The haves and have clocks: Demand for Rolex and Patek Philippe watches keeps booming despite economic gloom

·1 min read
David Beckham advertising Tudor watches (Tudor)
David Beckham advertising Tudor watches (Tudor)

Britain is facing the worst cost of living crisis in a generation but not all of us are feeling the squeeze equally: the super-rich still have enough cash in the bank to acquire Patek Philippe and Rolex watches, giving a boost to Watches of Switzerland.

The luxury watch dealer said today it is still seeing bumper demand for high-end timepieces despite rising interest rates and inflation, and diving stock prices.

Watches of Switzerland’s sales jumped by 40% to £1.2 billion in the 52 weeks to the start of May. Sales have remained strong this year despite the outbreak of war in Ukraine and growing fears of recession in the UK and US.

Chief executive Brian Duffy said: “We are pleased to report a strong quarter of 48% growth to finish what was an outstanding year for the group. We have delivered another record year of revenue and profitability.”

The company specialises in brands including Rolex, Tudor, advertised by David Beckham, and Cartier. These companies make watches that can run into the tens of thousands of pounds.

Watches of Switzerland, which also owns Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths, forecast even higher sales in the 12 months ahead despite economic storm clouds on the horizon. It expects sales of £1.45 billion to £1.5 billion, though it cautioned that profits will be either flat or up only slightly.

Duffy said: “Consumer desire for ‘super high demand’ brands (Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet) continues to exceed supply and other luxury watch brands are enjoying exceptionally strong demand and sales. Luxury jewellery demand is also very positive.”

Analysts at Barclays said: “The outlook remains remarkably strong.”

Shares dipped 38.1p, or 3.8%, to 954.4p.