luxury watch industry

Key takeaways from the ‘Luxury Watch Industry Today’ webinar

2 min minute read

Aleksandra Rakowska

As the world begins to recover from the impact of the global pandemic and prepares to adapt to the new normal, Launchmetrics & Digital Luxury Group partnered to discuss some of the biggest challenges faced by the luxury watch industry, the current trends as well as key strategies in 2021 and beyond during a webinar with Julien Tornare - CEO of Zenith Watches, Pascal O. Ravessoud - Director of External Affairs & Watchmaking Expert at Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, Alain Zimmermann - Managing Partner and Board Member of DLG and Launchmetrics’ Chief Marketing Officer - Alison Bringé.

luxury watch industry

Watch the webinar replay

Key takeaways from the event

Watches & Wonders merges physical with digital 

This year marked the second edition of Watches and Wonders (a trade show of the international watch and jewelry industry) going digital, with the Geneva edition hosted online and an addition of a physical element - an in-person event in Shanghai. Both Geneva and Shanghai events generated $26.9 million in Media Impact Value™ (MIV®), with 87% of the total MIV® coming from W&W Geneva. By hosting physical events such as the “Morning Show”, as well as live discussions on social media platforms like Clubhouse, W&W successfully merged the digital with the physical, creating momentum that had a positive impact on the brands’ performance.

One of the big new features for Watches & Wonders 2021, the Morning Show, broadcasted live every day

Media and Owned Media were the strongest Voices for Watches & Wonders

The top two Voices were the Media Voice, which represented 44.5% of the share of value and Owned Media - the brands’ own social accounts, which represented 43.3% of the share of value, highlighting the relevance of the brand’s own Voice in driving brand performance. 

Working with Chinese KOLs is efficient

Although only 13% of MIV® came from the Shanghai event, an average MIV® / placement for an Influencer post was 9x bigger when working with a Chinese KOL than for a similar partnership in Europe. The top Influencer for the event, Mr. Jiliang, brought $104K in MIV®, followed by Zhongbiaoyou, also known as the ‘Watch Traveler’, who generated $97.7K MIV®. This shows the power of Chinese KOLs in all industries and proves just how efficient those partnerships can be.

watches and wonders
Source: Weibo@吉良先生

The top 10 players by MIV® for Watches & Wonders

When it comes to the performance of brands participating in the fair, Rolex took the first place in the ranking, cumulating $5.8M Media Impact Value™ during this period. Following, IWC and Bulgari gathered, respectively, $2.8M and $2.5M MIV®. Chanel, however, although lower in the cumulative MIV® ranking, stood out with the quality of the shared content, having the best average MIV® per post - $4.4K.

top 10 luxury watch brands

Watches & Wonders is the perfect gateway to penetrate the Chinese market

Brands who participated in Watches & Wonders Shanghai, saw an increase of up to 50% in their Media Impact Value™. The event is a perfect opportunity for brands to attract the B2B clientele, but also the high net worth consumer, all the while growing footprint in the Chinese market.

Brand Partner and Celebrity Voices are becoming increasingly important for the luxury watch industry

In 2021, the brand partner Voice for the luxury watch industry grew by 65%, compared to 2020 and the celebrity Voice increased by a staggering 143%. However, who those Voices belong to have changed. Athletes have always been the ‘go to’ of watches brands, but with sporting events being cancelled due to the global pandemic, we have seen a decrease in athlete partnerships. In 2020 they represented 45% of the Celebrity Voice, whereas in 2021 - just 20%. Brands had to find new ways to connect with all kinds of consumers and as a result we have seen a staggering increase in the number of luxury watch partnerships with actors and actresses, growing by +142% in the Celebrity Voice. 

Vintage and pre-owned watch market is on the rise

One thing that became the central topic of the webinar was the growth of the pre-owned, vintage market. The pre-owned watches websites have seen a +41% increase in driving Partner value for the watches industry in 2021. 

Although Pascal O. Ravessoud confirmed there are no plans at the moment to allow for second-hand retailers presenting at Watches and Wonders, he agreed with the rest of the speakers that sustainability is becoming a key trend in the watches industry and brands should pay attention to the growing demand for pre-owned watches

Zenith announced that the brand is already beginning to address the demand with its ICONS programme – a curated collection of rare and highly desired vintage Zenith watches that have been sourced, restored and re-authentified by the brand. 

"We talk a lot about circular economy and sustainability and in a way, there is no better product than a mechanical watch. When you buy a mechanical watch - it's forever"

Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith Watches

The pre-owned market is here to stay

One thing brands should think about is how to leverage the ‘buzz’ that, although considered competitors, the pre-owned retailers are creating. When recovering post-pandemic, brands will have to rethink their current strategies and tap into the newly emerging trends to reach the target consumer.

When thinking of ways to expand, brands shouldn’t discount the pre-owned retailers who proved successful in driving conversation around the products.


Period: 01.01.2020-30.04.2021
Scope: Online Media, Blogs, Social Channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Douyin (TikTok), Weibo, WeChat, RED, BiliBili) and print articles for the top luxury and affordable luxury watch brands.
Media Impact Value™ (MIV®): Media Impact Value™ is a proprietary algorithm created by Launchmetrics to measure and benchmark the impact of all media placements and mentions across different Voices in the Fashion, Luxury, and Beauty industries. This means that you can compare the Media Impact Value™ for each post shared across Print, Online and Social channels and measure the ROI of any marketing activity you create and execute. 

To learn more about the best performing brands, dive into our newest data watch report!

luxury watches ranking

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