Due to the difficult economic times, there have been plenty of businesses that have suffered. Some have closed up shop leaving industry heavy hitters alone in the game, while others are on their way to extinction. However, in the world of luxury goods, one industry stands out as having overcome these hardships, thanks to loyal clients who refuse to sacrifice when it comes to their timepieces.
So who is buying these rare beauties from respected names like Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Richard Mille?
Much of the sales for luxury timepieces hail from buyers in thriving international destinations like Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Back in January of 2009, numbers climbed as a Middle Eastern watch collector dropped $3.3 million on a “Piaget one-of-a-kind Tourbillon watch, studded with 1,200 diamonds and shaped like a Mayan temple,” describes Katya Kazakina in a recent Bloomberg report. Kazakina went on to indicate that for 2010, things are looking up, citing that Swiss watch shipments increased by 14 percent in February. Here’s some numbers to marvel at: in Morocco, sales rose 174 percent; Saudi Arabia saw an increase of 157 percent; UAB rose 68 percent; and China claims a 50-percent increase.
Francois-Henry Bennahmias, North American president and chief operating officer of Audemars Piguet, and a good friend of Haute Living, spoke with Kazakina for the report, indicating that his biggest market right now is coming out of Latin America, where sales for last year were up 25 percent. “I showed up at a dinner in Caracas for 30 people. Each had more than $150,000 on his wrist,” he said.
Stay tuned to HauteLiving.com for Luxury Watch Editor Ariel Adams’ weekly reviews of some of the most extravagant models that will hit the market this year and judge for yourself how the industry is faring in their strategies for growth in a redefined economy.