Wednesday, September 26, 2018

We Sail Tonight for Singapore - The Voyage Continues

Numbers, they say, don't lie.  But sometimes they fib.

Courtesy of FH
Yes, numbers are up.  EXPORT numbers.  And interesting to relate, the US is again up.  Which makes sense because the big three as well as Rolex and Patek have subsidiaries here and they can "park" a lot of watches here.  In speaking with my friends in the retail sector, they are not exactly going out and buying a new sports car.  And some once very influential and successful retailers are seriously contemplating whether or not they will make it through this year.  Because what we often fail to understand when we read the (insert the metaphor of your choice) love-story-comeback-feel good-triumph story put forth by some of my colleagues in the 4th and 5th Estates is the reality that exports are not the same as sales, and more importantly, the increase in exports is very likely to level off fairly dramatically once the new SWISSNESS standards are fully in force.  December 31st the clock will strike midnight, and many of the small and the mighty in the industry will watch the  stock that does not meet the standard still remaining within the Swiss borders turn into pumpkins. 

And apart from that, there is one very curious statistic that I will share, the phenomenal improvement shown by that titan of watch sales... Singapore! 
Mighty Singapore showed an uptick of, wait for it, +25%!  Point of full-disclosure, I have never been to Singapore, but I suffer from a distinct sense of incredulity in believing that the demand in Singapore is that great right now.  Is the Grey and Soft Grey market demand great?  Sorry, silly question ; )

And now a little inside baseball for all of you who think I might be full of it, ever wonder how the grey-market and soft-grey market always seem to have so much product?  And have you ever heard the near comedic response of brand managers and their Swiss and German ownership claiming to be just as shocked and concerned as their frustrated and pissed-off retail partners?  Well, to quote that other great commentator on the watch industry - Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan (Millers Crossing) -

“I’d worry a lot less if I thought you were worrying enough.”

Here's hoping that I'm wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment