Rolex, Patek, Breguet- these brands are just some of the most prominent watchmaking
companies in the world. Any watch that they produce and sell to the market is always
valuable and highly-regarded and what they sell are generally considered as luxury watches.
For a time, people have invested quite a lot of money in Swiss watches and despite
their very high price tag, it is actually that reason why people regard these timepieces
as highly valuable. Their automatic watch is definitely something worth investing your
That being said, search any gray market online and you will find Swiss watches at a
considerably lower price. For instance, there are shops that sell a Rolex watch for just
$78,900 as opposed to their usual $100,000 asking price.
Literally, any watch store that you can find online that are other than the original
companies that sell them all have at least a couple of Swiss watches on offer that has
their prices reduced significantly.
Obviously, people that clamored for such watches would definitely want one as the
significant price cut is just too big to ignore. But, what does this mean for the collectors-
the ones that look at the horological value of a certain timepiece?
In this article, I will go over the possible reasons why Swiss watches today are getting
more affordable and what it means for the watchmaking industry.
The first major factor is China’s anti-corruption drive. It affected the sales and gift-giving
of things that are considered a luxury- such as the Swiss watches and their heavy price tag.
Because of that, the export of Swiss watches to Hong Kong, one of the best countries to
sell luxury watches to, has dropped considerably by 22.9% over the past couple of
years. And, with the rising prices of basic commodities, it is no wonder that people do
not have the resources to even acquire such watches.
Furthermore, smartwatches have become a thing. As more and more people go for
smartwatches as opposed to the luxury watch being offered by companies like Rolex
and Patek, these watchmaking companies are forced to slash their prices considerably
just to get back some of the money that was invested into creating such timepieces.
Another huge factor in the decline of Swiss watch sales is the inventory. At some point
in time, watches have become quite popular that the companies spurred up production.
And, considering that markets like China and Hong Kong are tightening down on their
budgets and the fact that luxury watches, in general, are not being bought in Europe
and Asia, the tremendous amount of unsold watches can be accounted for; hence, the
reason for the decline in prices.
What’s in It for the Industry?
Despite declining sales, there are still people that are willing to spend excessive
amounts of money on these watches.
However, it cannot be denied that the once-blooming industry has turned into something
that only a really select few can purchase.