Wednesday, November 14, 2007
In the mid-19th century Sotirio emigrated to Italy where in 1884 he opened his first shop in via Sistina in Rome.
With the help of his sons Costantino and Giorgio, in 1905 he inaugurated the shop in via Condotti, which still today is Bvlgari's flagship store. Pay a virtual visit inside the Bvlgari flagship store in Rome, Via Condotti.
During the first decades of the 20th century, the two brothers developed a passionate interest in precious stones and jewels, gradually taking over their father's role.
During the 50's Bvlgari moves away from the strict disciplines of the dominant French school to create its own unique style.
The 1970's mark the beginning of Bvlgari's international expansion with the opening of their first overseas store in New York, and in Paris, Geneva, and Monte Carlo.
Today Bvlgari has 155 stores throughout the world. In the early 1990's, Bvlgari Parfums is established in Switzerland marking the Group's entry in the high-class perfume market.
On July 17th ,1995 the Bvlgari Holding Company S.p.A. is quoted on the Italian Stock Exchange Telematic system and the International SEAQ in London.
In 1997 Bvlgari introduces its first collection of silk scarves, characterized by an original design and top quality manufacturing. The first collection of Leather bags and Eyewear are launched in 1998, while table and giftware complete Bvlgari's diversification program in 1999.
Today, Paolo Bulgari and Nicola Bulgari, respectively Chairman and Vice-Chairman, together with their nephew Francesco Trapani, Chief Executive Officer, manage the company's development with the intent of better serving an international market, while remaining fine and prestigious jewelers.
Visit our webstie at www.TheWatchery.com to check out all the amazing Bulgari, and other Luxury brand watches
we carry or give us a call at 1-866-843-9282 for mor information.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
It was his vision to unite his jewelry company with watchmaking under one brand and to propel both areas to greater levels of accomplishment in design and technology.
In 1975, Scheufele built a production facility in Meyrin-Geneva, marking a new era for the brand.
In 1976, Chopard unveiled the now-famed Happy Diamonds collection to the world, and in the 1980s the brand launched the Gstaad collection of timepieces. In 1988, Chopard teamed with the Mille Miglia as an official partner and began creating the annual special-edition Mille Miglia watch—an icon of vintage automobile racing.
In the early 1990s, Karl and Karin Scheufele’s children became integral players in the family business. Caroline took over the jewelry design and Karl-Friedrich headed up the watch division. In 1996, the brand established itself as a complete Manufacture with the opening of a movement factory in Fleurier. The L.U.C movement made its debut that year and was the impetus for other movements to come.
In 1999, Chopard unveiled the L.U.C Sport 2000 collection, and a year later presented the L.U.C Quattro watch—equipped with a new caliber with four barrels and nine days of power reserve—in 2000. Chopard presented the L.U.C Tonneau in 2001. Chopard is also a major supporter of charitable causes and is a devoted patron of the arts. In 2001, Chopard began supporting the Elton John AIDS Foundation, creating limited-edition Elton John timepieces whose sales would benefit the foundation. Chopard is also intimately involved with such high-profile events as the Cannes International Film Festival.
Chopard’s collections of ladies’ jewelry and watches are amazing and inviting. From Happy Diamonds to Happy Sport with free-flowing diamonds, from the 1950s-inspired chic La Strada to the innovative Pushkin and Ice Cube collections, rich colors, seductive shapes and innovation are prominent driving forces.
With creativity at an all-time high, Chopard has grown at a faster rate than the market as a whole while preserving its independence—a rarity amongst watch and jewelry companies today. Caroline’s exquisite designs continually impress and excite the senses.
All of Chopard’s magnificent jewelry is created with the utmost attention to details. Each stone is hand picked and every design is completed by painstaking hand-craftsmanship. From gem selection to setting and polishing, master jewelers work long hours to ensure smooth, sensual finished pieces.
For the past decade, Chopard jewels have glistened on the necks and wrists of celebrities from all corners of the earth.
