Rolex now accounts for 22.2% of global watch sales, according to a 2018 Morgan Stanley report on the market that published this week.
The investment bank, in consultation with Swiss consultancy Luxeconsult, reports that there are now seven watch brands with turnover above $1 billion: Rolex, Omega, Cartier, Longines, Patek Philippe, Tissot and Audemars Piguet. TAG Heuer is just outside the one billion dollar turnover club.
The report consolidated the estimated and reported results of 350 Swiss watch brands and found that 75% of the value of global watch sales comes from the four largest groups: Richemont, Swatch Group, LVMH and Rolex.
Swiss export figures for last year showed sales of $21.2 billion. Wholesale turnover within Switzerland is likely to have been around $1 billion. With retail margins added, Morgan Stanley calculates the global turnover at retail to have been worth $52 billion.
The bank says that Swatch Group’s watches added up to 28.6% of global sales, Rolex including Tudor claimed 23.5%, Richemont’s watch maisons were 18.4% of the market and LVMH’s watch brands totalled 7.9%.
Kering, which owns Gucci Watches, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux, claimed just 1.6% share of the global market with turnover from watches estimated at $380 million.
Morgan Stanley suggests that the largest brands are increasing their grip on the market. Swiss watch export figures show the global market growing by 6.3%, but the seven brands with turnover above $1 billion increased sales by almost 9%.