Summary of our market study

The French luxury watch market has recovered. By 2022, sales will total 2 billion euros.

The global luxury watch market, valued at $52 billion in 2022, is growing, with a forecast average annual growth rate of 3.25% between 2022 and 2028.

Online sales jump by 27% in 2021. The secondary market for watches is booming, potentially reaching 35 billion Swiss francs by 2030.

Swiss watch exports have rebounded strongly from a slump, increasing by 11.4% to reach 24.8 billion Swiss francs in 2022, with China emerging as a key market.

Counterfeiting remains a serious problem, with offenders subject to severe penalties.

The appeal of luxury watches resists changing consumer habits

The luxury watch market in France, and indeed worldwide, has undergone significant changes influenced by factors ranging from the global financial crisis to the proliferation of e-commerce and the advent of smart technology.

This segment remains a symbol of opulence and success. at the end of the 1990s, luxury watchmaking experienced a sharp increase in demand due to the influx of Asian tourists, which has continued to the present day.

The market, occupied by long-established companies, now faces competition from fashion brands and artisanal manufacturers. In addition, Apple has overtaken traditional Swiss brands in the smartwatch category.

Consumer preferences, particularly among the younger generation, show a growing penchant for luxury watches. Demand for luxury watches worth between 2,000 and 5,000 euros is considerable among Chinese customers, and much lower in Europe.

The French market declined in 2021 due to reduced foreign traffic and store closures, but rebounded strongly after the pandemic.

Luxury watchmaking is dominated by several major groups alongside independent manufacturers and distributors. Companies such as LVMH, Richemont and the Swatch Group occupy a very important place in the market, but independent watchmakers continue to thrive.

Entry-level luxury watches are now available from around 600 euros.

Key players in the luxury watch market

  • The Swatch Group owns revered luxury brands (Breguet, Omega, Blancpain, Longines) as well as affordable luxury brands (Tissot, Calvin Klein)

  • LVMH Group - TAG Heuer, Christian Dior, Zenith, Hublot

  • Richemont Group - MontBlanc, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget

  • Rolex - and its subsidiary Tudor

  • Bucherer, distributor of luxury brands acquired by Rolex
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market definition

Luxury watchmaking is a category that groups together watches from top-quality manufactures, whose manufacture has required precise watchmaking work not only on mechanical movements, but also on the elaboration and finishing of watch cases, as well as on elements such as dials and hands.

The high-end watchmaking segment exploded in France with the rise of luxury brands in the 1990s, driven in particular by the development of mass tourism in Asia since the 2000s. The 2008 crisis put an end to this boom, but the industry has been recovering since 2010.

The French luxury watch market will be worth nearly 1.8 billion euros by 2022.

Traditionally dominated by large historical companies, the market has seen the arrival of new competitors, first in the 1990s, then more recently . Initially, the big fashion brands, but also small artisanal players, are making their mark on this market. Secondly, the development of connected watches has altered the balance in the luxury watch market: Apple, for example, has managed to sell more Apple Watches than all Swiss watch brands combined since 2019!

E-commerce and the trend towards second-hand watches are key elements in understanding the luxury watch market.

However, even though there are many brands in the luxury watch segment in France, four major groups compete in this market. Among these players, the convergence between luxury and watchmaking is undeniable:

  • Swatch Group: brands Breguet, Omega, Blancpain, Longines, Tissot, Tiffany & co, Balmain, Calvin Klein
  • LVMH Group: TAG Heuer, Christian Dior, Zenith, de Beers, Hublot, Fred brands
  • Richemont Group: MontBlanc, CBI, Vacheron Constantin, Piaget, Panerai, Van Cleef & Arpels brands
  • Rolex: Rolex and Tudor brands

1.2 A robust global market

The luxury watch market was valued at $** billion in ****, registering a CAGR (***) of *. **% over the ****-**** forecast period.

The global luxury watch market France, ****, in billions of euros Source: ****

globally, consumers' growing preference for high-end, high-quality watches, which are perceived as status symbols, is the main driver of the luxury watch ...

1.3 The French market recomposes itself after the crisis

The market is growing, rising from *.*** billion euros in **** to *.*** billion euros in ****. The French watch market has therefore still not recovered its **** level of *.*** billion euros. By ****, it is estimated that the jewelry and watch sector will have increased its sales by **% [***]! We can therefore estimate that in ****, watch sales ...

