Baselworld 2017 to tap horology and jewellery trends in the luxury market

Swiss watchmakers, jewellers, and their suppliers are fine-tuning their latest creations ahead of Baselworld, from March 23 to 30.

Baselworld has given watch fans and connoisseurs remarkable insights into the world of horology since 1917. It is one of the most important shows in the watch and jewellery industry, as it is the only one that attracts all the key players from watchmakers to jewellers and from diamond, pearl and gemstone dealers through to machines and the supply industry.

Last year was a difficult for Swiss watchmaking, especially in the luxury sector. Swiss replica watches exports dropped 9.9 per cent in 2016 from the previous year as robust markets, such as China, underperformed because of an economic slowdown and an anticorruption drive.

Baselworld is an annual watch and jewellery show that is open to the public with admission fee

Exports picked up slightly in January, showing the industry’s ability to innovate and tailor product offerings to consumers’ requirements. Swiss watchmakers expect slight growth in 2017.

New technology bolsters the durability of “Swiss-made” replica watches, by enhancing performance and precision.

Trends are leaning towards streamlined designs that ensure watches can be worn in different situations. After years of “full black” models, PVD treatments on steel cases are being adapted to more classic colours, especially pink and yellow gold shades, offering elegant and more affordable alternatives to 18ct gold.

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TAG Heuer’s Carrera HEUER-01 is a signature chronograph from the manufacture

“Blinging” up a ladies’ watch by presenting a sprinkling of diamonds or other gemstones will no longer be sufficient as beautiful mechanics claim pride of place.

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Breguet’s Tradition Dame 7038

Quartz watches for men and women are showing ultrasleek designs this year, while “vintage” re-editions of legendary 1950s and 60s pieces remain sought-after, a sign that Swiss replica watches convey emotions and are capable of telling a story.

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Fendi’s Selleria Strap You watch brings a fanciful touch to feminine wrists

While the trend is for simpler, more accessible models, the need for quality has grown.

The reinforcement of the “Swiss-made” standard from the start of this year confirms this determination to offer consumers greater guarantees on quality, craftsmanship and origins.

A watch must offer at least 60 per cent of Swiss value to be marked Swiss-made, up from 50 per cent. Some brands argue that manufacturers who deal in volume, especially at lower prices – where more components are typically sourced from non-Swiss factories – will suffer.

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Swiss replica watches, an industry under threat

Apple-Watch-Hermes

The Swiss watchmaker industry is facing an existential crisis from the advent of smartwatches according to a new report from RE Analytics.

The industry enjoyed an air of exclusivity in absence of substantial competition, gaining a position of monopoly until the 1970s. The late 1960s mark the beginning of a change. This is when Japanese watchmaker Seiko introduced new technology in the market with its Seiko Quartz-Astron 35Q, the world’s first wristwatch based on a quartz crystal oscillator.

The Astron was unveiled in Tokyo on December 25, 1969, after ten years of research and development. Within one week 100 gold watches had been sold, at a retail price of $1,250 each.

This ushered in an era of cheaper, more accurate alternatives to Swiss replica watches. At the time, the industry nearly collapsed under siege from new upstarts. The number of Swiss watchmakers feel from 1,500 in 1970s, to 600 at the height of the “crisis” in 1983. Ultimately Swiss watch companies managed to ride out the storm, and found their niche in the luxury high end of the market.

Hermes-watch

The industry is now facing another crisis. Technology is once again drawing a battlefield for Swiss watchmakers. The RE Analytics report, Rolex: An industry under threat, goes in detail in analyzing the Rolex business model, and how it is being affected by the challenging market conditions.

The report identifies two main business segments for Rolex: the entry-level luxury replica watches and the high-end luxury watch. Together these two clusters represent more than 80% of the business at Rolex.

According to the report, Rolex’s entry-level luxury replica watches are seeing a threat from high-end wearables. For example, with a price tag ranging from $1,150 to $1,500 (depending on model), the Apple Watch Hermés is at the door of the entry-level luxury watch segment. Apple’s device was announced in late 2015, some six months after the original collections first shipped. Now in its second iteration, the watch brought together Apple’s tech smarts with Hermès’ classic leatherwork.

Some traditional watchmakers are making tentative steps in the fast-growing wearables market via technology partnerships and investments. TAG Heuer has, for example, recently partnered with Google and Intel for its TAG Heuer Connected watch. And Frederique Constant, a manufacture of luxury wrist watches, is working on nine new designs of its Horological Smartwatch.

Squatrito adds that Swiss watchmakers may also be forced to look for other opportunities. They could, for example, follow fashion companies and expand into non-core products.

The industry’s unique positioning in the luxury segment, the strong brand image, the appeal of the Swiss Made label, and new markets could all offer opportunities to Swiss replica watch makers. If it is to survive, the industry cannot afford to ignore the potential opportunities and threats posed by this new market segment.

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A million Swiss replica watches seized

Plusieurs milliers de contrefacon de montres suisses ont ete detruites ce mardi 1 juillet 2008, a l'entreprise MHT Recycling SA de Cressier, FR. Sous l'egide de la federation Horlogere, de l'Association Suisse pour la lutte contre le piratage et de Stop Piracy, et pour symboliser l'entree en vigeur des nouvelles dispositions legales suisses, de lutte contre la contrefacon et le piratage, des miliers de fausses montres et de DVD's ont ete broyes, devant les medias. (KEYSTONE/Sandro Campardo) A pile of thousands of faked watches is seen at the MHT Recycling SA company in Cressier, Switzerland, Tuesday, July 1, 2008. More than 28 000 faked watches and counterfeit 4 000 DVDs confiscated by the Swiss customs authority have been destroyed by shredding under the aegis of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH). From July 1, the private import of brand and design counterfeits to Switzerland is interdicted.
Since July 2008, Swiss customs has the right to seize counterfeit goods found on travellers entering the country.

Approximately, one million counterfeit Swiss watches were seized in 2016, and the same number of internet advertisements for them removed.

The majority of replica watches were confiscated in China, Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry told the Swiss News Agency on Tuesday. However, that does not mean other counterfeiting hubs do not exist. For example, 130,000 fakes were seized in Turkey, 70,000 in Dubai and 9,000 in Russia.

The trend for replica watches appears to correspond to that of other fake goods like bags, jewellery and shoes. In 2015, Hong Kong and China accounted for 80% of all intercepted replica goods shipments to Switzerland by post. Turkey was the leading destination from where travellers brought fake goods into Switzerland, accounting for around 40% of all traffic.

The FH has also stepped up its monitoring of the internet and social media networks for dubious advertisements for fakes. According to Pasche, over a million such ads were removed. It has also trained authorities in vulnerable spots like Dubai, London’s Heathrow airport, San Francisco, Nice, Lisbon, Brussels, Prague, and Athens to spot fakes.

Members of the public can also report cases of replica watch sales on the Getnicewatches website.

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