Figures from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industries, considered the official yardstick of the industry’s health, show timepiece sales have rebounded, up 40 per cent on last year and are even up on 2019 – in Australia by 17 per cent. We will have taken more than $200 million of Swiss 1:1 replica watches, wholesale, by the end of 2021.
This reflects a massive effort by brands and their partners to keep things ticking. They’ve had to deal with manufacturing cuts, logistics challenges, staffing issues, store closures and a vastly accelerated switch to online selling and dealing with customers digitally. Amid this, they’ve had none of the usual helpful events publicising products, be that in-boutique soirees or the usual hype-generating AAA cheap fake watches fairs in Geneva and Basel.
Conversely, brands have maintained and managed contact with clients flush with coin that couldn’t be spent on travel or entertainment, and anxious to relieve lockdown boredom.
Of course, demand is one thing, but you have to have desirable product to stimulate and meet it, and this is where brands generally have triumphed, particularly in producing new models that have belied the background turmoil. Yes, the year has welcomed some impressive new timepieces.
Brands big and small have joined in the fun, the buzz in the industry extending to more accessible brands, in particular Tudor and high quality Breitling replica watches, the latter vying with IWC for top-dog status in the pilot-watch space. Both have produced a raft of airworthy models in addition to ancillary ranges.
These are more than just reissues of past trusty tool luxury copy watches online, but cater to today’s client who wants something altogether more finessed.
Breitling, for example, can furnish you with handsome top wholesale replica Breitling Super Avi pilot watches in gold, while IWC’s “performance orientated” Big Pilot’s Top Gun gets a perpetual calendar version in something exotic called Ceratanium, a material IWC says has the integrity of titanium, scratch-resistance of ceramic and the appearance – terrific by the way – of blackened steel. It’s some watch.
Certainly in perfect Breitling fake watches’ case, doing its own thing seems to be working, with sales galloping and new investors on board. In October, Swiss-based Partners Group acquired a 25 per cent stake in the watch manufacturer from CVC Capital Partners, which put the company at a valuation of CHF3 billion ($4.4 billion).
That’s more than triple its valuation of CHF800 million in 2017, when CVC bought 80 per cent of the business alongside Georges Kern, the former major-domo at IWC and Richemont.
Kern has brought his special energy to the brand, flooding Instagram with buy-now digital campaigns, “celebrity-squad” endorsements and rapid-fire releases across the price spectrum. Best quality Breitling super clone watches is said to enjoy a profit margin double that of Kern’s former employer Richemont.
Kern has said he expects to double direct-to-consumer business over the next five years, something competitors and retailers will watch with interest given brands have traditionally operated mostly through distributors and authorised outlets.