Sunday, August 2, 2015

The New Horological Center for the US - Florida...

Let me kick this off by stating that I have no strong feelings about Florida one way or the other.

But what has been happening over the last few years would give someone from outside the industry or in other countries the impression that Florida was a HOTBED of  horological knowledge and demand.  That would, sorry to say, be patently false.

New York had traditionally been the "must have address" in the US for a Swiss brand.  Patek, Rolex and others proudly flew the company flag from Manhattan.  Now the irony in all of this is that by and large, most people in the US could care one way or the other.  It sounded a bit impressive, but in all honesty I don't think it influenced the decisions of potential retailers or the customer.  But it sure sounded good to the bosses back in Switzerland to say that they were based there.

Lately, this has changed.  First slow, now rather dramatically.  Swatch Group shifted a huge portion of its offices down to Florida, and suddenly Indeed and Career Builder were swollen with job opportunities in the greater Miami area.

This starts to beg the question of "why".

It actually isn't that complicated.  Florida is incredibly inexpensive to set up a business in.  Land is cheap (and getting cheaper) the tax policies are incredibly advantageous, and let's just say that the labor laws being what they are in Florida... any self-respecting nineteenth century industrialist would have sold his own mother to move down there and set up shop.  Plainly put, it is not a state that favors the rights of the worker.

This is the reality of a global economy and of running an outpost of an empire from thousands of miles away.  America is perhaps not the most lucrative market for the luxury industry - but China while growing in population is rapidly diminishing in terms of the number of people who might hope to be luxury customers.  So we shall wait, and we shall see.  But if you are looking forward to working for a few of the bigger brands, get ready to move to Florida or Texas, because the folks in Switzerland are starting to realize that economies have to be made, and New York is getting a bit too expensive.

But there is good news - you will not be paying state income tax!

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