Luxury industry outlook 2014 – Watches

According to the 2014 edition of WorldWatchReport™Haute Horlogerie brands continue to grow rapidly (+12%). Despite decreasing sales in the mainland, interest for luxury watches still booming in China. Chinese consumers showed the strongest global interest for Haute Horlogerie with a +57.9% increase versus last year, accounting for over 30% of total interest in the segment. 

U.S. and U.K. have been showing signs of recovery in their luxury watch markets. The second and third biggest players in the segment showed signs of rebound since last year’s decreases. The United Kingdom had the strongest increase in Europe, posting a healthy +7.7% evolution (vs. -8.5% last year), whilst the U.S. market stabilizes at -1.5% (vs. -11.6% last year).

Patek Philippe consolidates leadership of the Haute Horlogerie segment. Patek Philippe remains and by far the leading Haute Horlogerie watch brand with 28.1% of brand interest share, growing an impressive +21.4% since last year. Not to be dismissed, Vacheron Constantin in 2nd place this year and Audemars Piguet in 3rd position. It’s a tight race at the top – both brands having very close market shares (13.4% and 13.0% respectively).

According to CPP Luxury Industry Management Consultants Ltd, luxury watch conglomerates Swatch Group and Richemont will likely pursue their retail expansion through direct operated boutiques. Richemont has recetly applied for license to open directly operated mono-brand boutiques in India, while Swatch Group’s Omega leads with over 20 new boutique openings expected in 2014. LVMH’s Tag Heuer is also likely to pursue mono-brand retail expansion through a mix of directly operated and franchised boutiques. Omega and Tag Heuer will remain the most dynamic watch brands in 2014 in terms of retail expansion. 2014 will also see the launch of an increased number of limited edition luxury watches, with the trend of ladies’ watches likely to lose steam.*

New entrants, fashion brands Burberry will attend for the second consecutive year BaselWorld showcasing their collection of high end watches, while Armani has announced it will launch at BaselWorld its first ever collection of Swiss-Made luxury watches. At the same time, Montblanc has recently confirmed it will introduce a line of more affordable timepieces. Bottega Veneta, Ermenegildo Zegna and Gucci are also expected to expand their watches collections, with a higher end product.*

In terms of marketing, more luxury watch brands are expected to pursue cross sector collaborations, especially with luxury fashion brands but also jewelry, to the detriment of long time collaborations with luxury car brands. Recently, Parmigiani announced a new partnership with Italian jeweller and shoemaker Christian Louboutin will annouce a major collaboration with a luxury watch power brand. Jaeger LeCoultre and Park Hyatt Hotels established a collaboration, which was initiated with a viral campaign run by the two brands. This year will also see the launch of the first ever ultra luxury suite in a luxury hotel in Europe.*

2014 is also likely to be the year of enhanced personalization sales strategy with several top luxury watch brands holding exclusive presentations for small groups of UHNWI in luxury destinations in Switzerland such as Gstaad, St Moritz and Lausanne. Such exclusive private events will be organized pre-BaselWorld* Travelling in-store exhibitions with live demonstrations by watch-makers will be one of the most frequent marketing activity in 2014.


Oliver Petcu