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    On The Prowl

September 24, 2016

Woolfe about town: Upcoming events

IWC & 60th BFI London Film Festival – 5th to 16th October 2016

IWC Schaffhausen supports the BFI London Film Festival for the third time in partnership with American Express as Official Time partner. This year they launch a Filmmaker Bursary Award with an award of £50,000 presented to an outstanding British writer, director or writer/director with the recipient of the Award receiving their prize at the IWC Gala Dinner on the 4th October 2016, the evening before the opening of the BFI London Festival.

To celebrate the partnership with BFI they also launched a limited-edition Pilot’s Spitfire Chronograph Edition (Ref. IW387812) timepiece. With only 60 watches produced, each one will be numbered on the case back, alongside the inscription “BFI Film Forever”. The timepiece features the IWC in-house 89365-calibre movement alongside a chronograph and flyback function, stainless steel, blue alligator strap.

 

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Salon QP – 3rd to 5th November 2016, London

The UK’s leading watch exhibition returns for its 8th year and will be held at the prestigious Saatchi Gallery on Kings Road, which has been home to the event since 2011. It will host and showcase no less than 80 of the world’s finest watch brands over a three day extravaganza that includes workshops, demonstrations and seminars.

Mr. Woolfe will be attending and we look forward to meeting talented watchmakers, experts, collectors alike at the SW3 venue. Make sure you follows us as we will be updating through our social media channels via Instagram, Facebook and in-moment Snapchat feeds!

For more information and to book tickets head over to Salon QP’s Eventbrite hub.

 

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And events for next year

SIHH – 16th to 20th January 2017, Geneva

The “Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie” host their private industry only event for the 27th time in January bringing global watchmaking excellence to the heart of Geneva. Last year 24 major brands exhibited their fine watch collections to representatives from the professional distribution industry and media in an atmosphere dedicated to luxury timepieces and setting the watch trends that will follow for the year.

One key difference for 2017 being that it opens its doors to the general public on its last day which will mean that for the first time in its history, the general public will get a chance to experience the creative passion and heritage in the birthplace of watchmaking. Check out the highlights from SIHH 2016 and a flavour for the 2017 event.

 

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September 20, 2016

Boom and bust for luxury watch brands: Is watch hire the next big thing?

Britain’s vote to leave the EU resulted in an increase in sales for luxury watch and jewellery products for July and August due to the weak pound boosting tourist spending. Some watches can be acquired for 20-25% cheaper when purchased in the UK than buying the same item overseas. The Mr. Woolfe team certainly noticed a higher proportion of wealthy shoppers from the Far East in London’s watch boutiques this summer, some even buying multiple timepieces in one visit! Indicating now is a good time to be a collector in the current economic climate.

High sales in the UK due to the de-valued pound seems to be quite the reverse in once buoyant regions like Hong Kong, with weakening demand partly due to a Government crackdown on corruption and excess in China. Global geo-political developments, like Brexit, have clearly impacted the personal luxury products industry with the brands facing challenges in controlling their product offering across certain markets. For watch brands this will most certainly result in an adjustment in prices to reduce currency fluctuation advantages that allow customers to benefit by purchasing overseas. If industry rumours are to be believed, Rolex (a key benchmark player) plan to increase their prices by Q4 this year. This will put off UK buyers that may have had their sights on a high value item, only to have a further 10% added to their purchase.

rolex_submariner_hulk_london_pricetagRolex “Hulk” £6,050 RRP (Rolex.com), however, demand and waiting lists are commanding higher pre-owned prices.

Is luxury watch hire the next big thing?

A recent survey by Credit Suisse estimates that luxury watch sales have fallen by a mid-to-high single-digit percentage in the past two years, and they think those declines will continue falling into 2017 before they get better. Exports to the UK of Swiss watches fell by 26% for June. Asia markets indicated that inventory levels with wholesalers were and still are higher than previously thought—with the approximate value around CHF 2.2 billion. Similar inventory overbuild reports on a global level ring true with retailers around the world reporting high stock levels and sales slowing down for the likes of Richemont and Hermes International according to The Guardian a couple of weeks ago.

According to several sources tough times are ahead for Swiss watchmakers with global demand for luxury timepieces falling for several reasons. It appears that in the current climate consumers feel that they cannot justify a grand purchase, or perhaps find other new trends appealing (e.g. the rise in the popularity of smart-watches) or simply deciding not to buy a watch at all. Obviously this will continue to effect luxury brands, however, a solution certainly lies with a bespoke watch rental service that can open up multiple opportunities to both high-end brands and watch enthusiasts.

Mr. Woolfe allows those wanting to acquire that must have timepiece without having to worry about hurting their bank balance. With the importance of getting the most pleasure per pound, why not chose the luxury hire option and embrace the lifestyle you really want. Register with Mr. Woolfe for further updates.

Luxury on loan, the sensible option and win-win for all!