Six years ago, global consultancy firm Deloitte released its first report on the Swiss luxury watch industry. The comprehensive study analysed the industry's performance through export numbers and sales across leading markets. It also announced the key trends and expectations of top bosses from the leading brands. In the past couple of years, this report has foretold many events, which has made it one of the most reliable documentations on the health of the luxury watch industry.
In 2017, Deloitte conducted an online survey among 60 watch executives and 4,500 people in China, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and the US. The survey reported an encouraging optimism across consumers and brand heads after 20 consecutive months of negative growth. Most executives believed the industry was already on the road to recovery with a 3 per cent rise in exports in the second quarter of 2017, as compared with 2016.
Led by the export of high-end watches, which accounted for nearly 66 per cent of total exports, the luxury watch industry is finally pulling itself out of the gloom. Reporting a growth of six per cent in January 2018, the industry is already hopeful of a satisfying year ahead.
The 28th edition of the Salon International de La Haute Horlogerie in Geneva also echoed this positive sentiment among buyers and brands. The fair welcomed six new participants this year, taking the total number of exhibitors to 35. While most brands gave a shout out to vintage designs with a slew of affordable luxury watches, there was no dearth of jaw-dropping high complications from Panerai, A. Lange & Söhne, Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey. We bring all these details and more in our SIHH 2018 report “Road to Recovery”. Among other highlights, the Deloitte report also talked about the growing trend of selling luxury watches online. Three years ago, 63 per cent of the top watch executives emphasised on selling only through the brick and mortar stores. Last year, the numbers dropped to 36 per cent. According to research, while more than 90 per cent of the total retail sale still takes place in stores, more and more consumers are using online channels to research product information and availability. To know more about the brands leading this trend and the future of online sales for luxury watches, turn to “About Time”.
Amid all the hullabaloo over dwindling sales and thriving social media marketing, we bring you a heartwarming story of passion and perseverance. Antique artefact collector Aditya Vij is crazy about vintage cars, old movie posters, cameras, clocks and more. We toured his mini museum at home and discovered a treasure trove of clocks dating back to the 1940s. What keeps Vij’s interest in clocks ticking? Check out “For Old Time’s Sake”. Our cover story this issue is an ode to the pilot’s watches from the 1940s. IWC, one of the most coveted brands for aviator watches, has had five generations of the Big Pilot. We bring you the evolution of this watch and its invincible performance over the last six decades in “Flying Ace”.
As we bring this issue to a close, we are gearing up for another attendance at the bustling Baselworld. Let’s hope we have some more good news for the industry and lot of exciting, new watches to talk about. Stay tuned.