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Baselworld 2016: Hopes are high for a reinvigorated watch sector

It’s been more than a year since the Swiss National Bank unpegged the Swiss franc against the euro, causing it to soar 30 per cent instantly. And while anyone dealing in Swiss francs has acclimated to the new reality, Canada’s loonie is still playing havoc with pricing strategies, although things may be looking up.

Sian Williams, president of Bulova Corp., says the recent uptick in the Canadian dollar (sitting at $0.78 against the U.S greenback at this article’s writing) has helped relieve some of the worry. Although the company implemented a price increase in 2015 (its first in 10 years), prices will remain steady this year, she said, helped somewhat by increasing demand through the use of social media. Williams says connecting to consumers through various platforms is a major focus for Bulova, so much so, it has hired a dedicated social media expert to create content to deliver ready-made to its client base.

“Our social media person has put together a 365-day calendar of content for our retailers who can share it with their followers every single day,” she explains. “You have to make it easy for retailers who might not be technologically savvy or are intimidated by social media.”

Gonçalves says that although the watch industry is dealing with numerous challenges, he expects the tide to turn, given brands are reaching out to watch repair businesses like his to set up local servicing.

“It shows some brands are doing well to a certain extent,” he said. “We find the higher-end Swiss lines are looking to have their brands serviced here.”

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