Richemont Misses Profit Estimates as Watch Sales Grow

Business News

Shares of luxury goods group Richemont closed higher on Friday as it announced strong sales growth amid weaker profitability in its 2019 fiscal year, which ended March 31.

Last year, Richemont purchased online pre-owned watch retailer Watchfinder, as well as online luxury destination Yoox Net-a-Porter. It also recently announced a joint venture with ecommerce giant Alibaba, though it continued to provide few details on that arrangement on its earnings call. With the acquisition of the online retailers, 16% of Richemont’s sales are now online.

Total watches sales in 2019 reached €5 billion.

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Tom Ford Releases Its First Automatic Watch

Drops

As I covered just last week, Tom Ford has some rules for wearing watches in 2019. We knew from his recent runway show and release that his eponymous brand was gearing up to release its second wristwatch, this time a round model. It comes just a year after releasing the Tank style, quartz powered Tom Ford 001 collection (covered in-depth in the previous link).

Well, the Tom Ford 002 collection has been officially released, and it’s about what we expected. There’s some stuff to like and a lot not to like, so let’s dig in real quick. As promised, the 002 collection has a circular case, measuring 40mm in diameter. This seems a bit big for a bezel-less dress watch, but whatever. I also haven’t seen any thickness measurements yet, but I doubt it sits thin: the straps do this weird nato-like thing where they loop through the lugs. This is surely because Tom Ford is intent on selling you multiple straps, and making straps easy to change like this will encourage such additional purchases.

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Favre-Leuba: A Brief History

Guides

Switzerland’s little known, second-oldest watch brand and its fascinating history that intersects with Bovet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and others.

The history of the watch industry is littered with defunct brands, many of which met their demise during the quartz crisis of the 1970s. Others were gobbled up by large conglomerates during this time. And finally, some companies transformed into just a skeleton of the fine watch manufacturers they had been for years, sometimes centuries prior. That’s what has happened to Favre-Leuba. It’s a Swiss watch manufacturer still in existence to this day, headquartered in Zug, Swizterland (separately referred to as the “Crypto Valley” by some Ethereum nerds, more on that in a minute).

Favre-Leuba traces its roots back to 1737, making it the second-oldest watch brand in Switzerland, after Blancpain (1735). It was founded by Abraham Favre in Le Locle, Switzerland, who was eventually appointed the “master watchmaker” of Le Locle, a position that every city should have.

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Shinola and What It Means to Be "Made in America"

Analysis

I’ve been heavy on the “Made in America” beat lately, talking about some of the best American watches, covering Timex’s new American Documents collection, and asking presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg why he wears a Skagen.

But I wanted to take a step back and ask what it means to be “Made in the USA,” at least according to the U.S government, or more appropriately, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the agency tasked with promoting consumer protection. Thanks to Shinola, we have a pretty clear idea of the threshold a watch must cross for a company to be able to label it “Made in the USA” or something similar.

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Timex Goes 'Made in America' with Its American Documents Series

Drops

Of course, just a few days after I write about my favorite “made in America” watches, everyone’s favorite American-based brand releases its own Made in American collection. But that’s what Timex has done with its new American Documents collection.

Timex was founded as the Waterbury Clock Company in 1854 in Waterbury, CT, and has called that area of Connecticut home ever since. Today, even though Timex USA is a subsidiary of Dutch-based Timex Group, there is still a strong corporate presence in Middlebury, CT, the home of its US headquarters.

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Kering Sales Barely Beat Estimates as Gucci Growth Slows

Business News

Less than a week after rival luxury conglomerate LVMH posted a strong first quarter of 2019, sending the stock to record highs, Kering barely matched expectations. Kering shares fell 6 percent on Thursday after signs of slowing growth from the Q1 earnings. And while watches and jewelry aren’t a large part of Kering’s business, the group’s earnings may point towards the general trend of slowed growth in luxury goods.

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Swiss Watch Exports Finish a Strong First Quarter

Business News

Swiss watch exports had their strongest month of 2019 in March, growing at 4.4% with a value of 1.7 billion Swiss francs (CHF) for the month. Total exports for the first quarter of 2019 totaled CHF 5.1 billion, a 2.9% increase over the first quarter of 2018. The total value of exports was significantly boosted by a steep rise in precious metal and bimetal watch exports.

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Pete Buttigieg Wears a Skagen, But Does He Have To?

Just for Fun

On Sunday, Pete Buttigieg (“Boot-edge-edge” as his campaign is encouraging people to pronounce it) formally announced his candidacy in South Bend, Indiana, where he has served as mayor for eight years. The guy has come out of nowhere to become the young upstart that everyone’s talking about for the 2020 Democratic nomination. He’s a 37-year-old war veteran, former management consultant, and the first millennial to run for President. He’s seen a surge of support since he formed his Presidential exploratory committee towards the beginning of this year as well, placing as high as third in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire.

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The Best American Watches in 2019

Guides

I recently posted about why I want Merci’s LMM-01 field watch so bad, but there was a small detail about that watch that’s stuck with me: French President Emmanuel Macron wears one. Like President Obama, Macron seems to find joy (and easy political points) in wearing a watch from his home country. But as I thought about it, it’s an idea I’m drawn to as well. Sure, we’re all citizens of the world, but we’re also proud of where we’re from. “American made,” especially in the context of watches, can be a hard term to pin down; it’s part marketing ploy, part statement of origin. And it’s not without controversy.

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Drake Wearing a $750k Richard Mille RM 69

Just for Fun

Popular YouTube channel The Unknown Vlogs posted one of its biggest videos yet: a new edition of “How Much Is Your Outfit,” featuring Drake. The video catches Drake and his OVO crew before he’s about to go on stage at 02 in London. Drake clearly knew the video was coming and was fitted up for the camera. He starts with a custom-made Brioni jacket, and goes all Tom Ford under that, looking extremely clean and professional. But it’s the watch that made the ensemble a $1 million fit.

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Why Do I Want this French Field Watch So Bad?

I first came across Merci Instruments through an Instagram post by @mrgrandseiko. He was showing off this trio of beautifully simple field watches that I’d never seen before. Sure, they looked a little like the Timexes or Hamiltons I so often see, but there was something about these that made me stop scrolling for just a second (no small feat). The guy behind this account is always taking great photos, but even this one caught my eye. Turns out the group of watches I was looking at is made by a 10-year old French brand named Merci. It’s a retailer with one shop in the Marais neighborhood of Paris.

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Swiss Court Sides with Swatch Over 'Tick Different' Watch (Imagine That)

Business News

In a decision in Swiss court that can’t be surprising, Swatch prevailed over Apple in a long-running dispute over Swatch’s “Tick Different” watches. The watches are no doubt a direct reference to Apple’s Think Different ad campaigns from the 1990s and 2000s. The Swiss Federal Administrative Court said Apple’s slogan was not well enough known in Switzerland to warrant protection.

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The Best Luxury Watches for Young Professionals

Guides

Are you an investment banker, lawyer, consultant, or young professional looking to make the right impression with your bosses and clients? There’s no better way to do it than having the right watch on your wrist. In professional, hierarchical settings, it’s important for young professionals to have the “right” watch. This means your watch can make a statement, but you can’t be flexing on your boss. It can signal to other watch enthusiasts that you’re into watches, but you probably shouldn’t be wearing around your (or your boss’s) grail yet.

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