Luxury watches still investment items

Published Mar 5, 2013


London - You might have thought that modern technology and the age of austerity would spell the death of the luxury watch.

But you’d be wrong. For while many of us look to our cellphones for the time, makers of high-end watches are enjoying booming revenues.

Exports of luxury timepieces from Switzerland – traditionally the home of the finest watches – accounted for £13.6 billion (R254bn) last year. Visitor numbers at last month’s Geneva trade fair were up by 10 percent on those at last year’s event, leading to forecasts of even higher revenues for this year.

Industry experts say celebrity endorsements are a major factor in the continued allure of watches.

David Beckham has been the face of the advertising campaign for the Breitling brand, while actress Cameron Diaz wears a Tag Heuer.

Music mogul Jay-Z was reportedly given a $5 million (R44m) Hublot on his 43rd birthday in December by his wife Beyoncé.

The healthy resilience of luxury watches stands in stark contrast to the slump the industry suffered in the recessions of the 1970s and 1980s. Watches are now favoured by investors as a reliable investment that, like gold, will retain its value or even appreciate. Sales in emerging countries such as China, Brazil, Mexico and India have also risen.

“It’s not about ostentatious wealth, although it remains of course the most portable show of wealth, a badge of success, a ready reckoner of a person’s status,” said Bill Prince, of GQ magazine.

He added that fashion designers such as Hermès, Dior and Chanel were entering the market to attract more woman buyers. – Daily Mail

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