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.

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Gevril Group Teams Up With Local Sports Complex

Valley Cottage Little League Braves


by Adrian Herscovici  

Gevril Group announced today that it is now an official sponsor of the Herb Reisman Sports Complex. The complex, located in the Town of Ramapo in Rockland County — close to Gevril Group head office in Valley Cottage — is home to several amateur sports leagues and teams.

Samuel Friedmann, owner and president of Gevril Group, is an advocate of strong partnerships and believes collaboration is a key success factor in both business and community development. By supporting youth and youth programs in the Rockland County area, Gevril Group is helping to build and sustain the vibrant community in which it is based. In 2013, Friedmann was presented with a Certificate of Achievement from Rockland County in appreciation of his service rendered to the county.

“Community matters,” says Friedmann. “It is our sincere belief that one of the best ways to ensure Rockland County thrives is to give back. We are fortunate to live and work in an area rich in parklands, and it is important that these public spaces be maintained for youth activity now, and in the future. We want to ensure that teams like the Valley Cottage Braves and other little leaguers have a place to exercise, play and compete.”

Rockland County Little League Herb Reisman Sports Complex
Rockland County Little League Herb Reisman Sports Complex
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The Herb Reisman Sports Complex provides youth and adults with a huge play surface spanning multiple sports. The complex includes a recreation center, two baseball diamonds, tennis courts, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, a walking path and an all-purpose football and soccer field. The sports complex is adjacent to the Eugene Levy Memorial Park, which has additional facilities.

Two Gevril Group banners are prominently displayed in one of the baseball diamond outfields. The first is a promotion for Haurex, an Italian brand that produces trendy and affordable sport watches like the Turbina II pictured on the banner. The second banner shows one of Gevril’s signature models, the Avenue of Americas Glamour.

Haurex Banner Gevril Banner
Haurex Banner Gevril Banner
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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.

In Memoriam: Paul Reichmann

Paul Reichmann Showing Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney a Model of Canary Wharf in London


by Adrian Herscovici  

Philanthropist and real-estate industrialist, Paul Reichmann passed away on October 25, 2013. He was 83 years old.

Reichmann will be remembered as one of the greatest land developers in history – a man who transformed the skylines of Toronto, New York and London in a series of legendary and well-documented ventures.

His preoccupation with commercial real estate was rivaled only by his spiritual convictions; in fact, it was his achievements in Talmudic studies and family life that he was most proud. As a young man teaching Talmud in North Africa, Reichmann steered his students towards intellectual rather than commercial pursuits. However, in his own life, an unquenchable calling in the world of commerce would come to dominate his adulthood.

Paul ReichmannReichmann was tall and soft-spoken. He dressed as modestly as he lived, in combinations of dark suits and ties with white shirts. Beneath his unpretentious exterior he was a master negotiator and financier, with exceptional business acumen and seemingly limitless gumption and tenacity.

Amassing immense wealth was never Reichmann’s end goal – it was a byproduct of his passion for his work. In fact, the Reichmann family actively shed wealth, year upon year, as large-scale donors, giving generously in the tens of millions to both non-denominational and Jewish medical facilities, as well as yeshivas and schools. Even though the family was, at its apex, one of the wealthiest in the world, Reichmann never moved from his upper-middle-class home in Toronto.

Reichmann’s business life was undeniably busy; even still, he prioritized time at home on the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, joining his wife Lea and their five children for temple services. This respect for religion extended to the family firm, Olympia & York Developments Ltd. (O&Y). The company closed its construction sites on the Jewish Sabbath, paid overtime for Sunday labor and for working on Jewish and Christian holidays.

Building an Empire

Reichmann was born in Vienna, Austria on September 27, 1930, the fifth of six children. His parents were orthodox Jews who, after uprooting twice – the first time to escape Nazi occupation and, the second time, to escape anti-Jewish persecution as a result of the Arab-Israeli War in 1956 – moved the family to their new home in North York, Toronto.

The Reichmann Brothers, Paul, Albert and Ralph

Paul, his father Samuel, and brothers Albert and Ralph started Olympia Tile in Toronto that same year, renaming it Olympia & York in 1958 when the company expanded into local real-estate development.

Olympia & York built nearly 100 buildings in Toronto over its first 15 years, the jewel of which was First Canadian Place. After winning the contract, it took O&Y three years of lobbying to iron out the deal. First Canadian Place was named after Canada’s first bank – the Bank of Montreal – and still houses the bank’s head office. Clad in white marble, First Canadian Place was the tallest bank tower in the world when it was completed in 1975.

