Swiss replica watch exports to UK rise as tourists make most of fall in sterling

— Increase taps into surge of visitors to UK, exploiting what has become the cheapest luxury market in the world, say analysts

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A man looks at expensive watches in a shop window in Bond Street, central London.

Swiss replica watch exports to the UK rose by 13.4% in July as tourists exploited the drop in the value of the pound to snap up luxury goods.

The Federation of the Swiss Replica Watch Industry said watches worth 110.2m Swiss francs (£87m) were exported to the UK last month, the best figures since November 2015.

The figures are the latest sign of a boost for luxury retailers following the EU referendum result, which has pushed down sterling and made British shops more attractive to foreign visitors, with sales of jewellery and watches across the UK growing by more than 16% last month.

Pound against the euro

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The UK is now the cheapest luxury goods market in the world, according to analysts at stockbroker Exane BNP Paribas, which has predicted an uplift for British brands such as Burberry, Mulberry and Stella McCartney, as the stronger euro and dollar against the pound fuel tourist visits.

“Tourist inflows and spend are highly correlated to exchange rates. Continental markets such as France have suffered from relatively higher prices and terror attacks. “The likely consequence is a tourist spend boom in the UK,” said Luca Solca, a luxury goods analyst at Exane BNP Paribas.

The increase in Swiss replica watch exports to the UK compared with July 2015 makes Britain the fastest-growing major market for the sale of brands such as replica Omega, Breitling and Rolex.

Brian Duffy, the chief executive of Aurum, which owns the Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland chains, said his outlets had seen an immediate pickup in sales of luxury replica watches (above £500) on the day after the Brexit vote. This was most evident in London and at the group’s airport stores, he said.

In July 2016 Switzerland exported 110.2 million swiss francs worth of watches to the UK

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“It’s very clear there’s a boom going on. We are selling a lot of very high-end pieces where the absolute amount of savings can justify the cost of foreign travel. The savings on a £300 watch can pay for a flight,” he said.

Michael Wainwright, the managing director of Boodles, which sells Patek Philippe replica watches, said the British luxury jeweller had seen good business from Asian and Middle Eastern clients, who usually visit the UK at this time of the year, because the exchange rate had made desired items about 18% cheaper than anywhere else in the eurozone. The pound has fallen by 11% against the euro and dollar since the vote to leave the EU.

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A Breitling replica watch with diamonds. Savings on luxury watches can justify the cost of flights, experts say.

Wainwright said the chain had also recorded a rise in American buyers last month, when Swiss replica watches were as much as 30% cheaper in the UK than in the US.
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“To some extent, it is commodity dealing. Collectors will gravitate to the country offering the lowest price and at the moment that is the UK,” he said.

Jewellery sales were also benefiting from the pound’s decline, although the market was less commoditised, and so differences in design, service and other factors had a bigger role to play than the watch market, where collectors know exactly what they want.

“The weaker pound doesn’t have such an enormous benefit as it does on replica watches, but it will help London, retail and luxury goods,” he said.

Mario Ortelli, a luxury goods analyst at Bernstein, agreed that the UK luxury market was likely to benefit as a whole from the lower value of the pound. “Many tourists will decide to come to the UK, not because they like the weather, but because they think the exchange rate is improving prices,” he said.

But the global market for luxury goods was not likely to benefit overall from strong sales in the UK, he said, as shoppers were merely shifting from one country to another.

However, Ortelli said luxury brands were likely to put up prices to ensure that they protected sales and profits, meaning the boost to the UK may not last. “The benefit will be short term,” he said.

Pound against the dollar

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Jewellers said brands including Patek Philippe and Cartier had already put up prices by between 8% and 10%, although Rolex, Omega and Breitling had yet to change.

Meanwhile, Ryanair said it was carrying 20% more Americans and 10% more Chinese from Europe on shopping trips to the UK this summer, which it attributed to the fall in sterling.

The rise in luxury spending in the UK might help brands with British heritage such as Burberry, which have suffered from falling numbers of Chinese visitors to Europe due to terror fears, and to Hong Kong because of visa changes.

