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Mixed metals: across the board, metals are a hot category – but which tone do you wear?

A two-tone trend in women’s wrist watches appears to be a strong one for the upcoming 1996 holiday season. The two-tone style in watches allows the wearer greater flexibility to wear either gold or silver jewelry, according to Perry Ellis Watches Pres Charles Kriete. Kriete notes that women’swatches are slimming down their silhouettes, with smaller cases and faces. Product linesincorporating two-tone designs by several other watch manufacturers are discussed.

Metals are a white-hot category for holiday watches across the board.
 Two-tones remain strong, with women opting for them because they match with other jewelry from either tone. And while upscale stores are turning to gold, silver tones continue to grow in popularity when it comes to fashion watches. Gold seems relegated to more dressy occasions.

The two-tone trend has been going on for a while lately, because it gives you that flexibility to wear silver or gold jewelry,” said Charles Kriete, president of Perry Ellis Watches, a division of CSC Time.

“It makes it a little more understated, as well,” he noted. “All-gold is flashier.”

The line’s all-gold business has, continued to decrease, he noted. There has been a growth in the market with the company’s all-silver product, especially the silver mesh and silver sports models.

Kriete said the Perry Ellis sports looks are becoming dressier and more jewelry oriented. The two-tone metal bracelet category includes a sort watch with rotating bezels and some faceted crystals.

Silhouettes are slimming down for women, he said, with smaller faces and cases. Bracelets continue to get stronger, as well.

Leather straps are slow, Kriete said. “Far and away, two-tone is the leader in sales for both men’s and women’s.”

Metals range from $30 to $40 in the Perry Ellis line.

At Guess Watches, vice president of marketing Floy Wakuya said, “The metal category is just booming.”

Guess ventured into the metal business about three years ago, when the category was just two percent of its business, Wakuya said. Now, she said, it is about W percent.

“What we really started with was gold and two-tone, because the silver trend wasn’t there yet,” Wakuya said. “The two-tone outsells the gold, probably because when people buy it for a gift, they’re not sure if it’s for a gold person or a silver person. It has a broader appeal.”

Currently, the silver mesh is outselling the gold mesh.

For holiday, Guess has a diverse line of metals, from the very dressy to sportier looks in Waterpro.

These categories include all silhouettes. “We go from the petite to the bolder Eft and from dressy to sporty,” Wakuya said.

She noted that talk of bolder pieces would likely influence their next design evolution.

Metals start at $27.5O and go to $S57.5O with the Waterpro chronograph styles.

At Fossil, executive vice president Richard Gundy said, “We are really excited about fall holiday business. This is the time to have the right anmmunition.”

About 7O percent of its business is during this season, Gundy said, and the biggest thrust will be the Fossil Blue sport watches. These are water resistant, with about @O percent designed with metal straps and @O percent designed with leather straps.

The metal trend is strong, not only in sport but m casual and dress-up. One category Fossil plans to aggressively promote for holiday is the Adjus-o-matic, which has a metal band with removable links for sizing.

“There’s just so much excitement in metal watches light now-we’re enjoying what’s going on,” Gundy said. “Were feel really good about the third and fourth quarters, and our bookings are starting to reflect that.”

At Timex, advertising director Susie Watson said, “We see silver as the number one metal for holiday. It’s been going strong all year.”

Watson feels the trend toward silver might have stemmed from the use of the metal in accessories by designers such as Donna Karan and Calvin Keiein.

“But gold is definitely not doing as well as the other metals in department stores, she said. “It would be a different story at mass. Gold and bi-metal are bigger at mass than silver, where we have a less trendy shopper.”

While Watson said metal bands have been hotter than in years past, they still haven’t outsold the leathers. In the wake of the metal wave, she said the Timex line will include more metal styles in its ladies fashion watches than this time last year, especially under the Timex Essential slabel

The wholesale range for Timex metals is $20 to $30.

At Sutton Time, the makers of Anne Klein and Anne Klein II, Susan Binney, executive director of advertising and marketing, said the Anne Klein line supports trends in jewelry.

“The silver-tone has picked up, and it makes a lot of sense. In jewelry, platinum, white gold and sterling have been good,” Binney said.

She noted, “I don’t really think there’s a most popular metal. It depends upon the region. What’s nice is they’ve all kind of evened themselves out. What’s really grown is the all-silver.”

Binney noted that there is a sense of newness to the holiday looks. “I think dress is the area for growth now. It has to be feminine, with a sense of softness to it. It has to complement a woman’s wardrobe and sense of taste, and it has to be beautiful.”

The Anne Klein line includes examples of the dressier watches in the Eclipse collection, which has silver, two-tone and gold, some encrusted with crystal stones and others in boxed sets. The sterling silver collection is also in this vein, according to Binney.

Anne Klein watches wholesale from $45 to $105.

At Carolee Designs, sterling silver watches are being added to existing watch lines for fall/holiday, prompted by healthy sales of the company’s sterling silver jewelry collection.

President Carolee Friedlander, said, “It’s a very tasteful way to produce what we think is the luxury end of Carolee.”

Friedlander said the line will include some styles with bands of chunky, hand-made links. All the sterling silver watches will include Swiss movements and will wholesale at a higher price point than the other watches ranging from $100 to $225.

In general, she said, Carolee watches look good with her jewelry because they have similar details.

As a jewelry company, we approach watches as jewelry that tells time,” she said. “Instead of watch closings, we’ll use oversized spring rings or ornamentation on clasps. We use a blue imitation sapphire cabachon on the crown.”

Friedlander said the two-tone metals present a unique design opportunity. “On two-tones specifically, we try to make it more jewelry-like,” she said. “I think that customer is more of a professional woman who wants it to go with both her gold and silver Jewelry.”

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