Swiss watch exports growth of 10,5% in the first half of 2018
The strong results posted throughout the first six months of the year enabled Swiss watch industry exports to pass the 10 billion francs mark at the end of the first half; that had no longer been the case since 2015. With 10.5% growth over the first half of 2017, they reached 10.5 billion francs, i.e. one billion more than at the same time last year. This was the strongest half-yearly rise since 2012.
Asia held a practical monopoly on growth in the first half, generating just under 90% of the global rise in Swiss watch industry exports. It took the equivalent to 5.6 billion francs, 18.7% more than in January-June 2017. The American continent has followed suit, although with only half the level of growth (+9.1%). Combining more contrasting local trends and a less favourable economic environment, Europe (-1.2%) lagged behind.
Record half-year sales in the history of the Swatch Group
During the first semester 2018, Group net sales increased by 14.7% to CHF 4 266 million at current exchange rates, respectively by 12.6% at constant rates. Operating result increases 69.5% to CHF 629 million giving an operating margin of 14.7%, to compare with 10.0% in the previous year. Net income increases by 66.5% to CHF 468 million, with a net margin of 11.0%. Growth was obtained in all regions, led by Asia and America. Strong product demand by its own brands has already created bottlenecks in certain production areas. The second half of 2018 promises further growth.
An “MB&F certified pre-owned” section on its website
MB&F has decided to provide a solution to the increasing demand for MB&F Machines which are no longer available in the market. The program is called the “MB&F certified pre-owned” chapter: a dedicated section of their website where clients will find second-hand MB&F timepieces that are virtually impossible to find. MB&F believes that a strong brand should have a strong second hand value in the market. Therefore MB&F have supported the pre-owned market like no other. With an MB&F certified pre-owned timepiece, collectors get a complete service and case refurbishment conducted by MB&F’s watchmakers, the reassurance that the piece is 100% legit and in perfect working condition, and a 2-year unconditional warranty.
Diamond watch mechanisms soon available
Hard, elastic and good heat conductor, the diamond finds many mechanical and optical uses. A process developed by a team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) allowed the carving of a synthetic monocrystalline diamond into a watchmaking micromechanical system: a three millimeters escapement wheel with its anchor. The Lausanne team was able to cut three-dimensional shapes, with a thickness of 0.15 millimeter, into a synthetic diamond, approaching the 0.2 mm standard of the watch industry. This technique is of interest because of the diamond’s low coefficient of friction that can increase a watch power reserve.
Phillips strengthens watch department with a specialist in sourcing rare pieces
Auctioneer Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo has appointed James Marks as international specialist for the company’s watch department with responsibility for international sourcing of rare and interesting timepieces. Based in London, Mr Marks joins ahead of the upcoming international exhibition, Watchmakers, The Masters of Art Horology. The event has already taken place in Rome, New York and Hong Kong, and will finish its world tour in London this month. Mr Marks joins Phillips from a career in global banking and finance. He was most recently a portfolio manager for a commodity hedge fund for seven years. Prior to this, he worked at Merrill Lynch and BNP Paribas. His expertise in watches is that of a self-taught collector.
“Change is coming to A. Lange & Söhne”, says CEO Wilhelm Schmid
“In Glashütte, we have an absolute paradise for watchmaking” says Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, in The Peak Magazine. “It’s tranquil, it’s calm, it’s difficult to get distracted. But, if you think about social media and digital, retail trends, marketing trends – and the talents whom you want to attract in those fields – we find it very difficult to establish them in Glashütte. They love it there for a day, but they can’t live there.” These teams will take on what Schmid calls the company’s “biggest challenge” – selling a brand beloved by horological purists to a new generation of watch fans. He said: “On one hand, the way we talk, present, design and execute is exactly why people like us. But now, we have to change the way we communicate slightly to attract that younger audience.”
Swiss watchmaking in May: the progression continues
Swiss watch industry exports continued to grow in May with a gain of 5.3% against May 2017, reaching a value of CHF 1.8 billion. In cumulative terms, growth has slackened slightly since the beginning of the year (+9.9%). All the price segments benefited from this growth, with special emphasis on the CHF 500-3,000 (export price range) and also on watches priced at under CHF 200. Hong Kong reported a very strong rise (+26.0%) and accounted for just under two-thirds of global growth. The United States (+9.8%) maintained their good momentum of recent months. Growth in China (+5.8%) slackened slightly. The timid recovery posted in Italy up to now came to an abrupt end in May (-21.2%).
A new space dedicated to watchmaking and jewelery opens in Paris
After two years of pharaonic work, the businesswoman Carla Chalouhi, head of the company Arije, inaugurates in Paris a space of 1,600 m² where forty watch and jewelery brands are presented alongside selected works of art, says Le Figaro. Externally, this new Arije presents a serene sobriety. With minimal effect, the facade nevertheless surprises with its expanse running on three floors and two buildings Boulevard Haussmann. At night, giant Rolex, oversized Hublot… scroll through the empty windows on giant LED screens. In addition to thirty or so watch brands (from TAG Heuer to Vacheron Constantin, Harry Winston and Hermès), Arije offers a dozen jewelry labels signed Boucheron, de Grisogono, Pomellato or Chaumet.
For the first time, Chanel unveils its financial results
For the first time in its history, Chanel has decided to unveil its financial results, explains Les Echos in Paris. For the year ended December 31, 2017, Chanel posted a turnover of 8.3 billion euros ($ 9.6 billion), up 11% at constant rates. This places the company located Rue Cambon in Paris well in front of Gucci (Kering), whose sales amounted to 6.2 billion last year, and neck and neck with Louis Vuitton (LVMH), today the world’s leading luxury brand. Chanel’s operating profit amounted to 2.3 billion euros (2.7 billion dollars) in 2017, up 22.5%.