Feature Article - July/August 2012

Timeless Classics

Trends in Timepiece Incentives

By Emily Tipping

Combining form and function in a must-have accessory that can be collected, changed up depending on the occasion or day and passed on as a gift or remembrance from person to person, watches make an ideal incentive or reward. Watches have long been prominent amongst service awards and other types of programs recognizing loyalty, performance and more. And though new options emerge and technologies change over time, watches remain a timeless classic in the lineup of premium incentive merchandise.

What's more, there are watches to suit every person, every mood, every occasion. When you add watches to your rewards mix, or give a watch as a gift or an award recognizing someone's outstanding service, you are sure to mark a memorable moment.

"Watches are a very fashion-driven item, and they're essential to most wardrobes. They are absolutely essential to a business wardrobe," said Joe Zanone, Movado Group Inc. authorized sales agent. "People's personal watch collections are bigger than they ever have been. They use them as accessories. Even in the down economy, watches have done well."

Watches stand the test of time because they do so much more than tell time. In an era when you can look just about anywhere, from your smartphone to your computer screen to your coffeemaker, and know what time it is, watches are still an essential accessory.

"Nowadays, people don't really need a watch to tell time," said Adrienne Forrest, vice president, Special Markets, Bulova Corp. "But watch sales continue to trend because people are buying a watch as an accessory. It adds to their personal statement. A watch is jewelry that tells time, and people have multiple watches to fit their lifestyles. They have their work watch, their dress-up watch, their sport watch. It's an accessory that meets people's lifestyle."

"Watches do continue to hold their own as incentives and rewards, and we definitely see that trend continuing," said James W. Keenan, senior vice president, Special Markets, Citizen Watch Company of America. "I think that it's driven by the fact that, besides its functional value, a fine watch is something that someone will keep and treasure for more than its utilitarian value. Watches can be aspirational, and that's what we're about is getting people to aspire to things. Having multiple watches and better watches is something most people aspire to through their life."