WorldWatchReport™ Featured in Forbes Middle East
July-August 2013 Issue – According to luxury watch experts, the WorldWatchReport™, Saudi Arabia ranks amongst the top 20 export markets for luxury watches. The country lays in 19th place, hot on the heels of the UAE in 18th place and one spot ahead of Qatar. Meanwhile, though the Saudi market experienced weak growth of -18% from 2011 to 2012, sub-par performance which also applies to the region at large, does not spell disaster. “The drop is artificial…on the basis that between 2010 and 2012, a certain number of brands opened mono-brand boutiques in the region,” explains Omar Chaoui, General Manager of Alfardan Jewellery in Doha. This he explains, resulted in increased sell-in during the first year of operation for the new stores.
Sell-in may be costly but long term profit is there for the taking in a country with a penchant for Swiss couture at its best. Laetitia Hirschy, Project Manager at the WorldWatchReport™, explains that the kingdom’s most sought-after watches fall into the “Prestige” category, accounting for 49.11% of the Saudi market. Luxury names from Rolex and Omega to TAG Heuer and Breitling count amongst the lineup of prestitious brands, with AlTayeb’s most recent partner, IWC, also in the mix. Haute Horlogerie (fine watchmaking) brands, meanwhile, represent the smallest yet one of the fastest growing segments with Patek Philippe’s Twenty-4 model constituting the category’s most desirable model in Saudi Arabia.
In line with the kingdom’s taste for glitz and glamour, Hirschy explains, “Diamonds and gold represent the most popular material in the region according to online luxury watch client searches, with almost double the number of searches than on a global level.” This, she continues, fits with the models currently garnering favor, including Patek Philippe’s Twenty-4.
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