Plenty of time for politics

Watches: Two businessmen are marketing timepieces with the faces of the major-party presidential candidates as a way for people to show their support.

June 28, 2000|By Mia D. McNeil | Mia D. McNeil,SUN STAFF

Minutes are ticking away until the 2000 presidential election, and thanks to Election Watch 2000, voters will know just how many.

Jack Goldenberg and Andrew Gillinson have bought the rights for their company, Election Watch 2000, to manufacture wristwatches bearing the faces of Vice President Al Gore and Texas Gov. George W. Bush. "We were trying to find a subtle way for people to show their political affiliation," Gillinson said.

Goldenberg and Gillinson met in 1986 when they began working together at an advertising agency in Baltimore. Fourteen years later, Goldenberg, the creative director of copy for the Blakeslee Group Inc. in Baltimore and a Democrat, and Gillinson, a free-lance writer in Lancaster, Pa., and a Republican, have teamed up to create the political watches. They have sold their first 200 watches, but "people weren't wearing them," Goldenberg said. "They were keeping them in storage. ... 2000 is a good collectible year."

The partners decided they should market the watches on the Internet. Their Web site, anybodyelse.com, will be set up for e-commerce on July 4. "People are going to flock to this site," Goldenberg said. The watches will sell for $39.95 on the Web site, plus $5 shipping and handling.

The Web site will also sell additions to the Election Watch 2000 collection called the "Top 25 Anybody Else for President Candidates" for $34.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. The list includes Cal Ripken Jr., Ronald McDonald and the final contestant on CBS-TV's "Survivor."

The Bush and Gore watches sell for $40 at the Maryland Historical Society, Gustafson's Antiques in Hampden and Capitol Coin Shop in Washington, D.C., Goldenberg said.

The makers haven't been able to give a watch to Gore, but some Democrats were concerned that the watches were not made in the United States. The moving parts of the watch are made in Japan, but the watches are assembled in El Monte, Calif.

Republicans, too, had concerns, Goldenberg said.

"Bush said that `We're gonna mint a million of these after the election,'" Goldenberg said. But that will happen only after Election Watch 2000 makes a few changes requested by the GOP.

"They didn't like Bush's smile on the watch, and they wanted us to make the print larger," he said.

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