Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Hublot – Switzerland’s horological heavy hitters have ceased production. The reason given: they don’t want to put their workers at risk. Be that as it may, there’s no point making a Swiss watch. The world market has gone from freefall into hibernation. When it ends, which Swiss brands will survive? . . .
The “journalists” at Hodinkee have another brand to protect from their editorial integrity, or lack thereof. Montblanc joins the following brands at the HoDinkee shop: Bulgari, Grand Seiko, Hamilton, Longines, NOMOS, OMEGA, Oris, Ressence, Seiko, TAG Heuer, Urwerk, Vacheron Constantin, Zenith and Zodiac. Welcome to HoDinkee’s No Criticism Zone! Mont Blanc is now assured of a first-class ass-kissing. Starting now . . .
You might think luxury watch prices would be immune to annoyances like viral outbreaks and economic downturns. Nope. According to voguebusiness.com, “the last global recession lopped nine per cent off the size of the personal luxury goods market,” lowering luxury watch sales and prices. It would have been worse if not for China. Yes, well, the coronavirus outbreak . . .
Baselworld coronavirus. Not two words you want to see together. But there they are. In fact, the watch industry schmoozefest is hanging on by a thread. Bulgari announced today that it’s pulling out, blaming both the virus and the success of its recent Dubai watch get-together. The rest of the members of the LVMH group – Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith – are still in. For now . . .
The Smart Watch Crisis continues apace, as the Apple Watch dominates the entire Swiss watch industry. In terms of units sold, the gap between Chinese-made Apple Watches and Swiss-made Swiss watches (some with Chinese parts) is becoming a chasm. The Swatch Group may not be on death watch, but the writing’s on the wall. And the ‘net. According to industry analyst Steven Waltzer . . .