Friday, October 26, 2007

It is eBay in the big league - Watchmakers intervene in Auctions

Watch magazines and retailers hailed the sale, at an auction in the lush Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the River Rhone. Omega trumpeted it, announcing that a "Swiss bidder" had offered "the highest price ever paid for an Omega watch at auction."

What Omega did not say: The buyer was Omega itself.

Auctioneer Osvaldo Patrizzi, president and co-founder of Antiquorum, left, and Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega, at the Omegamania auction in Geneva on April 15.

Demand and prices for expensive watches have been surging, fed by global economic growth. But there's another factor behind the prices: an alliance between watchmakers and a Geneva auction house called Antiquorum Auctioneers.

Antiquorum sometimes stages auctions for a single brand, joining with the watchmakers to organize them, in events at which the makers often bid anonymously. This is a technique of which Patek Philippe and other famous brands, as well, have availed themselves.

"It's an entirely different approach to promoting a brand," says the cofounder of Antiquorum, Osvaldo Patrizzi, "Auctions are much stronger than advertising." Mr. Patrizzi worked with Omega executives for two years on the auction, publishing a 600-page glossy catalog and throwing a fancy party in Los Angeles to promote the event. "We are collaborators," he says.

But now there's ferment in the world of watch auctions. First, they're starting to raise ethical questions, even within the industry. "A lot of the public doesn't know that the biggest records have been made by the companies themselves," says Georges-Henri Meylan, chief executive of Audemars Piguet SA, a high-end Swiss watchmaker. "It's a bit dangerous."

More unsettling, Antiquorum's Mr. Patrizzi, who essentially founded the business of watch auctions, is under fire by the house he cofounded. Its board ousted Mr. Patrizzi as chairman and chief executive two months ago -- and hired auditors to scour the books.

The business of auctions for collectibles is not a model of transparency. The identities of most bidders are known only to the auction houses. Sellers commonly have a "reserve," or minimum, price, and when the bidding is below that, the auctioneer often will bid anonymously on the seller's behalf. However, the most established houses, such as Christie's International PLC, announce when the seller of an item keeps bidding on it after the reserve price has been reached.

[Omega watch]

Omega's president, Stephen Urquhart, says the company is not hiding the fact that Omega anonymously bid and bought at an auction. He says Omega bought the watches so it could put them in its museum in Bienne, Switzerland. "We didn't bid for the watches just to bid. We bid because we really wanted them," he says. Omega's parent, Swatch Group Ltd., declined to comment.

Through the auctions, Swiss watchmakers have found a solution to a challenge shared by makers of luxury products from jewelry to fashion: getting their wares perceived as things of extraordinary value, worth an out-of-the-ordinary price. When an Omega watch can be sold decades later for more than its original price, shoppers for new ones will be readier to pay up. "If you can get a really good auction price, it gives the illusion that this might be a good buy," says Al Armstrong, a watch and jewelry retailer in Hartford, Conn.

Niche watchmakers have used the auction market for years to raise their profiles and prices, mainly among collectors. As mainstream brands like Omega embrace auctions, increasing numbers of consumers are affected by the higher prices.

Omega and Antiquorum got together at the end of 2004. The watchmaker was struggling to restore its cachet. Omega once equaled Rolex as a brand with appeal to both collectors and consumers, but in the 1980s, Omega sought to compete with cheap Asian-made electronic quartz watches by making quartz timepieces itself. Omega closed most of its production of the fine mechanical watches for which Switzerland was famed, tarnishing its image.

A decade later, Omega tried to revive its luster by reintroducing high-end mechanical models. It raised prices and signed on model Cindy Crawford and Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher for ads. When this gambit failed to lure the biggest spenders, Omega turned to a man who could help.

Mr. Patrizzi, 62 years old, had gone to work at a watch-repair shop in Milan at 13 after the death of his father, dropping out of school. He later moved to the watchmaking center of Geneva, at first peddling vintage timepieces from stands near watch museums.

He founded Antiquorum, originally called Galerie d'Horlogerie Ancienne, in the early 1970s with a partner. At the time, auctions of used watches were rare, in part because it was hard to authenticate them. But Mr. Patrizzi knew how to examine the watches' intricate movements and identify whether they were genuine.

