The Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi opens its doors
A new chapter in the 60-year history of Grand Seiko opens with the inauguration of an entirely new studio dedicated to the production of Grand Seiko’s mechanical watches. It will be home to the craftsmen and women who assemble and adjust each and every Grand Seiko mechanical watch. The Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi was declared opened end of July in a ceremony that took place simultaneously in Tokyo and Shizukuishi. At this occasion, Shinji Hattori, Chairman and CEO of Seiko Watch Corporation, said: “The studio provides the ideal environment for our craftsmen and women to bring Grand Seiko’s mechanical watches to life and for the next generation of watchmakers to be trained and their skills developed. It embodies Grand Seiko’s philosophy, The Nature of Time, and is clear evidence of our dedication to the art of mechanical watchmaking”.
Hublot, Zenith in Tokyo’s Ginza district
As LVMH’s businesses regain momentum, Hublot, Zenith and Loro Piana all opened new flagships in Tokyo’s ultra-chic Ginza district. The sumptuous buildings and their bold architecture express the confidence the three Maisons have in the Japanese market and their resolve to surmount the impact of the crisis. While such high-profile events have become rare in the current environment, explains LVMH, Loro Piana, Hublot and Zenith all went ahead with inaugurations of their new flagship stores in Japan, symbolizing their confidence in the future. The flagships of the three LVMH Maisons are equally stunning, expressing audacity and distinctive Japanese character.
GemGenève is to take place from 1st to 4th of November
GemGenève has decided to bring the November dates forward, to allow exhibitors to participate in industry events, without compromise. After understanding Informa Markets – Jewellery’s decision to change its Hong Kong fair (JGW) dates to 9 – 13 November at the AsiaWorld-Expo, GemGenève will now open its doors from the 1 – 4 November 2020 (instead of 5 – 8 November) at Palexpo. In taking this decision, the organizers have carefully deliberated the greatest benefits to both exhibitors and visitors, in addition to considering the most positive.
Hermès half year sales down 24%
The first half of 2020 was marked by an unprecedented health and economic crisis in scale, duration and geographic extent. The group’s consolidated revenue in the first half of 2020 amounted to €2,488 million, down -24% at current exchange rates. Sales trends in the second quarter (-41%) reflect the impacts of the health crisis on the network. Attached to its commitment as a responsible employer, Hermès saw its operating profitability impacted by strong vertical integration and the weight of fixed costs, consisting mainly of payroll and amortisation of investments and leases. Recurring operating income reached €535 million compared €1,144 million in the first half of 2019, and the recurring operating margin amounted to 21.5% compared to 34.8%. Net income reached €335 million (13.5% of sales).
Christie’s Summer Geneva auctions total 58 million dollars
Christie’s July Luxury sales in Geneva realised a combined total of CHF 54.6 million ($57,903,296 / £45,885,630) for 195 pieces of jewellery, 226 watches, and 819 fine wines, with a combined sell through rate of 81%. Registered bidders from 42 countries, across 6 continents, participated in the July Luxury sales. The top lot of the sale week was a fancy vivid blue and colourless diamond ring by Parisian jeweler Reza, selling for CHF 8.7 million. “Our 102nd week of sales in Geneva took place under extraordinary circumstances with social distancing, not just at the pre-sale exhibition but also at all three live auctions,” commented Francois Curiel, Chairman of Christie’s Europe. “Nevertheless, collectors showed great resilience and confidence as they bid and bought all week long, starting with the Cartier clocks to fine wrist watches, rare wines to superb gems.”
First half sales down 27% at LVMH
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton recorded revenue of 18.4 billion euros in the first half of 2020, down 27%. LVMH has proven its ability to be resilient in an economic environment severely disrupted by the serious health crisis that has led to the suspension of international travel and the closure of the Group’s stores and manufacturing sites in most countries over a period of several months. In the second quarter, revenue was down 38% on an organic basis compared to the same period in 2019. Profit from recurring operations amounted to 1,671 million euros (-68%) for the first half of 2020 and operating margin stood at 9%. The Watches & Jewelry business group saw its organic revenue decline by 39% in the first half of 2020 for a loss from recurring operations of 17 million euros.
An unprecedented decline of exports in the first half
Like the global economy, the Swiss watch industry experienced an unprecedented crisis in the first half of the year, the consequences of which will affect it for a long time. The market was at a standstill for many weeks during this period and most trade was interrupted. After a promising start to the year, as yet unaffected by Covid-19, Swiss watch exports began to fall sharply in March and then came to a halt in April and May. Although the decline in June was still very pronounced, there were signs that the initial shock had passed and that the expected recovery had begun, albeit timidly, and only due to China in the short term. In six months, the sector exported the equivalent of 6.9 billion francs, far from the 10.7 billion posted for the same period last year, a fall of 35.7% compared with the first half of 2019.
Comco releases Swatch Group from its obligations
At the end of 2013, the Competition Commission (Comco) approved a settlement agreement with Swatch Group. This agreement aimed at creating sufficient competition by the end of 2019 for customers to find alternative sources of supply. After the expiry of this deadline, no delivery obligation was to remain. Given the existence of indications that the market for Swiss made mechanical movements was not developing as expected, Comco initiated a review procedure in November 2018. The in-depth examination carried out by the Comco now shows that the market has reacted to the incentives of 2013 and that the conditions of competition have developed as expected. The Comco concludes that no further obligations should be imposed on Swatch Group.
Swatch Group: 46% drop in half-year sales
After a strong January with an operating margin of 21.4% in the Watches & Jewelry segment (without Production) and 17.3% for the overall Group, the company observed a massive decline due to state-ordered closings of at times up to 80% of distribution channels worldwide. At CHF 2,197 million, Group half-year net sales were down 43.4% on the previous year at constant exchange rates, or -46.1% at current exchange rates. The strong appreciation of the Swiss franc led to a decline in sales of CHF 113 million, or -4.9%. The operating loss was CHF 327 million compared to the operating profit of CHF 547 million in the previous year. The Group’s management is convinced that the sales and profit situation will improve quickly in the coming months, parallel to the further easing of Covid-19 measures in the countries. A positive operating result is expected for the full year.