Partnering with the Cannes International Film Festival, Chopard is jeweler to the stars for 12 days each year at this exciting gala of heady days and wild nights. In addition to adorning the stars as they parade down the red carpet, Chopard produces all of the Palme d’Or trophies in its own workshops
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Today, Maurice Lacroix, which has a total of 250 employees worldwide, is one of the most successful Swiss watch brands, both nationally and internationally, and is represented in more than 4,000 specialist shops in 45 countries all over the world. The company, one of the few independent Swiss watch manufacturers, has already established itself as a market leader in Germany in the upper middle-price segment, while in the USA the brand is one of the most dynamic in the industry.
Over the years, Maurice Lacroix has made significant investments to expand Queloz SA, a case manufacturer that it acquired in 1989, and its assembly facility in Saignelégier, and has made every effort to continuously keep the technology up-to-date. Investments were not restricted to infrastructure but were also made to optimise all internal processes. The assembly facility - together with the training and information centre opened in 2001 and the extension completed in January 2002 - is currently one of the most modern in the industry. The company thus put itself in an ideal position to use these state-of-the-art ateliers to design and put together its watches with a great deal of passion and precision. Around 150,000 top-quality timepieces now leave the Saignelégier facility each year and are distributed to customers all over the world.
In spite of the rapid change and growth, one thing has always remained the same - the company's love of design, perfection, and fine materials. Maurice Lacroix is particularly proud of the crown jewels of its collections - the classic, mechanical "Masterpiece" watches. The experience Maurice Lacroix has gained from this precise art of watch-making is also incorporated into the "Milestone", "Intuition", and "Sphere" collections. At the same time, the company is continuing to promote its proven classics, "Miros" and "Pontos". At the beginning of the new millennium, Maurice Lacroix has established a milestone with its diverse product portfolio and its new, independent communications campaign. The watches from Maurice Lacroix, which are set to be the classics of tomorrow, epitomize progressive, innovative technology, high-quality materials, and a design characterized by pure simplicity.
"I wanted one in every color," said Smith, 36, of Pleasant Hill. "I thought I was someone important. Now, I can't for the life of me get my 7-year-old daughter to wear a watch."
With daylight-saving time officially wrapping up at 2 a.m., millions of Americans will turn their clocks and watches back one hour. But as the popularity of automatic, time-adjusting mobile phones and MP3 players continues to soar, fewer people need worry about the retro ritual of manually resetting their clocks.
A survey by Seiko Watches in Japan concluded that the number of people there between the ages of 16 and 49 wearing wristwatches fell from 70 percent in 1997 to 46 percent in 2006. And with more than 50 percent of American teenagers owning their own mobile phone, sales of wristwatches in this country declined by 10 percent, from 2005 to 2006, according to the Donegar Group, which tracks fashion merchandising.
"This may lead to a perception that most Americans no longer buy and wear watches," said Jean-Louis Van Den Bosch, a watch expert for nearly 30 years. "The fact is cell phones can give you the time, but a watch is a status symbol. And you can't bring a sports car into the boardroom."
The decline in necessity and popularity of former must-have style items such as custom cuff links, expensive cigarette cases and lighters has freed up disposable income for accessories like watches.
Van Den Bosch, of Julianna's Fine Jewelry in Corte Madera, said that while sales among teens have slowed, the Swatch Group, which owns more than 20 brand-name watch labels including Omega (007's wristwatch) and Tissot, has done a better job lately selling watches in the $1,500 to $5,000 price range. The Swatch sport watches of the 1980s, which are still available, retail from about $60.
Temple University business Professor Ram Mudambi has studied Swatch and its business practices for decades.
"Bottom line: The margins on Swatch brand, even in its heyday, were never as large as those on the company's luxury lines," said Mudambi, who is also Temple's Perelman senior research fellow at the Fox School of Business. "Swatch and the luxury lines probably contributed about equally to company profits in the late 1980s and early '90s, with Swatch falling and the luxury lines rising since then."