At first, prominent watchmakers were wary. Mr. Patrizzi approached Philippe Stern, whose family owns one of the most illustrious brands, Patek Philippe, and proposed a "thematic auction" featuring only Pateks. The pitch: Patek would participate as a seller, helping drum up interest, and also as a buyer. A strong result would allow Patek to market its wares not just as fine watches but as auction-grade works of art.

The first Patek auction in 1989 featured 301 old and new watches, with Mr. Patrizzi's assessments, and fetched $15 million. Mr. Stern became a top Patrizzi client, buying hundreds of Patek watches at Antiquorum auctions, sometimes at record prices. The brand's retail prices soared. Over the next decade, the company began charging about $10,000 for relatively simple models and more than $500,000 for limited-edition pieces with elaborate functions known in the watch world as "complications."

Patek began promoting its watches as long-term investments. "You never actually own a Patek Philippe," ads read. "You merely look after it for the next generation." Mr. Stern says he bid on used Patek watches as part of a plan to open a company museum in 2001. Building that collection, he says, was key to preserving and promoting the watchmaker's heritage, the brand's most valuable asset with consumers. "Certainly, through our action, we have been raising prices," he says.

Auctions gradually became recognized as marketing tools. Brands ranging from mass-producers like Rolex and Omega to limited-production names like Audemars Piguet and Gerald Genta flocked to the auction market with Antiquorum and other houses. Cartier and Vacheron Constantin, both owned by the Cie. Financière Richemont SA luxury-goods group in Geneva, have starred in separate single-brand auctions organized by Mr. Patrizzi.

"Patek opened a lot of doors for us, but we also opened a lot of doors for Patek," he says.

Brands began to vie for his attention, sending Mr. Patrizzi watch prototypes to assess and, they hoped, occasionally wear. They hired his assistants at Antiquorum as their auction buyers, cementing ties. "He was a kind of spiritual father for me," says Arnaud Tellier, who worked under Mr. Patrizzi before becoming Patek's main auction buyer and director of the Patek museum.

Friends describe Mr. Patrizzi as a rare intellectual in a market with many coarser types. Guido Mondani, a book publisher and watch collector who met Mr. Patrizzi two decades ago, says he was charmed by the auctioneer's encyclopedic knowledge of watch history. Mr. Patrizzi began advising the publisher on which watches to add to his own growing collection, and wrote volumes on collectible watches that Mr. Mondani published.

Mr. Patrizzi discovered a rare defect in a Rolex Daytona owned by Mr. Mondani: Its dial was sensitive to ultraviolet rays and could change color. The result was a sensation in the collector's world, with the price of what became known as the Patrizzi Daytona reaching nearly 10 times its retail price. Last year, Antiquorum auctioned Mr. Mondani's Rolex collection for about $9.4 million at current exchange rates.

Mr. Patrizzi himself amassed a collection of antique cuckoo clocks and grandfather clocks, which grace his home in Monaco. He recently built an Alpine chalet near the chic French village of Megève and filled it with clocks dating as far back as the 15th century.

When he spoke to Omega executives at the end of 2004, Mr. Patrizzi felt that an Omega-only auction might be what the brand needed to revive its image. There was one problem. Antiquorum couldn't vouch for the authenticity of watches that are mass-produced; since they are worn more, their watch movements have often been opened and tampered with in the course of repair. So in an unusual arrangement, Omega agreed to guarantee the authenticity of all watches sold at the auction, and refurbish those needing it beforehand. Omega supplied vintage timepieces from its own collection for the sale.

To build interest, Mr. Patrizzi and Omega officials traveled to 11 cities, hosting events such as a flashy party at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with celebrities such as actors Charlie Sheen and Marcia Gay Harden. Antiquorum and Omega joined in publishing the huge, glossy auction catalog. When the sale, dubbed "Omegamania," took place in April, it was shown on jumbo screens at the BaselWorld watch fair and streamed live on the Internet for online bidding.

It brought in $5.5 million. Besides the $351,000 platinum watch, Omega outbid collectors on 46 other lots, including many of the most expensive. Mr. Patrizzi estimates Omega bid on 80 lots in all, out of 300.

A Singaporean collector, told of Omega's role, called it "heinous." Melvyn Teillol-Foo, who bid over the Internet and bought a few pricey watches, added: "If it turns out they bid against me and got me to $8,000, I would be ticked off."

