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WatchPro FEBRUARY 2017 / ISSUE 73 watchpro.com

NEWS, TRENDS AND MARKET INTELLIGENCE FOR THE BRITISH WATCH INDUSTRY

VIEW FROM THE TOP

BREMONT CO-FOUNDER GILES ENGLISH SHARPENS ATTACK ON UK AND US MARKETS FOR BRITAIN'S BIGGEST WATCH BRAND

RETAILER FOCUS MICHAEL SPIERS EXPLAINS HOW CITIZENS AND VISITORS TO DEVON AND CORNWALL ARE SHRUGGING OFF THEIR BUCKET & SPADE IMAGE AND EMBRACING FINE WATCHES

>>>THE BIG

NUMBER CRUNCH GfK has produced its end of year report on a tumultuous 2016 for fashion, lifestyle and top end watch retailers

INTERVIEW The Watch Gallery chairman David Coleridge describes the impact of luxury watch sales in London and online on his business

THE ROAD TO LE RHONE Classic cars are more than inspiration to Le Rhone watches, they are built into each timepiece and bestow their history and heritage on the brand


S TAY C O N N E C T E D W I T H O U R C O L L E C T I O N O F S M A R T WATC H E S A N D AC T I V I T Y T R AC K E R S . M I C H A E L KO RS .C O M /AC C E SS


COMMENT

Bremont’s focus on British business is an idea whose time has come

1

9th century French writer Victor Hugo’s famously miss-translated quote: “On rĂŠsiste Ă  l’invasion des armĂŠes; on ne rĂŠsiste pas Ă  l’invasion des idĂŠes,â€? literally means “One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas,â€? but the essence of the sentiment has been hijacked by many thinkers down the years, and the advice is more commonly distilled into: “Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has comeâ€?.

Bremont’s co-founders, Nick and Giles English believed they had timed the launch of their British watchmaking business perfectly in 2002. Their passion for engineering fuelled the feeling they could bring watch manufacturing back to #SJUBJOBGUFSBDFOUVSZJOUIFXJMEFSOFTT5IFJSMPWFPGĂŒZJOHQVTIFEUIFNUPXBSET JDPOJDBWJBUJPOUJNFQJFDFT5IFJSĂŒBJSGPSQVCMJDJUZ DSFBUJOHB#SJUJTICSBOEMFE by modern day Biggles brothers, was perfect for a time when personality was an increasingly valuable currency on the Internet. They were right, and the company’s tireless investment in designing and manufacturing modern mechanical watches in Britain has created a worldwide business that now makes over 6000 timepieces per year.

ITP PROMEDIA PUBLISHING 16-25 Bastwick Street, London, EC1V 3PS Tel: +44 (0)20 3176 4228 Fax: +44 (0)20 3176 4231 EDITORIAL Managing Editor Rob Corder, rob.corder@itp.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3176 4227 Editorial Director Andrew Seymour andrew.seymour@itppromedia.com Assistant Editor: Joe Peskett joe.peskett@itppromedia.com COMMERCIAL Publisher Daniel Malins, daniel.malins@itppromedia.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3176 4225 DESIGN Designed in conjunction with Tegra www.tegra.in DIGITAL Chief Technology Officer Hitendra Molleti, hitendra.molleti@itp.com

)PXFWFS UIFHMPCBMSFBDIIBTCFDPNFJODSFBTJOHMZEJĂąDVMUUPSVO BOE(JMFT English told me this month that the company will focus its energy into its two biggest markets, the US and the UK.

Database Management Vinod Alath, vinod.alath@itp.com

This is a healthy sign of business sense for Bremont. Managinng retailers in around 20 countries is a drain on time, money and resources. Outside of the US and UK, all other countries have tiny numbers of authorised retailers, making it pointless for Bremont to invest in the marketing that will drive up sales. Limited sales leads to disappointed retailers investing little of their own energy in the brand. In Continental Europe, where Bremont has just six authorised dealers across the entire landmass, success is almost impossible.

Group Production & Distribution Director Kyle Smith, kyle.smith@itp.com

The decision for Bremont to launch its 2017 collections at a week-long exhibition in London rather than at Baselworld (see story on page 8), is thus an idea whose time has come. It is far better for Bremont to focus on supporting the 70 authorised retailers it has in the UK than to chase dreams of global expansion.

Rob Corder

MANAGING EDITOR, WATCHPRO

FEBRUARY’S COVER Front cover image: Le RhÜne is launching a double tourbillon timepiece this year, demonstrating its horological and design credentials. The company is investing in expanding its UK distribution network this year.

6

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION

Production & Systems Manager Danny Corder, danny.corder@itppromedia.com Outsourcing Manager Aamar Shawwa, aamar.shawwa@itp.com CIRCULATION SUBSCRIPTION CUSTOMER SERVICE +44 (0)20 3176 4228 subscriptions@itppromedia.com Web www.watchpro.com www.itppromedia.com Printed by: Henry Stone Ltd The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication, which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the readers’ particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exception is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

Published by and copyright 2017 Promedia publishing Ltd, incorporated and registered in the British Virgin Islands under company number 1559854.


N O R O O M F O R G R E Y- A R E A S .

INTRODUCING THE NEW ZIIIRO LUNAR SERIES. There is no room for grey-areas in ZIIIRO Lunar’s provocative 50/50 watch face. The sophisticated two-part casing is constructed using brushed 316L stainless steel. Z I I I R O.CO M

Moving in clock-wise direction, the light half moon consumes the watch face with time to come, while the dark side represents what lies in the future ahead. Thereby it is forming a constantly changing, interlocked icon on your wrist.


FRONT / NEWS REVIEW

THE WATCH GALLERY INTERVIEW

22

BRAND FOCUS: BREMONT

26

VIEW FROM THE TOP: MICHAEL SPIERS 31

THIS MONTH IN THE WATCH INDUSTRY...

JEWELLERY & WATCH PREVIEW

42

Giles and Nick English, co-founders of Bremont Watch Company.

BREMONT’S THREE YEAR PLAN PUTS BRITISH RETAIL PARTNERS AT HEART OF EXPANSION

B

ritain’s biggest watchmaker, Bremont, will focus its energies on the United States and the United Kingdom for the next three years, ending a period of global expansion that has seen it sign authorised retailers in 20 countries around the world. The company currently makes around 6000 watches per year at its UK factories in Silverstone and Henleyon-Thames, and aims to increase this to 20,000 or more. However, that growth in production will not be

accompanied by a similar expansion in the number of retailers it works with, even in the UK. “We really care about our retailers. I go and see them. Why would we go into another country, spend a load of my time travelling, when I get to help my retailer in Oxford to double sales over the next two years. To me it’s a no brainer. This is central to our strategy over the next two years: to make our core markets really work,� Giles English, co-founder of Bremont, told WatchPro in an interview this month (full interview on p.26).

The strategic decision to focus on its two biggest markets is also behind Bremont’s plans to stop exhibiting at Baselworld this year, and instead launch its 2017 collections in London this month. The company is taking over a townhouse in Central London from February 27 - March 3, and will invite press and retail partners from the UK and US to the exhibition, and also to tours of its Silverstone and Henleyon-Thames facilities. “Our retailers have not been going

to Basel in the past few years; the US retailers have not been going. So from the two key markets, which are 85% of our revenue, the retailers are not there now,� Mr English says. Bremont’s three year plan LJDLFEPÍJO UIFZFBS when the company appointed (BSFUI.PSSJTBTJUTËSTU chief executive. Mr Morris has previously run Dunhill, Hackett and Links of London in the UK, He has close ties to John Ayton, co-founder of Links of London, who was an early seed investor and now chairman of Bremont.

FOR DAILY WATCH INDUSTRY NEWS UPDATES AND FEATURES VISIT WATCHPRO.COM AND FOLLOW @WATCHPRO ON TWITTER 8

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com


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FRONT / NEWS REVIEW

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WATCHES AND WRISTWATCHES Tuesday 21 February Knightsbridge

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FRONT / NEWS REVIEW

NEWS REVIEW

Apple is closing its concession dedicated to TNBSUXBUDIFTJOTJEF4FMGSJEHFT 5IF"QQMF8BUDITQBDF PDDVQJFTBMBSHFDPSOFSQMPUPO UIFHSPVOEmPPSPG4FMGSJEHFT 8POEFS3PPN BEKBDFOUUP UIFMVYVSZXBUDITQBDFSVO CZ5IF8BUDI(BMMFSZ"QQMF PQFOFEJUTDPODFTTJPOJO  BDDPNQBOJFECZBNVMUJNJMMJPO QPVOEXJOEPXQSPNPUJPO GBDJOHPOUP0YGPSE4USFFU UIF CVTJFTUSFUBJMUIPSPVHIGBSFJO -POEPO4FMGSJEHFTJTNJEXBZ UISPVHIBbNJMMJPO JOWFTUNFOUUPVQHSBEFBOE JNQSPWFUIFXIPMFEFQBSUNFOU TUPSF*OBEEJUJPO 5IF8BUDI (BMMFSZJTSFGVSCJTIJOHJUT MVYVSZXBUDITQBDF XIJDIXJMM JODSFBTFJOTJ[FCZXIFO DPNQMFUFEMBUFSUIJTNPOUI 5IF8BUDI(BMMFSZXJMMOPUCF taking over the area vacated CZ"QQMF8BUDI5IFDPSOFS QMPUJTFYQFDUFEUPCFVTFEGPS MVYVSZBDDFTTPSZCSBOETTVDI BT%JPSBOE'FOEJGPSUIFSFTUPG UIJTZFBS

-VYVSZ4XJTTXBUDINBLFS 3BZNPOE8FJMSBJTFE

12

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WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

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FRESH FACES / LE RHÖNE

ON THE ROAD WITH LE RHÖNE

RELATIVELY NEW TO THE WATCH WORLD, LE RHÖNE IS AIMING TO SHAKE UP THE STATUS QUO THIS YEAR WITH A UNIQUE OFFERING OF HAUTE HORLOGERIE COMBINED WITH FAST TURNAROUND TIMES. MANAGING DIRECTOR, LOÏC FLORENTIN IS THE MAN STEERING THE SHIP AND SPOKE TO WATCHPRO ABOUT HIS AMBITIONS FOR LE RHÖNE THIS YEAR AND BEYOND.

W

atchPro: When was Le Rhöne founded? Loic Florentin: Le Rhöne has been around since January 2013. The project was in my mind for many years but I really worked on it during 2012 to be able to register the company in January 2013. WP: In which markets is the brand strongest? LF: We are strong in Latin America. I worked all my life in the Americas region and this is also why one of the reasons we are strong there. We are now targeting Europe with openings this year. We are not yet in the UK and we are working to meet several key players during Baselworld to be able to have the right partner and right image for our brand. WP: What has changed at Le Rhöne in the last year or so? LF: One of the key changes in 2016 and 2017 is that I, Loïc Florentin, have returned as managing director of this brand after a few years at Richemont. My partner and I have been working to upgrade to a hautehorlogerie segment but being able to

Le Rhöne shows of its watchmaking expertise with a double tourbillon model.

14

Loic Florentin, managing director, Le Rhöne. personalise in a short time frame. Our novelty at Baselworld for example is a double tourbillon Home-Time that can be personalised and shipped to the final customer in approximately six to eight weeks. We are also working on a development of a new movement and a new module. We are really pushing our brand towards being a more watchmaking brand knowing that all we do is 100% Swiss made, working with the best artisans and Ateliers in Switzerland.

