Swatch Group Announces £629m Bounceback to Profit

The pandemic hit many watch brands hard but after a tough 2020 when Swatch Group made a loss of CHF53m in 2020, the company posted a whopping CHF774m profit for 2021.

That’s around £629m in Sterling. For shareholders the bonus is a 60% increase in the dividend compared to 2020.

So how did they do it? Partly, it was down to increased demand for luxury watches in 2021 as a result of the rich getting richer via the pandemic. Furlough cash, PPE contracts, crypto boom, property boom, classic cars & motorcycles shooting up in value. Plus many people on middle class public sector salaries saved 5K a year on commuting, plus 3K on a family holiday.

OMEGA

Some models like the Omega Seamaster/Speedmaster for example have defnitely been `price walked’ upwards with special gold editions and variants. The Aqua Terra 38mm/41mm range was also an instant hit, with its high contrast blue/white dial.

Swatch Group also shed some 2000 staff, which helps reduce the salary and benefits bill. Tax too, since every employee means paying a big chunk of tax to whatever government they are domiciled in.

BREGUET: BIG IN CHINA

Breguet may mean little to most watch collectors in Europe, but in China it’s a different story. There the Breguet brand is an artisan legend, for in a nation where manufacturing is automated, the traditional skill of painstaking, handmade, craft is always revered.

2021 saw the opening of new Breguet boutiques around the
world including two in China, at Beijing’s Wang Fu Central and
in Nanjing Road in Shanghai. There were also two renovations,
one in Vienna, Austria and the other in South Korea, in Seoul’s
Shinsegae Department Store in Gangnam.

In parallel, the period was marked by the installation of some 20 shop-in-shops, from New York (USA) to Nagoya (JP), via Nice (FR).

HARRY WINSTON

Diamonds and emeralds proved popular last year as bait for the Harry Winston brand. Two new HW stores opened in China. Plus another shop in Milan. For Swatch HW gives them an entry into the world of bespoke jewellery collections for the super rich, not just watches. It looks set to grow as the Hunger Games world economy shifts assets and wealth from the many, to the few.

RUSSIA

Swatch Group invested quite a bit in Russia last year, although they say that Russia only accounts for 1% of sales globally.  Longines opened a solo store in Moscow, events were sponsored and Balmain was launched in Russia too. Tissot is also a very strong brand there and Swatch brokered a deal last year to authorise 50 local distributors to open pop-up Tissot stores across Russia.

All that of course has gone by the board now.

 

 

 

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