Byline: Wendy Hessen

NEW YORK — Fashion watchmakers aren’t the only ones eyeing the emerging and potentially lucrative midtier watch market.
Jewelry and handbag firm Judith Jack, best known for its use of sterling silver and marcasite, is entering the fray. Though the firm has dabbled in watches over the years, beginning in September, its first full-fledged collection will appear in stores nationwide.
“No one does sterling silver with marcasite like we do, and this collection includes everything from straps to bracelets to cuffs and mesh bands,” said Bob Sadlier, vice president of sales at Judith Jack.”
Part of the line does have the vintage or estate look that Judith Jack is known for, but there are some more contemporary styles that are suitable for day into evening. And while sterling silver and marcasite are the core design elements, there are a few pieces accented with precious stones, such as rubies, according to Eileen Holcomb, vice president of merchandising at Judith Jack.
The collection has 33 styles with 55 stockkeeping units, all with Swiss quartz movements and a limited lifetime warranty. Each watch will be preticketed with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, ranging from $165 to $500.
“We’re at the opening price point of Movado and Gucci, but above the Fossils and Anne Kleins of the world,” said Sadlier, who acknowledged that there was some confusion about where midrange brands like Judith Jack are being situated on the selling floor.
“In some stores, we will get a separate case for watches in the jewelry area next to our jewelry,” he said. “Some stores are even interested in double-exposing the watches, with our jewelry and in the watch department — which is ideal — but many stores just don’t have the luxury of doing that.”
Sadlier said he expected the watch line to be sold in about 500 department and specialty store doors this fall and about 75 independent fine jewelers, and watches to account for about 10 percent of the firm’s volume this year.