The auction is boosting retail demand just as Omega is introducing pricier models, says a Seattle retailer, Steven Goldfarb. He says his top-selling Omegas used to be $1,400 models, but Omegas costing three times that are selling now. "Customers are conscious of the fact that an Omega watch sold for $300,000," he says. "They have no idea who bought it."

But just as Mr. Patrizzi basks in one of his big successes, his position in the industry is at risk. On Aug. 2, as he vacationed during a traditional holiday time for the industry, Antiquorum's board met and voted him out as chairman and chief executive of the auction house he cofounded. Mr. Patrizzi, who owns a minority stake in the firm, says he learned of his ouster from lieutenants who were locked out of the company's Geneva headquarters the day of the meeting, and later fired.

Named interim chief was Yo Tsukahara, an executive at ArtistHouse Holding, a Tokyo company that owns 50% of Antiquorum. ArtistHouse then formed a different Antiquorum board. Mr. Tsukahara hired auditors from PricewaterhouseCoopers to scour Antiquorum computers, financial records and inventory. Pricewaterhouse wouldn't comment.

Mr. Patrizzi's "thematic auctions" for a single brand of watches weren't an issue, Mr. Tsukahara says in an interview. They were a "win-win situation," he says.

Mr. Patrizzi's relations with ArtistHouse had been worsening for a year. One issue was his resistance to adopting more rigorous accounting in compliance with the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Mr. Patrizzi opposed an ArtistHouse push to replace Antiquorum's accountants, according to Leo Verhoeven, a Patrizzi ally and an executive at Habsburg Feldman, a Geneva company that owns 43% of the auction house.

Mr. Verhoeven adds that when Mr. Patrizzi stuck to the watch industry's summer holiday schedule of mid-July to mid-August, he caused a timing issue for ArtistHouse, which landed on a Tokyo Stock Exchange list for companies that don't report earnings promptly enough. Mr. Tsukahara blames the delay on Antiquorum, saying that auditors were unable to account for several high-priced watches during an inventory check, forcing ArtistHouse to write off their value.

Mr. Patrizzi denies watches were missing. Giving Mr. Patrizzi's version, Mr. Verhoeven says two watches were consigned to retailers and two were sold in private sales that hadn't yet been booked because of an accounting backlog. Messrs. Patrizzi and Verhoeven say they have sought preliminary injunctions in a Geneva civil court challenging the legitimacy of Mr. Tsukahara's newly created board.

Mr. Patrizzi says that days before his ouster, he sensed trouble was brewing. The line of antique cuckoo clocks on the wall of his Alpine chalet went "a bit out of whack," he says. "One was 10 minutes too fast. Another was 10 minutes too slow. I said, 'Oh God, something is about to happen.'"

Source: Luxist, WSJ

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Perrelet A230 Watch

Time Zone has the scoop on Perrelet's 230th anniversary watch. The watch, an anniversary skeleton chronograph, has a two-tone 18K white and rose gold 43.50 mm case and a rubber strap. The watch uses the P-231 movement of 260 individual parts which beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The watch has front and back sapphire crystals to observe the movement. There are 77 numbered pieces available worldwide and they sell for $28,000 each. Time Zone is sponsoring an event in New York City on Novmeber 28 for those who wish to view the watch first hand.

Posted Oct 16th 2007 10:02AM by Deidre Woollard
Source: Luxist

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The Mr. Jones Decider Watch

Given that these days we no longer need to rely on a watch just for the time, now that our cellphones and laptops can handle that function, some watch designers are coming up with unique new services the watch can perform. Mr. Jones Watches offers a few simple designs that can entertain you. The Mantra watch for example, which was recently profiled in Dwell, alternates between different mantras, look down and it's telling you how fabulous you are, look again and it delivers the heartbreaking news that "nobody likes you." I can manufacture my own low self esteem so I prefer the idea behind the Decider that delivers a definitive yes or no depending on the moment. You can also pull at the winding crown for a simple yes or no. The watch is a limited edition of 100 and sells for £79.99.
Posted Oct 17th 2007 4:02PM by Deidre Woollard
Source: Luxist

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The Hublot Big Bang Ayrton Senna Watch

