While many countries have imposed sanctions on Russia, taking a stand against the conflict with Ukraine, the impact is being felt in the watch market.
Swiss watchmakers are meeting in Geneva this week for Watches and Wonders, their first major trade event in three years. However, they are facing the impact of the sanctions imposed on Russian oligarchs.
Last year, Russia was only the 17th largest market for Swiss watch exports, but managing business and customer relations during such a sensitive period was high on the list of priorities. Indeed, sanctions against Russia and the ban on exports of luxury goods led brands to close their shops in the country and stop exporting to it.
Russians account for about 2-3% of global luxury spending, or about €7bn, dwarfed by the US and China, according to Claudia D’Arpizio, senior partner and head of fashion and luxury at consultancy Bain. “These are loyal customers who buy every year and I think have strong relationships with some of these brands on a personal level,” she noted.
Russian retailers were unable to attend the show, according to Thierry Stern, director of Patek Philippe, which works with the large Russian luxury retailer Mercury Group.
The Richemont Group said it had stopped buying Russian diamonds, but was confident it could source them elsewhere. Oris, meanwhile, said it had put plans to expand in Russia with a new retail partner on hold. “But we must not forget that there are also people there, families whose existence is threatened,” co-CEO Rolf Studer told Reuters, pointing out that many brands had long-standing relationships with Russian partners.
Featured photo : © Watches and Wonders
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Passionnée depuis son plus jeune âge par l’art et la mode, Hélène s’oriente vers une école de stylisme, l’Atelier Chardon-Savard à Paris, avec une option Communication. Afin d’ajouter des cordes à son arc, elle décide de compléter sa formation par un MBA en Management du Luxe et Marketing Expérientiel à l’Institut Supérieur de Gestion à Paris dont elle sort diplômée en 2020. Elle a notamment écrit des articles lifestyle et beauté pour le magazine Do it in Paris et se spécialise en rédaction d’articles concernant le luxe, l’art et la mode au sein du magazine Luxus Plus.********** [EN] Passionate about art and fashion from a young age, Hélène went to a fashion design school, Atelier Chardon-Savard in Paris, with a Communication option. In order to add more strings to her bow, she decided to complete her education with an MBA in Luxury Management and Experiential Marketing at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris from which she graduated in 2020. She has written lifestyle and beauty articles for Do it in Paris magazine and specializes in writing articles about luxury, art and fashion for Luxus Plus magazine.