WP: What is your impression of the UK watch consumer compared to other countries throughout the world? LF: UK watch consumers are consumers that love Swiss horlogerie and are detail-oriented, and this is a great thing for Le Rhöne as our pieces are conceived thinking of all the details consumers want to see in our gardes du temps.The other impression is that they like to differentiate themselves from the others and they like to have watches that are more exclusive.

WP: What can watch retailers expect to see from you at Baselworld this year? LF: As I said previously, retailers will see our new movements are the new double Tourbillon Home-Time and of course a new 41 mm case. They will also see in BaselWorld a new brand image, with a new stand, a new website (to be launched during the fair), new exciting models and mostly a beautiful feminine watch.

WP: What makes Le Rhöne’s offering unique and desirable? LF: We have worked on having the best quality we could offer, working with the best artisans for each part of the watches. We wanted our product to be 100% Swiss made; we only work with Swiss companies. And now with our new haute horlogerie we develop unique pieces for consumers in a very short time frame.

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com


FRONT / RETAIL SALES DATA

Don’t panic at this sea of red ink

GFK BAROMETER DATA IS PRESENTED IN BLUE FOR POSITIVE GROWTH FIGURES AND IN RED FOR NEGATIVES, BUT DECEMBER 2016 WAS A FOUR WEEK MONTH COMPARED TO FIVE WEEKS IN 2015, AS WATCHPRO EXPLAINS.

W

ith calendar weeks distorting December’s numbers, we have to dig a little deeper for evidence of strong and weak sales in the crucial Christmas month. The much shorter reporting period inevitably means there was a decline overall in the value of December sales. However, sales of luxury watches remained so strong that they registered total value up 2.2%, even with a week’s less selling time. 5IFFBTJFSUPEJHFTUlHVSFTBSFUIFBOOVBM growth percentages across all categories, now that we have a full year’s data to present. The value of the entire UK watch industry for all price points was up a healthy 5.7%, despite the volume of units

sold declining by almost 14%. 2016 has continued BlWFZFBSUSFOEJOUIF6,PGBWFSBHFUSBOTBDUJPO values increasing due to a shift upmarket across the retail landscape. London is leading this charge, and online retail is lagging the average. The big picture is that the selective distribution of the major luxury brands is working. Rolex, for example, has cut its number of UK doors in half PWFSUIFQBTUlWFZFBST CVUIBTCFFOB record year in the UK by a staggering margin. The market for fashion and lifestyle watches, selling for under £500 continues to suffer, EFDMJOJOHJOWBMVFGPSlWFPVUPGUIFQBTUTJYZFBST (see additional analysis on page 20-22).

Total GB Watch Market (Sales Volume (Units)

Total GB Watch Market (Sales Value GBP)

-15

-12

December 2016

-13.6%

January 2016 - December 2016

5.7%

-9

-6

-3

0

3

6

-30

-25

16

-20

-15

-10

-5

0

Online sales (Sales Volume (units)

December 2016

-19.3%

December 2016

-21.1%

January 2016 - December 2016

6.4%

January 2016 - December 2016

2.5%

-15

-10

-5

0

5

10

-25

-20

-15

-10

-5

0

5

Rest of GB (Sales Value GBP)

1.3%

December 2016

December 2016

-19.4%

20.6%

January 2016 - December 2016

January 2016 - December 2016

-2.8%

5

10

15

20

25

30

-20

-15

-10

-5

0

Price (£100 - £500)

Price (<£100)

-25

-13.9%

January 2016 - December 2016

London (ISBA region) Sales Value GBP

0

-26.0%

December 2016

Online sales (Sales Value GBP)

-20

This data is supplied by GfK, the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading analyst of retail performance BOEDPOTVNFSDPOlEFODF For information please WJTJUXXXHGLDPN

December 2016

-24.7%

December 2016

-26.0%

January 2016 - December 2016

-10.6%

January 2016 - December 2016

-14.3%

-20

-15

-10

-5

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

0

-30

-25

-20

-15

-10

-5

0


RETAIL SALES DATA/ FRONT Price (£500 - £1,000)

-15

-12

Price (>£1,000)

December 2016

-13.6%

2.2%

December 2016

January 2016 - December 2016

0.1%

22.3%

January 2016 - December 2016

-9

-6

-3

0

3

0

5

-12

December 2016

-35.7%

January 2016 - December 2016

5.7%

January 2016 - December 2016

-16.6%

-6

-3

0

3

6

-40

-35

-30

-15

-10

December 2016

-13.5%

January 2016 - December 2016

7.1%

January 2016 - December 2016

7.5%

-2

0

2

4

6

8

-15

-12

-9

-20

-3

0

3

9

-14.1%

January 2016 - December 2016

-4.2%

January 2016 - December 2016

-1.9%

-10

-5

January 2016 - December 2016

10.3%

-6

0

-15

-12

-3

0

-9

-6

8.4%

6

9

12

-8

-6

-4

-2

0

2

3

4

-25.1%

16.7%

December 2016

January 2016 - December 2016

-10.9%

22.8%

January 2016 - December 2016

-10

6

8

10

AVERAGE SELLING PRICE (GBP)

December 2016

-15

0

-6.7%

December 2016 January 2016 - December 2016

3

-3

UNISEX (Sales Value GBP)

CHILDRENS (Sales Value GBP)

-20

6

December 2016

-13.2%

-25

-6

-21.1%

-15

-9

0

December 2016

December 2016

-12

-5

LADIES (Sales Value GBP)

GENTS (Sales Value GBP)

-30

-20

-8.7%

-4

30

Strap performance (METAL)

Strap performance (OTHERS)

-15

-25

December 2016

-6

25

-13.6%

-9

-8

-25

20

December 2016

Strap performance (LEATHER)

-10

15

Strap performance (CERAMIC)

Strap performance (<Grand Total>)

-15

10

-5

0

0

5

10

15

20

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

25

30 17


SPRING WATCH COLLECTION Minimal, modern designs for her and sophisticated details for him create the season’s most perfect watches.

MODERN MINIMALIST: New for Spring 2017, Portia is the face of polished and refi ned glamour. A pavé crystal-studded sixty-second subeye shines on the braceleted versions, while the matte blush leather strap option features a clean sunray dial. A slim case, tonal stick indexes and MK logo fi nish the ultramodern look.

BACK TO BLACK: Iconic men’s styles the Bradshaw and Paxton get subtle updates for spring. The stainlesssteel Paxton is reimagined with a black dial and black-and-red accents, while the Bradshaw is updated with rose gold-tone and sleek black accents.


M ICHAE LKORS.COM


MARKET RESEARCH / GFK REVIEW OF THE YEAR

2016:

REVIEW OF A TUMULTUOUS YEAR 2016 increase in average sale price for watches

GFK HAS BEEN PROVIDING MONTHLY RETAIL DATA AND ANALYSIS FOR MANY YEARS FOR WATCHPRO. BUT WE HAVE NEVER EXPERIENCED A YEAR LIKE 2016, AS LUXURY WATCH SALES TOOK OFF AND FASHION AND LIFESTYLE TOTALS TANKED. TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF WHAT SHE CALLS A â&#x20AC;&#x153;TUMULTUOUS YEARâ&#x20AC;? IS GILLY NETHERWOOD, SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER â&#x20AC;&#x201C; WATCHES, FOR THE MARKET RESEARCH AND RETAIL ANALYST.

22.8%

Annual rise of online watch sales

6.4%

20

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

T

he British watch market started 2016 XIFSFlOJTIFEn JOHSPXUI5IFDPOUJO VFEUSFOEPGJODSFBTFE TBMFTXBTESJWFOCZUIFMVYVSZ TFHNFOU CVUFWFOUIPVHIUIJT XBTBLFZUIFNFFBSMZJO JU HBWFOPIJOUPGUIFFYQMPTJPOJO TBMFTXIJDIXFSFUPDPNFMBUFSJO UIFZFBS5IFJNQBDUPG#SFYJUIBT CFFOXFMMEPDVNFOUFEBOEJUTOP FYBHHFSBUJPOUPTBZUIBUTBMFTPG MVYVSZXBUDIFTUPPLPGGUISPVHI UIFNJEEMFPG-POEPO CFOFlUFEUIFNPTU IFMQFECZ JODSFBTFEOVNCFSTPGUPVSJTUT mPDLJOHUPUIFDPVOUSZPOUIF CBDLPGUIFXFBLQPVOEBOE  OPEPVCU UIFJNQSFTTJWFSF UBJMTQBDFXBUDIFTFOKPZJO UIFDBQJUBM XIJDIGFFETUIF BQQFUJUFGPSMVYVSZXBUDIFT GVSUIFS Outside London luxury watch sales also fared well during the year, despite the referendum result which shook DPOTVNFSDPOlEFODFBOESF sulted in the steepest decline in UIF(G,$POTVNFS$POlEFODF Barometer for 21 years. However, the DPOTVNFSDPOlEFODFJOEFYSFDPW ered well, largely because there was no immediate discernible change to the cost of living as a result of Brexit. However, prices for consumer goods are unlikely to remain unaffected and the expectation is that they will rise in

2017, with this possibly encouraging people to spend before the year was out. The momentum in luxury watch sales certainly continued all through Q4. October was another incredible month, with watches costing over ÂŁ1,000 up 53% on October 2015, BOEJO/PWFNCFSZFBSPOZFBSTBMFT were up 30%. December is normally a slower month for luxury because QVSDIBTFTBSFPGUFOHJGUESJWFO SBUIFSUIBOTFMGQVSDIBTFIPXFWFS December 2016 was again strong for the luxury sector and especially in London. Our December 2016 period does not correspond directly to 2015 as the two months are 4 weeks vs XFFLTSFTQFDUJWFMZHJWFOUIJTXF would expect sales to show a decline year on year. This is indeed the case for watches overall, but for watches over ÂŁ1,000 we saw a value rise of 2.2% December 2016 vs December 2015 despite the effective loss of a weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth of sales. One frequently asked question at this time of year is how strong were JOUFSOFUTBMFTGPSXBUDIFTPWFS/P vember and December? The online

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The market under ÂŁ500 remains challenging, dropping 12.9% in value in 2016.â&#x20AC;?


