As the watch world continues to grind through Coronageddon, we are starting to see the outline of what the post-pandemic new normal might be. More online sales, but not nearly enough to save everybody’s bacon; an even greater reliance on China, which is not the savior everyone is waiting for; and far fewer players as we head towards watch industry consolidation . . .
“They hoard their most desirable watches for their own boutiques, force less popular pieces on their partners and price them in such a way that the only way to shift them is out of the back door on the grey market.” That’s watchpro.com‘s Rob Corder’s take on the war between watchmakers and retailers. No question: the watch industry is in turmoil. And not just at the sharp end. LVMH is bailing on their deal to buy Tiffany & Co. . . .
For the last 15 years the answer to any question about the luxury goods business has been China. China will supercharge sales. China will absorb production whenever a slowdown hits the West. China will drive the next stage of growth no matter what. China will save the Swiss watch industry. Will it? . . .
“In spite of certain key markets increasing or remaining stable, Swiss watch exports overall continued to fall significantly in July,” The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reports. “However, the downturn was only half of that seen in June.” Hang on. Does that look like a recovery to you?
“We are going to [see a] dematerialisation of retail,” Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias pronounces in an interview with WatchBox. “I don’t need four walls to sell you a watch tomorrow.” (No word on how Audemars Piguet dealers feel about their dematerialisation.) According to watchpro.com, Bennahmias’ bet on online/home visit sales is based on . . .