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Citizen Watch America Defies the Pundits; Analog Watches Soar in Popularity

Adrienne ForrestRemember when the "experts" said that smart phones and watches would destroy the market for analog timepieces? The surprising performance of Citizen Watch America is yet another reason to be skeptical about bold and brash predictions.

Fashion Trends—Bright Colors, Smaller Faces, More Unisex Styles
Points, Loyalty and Promotional Business Flourishes

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Heather ChevreauJust a few years ago, in 2015 when Apple launched its first smart watch, many observers predicted the death of the analog watch, and for a short while one could have believed that. No more. Not only have smart watch sales begun to slump, investors following the timepiece market now say that the “impact on pricey Swiss timepieces is now immaterial.”
Adrienne Forrest, Senior Vice President of Corporate Sales for Citizen Watch America, says the trend is apparent in the corporate market as well. “Our sales are way up, even in the mid- to higher price points. We are getting more opportunities for larger programs at higher price points. I think this is explained by the fact that we have such a broad array of styles and brands that appeal to everybody. We’re also benefiting from the continued popularity of our automatic watches across all our brands, as well as our Citizen Eco-Drive, which speak to our pledge to support sustainability.”

Fashion Trends—Bright Colors, Smaller Faces, More Unisex Styles Tsuyosa watch

Forrest also notes some big changes in fashion. “In our Citizen brand, we have a new collection of automatics called Tsuyosa with brightly colored dials and faces, which is a big trend. As soon as we get them in, they are sold out.” Also noticeable, she says, is the move toward smaller watch faces. Heather Chevreau, Director of Corporate Sales, adds that unisex styles seem to be back in demand. The brand’s growth, Forrest believes, can also be attributed to the buzz created by partnerships with celebrities such as Marc Anthony, the company’s expansion into jewelry, and the opening of its new Citizen Watch America flagship store, just steps away from Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
To Chevreau, what’s noteworthy this year in the corporate market is the striking growth in the company’s event gifting business. Citizen, she says, not only does business in the casino market through its marketing partners but works with meeting and incentive travel companies and promotional products distributors supporting the corporate events marketplace across all industries. The company’s Gift in Time event program, she says, offers the choice of setting up an onsite boutique stocked with offerings that people can select and take home with them, or the option of selecting items to be shipped to their homes or offices. The advantage of shipping the gifts after the event is that no one gets disappointed if they run out of stock as well as the reinforcment of receiving a personalized gift at home a few weeks after the event, Forrest adds, “but we’re happy to accommodate whichever option the client wishes.”
She adds that Citizen can create customized watches for specific events in advance, but that requires some lead time.

Points, Loyalty and Promotional Business Flourishes

Also a source of growth this year, adds Forrest, is the loyalty and performance points business. “We saw double-digit growth last year, especially in online catalogs, and this category continues to grow.”
Likewise, promotional distributors remain an important market for Citizen, Forrest and Chevreau agree. “With price points beginning for under $25, we have something for everyone,” Forrest says, adding that there’s more room for growth as distributors increasingly focus on selling sustainable products. Not only are people more likely to retain the gift of a Citizen watch brand, she notes, the company’s products are highly sustainable both through the company's commitment to battery-free timepieces and support for sustainability causes in its industry, including 1% for the Planet, Everybody Solar, American Forests, and the Leather Working Group.
She reports that Citizen Watch America will be exhibiting at the upcoming PPAI Show in Las Vegas in Booth 1225/1324. The company will be introducing its 2024 catalogs at the show as well as information in its Gift in Time experience.
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Adrienne Forrest
Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales, Citizen Watch America 

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