1.4 Foreign trade in Swiss watches

In ****, Swiss watch exports rebounded by **.*% following a **. *% contraction in ****. They have thus exceeded not only their pre-pandemic level, but also their all-time high of ****. And in January and February, they rose by a further **.*%, according to statistics from the watchmaking federation. [***]

While Europe bore the full brunt of the strict ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Determinants of global demand for luxury watches

The major watch brands are struggling to keep up with demand after the spectacular recovery in luxury goods, to the point of having to delay the launch of some collections in the face of production capacity pressures. [***] La Montre Hermès, which came to present its new collections at the Haute ...

2.2 Foreign tourist arrivals in France boost demand

The current health crisis, particularly in Asian countries and the United States, has led to a decline in visa applications for France since the start of ****.

In fact, the number of visas issued fell by **% year-on-year in the first three months of the year before being virtually nil during the *ᵉʳ containment. ...

2.3 Booming demand for luxury watches online and in e-commerce

On average, most respondents(***) prefer to buy watches in-store. Nearly half of Chinese consumers prefer to shop online, while almost half prefer to shop in traditional stores. France, Japan, Switzerland and Italy have a clear preference for in-store shopping.

When buying a new watch, where are you most likely to make ...

2.4 The rise of second-hand luxury watches

The second-hand watch market, which is booming thanks to millennials and Generation Z, could be worth ** billion Swiss francs (***) by ****, according to a study by Deloitte. [***]

How likely are you to buy a second-hand luxury wristwatch in the next ** months? World, ****, % Source: ****

Luxury goods are seen as good investments in times ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Simplified diagram of market structure

3.2 Watch production in France

The number of companies specializing in watch manufacturing fell by almost **% between **** and ****, as several manufacturers struggled to remain competitive with foreign competitors. In addition, the shutdown of various factories and sales outlets, considered non-essential during periods of confinement, contributed to the decline in French luxury watch production. By ****, this number ...

3.3 Distribution channels for luxury watches

French watchmakers mainly manufacture watch components and accessories, such as dials, cases, hands, bracelets, etc. Finished products such as watches account for less than a third of their total production by value.In luxury watch distribution, there is a concentration of distribution channels, since the network is currently almost entirely represented ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 Offer typology

There is a wide variety of luxury watch models, but we can draw up the following non-exhaustive list:

Classic watches such as the Montblanc Tradition Automatic Date; Products with horological complications, such as the Piaget Emperador Coussin; Antique watches such as the Patek "Asprey "; Military watches like theHamilton Khaki Field Auto ...

4.2 Pricing strategies at the heart of luxury watch offerings

In ****, the average price of a watch will be €***, compared with €*** in ****. Watch sales account for **. *% of the watch and jewelry sector.

In recent years, a strategy of lowering prices has been implemented throughout the luxury watch market. luxury watch market, in particular to stimulate sales volumes (***). The major companies have ...

4.3 The arrival of connected watches disrupts the luxury watch landscape

The connected watch segment is becoming increasingly important, attracting a wide range of players. Indeed, in addition to the big tech players - Apple, Samsung, Google among others - the traditional players in the watch sector areoffering connected watches.having long ignored the competition from these connected watches, it now appears ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Counterfeiting at the heart of regulations governing luxury watches

Luxury watches are particularly affected by counterfeiting and smuggling. The Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (***) is the authority in charge of fighting these frauds, as specified in the Code de la Propriété Intellectuelle and article L. ***-**. * of ...

5.2 Legislation governing the jewelry and metal trade

Jewelry sales in France are strictly regulated and reserved for professionals. The main points to bear in mind regarding these regulations are as follows:

Declaration of Existence: Before starting a business involving precious metals, jewelry professionals must file a declaration of existence with the relevant guarantee office. This declaration is subject ...

