Omega Watches on a Roll
This year, Swiss watch maker Omega could reach 2.5 billion Euros in sales. The flagship brand of Swatch Group launched a major offensive in Brazil. Worldwide, it will surpass 300 stores this year. Bastien Buss reports for Le Temps.
“For Omega, 2012 was a very busy year, with many key events.” And its president, Stephen Urquhart, likes to reference the London Olympics, where the brand was a sponsor and official timekeeper, as well as the release of the new James Bond movie, in which the actor Daniel Craig wears a watch with the Greek sign.
On more of a business and less marketing level, the flagship brand Swatch Group achieved a record year, says the president, without giving a precise figure. In 2011, the company out of Biel, Switzerland had – for the first time in its history – exceeded the symbolic threshold of CHF 2 billion (US$2.2 billion) in sales.
The current year has started well, says the president. “We are moving slowly but surely towards the CHF 3 billion in sales. We have the potential. This year or next, we may reach 2.5 billion in sales,” he said, during Baselworld, where the brand staffs an oversized booth. An increase in sales that occurs in spite of a slowdown in China (-6%).
Started a few years ago, the deployment in the United States continued last year. While the brand had only one shop overseas in 2009, the number of stores will exceed 30 this year. The company plans to open four or five more this year, in cities like Dallas or Atlanta. In total, the flagship brand of the world’s number one watchmaker will exceed the 300 shops, including one hundred under its own name.
Development in Asia continues, but special attention is paid to Brazil this year. The Latin American country, a member of the BRIC group of countries, is described as an ideal market for the brand, but it suffers from prohibitively high import taxes. Very few watchmakers have invested directly into Brazil. Digital Luxury Group gives the following example: a Porsche Carrera Convertible is sold for $96,200 in the United States, against $355,000 in Brazil. However, Urquhart is hopeful he can be successful with his plans in Brazil by bypassing all intermediaries.