PARIS — Exports of Swiss watches climbed 6.3 percent in November, propelled by a surge in demand from China and confirming an “uneven” recovery in business, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry said on Thursday.Sales of Swiss watches totaled 2 billion Swiss francs, or $2.01 billion, with exports to China clocking their fastest growth in 30 months, up nearly 40 percent. The federation said the monthly figures confirmed a recovery in business but characterized it as uneven, with key markets either growing swiftly or falling moderately.Analysts said the overall monthly rise matched expectations.Hong Kong, the industry’s most important market, posted 4.4 percent growth, marking eight months of gains there. The federation attributed swift growth in Japan, up 23 percent, to Chinese tourists in that market.The U.S. market is gradually improving with a 0.4 percent decrease, a better performance than steeper declines of previous months, but remains negative over the year. Sales to the U.K. have “run out of steam,” since September, according to the federation, and were down 1.9 percent in November.Exports to Europe contrasted during the period, with brisk growth in Italy, up 5 percent; and France, up 19 percent; but declines in Germany, down 0.2 percent, and Spain, with a 6.5 percent decrease.Considered a barometer of the luxury goods industry, monthly watch exports are scrutinized for clues about the broader health of the luxury goods sector.The fastest growth came from watches priced between 200 and 500 Swiss francs, up 19 percent in terms of value. Exports of watches worth less than 200 Swiss francs fell, however, down 11 percent, prompting the federation to characterize the category as “still in a difficult situation despite a more favorable general environment.”In recent months, analysts have flagged the lower-priced watch segment as most vulnerable, due to competition from Apple’s connected watch.Pricier watches performed better, the November figures show, with an 11 percent rise for watches in the 500 to 3,000 Swiss franc rang while more expensive ones rose 4.3 percent.The 6.3 percent monthly rise in watch exports met expectations, said analysts.Mario Ortelli from Bernstein noted the figure was “in line with our expectation overall of growth,” noting the figures compared to weak year-before figures, as well as the outperformance of middle-range watches compared to the less-expensive watches which were hit by competition from smart watches.Optimism has gradually returned to the industry in recent months, following a drop in exports last year of nearly 10 percent.“I do not expect a bounce-back with incredible growth rate,” said Ortelli, who projects around 3 percent growth for the global luxury watch market in 2018. He expects the watch market’s future landscape to be competitive, noting the images of some brands were damaged by cutting prices in 2015 and 2016 after increasing them excessively in 2011, 2012 and 2013.Rogerio Fujimori of RBC Capital Markets also said the monthly growth figure was in line with expectations, adding it supported his outperform rating for Swatch Group and Compagnie Financière Richemont.The “strong outperformance” of watches in the 200 to 3,000 Swiss franc range “bodes particularly well for Swatch Group,” according to Fujimori, who sees the group’s Omega and Longines brands among the best-performing of the Swiss watch industry in the second half of this year, and likely gaining market share.“This more than offsets persisting weakness” for watches priced under 200 Swiss Francs, added Fujimori, noting that segment accounts for just 15 percent of Swatch Group sales.“Richemont continues to benefit from healthy trends in the high-price segment. We remain positive on both names going into 2018,” concluded Fujimori, referring also to Swatch Group.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)