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Always"watching"

'avon Calling'

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Apologies to Avon that the Forum has decided to give you a lower-case initial in my topic title.

Our Avon lady lives at the top of our road, and a formidable lady she is too, as is her dog which is a bit "unreliable" towards strangers if you get what I mean. Luckily, she doesn't bring the dog when she calls on Avon business. Kris and I very much like her and we have known for for a long time, even though we had a long gap when we didn't bother getting the Avon catalogue. She must walk miles every week as her round is a large one and very busy, and she also takes her dog for a pretty long walk once or twice a day. I don't know how she has the energy.

So, now that we are getting the Avon catalogue again, I thought I would just delve a bit into the history of this amazing concern, which had its origins in a company founded in America by David H. McConnell, in New York, in 1886. The company name was changed to the California Perfume Company in 1892 and this firm was joined in 1894 by Alexander Henderson, Vice President and Treasurer who with McConnell oversaw the agreement of Corporation in the state of New Jersey in 1909. In 1916, the California Perfume Company was incorporated in the State of New York with McConnell, Henderson, and a William Scheele being listed as company officials.

It is not clear exactly when the word "Avon" was used by the company on some of its products, apparently after McConnell's love for Shakespeare, but it was either 1928 or 1929, and it was not until 1932 that the first trademark application was filed and successfully granted to the company. However, the brand did not wholly succcumb to the iconic Avon name until the end of the 1930s. During the Second World War, Avon supported the US military by making parachutes among other items, and by the sale of War brands by its reps. Shortly after the war, the growth of the company really took off. Obviously, we are here concerned with watches and watch related items, so I do not propose to go into the perfume, cosmetics and toiletries side of the company, which has rocketed over the years.

Today this iconic world-wide brand and company is entitled Avon Products, Inc., and is classed as an American international manufacturer and distributor of beauty, housefold, and personal care products sold through representatives in over 140 countries across the world. As far as the UK is concerned, Avon arrived here in 1959, together with its already well-known American tagline, "Avon Calling", and the doorbell. This advertising campaign ran from 1954 until 1967 and was to become the longest running and most successful advertising campaign in history.

Avon started selling jewellery in about the mid-1970s and by the end of that decade, jewellery sales had reached over $400,000. and the company became the largest distributor of costume jewellery in its time. Avon even purchased Tiffany & Co but only held on to it from 1979-1884 when it was resold so that the firm could concentrate on its Avon lines. Avon did buy Silpada, a direct seller of silver jewellery, in 2010, for $650 million, and then went on to reject an offer of a takeover by the perfume company Coty.

Not everything has been plain sailing at Avon since 2000, especially in France most recently, but problems have not stopped expansion into China and the overtaking of the US market for Avon by Brazil. By 2012, Avon had annual sales of $10.7 billion and ity is the fifth largest beauty company and the second largest direct selling company in the world.

Anyway, what about the watches? Have you ever bought a new Avon watch from an Avon rep? And please don't all shout NO!!! at once. I certainly haven't and indeed, the Avon-brand watches that I have seen in a pre-owned state, many of them almost new, are pretty awful. They often feel cheap and tacky and have no real quality whatsoever. So why am I even bothering to talk about Avon at all, you might ask, and here's why.

Firstly, there is a difference between asking if you have bought an Avon watch and asking if you have bought a watch from Avon. You see, Avon now doesn't just sell Avon-branded products - it also sells products from other fashion houses and these may sometimes be exclusive to Avon brochures and reps. In fact, here I have an admission to make which will appall some of you no doubt. One of my favourite watches, that I wear and really enjoy, was bought through my Avon Lady just before Christmas and I illustrate it here. As you will see, it is an Oasis product but a model sold only by Avon. I just needed to replace the shiny blue strap with something a bit more masculine and in leather, and the watch truly came alive:

OASIS1.jpg

Yes, it is a woman's watch but it is so pure and simple, and actually very nice quality with a palladium plated case and thin gold markers and hands. The silver dial has a lovely "cartwheel" effect and the glass is subtly facetted round its circumference. The size of the watch is the same as a man's watch would have been some years back, so it is ideal for me.

Anyway, having shown you this lovely watch, I will just show you an "Avon" monstrosity, as a contrast you understand. Actually, unlike the Oasis watch above, this Avon watch looks better (perhaps) in a photo than it actually is:

AVON1.jpg

In fact, the strap is nicer than the watch itself although my photo doesn't unfortunately show it, and I don't know how much this watch was when new as I only bought it pre-owned for reference. Interestingly, I have my eye on a watch that is coming out fairly soon from Avon and which could be a half-way decent product. It is a "Jamie Blue" Avon-brand watch with three subdials. My Avon lady will check if these are real or fake, but as they are calendar indicators, they are probably working. The watch is named after a new Avon celebrity - James Redknapp, the soccer player. I can't show you this watch because it hasn't appeared on the internet yet and nor do I yet possess one - if indeed I will actually buy it - hmmm. This is one of the glories of the Avon Lady. She is so accommodating about taking things back if you don't like them. Indeed, she will even show you the item and let you refuse it altogether, with no hard feelings at all and no money changing hands.

As a final note in the matter of Avon and watches, I have just ordered a couple of tools that will be very useful in tinkering with watches, and at £1.50 a pop (half the normal price), you can't go wrong. The first is a pair of gemstone tweezers and the second is a double-ended implement, with a thin brush on one end and a pointy tool on the other end. These are really for decorating fingernails but they are ideal for tinkering with watches, among other things.

I do beg you not to all pounce on me with dreadful words about me daring to write about Avon. One thing you can say about Avon is that it is a company that cannot be ignored. People are obviously buying and wearing the watches they sell - their own and those of other fashion brands - and I am nothing if not "democratic" in the watch related companies I post topics on.

Edited by Always"watching"

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I saw a 3 dial watch marked Avon at an antiques market last week for fiver, it obviously wasn't old but it wasn't brand new either, I will check out if the stall holder is at the fair tomorrow and have a look.

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Dear Muddy - this hole in your knowledge is truly horrendous; didn't know that Avon was still going? Where have you been living for all these years? Surely not in any street in the UK or the States or indeed in any street in the 140 countries where Avon is a presence. :lol:

As for your spotting of an Avon three-dial watch, Mick B, I would be most interested in what you reckon to it if you see it again. I myself have never encountered a multi-dial Avon watch so I shall be intrigued to hear what you think of it, and then I can judge whether the new Jamie Blue I will be looking at soon seems any better or worse than the watch you saw.

Thanks for your replies guys :)

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Just had a look through Avon's catalogue online - no trace of a three dial watch unfortunately.

Regards

David

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Ok, here's the embarrassing bit, living near Bristol and more often than not, people still put the county Avon at the end of my address. This is technically incorrect as Avon no longer exists as a county. I've checked where my nearest avon lady is and there are 15 less than a mile away. I can't see me contacting any of them though :-)

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Googling Avon watch images, there are some on there but none current. The one I saw wasn't at the Lincoln fair, but I got a nice mint Emporio Armani watch for the same fiver I could have spent.

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STOP PRESS

The Jamie Blue watch I was going to look at with a view to purchasing one is ABSOLUTE RUBBISH and even my Avon Lady was heartily unimpressed. The calendar subdials are purely decorative and the watch just looks cheap and nasty. So my advice is that if you want to get a watch via your Avon rep, with the very good after-sales and returns service that Avon seems to provide, then don't buy an Avon-branded example but stick to one sold through Avon by a more upmarket or just plain better fashion house/watch company.

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