Richemont, Swatch raise profile in Asia

Two major watchmaking groups are raising their public profile in Asia.

Richemont, the French luxury goods group, will present an exhibition of its luxury watch brands called “Watches & Wonders” (Sept. 19 to 23) in Tai Miao Temple at the entrance to the Forbidden City, in Beijing, China. It’s the first time an exhibit of fine watches has been staged in this setting, and the first time Richemont’s brands—A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Dunhill, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin—have been presented together in China.

The exhibition coincides with the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. It will feature 600 historic and contemporary watches and retrace several centuries of fine watchmaking, and associated techniques and crafts.

The Richemont Group is also offering the city of Beijing its expertise in restoring an historic watch in the collections at the Forbidden City.

The Swatch Group, the Swiss conglomerate that is the world’s largest watchmaker, has acquired a site in Ginza, the famous shopping and business district of Tokyo, from which it plans to expand its activities in Japan and its position in the Japanese market, the world’s leading market for luxury goods.

A building now on the site will be demolished. The new multi-storey facility will be built, following an architectural competition, and open in 2006. It will contain several stores featuring the group’s luxury brand watches, exhibition halls and the customer services department for Japan. The new building will also be the headquarters of the Swatch Group Japan.