Geneva-based Rolex SA is no longer a family affair.The luxury watchmaker last week named Bruno Meier as head of management, replacing Patrick Heiniger, who retired from his position of managing director and chief executive officer last Tuesday. Heiniger had held the position since 1992, when he took the reins from his father, Andre. The younger Heiniger will continue to be associated with the company in a consulting capacity, but his retirement effectively ends 50 years of the brand being overseen by a member of the Heiniger family.Press reports after Heiniger’s retirement announcement last week linked his stepping down to involvement with the Bernard L. Madoff affair, which the company denied.Meier joined Rolex in 2005 as director of finance. He will be responsible for running the luxury Swiss watch firm’s business along with the board of directors and the management of Rolex SA.The company said the brand saw record sales this year. In June, the company opened a 4,320-square-foot Milan flagship dedicated to the brand, designed by architect Claudio Monti and Rolex’s interior designers. The store houses 200 Rolex styles, plus the $630,000 GMT Ice men’s watch entirely covered in top-quality white diamonds.But while Rolex remains the world’s largest luxury watch brand, it, like others in the sector, faces significant challenges in the year ahead. The global recession has seen the skyrocketing watch sector come firmly back to earth, even as the high-end segment continues to perform well. Exports of Swiss watches declined 15.3 percent in November, underscoring the vulnerability of the timepiece market to the economic crisis. Total exports of Swiss watches last month reached 1.52 billion Swiss francs, or $1.43 billion at current exchange, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. The downturn most affected watches made of less expensive materials, including steel watches, which dove 22 percent in the month.Exports of platinum watches jumped 28 percent, suggesting more expensive pieces continue to fare best in the downturn.“We are cautious on watch players,” said HSBC analyst Antoine Belge in a note to investors. “We do not know how far consumer behavior in this downturn will resemble that seen on previous occasions, but historical evidence shows that the watch segment has been more vulnerable than other product categories to deterioration in the psychological component of the ‘feel-good’ factor.”The federation said most markets registered double-digit declines in November, although France, Germany and the United Arab Emirates recorded increases. Watch exports to China remained stable, the federation said.
A first look at @virgilabloh’s sneakers for @louisvuitton. Abloh spoke to WWD about his debut collection for Louis Vuitton, creating @kendalljenner’s #metgala outfit and redefining the heritage brand. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion 📷: @alfredo_piola)
The world’s largest producer of denim @iskodenim is sharing the strategy behind its product development process. Read our full interview with ISKO’s product development manager Baris Ozden on the company’s extensive research practices, upcoming denim trends and the latest material innovations on WWD.com. #iskodenim
“I genuinely fell in love with water, I fell in love with Fiji, I fell in love with the whole life that we lived for those few months,” says @mrsamclaflin of filming for his new movie “Adrift” with @shailenewoodley. The 31-year-old actor spoke with WWD about his upcoming projects, meeting Jamie Dornan and working with co-star Woodley. #wwdeye (📷: @jamstoker)
3 years ago, fans of the late singer Aaliyah started calling for a collaboration with @maccosmetics. With the strength of social media — including mock ups of products — 25,000 people signed a Change.org petition for a limited-edition collection, and MAC couldn’t ignore the buzz. Tomorrow, MAC will unveil MAC x Aaliyah, a tribute to the singer who passed away nearly 17 years ago. Head to our stories to preview the new collection, which was worked on by Aaliyah’s family and inspired directly by her makeup bag. #wwdbeauty
Artistic director @clarewaightkeller will be dedicating @givenchyofficial’s fall 2018 couture show in Paris on July 1 to house founder Hubert de Givenchy, who passed away in March at age 91. Givenchy said the collection would be “an homage to his iconic creations, technique, and personal lexicon” and a “celebration of his timeless elegance and grace.” Head to WWD.com to read more. #wwdfashion (📷: Delphine Achard)
La Double J made a name for itself with its vintage-inspired prints, but for resort, designer JJ Martin has ventured into new territory: enter rich jewel toned solids and decadent embellishment, in the form of appliqués, crystals and sequins. #wwdfashion #resort19 #ladoublej
This Just In: J. Crew Group has named Johanna Uurasjarvi as its chief design officer.
Uurasjarvi succeeds Somsack Sikhounmuong, who left the company last September. Tap the link in bio for the full report. #wwdnews
“She came into my hotel room and she was like, ‘I have Chanel and Christian Dior.’ She was like, ‘Chanel likes you.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to start crying,’” breakout star Maddie Hasson tells WWD of her styling sessions Molly Dickson. “I really like classic, elegant things. I love the way Anna Wintour dresses.” Read more about Hasson’s role in @impulseseries on wwd.com. (📸: @jgreenery ) #wwdeye
@virgilabloh revealed he's working with Australian stylist and
Vogue Australia fashion director @christinecentenera for his debut @louisvuitton men's collection, which will be presented in Paris on June 21. Centenera met Abloh while both working with Kanye West, where she consulted on his all his runway collections since his debut spring 2012 women's wear show. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews (📷: @asussmanphoto)