December 16, 2012 in Business

Wristwatch sales rebound


It showed 12:17 p.m. on all of the timepieces carried by students and young workers taking a break around a coffee table at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

Travis Pinks checked both screens of his smartphone: “12:17 p.m.” And so it appeared on Johnny Stiles’ laptop screen, on Sara Humphreys’ iPod Touch, on Garrett Rotert’s cellphone.

It should not surprise that only one of the four of them, Humphreys, 21, wore a watch – mostly because of how it sparkled on her wrist. That ratio of just one wristwatch-wearer for every four people holds close to national market-research data on the millennial generation.

Most adults in their early 30s or younger don’t wear a watch on a regular basis.

Strangely, these watch-tossing trends seem to be showing up everywhere but at the cash register.

In the past three years, sales have recovered for moderately priced watches that speak more to fashion than timekeeping. And the fortunes have surged, sometimes by triple-digit percentages, for certain luxury brands, said Andrew Talbert of the market monitoring firm LGI Network.

Jewelers of America said that “fine watches” continue to hang on to about 13 percent of the jewelry market, as it has been in recent years, and that overall sales of watches ticked up 3.5 percent this summer.

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