Switzerland exported the fewest quartz watches in 33 years as competition from fitness bands and smartwatches pummeled the low end of the market and forced the industry to refocus on more expensive mechanical timepieces. Swiss watchmakers shipped 17 million quartz and electronic timepieces in 2017, the lowest number since 1984, according to statistics published Tuesday by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. By value, that was worth 3.5 billion francs ($3.7 billion), down 3.8 percent from 2016.
If you buy a "Swiss-made" watch thinking it's almost entirely produced in Switzerland, you might be mistaken. The manufacture of components including dials, sapphire glass and cases is flourishing in China, Thailand and Mauritius and many of these end up in watches designated as "Swiss-made". Stricter rules came into force last year for watches bearing the coveted label on their dial and for which consumers are prepared to pay a premium.
Fans of the iconic Hermès Birkin bags are beating the long waiting list by scoring the bags at auctions. The much sought-after Birkins have been continuously breaking auction records. A rare Hermès Birkin bag sold at auction early Wednesday morning at Christie’s in Hong Kong for a whopping $382,000. It’s set a record as the priciest handbag ever sold at auction. The collector, who won the bid by phone, is not from Asia.
Ten years from the onset of the global financial crisis, global wealth has grown by 27%, according to Credit Suisse Research Institute’s 2017 Global Wealth Report. The world’s richest people have seen their share of the globe’s total wealth increase from 42.5% at the height of the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1% in 2017, or $140tn, according to Credit Suisse’s global wealth report published on Tuesday.
Luxury goods maker Hermes said Wednesday that sales had accelerated during the third quarter across all its major markets and notably in its two biggest regions of Europe and Asia. Hermes said revenues were up by 6.4 percent at €1.337 billion ($1.5 billion) in the period from July to September. The result was ahead of analysts' average expectations of an about 8.5% revenues increase, as demand for the group's scarves, bags and clothes accelerated since the previous quarter when sales rose 8.3%.
The seven-floor home, located at the St. Moritz ski resort in Switzerland, was "designed to make a billionaire's jaw drop," listing agent Senada Adzem of Douglas Elliman Real Estate told "Secret Lives of the Super Rich." And within the resort sits the most expensive house for sale in the country, on the market for $185 million. As featured on a recent episode of CNBC's "Secret Lives of the Super Rich," the lavish home includes everything from a hidden library to an underground lake.
Luxury goods maker Richemont expects first-half net profit to rise by more than two-thirds, partly benefiting from the nonrecurrence of exceptional items. Swiss watchmakers are recovering from a severe downturn in demand, mainly due to a collapse of the Hong Kong market that had prompted the world's second-biggest luxury group to buy back excess inventory of unsold watches and cut jobs and replace almost all its brand chiefs.
Gucci has banned the use of fur. The Kering-owned megabrand says the ban with take effect with its Spring/Summer 2018 collections and it has signed up to the Fur Free Alliance, an organisation that promises to end exploitation and killing of animals for fur, as part of a wider sustainability plan. “Do you think using furs today is still modern? I don’t think it’s still modern and that’s the reason why we decided not to do that. It’s a little bit out-dated,” chief executive and president Marco Bizzarri told BoF ahead of a speech in London outlining the move. “Creativity can jump in many different directions instead of using furs.”
LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury goods company, reported higher-than-expected revenue growth for the third quarter on Monday, setting a high bar for peers after strong sales at its fashion brands. LVMH, home to labels like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Moet & Chandon champagne, said like-for-like revenues, which strip out currency swings and acquisitions or disposals, grew 12 percent from a year earlier to €30.1 billion ($35.4 billion). That beat the 9 percent organic growth forecast in an analyst poll compiled for Reuters by Inquiry Financial and was stable from the previous quarter, in spite of a weaker showing by LVMH’s spirits unit and a tricky foreign exchange climate.
Following a couple of weeks of public uproar after the French government said it was going to scrap a wealth tax that applies to personal assets of more than $1.5 million, Emmanuel Macron’s administration will propose a tax on luxury yachts, supercars and precious metals in France’s 2018 budget. Macron, a former Rothschild banker, has been trying to shake off the label of “president of the rich,” but the September proposal of replacing the tax on high-end assets such as jewellery with just a real estate tax didn’t help his cause.
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