Today, watchmakers are back at work, China’s shops are hopping, tills are ringing, and things have recovered somewhat. However, at the time of writing, it appears total Swiss watch exports for 2020 will be a quarter to a third less than 2019. Figures for January to September 2020 (the lastest available at press time) show a 28.3 per cent year-on-year decline.
Sales of low-priced watches have been hardest hit, with the top end more resilient. Industry insiders inform me that even in the darkest days of the Covid-19 lockdown, watch companies had no problem shifting big-ticket timepieces. Insulated from the economic downturn, and in some cases growing exponentially wealthier during the crisis, the super-rich kept snapping up diamond-pavé tourbillons and platinum perpetual calendars as per usual.
If you’re in the enviable position to purchase something in this rarefied segment, one of my favourite launches of 2020 was 1:1 best replica Piaget’s made-to-order Altiplano Ultimate Concept. The thinnest mechanical watch ever created, at just 2 mm thick, it’s a true work of horological art.
For those being a bit more bearish with their money during these lean times, I’m very fond of the luxury fake Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic Satin-Polished Steel, the slimmest time-only automatic watch on the market.
At less than half that price, take your pick of perfect replica Rolex’s colourful new 36 mm Oyster Perpetual watches, featuring vivacious lacquer dials in yellow, green, coral red, turquoise or candy pink. Quite the sunny spot in what was a gloomy year for the watch industry—and the world. Here’s to a brighter 2021 and better times ahead.