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Swiss watches tick right boxes for Chinese consumers

by Michael Weare
25 November, 2012
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Shopping for watches

This article was written and contributed by Simon Lazarus who writes for a number of national and international publications.

In the past five to seven years there has been a growing fascination for Swiss watch companies to increase their hold on the luxury timepiece market, particularly in China.

Growing interest in the Far East, especially from China has seen the Chinese become more and more attracted to Western luxury items.

This not only includes high quality bags and designer fashion but stunning and expensive watches too.

Yet as the sun rises in the East, will Swiss watchmakers have to adapt their models? Only time will tell whether or not they will need to accommodate their ever increasing penchant for haute horology.

Hublot are currently working on their next creation that is aimed specifically at the Chinese sector.

Their emphasis this time is toward a more light and delicate number which matches the expectations of Chinese consumers perfectly.

The figures tell an interesting story. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has declared that in 2012 alone, China was responsible for nearly 8% of Swiss watches exported to the country.

There is no doubt that sales are increasing with plenty of exciting developments on the horizon. In addition to this, recent shifts have come from a number of leading brands who all want a piece of the Chinese pie, or should that be rice bowl.

This includes regularly producing limited products that take their inspiration from Chinese culture.

Vacheron  Constantin – Legend of the Chinese Zodiac

Vacheron Constantin Year of the Snake

Based in Geneva, the legendary watchmaker Vacheron Constantin has recently released an aptly titled collection called the “Legend of the Chinese Zodiac”.

This unique collection pays homage to the symbols encapsulated in the Chinese cycle of animals which starts off with the Snake.

It is created in either pink gold or platinum with two watches launched so far. The first features a slippery blue water snake while the other includes a brown wooden snake slinking across with intent.

Jaquet Droz

Jaquet Droz Petit Heure Minute Tiger

Based in the west of Switzerland, Jaquet Droz have also launched a limited edition Petite Heure Minute Tiger to celebrate the Year of the Tiger two years ago.

However, not everyone shares this new found optimism. According to Thierry Stern, CEO at Patek Philippe when pressed in a recent interview with Swiss newspaper Le Temps, he declared,

“The extreme focus on China is dangerous.”

Yet some Swiss watchmakers rely solely on Chinese tourists visiting foreign climbs and spending their hard earned cash.

This was scrutinized in detail by the financial daily Handelszeitung. They worked out that on average every visitor from China who travelled to Lucerne spent around 2,000 Swiss francs on a hand crafted Swiss watch.

It also revealed that in 2011 alone, there were nearly 100,000 Chinese tourists who came to the city.

But competition may actually come from China itself as expressed by some in the industry such as major Chinese brand FIYTA.

Their aim is to create a variety of watches which will stand the test of time whilst aspiring to popular Swiss craftsmanship. With the company recently buying up Montres Chouriet, they may just be onto a winner

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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