Hermès, happy to be at SIHH
Guillaume de Seynes, second-in- command at Hermès and managing director of La Montre Hermès, is adamant: the brand is delighted to have joined SIHH. Hermès is serious about watchmaking, and exhibiting in Geneva reflects this, as does its stake in Vaucher Manufacture. “Over the past fifteen years, we have continued to expand our range of mechanical watches as well as our global watch distribution network,” he explained during a live-streamed discussion at SIHH. “We have been making watches for forty years, with creativity and expertise. That we should come to Geneva made perfect sense.”
Audemars Piguet in good health
While presenting the brand’s new watches at SIHH, François-Henry Bennahmias was happy to answer audience questions, including about how its business is progressing. Sales amounted to CHF 500 million in 2011 and to just under a billion last year. Since 2015, production has remained stable at 40,000 pieces per year. The brand’s biggest market is the United States. The number of points of sale has been reduced from 540 in 2011 to 260 at end 2017. A further 80 are scheduled to close this year. The entry-level price for an Audemars Piguet watch is CHF 17,000. Average price is CHF 40,000.
Sales over the nine-month period increased by 7% at Richemont
Richemont’s sales in the third quarter increased by 7% at constant exchange rates and by 1% at actual rates compared to the prior year period. Most regions grew at constant exchange rates, with sustained double digit growth in Asia Pacific. The Jewellery Maisons realized a strong performance. Sales over the nine-month period to December increased by 10% at constant exchange rates and by 7% at actual exchange rates, continuing the positive trend seen in the first six months of the financial year. The Group’s net cash position at 31 December 2017 amounted to € 5.1 billion (2016: € 5.2 billion).
Double-digit growth for Richard Mille in 2018
Things couldn’t look brighter for Richard Mille. As the founder and owner of the brand confided in a recent interview, after realising CHF 225 million in sales in 2016 and CHF 260 million in 2017, this year the brand expects to make sales of around CHF 300 million. That’s a 15% increase in both value and units. Mille says that demand is greater than production capacity – to the point that certain retailers have run out of stock and the brand has had to postpone certain boutique openings. One of the secrets of this success is a hefty communications spend: CHF 50 million in 2017 and more likely CHF 60 million this year.
Jean-Marc Pontroué, the new CEO of Panerai
Richemont announces the appointment of Jean-Marc Pontroué as Officine Panerai Chief Executive Officer, effective 1 April 2018, and reporting to Emmanuel Perrin, Head of Specialist Watchmakers Distribution. Jean-Marc Pontroué joined Montblanc in 2000 as Executive Vice President Product & Strategies Development and member of the Executive Board. He then moved to Roger Dubuis in 2011 as General Manager and became the Maison’s Chief Executive Officer in February 2012. Angelo Bonati has indicated his intention to retire. He will mentor Jean-Marc Pontroué until June, ensuring a comprehensive induction and introduction to the DNA and the partners of the Maison.
Angola sells its shares in De Grisogono
The Angolan public diamond trading company (Sodiam) has announced its withdrawal from the capital of Geneva jeweler and luxury watchmaker De Grisogono. Since taking over the reins of Angola in September, Joao Lourenço has begun dismantling piece by piece the political-financial empire built during the long reign of his predecessor and mentor José Eduardo dos Santos.
A global trading platform for pre-owned watches
Two of the biggest names in global luxury watch retail have joined forces to create a worldwide e-commerce platform for the buying, selling and trading of luxury pre-owned timepieces. Danny Govberg, CEO of America’s Govberg Jewelers and Liam Wee Tay, former owner of Singapore’s Sincere Watch are working with investor-entrepreneur Justin Reis to accelerate the growth of WatchBox. The operation has secured over $100 million of investment from CMIA Capital Partners, a Singapore-headquartered private equity firm. WatchBox began life as the pre-owned e-commerce site of Govberg earlier this year.
World’s first drone delivery of a watch
As a truly innovative business, Weird Ape trialed a drone delivery of two skeleton Watches to an English customer to test the technology and to stay ahead of the competition. Weird Ape believes that drone deliveries will be feasible in the future for many rural locations. Market research carried out by Weird Ape suggests that customers will be prepared to pay a premium to have their watch delivered within an hour for an important event.
Did you know?
At the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, Patek Philippe showed a watch measuring 9-mm in diameter. It held the record as the smallest cylinder escapement watch for almost half a century, until the chronometer-maker Paul Ditisheim claimed the title for the half-boule watch he presented at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900. Fitted with a movement measuring 6.75-mm and a cylinder escapement positioned above the mainplate, it weighed just 0.95 grams.