Best Ever Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair 2015

Hong Kong Watch Clock Fair 2015 Renaissance Moment

by John Sealander  

Gevril Group Brands in Spotlight at World’s
Largest International Timepiece Event

Hong Kong Watch and Clock FairAccording to industry insider and Gevril USA President Samuel Friedmann, the 2015 Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair was the best he has ever attended. Friedmann considers the prestigious fair a must-attend event, adding that this year some of his own brands were in the spotlight.

For 34 years, the prestigious international watch and clock fair has continued to grow in importance, becoming an essential destination for buyers, sellers, and industry experts. The Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair is now the largest event of its kind in the world, with over 780 exhibitors from 23 different countries. Asian markets have become so important in recent years that famous brands like Gevril Group’s own Versus Versace are choosing to launch their latest products at the annual fair.

Versus Versace was one of four international brands that had the opportunity to launch new products on opening day of the watch show. The high profile product launch was well received according to Mr. Friedmann, and was the perfect way to kick off an exciting five-day event.

This year’s Watch and Clock Fair attendees enjoyed daily watch parades and informative seminars designed to focus attention on the latest trends in the watch industry. Switzerland’s watchmaking expertise was featured at two all new pavilions this year, while a special “Wearable Tech Zone” featured the industry’s latest technological innovations. Even the general public got a chance to enjoy the show during a special “Super Saturday” on September 12 which featured lavish parades, celebrity events, and drawings for new watches.

With a record $10.8 billion in imports and $10.3 billion in exports in 2014, Hong Kong has become the world’s largest importer of complete watches by value and the second-largest exporter of complete watches and clocks. It is also becoming the place where the watch world sources parts and materials.

It’s no surprise that the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair now rivals the iconic Baselworld Fair in Switzerland. Samuel Friedmann says he’ll probably be back again next year.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog.

Impact of Climate Change on the Retail Supply Chain


by Bonnie McEwan  

Climate change disrupts the retail industry by creating volatility in the business environment, which impacts resource availability and prices, as well as stimulating regulatory shifts. Perhaps the most vulnerable part of the retail business is the supply chain, particularly for sources and infrastructure located in the developing world.

Vulnerabilities

The main vulnerabilities to the retail supply chain include the cost and availability of secure energy sources and water, along with weather events that disrupt the transportation of goods from Asia to the US and the EU. Companies that have just-in-time inventory systems may rely heavily on air transport for the rapid shipment of goods, but air transport alone contributes more than 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly, national governments are taking steps to limit those emissions, including here in the US, despite political opposition.

Alternative and Sustainable Energy from Wind Turbines


Even companies that already have sustainability strategies in place are finding that their initial efforts are not suitable for the long term, since ecological changes take place over time. What works today may not be effective a few years down the line.

For example, some companies that switched from carbon fuels to renewable hydropower later faced energy shortages due to reduced water runoff associated with drought. US businesses that reduced their use of air transport in favor of rail freight recently learned of a phenomenon called sun kinks, in which intense heat causes tracks to buckle and trains to derail.

Railroad Track With Sun Kinks

Also, changes made at one point in the supply chain may spark a domino effect, causing problems in another. One example is unanticipated changes in substitute materials. If, say, enough manufacturers switch from synthetic fibers — dependent on petrochemicals — to cotton, the price of cotton will rise along with demand. And this also creates a new vulnerability because the cotton crop is affected by floods, extreme heat and other unpredictable weather conditions.

Opportunities

Depending on your point of view, the challenges posed by climate change may also present some opportunities. Agile, forward-looking companies have an opportunity to gain competitive advantages by using new technologies and business models. Smart sustainability strategies can deliver benefits in brand prestige, increased sales, cost savings and investment capital. Take these examples:

Wal-Mart and Tesco have been applauded for addressing climate change throughout their value chains and there is evidence that consumers have responded.

• Upstart Tesla Motors became California’s third-bestselling luxury car in 2013, pushing BMW to speed up development of its own luxury electric vehicle.

