Swiss watchmakers go digital to showcase new merchandise, revive gross sales

    By Silke Koltrowitz

    ZURICH (Reuters) – Luxurious Swiss watchers, normally not massive followers of on-line retailing, are launching a brand new all-digital Watch & Wonders occasion on Wednesday to showcase their newest merchandise, bringing Coronovirus disaster again to gross sales Is anticipated to activate.

    Producers of high-end watches are nonetheless largely depending on bodily shops on the market, however the success of on-line platforms for pre-owned watches, corresponding to Watchbox or Rickmont’s Watchfinder, has proven that it’s potential to promote luxurious timepieces on-line.

    The epidemic-related manufacturing unit and retailer closures affected Swiss watch gross sales final 12 months and have compelled manufacturers to spice up their usually small on-line enterprise and rethink digital actions generally.

    Guillaume de Senes, govt vp of luxurious items group Hermes, instructed Reuters one of many causes the trade outperformed final 12 months was that its prospects have been already within the behavior of purchasing at

    Hermes, recognized for leather-based items, silk scarves and perfumes, adopted e-commerce greater than pure-drama watchers, launching its transactional web site in the USA about 20 years in the past.

    De Sains mentioned he expects a robust restoration within the group’s watch gross sales this 12 months, with present developments broadly growing to twenty-eight% within the closing quarter of 2020.

    Ventobel analyst René Weber estimated that about 2% of gross sales have been presently performed on-line for the Swiss watch trade by way of worth, however that on-line shares different by model. Different analysts estimate the web share of gross sales to be round 7% to 9%.

    Most Swiss luxurious watch manufacturers – corresponding to Patek Philippe and Rolex – have most well-liked to stay with conventional bricks and mortar shops to promote their merchandise, which may price 1000’s of {dollars}.

    For Patek, promoting on-line remains to be not an choice, and a take a look at run with retailers through the first lockdown confirmed that technique, President Thierry Stern instructed Reuters.

    “Individuals do not need to purchase Patek on-line, watches are costly, you lose magnificence, magic.”

    The family-owned luxurious watchman sees a restoration this 12 months after a 20% gross sales decline in 2020, however doesn’t anticipate 2019 gross sales figures to return but. “It is going to in all probability take a 12 months or two, Stern mentioned.

    The model has made some investments in its digital capabilities, employed workers and arrange a studio to ship high-quality digital product displays.

    Small impartial model h. Moser & Cie additionally invested in digital know-how forward of the Watch and Wonders Honest and mentioned it was happy that these prices have been decrease than bodily watch festivals.

    The official platform of Watches & Wonders is, which describes itself as “the most important watch occasion to happen on-line” by media and retailers from 38 taking part manufacturers Will present entry to the displays held.

    “It could be good if shoppers might take part via the Watch and Wonders platform as effectively,” Oris co-chief govt Rolf Studer instructed Reuters.

    He mentioned Orris had discovered different methods to attach extra carefully together with his prospects through the epidemic final 12 months, citing a marketing campaign associated to the tales of native heroes on Instagram, or to attach immediately together with his on-line neighborhood. .


    (Reporting by Silke Coltroit. Enhancing by Jane Merriman)

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