GFK REVIEW OF THE YEAR / MARKET RESEARCH

DIBOOFMIBTCFDPNFBCBUUMFlFMEGPS watches under ÂŁ500 and although the market under ÂŁ500 declined overall, in November we saw another increase in of online sales share. In November 2016 internet sales (where UIFlOBODJBMUSBOTBDUJPOUBLFTQMBDF online) accounted for 43% of the total value of watches under ÂŁ500, which was up from 37% in November 2015. This is lower than GfK reported for consumer durable goods overall (which was 48%), but then online watch sales have had a lot of catch ing up to do, having lagged behind for some years. At current growth rates itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only a matter of time before online sales overtake the high street in November. Retailers have long appreciated that the online market is important, but recently we have seen a shift JOHFBSSFUBJMFSTBSFOPXSFBMJTJOH UIBUUIJTJTBNVTUXJOCBUUMFBOEB top priority for 2017, especially as an increasing number of manufacturers are using this as a means to sell direct to the consumer. All in all 2016 was another year of growth for the Great British watch market, with value sales up 5.7% against 2015. It means GfK has now tracked seven years of continuous growth. While the market under ÂŁ500 remains challenging, dropping 12.9% in value and 14.6% in volume as the fashion brands struggle to maintain growth enjoyed in previous years, watches over ÂŁ1,000 had a very strong year, up 22.3% in value on 2015. The weight of demand for luxury watches came through both ladies and gents pushing volume up by 12.5% for ladies and 16.9% for gents in 2016 vs 2015. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very hard to predict if this growth in luxury can be sustained, but as we start the new year we have already hit another low for the value of sterling on the foreign exchange, so it might just be pos sible. On top of this we havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t factored in the new growth of smart and con OFDUFEXBUDIFTBMMUIFQFSGPSNBODF reported in the results so far has been for traditional watches. We saw sales value for smart watches rise 93% in November 2016 over Novem

1FSDFOUBHFDIBOHFJOWBMVFPGXBUDI TBMFTQSJDFEPWFSb 25.0 20.0

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10.0

5.0

0.0

2011

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2013

2014

2015

2016

1FSDFOUBHFDIBOHFJOWBMVFPGXBUDITBMFTQSJDFEMFTT UIBOb 4.0 2.0 0.0

2011

2012

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-2.0 -4.0 -6.0 -8.0 -10.0 -12.0 -14.0 -16.0

ber 2015 in the Great Britain market and this doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t yet include sales of connected watches from jewellers which we will start tracking from January 2017. The introduction of connected watches in the traditional watch space under ÂŁ1,000 will inevi tably lead to some cannibalisation of traditional watch sales. Whilst some retailers and manufacturers are reap ing additional sales already, many remain to be convinced. However, it may not be the poisoned chalice

TPNFGFBSBTXFMMBTQPUFOUJBMMZBU tracting more people to wear a wrist piece, smart and connected watches will inevitably date as technology advances, which could lead to more repeat sales in the long term for those manufacturers and retailers who choose to embrace them. Gilly Netherwood, account manager â&#x20AC;&#x201C; watches, gilly.netherwood@gfk.com +44 207 890 9264, www.gfk.com/uk / www.twitter.com/gfk_en

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

21


THE BIG INTERVIEW / DAVID COLERIDGE, THE WATCH GALLERY

THE WATCH GALLERY WAY 22

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY JANUARY 2017 2017/ /watchpro.com watchpro.com

IT HAS BEEN 10 YEARS SINCE DM LONDON, THE FORMER NAME OF THE WATCH GALLERY, TOOK OVER THE WATCH SELLING AREA OF SELFRIDGES IN LONDON. UNDER THE STEWARDSHIP OF CHAIRMAN DAVID COLERIDGE, THE CONCESSION HAS GROWN TO BECOME ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE SPACES IN THE ENTIRE STORE, WITH AVERAGE TRANSACTION VALUES FOR WATCHES TOPPING £3000 IN 2016. WHAT HAS BEEN THE SECRET OF THE WATCH GALLERY’S SUCCESS, AND WHAT ARE ITS PLANS FOR FUTURE GROWTH? WATCHPRO’S ROB CORDER SAT DOWN WITH MR COLERIDGE TO FIND OUT.


DAVID COLERIDGE, THE WATCH GALLERY / THE BIG INTERVIEW

of £54 million in 2015. That is exceptional growth, and well above the rest of the UK watch industry. It even exceeds other retailers in the luxury watch sector in London. DC: It has been an extraordinary year. We had no expectation that Brexit would have this level of impact. If I’m honest I did not think we would vote to leave, so we made no real plans for Brexit. We did not ask ourselves, if we vote to leave, what will we do about it?

£60,000,000

(Financial year runs February-January)

WP: And that compares to revenue

The Watch Gallery Annual Turnover £50,000,000 £40,000,000 £30,000,000 £20,000,000 £10,000,000 £2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

T (Financial year runs February-January)

WatchPro: How has trading been for The Watch Gallery this year (2016)? David Coleridge: We are 3 weeks from the end of our year and +42% versus last year. Prior to the Brexit vote we were about 15% up on the year, so we had already had a strong start.

WP: Did you not even alter your buying plans?

DC: Not prior to Brexit, because we buy every week. We go to events like SIHH and Baselworld and look at annual allocations, but we order on a weekly basis from the majority of brands. The vast majority of brands, perhaps because of the poor performance in the rest of the world, have had available stock whenever we have needed it. So we have had no problems with supply from a single brand other than Audemars Piguet. It was fortunate for us that there was plenty of stock available because the speed of sales increase would have been a problem otherwise. It is a year the like of which I have never experienced in 35 years in the business. Retailing is normally a very precise business. A normal year you might forecast being 10-12% up, and be within a percentage point or two about the numbers. This year has just been transformational. In the summer we had a perfect storm. Brexit happened; two weeks MBUFS3BNBEBOlOJTIFE TPUIF"SBC customers arrived in London; and London was so much cheaper

because the Arab economies are all based on dollars [currencies of all GCC countries pegged to the dollar]. There was tremendous publicity on the fact that the pound had dived, so all tourists perceived that it would be cheap. So, not only did we have plenty of people coming, but also even those that might not normally have shopped while here were thinking, why wouldn’t I? That created this perfect storm. We even sold watches to Americans, which is not something we normally do. For tourists from outside the European Union who can reclaim VAT as they leave, the watches were materially cheaper than in their own countries. Since summer, nearly all the major brands have raised their prices. But they remain, because of the low pound, competitive against other countries. Today London costs a little

bit less, where historically London has been a little higher than the rest.

WP: Do you factor in tourist numbers when you are drawing up forecasts for future business? DC: The absolute number of tourists to London has not, as we understand it, materially changed. It has just been that people visiting here have bought more. Next year (2017), the forecasts for tourism numbers are very encouraging, so there is every reason to expect those numbers to be strong again.

WP: If the pound remains worth around $1.25, that will certainly make the UK appealing to people in dollar-based economies looking to book their holidays in 2017. DC: Yes, it is attractive to tourists, but while we love tourist spending

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

Opposite: David Coleridge, chairman, The Watch Gallery.

23


THE BIG INTERVIEW / DAVID COLERIDGE, THE WATCH GALLERY

here in London, 60% of our business is domestic. The challenge for the brands is not to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;killâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; the UK consumer. Some brands havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put up prices at all, some have increased once, and some twice. As the Swiss exports data states, the UK market is growing strongly, and the brands need to DPOTJEFSlSTUUIF6,DPOTVNFS BOE secondly the tourists. Our business will never just be selling to tourists. If you are selling to a UK consumer and you put the price up 20-25% inside 6 months, then that consumer is going to be put off. Naturally retailers will support the brands that consider the UK consumer. Price differences [caused by DVSSFODZmVDUVBUJPOT>BSPVOEUIF world are here to stay and if brands spend their entire lives trying to adjust prices in every market to keep them in line, then all you will do is antagonise local consumers. Its worth noting brands are never as quick to lower prices when currencies move the other way. Brands need to market in each country, and they need to control their businesses in each country so that they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have excess stock in the secondary market. The UK market is, I think, a very clean market, in general, so a small price difference here need not be a concern to the brands.

WP: There used to be a considerable level of grey market importing into the UK. DC: I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think there is much now. I saw statistics from WatchPro that said that the UK was the third biggest importer of Swiss watches in the world in November. That is partly due to the tourist business, but primarily due to the local customers. The size of that tourist business in London is far smaller than Paris, and more robust and healthier for it. So, what I would say to brands is, if they want to keep this country strong, focus on marketing to the UK consumer. WP: I interviewed [Aurum Group CEO] Brian Duffy a few weeks ago and he said that he has been surprised this year by the strength

24

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

of domestic demand. He said it has been very resilient despite the price rises since the summer. DC: He sees that across the UK. Our domestic demand is almost entirely in London, and London is a bit of a bubble economy. I have no idea what business is like in Leeds or Newcastle, but I would imagine it is pretty tough. Local customers in London have been very strong for us.

WP: I wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t given a breakdown PGUIFlHVSFT CVUIFEJETBZUIBU  for the whole of Aurum, sales were up 25% this year, and outside of London growth was lower at 10%. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t quite work out the growth in London from those two lHVSFT CVUXFDBOTBZJUJTIJHIFS than 25%. DC: The last statistic I saw from GfK was that London represented about 35% of the country. It might be more than that now and I believe that the higher the price point, the greater advantage London has. The key thing for me in 2017 is that brands donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s performance in 2016 as a one-off but that they continue to market themselves to UK consumers.

WP: 2016 has certainly been fantastic for the luxury watch industry in the UK, but the percentage increases are a little mBUUFSJOHCFDBVTF XIFOUIF pound was strong, was a more EJGlDVMUZFBS DC: We had a decent Christmas in 2015, but the middle of the year was very tough. Overall we achieved modest growth in 2015. WP: One thing I feel very strongly about is that British watch retailers are among the best in the world. If you compare London to Paris or New York, we have far better stores in the very best locations. DC: I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t agree more; and I think JUIBTJNQSPWFETJHOJlDBOUMZJOUIFMBTU few years; with London leading the way. It is also interesting because the role that the major department stores, Harrods and Selfridges, play in that mix. In London, department stores are the key destination to buy luxury. That

is really not the case in many other cities in the world. We therefore have a hard job explaining to the brandsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; IFBEPGlDFTUIBUUIFTFBSFUIFCFTU luxury destinations in the country, and need to be core to their distribution strategy. They think it is the same as going into a department store like Galleries Lafayette in France or Macyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the US. And it is why we have done particularly well out of Brexit. If you are a consumer visiting the UK the question is, why would I go anywhere else except Selfridges to buy a watch? Right now Selfridges is spending ÂŁ300 million redeveloping the entire store. It is being transformed over the next 18 months, thanks to the investment from the Weston family. So, you are right that London is a fantastic place to shop, and Selfridges and Harrods are dominant within that landscape. A few years ago, people were sounding the death knell for multi-brand luxury watch retail, but today it has never been in better health than in the UK. 8IFOXFIBWFlOJTIFEUIFSFlU here in Selfridges, we will offer around 25 brands, giving the consumer the widest and best choice. Our challenge, with 20 million people walking through the door every year, is to give them a luxury environment where they are relaxed and able to choose to suit their own individual tastes.

WP: What is your average sale price today and what do you think will happen when you have fewer brands occupying more space? DC:0OUIF4FMGSJEHFTmPPSJUJT BSPVOEb "GUFSUIFSFlU UIBU will probably go up. When we built the room, which was almost exactly nine years ago (September 2007), the average transaction value was ÂŁ800. 10 years ago we occasionally sold a watch for ÂŁ20,000. Today we do so very regularly, and occasionally for over ÂŁ100,000. WP: Would you agree that London today is a match for Geneva when JUDPNFTUPCVZJOHlOF4XJTT watches? DC: I would like to think so. I have


DAVID COLERIDGE, THE WATCH GALLERY / THE BIG INTERVIEW

QSPEVDUNJYUPlUXJUIUIFMPDBUJPO  and the target market. For example, with Covent Garden, our target market is the local working consumer. There are 40 million tourists that go to Covent Garden, but they are not really our target customer.

WP: Any other expansion plans in terms of real estate?

DC: Firstly the Selfridges space

to complement Brian [Duffy, CEO of Aurum Holdings]. I think 155 [Watches of Switzerland on Regent Street] is a fabulous store. Our challenge here is different: to create a retail environment that suits Selfridges and the brands. That is very different to 155, which is a specialist watch store only â&#x20AC;&#x201C; by that I mean customers who walk in are interested only in buying a watch. At Selfridges our opportunity is to introduce watches to someone who came in to buy cosmetics â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but when they come back next month may buy a watch. Like all good multi brand environments, arguably here it is not the watch brand that is the issue, it is what the customer wants that matters, and that is what we are trying to give them here.

