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Citizen Watch opened its latest flagship, located at 1500 Broadway, in the thick of Times Square, on Wednesday morning with the help of brand ambassador Kelly Clarkson. The 1,300-square-foot store is a major milestone for the Japanese company, and part of the new brand message: Better Starts Now. “We’re trying to establish an experience and emotional connection for our customer that they were previously not able to get,” said Jeffrey Cohen, president of Citizen Watch Company of America, referring to the overall concept, as well as the store itself.

The store will house a full range of the company¹s watches, including the Citizen Eco-Drive, which converts light into stored energy that can power a watch for at least six months ­ no battery required. The timepiece inspired several eco-friendly design aspects within the store, such as the use of Shou Sugi Ban, or Japanese cedar, treated wood elements, a technique that perserves wood by charring it, resulting in a fire retardant material that can last up to 80 years without the use of toxic chemicals.

The “Better Starts Now” message also relates to the company’s focus on targeting the female customer, an initiative that began late last year with the appointment of Clarkson as ambassador. “The demographics of Kelly Clarkson is a perfect marriage for Citizen,” said Cohen. “Her performance is always totally next level. She¹s special because she understands the brand and she understands our company. She became a real Citizen loyalist very quickly.” Not to mention, of course, Clarkson¹s a woman (past brand ambassadors include Eli Manning and Matt Kenseth). “She’s 52 percent of the market, and we believe there is always more opportunity to take more market shares,” added Cohen. “With ladies, there is a whole new world out there for us.” For fall, Citizen Watch introduced a new flagship collection, named Sunrise. The watch, which retails for $795, features a mother-of-pearl dial and ten diamonds ­ seven inset, three floating.

Clarkson is an early fan. “Diamond is my birthstone, but even if it wasn’t, everyone likes diamonds,” she said. “I’m a watch person but purely for aesthetic appeal, generally. Most of the time, someone is running me around so I don’t really have to know what time it is, but I like to wear a chunky watch with my bracelets.” The singer, and recent mother, noted that she was drawn to the brand’s philanthropic nature, particularly their work with Little Kids Rock, a program that provides music education classes to public schools. Ten percent of sales from the store¹s first week will be donated to support Little Kids Rock. Several student performers from the program were on hand at the opening for a quick show. “Ever since I became a mom, I get very ‘Oh my God!’ over anything child-related,” said Clarkson.

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