Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Luxury watches winding down their production as sales slow

With so many cooperations feeling the pinch of the recession this year fewer top executives are receiving their typical large end of year bonuses.  Without the bonuses, these executives have less disposable income to spend on high end timepieces.

Swiss watchmakers had hoped recession-weary holiday shoppers would regain some of their taste for self-indulgence, giving the luxury-watch business its first spark of life since the financial crisis set in. But it may take the return of big bank bonuses, possibly early next year, to produce any significant uptick in sales of Rolexes, Patek Philippes and Piagets.

In recent years, the banking industry's bonus payments to top employees helped fuel a global splurge on luxury goods, including handcrafted watches priced at thousands of dollars.

But those payouts, which can total hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars—fell substantially over the past year as banks struggled with soured investments and tight credit conditions, leaving Swiss watches among
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Friday, December 18, 2009

"Tag Heuer" brand unaffected by Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods sponsors are still rethinking their long term association with the golfing great, but the reeling golf great’s mug still looms large in Boston, where the luxury Swiss watches he’s touting remain big sellers. In fact, Tag Heuer watches may even be getting more attention from the extra publicity.

A massive, thoughtful Tiger Woods sporting a pricey Tag Heuer watch is splashed across a Clear Channel billboard along Interstate 93 just south of the Hub. The ad asks “What are you made of?”

Tag Heuer - Tiger Woods - What are you made of?

Despite the tales of his personal life that have tarnished the once-squeaky clean “Athlete of the Decade,” Toodies owner Howie Jacobs said the billboard has been a boon for
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Auctions work well for premium timepieces in a down economy

It's not just eBay that attempts to sell luxury items to the highest bidder.  Many other auction houses still run auctions the old fashioned way.  In fact, were any of the watches in your personal collection acquired through an auction like the one mentioned below?

Following recently successful auctions of fine and rare watches in Dubai, Geneva and Hong Kong, Christie’s New York will present a selection of over 380 fine and rare timepieces for auction on Tuesday, December 15. Vintage and modern wristwatches from major manufacturers as well as pocket watches, fine ladies watches, and rare signed clocks will be highlighted. Prices for the timepieces begin at $700 and range upwards to $350,000 for the most important signed timepieces.

The total sale is expected to achieve in excess of $4 million. Sam Hines, Head of Watches at Christie’s New York comments, “As our recent sales have demonstrated, demand for high quality timepieces continues to expand globally, as we welcome new collectors into this field.”

Among the top lots of the sale is a selection of Patek Philippe minute repeating wristwatches – a highly covered complication among devoted collectors of fine wristwatches.

The watches include a platinum minute repeating tourbillion wristwatch estimated to be from $350,000 to 550,000, a signed 18k gold minute repeating watch estimated to be between $280,000 to 350,000 and a signed platinum minute repeating watch with a handsome enamel dial coming at a price between $250,000 to $350,000. Also featured is the Cartier retailed Audemars Piguet wristwatch estimated to be between $120,000to 180,000.

Leading the broad selection of over 200 modern signed watches from top houses is a sleek platinum Girard-Perregaux, a fine and rare oversized tourbillion hour striking watch with a pink golden bridge visible though the aperture approximately priced between $100,000 to 150,000; a curved tonneau-shaped Richard Mille, a 18k pink gold tourbillion watch with a skeletonized dial estimated to be between $80,000 to $120,000; a very rare Franck Muller, the “Consquistador” model in 18K white gold and estimated to be between $80,000 to 120,000: and a Patek Phillipe with the rare and highly sought after black dial and white gold baton numerals costing between $80,000 and $120,000.

Havee you ever participated in a live auction for one of your timepieces?  What was the best part of the experience?  What could have been better?