Feature Article - July/August 2016

Timeless Inspiration

New Trends in Watches to Reward Your Best

By Emily Tipping

Businesses have been rewarding employees, sales reps, partners and more for their loyalty and service for more than a century, and while some of the tools and strategies associated with that practice have evolved, there is one particular reward that has stood the test of time: the watch.

Back in the day, your years of service or outstanding sales performance was very likely to be rewarded with a watch. These days, rewards have gotten much more diverse, but that doesn't change the fact that a watch makes a timeless reward. It is still one of the top-performing categories in the market, and with good reason.

"Watches keep their appeal for one simple reason," said Joe Zanone, Movado Group Inc. authorized sales agent. "It is a functioning accessory.

"In today's office environment, many companies require you to place your phones in airplane mode, or check it outside the door of meeting rooms and conference centers, so the logical accessory to determine time is the wrist watch," he added. "Watches are also constantly evolving in design and functionality to serve the workplace and accessorize your wardrobe. It also serves as an outward reminder of achievement, longevity and pride in your work and company."

A watch keeps you on track, time-wise and manners-wise (most people don't take it well if you glance at your phone in the midst of a conversation, while a quick look at a watch is much more acceptable). And it does so while giving you a chance to make a statement about your own personal style.

"There is the corny saying that is sometimes used when giving a watch as a reward: 'Thank you for your time,'" said Richard Low, vice president, Special Markets, Citizen Watch Company of America Inc. "The reality is, even with smartphones, clocks on computers and other devices, a watch is the only item that can be considered a personal statement and a necessary business tool. It is a personal statement because for many people, especially men, it is the only jewelry they wear. A watch is a fashion and status statement. It is also a true, necessary business tool to keep someone on track during the day."

Kevin Dougherty, director, Special Markets, Seiko Corporation of America, agreed, asking, "What better way to thank an employee for their time than with the gift of time?" He added, "Watches come in every size, color, material and gender to appeal to everyone. It's the perfect achievement award. You can take it everywhere you go, and it becomes a constant reminder of your success to you and everyone around you."

A watch is a fashion and status statement. It is also a true, necessary business tool to keep someone on track during the day.

Exactly. A watch is a tangible reminder, a trophy that does so much more than a plaque on a shelf.

"It's something tangible people can look at on their wrist and remember where they earned that gift, whether it was for years of service or for outstanding performance," said Adrienne Forrest, vice president, Corporate Sales, Bulova Corporation. "Other gifts might become obsolete, like electronics that get outdated or a gift card that gets spent on groceries. A watch is a permanent remembrance of what you did to achieve something or to celebrate an event, an occasion or a milestone."

What's more, Forrest said, you can personalize a watch easily with a message that emphasizes the lasting remembrance of that achievement. And, "They can be passed on," she added. "A watch of higher quality from a respected brand has heirloom value and can be passed on to family members."

Watches are the quintessential reward: the perfect trophy, representative of the recipient's taste and style, a celebration of timeless appreciation that never fails to emphasize the appreciation you're trying to communicate.

But while everyone's got their own opinions about what suits their personal style the best, there are trends, both fashion- and function-wise, that you should be aware of to help inform your selection. Knowing what's stylish, as well as understanding the latest achievements in technology and design, will help ensure you are rewarding your best with the best there is to offer.