As the boom in all things luxury continues, retailers and manufacturers report heightened attention to gold watches from consumers who seek to make high-quality purchases.
“We always sell more women’s gold watches than men’s gold watches because they’re given as gifts,” says Marcos Salerno, owner of Salerno Fine Jewelers in Elizabeth, N.J.
Salerno sees strong gold watch sales in both white and yellow gold–particularly those by Festina, a trend he attributes to the brand’s lower price point. Festina representatives say they have received similar feedback from other retailers.
“The gold business in general–in yellow and white, but particularly in yellow–is going crazy right now,” says Phil Schwetz, Festina vice president, sales and marketing.
According to Festina President Larry Lichs, the rising price of gold and the inherent value of an 18-karat gold watch have helped drive the demand.
“People see [gold watches] as an investment,” he says.
Many retailers and manufacturers who spoke with NATIONAL JEWELER report rising sales of gold watches, although the color, price range and gender preferences seem to vary by retailer and region.
Representatives of Swatch brands Omega, Longines, Breguet and Tissot report higher demand for gold watches overall, as do those from luxury brands Patek Philippe and TAG Heuer.
“Yellow is strong, but on some models, we almost sell as many white gold as yellow pieces,” says Breguet U.S. General Manager Jean-Marc Bories. “The more esoteric the watch, the likelier it will be white. Yellow gold is safe, conservative, mainstream.”
At Tourneau, top sellers include white gold day-date Rolexes, rose gold pieces with complications from Jaeger-LeCoultre and Zenith, and ladies’ watches from Cartier and Patek Philippe, reports Senior Vice President Andrew J. Block.
“We are seeing a continuing trend in high sell-through of gold watches,” he says.
Jeff Horlacher, owner of Horlacher Jewelers in Colby, Kan., has upped the number of gold watches offered from his private-label brand, due to greater demand.
“Gold watch sales definitely seem to be higher,” he says. “I have been surprised by how well they have done lately.”
Horlacher says yellow, white and rose gold watches all sell well, with most falling into the $1,000 to $3,000 price range.
“We have been selling the daylights out of gold men’s watches,” says Sean Dunn, owner of J.R. Dunn Jewelers in Lighthouse Point, Fla. “People are really into bold watches these days.”
Men tend to prefer yellow gold watches, while ladies’ gold watches generally sell best in white, he says. Dunn’s top-selling brands include Breitling, Rolex and Corum, with gold watches routinely commanding $20,000 to $30,000 at retail.
Gold watches by Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier are in demand at Rummele’s Jewelers of Green Bay in Green Bay. Wisc., says manager David Tomaschefay.
“Men keep buying the watches in our market,” he says. “Guys used to buy gold chains and necklaces, but now they just buy watches. If a man owns one high-end watch, he probably owns three or four.”