By Jessica Knowles
Brands in The Prince Regent room of Freemason’s Hall, a space dedicated to luxury watches, have reported that despite tough market conditions, retailers are open to discussions about taking on new brands in their price bracket.
The Prince Regent Room, located next to the cafe at the London Watch Show houses brands, RWS, Venus, Maurice Lacroix, Edox, Fendi, Ball Watches and Porsche Designs.
As a brand that only last year began distribution in the UK, Venus has a strong focus on the European market and commercial director Maurice Spiri said that deapite tough trading, there is potential for brands like Venus to take more market share.
He said: “The situation in Europe at the moment is obviously quite difficult. But there is definitely potential for brands that can bring that something different for customers. Europe has always been very important and definitive in terms of trends and it’s extremely important to be strong here, even if everyone is looking towards Asia today the trends are still set in Europe.”
When asked about the current state of the luxury market, Maurice Lacroix sales and marketing director Matthew Lefevre said that trends vary geographically.
Lefevre said: “It depends where you go. In London and bigger cities, it’s hard work but people are doing alright. But when you go to the smaller provincial towns it’s very tough and even people who have good, long-established business are really struggling. It’s a bit of a mixed bag really, things are challenging. One of our biggest markets is Germany and that’s been fairly strong.
"I think it depends on the town. There are still people with plenty of money and they are still spending it. For us, we concentrate on the mid-sector, £550 to £3,000, which is definitely one of the sectors of the luxury business which has been hit the hardest. Fashion brands seem to be doing well as are the big brands at the very top end.”
As a brand that mixes luxury with a well established foothold in the fashion industry, Fendi is unsurprisingly thriving through the difficult times. Speaking to WatchPro at the London Watch Show today a spokesperson for the brand said “Fendi is in a great position because we haven’t been in the UK for 12 years as a watch brand so it’s great for us because its something new, something exciting we’re something that everyone else hasn’t got. So if a retailers is coming to the London Watch Show looking for something that has already a got a very well established brand identity, history and exclusivity then that’s a very good reason for us to be here.”
Fendi is distributed in the UK by Nuval, which is also exhibiting in the London Watch Show’s Prince Regent room with Ball Watches and Porsche Design Timepieces.
It is the first time that Porsche Design Timepieces has appeared at a UK trade show. The brand is currently only on sale in Harrods, and UK brand manager Alan Smith said Nuval hopes to build on this through the London Watch Show.
He added: "We also have an interesting mix of niche brands at a variety of price points such as Ball which represents the brand with the greatest number of doors. In terms of sales value some of our top brands are stocked with only three retailers but contribute an equal amount in sales value. We’re currently working very closely with some nice jewellers in Bond Street for Arnold & Son and for Graham.
“Porsche has been in the market before but not for a number of years and has just come under new ownership from the Swiss end which is exciting as it’s re-entering the market with an assured financial backing. Some retailers we saw yesterday had previously sold and liked the brand which is encouraging.”
The Prince Regent room is located next to the Café in Freemasons Hall and also houses Edox and RSW as well as a stand dedicated to the British School of Watchmaking.