Global interest in the most exclusive luxury timepieces (haute horlogerie) increased by 7 percent in 2012, according to the preliminary results of a global report. Meanwhile, the most popular brands and models remain in this highest category of watches remain consistent.
Luxury industry market intelligence firm,Digital Luxury Group, recently released the results of the haute horlogerie category (18 brands) of the WorldWatchReport, based on an analysis of watch-related search queries typed into major global search engines. Among its findings:
1. Compared to the previous year, the highest-end category of luxury watches, haute horlogerie, experienced a 7% increase in brand interest. “This marks the third year in a row that the online interest of this highest-end segment of luxury watches has increased, showing the continued strength of haute horlogerie within the overall market,” said Florent Bondoux, DLG head of Strategy & Intelligence.
2. Of the 20 markets analyzed in the study, nearly half (47%) of global interest for haute horlogeriestems from Brazil, Russia, India, China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Mainland China on its own compromises 31 percent of the global demand or twice as much as the U.S. market.
3. There’s a downward trend in mature luxury watch markets with the U.S. down by 10.6 percent and Japan down by 11.7 percent in its share of global demand. While relative share of demand has progressively shrank in the past three years in most established markets, for the first time since the report’s launch in 2004, there was an absolute decline in domestic demand in the U.S. and Japan.
4. Patek Philippe remains by far the leading haute horlogerie watch brand with 23.6 percent of brand interest share. Jaeger-LeCoultre takes the second spot with 12.7 percent, closely followed by Vacheron Constantin at 12.6 percent, Audemars Piguet at 9.2 percent and Breguet at 7.7 percent.
5. Along with Richard Mille, Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe also record the highest growth rates in brand interest year-over-year, with 26 percent and 10.2 percent, respectively. Founded in 2001, the Richard Mille brand is the fastest growing haute horlogerie brand (61% over last year), followed by Vacheron Constantin (26%), and Patek Philippe (10.2%).
6. Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, reinforcing its leading position of last year, continues its reign as the most sought-after haute horlogerie watch model, increasing its online interest by 5 percent over the last year, likely an effect of the increased communications surrounding the icon’s 40th anniversary. Though the Royal Oak leads globally, local preferences arise for other models in markets such as Japan (Girard-Perregaux’s 1945), China (Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas), and Russia (Blancpain’s Leman).
Haute horlogerie brands tracked in this preview report were: A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Bovet, Breguet, De Bethune, Frank Muller, Girard-Perregaux, Glashütte Original, Greubel Forsey, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Jaquet Droz, Parmigiani, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Ulysse Nardin and Vacheron Constantin.
The full edition of the WorldWatchReport, which this year will cover more than 60 watch brands in 20 markets worldwide, will be available in April.