Sales Rise, Creativity Soars
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.
ROLEX DATEJUST 31 IN WHITE GOLD