Launches spark jewelers show

Several designer jewelry and watch lines were introduced at the 1992 Jewelers of America Show. Designer Judith Leiber introduced jewelry and specialty accessories inspired by the zebra and fish motifs she is noted for. Fendi expanded into the fine jewelry watch market with watches produced under license by Ultima Brands SA. Swiss-made watches are also now being offered by Giorgio Beverly Hills. The designs of Bali, Indonesia resident John Hardy are featured by Alfex of Switzerland’s new watch line.

New lines, some involving top fashion names, added zest to the Jewelers of America Show here this week. Here, a roundup of some key launches on view at the show.

Leiber’s Golden Touch

The new Judith Leiber fine jewelry collection takes its inspiration from two styles in the designer’s handbag line – her fish motif minaudiere and her zebra-theme handle bag.

As noted, the handbag designer has teamed up with Harry Winston for this jewelry venture.

Pieces feature detailing resembling the scales and fins of a fish, the print of a zebra skin and a miniature zebra head. These themes re carried throughout the entire line, which wholesales from $100 to $1,500 for sterling silver and $300 to $11,000 for gold.

Also available under the Leiber license held by Winston is a limited edition of specialty accessories,such as desk boxes inspired y her minaudieres. The boxes will be numbered and signed by Leiber. The centerpiece of the collection is an 18-karat gold evening bag with diamond trim and a 3-carat ruby clasp.

Fendi’s Fine Time

Fendi is extending its watch offerings with a collection of fine jewelry watches.

The new line is being produced under license by Ultima Brands SA, which also holds the license for Fendi fashion watches and fashion jewelry. Fendi fashion watches were launched five years ago.

Ultima is a Swiss subsidiary of Brigade International, based in Manasquan, N.J., with executive headquarters here.

The line features watches that combine stainless steel and 18-karat gold and wholesale from approximately $250 to $450. Watches of all 18-karat gold are $4,225 wholesale. All of the watches, which are handcrafted in Switzerland, are available in men’s nd women’s sizes on link bracelets.

The news line, whose distribution is limited to the U.S. and the Caribbean, is expected to generate sales of $6 million in its first year, according to Tom Venables, president of Ultima. The Fendi fashion watch line, distributed by Ultima worldwide, does about $20 million in U.S. volume.

“Construction and fine Swiss watchmaking quality is exactly the same at $495 and $8,500 retail,” said Venables. “The only difference is the metals involved.”

Giorgio’s Time

First came handbags, then eyewear, and now Giorgio Beverly Hills has added Swiss-made watches to its accessories lineup.

The timepieces – the company’s first licensed products with worldwide rights – are designed and produced by Swiss-based Camy AG and distributed by its U.S. subsidiary, Espadon Group USA, in Irvine, Calif. The line is called Giorgio Beverly Hills Time.

Donald Gavin, Espadon Group president, said that in addition to being sold in Giorgio boutiques in New York, Beverly Hills and Costa Mesa, Calif., the line will be in fine jewelry stores and fine jewelry departments of major retail chains. It will also be distributed in Canada, England, Italy and Switzerland.

The line, wholesaling from $50 to $250, carries a two-year limited warranty. Styles, many of them unisex, range from classic round-face watches with goldplated stainless steel cases and leather straps to water-resistant diver models and feminine gold bracelet numbers with mother-of-pearl dials.

In November, Giorgio will launch a national advertising campaign using the slogan “Accessories With Personality,” featuring the watches, handbags and eyewear.

Giorgio began its venture into licensing last August with bridge handbags. In November, it introduced licensed sunglasses and opthalmic eyewear.

Hardy’s Time

Alfex of Switzerland, a watch company based in Lugano, Switzerland, has introduced a watch line created by jewelry designer John Hardy.

The John Hardy for Alfex of Switzerland line, wholesaling from $298 to $398, consists of six styles n sterling silver. The watches feature handcrafted cases, faces and buckles made in Bali, Indonesia, Hardy, a Canadian, lives and works in Bali.

The John Hardy line is Alfex’s first designer line. The company produces its own brand as well as private label watches.

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