For Swiss watches, America is back
The three-year luxury-watch slump in the United States is over. Swiss luxury-watch sales in the U.S., Switzerland’s second largest export market, jumped substantially in the first half of 2018 versus the same period in 2017. The retail data came from the NDP Group, the market research company which collects point-of-sale data from thousands of stores in the United States. “We’re reporting that U.S. sales for watches above $1,000 are up 13.5% in value year-to-date,” NPD’s analyst told Hodinkee. NPD’s first-half data is in line with Swiss industry half-year wholesale sales data that indicates a recovery in the U.S. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said exports to the United States jumped 9.1% to CHF 1.08 billion.
Over 70 physical jewelry stores join online portal Toverie
A collaboration between some of America’s most respected family jewelers has burst into the light with the launch of Troverie, an online store front for luxury watches backed by 26 leading brick and mortar retailers, reports WatchPro. Troverie is the consumer-facing brand of Authorized Luxury Group, an organization committed to making it easier and more enjoyable for consumers to browse, study and buy luxury watches from authorized retail partners. The venture aims to solve what its founders see as a long-standing problem for traditional retailers and modern consumers of prestige watches. Namely, the difficulty of finding watches in a local market that can be found online and bought either with a click and a credit card, or in the store of an authorized retail partner.
Appointment of Jérôme Lambert Richemont Chief Executive Officer
Richemont is pleased to announce the appointment of Jérôme Lambert, currently Group Chief Operating Officer, as Group Chief Executive Officer with immediate effect. Jérôme Lambert has had an extensive career with Richemont, having led Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc and overseen the Group’s Specialist Watchmakers, Montblanc and the Group’s Fashion and Accessories businesses prior to taking on the role of Group Chief Operating Officer last year. Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont: “As first amongst equals, Jérôme Lambert will work in partnership with his fellow senior executives on the Board: Cyrille Vigneron, Chief Executive of Cartier, Nicolas Bos, Chief Executive of Van Cleef & Arpels and Burkhart Grund, Chief Finance Officer, to ensure a coherent approach to achieving our common goals while respecting the individuality of our Maisons.
The winners of the Gaïa Prize 2018
The unique Prix Gaïa honours the very best: those contributing to the reputation of watchmaking, its history, its technology or its industry. This year, the Prix Gaïa jury nominated: Paul Clementi – winner in the Craftsmanship – Creation category in recognition of his extensive skills in craftsmanship and for using his historical knowledge to produce inventive creations, with the highest standards of professional conduct; Reinhard Meis – winner in the History – Research category in recognition of his key contribution to our understanding of the technical history of watchmaking, thanks to his exhaustive independent research, and for the excellence of his publications in the field of complicated watches; and Maximilian Büsser – winner in the Entrepreneurship category in recognition of his creative approach to watchmaking in the design and marketing of his products, and for the innovative way he manages his business.
New innovation in resistance to magnetic fields
After silicon, Swatch Group is proud to introduce a new balance spring – a key component in mechanical movements – with exceptional paramagnetic characteristics. Swatch Group, in collaboration with Audemars Piguet, has developed a new non-magnetic compensating alloy called Nivachron™ for this revolutionary balance spring. With its complex composition, the alloy was developed with the aim of optimizing the resistance of watch movements to magnetic fields. The Nivachron™ balance spring offers a number of advantages. It allows a considerable reduction in the influence of the residual effect of a magnetic field on the running of a watch (a reduction by a factor of 10 to 20, depending on the caliber). The Swiss-made balance spring, made of a titanium base, is very effective against temperature variations experienced in wearing conditions. In addition, it offers excellent shock resistance. Ultimately, all of these advantages result in a significant improvement in chronometric performance.
Swiss pioneer of the quartz watch has died
René Le Coultre, a key figure behind the invention of the quartz wristwatch, died on Saturday the 18th of August, three weeks after his 100th birthday. Le Coultre was the founder of the Electronic Watch Centre (Centre électronique horloger CEH) in the city of Neuchâtel, western Switzerland. Around 20 watch brands were behind the creation of the centre in 1962 with the goal of making a reliable analog quartz wristwatch. In 1966, the first prototype called Beta 1 was developed, setting the scene for mass production of highly accurate quartz-based wristwatches. Le Coultre was an important figure in the Swiss watchmaking industry. He was the grandson of the co-founder of luxury watch brand Jaeger Le Coultre. He was also director of research and development at Rolex and a member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
Chrono24 says it can help watch brands control grey market sales
Online trading platform Chrono24 has long been considered a root cause of global grey market watch sales, but the company’s CEO says the problems can all be traced back to the Swiss watchmaking industry, and his business can actually help to control the problem. In The Big Interview with WatchPro, chief executive Tim Stracke says that the digital tools at his fingertips can dramatically reduce grey market transactions: “If watch brands want to manage the grey market, we are probably the best partner they can work with. In the past, some considered Chrono24 to be the root cause of the grey market. Now they realise that we are just the ones that made prices transparent for our users. If brands want to control the grey market, we can help them. We have solutions that work impressively well.”
Oris is taking to the road in a Vintage Airstream Trailer Pop-Up
Although the Airstream will sell directly to customers, its main benefit will be to raise brand awareness for Oris, which will ultimately help its retail partners across the United States, explains Watchpro. The pop-up will be a unique place to step into the Oris brand and its watchmaking heritage, featuring a bar and seating area and an open concept watch display which will allow consumers to easily try on different watches at leisure. VJ Geronimo, the North America CEO for Oris, said: “We felt the hint of nostalgia associated with a vintage Airstream would make it a great canvas to showcase our brand’s rich mechanical watchmaking heritage while also touting its innovative, forward-thinking designs. Additionally, the Airstream will allow us to have a unique presence at a variety of different lifestyle and community-based events consistent with our brand values.”
Substantial growth for Swiss watchmaking in July
Watch industry exports continued to report significant growth in July, after an excellent first half. With a gain of 6.6% against July 2017 they were worth 1.8 billion francs. Cumulative results since the beginning of the year are therefore still substantially higher (+10.0%). Watches priced at less than 200 francs (export price) reported strong growth. The 200 to 500 francs category fell for the second month in a row. Substantial gains made by timepieces priced above 500 francs boosted the overall result. Several major markets expanded strongly while others remained stable or fell back. Leading the field, Hong Kong alone (+26.8%) generated 37% of overall worldwide growth. The United States (-0.7%) and China (-0.4%) failed to benefit from the same dynamic. After growing strongly for ten months, Japan (+16.6%) further strengthened its positive trend.