Breguet and Patek Philippe, confident in China’s potential for luxury watches

Breguet boutique Beijing, China

Despite intensified scrutiny among the government in Beijing and eagle-eyed Weibo users alike, Breguet (owned by Swatch Group) recently chose Beijing to open two new boutiques in close proximity to one another, the manufacturer’s fourth and fifth free-standing locations in China. Located at Beijing Yintai Centre and the adjacent Beijing Grand Hyatt, the stores follow Beijing’s first at Scitech Plaza, Shanghai’s Swatch Art Peace Hotel, and Heyi Avenue Shopping Center in Ningbo. To celebrate the opening, earlier this month the watchmaker debuted a new Classique Hora Mundi World timepiece exclusively at the new Beijing locations. To emphasize the potential of the market, earlier this year, Breguet took its “Reine de Naples” traveling exhibition on a China roadshow, stopping by Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, Harbin and Taiyuan.

Executives of Swiss watch company Patek Philippe SA are betting that China’s demand for luxury watches—battered by an economic slowdown and scrutiny on official gift-giving—will stand the test of time. The closely held, family run watchmaker this week opened its second store in China, a 13,000-square-foot retail outlet and parlor in Shanghai in the former residence of the British consulate, one of the city’s priciest parcels of real estate. There the company will show off its collection of watches valued at 100,000 yuan to 1.5 million yuan ($16,000 to $240,000), said Thierry Stern, president of Patek Philippe, in an interview to WSJ.