Reichmann, who by this time was the business’s chief decision-maker, showed his audacious spirit on an epic scale when, in 1977, he won his firm the contract to develop a desolate site at New York’s Battery Park. The risk was enormous, but, in the end, the four mammoth towers that comprised the new World Financial Center effectively led to the relocation of the city’s financial district.

At their peak, the Reichmann family held about eight percent of New York’s commercial office space, more than twice as much as their closest rival, the Rockefellers. Their company, O&Y, was the world’s largest private real-estate company and they were the seventh wealthiest family in the world.

Canary Wharf

Then came the infamous Canary Wharf. In the 1980s, Reichmann won the rights to develop a dilapidated remote area in east London known as the Isle of Dogs, later renamed Canary Wharf. Like the Battery Park site in Manhattan, Canary Wharf was a huge gamble.

Two principal factors conspired against the Canary Wharf development project: the cyclical nature of real estate and a handshake deal with then British prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, who had promised O&Y that the city’s subway would be extended to the remote area in time for its completion. When the Canary Wharf site was completed in the early 1990s, Britain was in a recession and the subway was nowhere near completed. The office space at Canary Wharf remained empty, and O&Y was forced into bankruptcy in 1992.

Reichmann’s timing may have been off, but proof that his instincts were correct actualized years later. The subway extension was completed in 2000 and Canary Wharf became so popular that several more buildings were later added around the 50-story centerpiece building known as One Canada Square; and, as Reichmann envisioned, London’s financial district eventually relocated.

As a result of the bankruptcy the Reichmann family lost most of its wealth. Reichmann was humble enough to recognize his over-confidence and went about rebuilding the family fortune. It was not long before the family’s new company – Olympia & York Properties Corporation – was valued in the multibillions, which included a large stake in Canary Wharf. Reichmann retired in 2005.

Paul Reichmann took huge risks in his professional life. He thrived on finding a way to succeed where others had failed, or were too timid to venture. As a result, he reaped enormous rewards and suffered great losses. When he was up, he sought to climb higher; when he was down, he got up and began again.

Samuel Friedmann, owner and president of Gevril Group, is the brother-in-law of the late David Reichmann, a nephew of Paul Reichmann.

“Paul Reichmann was an extraordinary man and an inspiration to me and many, many others. His foresight into how the world’s financial capitals would develop, both at home and abroad, was uncanny. He was generous and authentic, and we will not soon see his like again. He will be dearly missed.” – Samuel Friedmann

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department 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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Couture Las Vegas Severs Ties with Watch Journal

Couture Las Vegas


by John Sealander  

Couture Las Vegas Terminates Watch
Journal’s Popular Couture Time Watch Event

For the past three years, Couture Time has been a popular show-within-a-show at the annual Couture watch and jewelry event in Las Vegas. Couture Time, sponsored by the prestigious Watch Journal Magazine, was thought by many to be the most important watch event in the United States.

Glen Bowen with Samuel Friedmann at Couture Las VegasGlen Bowen, publisher and editor-in-chief of Watch Journal, conceived of the Couture Time event as an environment where leading timepiece brands could meet face-to-face with leading retailers. For three years, that’s exactly what happened. Couture Time by Watch Journal™, held at the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel in conjunction with Couture Las Vegas, became an essential destination where the world’s top luxury watch brands could meet America’s premier jewelers and watch retailers.

The centerpiece of this weeklong event was the annual Couture Time Awards. This highly regarded watchmaking competition was the only event of its kind in the United States and provided a unique showcase for exhibiting watch brands at the show.

All that ended when Glen Bowen announced on October 3rd that Watch Journal Magazine’s three-year partnership with Couture had ended. In an open letter to participating watch brands, Bowen stated, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for you’re past participation in Couture Time by Watch Journal. It has been a pleasure to work with each of you and your teams and to help you get the most out of the show. Likewise, it has been a privilege and a pleasure to partner with Couture to create Couture Time by Watch Journal as a very special venue for watches.”

Effect on Watch Industry

The absence of Couture Time at the annual Couture show will be a big disappointment to many in the watch industry. Gevril Group President Samuel Friedmann, a regular Couture exhibitor, feels that the new owners of Couture Las Vegas didn’t give the show-within-a-show concept enough time. “Many American retailers do not make the expensive trip to Baselworld,” says Friedmann. “Couture Time and Watch Journal gave these people another alternative. If Couture had a little more patience, I am convinced that the watch show would have grown tremendously and become a major draw for both Couture and the entire watch industry.”

One can only speculate why Couture chose to sever its relationship with Watch Journal and discontinue the popular Couture Time show-within-a-show. For the over 80 watch brands that regularly attended the annual Couture show, Couture Time was an essential component of the Couture experience. Watch Journal Magazine is highly regarded as an industry authority by many watchmakers and the magazine’s participation gave Couture Las Vegas even more prestige within the watch industry.

