The 2013 World Watch Report shows that Fine Watches have lost none of their online appeal, as the 18 brands tracked by the report posted a 7% increase in online interest. Unsurprisingly, the BRIC countries, led by China, are the main driving forces behind this growth.
Now in its ninth year, the World Watch Report, which tracks the performance of luxury watch brands based on online searches, reveals in its 2013 edition a global rise of 7% for the 18 Fine Watch Maisons under review*. The report examines 20 markets and a billion queries. “Unsurprisingly, the emerging markets are fuelling this growth,” comments Florent Bondoux of Digital Luxury Group, the producer of the report which has the backing of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. “Virtually half of global interest stems from the four BRIC countries [Brazil Russia, India, China] and the Asian markets. Chinese internet users clearly outrank others with 31% of searches relating to Fine Watchmaking compared with 20% in 2012.” This 27% increase is matched by growth in Brazil (+30%), Russia (+43%) and even India (+18%), whereas mature markets such as the United States (-11%) and Japan (-12%) have waned.
Which brands are most popular on the worldwide web? The champion’s title goes to Patek Philippe which accounts for almost a quarter (23.6%) of interest, well ahead of Jaeger-LeCoultre (12.7%), Vacheron Constantin (12.6%) and Audemars Piguet (9.2%). Another brand to stand out is Richard Mille which scores “only” 2.6% of interest but records a growth rate of more than 60%.
Audemars Piguet‘s Royal Oak, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, still generates the most online requests (13.5%), ahead of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Reverso (9.2%), the Royal Oak Offshore, also by Audemars Piguet (5.1%), and Patek Philippe’s Calatrava (4.5%). Blancpain moves up a rank to secure fifth place for its Léman (4.4%). While these are the global leaders, country-specific preferences also emerge. For example, Girard-Perregaux’s 1945 leads online interest in Japan; Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas comes first in China, as does Blancpain’s Léman in Russia.
The 2013 World Watch Report also analyses the popularity of these same Maisons on discussion forums (PuristPro, Time Zone and iWatch 365), where the “technical” brands clearly take the lion’s share, beginning with Patek Philippe ahead of Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Söhne. All of which suggests forums such as these have become a prime online destination for collectors and aficionados that brands would do well to bear in mind.