Watchmakers continued their domination of the top 10 most-recognized watch and jewelry brands, with firms at a range of price points keeping customers coming back with evermore stylish designs and technological advances.
At the top of the list is Timex, one of the largest watch firms in the U.S. Lately, the company has been adding technology to its watch offerings and has focused on updating the design of its timepieces. Many of its styles now feature high tech gizmos such as Mp3 players and GPS systems, as well as more sophisticated design elements, including lightweight and water-resistant leather straps.
Coming in at second is Seiko, the Japanese brand that has been steadily building up its watch business in the U.S., especially with regard to its Arctura brand, which was first introduced in 1997 and continues to add new styles.
Casio, at number three in the top 10, another Japanese brand, made waves in the Nineties with its Baby G-Shock design, which took the fashion industry and club scene by storm, with its day-glow-powered design. More recently, the firm has concentrated on new timepieces such as a solar-powered Atomic timekeeping watch and a new advertising campaign geared toward women.
Swiss Army, number four, meanwhile, has moved far beyond its role as a purveyor of pocketknives. The company has been focusing on its watches for some time, but has also now started an apparel line. The Swiss Army store in Manhattan, the only one in the world, is the sole outlet selling the full range of Swiss Army’s offerings. Located in SoHo, the store has products such as eyewear, luggage and of course, pocketknives.
Tiffany, clocking in at number five, continues to expand its presence in the U.S. and around the world. Best known for its upscale jewelry and fine china, the company this year has focused on developing its watch business, and reentering the fragrance arena with a scent called Pure Tiffany. The company last year introduced its Mark collection, inspired by the firm’s 19th century pocket watches.
In an unusual move for a company that’s been built on the strength of its far-reaching identity, Tiffany has taken a stake in up-and-coming jewelry firm headed by a relative newcomer, designer Temple St. Clair, with plans to roll out stores under her moniker.
At number six on the list is 80-year-old Bulova, another truly American brand that has stayed loyal to its roots. Headquartered in Queens, N.Y., the firm has lately updated its offerings by adding styles with elements such as Swarovski crystals as well as new bracelet looks.
Swatch, number seven on the list, continues to push the envelope in terms of technology and design with ultra-thin styles as well as the Swatch Beat, which ticks to Internet time. Although Swatch is still best known for its watches, the company also makes a jewelry line called Swatch Bijoux.
Chanel, coming in eighth, is perhaps best known for its handbags and ready-to-wear, but lately the Paris-based fashion institution has been focusing more on its jewelry and watch division. Its fine jewelry boutique in Manhattan opened last year and features an array of baubles and gems. Chanel this year introduced its new J12 watch, a Swiss-made all-white timepiece set in a ceramic bracelet that is available with and without diamonds.
At number nine is mid-priced Citizen, still among the world’s biggest watch brands, which continues to sponsor numerous sporting events, including the U.S. Open tennis championships. New additions to the line include the the ultra-thin Stiletto model in the Eco-Drive assortment.
Number 10 is Fossil. The brand may be known best for its watches, including its Blue, Big Tic and Philippe Starck lines, but Fossil has dramatically expanded its product offerings to establish itself as more of a lifestyle company. The firm now has small leather goods and handbags, as well as a selection of Fossil apparel, which is now being sold at the company’s stores and on its Web site. Sunglasses and jewelry (most notably a line by Philippe Starck) are also now part of the Fossil universe, which continues to expand domestically and on the international front. Fossil operates 110 stores worldwide, in countries including Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands and the U.K. It has 48 outlet units and 16 apparel stores in the U.S., and 46 accessories stores worldwide. This year, the company plans to open five outlet stores, as well as accessories stores in Fair Oaks, Va., Las Vegas and Detroit.
4. Swiss Army Brands