Swiss Luxury Brands Bucked Western Economic Trends, Posted Record Profits in 2011

Despite international austerity and the depressing economic outlook of many countries, luxury retailers had a banner year in 2011, posting significant gains where other retailers are still seeing losses. The Swiss watch industry, the heart of haute horology, has been at the forefront of the recent boon and has been a huge factor in driving industry growth over the last few years; in fact, 2011 was a record-breaking year for many Swiss watch and jewelry brands. The Swatch Group, LVMH, and Richemont have all seen sales growth of 15 percent of more, crediting their fine jewelry and watch brands for generating much of that burgeoning bottom line. Much of this success can be attributed to opening markets on continents other than North America and Europe, as well as enhanced marketing practices.

The Swatch Group, home to such esteemed brands as Breguet, Blancpain, Tissot, Omega and Tourbillon, had a record year in 2011, posting a sales increase of 21.7 percent and an operating profit of 12.4 percent over the pervious year. Even while European economic turmoil and exchange rates had negative effects on the ultimate bottom line, the watches and jewelry sector still showed a gain of approximately $1.5 billion. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, “The group’s leading brands recorded very impressive rates of growth not only in the enlarged China, but also in all other regions and in all price segments. Despite the unfavourable economic situation, the Swatch Group maintained its consistent policy of renouncing short-term price increases, preferring to focus on gains in market share.” Stepping up marketing efforts within the watches and jewelry sector, instead of raising prices, the Swatch Group saw its operating profit grow by 8.4 percent.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA reported sales growth of 16 percent last year, with an operating profit increase of 22 percent and a net profit of $4.12 billion. The watches and jewelry group within LVMH recorded astounding increases of 98 percent in sales and 107 percent in operating profits. (Equating to +23 percent and 41 percent based on comparable structures.) Dedicated consumers in the Western Hemisphere responded well to marketing and innovative additions, while growth in Asian markets added to the LVMH global marketplace. Tag Heuer successfully launched the Mikrograph and Mikrotimer; Hublot introduced a popular new Masterpieces collection; Zenith and Bulgari brought back some well-loved classics.

Tag Heuer Mikrograoh (right) and Mikrotimer (left)
Tag Heuer Mikrograoh (right) and Mikrotimer (left)
Hublot Masterpiece #1 (on left) and #2 (on right)
Hublot Masterpiece #1 (on left) and #2 (on right)

Richemont, the Swiss luxury holding company that boasts subsidiaries such as Baume et Mercier, Cartier, Piaget and Montblanc, increased its sales by 33 percent and gross profit by 38 percent – a gain of approximately $1.6 billion. Operating profit grew by nearly double that amount – 63 percent. The highest sales growth occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, at 48 percent (or, by $3.67 billion) and sales in Japan were up by 18 percent. “We will continue to invest in their organic growth through higher levels of capital spending in manufacturing capacity and in the further development of the group’s own retail network,” said Richemont CEO, Johann Rupert. “Particularly in growth markets.” To that end, the company grew its freestanding boutique stores to a total of 876 last year – primarily in growing Asian markets.

Cartier in Tokyo

While the Asian continent currently represents the largest growth market for the industry, Australia, South America and Africa have also been the focus of luxury brand marketing efforts. Tag Heuer, an LVMH brand that began opening North American retail boutiques only last year, has established stores in Australia, South Africa as well as across the Middle East and India. They have a retail location in Argentina and a customer service location in Chile also, catering to a small but dedicated (and growing) clientele in those regions.

Map of Tag Heuer Brand Boutiques Worldwide
Map of Tag Heuer Brand Boutiques Worldwide

It would certainly seem that a truly global reach is the safest buffer against increasingly unpredictable western markets. But it probably doesn’t hurt to be well known and widely respected for beautiful and high quality products either.

Irish Company Hijacking Russian Domain Names from Swiss Watchmakers? Tissot is the Latest Member of Swatch Group to Bring Charges against Holmrook, Ltd.

An Irish Company seems to have set its sights on Russian domain names that have been trademarked by makers of luxury Swiss watches who are members of The Swatch Group.

Holmbrook Limited, a company based in Dublin, has found itself in legal battles brought by the brands Longines Watch Co., Rado Uhren and now Tissot AG for hijacking Russian (.ru) domain names that the watchmakers believe are rightfully theirs.

