The high-end watchmaking industry is employing the wait-and-see policy in regards to lagging sales in mainland China, with hopes for a 2013 rebound. However, Breguet, which is owned by the Swatch group, is apparently confident that demand for their luxury timepieces will remain strong. Case in point? Breguet recently opened a third boutique in Beijing, bringing the company’s total number of stores in China (including Hong Kong and Macao) up to eight.
The company now has Boutique Breguet locations in Beijing’s most prestigious neighborhoods, with its new location at the Beijing Grand Hyatt, as well as its locations at the Scitech building in the Dongcheng district and at the ParkLife building in the Chaoyang district. To celebrate the grand opening of the shops, Breguet released a new timepiece only available at the Beijing locations: the Classique Hora Mundi World.
According to Jing Daily, which specializes in Chinese luxury market news, the Swatch Group businesses have remained strong in the Hong Kong and mainland China markets. In the past year, sales from China and other emerging markets across the globe accounted for an 18% sales boost for the company. Like most luxury retailers and particularly the Swiss watchmaking business, China has been the salvation from the lagging sales in recession-hit North America and Europe. According to the Jing Daily report, China now accounts for more than 50% of all Swiss watch exports, and the rate is expected to continue climbing.
Breguet is capitalizing on demand from this new market by advertising directly to the country’s new elite via patronage of local art and cultural events. For example, this year Breguet sent their elaborate Reine de Naples exhibit on a tour of China, with stops in Harbin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Taiyuan.
We’ll be watching to see how the market evolves and whether Breguet’s big bet on China pans out.