Maria Mendoza, who works at a small watch shop in downtown San Francisco that sells timepieces ranging from Fossil to Swiss Army, said teens who formerly sprung for a $100 watch are now scooping up models as pricey as $1,200.
Van Den Bosch said that although just 3 percent of Americans own watches that retail for at least $300, they are the same men and women who typically own several of the most expensive kinds of timepieces.
This is true for Lars Dittmann, shopping with his wife in downtown San Francisco, who said he habitually wears his blue-faced Citizen model.
"It has long been a habit for me to flip my wrist for the time," said Dittmann, 37, who received the watch as a gift from his father. I have three other nice watches at home, but I wear this one because of its value to me."
Just as there is no shortage of mid-range and luxury watches flooding the market, there is no shortage of watch advertisements, either. Celebrity spokespeople for Tag Heuer include golfer Tiger Woods, tennis star Maria Sharapova and actress Uma Thurman, whose advertisements are prominently featured in glossy fashion magazines, men's publications and newspapers.
Male collectors frequently see their watch purchases as investments, as the value of high-end watches often increases over time. Robert Saenz, who works at the Tag Heuer counter at Bloomingdale's in San Francisco, said he counts newly minted college graduates among his loyal customers.
"Guys come to me and say they want understated elegance," Saenz said. "Men look for quality, versatility, durability and style."
When men reach their 30s and 40s, Van Den Bosch said, they typically become interested in brands such as Rolex, Breitling, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Girard-Perregaux. Sales for such watches, he added, have only increased since the emergence of mobile phones and iPods.
But it's women who seem to be purchasing more watches in the $200-$600 range, incorporating them as fashionable accessories, noted Judy Phuong, of Coach, in the Village at Corte Madera. "Ladies can wear them casually, but they can also dress them up," she said. "Some of our most popular watches can be worn on the same arm as bangle bracelets and then worn separately as well."
Some aficionados, such as Alex Howard, 25, have come to view themselves as collectors.
"In high school I mostly used a clock to tell the time, and later my cell phone," she said. "In the last couple years, I wore a chubby bracelet-style watch. Now I have moved on to more elegant, versatile models."
One telling sign that wristwatches are making a comeback was the number of attendees wearing them at the recent opening-night galas at the San Francisco Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall. Many of the best-dressed patrons wore jewel-encrusted cocktail watches every bit as sparkling and eye-catching as their timeless earrings, necklaces and minaudieres.
"What we are seeing is a return to the classics," said Giles Marsden, director of Tiffany & Co. in San Francisco. "Cocktail watches with beautiful diamonds will never go out of style."
Friday, November 2, 2007
The chief function of a watch, you might assume, is to tell the time, accurately. But watches can do other things too. Some years ago, for instance, there was a trend toward watches with calculators built into them, although that didn’t last. Also there’s the aesthetic factor. The look of a watch might sound more like a matter of form, but style has its functions, too.
The watch is an interesting product category through which to examine the function of style, because mere time-telling isn’t a very powerful selling point these days. A majority of Americans now own mobile phones, and like many other portable gadgets we now tote, these omnipresent devices tell the time quite well. And indeed, according to Experian Research Services, watch sales overall have fallen significantly since 2001. But within that wider trend is a significant countertrend, which is the popularity of what can be broadly described as special watches — luxury-brand watches, high-design watches, vintage watches. Watches, in other words, that give you something more than the time of day. Or maybe even something other than the time of day.
Consider, for instance, the Uno, from Botta, the German watch brand. It has only one hand. This item, which sort of suggests what time it is, can cost almost $1,000. Another example is the 900 Abacus watch, a $150 object featuring a tiny ball that rolls around a completely blank face; if you stand still and position the watch horizontally, the ball supposedly moves to the appropriate spot on the edge of the face where the numbers would be. Then there’s the NOW Watch, which has no hands or numbers, just the word “Now” where the time should be. Or the Timeless Bracelet, designed by Ina Seifart: a link-style watchband with a traditional foldover clasp, it has no face at all, just an open spot where you would expect to see one.