Tesla Model S Luxury Electric Car

• Major retailer Marks & Spencer estimates that its global supply chain accounts for about 80% of its carbon footprint. Through a sustainability initiative called Plan A, M&S sources sustainable packaging from Sweden, works with fish suppliers on marine stewardship, and has set up eco-factories in the UK, Turkey and China, among other activities. It has paid off: In 2010 and 2011 alone, Plan A delivered £70 million in net benefits, which M&S has reinvested in its sustainability work.

Some companies have formed business coalitions, whose strength lies in their ability to scale through the pooling of finances, sharing of best practices, and incubation of innovation.

Richemont, the world’s third largest luxury goods company, is partnering with IKEA, the world’s largest furniture-maker, to take the lead on developing internal corporate carbon pricing structures in which all of a company’s business groups pay a fee for carbon. That money is reinvested into sustainable energy.

Ikea Invests in the Environment

• Denmark-based companies DONG Energy and Novo Nordisk formed a partnership in which DONG Energy helped Novo Nordisk improve energy efficiency in exchange for investment of energy savings into DONG’s wind farm. Novo Nordisk saved about US$12 million between 2007 and 2012. The company’s investments made the wind farm financially feasible.


Alex Niemeyer, a director at McKinsey, sums it up:

“One thing that has structurally changed in the world is that historic supply chains tended to be more stable. They dealt with normal volatility…not radical events like Fukushima or the Iceland volcano. Today’s supply chains need to be set up to deal with big volatility all the time. And that doesn’t just mean risk—that also means opportunity to take advantage when a competitor is affected or when a new market opens up.”

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

Impact of Climate Change on Inventory Control and Management

Inventory Warehouse


by Bonnie McEwan  

Just a few weeks ago, the mainstream media began to cover climate change in greater depth than ever before. Following a report from The White House on how climate change is affecting every region of the US, most Americans now understand that climate change is real. Interestingly, the retail industry is ahead of most sectors in addressing climate change, a topic we are covering in this blog. In this post, we take a look at how climate change impacts inventory control and management.

Throughout the world, Earth’s changing climate has caused temperatures and sea levels to rise, storms to become more frequent and severe, growing seasons to shift, drinking water to become more scarce and land to become less stable. These changes affect the food supply, health and living conditions of us all, but especially of the world’s poor and near-poor, many of whom produce the garments we wear, mine the raw materials we use and work in the nations where we source key products. Here are three ways these changes affect inventory management.

1) Disruptions in deliveries. Whether moved by train, truck, air or ship, storms and abrupt changes in the weather delay deliveries and sometimes destroy cargo. Buying trips are delayed. Inventory may not arrive when retailers need it.

2) Factory conditions, already bad in many nations, are likely to worsen. Travel to and from work will be more difficult for workers, especially those in the developing world. There may not be enough drinking water or food to sustain workers and maintain their productivity. Disease, particularly malaria, will increase. Worse than merely arriving late, your inventory may not arrive at all.

3) When poverty worsens in response to climate change, other problems are exacerbated. These include increases in conflict, crime and piracy. Black markets, graft and theft raise the price of goods and may also lower their quality. Perishable products like fruits and flowers and fragile items such as china and stemware are more likely to arrive spoiled or damaged.

Actions to Take

1) Review traditional formulas for inventory turn and order control. Identify the 20% of your inventory that drives sales, then reduce or don’t stock the 80% that doesn’t. Narrower inventory is easier to source and to manage.

2) Along similar lines, examine the ways you balance inventory levels against possible stock outs. If you are losing sales because customers won’t tolerate back orders, perhaps you need to accept a lower turn. Figure out which costs more, carrying larger inventories or missing out on sales due to stock outs.

3) Develop multiple sources for each product. Try to identify sources in various parts of the world so that bad weather or armed conflict in one area don’t make it impossible to obtain a popular item.

4) Investigate alternative distribution locations. Adding regional warehouses may raise top line costs, but having secure inventory, reducing fuel costs and offering prompt delivery to customers could increase sales and profits.

5) Ditto for investments in technology that streamline distribution, increase product tracking and decrease the risk of wayward inventory.

