Bestsellers : Argentina / United Arab Emirates / Germany
Despite customs regulations in force in Argentina, retailers in this important market in Latin America are doing well. According to Martin Delew (Simoneta Orsini), Hernan Angel (Eve), Fernando Stolovas (Chronos) and Jonathan Lemcovch (Danfer), clients are still showing a consistently marked interest in beautiful watches. They continue to remain informed and to be patient when it comes to obtaining an exceptional item. Attention should therefore be paid to what is on offer out there. Martin Delew cites Lange, Panerai and IWC, in which he believes wholeheartedly. He has exclusivity of these brands for Argentina and is expecting very good results. Additionally, he also emphasizes great performance by Hublot and its Maradona special edition, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso linked to the world of polo, as well as Vacheron Constantin’s complications and the amazing reception with which the 40th anniversary of Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak has been greeted. Hernan Angel also affirms the Royal Oak’s indispensable aspect in Buenos Aires currently and in parallel mentions very satisfactory sales for Harry Winston’s Black Edition and Midnight models, as well as Richard Mille’s timepieces. For his part, Fernando Stolovas adds that Ulysse Nardin has enjoyed good results with its Dual Time and Marine Collection. Jonathan Lemcovich is focusing on two brands : Breguet, with respect to the entire collection, and Piaget with its Altiplano.
Khaled Jbara, Managing Director, Day & Night (United Arab Emirates)
The luxury watch market in the Arab Emirates has proved itself sheltered from the world economic recession. During the first quarter of 2012, with sales figures amounting to CHF 193.5 million, the Arab Emirates is the ninth market in the world for Swiss watch exports and the biggest in the Middle East, ahead of Saudi Arabia. Thus, Swiss watch exports to the UAE increased in value by 10.2% during the first quarter of 2012 compared to 2011 and by 34.4% compared to 2010. A key factor in the success of the luxury watch sector in the UAE is the avant-garde nature of high-income consumers with sophisticated taste for the most beautiful watches – a subject about which they make it their business to be well-informed.
Wealthy tourists have also stimulated the growth of the luxury watch industry, due to efforts on the part of the Emirates government to promote this destination worldwide. Consumers benefit from the fact that the Arab Emirates a duty-free paradise, where the price of watches is lower than in other regions in the world. This competitive advantage also explains why agents for Fine Watchmaking brands offer not only the most recent collections, but also exclusive limited editions, on this market.
Due to its quality/price ratio and longstanding presence, Rolex is the largest selling brand to men. As the average age of the UAE population is around 30, most watch connoisseurs are relatively young. There is therefore high demand for top of the range sports models. An example of this is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore 44mm for which there is a long waiting list. A highly desirable status symbol, Richard Mille watches are very sought after in the UAE, as are Breguet and Zenith items, with the El Primero Chronomaster in pink gold in particular demand. Patek Philippe, of course, is a favourite of collectors. Sales of Omega watches have also undergone rapid growth in the UAE, well supported by the influx of Chinese tourists who are particularly attached to this brand. In terms of ladies’ watches, Chopard is the uncontested market leader, with a clientele that extends across a number of age groups. With a large product portfolio ranging from sunglasses to watches and jewellery, Chopard even attracts young clients who may remain faithful to the brand over the years, as their shopping basket becomes increasingly upmarket.
Thomas Wanka, Chief Editor, Uhren Magazine (Germany)
As the representative of more than 60 brands in Aachen, Günther Frantzen (Studio Küpper) has been particularly impressed this year by new IWC Pilot models presented in Geneva. According to him, both the size and use of ceramic as a material are particularly contemporary. The Portuguese watches are also a hit with his clients and have been for years, shining as they do with their versatility, particularly in the case of the Chronograph whose size makes it suitable for both men and women. The Hand-Wound 8 Days model, however, has had greater success with men due to its technical nature.
Amongst the new releases presented in Basel, people fell in love with Omega’s Seamaster Planet Ocean equipped with its new Manufacture calibre. “I admire the timelessness and classical appearance of Breitling’s Navitimer which is one of my favourites,” explains the retailer, who is himself a great watch lover. Of the new collections on display in his window, his favourite is Zenith, whose El Primero movement is renowned by connoisseurs as both one of the best automatic calibres as well as being a classic “par excellence” (Test Bench article).
Following extensive renovation of and extensions to the boutique in Ludwigstrasse in Ratisbonne, Markus Mühlbacher (Mühlbacher Jewellers), has identified strong potential at Hublot. Aside from obvious bestsellers such as Patek Philippe and Rolex whose names we don’t even need to mention, IWC and Omega continue to enjoy important growth and have great appeal for clients. “I would currently place these brands in the Top Ten. One could name Cartier and Bulgari amongst brands that enjoy a positive image and increasing demand – strengthened by a reduction in the number of retailers in Germany and probably in the rest of Europe”.
Based in Fürth in northern Bavaria, Christoph Kuhnle (Kuhnle Jewellers, which amongst others represents Patek, Rolex and Breitling) claims to have been greatly impressed by new brand, HYT. Its watchmakers have created something revolutionary – a sort of hybrid engine amongst watches. Here, mechanics and hydraulics are successfully combined like a combustion and electric engine in a car. Finally, women’s needs are also addressed with Patek Philippe’s perpetual calendar. Once again, Swiss watchmakers have provided an awesome demonstration of their know-how with the Grande Complication 7140 featuring an ultra-thin movement. Slender hands point to the day, date, month, leap year as well as moon-phase and 24-hour indications.