Sales Rise, Cre­ativ­ity Soars

Prestige Hong Kong - Tic Talk - - FROM THE EDITOR - Richard Lord EDITOR

The global watch in­dus­try has col­lec­tively been breath­ing sighs of re­lief dur­ing 2018, as the en­cour­ag­ing up­ward sales trends from the sec­ond half of 2017 have con­tin­ued, sug­gest­ing a bright fu­ture ahead. Af­ter a wor­ry­ing cou­ple of years, with 20 con­sec­u­tive months of fall­ing sales, the mo­men­tum since has been in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, with 16 con­sec­u­tive months of growth be­tween May 2017 and Au­gust 2018. Fig­ures from the Fed­er­a­tion of the Swiss Watch In­dus­try show that, de­spite a slight blip in September, sales for this year are up about 7.5 per­cent on 2017. And Hong Kong re­mains the in­dus­try’s num­ber- one mar­ket, ac­count­ing for about an eighth of global sales, although the world’s sec­ond- big­gest mar­ket, the US, has also picked up im­pres­sively of late.

In the year’s other big story, the news hasn’t been quite so good for the ma­jor watch trade fairs, as the big brands of the in­dus­try start to re­con­sider their mar­ket­ing op­tions in light of the dra­matic rise of so­cial me­dia. In par­tic­u­lar, the in­dus­try was rocked in July when the Swatch Group, with its 18 brands, an­nounced its de­ci­sion to stop par­tic­i­pat­ing in Basel­world. The show’s vis­i­tor num­bers were still buoy­ant, how­ever – and while de­part­ing ex­hibitors might be bad news for trade fair op­er­a­tors, for watch en­thu­si­asts it could mean that the way they en­gage with watch­mak­ers be­comes more per­sonal, more tai­lored and more in­ter­ac­tive.

And with the mar­ket pos­i­tive once more, great watches con­tinue to be pro­duced in abun­dance. For a prime ex­am­ple, take a look at our cover and page 44, fea­tur­ing the Rolex Datejust 31, an evo­lu­tion of a much- loved clas­sic that has been up­dated with a new in- house cal­i­bre. Sim­i­larly, as our story ( see page 56) demon­strates, Patek Philippe has pro­duced no­table up­dates this year to soughtafter col­lec­tions in­clud­ing Cala­trava, Nau­tilus, Aqua­naut and Golden El­lipse. And we also cover watches like the Richard Mille RM 25- 01 Tour­bil­lon Ad­ven­ture ( see page 60) that show how brands con­tinue to push the bound­aries of in­no­va­tion. With sales ris­ing and cre­ativ­ity at un­prece­dented lev­els, these are ex­cit­ing times in the world of lux­ury watches.


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