Swatch sues Samsung for copying its watch-face designs
South Korean tech giant Samsung has been dragged in to court by popular Swiss company Swatch group for infringing a trademark of the company’s design in one of Samsung’s wearable devices. The watchmaker alleged that the South-Korean company copied its design for downloaded smartwatch faces and filed a complaint in a district court in the US. In the complaint, Swatch stated that Samsung’s watch faces “bear identical or virtually identical marks” to the trademark that Swatch owns and uses for the watches of its brands like Tissot, Swatch, Omega, Longines. Swatch has alleged that Samsung’s Gear S3 and Frontier smartwatches have copied its downloadable designs and asked for more than $100 million in damages.
Digital advertising takes the lead in US
In 2018, digital advertising spending reached $ 109 billion in the United States, in rapid growth for several years. In 2011, for example, the amount totalized only 32 billion. And growth is expected to remain strong, according to market research firm Emarketer, which expects a 19% rise this year and again 17% in 2020. For the first time this year, spending in digital advertising should exceed those devoted to traditional supports. A crucial step if we consider that in 2011, the digital represented only one fifth of the total market. Overall, the digital advertising market in the United States is by far the largest in the world, twice as big as the one in China.
Phillips partners with Blackbird for spring auction in Hong Kong
Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo is pleased to announce a partnership with Blackbird and its founder Mr. TK Mak for a thematic evening sale in Hong Kong on 27 May, featuring exceptional sports watches. As the first time partnering with an Asia based collector, the auction will offer a prominent mixture of models and references from the modern and vintage eras, with an emphasis on the best quality and provenance. Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant, and Thomas Perazzi, Head of Phillips Watches, Asia jointly said: “Following the success of our Hong Kong sales over the previous four years, we are delighted to present an additional thematic auction this spring, highlighting the significance of Asia market in the world of watch collecting. Phillips has organized well recognised thematic sales including Rolex Milestones, Glamorous Day-Date, Daytona Ultimatum, Heuer Parade, Start-Stop-Reset, and the Winning Icons.”
Hermès: 7.5% sales growth in 2018 to €6 billion
The Group’s consolidated revenue reached €5,966 million, up +10% at constant exchange rates. After accounting for the negative currency impact, growth was +7.5% at current exchange rates. This growth is particularly healthy, being based mainly on volume. Growth in the fourth quarter was very robust (+10% at constant exchange rates) in all the geographical areas. The Watches business line (+10%) recorded good sales performance in group’s stores, that reflects the creativity of the collections. The presentation of the Hermès’ new women’s watch Galop d’Hermès and the Arceau L’heure de la lune watch at the International Salon of Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva last January was very well received.
Phillips’ overall sales up 29% to $916.5 million in 2018
Phillips is pleased to announce that overall sales in 2018 rose 29% to $916.5 million from $708.8 million in 2017, driven by a strong market for 20th century and contemporary art, increased sales in Hong Kong and strong performances by all of the company’s departments. This year marks the highest annual total achieved for Phillips in company history. Auction sales increased 27% to $794.3 million from $625.4 million a year earlier, and private sales ended the year at $122.2 million, up 46% from $83.5 million. The company’s overall sales are up 129% since 2014, when Phillips posted sales of $400 million.
Apple suffers smartwatch decline
Apple’s grip on the smartwatch market declined in the second half of 2018 to below 45 per cent, despite steady growth across the sector, ABI Research figures showed. The analyst firm said Apple’s share of the market in Q2 and Q3 fell to 43.35 per cent, its lowest point since the same time in 2017. The company however still holds a significant lead over rivals Fitbit, Huawei and Samsung, which have roughly 8 per cent each, while the “others” category also saw an increase in its share during the period. Between 2018 and 2023, ABI forecasted that the smartwatch market will see shipment increases from 40 million to more than 99 million, with the devices forming a major part of the overall wearables sector.
Record results for LVMH in 2018
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury products group, recorded revenue of €46.8 billion in 2018, an increase of 10% over the previous year. Organic revenue growth was 11%, and 12% excluding the impact of the closure of the Hong Kong airport concessions at the end of 2017. All business groups recorded excellent performances. Profit from recurring operations amounted to €10 billion in 2018, up 21%. Operating margin reached a level of 21.4%, an increase of 1.9 percentage points. Group share of net profit amounted to €6.4 billion, up 18%. The Watches & Jewelry business group recorded organic revenue growth of 12% to €4.123 billion. Profit from recurring operations was up 37% to €703 millions. Bvlgari performed very well and gained market share. Its iconic jewelry and watchmaking lines Serpenti, Diva’s Dream, B.Zero1, Lvcea and Octo grew strongly. Among the new product launches of the year, the Octo Finissimo watch and the Fiorever jewelry collection, designed around a central diamond, were exceptionally well received.
Swatch Group: sales up 6.1% in 2018
Group net sales increased by 6.1% to CHF 8,475 million at current exchange rates (+5.7% at constant rates). Operating result increased by 15.2% to CHF 1,154 million. Operating margin increased from 12.5% in the previous year to 13.6%. Net income increased by 14.8% to CHF 867 million, with a net margin of 10.2% (previous year: 9.5%). The Group created over 1,700 new jobs, mainly in Switzerland. January 2019 started with solid growth, even in comparison with the very strong January in the previous year. The Swatch Group expects a positive trend in 2019, both in demand and in elimination of capacity bottlenecks.
Rising demand for Omega vintage watches
Omega is working on extending and improving the visitor experience to its headquarters museum in Bienne, Switzerland, so that people can fully immerse themselves in the historic story of the brand. Buying historic watches for its museum therefore makes sense for Omega on two fronts. First, it secures an interesting exhibit; secondly, paying a substantial price in a competitive auction demonstrates demand and investment value for its watches. The 50th anniversary of the first man on the moon in July this year could provide a boost for Omega. The 1969 Apollo 11 mission astronauts wore Speedmasters, which is why it is still referred to as the Moonwatch. Omega’s CEO Raynald Aeschlimann: “I believe that Omega is an inspirational brand because of many factors, including its status with NASA and the astronauts, its timing of the Olympics and more.”