Concurrent International Watch Conference makes successful debut
(NEW YORK) – Nearly 60 top exhibitors and 80 prestige jewelry retailers participated in the second annual Centurion South Beach Show, held concurrently with the debut of the International Watch Conference in Miami Beach, Fla. The watch event was the focal point of the education program at the invitation-only show, which took place Oct. 15-18 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.
“We are gratified by the excellent response we have had from outstanding retail jewelers and watch manufacturers for our first Watch Conference event,” said Centurion President Howard Hauben. “The Conference offered a wealth of insider information, with candid input from our panelists that shed light on many of the issues that arise in the watch business, for retailers and brands alike.”
Internet challenges for watch retailers, discounting philosophies, how to sell more watches, taking advantage of watch trade-in, the best methods for selecting a new brand, and current trends in the marketplace were just some of the topics discussed at the conference.
“I crossed the country to get watch knowledge and I wasn’t disappointed,” said Judith Arnell, of Judith Arnell Jewelers in Portland, Oregon. “I’ve wanted to add a watch gallery to my store for a while now, but I hesitated because I know so little about the watch market. Going to this show was the best thing I could have done. I feel like I can select fine watch brands to compliment my designer jewelry lines with much less trepidation!”
“I really enjoyed the Watch seminars and educational events,” said Dan Schuyler of Lily & Co. in Sanibel, Fla. “I was able to network and enjoyed meeting Craig Rottenberg from Long’s Jewelers and Ed Dikes from Weston Jewelers, whose expertise was very helpful to consider in my own watch business.”
The conference offered nine hours of sessions and was sponsored by the American Watch Guild and Centurion Jewelry By Invitation Only, LLC.
On the show floor, retailer presence was equal to the year prior, with prestige jewelry stores coming from the Caribbean, Florida, and around the U.S.
“Business was okay for many of our exhibitors and excellent for several,” said Hauben. “We had very positive feedback from the retailers who attended.”
“In the current economy, we weren’t expecting to do much business, but in the end we were very happy with the show,” said David Zar, president of Le Vian Time. “We had a great response, made some good sales and opened new accounts. We’re looking forward to signing up again next year.”
Raymond Hak, of Raymond Hak Couture, echoed the positive sentiments. “We had a good show, and I was pleased with the results and quality of customers. The venue was excellent, and overall it was a very pleasant experience.”
Invited retailers received four nights at host Loews Miami Beach Hotel, on the ocean in the heart of South Beach, as well as complimentary meals and social functions, including a dinner at the Versace Mansion.
Centurion South Beach and the International Watch Conference are slated to return to Miami in early October 2009.