WP: Do your staff here in 4FMGSJEHFTTQFDJBMJTFJOUIFXBUDI brands they sell? DC: Everybody is a specialist in one brand but must be able to sell all brands. They have to be because, JOPSEFSUPlOEXIBUUIFDVTUPNFS wants, our people have to match the customer to the brand, not the other way round. Our business is to understand what the customer wants, and to offer it with the best knowledge and service. WP: )PXEPFT4FMGSJEHFTEJGGFS to your other London stores JO$PWFOU(BSEFO 8FTUlFME shopping mall and the Rolex boutique in Knightsbridge for The Watch Gallery? Are they substantially different businesses? DC: We design each store and the

will be 35% bigger, so that that will dramatically increase. We have FYQBOTJPOQMBOTJO8FTUlFME XIJDI we will refurbish in the late spring to early summer. The other area of the business that is rushing along fast is the online. I SFNFNCFSHPJOHlWFZFBSTBHPUP #SJFUMJOHTIFBEPGlDF UP$BSUJFST IFBEPGlDF UPBMMUIFCSBOET8FIBE a presentation called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Listen to your customerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. We told them, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t bury your head in the sand, your customer is searching and will want to buy on the Internet. At the time, to them, it was like heresy. But recently I read that IWC was selling on Net-a-Porter. That would have been completely unimaginable even 12 months ago. Suddenly, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re all rushing to be transactional. How the next 12 or 18 months will pan out is far from clear, but we can be certain that online will â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;disruptâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; the existing business, we just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how at this stage.

WP: What have been the greatest challenges and opportunities of expanding online? DC: In a steady and thoughtful way, XFBSFUSZJOHUPCFUIFlSTUUSVMZ omnichannel luxury watch retailer. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not so much about selling online or not selling online, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about trying to respond to what the consumer wants. The UK is leading the world in developing the online market. In all retail last Christmas, about 20% of all retail sales in UK were made online. The next highest country in the world was about 11%. This is why weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re attracting the best web developers in the world, and why we will continue to lead the development of the market. We are constantly experimenting to see where to develop next.. watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

Above centre: The new Selfridges Wonder Room watch area run by The Watch Gallery is 35% bigger, but has fewer watch brands, better branding and more space for consultation with customers.

25


VIEW FROM THE TOP / GILES ENGLISH

BREMONT 2.0 BREMONT WATCH COMPANY WAS BORN IN 2002 WITH A STATED MISSION TO BRING BRITISH WATCHMAKING BACK TO LIFE. 15 YEARS ON, THE BUSINESS IS INVESTING MORE THAN EVER IN ITS SILVERSTONE AND HENLEYON-THAMES FACILITIES, AND ITS PASSION TO BE THE FIRST BUSINESS IN DECADES TO MAKE INDUSTRIAL QUANTITIES OF ITS OWN MOVEMENTS IN THIS COUNTRY REMAINS UNDIMMED. THE MISSION MAY BE THE SAME, BUT THE STRATEGY AND TACTICS OF HOW TO REACH THE GOAL HAVE CHANGED IN THE PAST TWO YEARS, AS WATCHPRO DISCOVERED IN CONVERSATION WITH GILES ENGLISH, WHO CO-FOUNDED BREMONT WITH HIS BROTHER NICK. WELCOME TO BREMONT 2.0.

B

uilding a watchmaking business in the UK is tough; so tough that every other British watch company – bar a few artisans making tiny quantities of timepieces by hand – assemble their models from components sourced from Switzerland, Japan and, increasingly, China. Bremont has gone further than any other watch brand in making its own components. Cases and mainplates for its movements are made in Silverstone, while the Henley-on5IBNFTGBDJMJUZBTTFNCMFTlOJTIFEXBUDIFT using some components from Silverstone, and others from Switzerland. The cost of building up the infrastructure and skills at these two factories is enormous. Precision machinery in the watchmaking world can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, but it is essential if the Bremont plan so have complete control over a high volume watchmaking business is to ever be fully realised. “Making our own watches will make us masters of our own destiny. What we are doing in Silverstone now is building better quality at a cheaper price, and we are operating just in time production. It

26

is working. It is bloody painful to get to UIBUQPJOUCFDBVTFGPSUIFlSTUUXPZFBST of doing anything like that it costs a lot. But when you get it right, it works. When you get the right team of people who can deliver, it works,” Giles English insists. 15 years after starting the business, it must be tempting for Bremont to reconsider the dream of making its own components, movements, cases and dials, and go the route of businesses like Christopher Ward, which manufactures in Switzerland. “It would have been easier, and those guys are very clever and do a brilliant job. Us as a company, I came from an engineering background, my father was an engineer. I love building things. And also we were ambitious and I don’t think you could get to the scale that we hope to reach if you are a virtual business or you’re not controlling these elements,” Mr English says. Switzerland remains the gold standard for manufacturing because it has developed a sophisticated hub of interconnected suppliers that trade with each other. Bremont hoped that its investment in equipment and skills would seed the creation of a similar hub in Britain, but there has been very little progress over the past

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

decade. “Hubs are the best,” admits Mr English. “We certainly hoped there might be a few other businesses popping up in the UK. A dial manufacturer popping up, for example, but it is hard. I am seeing some other [British] brands doing some great stuff. The British School of Watchmaking, which we partner with, is doing some doing great stuff. We’re training up some brilliant guys who inevitably will leave and go and set up their own thing eventually. So the number of watchmakers we’re training, some of those will go elsewhere. So yes, we are making a difference. We are developing completely new movements on British soil. That is great and inevitably it is improving,” he adds. The other advantage Switzerland has is scale. Without massive investment, a company cannot build enough DPNQPOFOUTPSlOJTIFEXBUDIFTUPKVTUJGZ the money that has to go into people and equipment. Without scale, the best Britain can hope for is to assemble watches made from imported components, or to make very small quantities by hand. “The issue with manufacturing is that you can bespoke build 10 pieces. You can handmake it but there is no scale and there is


GILES ENGLISH / VIEW FROM THE TOP

1

no investment in machinery. It is the pure skillset of one person,â&#x20AC;? Mr English describes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is volume and price point that ultimately makes the difference because you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t invest thousands or even a million in a machine unless you are going to be creating thousands of components, or millions. So itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a numbers game. Once youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got it right, it is continual. Your costs are a lot higher to begin with, but once you have it running smoothly in production, you know that it is so the right thing to do,â&#x20AC;? Bremont has been ceaselessly invested in building the sort of production facilities that can scale, but the last two years have seen a change of direction on the distribution front because the management team realised they were spreading themselves too thinly across the world. Exhibiting at Baselworld for several years was part of a plan to expand distribution outside the UK and the United States, but the decision has now been taken to sharpen focus on just its core

markets either side of the North Atlantic. Nick and Giles remain the heart and soul of Bremont, but they hired a massive business brain early in 2016 to bring some focus to the operation. Gareth Morris, who previously ran luxury brands Dunhill and Hackett, as well as silver jewellery business Links of London, joined in April. At the time, Nick English said Mr Morris would â&#x20AC;&#x153;manage Bremontâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development into a major global player in the luxury watch industryâ&#x20AC;?. However, a three year plan agreed between the English brothers and Mr Morris, will see that global expansion nixed in favour of a much tighter focus on the US and, particularly, the UK. The three year plan started when the new CEO joined us at the start of 2016. We feel there is a market opportunity that we can really exploit,â&#x20AC;? Giles English says. The new CEO joined at a pivotal NPNFOUGPS#SFNPOU5IFlSTUOJOF NPOUITPGJUTlOBODJBMZFBS  from March to December, 2015, saw the business post an EBITDA loss of

ÂŁ700,000), compared to EBITDA of ÂŁ1 million in 2013, ÂŁ1.6 million in 2014 and ÂŁ800,000 in the 12 months to March 2015. 5VSOPWFSGPSUIFlSTUOJOFNPOUIT of 2015 was up 13.7% compared to the 12 month period in 2014-15, and Mr English told WatchPro that the full year saw a sell through increase in the core UK retail market of closer to 25%. The loss was incurred due mainly to Bremontâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expansion into the United States, including the opening of a branded boutique and accompanying marketing, plus investment in its factories, as Mr English explained in a statement BDDPNQBOZJOHJUTlOBODJBMSFQPSUGPS the last nine months of 2015. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The increased investment in marketing, infrastructure and manufacturing has resulted in a loss of ÂŁ1.2 million (EBITDA loss of ÂŁ0.7 million) for the period in question on increased turnover. The company will continue UPJOWFTUJUTQSPlUTJOHSPXJOH the business. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The company has continued to invest in manufacturing

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

1 Giles and Nick English messing around in a boat near their Henleyon-Thames facility.

27


VIEW FROM THE TOP / GILES ENGLISH

2

2 Bremont opened its ËSTUCPVUJRVFJOUIF US with a store on Manhattan’s famous Madison Avenue.

28

and over £1.7 million has been invested in its machinery at its parts manufacturing arm in Silverstone,” the statement from Mr English describes. The three year plan, which runs through to 2019, will see no let up in the company’s investment in UK manufacturing. “We are ambitious. Nick and I could easily sit back and run a small growth business and CFWFSZQSPlUBCMFBOEUPLFFQJU as we are. But our view is, to really make the level of investment we want to do in the UK in terms of our manufacturing, we have to be selling a lot of watches,” Mr English asserts. “In 2016, we were the 12th largest chronometer producer in the world. We have proved that we can make any case we want for our watches. It is that next level that is the really important part for us, and the next two years is the transformational

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

“We really care about our retailers. Why would we go to another country when I can help my retailer in Oxford to double sales in the next two years. To me it’s a no-brainer.”

period for really 2019 is when this big three year plan bears fruit,” he adds. Bremont expects to make around six to seven thousand watches in 2017, but believes it can ramp up to 20-30,000 pieces per year when its plant is fully on stream. That would

be a similar number to key Swiss rivals like Zenith, but Bremont hopes to sell virtually every watch in just the UK and the US, so it would appear highly successful in these markets compared to a global brand like Zenith that is present in scores of countries. There won’t be a swathe of new retailers in Bremont’s core markets – maybe 10% more doors in the UK. The focus instead will be to help existing retailers sell more. Without the burden of selling all around the world, the company will be in a position to develop highly effective marketing that should drive up the volume and the average transaction value of sales. “We are in a position where we’ve never done proper roll out marketing. It’s always been bits of PR here and there. There will be a couple of big announcement of new people


GILES ENGLISH / VIEW FROM THE TOP

3

joining our team in the next couple of months and our investment in UK marketing, which we are really excited about,” Mr English reveals. The biggest change to its marketing is a decision to stop exhibiting at Baselworld and to instead launch its 2017 collection to retailers and press in London. Bremont will hold its own exhibition in a central London townhouse running from February 27 – March 3, giving the team an opportunity to immerse its retail partners and key customers in a world created by the brand, and to put on other events such as visits to the factories in Henley-on-Thames and Silverstone. “You keep hearing me hammer the British story over and over again. We are not going to 120 different countries as a brand. We were at an international watch show [Baselworld] that really caters to

people from all over the world and it does a brilliant job. But our focus is the UK, the biggest chunk of our business is UK and I’m seeing people in the worst light in Basel, so it is not helping my UK retailers. Our retailers have not been going to Basel in the past few years. The US retailers have not been going. So the two key markets that are 85% of our revenue; the retailers are not there now,” Mr English explains. Retailers and consumers will also be given much shorter lead times between seeing the products at the London exhibition, and seeing them on sale. “The general public doesn’t want to see something in March that is then not out until December,” Mr English says. “So we’re opening up the townhouse for VIPs and members, for Bremont owners, to look at the new watches and then go back to their retailers

and buy them straight away,” he adds. Bremont’s three year plan can be summed up in a sentence: the company is going deeper, not wider. Its manufacturing will deepen its expertise and capabilities, producing more components and ultimately more watches. The same is true of its distribution. The company will deepen its relationships with existing retailers in the UK and United States rather than widening distribution to myriad new countries. “We really care about our retailers. I go and see them. Why would we go into another country, spend a whole load of my time travelling, when I can help my retailer in Oxford to double sales over the next two years. To me it’s a no brainer. This is central to our strategy over the next two years, to make our core markets really work,” Mr English concludes.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

3 2016 saw Bremont teaming up with Oracle Team USA as it prepared for the 2017 America’s Cup race. The partnership continues into 2017.

