Swarovski is crystalizing time. The Austrian crystal house and accessories firm is introducing a collection of watches at Basel, with high expectations that it will be the firm’s next big thing. Hitting stores this summer in high-end watch boutiques and in over 1,500 Swarovski shops around the world, Swarovski watches are expected to garner between $80 million and $100 million in sales over the next five years.
This story first appeared in the March 26, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Swarovski is no stranger to the watch category. About 10 years ago, the firm launched a collection of fashion watches, but considered it a supplement to the jewelry as opposed to a standalone product.
“When we entered the category the first time we saw relative success, but only distributed them in our own stores,” said Robert Buchbauer, global leader of Swarovski’s Consumer Goods Business. “The first collection was really onsidered an add-on to existing jewelry products and they sold pretty well. But then we said, ‘What if we really played by the rules of the watch industry in the future and came up with a nice, credible collection for independent watch distribution?’ Our brand is definitely capable of carrying the category forward and what we have now we’re very confident about.”
The centerpiece of the line is the Octea Sport, a stainless steel sporty style with a quartz calibre movement. Each piece features crystal facets and accents for which the brand is known. Swarovski is banking on the accessible price points, ranging between $500 and $1,000, noting its relatively untapped place within the category.
“We entered a range where you do not see too many offerings, we did thorough research and it’s a nice, wide place to be, which is great especially in this economy,” Buchbauer said.