More Watch Store Looting, More Misery

Watches of Switzerland watch store looting

Looting has spread across the country, in metropolitan areas large and small, during the night and the day. New York City, Santa Monica, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Chicago, D.C., Dallas and more. And once again, watch store looting was breaking out all over…

By now, every jewelry store and pawn shop in the country has either removed its inventory or secured in a safe. Which means that last night’s damage was largely – but not exclusively – limited to the stores themselves. Well, that and something equally important . . .

Oris watch store looting

Consumer confidence.

While jewelry/watch stores will eventually remove the plywood protecting their store fronts and repair invasion damage – at least the ones with the insurance and/or financial resources to do so – this week’s retail is shot.

Jewelry store looting in Pittsburgh

Next week’s? That too. Here in a quiet cigar lounge in suburban Austin, the manager just received a phone call asking if it was safe to come in. What does that tell you?

This at the exact moment when the Coronageddon quarantine was easing. It’s going to be long time before wary shoppers will venture into urban areas to buy or eat anything. Specifically, who wants to purchase a luxury watch in a former and maybe future war zone?

Grafitti at Cartier watch store looting site

There’s no question looting will have a dampening effect on consumer confidence, generally. The country is still reeling from COVID-19, still facing an uncertain future, still mired in recession.

Even if watch store looting doesn’t raise the specter of class warfare – a subject we raised before Coronageddon – it’s just plain depressing.

Consumers splurge on luxury watches when they’re feeling safe, secure and economically flush. No matter how far you are from this lawlessness, it has a psychological effect. And it ain’t good.

The traditional watch industry is on the ropes. The looting is a gut punch. Another gut punch. If business doesn’t recover by Christmas – which it probably won’t – expect a realignment that will make the quartz crisis look like a holiday.

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