It is too early to guess the extent to which the absence of Couture Time will impact the 2014 Couture show. Couture is still one of the important trade events of the year for North American jewelry retailers, but the loss of the Couture Time show-within-a-show will not go unnoticed by the watch industry.

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department 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.

Swiss Customs Authorities Impound Over 5,000 Counterfeit Watches

Counterfeit Watch Store


by John Sealander  

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry Continues to Fight
Counterfeiting With a Record Seizure at the Zurich Airport

Forgeries have been a major problem within the watch industry for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, recent advances in technology have made the problem even worse. In today’s world, it is easier than ever to make realistic copies of famous designs. Swiss watchmakers are being hit particularly hard by counterfeiting, since a flood of fake watches undermines the well-deserved reputation for innovation, perfection and expertise that the words “Swiss Made” represent.

To combat the growing counterfeiting problem, The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has mounted an aggressive effort to identify counterfeiters and seize the fraudulent goods they produce.

On September 30, 2013 the Federation announced that customs officers at Switzerland’s Zurich International Airport had impounded more than 5,000 fake watches in one of the largest postal seizures ever made in Switzerland. Between August and September 2013, customs officials impounded nearly 9,000 counterfeit items, including more than 5,000 watches. The counterfeit goods were initially shipped in a number of consignments, all originating from the same source in Greece. The fake watches were in transit to Spain and Portugal, and could have ultimately entered the American market.

Vigilance Required

According to watch industry insider and Gevril Group founder Samuel Friedmann, these new seizures by Swiss authorities make it more important than ever to be vigilant when purchasing a fine timepiece. “You need to always make sure you know who you are buying from,” says Friedmann. “There are many reputable retailers, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful. The more desirable the timepiece, the more people who are going to try to copy it.”

With watches continuing to grow in popularity as essential fashion accessories, the incentive for counterfeiters to sell their fakes is expected to continue unabated. The sad truth is that as long as people continue to buy cheap copies of their favorite luxury watch brands, somebody will continue making them.

Be a Part of the Solution

A number of international studies have already demonstrated clear links between organized crime and counterfeiting. “Anyone who loves fine watches needs to help combat the counterfeiting problem by never knowingly purchasing counterfeit goods,” says Mr. Friedmann. “There is real value in the expertise and craftsmanship that goes into the production of a genuine Swiss watch and we need to do everything we can to preserve that value.”

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department 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.

Amazon on the Verge of Joining Top-10 US Retailers

Amazon Warehouse


by John Sealander  

The World’s Second Most Valuable Brand
Moves up to Number 11 in US Domestic Sales

AmazonThere is no better sign that online shopping is here to stay than when a pure play online retailer is poised to join the ranks of America’s largest brick and mortar retail giants. The new kid on the block is Amazon, which jumped to number 11 on a list of the largest U.S. retailer in terms of domestic sales. Amazon raked in $34.42 billion in U.S. sales in 2012, a 30% year-over-year increase.

The Seattle-based online retailer is already ranked as the second most valuable global retail brand on a list that includes international retail giants like Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, and Aldi. Cracking the top ten in the influential US market is considered significant because it clearly demonstrates that Americans are changing the way they shop.

Although giants like Walmart, Kroger, Target, and Home Depot, still lead Amazon in domestic sales, they are not growing nearly as fast as the online retailer. Traditional brick and mortar stores haven’t even been able to come close to Amazon’s impressive 30% year-over-year increase in sales.

Amazon’s Growth in the Luxury Industry

Amazon’s steady growth hasn’t gone unnoticed in the fine jewelry industry. For many years, Amazon has been creeping up in the ranks of the largest and most influential fine jewelry and watch sellers. Amazon is already ahead of familiar jewelry and watch sellers like Sears at number 13 on the list, and Macy’s at number 14. To put things in perspective, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus is all the way down at number 84 on this year’s list of domestic sales.

It seems clear that Amazon will soon join the exclusive ranks of the top-10 US retailers. If their performance continues at present rates, Amazon could even be number one in the not too distant future. This explosive growth has serious implications for anyone who makes or sells luxury goods. According to Gevril Group President Samuel Friedmann, Amazon will be an important component in any luxury goods marketing strategy. “Every year, we see an increase in the number of watches selling on Amazon,” says Friedmann. “Amazon sales are a part of world marketing strategy now, and will continue to be so in the future.”

About Gevril Group

Gevril GroupGevril Group is the exclusive US representative for select European watch brands, distributing and servicing luxury, fashion and sports timepieces at a wide range of price points. Gevril Group also operates a full-service watch repair department staffed by master Swiss watchmakers. Contact Gevril Group by email or by calling 845-425-9882.

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