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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
As we’ve covered before, smartwatch sales are booming. Sales were up 51% in 2018 the U.S., and a global new report shows there are no signs of slowing down. According to Counterpoint, global smartwatch shipments grew a healthy rate of 48% year-on-year (YoY) in Q1 2019 driven by Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Huawei. The Apple Watch saw 49% YoY growth, driven by its latest Series 4 release, which doubled-down on health-related features like ECG, fall-detection, and other stuff.
According to Counterpoint, Apple has 35.8% market share worldwide as of Q1 2019, up slightly from 35.5% in 2018. Samsung was the closest competitor, with 11.1% of the market, up from 7.2% in 2018, thanks to 127% YoY growth. Turns out people like the latest Galaxy watch, with its extended battery life, traditional round face, and LTE connection capabilities. Fitbit sits at fourth with 5.5% of the global smartwatch market. Read More
The approaching of May means the approaching of the spring auction season in Geneva. Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s are all hosting equally exciting auctions between May 12-14. Today, I’m taking a look at the lots coming up at the Christie’s sale. Christie’s has a bunch of exciting watches on the high end: Daytonas and Pateks of course, but also this a watch owned by Andy Warhol (more on that below), as well as an online-only auction with a bunch of accessibly-priced vintage timepieces. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites from each auction. So let’s dig through all the “fine and rare” superlatives these auction houses love to shower upon their lots and see what’s actually worth a look. Read More
In early 2018, Tom Ford and his eponymous brand launched their first watch, the Tom Ford 001. Now, they’re ready to release their first automatic watch. It looks like they new release will be in a classic round case, with both automatic and quartz movement options.
Tom Ford’s first watch effort is a collection of rectangular, tank-style, quartz-powered watches that come in 27mm x 40mm or 30mm x 44mm sizes. The rectangular case comes in 18k gold or stainless steel with either a brushed, polished, or matte finish. Prices range from $9,900 for the large 18k gold version to $2,190 for the medium stainless steel version.
The timepieces are being manufactured by Bedrock Manufacturing, a company we’ve covered here before as the parent company of Shinola and Filson (while being owned by the same guy who started Fossil). Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
It’s not every day that the fashion and legal worlds truly collide, but that’s what happened yesterday when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Iancu v. Brunetti. The case involves California skate/steetwear brand “Fuct.” So as a lawyer, I had to write about it. Fuct, founded by Erik Brunetti in 1990, has been a fixture of skate and streetwear culture since its founding. Brunetti’s lawyer, John Sommer, who also happens to be general counsel at Stussy, promised that any references to “vulgar terms” would not be necessary during his oral argument, or if necessary, “the discussion will be purely clinical, such as when medical terms are discussed.” Read More
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. Read More
Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) shares hit record highs after announcing strong earnings on April 11. In the first quarter of 2019, LVMH’s revenue rose 16 percent to 12.5 billion euros ($14 billion). Revenues were up 11 percent on an organic basis, which takes into account mergers, acquisitions, and currency fluctuations. Both numbers surpassed analyst forecasts. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
This week, eBay is auctioning off (click to check it out) a group of luxury watches in its “Time to Treat Yourself” auction. There are 51 watches total, ranging from Oris to five-figure timepieces from Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet. Frankly, I see a lot of nice watches on eBay every day (and a lot more duds), and it’s unclear why some of the watches were included in this promoted auction. But, there are a few headliners in the auction worth pointing out. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
It was big news back in 2015 when Ian Rogers jumped from Apple to become the new chief digital officer at LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy, which owns watch brands including Bulgari, TAG Heuer, Hublot, and Zenith). Jing Daily (a publication focused on digital trends in China) has a brief interview with him, in which he discusses his move from Apple to LVMH, how to do luxury online the right way, and what “luxury” means. Read More