Young people seduced by high-end watches

On the occasion of the opening of the EPHJ (Professional Environment Watch and Jewelery), the largest trade fair in Switzerland, held at Palexpo from 14 to 17 June, the organizers unveiled the results of a major survey conducted with young Swiss. It focuses on their perception of the watchmaking world, their desires and their consumption habits. The same exercise was conducted in 2016.

Rolex ahead of Swatch

While the results differ somewhat on some points, the perception of watchmaking and the expectations of 16-25 year olds have not fundamentally changed in seven years. But a few trends are emerging, including a different sensitivity to products on both sides of the Sarine.

Conducted by the MIS Trend Institute, the survey was conducted between March 11 and April 8 among 1,030 young people in French-speaking Switzerland and German-speaking Switzerland. Participants were asked to answer 45 questions.

Brand awareness is one of the points addressed in this study. If spontaneously a hundred of them were cited by the young respondents, Rolex clearly stands out by being named first by 86% of respondents. Swatch came in second, with 60%, followed by Tissot and Omega in a handkerchief, named by 25 and 24% of young people respectively. In 2016, Swatch was at the top of the rankings. The institute presents this strong increase in Rolex as the result of important communication campaigns.

The two best-known brands are also at the top of the watches owned by 16-25 year olds, namely Swatch (23%) and Rolex (16%). There is a clear 27-point decline for Swatch in six years, while Rolex is up slightly.

The more connected Germans

The biggest difference is with connected watches. Apple is up 13 points. If six years ago, surprisingly, they only interested 20% of young people, they are now a third of the interest in connected watches. And on the question of whether they would opt for the latter or a classic watch, opinions are divided in German-speaking Switzerland while the Romands would choose, for two-thirds, a classic watch. Note that nearly four in ten young people already own an Apple Watch or one of its competitors.

Overall, the prestigious brands, such as Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, are among the young people’s favorite watches, while the entry-level and quartz watches produced by fashion brands are declining slightly. The good news for Swiss watchmaking is that 53% of young people consider a beautiful watch to be synonymous with beautiful mechanisms and complications. And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes. The former show a much stronger attachment to beautiful watches than their German-speaking counterparts. A statement that applies to all the parameters analyzed.

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