Market Focus Romania: Part 3

October 2005

Luxurious timepiece launches are not the only watch-related events in Romania. Exhibitions and fairs are also conducted in the sector. A major exhibition was organ-ized in 2004 in Timisoara, by the subsidiary Timisoara du Patronat des Joailliers, Victoria Diamond Gold, which regroups about 1000 companies in the country.
The range of products from 25 companies in Timisoara, Bucarest, Arad, Brasov, Pitesti, Constanta, Ploiesti, Agnita and Caransebes was composed of various jewellery items, as well as watches and watch cases, espec-ially those made of gold and silver. The exhibition was held in the Marble Room at the Banat Museum and included a section of watches and art objects belonging to the nation’s patrimony organized by the host of the event. The public was attracted by the prices and the abundance of the offer. Experts were able to meet each other and draw conclusions on the public’s preference for items, as people watched the jewellery artists in action.
The main event at the end of 2004 was the Jewellery and Watch Fair organized at the Marriott Hotel in Bucharest. For the first time in Romania, representatives of the world’s largest watch and jewellery brands were present. Their products are distributed in the country by Helvetansa, Micri Gold, Cellini, Diamond’s Heartbeat, Kirio and Conmart. The fair’s visitors were able to admire and purchase products bearing the logos of the prestigious brands Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Bulgari, Omega, Breguet, and Montblanc.

Restorers, inventors and artisans
Ion Cristea, an employee of the Cultural Palace of Iasi, in the metals section of the Regional Restoration and Conservation Laboratory, has had the pleasure of restoring watches that belonged to important personalities of the Romanian culture such as George Toparceanu, Mihail Sadoveanu, Vasile Pogor and Otilia Cazimir. The same restorer, who loves his work, has also restored clocks and watches belonging to the Romanian royal family, which have come from the Peles Château in Sinaia. His true passion, however, is the gigantic clock in the tower at the Iasi Palace. His affection for clocks, watches and gramophones, as well as music boxes, is just as strong now as it was when he first started 26 years ago. He is very conscious of the relationship that his work has with art, and has achieved a personal vision of the inventions that have revolutionized techniques over the years. He considers the axis of the wheel to be the most important invention of humanity, a conviction that watchmakers will undoubtedly be pleased about!
Constantin Mihaescu is also a passionate restorer who has refurbished and repaired more than 60,000 movements. This native of the Craiova region also has a good chance of being included in the Guinness Book of Records because he invented a movement that works in reverse. The idea was inspired by a yoga practitioner and Mihaescu spent many hours to finally create this very unusual timekeeper (there is another one on Mount Athos in Greece). After patenting his invention, the artist would like his work be considered by the Book of Records. Today, the restorer is getting ready for his retirement, especially given the proliferation of quartz movements!
On a different note, a number of small companies and individual artisans use the movements from antique clocks or second-hand watches to make clocks and table watches out of sculpted wood. The products of Artissima PFA in Baia Mare have acquired a certain renown in this regard. People interested in these items can order their clock based on models presented on the company’s website.
A similar activity has been conducted by a young artisan from Satu Mare, who exhibits and sells his clocks in the summer resort on the shore of the Black Sea. The mechanisms are quartz driven and the cases are made of sculpted wood. With a very attractive appearance and reasonable prices, the products of the young artisan are especially coveted for decorating rustic style vacation homes.

We are witnessing a polarization of the Romanian market because a veritable gulf has been formed between people who buy watches for around 100 euros, with no great pretensions, and those who feel that the watch must respect and demonstrate their social status. Their timepieces can cost over 1,000 euros.
The nation’s retailers remain preoccupied with covering all segments of the Romanian market with international brands. More than any other, Galt will continue its policy of promoting watches from the most famous brands. Romanians working abroad contribute to this policy as they prefer watches that they see and admire in the stores of Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Dublin. These importers have the means to realize their ambitions, and are aiming higher than the brands, although very respectable, which have an obvious local flavour such as Doxa and Atlantic.
In the short and medium term, the strategy of selling well known brands in the cities located near the Hungarian border is a good one, and is attracting a substantial clientele. This is the case of Chronnologic in Timisoara, which distributes watches from the German brands Junghans, Regent and Haller.
The rising attractiveness of the Romanian market is not just merely an impression. Foreign brands are arriving on the scene with true marketing campaigns as exemplified by those of Ulysse Nardin, Blancpain, Montblanc, Invicta, etc. It is anticipated that starting in 2007, the year Romania joins the European Union, this type of activity will only increase.

In the forthcoming days, the rest of this lenghty survey will be added to our europastar website.

Market Focus Romania: Part 1
Market Focus Romania: Part 2
Market Focus Romania: Part 3
Market Focus Romania: Part 4

Source: August - September 2005 Issue

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