Remember when the Hublot Big Bang watch seemed really, really big. These days the watch is about the same size as everyone else's but that doesn't make it any less interesting. The latest special edition of the Hublot Big Bang watch derives its punch from a sleek cloak of black enlivened only by a slash of a red signature and a colorful split second hand. The Hublot Big Bang Aryton Senna All Black Rattrapante sports the Ayrton Senna Institute, a non-profit institute founded by Viviane Senna, the sister of the deceased Brazilian racing driver, the Ayrton Senna. The watch is a Chronograph Split-Second with Power Reserve indicator in black with Ayrton Senna's signature in red and the Brazilian flag in green and yellow on the Split-Second hand which can be used to record an intermediate time by means of the two chronograph seconds hands. The push-piece on the watch is red. The watch is the first Hublot to go on sale in Brazil. The 44.5 mm case is done in polished black ceramic resin details. The movement is the Hublot HUB44 RT mechanical chronograph Fly-back with automatic winding. It has a black rubber strap with the Ayrton Senna signature in yellow on a green stripe on the inside. There are 500 numbered pieces and it sells for $25,000.

Posted Oct 22nd 2007 11:02AM by Deidre Woollard
Source: Luxist

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Jaeger LeCoultre Has Strongest Orders in Five Years

By Thomas Mulier

Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Jaeger LeCoultre, the maker of Reverso and Master Compressor watches, has its strongest order book in five years and is stepping up production to meet growing demand for Swiss timepieces, Chief Executive Officer Jerome Lambert said.

``We already have decent visibility as the order books are full for the coming months,'' Lambert said in an interview yesterday at the watchmaker's headquarters and factory in Le Sentier, Switzerland. ``It should be a good Christmas season.''

Jaeger LeCoultre, a unit of Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, plans to increase floor space at the factory by more than half in 2009 to boost output, Lambert said. Swiss watch exports may rise as much as 13 percent to a record this year as wealthy Chinese shoppers buy more timepieces, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said last month. Growth in China and India is offsetting slowing consumption in the U.S., Lambert said.

``The main obstacle at the moment is being able to keep up with demand,'' said Alessandro Migliorini, an analyst at Helvea in Geneva. ``It's a great scenario to raise prices.''

The strength of demand for Swiss timepieces means there's currently a two-month delay for most purchases, according to Lambert. Jaeger LeCoultre plans to add a 9,000-square-meter (97,000-square-foot) annex to its 16,000-square-meter factory in 2009, he said.

Open Jobs

The Richemont unit now employs more than 1,000 people and has 50 positions open as orders outstrip capacity, the executive said. Jaeger LeCoultre has added 70 jobs in the past 12 months, and is adding bus services for workers and a restaurant in the new annex to attract more staff, he said.

Richemont shares rose 1.15 Swiss francs, or 1.5 percent, to 79.1 francs in Zurich. The Geneva-based company's stock gained 25 percent in the past year, more than the 5.8 percent advance by larger rival LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. Helvea's Migliorini has a ``neutral'' rating on Richemont.

Shipments to Hong Kong, where Chinese travel to buy watches at lower tax rates, increased 29 percent in September.

Chinese demand probably won't slow for at least three years, Lambert said. Taxes on watches increased about 20 percent last year in the country, yet sales haven't faltered, he said.

``It's very far from a mature market,'' Lambert said. ``Any good Chinese millionaire is a potential client.''

More Millionaires

The number of Chinese in that bracket is rising between 15 percent and 20 percent a year, and demand should grow as economic growth creates jobs for bankers, lawyers and engineers, he said.

``It's not just the rich Chinese tycoons with colossal fortunes who are interested, the wealth is spreading out now to other classes,'' the executive said. ``There's a cultural affinity for watches in China.''

Jaeger LeCoultre's sales of ``high-end'' watches in the U.S. continue to be ``strong,'' according to Lambert. Swiss watch exports to the country haven't risen in the past three months, according to official statistics.

``There's no crash scenario in the U.S., though the mood is changing,'' he said. ``A soft-landing scenario is possible.''

Jaeger LeCoultre makes up about 5 percent of Richemont's total revenue, according to an estimate by Patrik Schwendimann, an analyst at Zuercher Kantonalbank.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Mulier in Geneva at


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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bombardier Swiss Chronograph by B-Watches

You know them from Trains & Planes - Now coming to a wrist near you...
B-Watches is the story of 2 passionate watchmakers, two art and luxury lovers who designed a chronograph and gave it the Bombardier reputation. B-Watches was born in the Swiss Jura, in the heart of the "Watch Valley" where the entire range of it's chronographs are being built.
A remarkable story spanning six decades of growth and expansion has made Bombardier a world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions. Today, Bombardier is one company - focused on planes and trains. News and information on Bombardier are available at For information on the fine line of Bombardier Swiss Chronographs visit B-Watches.