In earlier proceedings, the Moscow Commerical Court sided with Longines and Rado, prohibiting Holmrook from using the domain names and awarding the claimants modest monetary damages, but Tissot has not been as successful. On December 6, 2011, the court ruled against the company, stating that Holmrook was neither the owner of the tissot.ru domain name, nor its administrator. Apparently, Holmrook had given the name and well as administration rights to an individual named Nikolai Mikhailyukov free of charge. Mikhailyukov has been using the site to post information about the French painter, James Jacques Joseph Tissot.

Tissot AG claims that the site was not dedicated to the painter until after charges had already been filed.

Tissot: The Watch and Tissot: The Painter

Why Holmrook is targeting Swiss watchmakers is unclear; what the company even does is hard to pin down with a simple Google search. Holmrook Limited has no website, no Wikipedia page and no presence within social media. In fact, the bulk of its public activity seems to be defending itself in court against angry Swiss watchmakers.

Steve Levy, a writer for The Fair Winds Blog: DomainStrategy.com, has a theory. “It would seem Holmrook’s main function is investing in domain names (some may call it cybersquatting instead of investing), and I view the use of content relating to the artist James Tissot to be a clever ruse which was specifically intended to avoid enforcement. It would be like someone registering apple.ru and posting pictures of fruit but with the real intention of waiting for the famous computer/mobile device company to seek out the owner and offer them a huge sum to buy the domain.”

On his website, Levy makes the comment that these problems tend to abound in Russian web spaces, due to “lax copyright enforcement and a rampant counterfeiting industry.” His suggestion to businesses is to register any important trademarks in the .ru domain quickly, before cybersquatters do.

An appeal by Tissot was scheduled for Feb. 8, 2012 before the Russian Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals. And it’s a good bet that Omega, Union Glashütte, Breguet, Tourbillon, Calvin Klein and other Swatch Group companies are registering .ru domain names as quickly as possible.The Swatch Group Pic and Logo

Tissot Prepares for Valentine’s Day with Special Women’s Watch

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Swiss watchmaker Tissot showcases their collection of fine women’s watches. Known for their unique design, Tissot’s watches could be the perfect signature Valentine’s gift.

Last year, Tissot held a Valentine’s Day contest to give away one of their Tissot Lady Heart watches. The Lady Hearts have a heart-shaped cage on the face, making them a literal luxury watch valentine. But this year, Tissot is taking a new and more independent approach to the traditional holiday of love.

For Valentine’s Day 2012, Tissot released a special edition of their famous touch watch collection: the Tissot T-Touch II Lady Diamonds. More than just a watch, the T-Touch Lady Diamonds is the perfect gift for the bold, adventurous woman. First introduced in 1999, Tissot’s T-touch technology adds versatility through touch-screen sport features perfects for climbers, divers, sailers and racers. The Lady Diamonds features a touch screen altimeter, barometric pressure meter, thermometer and compass. The diamonds are set into a white mother-of-pearl dial in trapezoids at the 2, 12 and 10 positions and partially at 4, 6 and 8. The combination of advanced functionality and classic design makes the T-Touch Lady Diamonds unique. The Swiss-made Tissot T-Touch II Lady Diamonds features:

The Tissot T-Touch Lady Diamonds watch
The Tissot T-Touch Lady Diamonds is the perfect unique Valentine’s Day gift.
  • Anti-magnetic polished titanium case with rotating bezel
  • Water resistant to 100 meters
  • Tactile scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with antireflective coating
  • White mother-of-pearl dial with Top Wesselton inset diamonds
  • Genuine white leather bracelet
  • Electronic LCD movement (caliber E48.311)
  • Dial size 42.7 mm wide and 43.4 mm long
  • Quartz movement with battery end-of-life indicator
  • Butterfly clasp and push-buttons
  • Alarm function
  • Accurate compass, thermometer, altimeter and barometric pressure gauge
  • Tissot signature T-touch technology

Tissot’s Valentine’s tribute combines Swiss timekeeping precision, advanced sport features and sophisticated design. Tissot says, “Through this gift you will be helping her reach for the stars, making sure she is never caught off guard by the cold winter temperatures and even shielding her from the storms ahead. But more importantly, no matter how far or high she goes, she will always be able to find her way back to you. Your love and protection will only be a touch away thanks to the timepiece’s amazing functions.” Those wishing to test out Tissot’s revolutionary touch technology can check out their app on the Apple App Store: Tissot T-Touch Expert. The fun app is free and simulates some of the features of the Tissot T-Touch watches.

