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.
Swatch Group AG, Switzerland’s biggest watchmaker, will raise prices at some of its brands by as much as 10 percent after the Swiss National Bank’s surprise decision last week to abandon the cap on the franc exchange rate.
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.
TAG Heuer is set to enter uncharted territory this year with plans for a smartwatch that will be its only timepiece developed outside Switzerland.
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.
Swatch Group AG, Switzerland’s biggest watchmaker, lost its court bid to recoup 24.8 million Swiss francs ($24.3 million) of losses from investments with UBS Group AG that turned sour.
Consumers are warming to the idea that wearing a computer on their wrists or clothing may not be the fashion faux pas that early clunky prototypes led many to fear, with 2015 poised to be a breakout for the much-hyped trend.
The China Edit is a weekly curation of the most important fashion business news and analysis from and about the world’s largest luxury market.
For fashion brands, watches have emerged as a key vector of growth, often powered by licensing deals with Fossil Group, a watchmaking behemoth that designs, manufactures, distributes and markets million of watches per year.