Total Internet searches for luxury watches jumped 39.3 percent in the first half of 2012 versus the same period a year earlier, according to the study by the Geneva-based Digital Luxury Group (DLG). Prestige watches saw the most rapid growth, with searches booming by 73 percent, it added.
“The interest continues to grow, but there are indicators that the purchase cycle has slowed,” stated Florent Bondoux, head of strategy and intelligence at DLG.
Swiss watch exports to China fell by 12.3 percent in October, while sales to Hong Kong edged up 2.7 percent, reflecting ongoing softness in those key markets, according to the latest statistics published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.
The DLG study found that the top 10 most-searched-for brands in the first half of the year were Omega, Rolex, Longines, Cartier, Rado, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, Piaget and Chanel, in that order. Rolex pushed Longines out of the number-two spot, while Vacheron Constantin and Chanel both gained two positions.
The top 10 accounted for nearly 80 percent of all searches, indicating that smaller brands still have a tough time in China. To wit, five watch models — the Omega De Ville, Omega Constellation, Cartier Ballon Bleu, Chanel J12 and Longines Master — accounted for more than half of online interest.
Interest in luxury timepieces has spread from the major coastal cities of Shanghai and Beijing to the west of the country. “A retail presence in the coastal cities is not sufficient anymore and as a consequence, smaller brands might be penalized for not being able to develop their retail network in the middle and west region as big brands nowadays do,” the study noted.
In a separate survey published in January, DLG found that in 2011, China for the first time surpassed the U.S. as the leading market for luxury timepieces by the number of Internet searches, accounting for a quarter of all searches mentioning top watch brands.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast