Europa Star

WATCH PRICES: price constellation

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January 2017

WATCH PRICES: price constellation


he price issue is at the heart of the current watchmaking crisis. Pricing is indicative of a systemic crisis with numerous causes, the consequences of which are not yet fully clear. Quotes:

  • “The quest for novelty pushed the system into overdrive. The watchmaking industry is chasing its own tail, after watches! You don’t necessarily buy a watch every year.”
    Nicolas Beau, international director, Chanel Horlogerie
  • “The demand for transparency imposed on the banks has lost the watchmaking sector a large chunk of its customer base.”
    Gérard Gouten, distributor, chairman of Manufacture Royale 
  • “We associate crisis with lack of money, but that’s not the right response. We won’t necessarily come through it with lower prices.”
    Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO, Bulgari 
  • “It took me more than 20 years to build my image, and I’m not going to destroy it at the first gust of wind. You will never see one of my watches at a discount price.”
    François-Paul Journe, founder and CEO of F.P. Journe 
  • “While waiting for economic conditions to recover, the brands have to do all they can to maintain their place in the Pantheon of status symbols.”
    Maurice Goldberger, Chiron Inc.
  • “The true price of a new watch is its used price.”
    Romain Réa, watch expert
  • “Nowadays, we’re expected to start with the price and then come up with the product.”
    Denis Asch, watchmaker, former retailer
  • “When I’m forced to monitor currency rates on a daily basis, I sometimes feel more like a hedge fund manager than the boss of a watchmaking company.”
    Wilhelm Schmid, CEO, A. Lange & Söhne 
  • “Once all the promotion of a product has been paid for by others, it’s quick and easy to sell a product solely on the basis of price.”
    François-Xavier Mousin and Caroline Buechler, Opus Magnum, marketing agency
  • “This crisis will help us do some sorting out.”
    Gerald Roden, consultant, ex-director Swiss Festina Group (Soprod ), De Grisogono, Gérald Genta and Daniel Roth 
  • “Vintage watches are a safe-haven investment, like gold or the Swiss Franc.”
    Aurel Bacs, auctioneer, Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo
  • “There’s been a lot of bullshit, but now it’s over. That bullshit has put people off watches. And the most legitimate watchmakers are paying the bill for the excesses of others.”
  • “As soon as prices go up, the tourists leave. It’s like clockwork.”
    René Weber, analyst, Vontobel Equity Research
  • “The objective is to set the right price, not to cut prices, as we’ve sometimes been accused of doing.”
    Davide Cerrato, director Horology division, Montblanc 
  • “Technology is causing luxury to age, and the most venerable companies with it.”
    Cyrille Vigneron, CEO, Cartier
  • “You cannot apply the same coefficients as for fashion, of around seven or more, to watchmaking.”
WATCH PRICES: price constellation


- The great upheaval
- Reshuffling the price cards
- Price constellation
- It’s the fault of…
- An objective look
- Denis Asch “I wanted to sell watches, not prices”
- Price hike between 2000 and 2010, then the slump
- All china’s fault?
- “As soon as a price goes up, they look elsewhere”
- The internet has changed the rules of distribution
- To raise or lower prices?
- A paradigm shift for distribution
- “Retailers need to turn into gallery owners”

Source: Europa Star TIME.BUSINESS/TIME.KEEPER Dec. 2016 - Jan. 2017