The common denominator to attract female clientele in the luxury watchmaking industry has so far usually been a sparkly one — diamonds. Vacheron Constantin, the oldest Swiss watchmaker in continuous operation, plans to change that.
Small, lower-end Swiss watch brands face a more uncertain future after the Swiss National Bank’s U-turn on the franc cap, according to Greubel Forsey SA.
Roger Dubuis, a Swiss watchmaker owned by Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, anticipates increasing prices in the euro zone by 7 percent in reaction to the Swiss National Bank’s Jan. 15 decision to exit a three-year-old euro cap.
The franc’s record surge may prompt luxury watch retailers in Hong Kong to absorb some of the price increase from Switzerland’s high-end timepiece makers as demand stays weak amid a slowing Chinese economy.
Richemont, the maker of Cartier jewelry, reported its weakest Christmas quarter in six years as protests in Hong Kong disrupted sales in the biggest market for Swiss watches.
Cartier, the luxury jeweler owned by Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, raised its Russian prices by as much as 50 percent after the ruble plunged to a record low.
The luxury sector seems to have reached a turning point, having weathered the crises that beset it all year and buoyed by more benign currency trends.
Tiffany & Co., the world’s second- largest luxury jewelry retailer, missed third-quarter profit estimates and cut its forecast after sales in Japan and other Asian markets slowed.
Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the world’s largest jewelry maker, reported first-half operating profit that missed analysts’ estimates as luxury-goods demand in Asia weakened.
The Savigny Luxury Index turned around in mid October as confidence in the US economy returned and the US Federal Reserve ended quantitative easing.