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built for the challenge

www.seiko-prospex.com


MICHAEL SPIERS / RETAIL FOCUS

INSPIRING MICHAEL SPIERS

DEVON & CORNWALL HAVE A COMBINED POPULATION OF JUST OVER 1.6 MILLION, AND WELCOME AROUND HALF A MILLION TOURISTS EACH YEAR. IT IS A STOMPING GROUND THAT MICHAEL SPIERS KNOWS, LOVES AND PROFITS FROM HANDSOMELY AS ROB CORDER DISCOVERED ON A VISIT TO THE COMPANYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S LUXURY TRURO BOUTIQUE.

T

here has been constant talk about high-spending tourists causing a surge in demand for luxury watches in the UK in 2016, but there are stories within stories when it comes to sales across the country. Central London has been red hot, with the total value of sales across all price points up by 20.6% for the whole of

2016, according to retail analyst GfK. But outside the capital, the total value of sales actually fell last year by 2.8%. The distortion was almost entirely down to luxury watch sales in prime areas of London (including the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s airport duty free shops) registering massive growth, while sales of lower-priced watches in the regions struggled.

However, London retailers were not alone in tempting both domestic and tourist customers into their shops to buy expensive watches. Michael Spiers, which operates four boutiques in Devon, Somerset and Cornwall, has also enjoyed BTUFMMBSZFBS4BMFTJOJUTQSFWJPVTlOBODJBM year, which ended in March 2016, were up 16%, and this year is looking equally strong. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are currently running 15% up since

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

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Personalized watches in no time. www.boomwatches.com | info@boomwatches.com


MICHAEL SPIERS / RETAIL FOCUS

March, with three months to go until UIFFOEPGUIF<lOBODJBM>ZFBS*UIJOL we are forecasting continued growth and end up about 11% up year on year CZUIFFOEPGUIFlOBODJBMZFBS*GXF keep doing what we do best, we will continue to grow,â&#x20AC;? says Adam Spiers, son of the eponymous companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s founder Michael Spiers, and current director for the family business. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We IBWFJOWFTUFEIFBWJMZJOTIPQSFlUT in all our stores so far. Truro will be UIFlOBMPOF BOEUIBUIBTEFMJWFSFE dramatic growth,â&#x20AC;? he adds. Luxury watches have been by far the fastest growing segment GPSUIFlSN"EFDBEFBHP XBUDIFT accounted for around 20% of turnover, but this year that has just increased to over 50%, Mr Spiers revealed. The addition of Rolex and, most recently, Patek Philippe to the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s watch portfolio has been transformational, he adds. Location is everything to retailers, but Michael Spiers lacks obvious advantages enjoyed by prime London, Edinburgh or even Bath shops. Plymouth, Truro, Exeter and Taunton would not be considered BGmVFODFIPUTQPUT5IF4PVUI8FTU certainly attracts plenty of tourists, but they are not typically the jet set from China and the Middle East that have turbocharged Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s growth. James Walker, group manager at Michael Spiers, concedes that the

region has a bit of a bargain family holiday reputation, but insists that the image is woefully out of date. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Truro story is different to Plymouth, Exeter and Taunton. Truro is more affected by the tourist market UISPVHIPVUUIFTVNNFSNPOUIT*O the past 10-15 years, Cornwall has changed dramatically. Traditionally it was a bucket and spade kind of holiday destination, but there is another level to Cornwall. Now we are getting known for things Rick Stein restaurants, the Tate gallery in 4U*WFTBOEUIF&EFOQSPKFDUQMBDFT like that attract another type of clientele,â&#x20AC;? he explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hotels have been developed and built to satisfy that level of customer.â&#x20AC;? There are plenty of young and successful local business owners â&#x20AC;&#x201C; many of them running the new generation of hotels and restaurants. There is also an older cohort of wealthy people who have retired to the South West or have second homes in the area. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A lot of people who retire or have second homes here might have worked in the City and sold their mansion house in London. They moved down and live in lovely relaxed luxury. People sell a ÂŁ2m house and buy one for half that amount down here,â&#x20AC;? describes Mr Spiers. An area called Watergate Bay on the North Cornwall coast is known locally at Chelsea on Sea, he jokes.

A quick glance at a website created for the surfersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; paradise shows promotions for polo on the beach followed by a Spanish tapas meal. A trip to Michael Spiers to check out the latest watch collection has become a regular part of a visit to Cornwall for come customers, says Mr Walker, where the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s staff welcome them like members of the family. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the lovely things to me is that customers tell their friends back home that we are their local jeweller because they get an experience of service here that they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get in London. They walk through the door of the Truro shop and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re recognised,â&#x20AC;? he adds. 1MZNPVUIJTEJGGFSFOU*UT population of almost 300,000 is almost half that of the whole of Devon, and it is home to many of the regionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entrepreneurs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We see BMPUPGCVTJOFTTQFPQMFUIFZSVO their own companies here and spend their money here. There are a lot of owner-managed businesses,â&#x20AC;? Mr Spiers explains. Michael Spiers is a barometer of regional economic success. When local companies have a good year â&#x20AC;&#x201C; typically a good holiday season â&#x20AC;&#x201C; sales rise in the summer thanks to the tourists, and then again ahead of Christmas as the local business owners treat themselves. Securing the best watch brands IBTCFFOJNQPSUBOU*UUPPLNBOZ years of painstaking lobbying (and the closure of a Goldsmiths store in Exeter) before Michael Spiers secured the Rolex agency for all four of its shops. Patek Philippe was just as tough to land, and has been present in just the Truro store for the QBTUlWFZFBST *OUIF5SVSPTUPSF 3PMFYBOE1BUFL Philippe are given pride of place with large shop in shop zones that have the obligatory branded walls, cabinets and furniture. They are comfortable and welcoming areas where the team serves champagne and coffee to put customers at ease, while they speak to resident expert Ben Franklin, who Mr Spiers describes as an encyclopaedia of watch knowledge.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

Page 31 Michael Spiers in Plymouth. This page The executive team at the 2016 WatchPro Awards, where Michael Spiers XBTBĂ&#x2039;OBMJTUGPS the Luxury Watch 3FUBJMFSPGUIF:FBS "XBSE'SPNMFGUUP right: Adam Spiers, James Walker and Michael Cox.

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RETAIL FOCUS / MICHAEL SPIERS

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3 Ben Franklin, Michael Spiers resident watch specialist.

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Omega, TAG Heuer and Gucci jewellery also have a large displays, but the rest of the shop has Michael Spiersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; own furniture and cabinets stocking brands including Tissot, Tudor and Breitling. *OTUBMMJOHUIFCSBOEFETIPQJO shops is not cheap, and hands over a certain level of sovereignty to the watch brands, but Mr Spiers says it is an investment that has really paid off. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have spent a phenomenal BNPVOUJOTIPQlUT SFEPJOH windows, investing in the business so that we can give our customers the ultimate experience. We have to thank our brands for pushing us to LFFQSBJTJOHPVSHBNF*UJTCMPPEZ hard work and bloody expensive, but it is worth it,â&#x20AC;? he tells WatchPro. h5IFCSBOETBSFTPLFZ*O&YFUFS XFIBEUPlHIUUPHFU3PMFY CVUPODF

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

5

we had it we realised we needed a bigger store. Once we had the bigger store, we had to bring in other brands, and the success came from there. The brands push us to make these investments, but they are not wrong. They know what works,â&#x20AC;? Mr Spiers adds. 5IFJOmVFODFPGUIFCJHCSBOET goes further than just store design. They bring the right sort of customers into Michael Spiers and they arrive with certain expectations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The initial thing is that that they will SFDPHOJTF3PMFYUIFZXJMMSFDPHOJTF Patek Philippe and other brands and they will immediately make a judgment and an assumption about UIFTIPQ*GZPVBSFTFMMJOH3PMFYBOE Patek Philippe, they will expect a certain quality,â&#x20AC;? Mr Walker says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;But from that point on, it is all about us

delivering the right experience.â&#x20AC;? The companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success in 2016 has been helped by the weakness of sterling making luxury watches cheaper for tourists than in other parts of the world, but Mr Spiers says the impact has been negligible. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were 23% less expensive before the QSJDFJODSFBTFT<CZBMMNBKPSCSBOET> and now we are about 10-13% less expensive than Europe. But it is not

Adam Spiers: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We employ loveliness. When we hire people, if they are lovely, we will give them a go.â&#x20AC;?


MICHAEL SPIERS / RETAIL FOCUS

6

7

4

a massive part of our business. Our local business is so important to us. The majority of our business is local. We have to make the everyday experience better and better,â&#x20AC;? he suggests. The in store team is central to that experience, and Mr Spiers has a simple theory when it comes to hiring the right people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We employ loveliness. When we hire people, if they are lovely, we will give then a go. *UTPVOETMJLFBDMJDIFCVUXFXBOU lovely people,â&#x20AC;? he explains. Continuing growth in the future is likely to be less about opening new physical stores, and more to do with increasing the number of units sold in existing stores, and increasing the average transaction value for each sale. That will require great staff, the right brands, great interior

BOEXJOEPXEFTJHO BOENPSFh*UT BMJUUMFCJUPGFWFSZUIJOH*UJTUIFPOF percents that you put together and they add up to 10%,â&#x20AC;? Mr Spiers says. Michael Spiers constantly evaluates its line up of watch brands, and will look at new options every year at Baselworld, but its main focus will be on selling more expensive pieces from its current brands. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are always guided by the brands. But equally, as a buying team when we go to Basel, we will quite often sit in front of a brand and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll present something and we will just go, we have got to try that. We do go out on a limb,â&#x20AC;? describes Mr Walker. Taking a punt with a new brand or limited editions from its existing partners is a way of standing out from rivals. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are in competition with the multiples, so we do like

to pick things that will give us a point of difference. For instance, in Plymouth where we have Omega in our Plymouth store and you also have Omega in Fraser Hart, we want customers to be able to look in our Omega window and see a few watches that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not going to see in Fraser Hart. Fraser are less likely to go out on that limb,â&#x20AC;? Mr Walker suggests. One part of the business that may expand is online, an area that the team admits has been below par until now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our online business and social media is an area where we do intend to invest and grow. We have been working on the new website for the past six months, and that will ultimately be transactional, although JUXPOUCFUSBOTBDUJPOBMXIFOJUlSTU goes live,â&#x20AC;? Mr Walker says.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

4, 5, 6 & 7 Michael Spiers in Truro has the highest average transaction values thanks to the branded shop JOTIPQTGPS1BUFL Philippe, Rolex, Omega and TAG Heuer.

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REVIEW / SIHH 2017

INNOVATIVE MATERIALS Panerai wants to be more commercial in 2017, and released classic styles that devotees will love in a range of alternative materials. Take, for example, the Panerai LabID - Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days. Every component of the new watch demonstrates the ability of carbon to create materials with exceptional properties: the case, made of a DPNQPTJUFNBUFSJBMCBTFEPODBSCPOlCSF UIFEJBM DPWFSFEXJUIDBSCPOOBOPUVCFT and the movement that, thanks to the mechanical properties of carbon composites, works perfectly without any lubrication, according to the company. Carbon, chrome, bronze and patented composites are all big news for 2017.

