Pre­dic­tions for 2019

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Watch Special -

WE’LL HIT PEAK MI­CRO-BRAND

This year has been no­table for the pro­lif­er­a­tion of small, hip­ster­ish watch com­pa­nies, some­times crowd­funded, usu­ally boast­ing a USP (any­thing from enamel di­als to mak­ing a virtue of Chi­nese de­sign) and al­ways big on In­sta­gram. Watch fans have lapped them up for of­fer­ing cheaper, more in­ter­est­ing and more niche al­ter­na­tives to ma­jor brands (all things I’m in favour of ). I pre­dict 2019 will see more “mi­cro­brands” launch, fol­lowed by a nat­u­ral thin­ning of the ranks as only the best sur­vive – hope­fully not be­fore the big brands get the mes­sage.

ECO-CON­CERNS TO THE FORE

The im­per­a­tive to tackle cli­mate change is un­avoid­able for ev­ery in­dus­try. Watch brands al­ready yoke their mar­ket­ing ef­forts to sus­tain­abil­ity and con­ser­va­tion ini­tia­tives, and many run car­bon-neu­tral fac­to­ries. But if they’re se­ri­ous about be­ing green, it’s time to in­sist that their eco-friendly cre­den­tials ex­tend to their sup­ply chains, not just the shiny Swiss head­quar­ters and ad cam­paigns.

VIN­TAGE BREITLING TO BOOM

Since vin­tage Heuer watches (the fore­run­ner to TAG Heuer) shot up in price be­tween 2014 and 2016, watch pun­dits have been look­ing out for the next big thing in the vin­tage mar­ket. All talk now is of Breitling as the one to watch, with new CEO Ge­orges Kern shak­ing things up and re­new­ing in­ter­est in the back cat­a­logue. Noth­ing is ever cer­tain when it comes to vin­tage watches, but it would make sense if it were Breitling, when it comes.

BUY­ING WATCHES COULD GET EAS­IER

As I men­tioned, the busi­ness of sell­ing watches is in tur­moil. Tied into this is the de­clin­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the watch world’s ma­jor trade fair, March’s Basel­world, as nu­mer­ous ex­hibitors – no­tably the Swatch Group, in­clud­ing Omega, Breguet and Blanc­pain – pull out. This could be good news for any­one buy­ing a watch: firstly, the ten­sion be­tween re­tail channels has the po­ten­tial to lower prices; and se­condly, be­ing freed from the sched­ules of an­nual prod­uct launches means brands can an­nounce new watches much closer to when they’ll ac­tu­ally be avail­able in shops – cur­rently a six to nine month wait is typ­i­cal. We can but hope, any­way…

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