Cortina Watch bullish on luxury watch market this year

Cortina Watch bullish on luxury watch market this year

Mr Lim said luxury watch businesses in Thailand and Asia are still in good shape this year. 
Mr Lim said luxury watch businesses in Thailand and Asia are still in good shape this year. 

Cortina Watch, the leading retailer and distributor of luxury timepieces across Asia, is upbeat about the luxury watch market in Thailand, projecting 5-10% growth this year as it debuts its first standalone Patek Philippe Boutique in Bangkok.

Jeremy Lim, chief executive of Cortina Watch and chief operating officer of Cortina Holdings, said luxury watch businesses in Thailand and Asia are still in good shape this year despite economic sentiment continuing on a downward trend, pressured by geopolitical uncertainty and persistent inflation.

"I always find that Thai customers are very resilient in terms of their wealth," said Mr Lim, citing the nation's stable currency and economy.

"Thailand has a very strong watch collection culture, and the collectors are very well-versed in terms of luxury watches."

Mr Lim said there is room to cater to the interests of intergenerational clients, shifting from not only the dominance of the old-money watch collector crowd to their children.

Some 90% of Cortina Watch sales in Thailand stemmed from local residents, with the remainder being foreign tourists. The company is also able to encourage members of the latter group to visit other boutiques within its network of 45 stores in the region.

While Singapore is the top grossing luxury watch market in the region, Thailand and Malaysia generally vie for second place.

While there may be some concerns over a reducation in the export of Swiss watches, Cortina Watch's brand portfolio is focused on the leading prestige-tier brands. Mr Lim believes that thanks to its high-end portfolio, the company can continue to thrive, as if there is a declining trend, it would tend to affect mid-tier and lower-end brands.

Cortina Watch recently worked with Patek Philippe -- one of the oldest and most prestigious watch manufacturers -- opening its latest standalone boutique at Central Embassy in Bangkok. There are seven other Patek Philippe Boutiques in major locations within Asia.

The group has had a long partnership with Patek Philippe since 1972 when Cortina Watch was founded, following a close friendship that began in 1956 between Anthony Lim, Cortina Watch's founder, and Henri Stern, the grandfather of Thierry Stern, the current president of Patek Philippe.

Cortina Watch entered Thailand in 2004 with the country's first multi-brand boutique at Erawan Bangkok before moving to Central Embassy in 2017.

Mr Lim said following its successful performance, Cortina Watch last year decided to launch a boutique in Bangkok dedicated to Patek Philippe.

The new location comes with a unique feature, a bar area that provides clients with a casual setting, allowing them to experience the brand in a new way, not only within a more traditional sales environment.

"It can also attract new customers that are trying to understand and explore what Patek Philippe is," Mr Lim said, adding that beverages, including wines and cocktails, would be available in the bar area.

Meanwhile, the boutique has also reserved a private space for loyal customers who may opt for privacy while browsing the collections, providing them with the best possible experience.

Mr Lim said luxury retail, especially in watch businesses, has evolved from just being a store that only sells and showcases watches, into a place where both established and new customers can become more engaged in the retail experience.

Owners of Patek Philippe timepieces would receive an exclusive quarterly magazine from Patek Philippe, while Cortina Watch would also provide updates, highlighting events or other exclusive benefits.

This official opening marks the fifth boutique under Cortina Watch Thailand, and the group plans to open two more boutiques at One Bangkok next year.

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