Here at Times Ticking we’re trying our best not to focus primarily on COVID-19 news. That being said, it’s hard to ignore the outpouring of information concerning the pandemic’s effect on the watchmaking industry. Recently we’ve covered the closure of Rolex and Hublot manufacturing facilities in Switzerland—and have included other tidbits of Coronavirus-influenced watch world news. Everything from the cancellation of Baselworld and SIHH (aka Watches and Wonders Geneva) to Romain Jerome filing for bankruptcy is creating an atmosphere of trepidation around upcoming watch events/releases for 2020.
Efforts on all fronts to curb the negative effects of Coronavirus are responsibly slowing down the production of new timepieces. But what does that spell out for some of the world’s largest brands? For some (perhaps many), it means helping retailers sell current inventory to free up space for new products—once quarantines, travel bans, and social distancing measures are lifted. For most luxury maisons it means delaying anticipated drops for their latest creations. As of two days ago (03/30/20) Patek Philippe—a veritable giant in luxury watchmaking (truly a defining name)—announced their decision to postpone all new releases until 2021.
Lending A Hand to Retailers
Patek Philippe was originally slated to release new models in April of this year (2020). With obvious difficulty being faced by their retail partners regarding sales—due to COVID-19—Patek Philippe’s new-release postponement was announced by contacting sellers directly. Taking the pressure of buying new products off of retailers helps both the retailers and Patek Philippe alike. Buying new products while selling current stock is already a financial stress in terms of the bottom line (for sellers)—and new releases only make up a small percentage of yearly profits for most luxury watch companies. In other words, new releases help build and retain a continued interest in a watch brand, but they aren’t always the most profitable aspect of the business. Since current inventories can still be sold, Patek Philippe’s decision will keep the focus on the most profitable aspects of business—for all short term plans. In that vein, some online sources have found that Patek Philippe is currently relaxing payment terms on invoices to help ease financial stressors during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is a mutually beneficial slow down in terms of finance and public safety between both Patek Philippe and their retail partners.
A Likely Resurgence
Postponements like Patek Philippe’s will likely kick in for other watch brands over the next few months. While it’s a disappointing landscape for the immediate future—especially in terms of potential innovation from watchmaking’s finest—it may very well lead to a bountiful upswing. The anticipation of new releases over the course of an entire year will likely impact future sales in a positive way. Watch fans will also likely see a wider swath of releases from their favorite brands—once more resources can be spent on newer projects. Until then, production on more popular pieces from Patek Philippe and others continues to grind slowly onward. Pre-pandemic pieces can still be purchased and will likely keep most companies afloat for the time being. It will be interesting to see where watchmaking will find itself in a year from today. Hopefully everyone will benefit from a slow down, with an even wider variety of watches waiting on the horizon.
Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.