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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Raymond Weil’s Beatles themed luxury Swiss replica watch is every gadget freak’s dream

swiss-watch

If the tunes of ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’ get you to tap your feet and you just can’t stop yourself from humming ‘Back in the USSR’ while it’s played nearby, there is hardly any doubt about your dedication to Beatles. The short lived band of the 70s, Beatles has redefined music of the youth.

It seems to be redefining fashion now because there’s a fake watch that has Beatles album names inscribed in the dial. All thanks to Raymond Weil, the bespoke Swiss replica watchmaker who has introduced the Maestro Beatles limited edition timepiece. Each item is presented with a dedicated watchcase celebrating the music icons.

An impressive drum with the official Beatles logo decorates the top of the box while the inside features the 13 album titles that are marked on the dial of the limited edition. The watch features a mechanical self-winding movement housed in a 39.5 mm polished steel case.

Talking exclusively to Business Insider, Olivier Bernheim, the owner and president of Raymond Weil, said – “We have been in India for a long time. We have received appreciation across segments and seen a lot of growth opportunities here. The latest limited edition Maestro Beatles celebrates the 40th anniversary of the brand. We have always derived inspiration from music and this bespoke timepiece pays tribute to The Beatles. The limited edition watch is perfect for the die-hard Beatles fan as well as music connoisseurs.”

“To bring this masterpiece to the Indian market, as well as deepen our engagement locally we have exclusively partnered with Ethos Watch Boutiques and Helios. Our partnership with Ethos is primarily due to their reach and trust and their commitment to promising authenticity and safeguarding customers from various malpractices rampant in the watch industry,” he added.

Here’s the best part

The 13 Beatles’ album titles are placed around the bespoke dial, with a special “Help” index at 4 o’clock which recalls the cover of the iconic album released in 1965. The silver galvanic dial matches the polished steel bracelet. It features the official Beatles logo and a date window at 3 o’clock. The case back presents a smoked sapphire crystal that carries the official Beatles logo and the limited edition number engraved. This unique timepiece paying tribute to the legendary Fab Four is limited to 3,000 pieces for India.

Remember, if you want ot own one of these, you will have to walk into one of Ethos Watch Boutiques.

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