The Four Swiss Watch Giants Reinforced Their Dominance in the Market

.If you want to add a Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe or Richard Mille watch to your collection, you are not alone. The luxury watch industry has hundreds of watchmakers. But the four Swiss watch giants, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe and Richard Mille, stand out from the rest.

From established, serious watch collectors to watch novices, these brands are exceedingly coveted among nearly everyone. You will find their names behind the sponsorship of famous cultural attractions like the Singapore arts centre Esplanade (Patek Philippe), Montreux Jazz Festival (Audemars Piguet), and sporting events like the U.S. Open (Rolex), Les Voiles de St. Barth (Richard Mille).

Moreover, you will see these watch giants’ names flashing on red carpets and proudly strapped around people’s wrists on occasions. Now, the interesting fact is that the four leading watchmakers have reinforced and increased their dominance in the market, especially over the last 18 months.

Thus, it’s not surprising to see that the demand and value of their luxury watches have surged, and the prices will only continue to rise over time. However, the surge in demand and value began to happen in 2017. Keep reading.

The Price Surge of Luxury Watches Since 2017

In 2017, the demand for luxury watched started to surpass the supply rate as more and more people got into the market. And social media played a significant role in it. Moreover, the most desirable timepieces began to enjoy substantial price surges in the second hand market.

On the other hand, the demand and value of the timepieces increased significantly in the past 18 months. Why? It is said that the pandemic caused shortages in watch supply, and federal banks poured money into the global economy at the same time. Consequently, people found themselves with fewer watches but more money to buy. Thus, the prices increased.

For example, Antiquorum, the watch auctioneer, sold a Patek Philippe Nautilus Green Dial Ref. 5711 in late July. The watch was yet in its factory-sealed packaging. However, it fetched nearly £357,069. The noteworthy fact is that Patek Philippe launched this timepiece in April that retailed for about £25,316.

According to a watch specialist at Phillips, Geoffrey Hess, the watches made by Rolex, Patek and AP are today global liquid assets. These timepieces are undoubtedly well-built and instantly recognisable. However, collectors are comfortable purchasing the models from these watchmakers as sellers and buyers evaluate their watches in an acknowledged currency.

What Makes the Four Swiss Watch Giants So Unique?

Rolex, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille, and Audemars Piguet are privately owned companies. On the contrary, some publicly held luxury groups like Swatch Group and Richemont own most Big Four competitors. Richard Mille’s chief executive in the Americas, John Simonian, said that these four elite watchmakers do not respond to shareholders and the desire for instant profits does not drive them.

For example, Patek Philippe decided to cease the production of the Nautilus Reference 5711/1A-010. This iconic stainless steel watch featuring a black-blue dial had purchasers who even waited for nearly ten years to get it. Thus, according to industry experts, the desirability for these timepieces exceedingly surpasses their supply, despite having widely different production figures annually of the four brands.

When it comes to Rolex, this Swiss watchmaker does not reveal its output. However, as per a report published on the ‘King Rolex’, the brand produces nearly a million timepieces every year. But the production numbers had supposedly dropped to 810,000 in 2020. Even after this decline, Rolex earned the title of the most prominent player of 2020. Interestingly, it was the first time the brand achieved it in a decade.

The market share was estimated to be 26.8% in 2020 compared to 24.6% in 2019. Well, according to the report, AP made nearly 60,000 watches; Richard Mille, nearly 4,300 and Patek Philippe, about 53,000 in 2020. However, it should not be surprising to see such fewer production numbers. This is because most watchmakers kept their Swiss factories closed for the pandemic for nearly two months.

Nonetheless, the retail shops of these brands across the globe are now empty. There was a time when some of these shops had the stock of the most coveted watches. It includes the Patek Philippe Nautilus, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Rolex Submariner and more.

Buyers who want to purchase a watch of the four Swiss giants for a hefty premium have to dig into the second hand market or platforms. Like, you can look into pre-owned websites, auctions and private sales to get hands-on the hottest timepieces.

Also Read: Top 3 Best Camera Under 1000 [Buyer’s Reviews – 2021]

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