Feature Article - July/August 2018

Timeless Motivation

Watch Trends for Meaningful Rewards and Incentives

By Emily Tipping

A watch is so much more than a tool for telling the time. It's a fashion statement, a vehicle for enhancing one's personal style. And, when it comes as a reward or recognition of some accomplishment, it's a visible reminder of one's value to the team.

"A watch, used as iconography for achievement, is a strong statement," said Joe Zanone, Movado Group Inc. authorized sales agent. "It's an outward, daily affirmation of the achievement worn with pride for all to see.

"The wearer also feels an emotional connection to the watch because of the meaning behind it," he added. "You cannot wear a plaque around your neck all day to show pride in your achievements. Like wearing the 'First Place ribbon' on field day and having the bragging rights to that award, wearing your watch is the same emotional feeling, but worn every day to emote the same feelings and with daily affirmation."

"It's timeless," agreed Mark Abels, CEO, Selco. "It's a great accessory, and when it comes to incentives, people like to show it off, and it's something they can have on them and close to them, as opposed to items that might go on a desk or a mantel, or may even be consumable. People who understand what the award means can see it on others and see how they are doing, and the person who wears that knows it, and can show it off all the time."

Zanone added that people often have many watches, as watches are worn like an accessory—matching various outfits or wardrobe themes: "A watch for work, a watch for play, a watch for the days you wear red, navy or black. A watch for the baseball game, as well as a watch for the beach. A watch for dress occasions and a watch for the gym."

Kevin Dougherty, director, Special Markets, Seiko Corporation of America, agreed. "There is always a watch out there you want or 'have' to have," he said. "As a reward, the recipient can receive that highly targeted item, and then be able to show it off as not only a fashion statement of who they are, but as a statement of a job well done. There are very few rewards you can take with you everywhere you go and show it off."

Andy Finn, senior vice president of corporate sales with Tourneau, a distributor of luxury watch brands to the premium incentive market, said, "We supply brands such as Rolex, Tag Heuer, Breitling, Gucci and many more, and the demand for our brands is high. Certainly segments of the watch market may have been challenged by new technology in recent years, but a luxury watch is more than simply a device that tells time, and our brands have passed the test of time."

In Style

Just as people have a tremendous range of preferences for expressing their personal style, watches are available in a tremendous range of styles to satisfy every taste. That said, there are some trends worth noting.

"We're seeing watches get smaller and definitely thinner," Abels said.

Zanone agreed, adding that clean lines, thin cases and use of golds and mixed metals, such as rose gold, yellow gold, a combination or steel and gold or other mixed metals are popular.

"For the ladies," he said, "smaller is best in today's workplace: low-key, comfortable, stylish designs that accent today's modern office wardrobe. For the men, it is still all about function but with a very sharp eye for style. Chronographs are still a large business for men, but we are seeing a rise in very clean, simple design: flat dials, clean crisp white dials, thin so as to fit under your French cuff dress shirt, and a return of the dressier office environment is pushing this trend."

Available from Movado, the Hugo Boss Copenhagen Collection is largely inspired by the colorful architecture of the Danish capital. Tints of red, blue and gold bathe the city in an autumnal mood that is perfectly reflected by the look and feel of the Boss Orange Copenhagen Collection. This watch features a 40-millimeter stainless-steel case with a blue brushed textured dial on a dark brown smooth leather strap. It is water resistant up to 5 ATM.

The sleek Seiko Ladies' Solar is designed with a rectangular stainless steel case and bracelet, featuring 10 diamonds adorning the mother-of-pearl dial. Powered by any light energy, its solar cell is energy-efficient with a 12-month power reserve once fully charged. It's also water resistant to 30 meters.

The Gucci SYNC watch, available through Tourneau, is designed with a colorful luminous dial and rubber strap that appeals to a sporty aesthetic. It's Swiss-made with a transparent green and red nylon case with green super luminous dial, transparent green and red rubber strap. It features ETA quartz movement that is water resistant to 5 ATM.