Tresor Paris, a brand that has been dominating the hugely popular crystal bead craze in the jewellery market over the past year, is moving into the watch market and founder Saleem Hasbani has said that he is planning to replicate the success the brand has experienced with jewellery in the watch market.
The first raft of Tresor Paris watches will be unveiled at IJL next month, an entry-level collection with retail prices of £99. The watches have Japanese quartz movements, silicone bracelets, are water resistant to 10ATM, feature faceted glass, interchangeable bezels, a small diamond set at the 12 o’clock hour marker and have a three-year guarantee.
Until IJL, Tresor Paris is keeping the exact design of the watches secret, but has provided WatchPro with CAD renderings of what the timepieces will look like (see p7) and has shown a prototype to some retailers. Hasbani said that the secrecy surrounding the designs is an attempt to combat counterfeiters, a crime that Tresor Paris’s jewellery lines have suffered heavily from in the past.
“We have had mega problems with fakes and counterfeiters; we’ve had five or six parcels [of counterfeit Tresor Paris jewellery] arriving in the office every week from Trading Standards,” said Hasbani. “The computerised images are very close but there are a couple of details missing. What happened with the bracelets is that some people saw a couple of images and it only takes two to three weeks to get a fake on the market. We don’t want to ruin our launch or my retailers’ chances of selling the real thing. We took that quite seriously.”
Hasbani said the reaction from retailers that already stock the Tresor Paris jewellery has been positive when shown the plans for the launch of Tresor Paris watches. “A couple of the multiples, they practically bought it blind. They asked if they could buy it before September,” said Hasbani.
While Hasbani is sticking to his guns about not showing off the watches until next month, he said that he is in talks with two multiple retail groups about stocking the watches and believes independents will follow.
Tresor Paris will keep an open distribution policy for its watches and will not sign exclusive deals with retailers, although Hasbani added he favours retailers that have worked well with its jewellery.
The Hasbani family has been working in the jewellery industry for more than 50 years, specialising in diamonds before Tresor Paris, and while watches are a new venture, Hasbani believes it is the company’s proven ability to create and grow a commercially successful brand that retailers will buy into. “We really didn’t have to do hard work [selling the watches to retailers],” he said. “I think it’s purely down to the success of the brand in the past 12 months. They know we have a very strong brand that they’ve worked with and made money with.”
A cornerstone of the success of Tresor Paris’s jewellery collections has been a heavy use of celebrity product placement, a strategy that Hasbani said the company will also use for the watches. “For the bracelets we’ve done it, we’ve nailed it,” he said. “We didn’t have a brand ambassador, we thought we’d let as many celebrities wear it as possible. It worked perfectly well for us with the bracelets and I believe it will work perfectly well for the watches.”
While it will be the entry-level watches on display at IJL, Tresor Paris is planning to make luxury versions of the watches that can retail for as much as £20,000. All of the watches will have interchangeable bezels ranging from plain steel or its trademark crystals, to gold set with diamonds. Prices for bezels will start at £30.
While the first diamond watch, a prototype of which has already been made, will be used for celebrity product placement, Hasbani said he does expect to sell diamond versions, and references that the first Tresor Paris bracelet the brand sold was in fact a £49,000 diamond-set version.
“We will have a few customers that will buy them or a celebrity client,” he said. “We will sell a few of the diamond watches but the volume is going to come from the £99 entry-level watch, that’s where the market is going to be and they are going to fly out this Christmas.”
This article was taken from the August 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine, out now. To view a digital version of the magazine click here.