2017 WATCH TRENDS ARRIVING IN GENEVA FOR SIHH FEELS LIKE THE FIRST DAY BACK AT SCHOOL FOR THE WATCH INDUSTRY. THE FIRST SHOW OF THE YEAR GIVES A STEER FOR THE WATCH TRENDS THAT RETAILERS WILL BE DESCRIBING TO THEIR CUSTOMERS FOR THE REMAINDER OF 2017. AFTER A WEEK IN THE HOME OF THE WORLD WATCH INDUSTRY, ROB CORDER SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON WHAT THE MARKET HAS LEARNED WITH A ROUNDUP OF THE TOP EIGHT TRENDS.

STEEL IS GOLDEN SCARCITY SELLS Richard Mille is the undisputed master of exploiting what economists call scarcity value. This is the common sense idea that if you create strong demand for something that is hard to get hold of, people will pay more to get their hands on it. The French have been doing this since Napoleonic times when they created the appellation d’origine controlee system for winemaking that says wine grapes grown on one patch of dirt are three times better than grapes grown in identical dirt on the other side of a farm track. You are legally prevented from adding to the size of the best vineyards, so wines from that dirt become ultra scarce and rocket in price. Genius. Richard Mille will make only 75 of its RM 50-03 McLaren F1, which it describes as the world’s lightest split-seconds tourbillon chronograph. Produced in collaboration with the famed Formula 1 constructor, the new Richard Mille calibre is a technical masterpiece offering off-thechart mechanical performance, the company says.

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WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

The question for retailers this year is, will customers want to display their wealth and taste by sporting the best brands, irrespective of what material the watches are made from, or will they insist on top end timepieces made of precious metals. Naturally, tier 1 brands like Audemars Piguet have both bases covered in their most iconic Royal Oak line. The steel versions of the watch are offered with a choice of Grande Tapisserie dials in black, silver or blue BOEBSFlUUFEXJUITUBJOMFTT steel bracelets to give an understated impression of class for the men who wear them. It is history and horology that counts with the steel editions that may lower average transaction values for the brands, but hopefully compensate with higher volumes.


SIHH 2017 / REVIEW

EXPERIENCE COUNTS When persuading customers, even the TVQFSSJDI UPQBSUXJUITJYlHVSFTVNT UIF transaction needs to offer more than just a timepiece, the buyer needs to think their life will be materially better. British retailers are brilliant at making the buying process as enjoyable an experience as possible. Brands like to treat their very best customers with added extras like factory visits or invitations to sponsored events. Roger Dubuis is taking the approach one stage further by offering customers of its 2017 Excalibur Spider guaranteed golden tickets to back stage areas of the Formula 1 pit lane if they buy one of their co-branded watches created in conjunction with Pirelli tyres â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the exclusive tyre supplier to all Formula 1 racing teams. This unprecedented concept delivers meaningful collectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s items that will be teamed with equally authentic moneycanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t buy experiences. Expect many other top end brands to leverage their commercial partnerships to offer similarly rare experiences for their customers.

IN THE PINK The Da Vinci Automatic 36 is one of two new models with which IWC Schaffhausen is aiming at an exclusively female target group this year. The three-hand timepiece is available in stainless steel to create an affordable entry point into the brand, but it is the rose gold edition with diamonds offered with several different coloured alligator leather straps by Santoni that will catch the eye in the window. There was talk of yellow gold making a comeback, and there were examples to be found around SIHH, mainly for men, but women still want the softer sheen of rose gold on their wrists, it seems.

STILL FEELING BLUE Girard Perregaux focused on a full re-launch of its Laureato family, following a successful limited edition release in its 225th anniversary year in 2016. The extensive and highly commercial range is offered in a variety of metals, colours and sizes, but it is the classic blue dial on steel that creates an accessible gateway into the brand. I could list another dozen brands that put blue dials at the centre of their collections. After all, 40% of men say that blue is the favourite colour and SIHH this year was all about appealing to as big a market as possible.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

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REVIEW / SIHH 2017

Find out how you can increase your SURÄ&#x;Won (9(5<ZDWFKVWUDS that you sell. Visit us at the Jewellery & Watch Show Birmingham from the WK 5 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9WK of February 2017 or call 01992 470 369 for more information.

LOWER THE BARRIER TO ENTRY I wish I had a Swiss franc for every brand that told WatchPro they want to attract a new, younger audience by adding watches to their collections with markedly lower price points. These things are relative (Christophe Claret sliding under the CHF 100,000 mark is a stretch), but Baume & Mercier watches can now be bought with a decent county town estate agentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s commission cheque, Girard Perregaux chiseled away TVQFSmVPVTFYUSBWBHBODFTGSPNUIF entry level models of its Laureato range and Parmigiani has set its lowest ever price of under ÂŁ8000 for base models. Its 2017 Tonda 1950, already the brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best seller, will be available in stainless steel for ÂŁ7,950.

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WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

The #SIHH has been used 36,401 times, while #SIHH2017 has been used an additional 17,925 times. That is well over 50,000 pictures and videos from a trade show at which there were 40 exhibitors. The most viewed Instagram posts, almost all of which are pictures of celebrities wearing watches from the show, were seen tens of thousands of times. But the pyramid of Instagrammers is preposterously large, and those at the bottom get barely any views. This fact makes it all the more EJGlDVMUUPVOEFSTUBOEXIZTPNBOZQFPQMFXFSFBMMPXFE into the supposedly exclusive exhibition, merely to point their iPhone at the latest watches and ping the pictures out to family and friends. Right now, the most recent 10 images tagged with #SIHH2017 on Instagram have a total of 38 likes CFUXFFOUIFN BOBWFSBHFPGFBDI0GXIBUCFOFlUUIBUJT to the watch industry is a mystery to me.


WOLF WATCH WINDERS / ACCESSORIES

S

ince running the business full-time, Simon Wolf has gone about initially transforming the business to be relevant and accessible for the modern consumer/retailer, before growing it to the point where it is almost unrecognisable from the company he inherited. From Germany to Sweden to Wales to England, the business has moved around a lot since its

inception in 1834, but Wolf himself has now settled in Inglewood, California, where the upgrade in climate and lifestyle seems like an apt metaphor for the upward curve of his businessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fortunes. The stats to back this up tell their own story, whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s here in the UK or globally. Just four years ago the brand started mailing UK retailers to advertise its product range; today it has 148 active accounts with 175 points of sale and another 60 in

Europe. In the UK alone now it is a £1m business, up 40% in 2016, despite turning over just £50,000 lWFZFBSTBHP As far as international expansion is DPODFSOFE lWFZFBSTBHP8PMGXBT USBEJOHJODPVOUSJFT BlHVSFUIBU in 2016 had risen to 50. Globally the company was on track to be a $20m business in 2016. Wolf seems particularly proud to have achieved all this phenomenal growth without being able to

1 Simon Wolf, owner of Wolf, enjoys the California lifestyle.

THE STORY OF WOLF SPANS TWO CONTINENTS, FOUR COUNTRIES, FIVE GENERATIONS AND 183 YEARS, AND LAST YEAR THE JEWELLERY BOX AND WATCH WINDER COMPANY BECAME A $20MILLION BUSINESS. IF YOU THINK THAT SIMON WOLF, EPONYMOUS OWNER OF WATCH WINDER SPECIALIST WOLF, HAS HAD AN EASY RIDE SINCE TAKING THE REINS OF HIS FAMILYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S COMPANY, THEN THINK AGAIN AS WATCHPRO DISCOVERED WHEN WE VISITED THE COMPANYâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S HEADQUARTERS IN INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA.

HUNGRY LIKE

THE WOLF

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

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ACCESSORIES / WOLF WATCH WINDERS

2 Wolf watch winders are being sold as an exotic accessory for watch lovers.

compete with the truly big spenders in the watch industry. “We are a small brand and we don’t have a massive advertising budget, so getting our message out to Joe Public is a challenge because it’s expensive,” Wolf muses. “We believe we have the best product; the only thing holding us back is the awareness of this thing that you actually need if you own an automatic watch. “It’s a little frustrating because you see brands spending inordinate amounts of money. It’s not that it’s unfair because business is business, but if you had a more level playing lFMEBOEZPVIBEUPSFMZPOIPX good your people, customer service and product are then we would be in the top 10%.” Without the biggest marketing budget in the world, how does

2

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WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

Wolf explain the tremendous achievements of his company over UIFMBTUGFXZFBST TQFDJlDBMMZJO the UK? The answer it seems is a combination of different contributing factors. First, he has used the UK’s main buying groups shrewdly and effectively. “The Houlden Group has higher end brands and retailers and it’s been a real success for us. The CMJ is a much broader group so we probably only have product for about 20% of them [the retailers] at the very most,” divulges Wolf. “These buying groups have been very helpful because they allow you to see a lot of retailers very quickly. Rather than getting into your car and driving all over England you’re seeing them at the buyers’ meetings and it’s been working very quickly.” Along similar lines, Wolf is also a lSNCFMJFWFSJOUSBEFTIPXT BOEDBO be seen at pretty much every major exhibition going. “IJL at Olympia is very successful - at the last show we did twice the business we did a year ago. We spent $120k on Basel last year [2016] but we secured $250k of business.” Wolf clearly has a nose for money and will happily put his own DBTIXIFSFIJTNPVUIJTJGIFlOETB formula that works. “We go from the NEC [Spring Fair] in February, to the CMJ meeting in March, then the Houlden show, IJL, and SalonQP. We’re really putting a lot of money, time and effort into doing trade shows to connect with the wholesalers and the retailers and then SalonQP to connect with consumers.” As well as the sun, sea and sand of California, America also has a lure for Wolf because of the similarities between the US and UK markets. “The UK is the closest market to America, partly because of the language, and we’re fortunate because we have people coming to us wanting to distribute or be sales agents for us. Six months ago we had the guys from the Benelux countries come to us, three reps who handle Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg, and they just did

“Mr Retailer, rather than giving a discount on a watch, why don’t you give the customer a watch winder?” Simon Wolf

a trade show that they paid for that was very successful.” Does this make it tempting to spread the business far and wide and into as many different territories as possible while things are on the up? Wolf doesn’t think so. “The focus and concentration is very organic, meaning it comes to us. We’ve got so much on our plates with the growth of the company, but if France [for example] becomes more of a focus and they need to do a trade show because their growth is warranting it, we’ll invest. Because we’re very busy it’s a nice organic way of growing the business.” This approach to growth and expansion should in no way be misinterpreted as a lack of ambition. Be under no illusion, the Wolf brand has its sights set on the global watch winder market, it’s just that they won’t spend time or resources seeking out the next big opportunity. This more passive approach has nonetheless seen the brand make major inroads into Europe and Asia already, two continents that Wolf himself sees a lot of potential in. “Europe, very important; Asia also very, very important. Through a combination of sales agents and distributors in Europe we’re slowly tying each of the countries up. So Portugal and Spain is with a distributor, France is with agents, there’s a distributor in Switzerland and sales reps in Germany and then Poland and Eastern European countries are with distributors. So Europe is very important for us.” One of the issues facing Wolf, and indeed all watch winding companies,


