It may seem a lifetime ago that Ice-Watch was the watch that every millennial wanted on their wrist, but a lot has changed with both the company and the market segment that it operates in over the past five years. With new, modern collections and a fresh zest for UK success, Ice-Watch is one of the brands to watch this year.
It’s over 10 years since Ice-Watch burst onto the watch scene and took it by storm.
Back then, the brand was synonymous with brightly coloured watches at a very reasonable price point, and in that sense the same DNA exists today.
In so many other ways the brand today is unrecognisable from the one that rose to the top of the global watch market after its introduction in 2007.
After years of unrelenting growth in the first five or so years of its life, Ice-Watch fell victim to the fickle nature of the sub £300 watch industry and, where once its watches were the hottest ticket in town, suddenly sales slowed down.
Now the brand is back with a bang in the UK, having teamed up with sales agents Marlow Five-O, which is run by Paul Halliday and Elliejane Farris. Between them, they have over 30 years of experience in the watch and jewellery industry, so Ice-Watch has good reason to believe that this new partnership is a recipe for success.
The brand made a lot of UK jewellers a lot of money when it was at its peak six or seven years ago, and Marlow Five-O is confident that lessons have been learned and that the product range is far more mature this time around.
Indeed, it has already made significant progress, with new stockists being announced almost every week. One example is a lifestyle boutique in Sherborne, Dorset, called The Circus. Its owner, Sam Bourne, is excited about the prospect of taking on Ice-Watch at the start of its rapid growth.
“We stocked the original brightly coloured Ice-Watch collection, which were an amazing success and I am delighted to see that Ice-Watch have reinvented themselves, not only in their new silicone ranges with Swarovski but also with their on-trend Ice Steel Collection, which not only look amazing and have a broad appeal, but are really well priced for the upcoming holiday season and beyond,” Bourne said. “We have had them in-store for six weeks and sold quite a few pieces; I will be placing another order very soon.”
A more traditional jeweller, F. Hinds, has also seen the potential of the new Ice-Watch range and has signed the brand up in 18 of its stores, starting in June, with an aim to grow this into all 100 F. Hinds stores if it goes well. With fast delivery times for stock from its Belgian headquarters, there’s no reason why the relationship with these UK retailers won’t grow and grow.
In a segment of the market that has flattened in the last few years, Ice-Watch is bucking the trend, not only with its fresh new line-up of watches (including full metal watches), but also with the vast resources and money that it has. The ability to invest in advertising and merchandising is attractive to watch retailers, which may explain why sales were up 10% last year compared to 2017 and are already up 14% in Q1 this year compared to the same period in 2018.
70% of these watches sold were in Europe, where Ice-Watch has leading market positions in the sub €1,000 markets in France, Germany, Belgium and Austria.
Underpinning the growing success of the new-look Ice-Watch are two of its key collections: the ICE Steel and the ICE Cosmos.
Starting at just £99, the Steel is a really compelling full metal offering from Ice-Watch. It reinterprets the original 2007 design in soft silicone that the brand was famous for, instead using shiny and sleek stainless steel.
The collection of 32 different models caters for a variety of tastes, from those who want a sportier look, to those who require a more debonair aesthetic. Made from 316 L stainless steel and powered by a quartz Miyota movement, the watches are also water resistant up to 10 ATM, as are of the brand’s watches now.
The move to metal is a key indicator of Ice-Watch’s new adaptability and on-trend nous.
The Cosmos collection consists of eight feminine dress watches, all encrusted with Swarovski crystals.
Its aim is to dazzle and look as glamorous as possible on the wearer’s wrist. Coming in medium (40mm) and small (34mm), the Cosmos aims to be an ideal gift for people or their loved ones, and the striking colours certainly make it stand out from the crowd.
For anyone interested in working with the brand, Paul Halliday of the aforementioned Marlow Five-O is the best contact point. He’s available on 07500 111376 and firstname.lastname@example.org.