Watches of Switzerland, the UK’s leading retailer of luxury watches and a top seller of Rolex timepieces, saw its shares plunge by as much as 16.5% in London after the company reported weaker-than-expected sales in the US for its fiscal third quarter.Watches of Switzerland is a leading British retailer of luxury watches, founded in 1924. The company operates through a network of stores across the UK, as well as an online store, and specializes in selling prestigious brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, and Cartier, among others.
While Watches of Switzerland has experienced substantial growth in recent years, the company’s CEO, Brian Duffy, noted that some customers on waiting lists for multiple watches have begun deferring purchases when they got the call that one was available. This trend, which has been observed across the industry, could be a sign of a potential slowdown in the luxury watch market.
After seeing similar trends in the ‘grey’ market, some consumers are becoming more cautious in their spending as the economic outlook remains uncertain. It is worth noting perhaps that a lot of luxury watch brands have also been increasing prices quite dramatically, which may have had a further negative impact on consumer buying habits.
In response to these challenges, Watches of Switzerland has reportedly been in talks with Rolex to launch sales of certified pre-owned Rolexes at its stores. This move could help the company to reach a broader range of customers and in theory offer more affordable options for those who may be more hesitant to spend on a brand-new luxury watch. While Watches of Switzerland already offers a range of pre-owned watches, the addition of certified pre-owned Rolexes would be a significant step forward for the company.
The recent drop in sales for Watches of Switzerland may be a sign of broader challenges facing the luxury watch market, as consumers become more cautious in their spending. As the market continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how other luxury watch retailers respond to these trends and what strategies they adopt to stay competitive.