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Watches: A fit for every wrist

  • Chicago Tribune
  • Published Monday, April 8, 2013, at 12 a.m.

Remember how watches were going to become obsolete? Everybody was just going to use a cellphone to tell time.

Well, never mind.

Walk into any department store, and it’s stunning how much real estate is devoted to stylish fashion watches.

“Today, watches are part of the normal accessories you buy each season,” said Cindy Livingston, president and CEO of the watch company Sequel AG. “Accessory first, time-teller second.”

“Watches now are a way of showcasing our personal style and attitude,” said Nordstrom watch buyer Mary DePrez.

In fact, watch sales roared out of the most recent recession. Sales for watches less than $300 were up 55 percent between 2009 and 2012, sales figures tracked by LGI Networks show. Styles change, and we want what’s new.

Guided by watch industry experts, I went shopping for the latest trends geared to six different personalities – frugal personalities who didn’t want to spend more than $200.

Fearless fashionista

Trend: Bling, all-over pattern.

P.S.: This is Guess’ best-seller, so popular that the Guess website sold out, replenishing with a rush order.

Details: Guess, $175; Fierce, Guess stores, Macy’s, Macys.com, Guess.com

Bold preppy

Trend: Color! Unisex: a men’s watch that works for women, too.

P.S.: Everyone’s getting into the watch act now. This is from Jack Spade’s first watch collection.

Details: Jack Spade, $98; Repp Stripe, JackSpade.com

World traveler

Trend: Utility

P.S.: I love this watch and wear it every day. Radio signals keep it accurate to the second. It tells you what time it is all over the globe, has a stopwatch and much more. No more wrecked watches from wearing them in the shower.

Details: Casio, $39.95; Wave Ceptor #3054, casio-usa.com.

Traditionalist

Trend: Retro with a twist

P.S.: Colorful interchangeable bands give this watch a modern feel.

Details: Timex, Vintage Field Army, $150; additional band, $20, JCrew.com

Standout

Trend: “Big, huge watches the size of a tennis ball,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with the NPD Group.

P.S.: These insanely big watches, some more than 2 inches across, will weigh down your arm.

Details: Diesel, $195; 10 Bar Chronograph, Macys.com

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