Feature Article - July/August 2017

Step in Time

Master Motivation With Watches

By Emily Tipping


Seems like every time my little family heads out for dinner, I'm distracted and bemused, watching at least one other family who are all sitting together, but not saying a word to one another. The younger kids are playing games on screens. The older kids are texting. Mom's taking a photo and posting it to whatever her social media du jour is at the moment. And dad's looking at whatever it is dads look at. I've seen couples on dates who don't look up at one another for 10 minutes straight. And never mind the woman I watched, texting as she was shown to her table, walk straight into a server and knock an entire tray of beers to the ground.

What the world seems to need, I think in these moments, is a whole lot of Mary Poppinses to come along and show us how to do two things. First, how to behave most appropriately in the various spheres we inhabit. And second, how to disconnect from this nonsense and really connect with the people around us—maybe even have a little fun.

And, there are signs that some of the current crop of youngsters coming of age are starting to get it. They're looking at all of this stuff I'm seeing, and they're saying, no more. They're rejecting the trend of too-casual dress. They're shutting off devices to sit down and talk with one another. And, according to Joe Zanone, Movado Group Inc. authorized sales agent, they're asking for watches again.

"The mindset of this up-and-coming generation is more level-headed in terms of living with technology, and therefore, they are demanding that their parents put down the device, make time to eat, play, get outside, have family time, and this is boiling down to the way they approach dress," Zanone said. "They want a watch. They want dress shoes. They want a dress. They want to be different from their older cousins or siblings. There is a really big fundamental shift happening in terms of how to approach the workplace, home environment and playtime in terms of dress and use of tech that will define this next generation as being different, and this shift is toward more structure overall. Alex P. Keaton would be so proud."

The fact is, no matter how many technological gadgets we have to help us get through the day, the thing that matters most, that resonates most, is connection. Not via wires, but via actual, face-to-face (or face-to-world, if you're out on your own) interaction.

But a longing to return to more traditional, personal interactions is only one thing driving an interest in watches. Watches never really went out of style. If anything, the list of reasons to own one just keeps growing. And because there are so many justifications for owning watches—not just one, but a variety that can accompany your personal style as it adapts to the various spheres you inhabit—they make an excellent choice for rewarding, recognizing and motivating people.

Timepieces are and will remain
a top-redeeming category
because they are one of the few incentive items that can be worn and used daily.

"I think watches continue to be a strong redemption item for incentive programs and reward selection because watches are versatile, functional, fashionable and on trend still," Zanone said. "Versatile in the fact that watches today can be paired with any outfit from athleisure to formal. Functional in the way they not only tell time, but the way they can operate today with technology. Fashionable, as they are still the must-have accessory for both men and women and, in a lot of cases, children. The trend today is back toward utilizing the watch as an accessory, but moreover, as a statement of individual style."

"Timepieces are and will remain a top-redeeming category because they are one of the few incentive items that can be worn and used daily," said Richard Low, vice president, Special Markets, Citizen Watch Company of America Inc. "They are equally a fashion accessory and functional part of a wardrobe. Many timepieces can also be personalized in a way that is a constant reminder of an achievement without taking away from the brand."

Adrienne Forrest, vice president, Corporate Sales, Bulova, added that the value of watches as incentives has great staying power. "They can be handed down as heirlooms," she said. "They are lasting, as opposed to gift cards or cash that can be spent and gone, or even electronics that can become obsolete quickly."

"Watches continue to be one of the true aspirational, wearable rewards," said Kevin Dougherty, director, Special Markets, Seiko Corporation of America. "Aside from taking a chain, adhering it to your plaque and wearing it around your neck, there are few customizable ways to announce that you are a winner other than showing off your award on your wrist. It easily goes everywhere you go, and it's worn with pride. When it comes to a recognition or years-of-service award, what better way to thank your employee for their time than with the Gift of Time? Once again, it's worn proudly and shows your peers that you've achieved success through longevity. People will see that watch on your wrist and say, 'Wow, that person has been here for 15 years he is a leader.'"