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Macaluso Upbeat on High-End Watches

High-end watches are so far resisting the shocks from shaky markets worldwide, according to Girard-Perregaux president Luigi Macaluso.

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Basel Preview issue 04/03/2008

High-end watches are so far resisting the shocks from shaky markets worldwide, according to Girard-Perregaux president Luigi Macaluso.

“We’re getting no negative signs from the U.S. and the atmosphere there is good,” said Macaluso during a presentation of GP’s latest models at London’s Design Museum.

“Our real problem now, and we hope it continues in the future, is production and meeting demand,” he said, adding it takes 18 months to craft a GP watch and that all movements are designed and made in-house.

He said new markets such as India, China and Russia are thriving.

“The Chinese customer is becoming a very demanding and sophisticated client,” Macaluso said. “We’re seeing increased demand from Indians living outside India and Russians everywhere are a good market for us.”

Macaluso has unveiled five new models, including one for consumption-minded women, called the ww.tc 24-hour Shopping. The $22,000 watch gives the time around the world, with zones marked by famous shopping meccas, including Bond Street, Via Montenapoleone, Ginza, Dubai, Rodeo Drive and Ipanema.

The watch features 77 round diamonds for a total of 2.25 carats, a mother-of-pearl dial and an alligator strap. It’s similar in design to the new men’s ww.tc Financial Titanium watch that displays 24 time zones, as well as the business hours of the New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo stock exchanges.

Other new models include the Bi-axial Tourbillon, inspired by a 19th-century pocket watch; the Vintage 1945, with off-center hour and minute hands on the enamel dial, and the Sea Hawk Pro 1000 Meters, made from steel and vulcanized rubber.

All the new models will make their official debut at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, in Geneva this spring. Macaluso said he’s “optimistic” about future sales.

“Our watches are for collectors and connoisseurs,” he added. “They’re watches for the next generation, not something you buy on impulse. I suspect that all the brands at this level, including Breguet and Patek Philippe, are experiencing similar trends.”