Swatch Group, the world’s biggest watchmaker, sees double-digit sales growth, powered by its mid-priced brands, in China this year.
The company grew by 12.2 percent (currency constant) in watches and jewelry in 2012, compared to 9 percent at rival Richemont. With many renowned brands in Swatch’s portfolio, stronger growth came from the mid- and entry-price brands, notably Tissot and Longines.
“We expect a single-digit sales growth in the Chinese market this year for the high end, including Breguet, Blancpain and Jaquet Droz,” Nayla Hayek, former Chairwoman of Swatch and current CEO of Harry Winston, tells Reuters. “The other brands will certainly grow more, they are performing very well. They can generate double-digit growth.” Swatch’s more expensive flagship brand Omega expects growth in China this year as well.
Swatch acquired the Harry Winston jewelry and watch business for $1 billion earlier this year. However, the company has no plans to expand further in jewelry. “We have jewelry at Breguet and Omega, that is enough for the time being,” says Hayek. “We bought Harry Winston as a brand. When my father bought Breguet, he did that because he had a vision of how to revive the brand. Harry Winston is in jewelry what Breguet is in watches.”
China is the third largest market for Swiss watches after Hong Kong and the US. Swatch plans to further explore this market with its new mechanical watch, the Sistem 51, to be sold for as little as 130 Swiss francs [US$133]. “With this watch, we’re also targeting the Asian market, where people are in love with mechanical watches that normally cost much more and that they cannot afford,” explains Hayek.
photo credit: longines