Currency fluctuations are a problem for the watch companies
Vartkess Knadjian, CEO at Backes & Strauss, one of the oldest diamond and wachmaking companies, says that as the Swiss Franc gets stronger against other currencies, the watch retailers either absorb the differences or try and pass the increase to their clients.
How are you managing the currency fluctuations? Do metal prices have an effect?
Currency fluctuations are a major problem. As the Swiss Franc gets stronger against other currencies, the watch retailers either absorb the differences or try and pass the increase to their clients, which means that the past couple of years have been very difficult.
What other passion assets are UHNW buying?
Diamond jewellery, which is due to the success of the jewellery sales at auction houses. Some very important pieces have been recently bought by private clients.
Who are the big watch buyers? Where do they come from?
The big watch buyers are collectors like UHNW individuals who appreciate finely crafted and unique pieces. The Chinese and Russians have been big buyers in the recent years but have slowed down significantly during the past year. We have important clients in Japan, Nigeria and the Middle East.
What is the highest price you have seen a watch be sold for?
A Backes & Strauss masterpiece was sold at retail for CHF2 million.
What are three most important things to know about when buying high profile watches?
The three things are the unity of the Master Diamond Cutter, the Master Jeweller and Watchmaker, which combine to become the “meeting of Masters’. The result is a collection of timepieces so intricate, they are veritable masterpieces both inside and out.