Some businesses have taken these or related actions and achieved good results. However, the lion’s share of adaptive innovation to climate change has occurred in the area of supply chain management, which we’ll look at in an upcoming post.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

Impact of Climate Change on Retailing

Climate Change


by Bonnie McEwan  

4 Lessons in Meeting Consumer Needs and Wants

A number of companies in the retail industry are ahead of the curve on adapting to climate change. This may be because retailers are very close to the end point of the consumption process. They see and learn firsthand from customers what they want and how they use the products they buy. For retailers who have less experience in this area, here are five lessons learned from the leaders about the ways climate is changing consumer needs and how to respond to them.

1) Seasonal merchandise is becoming less seasonal. These days, customers in the global north are likely to need snow shovels in April or running shorts on Thanksgiving. Retailers need to reconsider their ordering patterns and inventory management practices. This is a global challenge felt throughout the developed world This year, even Alaska ran out of snow shovels!

2) Increased frequency of weather emergencies means that people will need to stock up on basic supplies more often. The recent spate of 79 tornadoes in two days in the US Midwest is a good example. People need batteries, bottled water, generators and other survival equipment more often than in the past.

3) Consumer purchasing power may shrink, especially in areas that are hard hit by weather emergencies. People will favor products and companies that sell durable merchandise. They may buy less often, and when they do they will expect quality. Patagonia, a retail leader in responding to climate change, has capitalized on this with a campaign called The Common Threads Partnership. Patagonia pledges to make “useful gear that lasts” and the consumer pledges not to buy what s/he doesn’t need.

4) Consumer awareness of climate change and its causes has spurred demand for sustainable products. A Harris Interactive survey in May 2012 found that 69 percent of American adults purchase green products or services and nearly one third believe such products are the norm and a required expectation. This offers an opportunity for retailers to meet an emerging need. Luxury brand Gucci took note and launched its “Sustainable Soles” line of footwear made with biodegradable plastic. Gucci also offers biodegradable liquid wood sunglasses, which combine wood fibers from sustainably managed forests, lignin from paper manufacturing and natural wax.

Responding to consumers is not the only challenge that climate change presents to retailing. The PwC 17th Annual Global CEO Survey (Feb. 2014) found that more than half of the retail CEOs surveyed (51%) believe that “resource scarcity and climate change” will transform their businesses over the next five years. This compares to 46% of CEOs in all business sectors. A particular concern of retail CEOs is that supply chain disruptions could threaten growth. A whopping 88% said they were either “aspiring to change” or already had a “program underway” to make changes in their supply chains. This will be the focus of a future blog post.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog.

Will Google Win the Smartwatch War?

Google Android Wear


by John Sealander  

Will the company with the best hardware win the smartwatch wars? Or will it be the company with the most data?

GoogleAlmost everybody agrees that wearable technology will be the next big thing. What is unclear at this point is who will come up with the winning formula for a successful smartwatch. Pundits and industry insiders could learn a lot by looking at what has happened to Blackberry. This popular platform actually incorporated very sophisticated technology when it was introduced. It was left behind in the dust however, when other manufacturers discovered that software was much more important to smartphone customers than the hardware.

Innovative, inexpensive and even free apps turned the modern smartphone into a versatile tool that could do virtually anything. Ten years later, the same thing could be happening with the emerging market for wearable technology. This time, it won’t be the apps that make the difference; it will be how effectively these apps will be able to access and utilize vast amounts of data.

A Data Goldmine

Who has access to the most data these days? One company stands head and shoulders above the rest is Google. Google has access to such an enormous amount of data that they already have the capacity to do things that other companies can’t. This is why when Google announced recently that it was exploring a new line of Android Wear, it caused a lot of speculation within the watch industry.

Imagine a watch with motion sensors and a microphone. It might figure out that you’re dancing and tell you what song is playing. A Google smartwatch could interface with your online calendar and not only remind you about upcoming events, it could also suggest what you might bring to the party, based on what stores are nearby. Google is all about putting data in context. Instead of a long list of Apple style apps, a Google smartwatch might continually track what you are doing and suggest an appropriate response, based on the context of your actions at the time.

Instead of traditional apps, a Google smartwatch will probably be based on a set of actions. This is what Google is already exploring with its innovative Google Glass wearable project. Using context based actions, you could quickly and easily use your watch for calling a cab, exploring a new city, finding nearby friends, or planning an alternate route to the airport. Google’s innovative creative team lives in a world where cyborgs are cool and talking to your gadgets is as normal as striking up a conversation with the person next to you. They want to go beyond technology and create a watch that becomes an extension of you.

