by Madelaine Brauner Landry
When it comes to choosing a wristwatch, consumers have so many choices. Large or small face? Sporty, bejeweled, or vintage? High-end celebrity-inspired fashion accessory? Economical and functional for everyday wear? The good news in contemporary timepieces is that you don’t have to choose just one. Watchmakers and jewelers want you to know: Don’t just save time—enjoy it!
“Most of our customers have an idea of what they are looking for,” says Jason Murphy, of Nederland Jewelers in Lake Charles. “First, I like to learn what our customers plan to use the watch for. From there we go over all the options from quality and pricing to functionality.”
Despite the abundance of digital time reminders flashing all around us, wearing a watch has not become outdated. In 2017, industry reports estimated that approximately 32% of adults over 35 wore watches. Millennials tended to shun them. Five years later, however, there’s an uptick in watch sales across all demographics. Age, gender, and income are still factors, but the latest estimates based on online surveys show that 35-50% of adult Americans are enjoying the convenience and efficiency of having a watch on their wrists.
Modern timepieces are multi-functional instruments, making “timepiece” a misnomer. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, having access to weather information, GPS directions, customizable alarms, health data, and other personal communication options is necessary. Technology has found a way to minimize this information so it can be seen at a glance. At the touch of a button, modern watches keep us aware and informed.
“We ask our customers questions,” says Murphy. “Do they need an automatic or maybe a quartz? With an automatic, we go over normal services for the timepiece. With a quartz, we educate on how long the battery will last and how we can assist with battery changes. Our goal is to let them know that we will take care of their timepiece for its lifetime. We offer cleanings, servicing, battery changes, and even trade-ins. We have a CW21 watchmaker on staff who takes care of all timepieces at Nederland Jewelers. He has been with us since 2013, and with his certification, he is one of few in the country.”
Watches have long been recognized as fashion statements, aesthetically pleasing accessories that layer well with other jewelry for men and women. Today’s chunky watches combine well with dainty bracelets. Classically designed watches accentuate fashionable manicures. Vintage watches, or quality facsimiles, make their own stylish statements. The wearer is a collector, an aficionado of things faded, rusty and worn, maybe even with a unique story to tell. Some watches are authentic heirlooms—gifts possessing sentimental value, passed down from generation to generation.
Watch purchasers search for rare, limited edition watches, aware that their value can increase over time. With very little maintenance, the initial outlay for a quality timepiece makes it an affordable investment.
Watches are practical. One simply cannot keep glancing at a phone during a job interview, or business appointments.
Glancing at a watch, however, suggests reliability and punctuality. For safety or security reasons, many professions prohibit carrying phones into the work environment: Think defense contractors, prison security guards, or research and development personnel.
Moreover, many atomic or solar watches keep on ticking without a battery change; most phone batteries can’t make it through one day without recharging. How’s that for dependability?
“Currently, watch sales are at all-time highs,” Murphy adds. “The luxury brands are having trouble keeping up with demand due to supply chain issues. Omega has done a great job considering this issue. They did a fantastic job through the holidays keeping our inventory where we needed it to be for Christmas.”
Murphy confirms that Christmas is still the busiest watch sale season, with graduations and Father’s Day close behind.
Time passes. Time flies. Time waits for no one, and once spent, is never found again. We cannot turn back the hands of time. However, with the current crop of contemporary watches to choose from, we can certainly tick away the hours each day with sophistication and practicality.