Time to see what helps people tick
The world's largest trade fair for timepieces has more features this year. Reports byNora Tong
Presenting timepieces from luxury wristwatches to designs with a twist, and featuring international brands and local treasures, the 31st HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair is a magnet for a global gathering of watchmakers, clock masters and enthusiasts.
Running until Sunday, the world's largest watch and clock event has gathered more than 720 exhibitors from 12 countries and regions, including first-time participant Spain.
Held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the annual show is organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Watch Manufacturers Association and The Federation of Hong Kong Watch Trades & Industries.
Hong Kong is the second-largest exporter of watches in value terms, and is also home to a strong ancillary and supporting industry. In the first half of this year, Hong Kong's exports of watches and clocks increased by 13 per cent.
The United States and the European Union were the largest markets, accounting for one-third of exports.
Buyers scouting for high-quality timepieces with innovative designs won't be disappointed. Among this year's exhibitors is The Chinese Timekeeper (CTK, booth GH-G08), which produces limited timepieces designed and crafted on the mainland.
"We want to offer our customers the opportunity to own a timepiece of character but, for once, with a Chinese heritage. We are the forefront player helping to change people's mentality about Chinese craftsmanship," says managing director Adrien Choux.
This is the company's second year at the show. "We are a proud Hong Kong-based company and some regional distributors are joining the show. It will be a chance for CTK to show its uniqueness and attractiveness," Choux says.
The company is showcasing the special edition CTK 12, Three Hands Automatic celebrating the Year of the Dragon. The case contains a layer made of 24ct yellow gold, and on the dial there is a mighty dragon figure applied in a shiny gold colour.
The special edition is limited to 18 pieces and comes with two straps - one with a black alligator design and the other the brand signature strap. Also on display are the CTK 13 - Three Hands Automatic with Jade, and CTK 15 - Chinese Double Hour Automatic, the dial of which features Chinese Zodiac characters in a shiny silver colour.
Choux says the mainland is slowly emerging as a market wanting to establish its own brands at international level.
"We are only in the beginning of this trend. We have more and more customers looking into our collection and thanking us for daring to create a luxury Chinese brand. Hopefully, this trend will become mainstream in the years to come."
First-time exhibitor Breo (booth GH-E19), a lifestyle accessories brand for people keen on adventure, is exhibiting Orb 10, which boasts style and durability with a sporty exterior. It includes the ingredients to satisfy the requirements an athlete needs, such as a stopwatch system, backlit display, water-resistant to 10 ATMs and a multifunction system. Other products include the Classic, a lifestyle-based watch with a minimal design, and the Overtone, which
has a mix of subtle and vibrant colours and is water-resistant to 10 ATMs.
Lone Hesselbjerg Roper, Breo's sales manager for Asia-Pacific, says the company hopes to gain contacts from the show and create a wider audience.
"This can only be a beneficial experience for us as a brand
and to those closest to us within the watch industry, as it offers everyone the opportunity to foresee and gain a greater perception of what one another is up to within the market,"
she says. The company understands how difficult a time it is in the economic crisis, she adds. "We offer the consumer great value for money and the opportunity to purchase either a lifestyle
range or sports
range at a price within a general
consumer budget," Hesselbjerg Roper says.
Swiss brand Jacques Farel (booth GH-D10) has taken part in the fair since 1984. Director of marketing and sales Joanne Froidevaux Nixon says the brand is returning with Jacques Farel Timepiece AMB1313, which has a stainless steel case with unidirectional turning bezel; Jacques Farel Kids HBBC3388, an adorable teddy bear watch; and Jacques Farel EMC: SIL21, a new silicone watch and pendant concept dedicated to modern and creative young ladies.
The trade show is again hosting the Brand Name Gallery, which exhibits licensed and original branded watches alongside fashion labels and designer collections.
The Pageant of Eternity, meanwhile, is showing the finest complete watches. And, in response to the growing demand for suppliers of goods in small quantities, the Small Order Zone has been set up to display products meant for ordering in 50 to 1,000 pieces.
Watch parades and cocktail and networking receptions will be hosted. Participants can keep abreast of the latest industry developments at events including the Asian Watch Conference.
Keynote speaker is Shang Jianguang, vice-president and general manager of Zhuhai Rossini Watch Industry. He will be sharing the company's success story and business development strategies.
At the Hong Kong International Watch Forum, representatives of watch industry associations from all over the world will share industry and market intelligence. They include Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, and industry representatives from France
Separately, a seminar
entitled "Rising Chinese and Evergreen European Watch Markets" will be presented
by GfK's China general
manager Alfred Chou, and the company's APAC senior manager Anthony Tan.