Google in the Driver’s Seat?

Just as Apple understood what a new generation of customers wanted better than Blackberry, Google seems to understand what future generations are going to want better than most current technology companies.

The smartwatch wars have just begun and there won’t be a single winner. Companies as diverse as Sony, Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and even watchmaking giant Swatch, are all planning to introduce their own versions of wearable technology in the near future. Anything could happen at this point, but it would be unwise to count Google out. Google has something that other companies don’t. Google has all the data.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.

Forget About Tourbillons! Watch Aficionados Finally Embrace Technology

Seiko Astron GPS Watch


by John Sealander  

A Brief History of High-Tech Watches

There have been high-tech timepieces for almost as long as there have been advancements in technology. First to become popular in the early 1970’s were watches that displayed the time using LED diodes like the Hamilton Pulsar worn by Roger Moore in “Live and Let Die.” Later, calculator watches, fitness watches, and hiking and adventure watches became popular for a time.

Although some of these timepieces are still prized by collectors, very few were ever taken seriously by watch aficionados. Sophisticated watch fans have always preferred the precision gears, jeweled bearings, and tiny springs found in traditional mechanical movements.

The love of old world craftsmanship is still strong, but there is a new appreciation for technology among fans of luxury timepieces. High-tech timepieces are finally beginning to be taken seriously.

A New Generation of High Tech Watches

The current crop of high-tech timepieces has caught the attention of prestigious watch journals and sophisticated fans with their unique combination of great design, superb craftsmanship, and advanced features. Watches like the Casio Pro Trek PRW6000, the Seiko Astron, and the Citizen Skyhawk AT are getting rave reviews by offering battery-free solar power, atomic clock accuracy, and sophisticated chronograph features in a beautiful, well-designed package that rivals the best high-end mechanical watches.

In a world where your cell phone and computer always display the correct time to the exact second, many younger watch aficionados are starting to expect the same type of accuracy from the watch on their wrist. Unlike earlier generations of technology watches that displayed their information in an ugly plastic case, the latest high-tech watches are beautifully crafted masterpieces.

Seiko’s Foresight and Continuing Excellence

When Seiko introduced the Astron, the first commercially available quartz timepiece in 1969, they said “Someday, all watches will be made this way.” Now Seiko is saying the same thing about a brand new Astron. This amazing timepiece, housed in a stylish titanium case, is powered by the sun, automatically adjusts to the time zone you’re in using GPS satellite signals, and features a perpetual calendar that is always correct until February 28, 2100.

The Astron recognizes all 39 of the world’s time zones by determining its current location using GPS, then comparing that information with an onboard database that divides the Earth’s surface into one million squares, each of which is assigned to a particular time zone. This is something even $100,000 mechanical watches can’t do. Even the most sophisticated mechanical watch will only display 37 time zones with a manual reset.

High-Tech Watch Popularity Continues to Grow

Less expensive high tech watches like the Casio Pro Trek PRW6000 and Citizen Skyhawk AT use radio signals from an atomic clock instead of GPS satellites to maintain split-second accuracy. What they share with the Seiko Astron is great design and superbly crafted cases. Maybe that’s why they are showing up on the wrists of more and more sophisticated watch aficionados.

The latest generation of high-tech timepieces has raised the bar for all timepieces. When it becomes possible to provide more, people tend to expect more. There will always be a place for traditional mechanical timepieces, but these types of watches are already becoming fashion items instead of functional tools. Although the best mechanical watches are already just as collectible as a vintage Ferrari or couture gown, you might not be wearing one to work much longer. They are ultimately museum pieces. When you can wear a precisely crafted, impeccably styled timepiece that runs forever on solar power and tells you the exact time to the millisecond even if you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, why would you want to wear anything else?

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group, watchmaker and wholesale watch distributor, is the exclusive U.S. agent for exquisitely designed and crafted European luxury and fashion watch brands, distributing and servicing some of the best affordable luxury and Swiss watches and trendy fashion watches. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair, staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

Join the conversation! Follow Gevril Group on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please subscribe to the Gevril Group newsletter and blog digest.



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