Movement - Automatic, Dubois Depraz 2824-2, engraved rotor
Functions: Hours, Minutes, small Second, Date and Chronograph, inner rotating bezel ring
Case: Stainless Steel, domed Sapphire Glass, exhibition case back, water resistant to 100m
Size: 43mm
Straps: Solid Steel with folding clasp and band extension, leather strap in either black, brown, blue, black rubber strap with steel buckle.


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Monday, October 08, 2007

Black Diamonds - A free Swiss Made Watch for the taking

To commemorate the Watch Talk Forum's 3rd anniversary, the Edouard Lauzieres Eldiamante Watch is being given away - the only thing you have to do is to take a photo of the watch you are wearing to enter the contest - the details are here

More information about the history and the background of Edouard Lauzieres and this particular watch can be found here

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Thomas Ninchritz Regulateur

By: John B. Holbrook, II

September 30, 2007

The watch industry seems to have polarized into two distinct product sectors - high end, multi-thousand dollar Swiss and German made watches with quality to match the price tag, and sub $1000.00 mass produced watches assembled in the Pacific Rim with Swiss parts, often with dubious quality and pedigrees. The gap in between these two extremes is expansive, with very few offerings to fill the gap unfortunately. Well, I'm proud to say that I've had the opportunity to review a wonderful timepiece which fills in this gap quite nicely from an amazing watchmaking talent named Thomas Ninchritz.

Thomas Ninchritz of Nurnberg ( is a third-generation watchmaker in a German city that has been producing watches since the Middle Ages. I was recently provided an example of Thomas Ninchritz's work - the Thomas Ninchritz Regulateur:

Simply put, the Thomas Ninchritz Regulateur is an exceptional example of old-world, classic horological craftsmanship which I did not know was within reach and available to the average consumer. The TN Regulateur is a 42mm stainless steel wrist watch of extremely limited production, with a surprising number of hand made components in its construction. The case has an almost entirely polished finish applied, and gives the watch an extremely attractive, dressy appearance. The case is fitted, both top and bottom, with sapphire crystals, double anti-reflective coated (front and back AR coated).

The case lugs are 22mm, and holds and extremely supple, and well-padded 22mm strap with a case matching polished stainless steel buckle. The quality of both construction and comfort of the strap were exceptional - both the strap and the buckle are signed" Thomas Ninchritz." Note the screws in the case lugs (above photo) which secure the strap to the case lugs - a very rare and high quality feature which not only makes strap changes easier, but also reduce the possibility of scratching the case while performing a strap change.

Now let's shift our focus to the hand made dial of the TN Regulateur, constructed entirely of silver. The guilloché pattern work applied here is not only breathtaking, but also equal in craftmenship to watch dials I've seen costing 10 times that of the TN Regulateur. Additionally, the hands of the TN Regulateur are heat (not chemically processed) blued and, as the name suggests, done in a Regulateur style layout.

Turning to the back of the watch, we find the decorated and modified Untias 6498 base caliber which is the heart of the TN Regulateur. The Unitas 6498 (a product of Swatch Group's ETA movement division) is a 17-jewel, hand wound mechanical movement with a leisurely beat speed of 18,000 vibrations per hour, and a power reserve of 46 hours. In the below photo, notice the hand finishing and decoration work, as well as the genuine heat blued screws:

In the photo below you can see that the Unitas 6498 in the TN Regulateur has been fitted with a high decorated swan neck style Regulateur (I'm told Thomas spends over 8 hours on the neck alone) - a highly coveted high horology design feature often seen on watches from premium Germany luxury watch manufacturers like A. Lange & Sohne, and Glashütte Original.

The Thomas Ninchritz Regulateur is not a watch for the enthusiast who demands brand name recognition from manufacturers like Rolex, Breitling, or Omega. The Thomas Ninchritz Regulateur is a watch for the connoisseur who seeks hand made German craftsmanship as well as horological excellence and uniqueness first and foremost. At a retail price of 2,750 Euros the TN Regulateur is a near unparalleled value - I can't think of another hand-made, limited production mechanical timepiece at this price point. I greatly look forward to seeing more offerings from the creative genius of Thomas Ninchritz.


