, the firm's creative director, who also cofounded the company known for its silver and gold cuff links for men. "The idea is to keep it classic."

The styles are based on driving watches from the Twenties. Ducas has a penchant for vintage cars and collects them.

The stainless steel cases come in either a tonneau or round case in sizes small, medium and large, a trend among Swiss watch firms, which say female consumers are continuing to request large, traditionally men's-size cases. There also are a variety of strap options and some limited edition styles, including a pavé diamond-encrusted watch and one with a rotating case.

The watches also allow consumers to attach charms, which are a significant portion of Links' business.

"We're going back to our roots here," said Ducas. "It's about versatility and how to make your watch [coordinate] with your jewelry."

The line retails from $475 to $9,995. The average retail price is $1,200.

The collection will bow in Links' 58 stores across the globe, including nine stores in the U.S. in locales such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago. In 2008, the company will begin to wholesale the watches. Links of London jewelry is also sold in Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

There are also plans to open stores in Japan, China and Greece in the next few years. A store in Las Vegas will open in January.

Next up for the brand is a small leather goods collection, ties and scarves. Links' first national advertising campaign featuring the watches and the new Siren fine jewelry line will hit September magazines, including In Style, Departures and More.

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