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WorldTempus Newsletter
Editorial - Major changes in physical and virtual watch retail

Editorial Major changes in physical and virtual watch retail

Recent announcements point to consolidation in watch retailing.

The changes we have seen in the watch retail landscape over the past week or so put the relatively modest adaptations to the format of our newsletter into the shade. As you hopefully noticed last week, we have aimed to streamline the appearance and content of our weekly newsletter, which we will continue to send out every Monday morning with a look ahead to the week's news.

One of the main changes is that you have to click through to the site to read my editorial in full. That editorial will, however, be more focused on a particular theme each week. Another change is that one article from the previous week is singled out at the top of the list below. The choice of which article appears will be made based on the simple criteria of popularity or the relative importance of a particular subject or watch in our view.

Beyond that you will find the usual links to our monthly competitions, our unique pieces on the WorldTempus shop and the video and watches of the week. The layout has been designed to reflect that of the site, which celebrates one year in its new guise. We hope you like the new look and welcome your feedback.

E-commerce came in at number three in my list of challenges that the watch industry faces in 2018, behind shaky demand and political uncertainty. Announcements in just the first few weeks of the year suggest that I may have underestimated its significance. The management of jd.com were out in force during the SIHH, signing up several new brands for their luxury platform in addition to the big names they already have. Barely had watch retailers returning from the SIHH touched down on their home tarmac, their money freshly invested in the 2018 collections, when Richemont announced its intention to acquire the remaining shares in YNAP (YOOX Net-A-Porter Group) that it didn't already own. Less than one week after Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari, told me “it’s better to be leading [in e-commerce] than following!”, the management of the Richemont Group seems to be taking e-commerce equally seriously.

But the consolidation is not confined just to e-commerce: last week came the news that Bucherer had acquired leading US retailer Tourneau and with it 28 new retail locations in the United States. After the take-over of the Watch Gallery in the UK last year, this continues the Swiss group's expansion into the English-speaking markets with a strong presence in the world's second biggest market for watch exports.

With brands, retailers and even news websites embracing e-commerce, the competition for the customer gets ever fiercer. Luckily there is no let-up in the supply of watches for those customers, as the content available on WorldTempus this week shows with coverage of the 150th anniversary collection from IWC, the hidden jewellery beauties and the various extremes seen at this year’s SIHH.

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