Please email James Newell at if you are interested in ordering the Thomas Ninchritz Regulateur.

Source: John B. Holbrook, II, Link

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Swiss Watch crafted with a revolutionary, patented process of using sapphire

SARO-Gem watches are renowned among watch afficianados for their exceedingly high quality and the unique features that give the watches, and the company, its name.

These watches are hand-assembled in limited editions (generally in 99 or 999 watches) making them not just time pieces but conversation pieces and jewelry of the finest sort. SARO-Gem cases are hand milled out of 316L Inox steel, the bracelets are solid stainless steel, overlaid with gold or platinum and, always, a layer of sapphire that gives them their unique lustre and unmatched scratch-resistance.

The high-quality finish, materials and workmanship used enables the company to give the best warranty in the industry and the watches retain their brilliance and radiance for decades due to the fact that they are almost immune to any wear and tear.

The watches are available directly through the factory. For more information or inquiries please visit the website or send an e-mail.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

EWG - The European Watch Group is Formed

European Watch Group to debut at Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair

(HONG KONG--) If two's company and three's a crowd, what happens when five of Europe's top watchmakers get together to market their wares?

The world will find out when the European Watch Group debuts at the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Sept. 5-9.

The European Watch Group is comprised of Swiss watch makers SARO-Gem and Edouard Lauzieres SA, and Germany's Riedenschild, and Thomas Ninchritz.

"The hope is that, by combining our marketing efforts, our customers will have a more convenient way to one-stop shop for some of the finest European time pieces being made today," said Riedenschild executive Vice president Thomas Huggler.

"We're all proud of our respective companies and product lines. But the realities of a global economy are forcing us to take advantage of the collective synergy that comes from competition, to harness it, with the idea that providing maximum customer service and quality will benefit the European Watch group and its member companies as well."

The vehicle for this unique cartel is "Watch 4 You, Watch Catalog" a magazine that will put customers in touch with these fine, high quality products, conveniently and in an attractive package. Coupled with an hotline ordering system, "Watch 4 You" will give consumers direct access to these exciting, new, high quality watches. And an interesting marketing tool for other brands as well

"The European Watch Group will enable customers to shop around without having to hop from shop to shop and -- in some instances -- from country to country, to find that perfect time piece," said Gerald M. Diffine, executive vice president, North American Sales, Saro-Gem US, Inc.

"While we're confident that word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising for the fine products our companies offer, potential customers want to study what they're about to purchase," Diffine said. "Watch 4 You, lets us put that information in their hands, so potential customers can see for themselves the fine line of watches their friends are boasting about."

By combining their efforts, the European Watch Group is also able to offer, in one venue, a broad range of lines, styles and price points.

Brands managed by The European Watch Group time pieces are also widely available through, high-end Internet dealers, and the International Watch and Jewelry Guild and similar entities.

SARO-Gem handmade sapphire watches are among the most impressive high-end time pieces available today. The company's signature King of the Sapphire watch features sapphires overlaid on a gold and stainless steel watch case. SARO-Gem's patented 60-step process makes SARO-Gem watches among the most scratch resistant watches made today. SARO-Gem's 10-year warranty is the gold standard of the industry.

Riedenschild Original Watches is a three-year-old company, the 21st century child of Eichmuller, the renowned German watch maker. Generally limited to editions of 299 or 999 unites Riedenschild models are assembled by trained German watch makers after engineers spend up to four months developing a prototype.

Edouard Lauzieres' Swiss watches were originally made in 1932 when entrepreneur Rene' Steinacher launched his own brand of classical dress watches for customers in Brazil. Although the brand prospered in South America, production dwindled with only a limited number of Edouard Lauzieres' watches produced each year since. Steinacher's great grandson, Nicola Elsener, changed that in 2005 when he revived the brand and convinced his family to bankroll his efforts to revive the brand.

Thomas Ninchritz of Nurnberg is a third-generation watchmaker in a German city that has been producing watches since the Middle Ages. Thomas
Ninchritz watches feature steel, gold-steel or 750 gold casings with a stepped crown and sapphire polished glass.

CONTACT: James Newell can be reached for more information on the European Watch Group at by calling (212)382-4677 or by e-mail at

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SARO Gem US, Inc