WOLF WATCH WINDERS / ACCESSORIES

WINDING THE CLOCK BACK 3

• • •

Back in 1834 Wolf’s great, great, grandfather - family name Philipp, not Wolf - set up the family silversmith business in Hanau, Germany. Philipp’s son moved to Sweden and founded a factory near Malmo, while his own son in turn invented the pop-up Ballerina jewellery box. Wolf’s father found himself at first in Ireland – a factory failed to get off the ground – before setting up in Llanelli in South Wales in 1967 and running in parallel with four UK sales reps alongside the Swedish business. Under the title Design Philipp, Wolf’s father found great success as a B2B packaging supplier to the likes of H Samuel, Argos and Green Shield Stamps. He had offices at 35 Old Bond Street and, extraordinarily, commuted to the factory in South Wales by means of a 1953 Beechcraft aeroplane. This generally prosperous business model was killed by the boom in cheap manufacturing in China, which prompted a shift from B2B to creating consumer-facing products. Despite initially having no interest in the business and instead working as a flight attendant for Britannia, the magnetic attraction of the family business proved too strong for Wolf, who eventually returned to the fold. Taking the brave decision as a 22 year-old to relocate to Chicago in 1988, citing the North American market as having more potential for the strong, premium brand that he wanted to develop, he first began working with independent retail jewellers. Before long there were Design Philipp’s jewellery boxes in hundreds of US stores. From this initial success the good times started to roll with the company rebranded as Wolf in the early 2000s, now with 6,500 retailers on its books. The brand is now stronger than ever.

is not just how to sell and market their individual products, but often how to actually convince retailers (let alone the end consumer) of the need for watch winders at all. It is an issue that Wolf feels passionately about. “We’re not in competition with any of the other brands that they [a watch retailer] have in the store, so we support the sale of the watch. We’re not only a nice safe place

to keep a quartz watch but an automatic watch will go into the winder and be kept wound. It’s part of the customer service that a retailer really should be doing. h5IFlSTUUIJOHUIBUUIFZEP when you buy a nice car is take you over to the service centre to meet the manager to develop that relationship. That level of service in that very competitive market is

XIFSF*TFFVTGVMlMMJOHBOFFEXJUI the retailers; we’re the support to the watch that they just sold that’s a very complicated piece of machinery and needs to be looked after. ‘Here’s a Wolf winder to help you ensure that your watch is kept in great working order and, by the way, Mr Retailer, rather than giving a discount, you give [the customer] a watch winder because you’re basically saving 50% of whatever the value is at retail because that’s the wholesale cost.’” As well as constantly working on changing attitudes among watch retailers, the Wolf brand is itself looking at its own business evolving over time. For instance, Wolf thinks that the percentage of its sales from watch winders will be going up in the next couple of years. “We’re 60% jewellery cases and other products at the moment but I think in another couple of years that will change because, even though the jewellery case business isn’t that mature, the watch winder business is even less mature. The amount of automatic and quartz watches being made that need a watch box or a watch winder is so huge that I see it, maybe in two years, almost being the opposite numbers [percentagewise].” The watch industry always seems to be approaching saturation point. Most adults wear a watch and therefore the challenge for watch brands is to try and steal a bit of market share from your rival watch manufacturer. For a watch winder manufacturer like Wolf, although of course it has its own competitors, the exciting thing is the potential of the market that hasn’t been tapped into yet. To understate it, most adults that own a watch don’t own a watch winder. It is the knowledge of this massive prospective growth in the watch winder market that keeps Simon Wolf excited and motivated. His company is bigger now than it’s ever been before and it’s wholly possible that it hasn’t even scratched the surface yet.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

3 Wolf’s most recent headquarters move was to the sunshine of Inglewood, California, where WatchPro met Simon Wolf.

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PREVIEW / JEWELLERY AND WATCH BIRMINGHAM 2017

LBS WATCH STRAPS The watch industry is going gaga over interchangeable watch straps that let owners change the look and feel of their watches without complex tools. Watch strap specialist LBS is at Jewellery & Watch demonstrating a new range of watch straps in a vibrant range of colours, as well premium leather straps with stylish, contrasting stitching in citrus orange, post-box red, classic white, electric blue, and zingy yellow. Alongside the new designs is a range that attaches to the watch using quick-release spring bars, BMMPXJOHVTFSTUPDIBOHFUIFTUSBQUPTVJUUIFJSPVUlUPGDIPJDF This offers ultimate versatility and boosts sales per customer. Sam Rose, director at LBS said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The new colours will be a welcome addition to our ever-increasing range and the new quick-release spring bars will allow end users to switch watch straps easily, unlike traditional styles, increasing sales while keeping timepieces looking fresh and interesting. They are sure to be a fantastic investment for any watch retailer, and we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to introduce them to the industry at the Jewellery and Watch show!â&#x20AC;?

P R E V I EW

JEWELLERY AND WATCH, 5-9 FEBRUARY, BIRMINGHAM NEC SPRING FAIR IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST RETAIL TRADE SHOWS IN THE UK, WITH THOUSANDS OF BUYERS SOURCING EVERYTHING FROM TOYS TO HOMEWARE. JEWELLERY & WATCH OCCUPIES AN ADJACENT HALL; MAKING IT AN IDEAL EXHIBITION FOR RETAILERS FROM ACROSS THE SPECTRUM WHO MIGHT WANT TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW WATCHES AND ACCESSORIES. HERE WE LOOK AT SOME OF THE KEY EXHIBITORS. POINTTEC

WATCHTRADER UK Watchtraderuk is a leading supplier of luxury pre-owned watches. The business, which sells online as well as from its London trade counter in Hatton Garden, buys and sells second hand watches from leading brands including Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Omega, Hublot and more. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The long standing relationship that has been created between ourselves and a network of established suppliers enables us to supply high end watches at unbeatable prices to the trade,â&#x20AC;? the company says.

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German watchmaker Pointtec is presenting both Junkers and Zeppelin watch collections at Jewellery & Watch. Junkers Bauhaus is a best selling model for the German brand and will take centre stage at its Jewellery & Watch presentation. The hand wound ETA 7001 movement is used to power various editions of the watch including limited editions such as the Und Das Bauhaus with a small second sub dial. Junkers IBTTJHOJlDBOUMZHSPXOJUT6,CVTJOFTT  with a legion of retailers including Watch Shop and Watch Hut. Zeppelin has found a market with dozens of British independent jewellers who appreciate watches like the Chronograph with GMT Second Time Zone, which sells for around ÂŁ300. Pointtec uses quartz movements from ETA and Ronda; and mechanical movements from Sellita, Miyota, Seiko and ETA.


JEWELLERY AND WATCH BIRMINGHAM 2017 / PREVIEW

BERING Bering is presenting its new Max René watches, which come with the exchangeable straps. The name Max René is borrowed from an award-winning Danish designer, who has been responsible for creating timepieces that have won Watch of the Year titles on two occassions. The idea of the collection is for people to own one watch that can have several looks. The strap can be replaced quickly and easily using sliding technology â&#x20AC;&#x201C; giving the watch an instant new look. The watch strap is super easy to replace, the company says, just push out the straps and then push in the new ones.

CLAUDE BERNARD

ROSS RINO

Claude Bernard is introducing its 2017 collection, which includes this bluefaced automatic, which is retailing GPSKVTUbJOUIF6,5IFXBUDI is part of a new range of slimline automatic watches that XJMMCFTFFOGPSUIFlSTUUJNF at Jewellery & Watch. The lightweight timepiece comes in a wearable 40mm stainless steel case. Different colour faces offered include black, silver, gold or champagne. All Claude Bernard watches have scratch-proof and shatterproof sapphire crystal faces. The automatic mechanisms are ETA or Dubois-Depraz and are all assembled at the factory in the Jura Valley. The Brand was established in 1973 and is one of Switzerlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s few remaining family owned watch making businesses.

Ross Rino, which has been trading since  BJNTUPFYQBOEJOUIF6,XJUIJUT range of watches inspired by European design and Swiss watch elements. The founder was a craftsman who was brought up in a watchmaking family surrounded by precision BOElOFXBUDIFT)JTDPNQBOZ aims to bring the quality of Swiss watches to a more value-conscious customer. In just over a decade, this idea developed into a prominent brand. With over 28 years manufacturing experience, products are designed, produced and distributed completely independently. The brand has models for men and women, including dress, sport, chrono and even world timer models. Its best selling "RVJMBSFUBJMTGPSBSPVOEbJOUIF6,

KRONABY XBTBZFBSPGQSFQVCMJDJUZGPS4XFEJTITNBSUXBUDITUBSUVQ,SPOBCZJTMJGUPGGUJNF XJUI UIFlSTUDPMMFDUJPOBQQFBSJOHBU+FXFMMFSZ8BUDI5IFTNBSUIZCSJEXBUDIDPMMFDUJPOJTCBTFEPO UIF,SPOBCZ$POOFDUFE.PWFNFOU XIJDIIBTCFFOEFWFMPQFEJOIPVTFBOEQSPWJEFTBQQMJDBUJPOT JODMVEJOHlMUFSFEOPUJlDBUJPOT BVUPUJNF[POF TJMFOUBMBSN HFUNPWJOH NVTJDDPOUSPM DBNFSB remote and timer in sync with both Android and iOS smartphones. The watches will be available for pre-order at the show, but delivery to retailers is likely to begin in April. Prices are expected to be in UIFSBOHFPGb5IF,SPOBCZDPMMFDUJPODPOTJTUTPGGPVSNPEFMTUIFTQPSUZ"QFY UIFDMBTTJD Sekel (pictured), the minimalist Nord and the contemporary Carat. Case sizes range from 38mm for the Nord and Carat up to 43mm for the Apex and Sekel.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

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PREVIEW / JEWELLERY AND WATCH BIRMINGHAM 2017

Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;SIGNER Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Signer is an Indian watch manufacturer that has been making timepieces for quarter of a century for brands around the world. It has recently launched its own watches, under the Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Signer name, but JUTGPDVTJOUIF6,NBSLFUSFNBJOTQSPEVDJOH timepieces for businesses that want to add their own creative designs and labels to their collections. Visitors to Jewellery & Watch will be able to see the Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Signer collections (pictured), which demonstrate the quality of the workmanship and the technical choices that the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s factory can deliver. 'PSFYBNQMF UIFDPNQBOZDMBJNTJUXBTUIFlSTU to make ultra-thin, two tone watches with sapphire glass in India.

LIMIT Time Products fashion watch brand, Limit, is introducing a new collection of contemporary ladiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; watches at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jewellery & Watch show (picture shows a 2016 model). The XBUDIFT XIJDIXJMMCFTFFOGPSUIFlSTUUJNFJO'FCSVBSZ  come with a range of strap colours to complement spring colour fashions for women. The company is celebrating JUTUIBOOJWFSTBSZBUUIFTIPX IBWJOHlSTUTUBSUFE manufacturing watches back in 1912. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Limit is a British DPNQBOZTVQQMZJOHXBUDIFTUPUIF6,TJODF0VS watches are designed to offer quality and value, which has ensured its success for over 100 years. Today all Limit watches use a Japanese high precision quartz movement to achieve total accuracy and carry a two year guarantee,â&#x20AC;? the company says. Along with the new watches for ladies, Limit is also launching the Limit Torch, a sports model for men.

ZITTO Zitto says it has sold over one million watches worldwide over the past three years. The brand targets a young sporty market â&#x20AC;&#x201C; people who want something a little different on their wrists, and are not afraid to wear the soft-touch silicon watches that come in a range of 26 vivid colours. Zitto watches, which connect to a smartphone app, have LED screens that show the time and date, depending on how many times you tap the screen. They are waterproof to 100 meters, making them a great holiday watch. The brand has been a sensation in Ireland, where it has dozens of retailers. Mainland Britain is about to be blitzed, with the aim of dramatically increasing the number of retailers for the brand. The watches sell for under ÂŁ30 each.