6 Positioning the players

6.1 Segmentation

  • Swatch Group
  • Rolex
  • Richemont Group
  • Michel Herbelin
  • Patek Philippe
  • Audemars Piguet
  • Frederique Constant Alpina
  • Dubail
  • Kronometry 1999
  • Wempe
  • Cresus
  • Collector Square
  • La Cote des Montres
  • Berenger
  • Pierre Lannier
  • Aion Group
  • Fleurus Groupe
  • Jean Rousseau Manufacture
  • LVMH Montres et Joaillerie
  • Bucherer (Rolex groupe)
  • Vacheron Constantin (Richemont Groupe)
  • Tudor (Rolex Group)
  • TAG Heuer (LVMH Groupe)
  • Seiko
  • Richard Mille
  • Rado (Swatch Group)
  • Parmigiani Fleurier
  • Panerai (Richemont Groupe)
  • Omega (Swatch Groupe)
  • Longines (Swatch Groupe)
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre (Richemont Groupe)
  • Jacob & Co
  • IWC Schaffhausen (Richemont Groupe)
  • Hublot (LVMH Groupe)
  • Girard-Perregaux
  • Breitling
  • Breguet (Swatch Groupe)
  • Blancpain (Swatch Groupe)
  • Bell & Ross
  • A. Lange & Söhne (Richemont Groupe)
  • Pequignet Horlogerie
  • SBM Lip Horlogerie
  • Utinam
  • Yema
  • SIS Maroquinerie Groupe
  • Perrin Créations Maroquinier

List of charts presented in this market study

  • The global luxury watch market
  • The French watch market
  • How has your attitude towards owning a watch changed over the last five years?
  • Are you ready to pay more than CHF 1,000 for a watch?
  • Growth in the number of watchmaking establishments
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Latest news

Watches: LVMH shows its claws in Florida - 02/02/2024
  • The wealthiest customers' share of global luxury purchases has risen from 35% to 40% over the past three years, according to Bain & Company.
  • LVMH's Watches & Jewelry division is worth €11 billion and has tripled its sales since 2018.
  • It is LVMH's second most profitable division after the Fashion & Leather Goods Division.
  • The company is not looking for very strong growth in volume due to limited production capacities, but rather growth in value with increasingly high-end products.
Herbelin launches Le Coq Sportif's first watch collection - 14/11/2023
  • Location of the Herbelin watchmaker: Charquemont, in the Doubs region.
  • The Integrated range of watches will be assembled in China using Japanese Myota movements.
  • Le Coq Sportif has invested 13.5 million euros in extending its historic factory in Romilly-sur-Seine, Aube.
  • Le Coq Sportif employs 160 people in Romilly-sur-Seine.
  • The Herbelin group employs 130 people.
  • Total sales for the Herbelin group are 25 million euros, of which 30% are exports.
  • A complete, mixed collection of watches is scheduled for release before the 2024 Olympic Games.
  • Le Coq Sportif sales in 2022: 140 million euros. Le Coq Sportif was taken over in 2005 by Swiss investor Airesis.
Luxury goods: Richemont slowed by declining customer morale - 13/11/2023
  • Half-year sales in Europe up 5%
  • Jewelry: 68% of sales, up 10% in the first half
  • Watchmaking: Down by 3%
  • Fashion & Accessories: 1% decline
  • Growth in the United States: 1% increase
  • Growth in Asia: up 23% at constant exchange rates
Charles Piaget, a key figure in the Lip conflict in Besançon, has died - 08/11/2023
  • In the post-68 years, the Lip movement produced and sold a few tens of thousands of watches to survive after the company went bankrupt.
  • Claude Neuschwander, another key player in the Lip movement, died at the age of 89 on August 28.
  • The Lip factory employed 1,200 people four years before its liquidation in 1977
At 50, the Péquignet watch manufacturer is back in the limelight - 06/10/2023
  • The year 2023 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Lip affair and the watchmaker Pequignet.
  • Pequignet was founded in 1973.
  • Hugues Souparis, founder of the family investment fund Enowe, became Pequignet's Chairman in 2021.
  • Pequignet, with around thirty employees, became France's only haute horlogerie manufacture after the release of its first in-house movement, the Calibre Royal, in 2011.
  • Pequignet was acquired by four of its executives in 2017.
  • Several hundred Calibre Initial have already been sold to other watchmakers.
  • Pequignet's sales were announced at 2.9 million euros by the end of 2021.
  • Sales are expected to increase by 15% in 2022.
Rolex aims to consolidate its hold on the watch market - 31/08/2023
  • Rolex accounts for around 40% of sales in the luxury watch sector.
  • The company is said to have passed the one million mark in annual production.
  • Rolex has also exceeded 10 billion euros in sales.
  • The Swiss company plans to invest one billion Swiss francs in new production capacity.
  • Rolex buys Bucherer, a major retailer that previously distributed 5% of its volumes
  • The group plans to employ around 2,000 people at its new production site in Bulle, in the French-speaking part of the canton of Fribourg.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Swatch Group
Richemont Group
Michel Herbelin
Patek Philippe
Audemars Piguet
Frederique Constant Alpina
Kronometry 1999
Collector Square

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