Feature Article - July/August 2013

A Matter of Time

The Latest Watch Styles to Motivate Your Best

By Emily Tipping

Excuse me, do you happen to have the time?

Unless you're a complete technophobe, you probably didn't have to look too hard for an answer. At the moment, I can just glance down at the bottom-right corner of my screen. You might have pulled out your iPhone or some other gadget.

These days, you can find the time just about anywhere, without having to glance at a watch. But people are still wearing watches. And incentive programs, business gifts, rewards and more are still employing watches as a useful tool to get the most out of their employees, sales reps, partners and customers.

How come?

"They still matter because they are an accessory, as opposed to a necessity, today," said Joe Zanone, Movado Group Inc. authorized sales agent. "And they also matter because styles consistently change, and tastes consistently change."

That means that—just as with other perennially popular incentive items like electronics and digital cameras—you can always motivate and inspire with watches as part of your program.

"Watches cover a gambit of features and benefits that make them the perfect reward," said Kevin Dougherty, director of Special Markets, Seiko Corporation of America. "First, and probably the most beneficial, is that it's the reward you can take with you everywhere.

"I love walking up to someone and saying, 'Hey, that's a beautiful watch. Where'd you get it?'" he added. "The best answer is, 'Oh, thank you. I got it from my company for my 10-year anniversary of working there.' Now both employee and company were recognized. You simply can't have that happen when you are awarded with a plaque. Also, besides being fashionable, functional, of intrinsic value and relevant with our times, a watch is compact enough that someone can walk away with it from the event at which it was presented."

"It's not only a functional item, but fashionable, and both the functions and fashions keep changing," said Jim Keenan, senior vice president, Special Markets, Citizen Watch Company of America. "It's not a static product. The color, the case materials, the dials, the shapes, even the sizes continue to change. That's one of the reasons it pertains so well—because it's a desirable item that can always offer something new and fresh."

Adrienne Forrest, vice president of Corporate Sales for Bulova, agreed. "Everywhere you look, you can find the time," she said, adding that in the morning, her iPhone is sitting 3 inches away—the first thing she clicks to get the time. "You have all these gadgets that tell the time, so why do you need watches? Honestly, watches have rebounded as an accessory item. It's a fashion. Your watch is part of your statement of who you are. Watches have become not so much just a means of telling time, but a fashion accessory—part of your overall style of you."

And there is a great deal of diversity in the world of watches—something to fit everyone's personality and style. Staying on top of what's in and what's out will help you know what will work best to motivate your audience. Here, some of the leaders in the incentive market will show you some of the latest styles to help you as you consider what to offer.