STORM LONDON Storm is never short of design ideas and will once again be blowing into Birmingham with a vast array of new watch styles across every genre. Jewel colours remain a key part of the collections, with a new womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s line using bold coloured faces in rose gold, yellow gold, and silver metal coloured cases. The brandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signature bold laser blue and purple dials run through the line up including the new smooth-edged curve of Zuzori, an update to the successful Zila. Storm is cornering the market for women who want an affordable watch UPNBUDIUIFPVUlUTUIFZCVZh'SPNUIFNJOJNBMJTUJDEFTJHOPGUIF.PSF[J UPUIFBUUSBDUJWF heart charm of the Charmella, Storm watches are must have accessories that add sparkle BOEFOIBODFBOZPVUlU vUIFDPNQBOZTBZT Men have not been forgotten, and this season sees the launch of the Special Edition Radiation-X, which plays with the radiation hazard symbol. Cuff watches are also back JODMVEJOHUIFOFXMZJOUSPEVDFE#FO[PXBUDI XIJDIGVODUJPOTBTUXPXBUDIFTJOPOFXJUI the cuff, it is a chunky masculine statement, but removing the cuff makes it sleeker for a more formal occasion.

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JEWELLERY AND WATCH BIRMINGHAM 2017 / PREVIEW

LUND LONDON Lund London launched a year ago with its By Savvy collection of stackable jewellery and stationery boxes and the Lund London collection of clocks. Just before Christmas the company added a collection of watches, grouped into four series. Series 1 are colourful rubberstrapped pieces. Series 2 are braided watches using Ronda movements that come with two different sized GBDFTSPTFHPMEPSDISPNFDPMPVSDBTFTBOElWF different coloured straps. Series 3 (Ronda movement) and Series 4 (Japanese movement) are more classic styles with interchangeable straps in leather, nato style or a metal bracelet. The brand is already stocked JOTFWFSBMDPVOUSJFTBOEBIBOEGVMPG6,SFUBJMFSTnB network that it intends to expand at the Jewellery & Watch show.

UNIQUE & CO. London-based distributor Unique & Co. will be unveiling the latest models from Festina and Lotus at Jewellery & Watch. Festina is most associated with its menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sports watches, but the brand also has ladiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; watches and a range of elegant classics in its line up. The Sport Collection has two new models, a multifunction piece with a vintage aesthetic including a leather strap that retails for ÂŁ129, and a sporty chronograph, also with a leather strap, that sells for ÂŁ149. In the menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Classic Collection, Festina is launching a classic chrono watch with moon phase function and solid steel bracelet for ÂŁ159 and a creatively designed multifunction model on leather strap for ÂŁ139. The new models top out with an elegant automatic with glass case back and open dial to see the movement priced at ÂŁ235. For ladies, Festina has a rose gold plated watch with CZ set on the bezel, a mother of pearl dial and a leather strap selling for ÂŁ139. The more youthful Lotus brand is also launching pieces grouped into sports, classic and revival collections, priced from ÂŁ95-139.

WOLF The centrepiece of Wolfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s collection will be its Exotic and Navigator watch winders. Exotic (pictured) has been a best seller for Wolf thanks to its balance of style and functionality with the exotic look and feel of python leather combining with a cushion-stop glass opening crafted from aircraft grade aluminium. The winders range in price from ÂŁ419 for a single wider up to ÂŁ1090 for a triple. The more playful Navigator winders come in three colour combinations that celebrate UIFUISFFCFTUXBUDINBSLFUTJOUIFXPSME6, 64"BOE 4XJU[FSMBOE5IF6,FEJUJPOTDPNFTJOBXIJUF SFEBOECMVF lOJTIXJUIBXIJUFHSPTHSBJOGBDFQMBUFUIBUFNVMBUFTUIF 6OJPO+BDLmBHXJUIHPMElOJTIJOH64"BOE4XJTTFEJUJPOT VTFUIFJSOBUJPOBMmBHTJOUIFEFTJHO4JOHMF/BWJHBUPS winders retail for ÂŁ165.

watchpro.com / FEBRUARY 2017 / WATCHPRO

45


SHOW PREVIEW / INHORGENTA

FOSSIL GROUP Fossil Group puts on one of its biggest presentations in Europe at Inhorgenta, and this year there will be a huge push for connected timepieces across seven brands on its stand in )BMM"TBX'PTTJM2BOE.JDIBFM,PST"DDFTTTNBSUXBUDIFTmZPVUPG#SJUJTITUPSFT  FODPVSBHJOH'PTTJMUPFYQBOEJUTDPOOFDUFESBOHFUPJODMVEF4LBHFO .JTlU &NQPSJP Armani, Armani Exchange and Diesel ON. Some of Fossil Groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2017 collections will be full smartwatches with everything presented on OLED screens. Others will be hybrids, where normal watch functions are powered by long-lasting quartz movements, but the watches will communicate information like step counts and heart rates to smartwatch apps. The muscular Diesel ON (pictured left) is a good example of the hybrid approach, running for six months without charge thanks to its cell battery, it tracks movement at the same time as allowing people to control music on their phones. The Fossil Q line of fashionable wearables is being expanded into three collections: Q Modern Pursuit, Q Grant, and Q Accomplice, three types of wearables covering Android Wear, hybrid smartwatches, and activity trackers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In this ever-evolving digital space, we are constantly learning more about what customers want from us as a brand and from technology, and we see limitless opportunity to continue to expand our category offerings and work to improve to meet their growing and DIBOHJOHOFFET vTBZT+JMM&MMJPUU DIJFGDSFBUJWFPGlDFS 'PTTJM

P R E V I EW INHORGENTA MUNICH FEBRUARY 18 -21

Hot on the heels of Jewellery & Watch in Birmingham, attention turns to Munich for the annual Inhorgenta fair at Messe MĂźnchen where international watch and jewellery manufacturers will launch their latest creations.

46

VICTORINOX

ZIIIRO

Victorinox is launching its new INOX timepiece made from the same carbon resin composite that has protected space shuttles from reentering the earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s atmosphere when temperatures rocket to 1260°C. Durable materials and construction join forces to create a watch with extremely high structural rigidity, scratch resistant surfaces and hypoallergenic properties. The watchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s case has even more protection in the form of a transluscent grey removable bumper. It can be bought with a rubber strap, or one made from parachute chord, capable of supporting a 250kg load. The 43mm case is water resistant to 200m and houses a Ronda 715 Swissmade quartz movement.

Ziiiro watches was founded in 2010 after a German designerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s illustrations for a new type of space age watch were spotted on the internet by a Hong Kong manufacturer. The company has been making massive strides ever since, and has distribution across Europe, including a handful of retailers in the UK. The watches are designed to make time for fun. Futuristic, minimalist, bold, every design embodies the Ziiiro vision of creating space-age timekeepers that remind their fans â&#x20AC;&#x153;to zig while the world zags, and to take all the time we need to liveand enjoy a MJGFUIBUTBXFTPNFv#FZPOEUIF lively positioning statements is a brand with a dozen collections with celestial names like Lunar, Orbit, Saturn and Titan â&#x20AC;&#x201C; all customisable in different colours and straps. They typically retail for around ÂŁ150.

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com


INHORGENTA / SHOW PREVIEW

GOOGLE

CASIO Casio is adding two ultra-tough collections to its rugged watch families: The Mudmaster (GWG-1000) and the G-Steel. Mudmaster, part of the Land series, has a triple sensor that gives accurate altimeter, barometer, digital compass and thermometer readings in a case constructed to guard against mud, dust and vibrations. G-Steel is the latest metal addition to the G-Shock line-up. Equipped with a layered guard structure that incorporates a double layered bezel reinforced with layers of resin and metal for increased durability, this new structure is fused with classic G-Shock technology such as tough solar and multi band 6 radio controlled accuracy in select models. The range features analogue and digital displays and both GVMMNFUBMBOESFTJOIZCSJEWBSJBUJPOTJOBWBSJFUZPGNFUBMMJDlOJTIFT

Visitors to Inhorgenta will have access to a comprehensive and topical seminar programme including a presentation by Jeremy Abbet, creative evangelist at Google, who will give a lecture on the store of the future on February 20 at 17:30. The session is among four days packed with lectures, panel discussions and brainstorming meetings. The Google presentation will be particularly popular among events aimed at helping retailers and brands survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Digital distribution channels are sustainably changing the consumer behavior and thus also the jewellery and watchmaking industry. It is especially retailers whom we would like to equip with suitable approaches and new strategies for coping with these challenges. For we do not only understand ourselves as sparring partners but also as trendsetters,â&#x20AC;? says Klaus Dittrich, chairman and CEO of Messe MĂźnchen.

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47


FRESH FACES / BOOM WATCHES

BOOM WATCHES PREPARES FOR EXPLOSIVE GROWTH IN THE UK

BOOM WATCHES IS A NEW SCANDINAVIAN WATCH BRAND WITH A DIFFERENCE. WATCHPRO SPENT SOME TIME WITH THE BRAND’S CEO, NIKLAS DALHGREN, TO FIND OUT WHY UK WATCH RETAILERS SHOULD SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE.

W

atchPro: How long has Boom Watches been around? Niklas Dalhgren: The Boom concept has been carefully developed by our engineering team and this range was launched in October 2016 WP: In which markets is the brand strongest? ND: At this moment, we have signed up partners for a handful of markets with three to four more markets to come. Our intention is to launch the brand in eight markets this spring, with focus on Northern Europe and Asia. The next local launch phase will be coming in the autumn. We already see a big traction from US, Germany & UK and our home markets in Scandinavia and feel very confident about successful launches in Asia. WP: What can British retailers expect to see from Boom Watches in 2017? ND: You will see a lot of us. The easiest way to follow our expansion is to follow us on Instagram and Facebook, where we post news frequently. We recently hired a very competent Social Commerce Team that will give us a strong push on social media. Initially, we will focus on northern Europe, China and Japan and have dedicated resources for each region. Our intention is to partner up with a distributor in the UK during this fall. Until then, we are happy to have direct dialogue with retailers that would like to sell the range. From a retailer’s and consumer’s perspective we dare to say that what we offer is unmatched in the industry WP: What is your impression of the UK watch consumer compared to in other countries throughout the world? ND: The UK market is very competitive compared to other countries. With this said,

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there is always room for new innovative brands with a strong concept, and through competition makes us thrive. We have recently seen upcoming brands gaining huge success, despite the fact they are working in a very non-traditional way. The UK market is strategically very important from a global perspective, hence we are keen to activate the distribution and use the UK as one of our reference markets as soon as possible. WP: What makes Boom Watches’ offering unique and desirable? Boom Watches is an exciting new Swedish

WATCHPRO / FEBRUARY 2017 / watchpro.com

watch brand offering sophisticated timepieces with an option to personalise the timepiece in an innovative and distinct matter. Watches are sold either complete or part-by-part, where consumers can create their unique personalised model. The concept is well thought-out. Consumers can use the in-store point of sale iPad to create the watch they want, to be collected from the cashier within a matter of minutes. Since the launch last fall we have gained vast popularity on social media and we have only just started, so you will see more of us for sure.


EVENTS /PEOPLE WATCHING

Guest List - IWC Da Vinci Gala

The biggest star-studded party in Geneva for SIHH was hosted by IWC as it launched its Da Vinci watch collection. Celebrities from across sport, music, film and fashion joined CEO George Kern on the red carpet.

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CHRONOFIGHTER VINTAGE Automatic day-date chronograph Fast-action start/stop trigger 44 mm steel case, grained dial Hand-sewn calf leather strap WWW.GRAHAM1695.COM

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WatchPro - Feb 2017