Luxury timepieces without the factor of exclusivity are not perceived as luxury items. The fact that demand is greater than supply, especially in the case of Rolex watches, makes the brand exclusive and more appealing to consumers.
The demand for smartwatches is increasing, but the impact on luxury timepieces industry is low, since people who buy luxury timepieces buy a lifestyle and not just an instrument that can tell the time. However, having said that, the demand for smartwatches and luxury timepieces is not mutually exclusive; therefore, a slight decrease in growth was observed for luxury timepieces in 2018 compared with 2017.
Consumers who are keen to purchase a luxury timepiece do not act quickly, and tend to carry out research before purchasing what they consider to be the right product. This is where social media and celebrity endorsements play a very important role.
Many manufacturers of timepieces are trying to go one step further in introducing innovative watches. An example is Hublot, which came up with a new material, magic gold (18-carat gold with 25% boron carbide) for its watches.
In luxury timepieces, companies have been seen to differentiate themselves by making smart and strategic decisions in terms of partnerships and distribution. TAG Heuer recently joined with Aston Martin to become its official partner, and launched two limited editions, Carrera Heuer 01 and Formula 1, honouring the brand.
Many luxury timepieces brands, such as Piaget, Blancpain, Breguet, Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, which contribute to the production of many best-selling watches, are sold through distributors such as The Hour Glass, Watches of Switzerland and J Farren Price, since they do not have their own boutiques. Whilst IWC Schaffhausen has a boutique in Melbourne, in Sydney it only distributes its timepieces through authorised dealers.
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