Tuesday, April 22, 2008

2008 BaselWorld and SIHH: Horology Market Impressions

2008 BaselWorld and SIHH Impressions

These are in short some of the most prevalent impressions of market trends that I noticed & few of my humble opinions that I would dare to contemplate at this time:

- new various complications by majority of industry in my humble observation for the sake of public shock and awe or as some would say bragging rights rather then for the true sake of practical (if not just useful) horology innovations (excluding a few honorable mentions)

- again like last year prevalent usage of unusual materials (alusic, zenithium, hublonium, tantalum, magnesium, ceramic and lithium) prevalent on the case aesthetic side and to some extent in the movement side of watch making. Definite trend in the across board contribution of all non traditional watch materials, but with notable addition of practical usage of the movement side of things (silicum balance spring, easium carbonitride, ceramic ball-bearings, etc)

- steel and gold seems are no longer the prevailing big guns of the watchmaking arsenal. Brands are continuing to venture down this less-trodden path (from last years bronze of Genta, forged carbon of AP, fusion of materials of Hublot, rusted Titanic steel of Romain Jerome, etc) to new dimensions of materials that were borrowed from many different sectors and in some instances R&D’ed on their own. More on this at a later time.

- reissue of older venerable names of the past as new years models. Some executed perfectly (like the Tribute to Polaris by MJLC) and some following the lead and utilizing it as a new strategy to a lesser extent (IMO Longines and to some extent IWC).

- demand for larger cases is still prevalent even though there is a some easing of that pressure across the board by the resurgence of movement towards less “flashy” if not more restrained case sizes.

- importance of focus on the new “emerging economies” markets (China, Russia, India and Middle East) over the “traditional” markets of Europe and US especially in regards to the top level market segment pieces.

- continuing development into the “bling” segment of horology development due to insatiable appetites of the “nouveaux riches” customers whose rise from common poverty left an ongoing rising demand to show off their newfound riches.

- continuing increase in the average cost of the watches across the segment thus making the accessibility of this hobby of ours further out of reach for many especially when considering the higher brackets of Haute Horology.

More in depth analysis of market, respective brands, selective models and imperative points we are faced to follow.

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Daily thoughts, musings & interests about anything (mostly horology) that currently makes my soul & grey matter tick.