In the May issue of WatchPro we took a look at the aviation watch market in the UK. Here Mark Robinson, UK managing director of Citizen, gives us his views on the potential in this sector, gives an insight into upcoming launches from Citizen and talks Red Arrows.
WatchPro: How has Citizen fared in the aviation watch market over the past year?
Mark Robinson: The demand for our Citizen RAF Red Arrows watches still remains high and sales continue to increase with over 27,000 units sold since its launch in September 2010.
WP: What is your customer demographic for these watches?
MR: Our RAF Red Arrows watches have been bought by various consumers. Enthusiasts and collectors have bought them, especially the limited-edition piece. We offer seven different watches in this collection from flight chronographs with 1/5 second chronograph and world time in 24 cities to the Skyhawk A-T with atomic timekeeping, a 1/100 second chronograph that measures up to 24 hours and a rotating slide rule bezel. Some light aircraft pilots have also purchased from our Skyhawk A-T collection. All of the watches in this collection use Citizen Eco-Drive Technology meaning they are fuelled by light, both natural and artificial so they never need a battery.
WP: What do shoppers want from a pilot watch?
MR: Consumers are looking for strong design features and a brand they can trust. With the seven watches in this collection, we believe there is something for everyone; from the consumer who wishes to purchase a stylish-looking flight chronograph, to the consumer who prefers the look and feel of the more technologically advanced Skyhawk A-T range.
WP: What new product launches has Citizen been working on in this area?
MR: We have launched two new models this spring/summer, including the RAF Red Arrows World Chronograph A-T featuring atomic timekeeping, automatic time in 26 world cities, 1/20 second chronograph measuring up to 60 minutes, perpetual calendar, 12/24 hour time, power reserve indicator, non-reflective sapphire crystal and water resistant to 200 metres. It is available with a stainless steel strap or black leather strap with red trim.
WP: What sort of marketing activities has Citizen been employing to push aviation watches?
MR: We have advertised the RAF Red Arrows on TV, the London Underground, consumer magazines – GQ, FHM, Top Gear, Aviation Magazine, Sport, Pilot and various airline magazines. We are heavily advertising at airshows including RIAT, RNAS, Bournemouth, Eastbourne and in their souvenir brochures and running competitions to win an RAF Red Arrows Watch.
WP: Have you collaborated with any retailers on events or promotions?
MR: We fully support our retailer event days, supplying Red Arrows marketing collateral, pull-up banners, pop-up stands, concertina leaflets, show cards and sometimes offering a prize for a raffle.