Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Brought Renewed Hope For the Luxury Watch Industry

2010 saw the slow but steady recovery of the watch industry. After a huge luxury industry nose dive in 2008 and the gut wrenching descent in 2009, the watch industry entered 2010 with much trepidation. However 2010 proved to bring a sigh of relief to many luxury watch companies with the reports of better earnings. Richemont Group who owns a portfolio of leading international brands such as Jaeger LeCoultre, Piaget, IWC, Baume & Mercier, Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, A Lange & Sohne & Roger Dubois, report a "very convincing six months" and a "strong sales growth". Swatch Group which owns Watch Brands including Breguet, Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Hamilton, Tiffany & Co as well as ETA, a producer of mechanical and quartz watch movements claims a huge resurgence in sales. Bulgari reports "business is picking up, while Hermes reports an excellent first half year. Swiss watch exports show a vigorous recovery in the first half of 2010 as well as heightened confidence of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

2010 saw a large amount of new luxury watch boutiques worldwide. Omega opened nine new boutiques in the United States alone, and Corum set up shop in china and opened the doors of its very first store in Switzerland. Raymond Weil opened three new stores in India. In 2010, both Ulysee Nardin and Richard Mille opened their first boutique stores in the US.

Although the watch industry, has still ways to go in terms of recovery, the prospects are very good indeed. Watch companies are being more conservative with research and development opting to reintroduce older successful collections rather than an entirely new line of watches. In addition, many watch companies have taken high end expensive watches and made them more affordable by using steel or ceramics rather than gold and diamonds. For example Breguet has taken its high end Reine de Naples timepiece for women, usually crafted in gold, lined with jewels and sporting a complication, and downsized it to more affordable steel version with no jewels and only the time on the dial. Breuget's elegance, craftsmanship and precision still remains whilst the luxury watch becomes more affordable.
Cartier ,as well, opted for utilizing cheaper materials such as steel and rubber for its Roadster Collection. The Roadster S is much more affordable with a definite mass appeal, which is exactly what the high end luxury watch companies need to survive. Mass appeal, that is, without damaging the integrity and quality of the watch brand. At a going rate of $4,600 for the steel version and $4,600 for the combo, this watch is much cheaper than the original Roadsters thereby enabling young aspiring individuals to own a watch worn by millionaires and noticed by all.
Luxury Watch Companies are looking to 2011 with a renewed vigor and hope, and just like the recovery from the Quartz Scare of the 1970's, they have survived.