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17.7.15

Is the World Going Watch Crazy?

When it comes to jewellery, I am not fussy. I quite happily wear the same jewellery day in day out, and I only own one working watch. A beautiful silver Michael Kors watch that I got for my birthday last year.

It is a great looking watch, which suits me and I am more than happy with it, but my husband is something of a watch fanatic, he would love to own a whole draw full of luxury watches. If he ever gets to be rich and famous I am sure that is exactly what will happen, while I would go out and build a handbag mountain.

In the meantime, he loves nothing more than browsing around jewellers and watch shops looking at all of the latest watches. If I left him to his own devices, he would literally be there for hours and it seems that he is not alone.

After years of falling sales, people are once again falling in love with watches. In 2014, global watch sales reached the $50bn mark. That is a record for the industry, and sales in 2015 are expected to be even higher.

Prior to 2014, sales of watches were falling. The recession slowed consumer spending in all areas. In addition, the emergence of smartphones left many people not using a watch at all. During the past decade, watch usage has fallen from 90%+ to around 60%, but the latest global sales figures show that this trend is now reversing and watches are back.

Interestingly, it is luxury watches that people are buying the most. Sales in this sector have soared and, in 2014, they hit record levels.

Sale growth has been seen across the sector including at the lower end with sales of watches priced at the $2,000 to $10,000 end of the market being particularly strong. It seems that many ordinary people are splashing the cash, going out, and buying their dream watch. (I hope my husband does not read this.)

Most people will keep and use that watch for life and pass it on to the next generation. Many will still rely on their smartphone to tell them the time during their workday, but they want a watch to wear at weekends and for special occasions.

People seem to be rejecting convenience. They are going back to enjoying owning a beautifully crafted watch, which is built to last provided it is looked after. The problem is that looking after these watches is not as easy as it once was. It seems that watch repair and servicing are dying trades.

In the US, finding a watch repairer or servicer anywhere but in a large city is not easy. If you do not live in a city in the US, you may have to send your luxury watch away to get it serviced. In the UK, it is easier. For example, I quickly found watch servicing in Bishops Stortford, which is a small UK town where I have friends, but could not find anyone who could service my watch anywhere near my area.

If you are going to splash the cash and buy a luxury watch in some areas, you need to be prepared to send your watch away for repair and servicing. You may need to buy a spare to use while your normal watch is away. I can see my husband’s face lighting up when he reads this; he will be delighted and take it as a sign that he needs to buy two rather than one luxury watch.

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