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Horological horoscope
Trend Forecaster

Horological horoscope

Monday, 29 January 2018
Editor Image
Mathilde Binetruy
Freelance journalist

“And yet, it moves.”


From the 1998 World Cup, her first big event, to SIHH and Baselworld today, she reports from where the action is.

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7 min read

What does 2018 have in store? On the upside, sales are picking up, Hong Kong is on the mend and luxury is getting to grips with e-commerce. One big question mark remains: how to convince Millennials that buying a watch is an experience? Something to work on in 2018!

Aries (March 21 – April 20)

“Don’t give up!” could be the theme for Aries this year. A two-year rocky ride is enough to shake anyone’s confidence, but the Swiss watch industry bounced back in 2017 when exports grew by 2.8% over the first 11 months of the year. Head down and into the fray, that’s Aries! And if it all goes bottom-up, if Kate Middleton names her third child Brexit, if Trump tweets “Make the Swiss Franc Great Again”, plug in your earbuds and sing at the top of your voice: “I get knocked down, but I get up again, You’re never gonna keep me down…”.

Online sales, social media... the world is changing and watchmaking is part of the revolution.
Taurus (April 21 – May 20)

Traditional and conservative, Taurus never wavers. But the bull will have to fight its instincts in 2018. The world is changing and watchmaking is part of the revolution: online sales, social media… Companies that have sailed steadfast through the centuries now have to pull off their digital metamorphosis. To borrow an image from one of the oldest books in the world (not at all 3.0), it’s time to pour new wine into old bottles.

Gemini (May 21 – June 21)

Because making friends and influencing people is what they do best, Gemini make formidable business men and women, chiefly thanks to their natural talent for communication. The best we can wish the industry’s “new kids on the block” – Georges Kern (CEO, Breitling), Julien Tornare (Zenith), Patrick Pruniaux (Ulysse Nardin), Louis Ferla (Vacheron Constantin), Nicolas Baretzki (Montblanc), Chabi Nouri (CEO, Piaget) – is the same inspirational verve as Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes. The American talk-show host and producer made a vibrant speech in support of the anti-harassment movement that was launched in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. #ibelieveicanfly

Cancer (June 22 – July 22)

Cancer is often found soaking in nostalgia. A fistful of brands are celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2018: Frederique Constant (30 years), Rolex (110 years), Carl F. Bucherer (130 years), A. Lange & Söhne (150 years), IWC (150 years), Vulcain (160 years), Omega (170 years), Jaquet Droz (280 years)… Each will be celebrating in its own way, extravagantly, quietly, trumpeting its grand old age but also spotlighting its capacity to reinvent itself (Generation Z, we’re talking to you).

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Your need to roar will dominate in 2018. Now is not the time to hide away in the shadows. It’s spotlight on Hong Kong, the biggest market for Swiss watchmakers, ahead of the United States and China.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Kobe Bryant is a Virgo. Like many other top athletes, he’s also ambitious, meticulous and has his future mapped out. All good reasons why watch brands choose sportsmen and women to endorse their products, and why they will continue to bask in their image of individuals at the top of their game. There will be no shortage of opportunities in 2018, with the XXIII Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in South Korea (February 9 – 25) and the FIFA World Cup in Russia (June 14 – July 15). Virgo is the horoscope’s gold-medal sign.

TAG Heuer advertising
TAG Heuer advertising
Libra (September 23 – October 22)

A Libra is naturally inclined to keep things on an even keel. It’s the one sign that likes to put everything into the balance. When shopping for watches, a Libra will find something to like at every price point, as figures for November 2017 show: sales increased by almost 20% in both value and number of units for the CHF 200-500 bracket, by 11% in value terms for the CHF 500-3,000 price range, and by 3.4% for watches above CHF 3,000. And when it’s their other half who’s footing the bill, they can make up their minds very quickly.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 22)

Scorpio, you may be a water sign but you’re never stuck in the mud! You love experimenting with all things new (that chemistry set you asked for one Christmas was the clue). Everything you touch this year will turn to… bronze, as has the case of the Carl Brashear watch from Oris. Come to think of it, you share the same determination as the US Navy diving instructor who gives this limited-edition chronograph its name. He was the US Navy’s first amputee diver and, in 1970, became its first African-American master diver.

After SIHH in Geneva, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie is off to Miami where it's organising Watches&Wonders.
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

The Sagittarius wanderlust will come to the fore in 2018. After SIHH in Geneva, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie heads for Miami where it’s organising Watches&Wonders. From February 16th through to February 19th, this popular event will be making its debut in the Miami Design District, after successful editions in Hong Kong. Sagittarians, who love new experiences, will be able to satisfy their curiosity as some twenty top watch brands present their latest collections. To keep their more impulsive side happy, when the sun goes down on a busy day, why not head for South Beach and a midnight dip in the ocean.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 20)

Capricorn is the home sign of Saturn, the planet of wisdom, analysis and all things in moderation. Whoever penned the directive issued by China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) must have been a Capricorn. Since January 1st, overseas withdrawals using a domestic bank card are capped at 100,000 yuans (€12,800) per year. According to the country’s authorities, the measure is aimed at “limiting financial risks”. Its main objective is to stem capital outflow. Watch retailers clustered around Lake Lucerne have cause for concern: the Swiss watch industry may sell 26 times fewer watches than China, it does so at prices 177 times higher.

Aquarius (January 21 – February 18)

Our Aquarian friends want nothing more than to break free of their environment and live by their own values and beliefs. 2018 is their year. We have the green light from the economy, now it’s up to you to show what you’re capable of. You’re the star of the Carré des Horlogers at SIHH (Christophe Claret, Chronométrie Ferdinand Berthoud, DeWitt, Grönefeld, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, MCT-Manufacture Contemporaine du Temps, Ressence, Romain Gauthier, RJ-Romain Jerome, Speake Marin, Urwerk). You’re one of the 36 members of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI), led by Philippe Dufour who turns 70 years young in 2018. Happy Birthday Monsieur Dufour!

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

There are good things in store for Pisces, particularly those looking to spread their fins. You believe in a better world, much like the Millennials – the generation born between 1981 and 2001 who refuse to be pigeonholed, never conform to stereotypes, and are making their way in the world outside traditional career paths. Their desire for experience over ownership is keeping the watch industry on its toes. What’s the best way to convince this demographic that they should be checking the time on a watch and not just their phone? A watchmaker’s work is never done.

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