There are other examples, but you get the idea. I ran some of these by Jonah Berger, an assistant professor of marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His research often touches on the connections between certain product categories and identity. Not surprisingly, some categories (like clothing and cars) are more “identity relevant” than others (like bike lights or dish soap). And sometimes the product element that’s most useful in signaling identity is something “afunctional.” This can mean some obvious aesthetic component like color, but it can also refer to things that “actually make it harder to do what you want to do,” Berger says — like sporting sunglasses indoors, or wearing impractically baggy jeans, donning a scarf in the summer or riding a fixed-gear bike with no brakes. He also points to the extra-rarefied examples that sometimes pop up in couture runway shows: a shirt with two collars, or three sleeves, etc.
Counterfunctionality is precisely what makes such things effective identity markers. Berger hit upon the category’s appeal while looking into “product abandonment” — that is, the way that certain consumers drop trends when certain others pick up on them. Those particularly interested in expressing difference might be drawn to something the masses are less likely to “poach” — even if that’s because it’s annoying or inconvenient. “Most people want a watch that tells time, and they want to be able to see indoors,” Berger continues. “So to do the opposite is a good way to separate yourself from the masses.” In other words, it’s not that a watch with one hand, or no hands, has no value. It’s that the value it has is unrelated to the telling of time.
This, in fact, is what makes a useless-seeming watch potentially more valuable — in identity terms — than, say, regular jewelry. If the Timeless Bracelet didn’t have an empty space where the face should be, it would just be a bracelet. “It has more value because it’s missing its functional component,” Berger suggests; a thing that’s more of a comment on watchness than a watch “provides more information” about the person wearing it. And actually, most of the examples above come from cool-spotting blogs that specialize in ferreting out stuff that makes the consumer seem like more of an individual. The absurd-sounding Abacus watch with its little rolling ball might make you “miss appointments” but it’s likely to “get some attention,” commented a writer on one such site, JoshSpear.com. “Sweet.” And really, if you’re the alpha-consumer type who craves such a watch, surely you tote a mobile to tell the actual time — and to call whomever you’re meeting to explain that you’ll be late. Again.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
RAPAPORT... Jewelry and watches are set to become the next “must have” luxury item as global spending on luxury products is expected to grow by 70 percent over the next five years.
According to British research company, Report Buyer, global luxury brand spending will hit GBP 225 billion ($465 billion) by 2012, from its current level of GBP 131billion ($271 billion.)
“As wealth increases across the globe, the demand for luxury products will accelerate with the market, boosted by high demand from emerging economies, wider demand from mature markets and new channels,” Report Buyer reported in a statement.
The study forecasted that watches and jewelry would become the second largest sector after fashion and clothing. Clothing currently has a 44.3 percent share of the market, but is expected to begin losing share as other product sectors increase, the report concluded.
“Brands have been producing new high-end pieces in both jewelry and watches which is stimulating interest,” the company found. “Additionally the high intrinsic value of jewelry and watches, because of the high cost of their components, makes them an attractive luxury investment to a wide range of consumers – not just the fashion conscious or ultra-rich.”
The report showed that growth will be most stimulated by wealthy consumers in fast growing economies, and that the Asia Pacific region, including China and India – but not Japan – will nearly triple in value by 2012 as newly wealthy consumers seek to underline their status with top end goods.
“The (AP) region will account for nearly a quarter of global spending at GBP 57 billion overtaking the Americas as the second largest market,” Report Buyer noted. Including Japan, it added, the region would have a 36.2 percent market share by 2012, just behind Europe’s 36.4 percent as “the most valuable market.”
One factor contributing to the rising demand has been luxury retailer’s use of the Internet, where many brands have introduced transactional websites over recent years, and more will follow, the report explained. “This will enable brands to access consumers beyond their reach via traditional channels, and generate new revenue streams. This channel is also highly suitable for accessories, watches and jewelry, where fit is not an issue,” Report Buyer said.