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Cheap Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch ‘CK2998’ Limited Edition Replica Watches Hands-On

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Omega launched a torrent of new models and colors at Baselworld this past March, and among the new Planet Oceans and Moonphase Speedmasters we found the handsome and entirely charming Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” Limited Edition. Sharing the same basic form as the Moonwatch “First Omega replica in Space,” this svelte but sporty chronograph is a nod to the reference CK 2998 Speedmaster that Walter Schirra wore in 1962 during his orbital flight on the MA-8 mission of the Mercury Program. Nestled precariously within his ship, the Sigma 7, Schirra orbited the Earth 6 times and, to the benefit of modern day Omega, did so while wearing an early Speedmaster which he had bought for personal use.

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Though it would be more than two years before NASA would select the Omega Speedmaster as their go-to timepiece, the CK 2998 was indeed the first Omega replica watches in space and has held an important place in both Omega’s history and in the hearts of many a Speedy collector. The new 2016 cheap Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” (Omega’s quotations, not mine) boasts a beautiful blue coloring anchored by a silvery white dial and a 39.7mm steel case. The panda-style dial gives the “CK2998” a distinct look that sits somewhere between the black-dialed original “FOiS” and the Sedna gold model launched last year.

In a departure from the original and the Sedna variants, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” has been fitted with a lollipop seconds hand and a lumed tachymeter scale on the bezel. The case back is solid and bears replica Omega’s original Speedmaster Seahorse medallion and the “CK2998” is water resistant to 50 meters. Powered by Speedy-famous calibre 1861, Omega has wisely decided to continue their use of this legacy movement in the vintage inspired “First Omega in Space” models. The 1861 is a manually wound and cam-actuated 12-hour chronograph with a 48-hour power reserve. Given its lineage and connection to early space exploration, the 1861 is a big deal for cheap Omega, and its continued use is not only a nod to their specific past but also to the old-school reality of watch enthusiasm – especially when juxtaposed by the highly technical reality of Omega’s modern movements (think: co-axial, anti-magnetic, and METAS certification).

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Not unlike the movement, the 39.7mm case sizing feels willfully old-school, especially on a table full of 44.25mm Dark Side of The Moons, Moonphase Master Chronometers, and 55mm-wide Ploprofs. Fact is, Omega’s modern line up is, on average, quite large. While the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” is not amazingly small, its somewhat smaller case size (and steel construction) offers a handsome and appealing Speedmaster option for those not wanting something as large as a DSoTM or something as common as a Speedmaster Pro.

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Limited to 2998 units, you have to assume the uk Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” will sell like hotcakes when they hit retailers later this summer. With a reserved and classic aesthetic, legacy movement, and lovely blue/silver coloring, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” is going to check the box for a lot of collectors who love the history of the Speedmaster but want a brand new swiss replica watches that still manages to feel special. Costing US$165, fitted to a matching blue leather strap with beige stitching, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “CK2998” is nothing short of beautiful and was easily my favorite of the Omega novelties at Baselworld 2016.

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Sufficiently Swiss: at least 60% for replica watches

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Swiss replica watches on display at the Baselworld exhibition in July.

Switzerland adopted regulations on Friday requiring that locally-made parts account for at least 60 percent by value in order for replica watches to bear the coveted and lucrative “Swiss Made” label.

The government said in a statement that the change, to go into effect on January 1, expands the criteria for judging whether a fake watch is sufficiently Swiss from just the main mechanism to all parts, and increases the minimum value from 50 percent currently.

Citing research that consumers are ready to pay up to 50 percent more for watches that are made in the Alpine nation, the government said the tightening of the regulations was taken “to stem the threat of abusive practices concerning Swiss origin and protect the good reputation of the ‘Swiss label’ and Switzerland as a manufacturing location.”

Watches are a key export earner for Switzerland, bringing in 21.5 billion francs ($22.4 billion, 19.9 billion euros) last year, and the country is home to luxury brands such as replica Omega, Rolex and TAG Heuer watch.

But use of some parts imported from low-cost countries is a common practice in some segments of the industry.

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