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Patek Philippe sees flat 2014 sales, minor Hong Kong impact | This is Money patek philippe discount hong kong

Patek Philippe sees flat 2014 sales, minor Hong Kong impact By Reuters

Published: 13:06 EDT, 13 October 2014 | Updated: 13:06 EDT, 13 October 2014

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By Silke Koltrowitz

GENEVA, Oct 13, (Reuters) - Swiss luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe expects sales this year to be similar to last patek-philippe-discount-hong-kong-rid-0.html. patek philippe watches amazon year or slightly higher, with limited fallout from unrest in key market Hong Kong, its chairman told Reuters on Monday.

Watchmakers are grappling with weak demand in the important Asian market, notably China - where a crackdown on corrupt gift-giving has hit sales - and Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protesters have camped out for weeks demanding political change.

"Our sales will be on a similar level to last year, maybe slightly higher," Patek Philippe Chairman Thierry Stern said in an interview ahead of an event in Geneva to celebrate the family-owned brand's 175th anniversary.

Patek Philippe, a privately held company, does not publish any sales or earnings figures but analysts estimate it had sales of around 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) last year.

The firm only makes about 55,000 timepieces a year and many of its high-end watches - which sell for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars - are bought by collectors who order them months or even years in advance, a factor that somewhat shields the brand from short-term market turbulence.

Asked whether the unrest in Hong Kong was hitting sales, Stern said: "Not so far, but there's a risk because it is an important market with many watch collectors ... There will be a small impact, but it's not a major risk for us."

In Hong Kong, which absorbs about a fifth of all Swiss watch exports, the pro-democracy protests escalated late last month after police used tear gas and batons on demonstrators. Since then, police have been largely hands-off and their presence minimal.

On Monday, scuffles broke out between demonstrators, who have paralysed traffic in the heart of the business district for over two weeks, and anti-protest groups trying to force them to give up.

"WORRIED"

"We have to watch the situation carefully. China has decided to clamp down (on the protests) and we don't know what that will lead to," Stern said, adding Hong Kong accounted for about 14 percent of the brand's sales.

"So far, our retailers don't seem to be very affected. Everybody is a bit worried, of course, some want to close shop, others stay open, and some have decided to visit customers at home (instead of receiving them in the shops)."

He said Patek Philippe was protected to an extent because it was a niche brand which made fewer watches and was less focused on sales growth than many of its rivals. Any watches it did not sell in Asia could be shipped to other markets instead, such as Europe, he added.

"In Europe, it's a bit of a struggle, but overall the market is holding up well for us. We've worked a lot for this, also focusing on local customers, while other brands were concentrating all their efforts on China," Stern said.

He said sales in the United States were back to where they were before the crisis years of 2009 and 2010. "I expect to also see good demand for our anniversary models in the U.S. Customers there are happy to spend money on objects with real value."

Swatch Group warned in July of an uncertain outlook for its major market Hong Kong due to the unrest there. Cartier owner Richemont said last month that sales in Hong Kong had fallen in the five months to the end of August.

(1 US dollar = 0.9531 Swiss franc) (Editing by Pravin Char)


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