 

Danica Patrick is an Iconic Tissot Brand Ambassador

Luxury watchmaker Tissot has a long history of producing fine timepieces. The brand has been an industry leader and the partnerships the company has formed with it’s brand ambassadors is no exception. As the official timekeeper of NASCAR, it makes sense that one of Tissot’s sponsored people is Danica Patrick, the most successful woman in the history of American auto racing.

 

Tissot is a luxury Swiss watchmaker that was founded in 1853. The company produced the first mass-produced pocket watch in 1853. Other firsts for the brand include the first watches made out of plastic, stone, mother of pearl, and wood. Tissot is the official timekeeper of organizations such as the Chinese Basketball Association, the Australian Football League, and NASCAR.

 

Danica Patrick’s racing career began in 1992 as a 10 year old go-kart racer. At 16, Patrick moved to England and began racing in British national series events. On May 25 2005, after a return to the United States, Patrick became the fourth woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500. She also became the first woman to lead the race. In 2009, Patrick finished third at the Indianapolis 500, the highest finish ever for a woman at that race. She currently races within the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Danica Patrick and Tissot
Danica Patrick is a Brand Ambassador for Tissot.

 

The partnership between Tissot and Patrick is a long one. In addition to Patrick being a brand ambassador, Tissot has also been a sponsor in her career, serving as the primary sponsor on Patrick’s No. 7 Car in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series. The PRC 200 (Danica Patrick 2011) is the watch associated with Tissot and Patrick.

 

Tissot has a relationship with auto racing as well as having a reputation for being an innovative watchmaker. Because of this, it makes perfect sense in choosing Danica Patrick as one of it’s brand ambassadors. Patrick is an innovator in the field of auto racing, forging a new path in a sport that has traditionally been dominated by men.

Tissot Watch Announced to be Official Partner of Jungfrau Railway Centenary in Switzerland This Year

Written By: Catherine Wolinski

Tissot, a Swiss luxury watchmaker that is part of the Swatch group, has been selected to be the Official Watch Partner of the Jungfrau Railway’s Centenary, happening this year.

Jungfrau Railway in Switzerland
Jungfrau Railway in Switzerland

Jungfraubahn, the 5.8-mile mountain railway in Switzerland, was inaguarated on August 1, 1912, after 16 years of construction. This year, it will celebrate it’s 100th year in service, with Tissot as its official watch partner.

The reason for such a partnership is the significant need for timing and precision on this, Europe’s highest-altitude railway. Climbing to over 3,000 meters above sea level, the ability to keep track of precise engineering is key to the Jungfrau Railway’s functionality. The company decided Tissot will be the perfect partner, so two of the Swiss watchmaker’s clocks will count down in the Jungfrau Region to the zero hour on Aug. 1 2012 to mark the railway’s 100th birthday.

The partnership between the two companies is not unlikely; both are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Moreso, despite its cold temperatures and frequent snowstorms, the railway station is a common attraction for tourists. Referred to as the top of Europe, Junfraujoch is a tourist melting pot, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world each year. Tissot and the Jungfrau Railway share roots of location as well as in values, such as unparalleled innovation and success in challenging climates (both literal and figurative). Unfavorable geographical settings and weather conditions are difficult landscapes for any conglomerate to prosper, but each stayed committed to producing a product for people that kept them at the top of their class.

Tissot Watches
Tissot Watches

Some of Tissot’s innovations include introducing the first mass’produced pocket watch, as well as the first pocket watch with more than one time zone, in 1853. The manufacturer is also pioneer for the production of the first anti-magnetic watch in 1929. In terms of materials used in manufacturing, Tissot was the first to use plastic, stone, mother of pearl, and wood, all created throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The company’s partnership with the first railway to pioneer such high altitudes is certainly appropriate, as Tissot, too, has proven the ability to exceed expectations by reaching and surpassing people-pleasing limits.