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LVMH luxury watches at Watch Week in Miami


LVMH launches Watch Week in Miami

Luxury giant LVMH is making a push to gain share of the global luxury watch business, with a newly formed watch division and an array of new, higher-priced models.

Sales of luxury watches worldwide are estimated at about $30 billion this year, according to market research firm IMARC Group. They’re expected to grow to more than $37 billion by 2032, as global wealth increases and Generation Z and millennials become more interested in high-end mechanical watches.

LVMH’s jewelry and watch division posted sales of $11.8 billion in 2023, representing a 7% increase in organic growth. The luxury giant now has 10 watch brands, including TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith, along with fashion and jewelry brands such as Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Dior that also make watches.

Last month, the company named Frederic Arnault, the 29-year-old son of LVMH Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Watches, which includes the TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith brands.

Analysts estimate sales of those three brands reached about $2 billion last year.

A Zenith luxury watch at 2024 Watch Week in Miami.

CNBC

Frederic Arnault, who launched an array of highly popular new models at TAG Heuer, is expected to bring his focus on innovation, cutting-edge materials and creative designs to the larger brand group. Analysts say LVMH may also continue to acquire attractive brands if they become available.

In interviews with CNBC during LVMH’s Watch Week in Miami, the brands’ chief executives said 2024 is already shaping up to be stronger than 2023, when rising interest rates and fears of recession tempered demand. Executives say they are especially encouraged by the resilience of the American luxury consumer.

“It’s all about cycles, and the beauty of America is that the cycles are very short,” said Benoit de Clerck, CEO of Zenith. “We go through ups and downs and all that, but I can reassure you today Zenith is definitely on an upswing with good traction within the U.S. markets.”

Zenith luxury watches at 2024 Watch Week in Miami.

CNBC

Watch sales are following a similar pattern to the broader luxury market, where the wealthiest consumers remain strongest. Executives say the wealthy are less affected by rising rates and economic uncertainty, so more and more brands are catering to the “super-spenders” and VIP collectors who continue to spend on the highest quality and craftsmanship.

“The high end has been really one of the main drivers of our growth,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari. “I think the wealthy more than ever are eager to invest in authentic, reputable and timeless brands.”

Babin said he’s seeing rising strength at the high end throughout Bulgari’s businesses, which now include hotels, fashion and fragrances.

“We sold more high-end jewelry, more high-end watches, more high-end bags,” Babin said, showing off one of Bulgari’s coveted yellow-gold Serpenti Secret watches that retails for $350,000.

A Bulgari Serpenti Secret watch at 2024 Watch Week in Miami. 

CNBC

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