PARIS — Switzerland's Swatch Group, the maker of Omega, Swatch and Breguet watches, said "outstanding" double-digit growth in Asia, and the Middle East drove its full-year sales ahead by a better-than-expected 17.6 percent.
Swatch, whose other brands include Jacquet Droz, Blancpain and Glashutte Original, said unfavorable currency exchange rates and rising raw materials costs had "squeezed" margins for the year.
But it said it expected to report "above-average" increases in operating profits and net income for 2007. Meanwhile, Swatch predicted that strong market conditions for high-end watches would continue this year.
"Despite the current wave of turbulence in financial markets, [Swatch] expects the positive trend to continue," the company said, predicting double-digit growth for January.
Extraordinary demand for high-end watches over the last few years has driven growth at most luxury Swiss timepiece manufacturers. Since many of the most complicated — and coveted — pieces take months to produce, demand often has exceeded supply.
The Swiss Watch Federation reported exports of Swiss-made timepieces grew 17 percent in November, with exports of luxury pieces growing even faster.
Swatch said sales of its watch and jewelry division last year gained 20.4 percent to 4.71 billion Swiss francs, or $3.93 billion at average exchange rates. Though growth was exceptional in Asia and the Middle East, Europe and America also "recorded solid double-digit growth in sales," Swatch said.
Demand for movements from outside companies contributed to a 20.9 percent rise to 1.68 billion Swiss francs, or $1.4 billion, in sales at Swatch's production division, while sales at its electronic systems grew 6.2 percent to 630 million Swiss francs, or $525.6 million.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)