5 Must-Read Articles on the State of the Jewelry and Watch Trade

These articles offer a fascinating primer on where the business is headed

Interesting articles about the jewelry business often land in my inbox. I’ll click on the links, open a new tab in my browser—and leave them hanging there for weeks before I finally get around to reading them. Here’s the latest batch of must-read pieces, just in time for buyers heading to JCK, LUXURY, and the other shows in Las Vegas next month.

1. Hodinkee on the crossroads facing the Swiss watch industry

Sobering article about the state of the Swiss watch industry, examining how various players have responded to the sharp decline in sales since mid-2015. In short, some have embraced value and accessible pricing, others have thrown their hats into the smart arena—but the jury is still out on which, if any, strategy will work.

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TAG Heuer introduced the Carrera Heuer 02-T, a $15,950 chronograph featuring a tourbillon, at Baselworld. The Black Phantom edition shown above retails for CHF 19,900, or $20,755, and comes in a limited edition of 250 pieces.

2. The New York Times on the unexpected appeal of bespoke baubles

A lovely first-person essay on what makes tailor-made jewelry so darn appealing. 

3. Bloomberg on a company that’s successfully selling secondhand jewels online

The article describes Gleem & Co. as “a one-stop shop that insures, appraises, and sells secondhand items on its e-commerce platform.” If you know anything about millennials’ love of recycled merchandise, you’ll understand why this approach makes all kinds of sense. One to watch.

4. McKinsey on the five factors transforming the jewelry trade

This February 2014 report isn’t new—JCK’s Rob Bates wrote about it here—but for anyone struggling to understand the jewelry trade from a macro perspective and imagine what it might look like in 2020, the piece should be required reading. The nutshell: Make way for big global brands, “fast jewelry,” the continuing rise of digital distribution channels, and more high-low hybridization.

5. WGSN on how technology will shape the fashion business

While this think piece focuses on the apparel industry and the role technology, such as 3-D printing, will play in its evolution, its insights and conclusions could easily be extrapolated to include jewelry. (Exhibit A: The McKinsey study noted above draws compelling parallels between the two categories. In essence, where fashion goes, jewelry follows.)